Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Santicore 2014 Requests Are Open!

As a humble requestor this year, I'm delighted to see the crack team of Hellves and Paindeer get things rolling.

Go request stuff!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Goddess of War, Chaos, Magic, Confusion

As is her wont, the Tyrannosaurus Hex which ascended into godhood has changed her requirements for clergy completely. Some believe it is because the settlements of Kalak-Nur had adapted to her strange worshippers and began to understand her ways.
Whatever the reason, her new clergy are as follows.

As Cleric, but without spell progression chart.

Gains the ability to cast spells by acquiring mutations and madnesses. For every mutation, madness (or other similar significant physical change) gained, the character may cast their Experience level worth of spell levels per day. So a third level Cleric of NBLML with one mutation could case three first level spells, one first and one second, or one third level spell.
For every non-spell action that directly leads to the death or rescue from death of more than one soul, the Cleric may cast spells as if they had one more mutation for the remainder of that day.
If the Cleric causes a situation where a creature changes their actions because they believe a falsehood, the Cleric casts spells as if they have one additional mutation the rest of the day.

May use any weapons or armor, but for every point of AC improvement above 2 from normal armor and every die bigger than a d4 a normal weapon wielded does, the Cleric casts spells as if she had one less mutation.
So: a Cleric of NICE BOOTS LET'S MAKE LOVE who had two mutations and wears Chain Mail (improves AC by 4) and wields a Short Sword (d6 damage) could not cast any spells.
Were that same cleric to wear Leather (improves AC by 2) and wield a dagger (d4 damage), they could cast spells as normal.

Every beneficial spell cast by a Cleric of NBLML has a % chance equal to the Cleric's level to cause a mutation to the recipient, unless the recipient is a Cleric of NBLML. Her worshippers are to seek mutations from other sources. Her "gifts" are for those that are not yet her Clerics.

Once per level, however, the Cleric may attempt to manifest her holy favor. This is done by acquiring a body part of a significantly different creature and performing a ritual to attempt to graft it to oneself. This includes skin (scales/fur/etc), natural weapons, or strange abilities (Beholder's Eye, Rust monster tentacle, etc - the part cannot be from a creature with more than double the character's HD if magical).
The character must roll under their combined WIS and CON on a percentile die to be successful. For every 100 GP spent on precious materials (which are consumed in the ritual), the roll has a bonus of 1 (success is 1 easier). If successful, the graft is permanent and counts as a mutation.

Monday, August 18, 2014


Taking a break from gaming (except for the fun times Friday for AntiGenCon) and reading the latest BREAK!! teaser got my mind working on what holes there might be to fill in the FLAILSNAILSoverse on the fateful day I have time to run a game regularly again. Also probably inspired by my rabid watching of Hell on Wheels and there being so much gold in The Mines of Bloodstone.

So what is an unconscious/accidental/un-gamed accretion of resources that need more ways to be exhausted creatively and strategically? FLAILSNAILS PCs tend to be poor...until they're not. People who play a lot have rich ass characters, but because of the inherently episodic nature of habitual FLAILSNAILING, the usual domain game doesn't apply-even when it does (the character gets a stronghold) - because it's more fun to have monsters attack the players and run dungeons and stuff.

This makes me want to come up with a fun way for characters to spend LOTS of cash. Strongholds, maintenance and upkeep, hiring staff en mass, recovering from weather and attacks by both armies and monsters, building infrastructure to facilitate native economy, then maintaining that infrastructure (the steam-genie train between Patrick and Chris's strongholds is being robbed! G+ Hangout at 11! or command your forces pbp to colonize the orcs, har har), riff on Zak and others' battlefield command minigames from blogs...

Maybe a use for the FLAILSNAILS quarter, like, a new territory opens up so you've got your shitty flat in the city but spend enough coin and start your own damn...

Somewhere between a wargame, euro strategy board game, and play by post with occasional hangouts? Man, I don't know. I still want to figure out a Pendragon/Stormbringer/BootHill mashup for Gun Knights of Kalak-Nur, too, but any of this would be months away.

Like, this could even be a generative way for old characters to define a world for new characters, with outside elements being randomly generated then...AHHH

ANYWAYS back to work.

A note on terms: while I recognize FLAILSNAILS and ConstantCon as separate ideas that by necessity overlap, and not as the same thing, I have adopted the common usage here of using "FLAILSNAILS" and "FLAILSNAILING" to mean both or either.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Narcosic Sentispores and Cut Up Dungeons for #Narcosa

To be put on any drug/drug reactions tables you have:

While reputable substance-peddlers take meticulous care to stamp out this pest and prevent contamination, those who get their mind-alterers from nature or shady dealers occasionally fall victim to Narcosic Sentispore contamination. Even a few of these spores mixed with other drugs are enough to cause the following effects.

Accidental Contamination 

"Man you gotta watch out. My pal Zed smoked some shady-looking Purple Pipe Weed, and he was never the same again."

Save VS Poison (or make a CON roll, if easier for your system) at a 3 penalty.
If the save fails, each time thereafter the character has a full rest (including between sessions if applicable), one of their Ability Scores is rerolled and the new result is permanent. When all 6 have been rerolled, the character may noticeably change in personality and alignment.
This is because if the spore load is weak, it will replace the brain rather exactly. If the spore load is strong, it will carry the personality of a previous host.
Either way, the character's brains and some systematic soft tissue have been replaced by intelligent fungus.
Creatures that have magical or super-senses will consider the character from thereon a plant, for good or ill. Whether this includes unintelligent undead is up to the DM.
Something may seem off and different to family, friends, and lovers. Scrying spells seeking the character specifically will no longer be able to find the person unless the caster has encountered them after the change. As far as the universe is concerned, they are dead, and the fungus in their body now is a different entity - which is correct, in most cases.

Some other dis- /ad- vantages of a Narcosic Sentispore infestation:
•Magical healing heals 1 HP less, but non-magical healing 1 HP more.
•Any limbs rendered useless or severed will grow back as the HP is healed by rest or magic. This will be obviously fungal in appearance.
•If the character is dead, a significant portion of their ashes when breathed by another person will cause that person to become infested with them, and eventually become the original character. If a full pipe-load, or two pipe-loads when mixed with another drug, the smoker will pass out as the fungus violently replaces their brain and tissue, and awake as the old character in 2d4 turns (or hours if that's easier.) If this happens, the new body will retain it's appearance, but have the personality and skills of the old spore host (character). If more than one breath the smoke, each after the first will have a new personality; the original host's personality is only replicated once.
•They cannot use undead or purely magical creatures as hosts.
•Narcosic Sentispore intelligences are inherently genderless. They tend toward neutrality, although some are rather chaotic as the spores poorly integrate with a body.

Upon habitual use or long-term infestation, a distinctive fungal bloom is visible upon the forehead.
Recreational Use - 
"People fear that stuff - I knew a dealer who dumped 10k gold worth of Laba Wasp paste because he thought it had a few spores. But man, the people on the underground know - if you really wanna get out of your head, there's nothing like it. Just keep a Cleric around."
What the above neglects to mention is the high. While the fungus is changing the body and brain, the imbiber is euphoric and, understandably, feels as if a new person. Narcosic Sentispores can be used without a complete change if arrested by Magic. Slow Poison will allow one full rest without an ability score being rerolled. Cure Disease, Neutralize Poison, and Heal can cease the effects immediately, although any Ability Scores already re-rolled do not revert to their old values. If CHA, INT and WIS have all already been rerolled, the character will immediately die, however, as the original brain has already been replaced by fungus which the spell has removed.

Maps Maps Mapping
I think the illustrious Byron Gysin and Bill Burroughs had the best ideas for making Narcosa maps. Burroughs [my edit text in brackets]:
 "The method is simple. Here is one way to do it. Take a page. Like this page. Now cut down the middle. You have four sections: 1 2 3 4 . . . one two three four. Now rearrange the sections placing section four with section one and section two with section three. And you have a new page. Sometimes it says much the same thing. Sometimes something quite different-cutting up [paintings of hell] is an interesting excercise-in any case you will find that it says something and something quite definite."
While Burroughs is a tad conservative, the method is true. I'd probably cut the page into thirds or fourths in both directions and scramble them. The key is not to explain away or rationalize anything for the players. The room is that weird shape. The hallway juts off in that improbably direction and ends, yes. Cut up several dungeons into equal (or unequal!) bits and scramble them together - carved stone hallway leading to wooden wine cellar leading to insulated futuristic hallway leading to solid-vapour cloud palace.
An important part of this is to also cut up evocative imagery, reassemble, and map onto the dungeon rooms in the same part of the other page with the practical map on it.

Bah, I don't know if I can explain it - here are some how to pictures and an end result.
ADVENTURE TIME and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Cartoon Network

Burroughs here gives up some evocative room descriptions to use while the PCs are off their gourd:
"Visit of memories. Only your dance and your voice house. On the suburban air improbable desertions . . . all harmonic pine for strife.
"The great skies are open. Candor of vapor and tent spitting blood laugh and drunken penance.
"Promenade of wine perfume opens slow bottle.
"The great skies are open. Supreme bugle burning flesh children to mist."
     "Cut-ups are for everyone. Anybody can make cut-ups. It is experimental in the sense of being something to do. Right here write now."

OR you could just have a painting up on your screen and when you need something interesting, find something in the painting. I just feel Narcosa should be pretty stream-of-consciousness, depending on what drugs the PCs are doing.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

You are not a traitor to the OSR...you ARE the OSR

A manyfesto.
manifesto (n.) "public declaration," 1640s, from Italian manifesto "public declaration explaining past actions and announcing the motive for forthcoming ones," originally "proof," from Latin manifestus (see manifest (adj.)
manifest (adj.) 
probably from manus "hand"+ -festus "struck"
While this blog entry is struck by one hand, my point is that the OSR is struck by many. Including yours?

Occasionally I see posts like..."I am a trader to the OSR because..." or "I am going to be an outcast for saying this, but..." and I find it really baffling. The OSR is not an institution. It is not incorporated. It is not an authority. There is not an undisputable cannon set in stone. There is no authority to betray.

or else from Latin manifestare "to discover, disclose, betray"
Now we're talking.

The OSR DIY community is a community. It is made of us. it is whatever we are. We are individuals, not of unified mind or ruleset. The OSR is wondrous and breathes many treasures because it is legion. It is not homogenous. There are many parts, each differing from the other but (mostly) working to make each other's experiences more awesome. We are always discovering the OSR together.

Listen.. people be askin me all the time,
"Yo Mos, what's gettin ready to happen with Hip-Hop?"
(Where do you think Hip-Hop is goin?)
I tell em, "You know what's gonna happen with Hip-Hop?
Whatever's happening with us"
If we smoked out, Hip-Hop is gonna be smoked out
If we doin alright, Hip-Hop is gonna be doin alright
People talk about Hip-Hop like it's some giant livin in the hillside
comin down to visit the townspeople
We (are) Hip-Hop
Me, you, everybody, we are Hip-Hop
So Hip-Hop is goin where we goin
So the next time you ask yourself where Hip-Hop is goin

ask yourself.. where am I goin? How am I doin?
-Mos Def, Fear Not of Man 
skip to 1 minute in to hear the above or click here to see/hear on YouTube.

Why do I care about these posts? Post what you want. What I fear is the view from within what I consider to be the OSR community that the OSR has ossified. That there is a cannon which one must follow. We all have our cannon of rules, books, and modules, and learn from and about each other by sharing what those are - and that they are often different.

There is no academy. There is no OSR government. The OSR IS THE REVOLUTION. 
If you're reading this, you're probably already a part of it. 
You're not a traitor to the OSR...you are the OSR.

The revolution will be gamified...let's play!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Shadow of...SANTICORE!

Secret Santicore 2014 wants you!

Go read that post!

In case there is any confusion: I will not be running it or compiling the PDF this year. I have been playing fairy godmother to get things started, but after another week or so I simply won't have time to participate. I might make and fulfill a request, depending. If some other things I'm working on go swimmingly, I might pitch in again in November, but I can't guarantee that and I don't want people relying on me to get the thing done.

If you'd like to help make a PDF, compile many PDFs, be a Handler, or help move the whole project along from a mile-high "project manager" type of view, send an email to the contacts in the blog entry linked above!

If you are confused or curious about Secret Santicore, read this FAQ I wrote when I oversaw it last year.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

My First RPG

While I often have a distaste for memes, the recent posts got me thinking about the first RPG I played. Sure, sure, the first commerical RPG was probably AD&D 2nd Edition, but what was the first I played?
It's been around 25 years, I think it went something like this...
Character creation:
-find several GI Joe figures (and/or knock-offs that were constructed the same way) with parts that are awesome (cool helmet, neat armor on the arms, good weapons strapped to chest, rocket boots, etc)
-take out the screw in the back, disassemble, reassemble the parts you like. Watch out for the rubber band that hold the pelvis&legs onto the torso! It's hard to position right
-Have adventures!

Your character has the stuff on the parts you used, and whatever add ons (guns, backpack/rocket attachments, etc) not already associated with a currently alive other figure that make sense or you're jazzed about. Of course, their actual abilities are whatever you can imagine and justify to yourself or whichever friend is also playing.

I recall many cybernetics, space travel, trans-dimensional creatures and heroes, lady ninja assassin heroines that were at least as awesome as the main heroes, transformers as enemies, and dates that ended with two figures in a box overnight where something vague happened towards the end of my open-imagination toy playing.

OH yeah - there was a ice cream spaceship gained in a trade with my sister where a growing family of Yodas lived (including eye color variants). Eventually there were 4 of them, and I'm sure they argued and gave contradictory advice to the characters who made the long, hard trek to the mountaintop where their ice cream sundae spaceship was often docked.

Terrain was anything in my room, yard, the neighbor's yard, etc, including extensive dirt sculptures and hedge trimmings. 

ANYWAY, the first commercial RPG books I remember encountering and devouring were the AD&D 2ed PHB and DMG my sister brought home. To start, our main group were all older folks we met through Dallas Comic Cons, then eventually got invited to their home games. Later, we had a few years of playing in a church's meeting room after hours -at the tail end of the Satanic panic, to boot! We didn't tell them that's what we were doing. I think they thought we were playing board games. One of the group had a key.

This all led to the campaign I ran where the base was a dimensionally-travelling tavern called "Neutral Turf" with an umber hulk bartender.