Thursday, October 3, 2013

the GREAT CATACLYSM & the UNDERWORLD

It's tough to write about the Great Cataclysm.
For one thing, it's technically still happening.  Adventures in Kos are the story of the ongoing defunction of a once-grand and noble people.  The other reason is, the Cataclysm affected physical, universal laws (such as time, causation and correlation, chemistry, physics, genetics, etc).  Therefore, it is difficult to describe.
For example: in some places, the Great Cataclysm is still happening.  It happened hours ago.  The dead rose from their graves.  The oceans turned to shrieking squalls of red blood as the mountains shattered.
Poets, drug addicts and evangelists went insane by the thousands.  Every apocalyptic prophecy turned out to be true simultaneously.  The men and women of those places are still fighting the war.
In other places, the Cataclysm happened 40 or 50 years ago.  Pre-Cataclysmic technology is considered magical, and effectively is.  Man has descended to a primitive state, little better than apes.
In yet other places, the Cataclysm was generations ago. Civilizations are beginning to rise, resembling the old ones in some ways but substantially different in others.
In still other places, the ancient monuments have dwindled long to lonely marble mounds.  The dust that once composed them is carried by wind and wave to place unrecognizable by inhabitants of the forgotten former world.
Pre-Cataclysmic knowledge is largely mythical.  "Sorcery" is simply a method of manipulating the illogical physics which compose this brave new realm, like a programmer hacking a computer.  Bizarre and competitive new species have arisen, seriously challenging the future existence of mankind.

Most of Kos, as written it so far, takes place in one or two of the latter categories.  The town of Pilgrim's Passing occupies a relatively neutral area, as does the majority of the Kos River Basin and the surrounding Wildwoods, Lands of Woe, and Harshwater on the West Side of the River.
However, Thrundunmun exists in such a situation that the Cataclysm is still taking place, and will do so forever in this place.
SUPPLEMENTAL NOTE:
"I have developed a habit where I simply lie in my bunk at night.  I'm not the only one who does, but I go in early.  I lie and I look at the ceiling and I picture it as the sky.  And I look at the stars that you see when you close your eyes, and imagine they are the stars, and I am looking at the sky, which we can no longer see. When I do this, I wonder if, in all of the coincidences that happen in the world, maybe you will be closing your eyes and doing the same thing, and looking at the stars inside your eyelids too, and - I know it makes no sense - somehow it will be like you and I are looking at real stars together again.  And so I go in early, to increase the odds it'll be at the same time.  I do it alot, actually; we don't sleep much any more.  There's not much time between attacks and other things that occupy the days which have no sunrise.
It's temporary, though, like everything.  The pain and fatigue are just temporary sensations.
It'll end, and it will seem like it wasn't that long ago, when we're together again."
Letter carried by Red Courier.  Delivered to a location which was found to have been abandoned.  Letter remanded to Secretary General of the Red Knights, Thrundunmunn.
 Nort B. Unthbe, 33rd Red Light Legion"

One area is in fact actually the rotting carcass of an incarnate being of physical decay, which occupies a space the size of a peninsula (such as Cape Cod or Cornwall).
Other areas are actually infinite.  The Endless Mountains, as far as can be ascertained via both experiment and magic, have no physical endpoint.  Neither does the 7th Desert of the 7 Deserts.
Nor the South-Land Sea, to the South.  The Eastern Mountain Country is poisonous to body and mind and thus considered forever unknown and unknowable

In an area like Pilgrim's Passing, the land called "Kos" is actually the area once occupied by a nation called the Kingdom of Kos, now shattered and irrevocable.  The few poor survivors of the disasters and the predations of savage new inhuman inhabitants must now contend with a vastly different world.  They are a hard people. Items and knowledge from before the Cataclysm are hoarded by the very powerful.  "Magic", (understood as the language and culture of the Pre-Cataclysmic People) is in the infancy of understanding, and largely misapplied (with disastrous consequences).
People receive rare reports from other communities but far-off lands are a mystery.  Yet, new religions have arisen from foreign lands to confront the ancient Kossick deities.  The barrens and even the roads have fallen into serious disrepair and are flocked with brigands, lunatics, witches, hungry beasts and monsters of all description.  They are not untraveled, but Merchants and other adventurers are often considered brave to the point of dangerous lunacy.
And yet, even as the White Mounds of the First Age wither into dust, there is yet no end.  The society of Kos will continue to slip away, forever, always leaving tantalizing pieces but growing farther every year. This is the true Curse of the Great Cataclysm: it made itself permanent, except in the ways that the players change it.  Those are not only permanent, but often permanent to all other players of Kos, and all interpretations of Kos, as long as I am the Dungeon Master.

In Pilgrim's Passing, the standard starting town, most people don't know this.  Most people don't figure stuff like this out until they've raided a few dungeons.




THE UNDERWORLD
The Underworld is literally the place underneath the world.  It is a Hell, populated by montrously otherworldly beings and the severely insane.  The Underworld is easy to find - go to the deepest place you know, and keep going down.  In the Deep Dark, everything drips downwards - all of the evil, all of the liquid, all of the corpses, all of the hunger, all of the treasure, all of the strongest and blackest.  At the bottom is the Grey Sea.  The Grey Sea is where the Unworthy go when they die.  It is a sea
made of their souls.  It can be navigated and traveled, by certain measures.  The places it leads to are terrible, and sometimes the terrible things in these places are able to get the World In Which We Live.  These are called "Bleed-Throughs", "Intrusions", "Demons", "Spirits", "Sandestins", etc.  They have a connection to the world of Death (they are always its vessels, unwitting or otherwise), and spread It everywhere they go.  Some take on human flesh as a vessel; others exist invisible to most eyes, and still others take on bizarre shapes of their own devising and understanding.  Some used to be human.  Some philosophers conjecture that it is these creatures who, in fact, rule the Underworld.  This may be.  The only way to escape the Grey Sea and the Underworld is to die in an interesting way - in which case, Adventurers (who are heroes by virtue of occupation - they always die in an interesting way) ascend to the Hall of Heroes*


*Which takes the form of a piece of notebook paper with the name of the dead character written large in crayon, with the method of their death and perhaps a few details or fond memories.  Occasionally they are adorned with extra distinguishment or salient comments from former comrades.  It is whispered that sometimes, those characters can even be contacted through certain complicated spells.
The piece of paper is kept tacked to the wall of the room where we play D&D

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

HOW ANIMALS (and lots of monsters) FIGHT (in Kos)

In ancient times, the Gods (in their wisdom) divided all animals & monsters into two types:

1. ANIMALS THAT LOVE TO STOMP & ROMP

2. ANIMALS THAT ALWAYS FLEE
the Gods aren't perfect, though, and most creatures do a mixture of both.


TYPE 1: ROMPIN' STOMPERS 
Those That Stomp use the Rampage Circle Style of Combat (some humans use this style too - including berserkers, Blood Bull worshipers, and other desperate / mentally unstable people).
the attack power of a Type 1 animal or monster (or a person using the Rampage Circle Style) is dependent on its size, strength, endurance, and desperation.
- Smaller than a medium dog: -1
- is pretty big and strong, like between a wolf and a tiger - +1
- is really big and strong, like a bear or a buffalo - +3
- is enormous and overwhelmingly strong, like a rhinocerous or a triceratops - +5
- is truly huge and monstrously strong, like a brontosaurus or an elder serpus - +8
- is unusually ferocious (tiger, hyena, displacer beast) - +1
- is unfathomably, unreasonably ferocious (troll-wolf, tyrannosaurus) - +2
- protecting young or a mate - +3
- wounded - +1
- badly wounded - +2
- in its lair - +1
- has powerful natural weapons, such as giant claws or powerful jaws - +1
- has supernatural weapons, such as acid for blood or firey breath - +3

Add up these bonuses.  This is the amount of "attacks" it can make.  Anybody entering its range is subject to these attacks.  The full total of the bonuses can be applied in one attack against one character, or it can be divided against a number of attackers.

OR, it can make a SPECIAL ATTACK.  these depend of the type of animal, but here's some example:

- POUNCE: monster jumps at you.  you get a free attack if you're aware of it and can respond, but if you're flat-footed, caught off guard, etc it's an automatic success.  animal can knock you down.  and at that point, you're on the ground with a tiger/bear/whatever on top of you

- CHARGE: bull through / over enemies, trampling them / knocking them down

- ATTACH TO VICTIM: some monsters tend to attach themselves to people - ticks grab on and suck blood, crocodiles bite + shake, wendigos grab and then strangle, etc.  usually, this involves an initial attack, and then further automatic damage every round until the victim finds a way to get it off OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF

- DIVE-BOMB: some creatures can fly, and this is often how they attack.  the dive-bomb involves swooping in, making an attack, and then swooping away.  the defender get an attack of opportunity, but only 1 attack per Fight mod (minimum 1).  if the dive-bomb is a natural 1, the attacker accidentally crashes into the ground or something. flying creatures don't normally end their turns in melee distance, so all you can do is attempt to shoot it or attack it as it dive bombs



- sting/venomous strike/breath weapon etc ???: the "everything else" category


TYPE II: THOSE THAT FLEE
will come later



ENCOUNTER ROLLS in KOS

An encounter has occurred in the Wilderness!

Encounter Chances by Area:
Road, near a town: 60% / turn
Road, wilderness: 15% / turn
Plains/Kos Basin: 15%
Marsh/Swamp: 20%
Badlands: 15%
Badlands, near Rampage Circle: 90%
East Broken-Back Mountains: 15%
North Broken-Back Mountains: 5%
Area near Ar-Kos: 25%
Northern Kos: 5%
Wildwood: 35%



(1d4, +/- fieldcraft mod of best fieldcrafter)
1: The Player-Characters are surprised.
2-3: Nobody is particularly surprised.
4: The monster is surprised.

(1d4 +/- terrain)
1: They're right in front of you (melee range)
 2, they're close (medium archery range).
3, kinda far (100 - 500 yards).
 4,+ Quite far (dots on the horizon).
Terrain:
Desert / Ocean: +2
Barrens, plains, rivers: +1
Rocks, roads, fields: 0
Towns, forest: -1
Jungle, swamp, city: -2


Unintelligent Beast/Monster/Animal Reactions
1d4.
1. they want to fight, right away (hungry or very threatened)
2. They will fight but will growl, menace, etc (normal animal behavior)
 3. they could give a fuck about you (eating, sleeping, mating, grooming, etc)
4. They run away or attempt to parley (cower, mimic human speech, offer treasure locations, etc)

some more on FEATS

there are 3 classes in Kos:

1. Those who ACT
2. Those who CAST
3. Those who PRAY

none of them are really "classes", though - they just determine some of your starting equipment and abilities.  anybody can learn anything.  more on this later.

anyway, MEN or WOMEN who ACT are partly distinguished from the other classes because they often get to start with some FEATS.  There are many feats to be learnt, but here are some extended notes / features from feats that have been used in game:

the Salmon Leap
Req: 14+ Fight
a leap of incredible distance and/or height.  for every point above 13, the ACTION-PERSON can jump 6' ft. straight up in the air, or 8' laterally.  Once you get above 20 Fight, you no longer track your Fight stat and are instead simply said to have HEROIC Fight.  Once you reach HEROIC Fight, there is no longer any need to track exact distances for the SALMON LEAP and you instead can be assumed to routinely jump over rivers, castle walls, etc.

the Weapon Feat
Req: +1 Reflexes, 13+ Fight
Perform incredible weapon dances / tricks.  Some common tricks:
- juggle several swords or battle-axes at once
- repeatedly stab the spaces between your own fingers or toes with shocking alacrity
- perform excellent flourishes and leap over your own weapons
These tricks can be used to impress people.  If you take the time to perform a Weapon Feat before a battle or duel, you can give +1 morale to your followers or -1 morale to your enemies (if they are intelligent - it has no effect on oozes, skeletons, etc).  Every 2 points in Fight above the minimum provides an extra +1/-1.  This feat can also be used at parties or other social endeavors to increase the odds of success in social endeavors.

the Great Toss - hurl a very heavy object, or a smaller object very far
Req: Fight 10+
You are just so good at throwing!  You can hurl giant rocks or logs a short distance, or throw a small object such as a rock hard enough to seriously hurt somebody (1d4 damage + Fight mod, range = 20 ft. + Fight mod x 10)

the Iron Hands & Feet
Req: Endurance 13+
plunge hands into boiling water without harm, dance on coals, etc.  This feat requires a few moments of mental preparation, but once you are ready, you can stick your hands in boiling water, through the flame of a torch, walk on daggers, etc.  This usually impresses people very much and can grant social bonuses.  Once your Endurance reaches HEROIC, this feat can be used to endure anything, including lack of oxygen, endless cold, standing inside a bonfire, etc.

the Hero's Chant
Req: 10+ POW
This remarkable chant is the death-song of the valiant.  It can only be used in combat.  As long as the chant continues, your followers will never flee.  In addition, this chant marks a hero.  Intelligent enemies may single a hero-chanter out for duels or missile attacks.

the Battle-Howl
Req: None
This howl focuses rage and unleashes predatory instincts.  If used more than once per battle, the Howl loses its efficacy.  When the howl is used, the howler should choose how to use it:
1. AT THE BEGINNING OF A BATTLE: POW mod * +1 damage when charging during the battle.  If multiple allies take up the Howl, charge damage is increased by +1 for every Howler and enemies may have to make a morale check or else withdraw.
2. WHEN THE ENEMY IS WEAK: Enemy must make a morale check immediately; failure indicates weak creatures will flee and stronger ones will suffer -2 modifier to attack.
3. AFTER KILLING AN ENEMY: All allies within 20' regain 1d4 HP due to rampant bloodlust
4: WHEN PURSUING THE ENEMY: All allies within hearing distance gain +10'/round to movement

the Feat of Thunder & Lightning
Req: 18+ Fight or POW
A magnificent thunder-clap stuns enemies as the hero bangs their shield, hurls javelins, tears up the ground and stomps with unfathomable ferocity.

the Squirming Feat
Req: None
The hero can fit through any opening the size of their head or larger.

the Trick of Walking on Eggs
allows you to either
a) walk without leaving any tracks
b) walk without making any sound
A hero with HEROIC Thievery can do both at the same time.


the Feat that Dazzles, like the Sun
Req: 14+ Pow, Panoply of War or better armor in battle-ready condition
by revealing his highly-polished armor and heraldry in their full resplendence, the hero catches the light and exudes brilliant beams which stab the eyes of enemies.  Once it has been used on an enemy, it will never affect them again.

Endure Labor
Req: Endurance 10+
This is a very common feat amongst common-folk.  It allows the character to work from sun-up til sun-down without becoming bored or overly tired.  "Work" only includes basic manual labor; skilled crafts-work and combat do not count.

Sober Up / Sober up Another
Req: Endurance 11+
This is a very popular feat amongst old soldiers.  It can be used at any time to more-or-less banish the deleterious effects of alcohol, at least for a little while.  The hero will still be drunk, but will be able to act sober for the purposes of speaking normally, marching, performing manual labor, etc.  When used on another, it entails using ancient tricks of warrior-folk (such as splashing the victim with cold water, slapping them around the face and body, feeding them special concoctions of herbs, etc) in order to quickly sober them up enough to walk home or avoid arrest by zealous local authorities.

Always Awake
Req: Endurance 13+
Another popular feat amongst veteran warriors.  When this feat is learnt, the hero becomes an extremely light sleeper.  They gain the normal effects of rest, but count as being awake at all times for the purposes of surprise.


these feats can be combined - for example, a warrior with the Iron Hands and the Salmon Leap could run across the tips of spears.  A warrior with the Wolves' Lope and the Always Awake feat can run while sleeping.
PEOPLE of ACTION gain 1 free feat at character creation, and some STARTING EPITHETS grant others.  All others must be learned in the course of the game.

ramble

Patrick Stuart got me thinking about why i do what i do on this blog, and i wanted to write about it.

i am a firefighter by vocation and do not play Dungeons & Dragons (or the various other iterations of fantasy roleplaying game that have since appeared or been unearthed) very much any more.  Nonetheless, I find these ideas crowding my head and i feel compelled to put them in words sometimes.

That is why the tone is frequently inconsistent, the writing is sloppy and poorly edited, things often aren't cited (especially art, which is usually from an ancient hard-drive which contains years worth of collected digital art and has been transferred and lost several times)

[sorry my little brother came in and started doing a "prayer routine" he claims to have learned "far to the east"


and i lost my place]

anyway, i try to live my life in such a way that all of my actions and sentences can be ended with the phrase ",....MOTHERFUCKER!"
as in
1d4
1. "I QUIT, MOTHERFUCKER"
2. "So then I went out and got some god damn ice cream, motherfucker"
3. "I'll drink as much as I want, MOTHERFUCKER"
4. "I'm swearing so much because I just got a new tattoo, motherfucker"

so, while this vocabulary of my life doesn't involve sentences like "SO THEN I EDITED A BLOG POST FOR AN HOUR....... MOTHERFUCKER???", it does involve sentences like "So then I just threw some trash about elves on the internet and didn't edit it, motherfucker."  so, uh, thanks for reading.......

Monday, September 30, 2013

COMMON ANIMALS of KOS pt. 1: RIVERS/LAKES

Once, there were ordinary animals in Kos.  Dogs, hawks, and fish are some examples.  These types of animals, though rare today*, formed the "base creatures" which compose many of the animals which exist in Post-Cataclysmic Kos.
In game terms, this is for those times when you need to say "Dungo the Luckless rolled a 1 on his Fieldcraft check and succeeded only in bringing in [vermin] for dinner..." or "Your last biscuit is suddenly snatched by a..."

first, select an interesting-sounding creature or roll d12 for one
then, in case you need to know,  roll 1d4 to discover what these creatures actually are and what they do

d12

1. Great Swan
       1. Enormous swans, always black, large enough to pull boats, totally docile
       2. very large and territorial but otherwise normal swans
       3. not really so "great" after all; this appellation is a fancy of inebriated local river-men
       4. large swans, always come in matched pairs of black & white, mate for life.  Considered good omen             for love

2.Ebon & Ivory Eel
       1. they're just black and white eels.
       2.-4. come in both colors, but only appear together over the location of sunken treasure

3. Peckel
       1.-4. this is what all uninteresting fish are called

4. Drowned Lady
       1. an actual dead ghost of a drowned lady who tries to tempt lonely men to a watery tomb.  Usually               effective only on the deeply inebriated, badly wounded or suicidally depressed
       2. a fish which is created when an unloved woman dies, they are considered exceptionally tasty by               certain jaded epicureans and valuable in several alchemical processes.  Hard to catch, though, because        you have to sing a true love song to get them into a net.
       3. A fish with pliant flukes on the sides of the face that resemble the hair of a woman.
       4. A frog that has beautiful hair and appears to be flush-cheeked and red-lipped; sings loudly at night

5. Soil-Fish
       1. a spiny fish which dwells under the sand and is very uncomfortable to step on.
       2. a bottom-sucker or cat-fish
       3. slang term for any fish considered unfit for human consumption
       4. a minor magical creature which draws nourishment from dirt and leaves everything sparklingly white;        large fleets are often spotted cleaning the teeth of sea-monsters

6. Savage Pike
       1. descendants of former battle-pike of the Aquatic Southland Invasion.  Bred to chew holes in the        bottom of boats and attack anything flailing around in the water.  Otherwise eat only small peckels.
       2. Crocodile-sized monsters, highly territorial but easy to avoid on land
       3.-4. the same as a normal pike but incredibly vicious, using a strong thrashing motion to rend prey and        attacking anything that moves; easily spotted by the constant thrashing a school of them makes at all times        as they constantly fight for dominance

7. Knight-Fish
Knight-Fish are covered in armor, and
       1. Totally subservient to a golden Emperor-Fish, and follow him in silver swarms.  Have lance-like horns attached to their foreheads.
       2. carnivorous fish which attack other fish by ramming them
       3. beautiful fish admired for shimmering scales
       4. small fish that aggressively try to defend small "fortified" areas

8. Emperor-Fish
       1. local name for a dunkleostus spotted in the river
       2. Large, yellow pufferfish, so named for the pompous look it presents when it puffs up
       3. Fish with a large fin strung with iridescent semi-precious accumulations of sand
       4. mistranslated South Land name for "whale" or "small volcanic island", re-imagined as a fanciful beast

9. Glittering Crab
       1. vicious but beautiful little predators with crystalline shells.  Painful to step on, and sharp pincers
       2. bio-luminescent flashes allow them to find one another in the dark. Considered appealing by song-writers and other sentimentalists in certain parts of Kos
       3. Highly organized expansionists.  Always attack in squares, with one crab facing out each direction.  Make sorties onto to land and kill small lizards and insects.  Only come out at night, where the moon reflects on their shells
       4. a type of tiny crab that collects shiny objects.  usually has a small hoard of minor treasures

10. Snake-Fish
       1. just a common name for any aquatic snake or eel
       2. the Northern Snakehead fish we have now, except much worse.  They are plotting to invade and settle, and most humans are not yet aware.
       3. actually the infant form of the Serpus, who must travel to water to lay her eggs
       4. a brightly-striped fish with a venomous bite

11. Nautili
       1. are quite numerous in the River Kos and are said to be sacred to God Kos.  Some believe they are the souls of river-worshippers.
       2. have survived the Cataclysm remarkably well. Sometimes become so numerous during the spring melts that men claim they could cross the River Kos without wetting their boots
       3. are considered a pleasant species, tasty and attractive in their jetting swarms.  a staple of life for many people, their spiral shell is said to represent infinity and rebirth
       4. Held as the emblematic animal of Kos, frequently featured on heraldry

12. the Submerged Crawler
       1. Kossick translation: "horseshoe crab"
       2. Kossick translation: "Trilobite"
       3. Kossick translation: "crawfish"
       4. a type of minor magical creature which burrows under the sand and eats ancient detritus; can only be seen by the lump it makes as it travels near the surface.  Produces an irritating rash if stepped on.


OLD FISHERMAN'S LYRIC
Nautili, Nautili, you are a friend of mine;
Your whole life is in a spiral, but mine seems stuck on a line


*except dogs in the vast countryside of Barbarian Krax.  don't worry, they're actually doing fine

Thursday, September 12, 2013

the CLASSES of KOS

in KOS, there are only 3 classes:


THE MYSTIC
Cannot gain Feats.
Choose 1 of 3:
1. Starting favor of 100 with a God of your choice.  Roll on the Priest table.  If you wish, you may begin         as an initiate of a church/cult of your choice
2. Starting favor of 50 with a God of your choice, and you know 1 Spell and 2 Incantations.  Roll on the Priest table.  If you wish, you may begin as an acolyte of a church/cult of your choice.
2. Starting favor of 25 with a God of your choice, and you know 2 spells and 3 Incantations.  Roll on the standard chart of Starting Epithets.

Mystics start with no gold, and no items except simple garb and a walking-stuff or cudgel.  The exception are Initiates of a Cult/Church, who begin play with the standard vestments of that faith


THE PERSON of ACTION
Gains +1 to all attacks and damage, and +1 to AC.  Starts with one Feat from the list found at my last post.
Roll on the chart of Starting Epithets.

Begins play with 100 Moons or possessions equivalent to that amount.



THE PERSON of LEARNING
A PERSON of LEARNING has a chance of knowing some pertinent facts about any situation.  the chance of success depends upon the esotericism of the fact.
EXAMPLES
"Io is a stern God who seeks to proselytize the land of Kos." - automatic success
"Those creatures are known as Chop-Hawks - they are very aggressive but will not attack outside their territory." - 5 in 6 chance of success
"Amble Edge is ruled by the Axe-Witch who dwells in a ruined oak.  Her guardsmen are a troop of 7 elite swordsman led by a veteran named Graysword." - 4 in 6 chance of success
"This scroll is written in the ancient language of the Stone-Folk".  - 3 in 6 chance of success
"This scroll written in Stone-Folk and details the legend of Arr the Iron, a silent priest who fought a wolf-like creature in a swamp.  It details the location of his tomb." - 2 in 6 chance of success
"Here, let me point out the exact location of the Hidden Tomb of Krynn the Hero on your map."  1 in 6 chance of success
If the information concerns the area in which you grew up/studied, you gain a bonus of +! or more

Persons of Learning begin play with 3 random spells and 3 random incantations, in addition to any bonus spells from Magic score.
Do not roll on the Standard List of Starting Epithets; instead, your nickname will simply indicate where you are from.  E.g, "Bort of Water-Fall Library", "Bort of Downflow", etc

Persons of Learning begin play with 2d10 Moons or possessions equivalent to that amount, along with simple clothing, a simple weapon of choice, and some writing materials in a haversack or pouch.
They also know 2 Facts of the player's choice.  These can be anything - "How do I become immortal?"  "What is the exact location of the greatest treasure of Kos?" "What really caused the Great Cataclysm?"  "How can I defeat Sheriff Dronlan 3-Swords?"

Barbarian-folk cannot be Persons of Learning.




THE PRIEST TABLE
determine your god, then roll randomly


KOS
1. Hermitic Wanderer - sworn to own nothing.  protectors and philosophers.  Must immediately give away all possessions as soon as they are aquired.  In return, respected by Folk everywhere.  Wanderers may utter blessings or curses.  Able to restore fallen Pukel Poles and control the Pukel Men.  Goal: Seek the lost secrets of the God Kos, whom you know you know yet lives, in your heart
2. Drowned One - a priest who has completed the Ritual of True Drowning.  Death now holds no fear.  Do not need to eat, drink or breathe.  Unnerving gaze induces obedience in the tremulous.  Respected & feared by Common Folk.  Animals tremble at your passing and the creatures of the water - even the mighty Kraken - obey your beck and call.  The rivers foam and burst their banks with your wrath. Goal: Restore the lost faith of Kos, cast out the evil of the foreign gods
3. Fig-Drinkler - Priest who specializes in horticulture and fermentation of Figs, the sacred fruit of Kos.  Everyone loves a Fig-Drinkler, for their merriment and fine times wherever they go.  Goal: None in particular
4. Spring-Step - where you go, things grow.  BeLoved as a fertility monk, often indulgent in material pleasures.  Known to be excellent travelers. Goal: Bring growth back to Kos - untangle the wildness of the woods, heal the cancerous and corrupted lands, and spread sacred wheat to every corner of the continent
5. Battle Chaplain - often found in attendance with the Red Knights of Kos.  Specialists at healing and battle-magic.  +1 to attack and +3 to Healing.  Roll on the MAN of ACTION starting FEATS.  Goal: Stand against the dark things of the world; heal those who fall in the line of duty that they may continue to fight the good fight (eternally, if necessary) .
6. Mender - can mend anything that is broken.  Goal: Unite the shattered peoples of Kos, create peace, and install a rightful King on the throne to bring order to the realm.  Always help the broken-hearted.

IO
Flagellant - specialists in whips and flails (+1).  Inured to pain and bleeding damage.  Can see and smell sins and evil creatures.  Goal: Purge the world of evil by excising it like a cancer
Watcher - protected by a sacred closed helmet bearing a great eye, they see deceptions while wearing it.  specialist in hammers and spears.  Goal: Discover the inequities of the world
Templar of the Crusading Flame - the righteous fist of the Church, able to smite Bleed-Throughs and evil-doers.  Goal: Bring the cleansing flame to every dark corner of this evil world
Excorcist - specialist trained in removing and fighting ghosts and parasitic Bleed-Throughs.  Can make knowledge checks as a PERSON of LEARNING in regards to matters of posession, Bleed-Throughs, etc
Cult Prostitute
Word-Bearer

ISSUS
Explorer
Many-Tongue
Merry Muleskinner
Golden Boy/Girl
Skald
Go-Between


IRON LORD
Sword
Cunning
Alchemy
Wizardry
Dominion
Secrecy

BLOOD-BULL
Stomphouse
Everything-Smasher
Party-Maker
Berserker
Ghoul-Finder
(see: Brute from SCRAP PRINCESS)


MINOR GODS
minor gods include any god from Petty Gods, Barbarian Gods, living demi-gods, any god the player makes up, or a number of sub-cults that are indigenous to Kos
AGNI, FIRE-GOD, RING-GIVER -
AGNI-MAGNI, SUN LORD, HORSE-THANE -
THIRD-EYE-BLUE -
RED LUNAR GODDESS
WAHU, the PEACEFUL BUTCHER
the PALE KING
ANCALAGON, the LIVING LORD of POISON
MAGLUBIYET, the INSANE GOBLIN GOD-KING of the ASH LANDS-by-the-TWISTED RIVER
VESKERILE the USELESS, FACELESS GOD of WRETCHES


YOU HAVE SPENT TIME AMONGST THE WRETCHES

THIS CHART SHALL BE ROLLED WHENEVER A PLAYER-CHARACTER'S TIME IS SPENT AMONGST A LESSER STRATA OF SOCIETY (see *1  and *2 and *5)

ROLL 1d20 (see 3* and *4)
1. You have slowly and methodically acquired a life-long immunity to bloodborne pathogens
2. You got fleas, but not as bad as everybody else (-1 to all rolls and AC until 2 weeks are spent in better company)
3-10. You have got fleas and lice.  The itching is unbearable, and will remain so until you seek proper medical and spiritual treatment (-2 to same)
11-12. You got fleas, lice, ticks; rats have crawled on you and worms have squirmed into you.  constant scratching has turned bite areas and rashes into oozing sores  -2 to all rolls and lose 1 level (until nursed properly and patiently)
13-15. Parasites are winning the war against your body.  -1d4 to all attributes per week (starting immediately) until healing from a soothe-wound
7-18. Emerged from the situation unscathed, but will forever carry a faint stench of sewage.  -2 Charisma
19. Rats and other vermin bit you amidst filth, and you have contracted a veneral disease
20. Rats and other vermin bit you, and you have the plague










*1. That is to say, a lower strata of society than that which they currently enjoy
*2. Reduce roll by -1 for every level of Rogue/Thief/Specialist (See *4), or every quantifiable level of Foulness in a Fighter, or every positive Constitution modifier
*3. aescetic PRIESTS & MYSTICS need not roll; they have all of these symptoms already
*4. MAGSMEN, THIEVES and MASTER THIEVES need not roll for similar reasons
*5. Reduce roll by -1 if player-character spends the whole time waving a hankie around and inhaling special salts and smokes, while complaining

Monday, April 1, 2013

ON THE ROADS - WANDERERS in KOS


ON THE ROADS - (some) WANDERERS in KOS
When traveling the roads, PCs will encounter many other people traveling from place to place.  The Incantation for Safe Travel only prevents
non-sapient monsters and Bleed-Throughs from treading upon the road; other humans and beastmen are eager to relieve travelers of their valuables.

Make a check every 2 turns
Near a city: 85% of 1 encounter, 40% chance of 2 simultaneously
Near a town: 50%
Near a village: 25%
Near a bridge: 25%
Everywhere else: 5%

Most of the time, there will be a visible dustcloud to indicate the presence of another party at 1/4 miles.  however, if the encounter roll was double-digits (as in, 77, 88, etc)
then a curve in the road or a hill pass blocks the other party from view until the last second, at which point you will be in Close Encounter range.  Characters with survival training
or extraordinary senses may be able to avert surprise; this is left to the DM's imagination of circumstance

i

1. HOSTILE
2. CARAVAN
3. ADVENTURERS
4. PILGRIMS

1. HOSTILE ENCOUNTER
1. slavers
2. raiders
3. brigands
4. louts
5. local villain
6. "toll keepers"
7. con men
8. monsterfolk raid
9. Dust Devils
10. Wayward Knight

2. CARAVAN
 1. 1d20 freemen to market, +1d10 tradesmen, 50% chance of 1d6 youths armed with simple weapons, 25% chance of local authority figure (elder, warrior, etc).
 2. 1d20 farms from market, same as above but with smaller, more valuable possessions (+1d20 gold)
 3. moving away - 1d3-1 freeman and his family carting all their posessions on an pack lizard. eager to know road ahead, know little of area
 4. messenger - carrying an important message of some kind.  Heavily armed, well-paid and with an ill-tempered and very fast riding-bird
 5. 1d4 x 1d4 haunted-looking people.  they have seen ghastly things and wander without purpose
 6. LOCAL FIGURE & RETINUE
 7. surly locals - pretend to be traders/huntsmen, unwilling to trade, will give deliberately false and dangerous advice
 8. mishap - blocking the road and causing annoyance is an overturned cart, vicious donkey, etc.  delay of 1d4 hours (checking for encounters meanwhile)
 9. Slaves for sale
 10. Jon Mith
 11. "Rooster"
 12. rich folks traveling with large retinue
 13. Soldiers - templars, knights, light infantry, cavalry, heavy infantry, mixed units, mercenary band, militia, free companies
 14. evil caravan in disguise - yellow morths wait in the carts among other horrors
 15. giant mammalian creature carries a small town on its back
 16. fortune tellers! forecasts!  lucky charms!

3. Adventurers
 1. 1d2 MERCENARIES.  Currently looking for work (50%) or already on a mission (50%).  friendly with any other members of
 the Mercenary Brotherhood.  In general, their advice can be trusted.  Mercenaries often travel together for mutual protection.
 2. 1d3 Skalds, willing to play for money or teach  new song for 100 Lunars
 3. traveling smith
 4. Philosopher a) looking to hire somebody to get something, b) visiting a special and dangerous place, c) visiting a local friend, d) seeking muscle to take somewhere dangerous for little reason
 5. peddler / tinker
 6. woodsmen
 7. prospector(s)
 8. adventuring gang
 9. Enigmat


f the encounter roll is 00, you have encountered one of the Six Slain Thanes or the Pale King himself.  Pray to your Gods for clemency

Friday, March 29, 2013

some FEATS


Some FIGHTER FEATS
Each feat must be learnt from a person who already knows it.  The cost of training depends on the trainer but is generally 100-200 for a simple feat,
and as much as 20 years of service for an awe-inspiring one.  Sometimes feats can also be learnt from ancient texts or strange magic visions, etc
Only PERSONS of ACTION (not PERSONS of LEARNING or PERSONS of the GODS) can learn these feats.
You can know any amount of feats, as long as you meet the requirements.  


the Salmon Leap - Req: Fight 13 a leap of incredible distance and/or height

the Weapon Feat - Req: Fight 12 perform incredible weapon dances / tricks / juggles.  amuse onlookers,

the Great Toss - Req: Fight 12 hurl a very heavy object, or a smaller object very far

the Iron Hands & Feet - Req: 14 End plunge hands into boiling water without harm, dance on coals, etc

the Incredible Juggling - juggle whatever

the Hero's Chant - Req: Pow 13.  inspire allies, banish all fear of death, dismay weak foes

the Battle-Howl - terrible scream frightens enemies, effectiveness based on Fight of character

the Perfect Shot - Req: Agl 18+, Fight 18+, this is the goal of all Northmen.  the Perfect Shot is the one shot which always succeeds and always pierces, no matter the distance.

the Feat of Thunder & Lightning - Req: Fight 15+, Pow 15+.  clashing of arms cracks the sky and terrifies everyone, causes flying creatures to fall and blinds the weak

the Squirming Feat - Fit through anything the size of your head!

the Trick of Walking on Eggs - Req: Thievery 13

the Feat that Dazzles, like the Sun - Req: Pow 17.  Shock enemies by revealing your total majesty.  inspire awe in your followers such that they bow at your feet

Endure Labor - you can just work endlessly.  when the sun beats down and when the whips are cracking you can just fucking take it.  no problem.

Sober Up / Sober up Another - the seemingly magical trick of appearing sober when confronted with danger or authority figures.  Can also be applied to others: symptoms of substance abuse are reduced by -1 every turn spent slapping and pouring water on the target

Always Awake - also known as "Soldier's Eye" or "One-Eye Trick".  Use normal rules for surprise at all times, even while sleeping or otherwise engaged

Splendid Amongst the Glorious - Req: Pow 18+.  Men gladly follow you into the maw of death.

The Wolves' Lope - Req: End 14, must be lightly encumbered.  Loping run conserves energy while doubling normal overland travel speed

Torch Trick - hold a torch and a shield at the same time, keep torches from going out during battle

Fire Trick - start a fire anywhere!

Graceful Slayer - when fighting, swap Agility and Fight any time you want

Corpse-Reaver - Fight 14+.  Enemies are terrified by your horrifying bloodlust / martial accomplishment.  they must test for morale every time you kill someone

The Stomping Trick - Favorite trick of Blood Bull God!  wild stomps and leaps encourage friends, amuse onlookers, harm foes based on Fight of character.  a true devotee can stomp through shield-walls and crack the earth with his mighty stomps

these feats can be combined - for example, a warrior with the Iron Hands and the Salmon Leap could run across the tips of spears


this list does not include most of the Archery feats except for the Perfect Shot (the most well-known one)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

MONSTER-FOLK, MONSTERS, ANIMALS, etc


MONSTER-FOLK
Monster-Folk is an all-inclusive term for sapient human-like creatures who have one or several extremely abnormal attributes [relative to the human standard]
This classification includes humanoids who are part animal (centaurs, minotaurs, wolf-heads, dog-people), humanoids who display characteristics of multiple monsters
or animals (myreauthogue, mauristatia, mongrelmen), humanoids that look like humans but with abnormal features (snitch-men, filchers, ogres) or creatures which are sapient
but clearly unrelated to humans in any other regard (zutt, mercanes).  Many of these folk have always existed, but since the Great Cataclysm their numbers and varieties
have exploded.  Many are hostile to humans, but it should be remembered that the majority are not "evil".  Nonetheless, many humans have a policy of "kill on sight".  In most human societies, they are received as second-class citizens or worse.

MONSTER
Monster is an all-inclusive term for unintelligent creatures who display composites of animals attributes (frog-dogs, cave-lice, serpi), have magical abilities (cave-anglers, gem-spiders), or otherwise
show drastic deviation from pre-Cataclysmic animal norms (chop-hawks, lowders, kraw, Pelgrane).  They are generally hungry, predatory and unafraid of humans.
Monsters have always existed, but never in such great numbers or so many differing forms as they do now.

ANIMAL
Animals are unintelligent creatures who existed before the Great Cataclysm and continue to do so in a largely unchanged state.  Some animals such as Kossic Hounds
and Carnivorous Goats could debatably be classified as monsters, but since they are largely domesticated, people consider them animals.
The primary difference between a "Monster" and an "Animal" is that an animal responds according to basic needs and stimuli - hunger, fear, discomfort, desire to mate, etc
Monsters, on the other hand, behave according to laws which are largely foreign to humans and "normal" animals.  they may assume a hostile attitude without any logical provocation, behave in a manner which seems irrational, or seemingly defy presumed laws of physics and physiology.  they are often belligerent

BEAST
Beasts act like animals but are unusually large or otherwise dangerous to humans

BLEED-THROUGHs (also known as Ghosts, Demons, Dimensional Flotsam, Undead) are inhabitants or elements of the Other World (sometimes called Under-world, Otherworld, Spirit World, Afterlife, or Anti-Space) which
manifest themselves in the material world.  These manifestations take innumerable forms.  All are inimical to life and to the substance of existence in general.  They are generally uncontrollable and
unfathomable.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

INCANTATIONS



INCANTATIONS require no special stats and can be cast while wearing armor.  anybody can learn them and there's no limit on how many you can know.
They take a variable amount of time to cast but usually are too slow to use in combat.
The only restriction is, you have to find somebody to teach you them.  Usually, it costs about 100 Moons to learn an incantation.  rarer/more powerful ones cost more (as much as 10,000 Moons)

THE ESSENTIALS - you will find it extremely difficult / impossible to survive without these

INCANTATION for a SAFE REST - very common, requires only a shelter.  must be cast before nightfall
INCANTATION for SAFE TRAVEL - very common.  prevents assault by monsters when on a road.  ensure the spell's protection by offering at roadside shrines
(you'll see them - stone plinths covered in coins of all age and description).  stealing from roadside shrines will forever banish this protection

THE OTHERS

INCANTATION to SAFEGUARD THE HEARTH - protects a newly-built house.  expensive but common
INCANTATION of PEACEFUL REPOSE - passing-rare.  protects corpses
INCANTATION of TRADE - known only to servants of the Laughing God.  ensures a trade area is safe and allows comprehension of languages within that area.  Duration depends on favor with the Laughing God
INCANTATION of COMPREHEND LANGUAGES - rare
INCANTATION to START A FIRE - passing-common.  starts small fires, torches, campfires, etc
INCANTATION of MENDING
INCANTATION of DRYING
INCANTATION of WARMTH
INCANTATION to WARD OFF INSECTS
INCANTATION to CATCH A FISH
INCANTATION to AID in HUNTING ANIMALS
INCANTATION of QUICK COUNTING - very useful when you find a hoard of treasure
INCANTATION of ACCURATE MAPPING - almost essential for subterranean explorers
INCANTATION of the THUNDEROUS VOICE
INCANTATION to CREATE A SPECIAL BOND
INCANTATION to FIND A THIEF
INCANTATION to MAKE A FIGHTING STICK - a magic fighting stick might not be the ideal weapon but sometimes you don't have options
INCANTATION to BANISH A GHOST - expensive
INCANTATION to MAKE FOOD - expensive but worth it
INCANTATION to JUMP SAFELY
INCANTATION to FIND A CHEATER

SONGS of KOS


SONGS
these songs must be learnt individually.  when a song is performed, it will produce one or more effects on the audience.  effects are listed below.  a talented musician will produce strong effects; a poor musician may produce opposite effects

the uplifting tune (common, simple) - generally hummed or whistled loudly by multiple people.  bolsters morale.  calms stress.  makes work pass easily.  defuses angry situations.  makes people willing to work together.  makes people willing to die for greater cause.

the remembering tune (uncommon, moderate difficulty)- sung quietly, sometimes accompanied by percussion.  brings back memories of the past.  these memories may be wistful or bitter.

Remember Krynn! (uncommon, difficult) - generally chanted loudly, often to musical accompaniment.  fosters gung-ho attitude.  reduces fear.  inspires acts of heroism.  popular with kings during feasts etc

lullaby (common, simple) - induces tranquil, healing sleep

Where is That Page? (rare, simple) - helps find lost pages in a book or manuscripts in a library.  brings unbidden memories to mind and aids in lateral thinking.  Helps find a lost object or search a location when hummed quietly.  allows musician to automatically remember details learnt earlier in the campaign but which they may have forgotten

sing away the fear (uncommon, moderate difficulty) - the more people singing, the less any of them feel fear

harmony song (uncommon, difficult) - multi-part harmony grows stronger with all who sing it; coordinates efforts and aids in mental intuition between people

the 77 Work Songs of the Red Boatmen (uncommon, moderate difficulty) - sung and chanted loudly.  makes work productive.  helps endure tedium

the Mindless Marching Tune of the Legions (uncommon, simple) - makes the miles pass without effort

the Song for Fathers (common, moderate difficulty)- simple percussive rhythm.  each person has their own song about their father.  if you had a weak father or a poor relationship, this song will make you feel worse.  if you had a strong father and a good relationship, it will inspire you to follow in his footsteps.  people who knew one another's fathers can aid in constructing a single melodic harmony.  very effective in strong communities

the Step of the Sun (common, difficult) - very fast and difficult to sing; requires musical accompaniment for best effect.  induces frenzied excitement, lust, and great zest for life.  popular among common folk

the Challenge Song (uncommon, moderate difficult) - requires vigorous stomping or percussive backing.  insults an enemy.  creates anger in them.  excites a crowd.  bolsters oneself or a friend who is duelling.  if you sing this song and lose the challenge, you will look doubly foolish.

the Sad Song; the One which is only a Reflection (rare, requires incomparable skill) - generally performed solo, before an attentive audience.  this song inculcates incomparable melancholy in a willing listener.  it hearkens them to all bereavements and those things which are irreconcilable with daily life.  perhaps the greatest song of the hideous age of Ruined Kos.  anybody with the slightest melancholy of soul will be profoundly moved

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

MERCENARIES of KOS


I want some Mercenaries!
1. Youths
2. Footlings
3. Weapon-Bearers
4. Minion (useful)
5. Minion (useless)
6. Mercenary

Youths have average stats in every regard and carry only a sack and a cudgel or club.  some might also have slings.  They have little
practical advice, no experience, but are eager to prove themselves and usually follow orders.

Footlings are desperate farmers, outlaws, bored hunters, etc.  They usually possess traveling garb and some form of common weapon -
a pitchfork, a self-bow, a heavy club, dagger, etc.  They are otherwise no better than Youths, and have less morale

Weapon-Bearers are militia-men, former soldiers, warriors-in-training, etc.  They gain +1 attack and +1 init.  They are equipped
with one or two war-weapons such as a spear and shield, a sword, a war-bow, etc.  They may have battle-harness or thick garb.
They have some experience of combat, and may have useful tactical advice.  Footlings and Youths
will listen to them.

Minions are somewhere between commoners and mercenaries.
from http://roll1d12.blogspot.com/
Surprisingly Helpful Hirelings
d12
1. Darx the fletcher: constantly making new & improved arrows out of found materials
2. Munn the torchbearer/unemployed cartographer
3. Man-at-arms Zim: trained under famous chef (killed by Zim in an unfortunate incident), capable of making rations into a memorable dining experience
4. Wahu the wary: detects traps/secret doors with latent psychic powers
5. Keen-eyed Kruun: more likely than average to spot objects of value
6. Brill the bat-whisperer
7. Switt the suddenly self-sacrificing: will fling self between master and incoming dangers
8. Moogumbo the spear carrier: generous with hand-crafted juju bags of protection
9. Frix the fleet-footed: an exceptionally fast sprinter
10. Corgo the cognizant: able to remember important detail forgotten by adventurers
11. Cosmopolitan Cruin: knows one language unknown to adventurers
12. Man-at-arms Flang: never leaves home w/out at least three doses of his mother's mystical tonic of healing

Useless Hirelings
d12
1. Panic Attack Jack: tunic, sword, 2 in 6 chance of freak out in combat
2. Huroo the mentally deficient yet totally bold and confident torchbearer: loincloth, torches
3. Thuy the Crafty: threadbare toga, boasts of melee skills but requires armament(s), runs off immediately with whatever he is given
4. Typhoid Tujam: hospital gown, dagger, 1 in 6 chance of dying per turn
5. Cleem of the Pukarat people: two-handed sword, breechclout, a barbarian so ferociously savage and given to violence as to be a constant liability
6. Jurusan the Tremulous: leather cuirass, short sword, 3 in 6 chance of dropping his weapon each round in combat
7. Yukant the treasure-hauler: farm hand outfit, pitch fork, mule, provides continuous stream of arguments against everything he's asked to do and every possible course of action
8. Lin Fin the torchbearer/extremely patient doppelganger: wide-brimmed hat, tunic, poisoned dagger
9. Bad Shot Yot: Leather armor, short bow, full quiver, 2 in 6 chance of targeting party member in combat
10. Famished Frajor: sword, shield, leather, eats rations immediately, persistently asks everyone for theirs, wails piteously if denied
11. Brang the despondent barbarian: fur shorts, battle axe, clan wiped out before his eyes as a child, now seeks suicide-by-dungeon at the earliest opportunity
12. Chulanthes the turncoat guide: in cahoots with nearby dungeon personality to deliver party into ambush


Mercenaries are full-fledged brothers of the Mercenary guild, with unique armaments and combat abilities.  Many of them operate in companies or
war-bands, with their own rules and methods.  Each Mercenary has his own prices, agendas, and specialties.  see forthcoming post about Mercenaries

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

a few notes on the GOD KOS


KOS NOTES

Kos is the god of Stoicism.  He teaches people to work to change the world around them a little at a time.  He is a River God.
In good years, he will flood at the right time and the Red Wheat will grow healthily for the year to come.
In poor years, he will flood too early or too late, or spread too thinly causing drought, or spread too thick and cause destruction.
He is said to have strange Elfin maidens who control the floodgate of the Great River Kos which leads to the Conduit of the Great Glacier.
The King of Kos was once the incarnate representative of Kos on Earth.  Now, the King is dead (or missing).
Nobody knows if Kos is dead or not.  He may or may not have caused the Great Cataclysm.


RITUALS
the symbolic drowning
the true drowning
the serpent's bond
the salmon's pilgrimage
the wolf does not speak
the dog owns nothing
the praise of the nautili
the praise of the great pike
cenobitism
the stoic's burden
the gauntlet is thrown
the blood and the water
the death of the faun

PRIESTLY ORDERS

Hermitic Wanderers
Drowned Ones
Fig-Drinkers
Spring-Steps
Battle Chaplains
Menders



The Ancient Keepr of the Temple of Ghosts at the City of Par-Kos-Now-Ruined possesses the Ghost Sword.  The Ghost Sword will make a man mighty, if it is his destiny.

There are 4 other ACCOUTREMENTS of KOS.  Legends say whoever collects all 5 will re-unite the Shattered Land of Kos and become the new King.
THE MAGIC THRONE, upon which only the king can sit, and which does other cool stuff too.  Said to be located at the TOWER at PAR-OSS, once the King's favorite vacation spot
THE MAGIC MIRROR, which always reflects what is true.  said to be possessed by the Wolf-Lord of Ar-Arak
THE MAGIC JEWEL, which heals any wound.  Location unknown.  The Royal Dragon might know more, or perhaps Agni, Ring-Giver and Fire-God, who lives in south-eastern Kos, or perhaps the Trader Jon Mith, who always travels and knows many esoteric legends
THE MAGIC MASK, which always foils a traitor.  said to be possessed by one of the Drunken Lords of Loe

Barbarian Gods (western)


BARBARIAN GODS (western)




WAHU, Who Administers the Sacred Cut
Taught mankind the Peaceful Cut, which allows animals to die without pain and sends them to the good afterlife.
Teaches men to survive and fulfill the circle of life or whatever.  gives men moral guidance in life.  renders the meat of the animal.
guides animals and men into death.  Promises that Heroes shall never die.  Teaches men warfare.  priests are spiritual leaders / social psychiatrists and preside over many important functions of hunter-gatherer society
Epithets: Gentle One, Found-Child, Peaceful Slayer, Butcher-God


BONE-SMITH GOD, the Sculptor of Corpses
Processes the dead animal to make tools.  Melts hooves & bones for glue.  Uses feathers for fletching.  Uses bones as needles or arrowheads.
Tans and sews hides.  Makes bowstrings from guts.  Makes thread from hair.  Renders dead trees into timber and charcoal.  Renders the Earth's bones
into knives and other tools.  mastered fire and invented art, weapons and traps.
Works with Wahu to ensure nothing goes to waste.  Guides dead animals to the afterlife.  priests are craftsmen; better craftmanship = more favor, but they are viewed as creepy corpse-handlers by some.  Sometimes said to be an aspect of the
Iron Lord
Epithets: Great Renderer, Skinner-God, Old Bones, Rattler


DOG-FRIEND, Who Guards the Herd
Simple god who is friend to gentle animals.  Protects the herd and also disciplines them.  He & Wahu are allies.
Guards the spirits of animals on their way to and from the afterlife.  Chases Sun-Elk across the sky and eats her at night.
Then he regrets it and howls at the moon til she is re-incarnated the next morning.
Priests are intelligent dogs or dog-trainers or people who love dogs.  this cult is mostly popular amongst the Dog Folk Tribe and is considered subsidiary by all other Animal Nomad Folk
Epithets: Brother-Dog


MOTHER DARKNESS
Friends: None. Primordial goddess.  Lives in the dark places of the Earth and between the stars.  Ally of creatures which prefer
darkness.  Teaches witchcraft, shape-changing, how to stay hidden and contact spirits.  Some say all will return to her one day


GRANDFATHER MORTALITY, Who Judges the Dead
The first man, and also the first to die.  Sun-Elk licked him from the ice. Mated with Mother Darkness and so produced the human race.
Resides in the afterworld and judges men according to their deeds.  Jealous of the living.
Epithets: Flesh-Man


SUN-ELK
the first animal, a cow with nourishing teats who also carries the sun in her antlers.  she licked Grandfather Mortality from the Primordial Ice.
Nourishes the world with her milk.


The MOUNTAIN that WALKS
Primordial being of the earth, mountains, and ice.  he is currently deep in slumber, and has been for eons.
it is said that in ancient times, he mated with the Sky-Serpent to produce the World.
Said to resemble a furry mountain with immeasurably large tusks and gaping caverns for eyes
worshipped by mountain animals and the Wild Polar Tribesmen.  prophecies say that one day he will come out of the North
to crush all before him and freeze the seas, ushering in a new ice age.  his worshipers despise technology, and most humans.
Sometimes considered foremost among the SULLEN GODS of the NORTHMEN


BULL-GOD is also worshiped in the WESTERN BARBARIAN LANDS of PARAX


STAG-LORD, God of the Forest
Stag-Lord lives in the Wildwood.  He teaches human worshipers mastery of the bow, and encourages them to hunt other men.
He hates humans who deface the forest and wishes to see them brutally slaughtered.
his antlers are wide and his arrows drip with human blood.
Wild forest animals obey his call.
there are some Pygmy-Tribesmen who worship this red-tooth'd god, and a few others here and there in the isolated forests of BARBARIAN PARAX, in the WEST

Alright, listen / WESTERN WILDWOOD

i'm just going to start posting my notes. i don't have time*, ever, to update a blog with actual posts / essays / etc, although i admire very much those who do.  so instead, i'm just going to start posting my notes, in unadulterated and unedited format.  many of them will not be original, good, or even faintly coherent, but i dunno.  maybe there will be some ideas here and there for people to swipe.  here's an example




WESTERN WILDWOOD

Ferocious caws are audible from up to a half-mile distant.  Here, a murder of 15 Gorecrows are attempting to fight off an invasion of 5 Chop-Hawks.
The Gorecrows have been living in the branches and in a hollow halfway up a large tree hanging out over the cliff for many generations now, but the Chop-Hawks
want it because of the superior vantage point it offers over the nearby Wildwood.  Both groups are willing to fight to the death, although if the Gorecrows
become badly wounded they can be seen flying into the large hollow in the tree order to hide (where they will make a last stand).  Gorecrows are well-knowwn
to collect trinkets, and they have a few objects in the hollow of the tree (which is somewhat dangerous to reach).  Inside, amidst a huge amount of nesting,
eggshells, some lizard and mammal corpses, and other bird stuff, can be found
a) a human skull with some shreds of flesh & hair still attached.  belongs to a former member of a gang in Amble Edge and is inhabited by his ghost.  if touched, capable of communicating very faintly that it desires to be returned there, where it will haunt the gang forever (because they drove the skull's original owner off, hence his ignominious death at the hands of birds)
b) a simple gold ring consisting of two paralell bands.
c) a necklace of 2 large gold coins strung together, each about half the diameter of your palm.  One coin bears an emblem of a shield, and the other a spread-winged eagle.  belonged to a member of a defunct knightly order
d) a small, cheap, gold earring, with a setting where a gem was once attached.
e) some junk - part of a belt with buckle, a tangle of copper shavings, and a dented and battered tin cup.


COMMON CREATURES d20
1. Carnivorous Goats (infinite number)
2. Fanged Impalas (3 herds of 3d12)
3. Gem-Spiders
4. Gore-Crows
5. Chop-Hawks
6. Lizards
7. Lowder
8. Kraw
9. Giant Slugs
10. Fire-Flies (night only)
11. Yard-Long Crawler
12. Bale Snail
13. Screaming Crickets
14. Snakes (Boa, vipers, Stake)
15. 1 Tyrannosaur lives in eastern Wildwood (there was a mated pair, but one was slain by a man with a sword.  The remaining dinosaur is a female who is afraid to leave her eggs)
16. 1 flock of Blaggers sometimes floats overhead
17. 1 Bagu lives in south-eastern wildwood
18. 2 Leopards roam the forest.  Their lair is a willow tree
19. 1 Giant Bear roams the forest
20. 2 Corbins (not affiliated with each other- night only)


SAPIENT CREATURES d8
1. Ulnot the Leaf Collector - strange little blue man on the run from intergalactic mercantile authorities.  sells potions at illegal prices.  rare things  = better potions.  Mercane will pay a hefty reward for his whereabouts
2. The Blue Knight - challenges everybody to duels for some reason.  very insistent.  very skilled fighter.  wears blue platemail, rides a giant blue horse, and has a blue sword + lance + shield + tent + flag.  when armor is removed he is revealed to be a giant half-blue half-normal human with stupifyingly bad hygiene.
3. The lonely carnivorous goat herder - nice old guy.  can talk to goats.  sells goats / goat-related products.  desirous of news from the outside world.
4. Gunder the evil animal trainer - travels with 1d8 random mammals (1. Bear 2. Leopard 3. Wolf 4.Double-Wolf 5.juvenile giant leopard).  trains his animals to kill people and bring back the treasure.  feared throughout the forest
5 - 6. Hunter (1d4:
   1. Amble Edge Hunter - amiable, folksy, violent
    2. Amble Edge Gang Member - conducting nefarious business
    3. Northman Hunter Group - 1d3 northmen, friendly but taciturn, willing to trade walrus tusks, sea-lion       pelts, or even their famed Giant Longbows for metal goods
    4. Tark the Croc-Man: very friendly for a crocodile-man; exiled from Crocodile-Man society for religious crocodile reasons)
7.-8/ A small tribe of Ape-Men.   act like the apes from the beginning of 2001: a Space Odyssey.  Led by a shaman who can summon ape-ghosts in the form of flying screaming ape skulls that harass enemies

OTHER STUFF
1. Fallen pukel pole.  Connects to two defunct Pukel generators and 1 inert Pukel Man (stats as stone golem).  Can only be operated/understood by devout Kos worshippers
2. Mortally wounded tyrannosaur atop man with silver sword - sword is Space Alien
3. Corpse has some *minor random treasure but a viper beneath - Ref save or get bit then Fortitude or take 1d6 damage per round for 1d6 rounds
4. Treasure-Moth - glowing moth always leads to nearest major treasure.  attacking it is a dire sin (-1d100 respect from ancestors, superstitious people)
5. Yellow area... (see DUNGEON ALPHABET)
6. The birds here have a defense mechanism in the form of song that makes beings become confused and fall asleep, and there are carnivorous vines and lichens nearby to reap the spoils.  Fieldcraft save of best Fortitude character or everyone falls asleep for 1d20 hours and finds they have lost most of their treasure to sticky trees.  if you roll a 1 you are being swallowed by a carnivorous tree when you wake up. no treasure
7. There are a number of sticky slime-covered vines here, and a small but opportunistic hyena pack lurks nearby.  the vines stay sticky even if cut, and can be used for various purposes including making a powerful glue; they are highly flammable (but resistant to acid).  Fieldcraft save of most Skilled character or get stuck + attacked by hyenas if you make any noise trying to get free (Violence check or something better)
8. Touching a shriek-vine will cause it to emit a high-pitched ultrasonic whine, which predators have learned means
there is food nearby.  Fieldcraft save of most Skilled character or +85% chance of encounter
9. Candlebloom is a small, wierd little plant that emits light at night to attract insects.  Useful as a dim candle.  Goes
out 2d2-1 hours after being plucked, growing gradually dimmer in the meanwhile
10. SERPUS ATTACK














*by "time", i mean motivation

YET MORE drink recipes?!

In troth!  Lo:

the SWEET REMORSE

1 part bourbon
2 parts Sprite zero
1 red Lifesaver*



*in the event that you do not have a red Lifesaver, check your inventory for a cherry Jolly Rancher, or a raspberry cough drop.  or, i guess, a mereschino cherry

Friday, March 8, 2013

HANDY REFERENCE CHART for ALCOHOL EUPHEMISMS

EUPHEMISMS for ALCOHOL(s)

BEER - euphemism depends on the method of delivery.  most are readily known; "tall boy", "cold one", etc
Budweiser - Red Can
Coors - no euphemism, but you pronounce it "kurrs"
Miller High Life - Mother's Milk
PBR - Hippy Piss, Blue Can

WINE - fartwater, French Piss, Grape Juice Plus
CHAMPAGNE - fizzy fartwater, Grape Juice Plus Plus

LIQUOR - booze (functions as both noun + verb; "let's booze"), hooch (hooch is also a verb, but it means to huddle up)
Whiskey - the Curse, the Creature (a shot is called a "drop", a bottle is called a "tipple")
Rum - Grog
Gin - Christmas Juice
Tequila - Hero Sauce
Vodka - "Bloody Mary, No Fruit"

some other handy euphemisms:

Demeaning Terms for Men, in order of most demeaning to least demeaning:
Shitshow
Bag
Goon
Creature
Mutant
Monster
a nickname can be a sign of respect or contempt, depending on the nickname.  usually nicknames involve a play on or mispronunciation of the dude's last name.  For example, a guy named "Shepherd" could be called "Sherbert" (insulting), or "Sheep-Dog" (respectful).  A guy named "Ottman" could be called "Autumn"  (insulting) or "The Ott-Man" (respectful).

Demeaning Terms for Women, in order of most demeaning to least demeaning
Filthy (noun) also: Filthy Filly, Suzy Rottencrotch
Hoochie Mama
Female
Tough Cookie
girl nicknames work on the same principle as boy nicknames, but for some reason you normally use the girl's first name rather than her last name

EUPHEMISMS for OTHER THINGS
MRE: Rat (as in "Aw, Rats!" and also because it is sorta the same size / color as a large rat), Brick (as in "I got some bricks, who wants to shit one?").  some people also call them "Mister E", as a play on the acronym MRE and also to indicate that the contents are a mystery.
Dip: snuff, chew, dip, lid, can
Snuff (the kind you snort): Brown-Brown
MRE Coffee: Type (apparently back in the day it was labeled Type 1 or Type 2 depending on the flavor.  it isn't any more, but some of the bug juice powder is.  generally these are collected by the crew, and then when 20 or 30 have been acquired, they are mixed together in a bottle and passed around to the crew.  one swallow is sometimes enough to make people shit themselves)
Move: bump
Shit: Brown
Urinate: Water Down
Drink: Water Up
Firefighting apparel: Green & Yellow
Helmet: Bullard (they are made by the Bullard Company)
Rain Jacket: flap
Sleeping Bag: fart sack
Glasses: Eye-Pro
Port-a-Potty: Blue Room
Gatorade/Powerade: Weakness-in-a-bottle
Helicopter/Plane: Ship
Car/Truck/etc: Rig

Saturday, January 5, 2013

"WHAT IS KOS?"

i guess i should explain


Jeff Rients's Famous RPG Questions
What is the deal with my cleric's religion?
Depends who you worship!
KOS - ancient civilization god; may no longer exist.  may have caused the Great Cataclysm.  River god.  causes floods.  protects the roads, rivers, and towns.  causes red wheat to grow.  anti-institutional religion; followers are expected to find their own path to enlightenment  
IO - foreign monotheistic deity.  highly institutionalized, organized and motivated church.  gaining traction in the wake of the Great Cataclysm.  proselytic and missionist.  genderless fertility god.  favors prostitution and forceful conversion.  despises undead & demons.  emphasizes self-abnegation and penitence
(reference point: Abrahamic religions)
BLOOD BULL - berserk sky god.  causes lightning.  Lord of the Rampage Circle, home of the Eternal Stomp-Dance.  his avatar lives on a sacred plateau above Rampage Circle.  followers are nomadic berserkers 
(reference points: Khorne, Storm Bull)
IRON LORD - god of crafting and war.  invented smithing, smelting and swords.  alchemy, wizardry, war, discipline, secrets.  worshipers do not advertise their faith.  devotees are usually master craftsmen or martial artists
ISSUS - god of trade and language.  advocates peace and friendship.  followers are traveling traders, explorers and diplomats
(reference point: Issaries)
the MINOR GODS - whatever else you can think of

All Gods have LIKES and DISLIKES.  Doing things your God likes increases your FAVOR.    Doing things your God dislikes decreases your favor.
Clerics (and only Clerics) can pray to their God to get a grasp of their current Favor.   
Anybody can develop a relationship with any God or any number of Gods; Clerics just start with a bunch of Favor in a religion of their choice, and a place in the church's hierarchy (if it has one).

Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
Depends where you are!

Pilgrim's Passing: Piku the Smith
Amble Edge: Bolag the Fat's Trading-Post
Loe: Kulbrand the Bronze-Worker
Corflu: Tok Timbu Mastersmith
Thrundunmun: Bent-Back Bort the Quartermaster
The Ruined City at Par-Kos: Threp the Sickly

(i'm assuming you want weapons and stuff; adventurers always seem to want weapons and stuff)

there's plenty of other places, ask around.

Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?
Your best bet would probably be Piku or Kulbrand.  Strange hermit-smiths dwell in the wilderness.  Some Fair Elfs are said to have magical smithing abilities, but their skills come at a terrible price.

Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?
It used to be the King, but he died or is in hiding.  His daughter, the Princess, may still be alive.
The Mercane have strange powers.
Everyone knows the Dragons have powerful magic, but most of them are sleeping now.  Hopefully.
Agni the Fire-God dwells in an iron tower in The Scorch.

Pilgrim's Passing: A strange mage named Rhialto moved in recently. 
Amble Edge: The Axe-Witch rules Amble Edge.
Loe: Unknown
The Ash Lands: Maglubiyet, the insane gobling God-King, has terrible powers.  So, too, does the Unknown King


Who is the greatest warrior in the land?
The greatest swordsmen are the Sword-Saints, who dwell in the wilderness and loath to share their secrets.
Pilgrim's Passing: Dronlan Three-Swords has never been beaten.
Amble Edge: Greywolf is a force unto himself.  Handsome Jack might give him a run for his money, though.  Nobody's killed more monsters.

Who is the richest person in the land?
Jon Mith, the trader.

Where can we go to get some magical healing?
Temples of the Old Gods or Churches of Io, depending on who you worship.

Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?
Same places.

Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?
Nope, sorry!  You'll have to get your hands dirty.

Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
Pilgrim's Passing: Rhynt the Elder, Rhialto the Mage
Amble Edge: the Axe-Witch (good luck)
Loe: the Great Library

There are many more.  Some sages hide in the wilderness.  The Great Philosophers are said to know everything but they are hard to get to and possibly fictional.  Ask around.

Where can I hire mercenaries?
The Mercenary's Fraternity maintains guildhouses in most population centers.  They offer licenses for a nominal fee.

Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?
Nope.  It's considered impolite to wear armor or weapons in taverns or other people's houses, though.

Which way to the nearest tavern?
Pilgrim's Passing: The Drinking House (compliment the fig-wine and you might get a free drink)

Amble Edge: The Mead Hall (you can't miss it; bring weapons)

Loe: The Black Dog (largest inn in town, good stew), The Silver Moon (alchemists, non-humans, good wine), The Bull & Ram (animal fights), The Hot Rooster (food & prostitutes), The Two Potbelly-Pigs (run by intelligent pigs; does not serve pork), The Puppethouse (puppet shows)

Thrundunmun: the Mess

The Gargling Ghoul is both an inn and a dungeon.  It is located in the Wildwood, east of Amble Edge.  Monster-fights, monster prostitutes and exotic foodstuffs are among its many remarkable attributes.

The Halfway Inn is located on the road between Pilgrim's Passing and the Ruined City.  It is known for catering to monster-folk and selling illegal weaponry.


What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?
Oh, yes.  Here's just a few:
The Gruesome Man of Wander Marsh
The Stag-Lord of the Wildwood
Ornlu the Wolf (currently terrorizing Amble Edge)
Whiteye (currently terrorizing Pilgrim's Passing)
Kohle of the Holy Lands (has been killing caravans)

Sheriff Dronlan Three-Swords in Pilgrim's Passing knows more.  He offers standing bounties on many monsters.

Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
There's always endemic civil warfare going on in Barbarian Parax. 

The Red Knights of Kos continue to wage their Endless Crusade.  Year after year, their numbers grow fewer as they attempt to restore order to Kos and drive out the abominations that now roam the countryside and inhabit the Great Palace.  They are ALWAYS looking for recruits.  Idealistic warriors should ask around.

How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?
The Gargling Ghoul is the most famous.  The Ram & Bull also sometimes does gladiatorial bouts on slow days.  
Otherwise, Amble Edge is basically a biker bar that's the size of a town.  If you're in the mood to crack a few heads, go there.

Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?
Yes, but I'm not telling.

What is there to eat around here?
The staple crop of Kos is giant red wheat that is high in protein and grows wild.  You can survive on it alone, but it only grows by the River Kos.  It makes a tasty red beer.
Otherwise, Carnivorous Goats are raised for milk and meat.  Their crab-like legs are especially tasty.
some local delicacies:
Pilgim's Passing: figs, goat jerky, boiled goat legs
Amble Edge: sky-whale meat (served extra gamey), bear stomach stuffed with brains and testicles
Parax: fermented animal blood
Loe: Seafood.  Lots of fucking seafood. 
The Gargling Ghoul: triceratops steak, giant spider au jour

People in Kos eat lots of fish, too.  

Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?
Yes.  The Tomb of Krynn the Hero has never been found, and is said to be in Barbarian Parax.  
It is said that the the Great Palace at Par-Kos once contained the treasure of 10,000 suns.
the Ruined City is no doubt filled with forgotten treasures,  at Par-Kos.   
The Ruined Old Knight Tower south-east of Pilgrim's Passing is inhabited by monsters, but the tomb of Arr the Iron is somewhere inside.
Rhialto has been seeking help about a missing magic item recently.

There are plenty more.  Ask around.

Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?
The King's Dragon still resides in the Great Palace at Par-Kos.  He also seems to know secret passages that lead through the Ruined-Back mountains to the abandoned Royal Mines.  Some say he is searching for a secret deep in the mountain that will restore Kos to glory.

Ancalagon the Black lives in the Ash Mountains.  He is allied with Maglubiyet.

Ferrox the Incinerator lives somewhere in Barbarian Parax.  Luckily, she has been asleep for centuries.

There are said to be more active dragons in the Far North, beyond the glacier which feeds the River Kos.   There, they hunt mammoth and meditate in icy caves.  Information from the Far North is scarce.

There's endless treasure in the Burial Lands, but only a lunatic would try to pilfer it