Monday, February 23, 2015

The Threefold Passions of Madam Adjani

(this item was not accepted for the LotFP Referee's book, so I am putting it here. Is it clear what it is and does? It is too obviously cursed? (find notes about how cloth makes everyone love you, or makes your senses better, or makes you almost invisible, then find cloth later...) Is it not clear how the effects can be gamed for temporary gain but long term consequences?

Also if you haven't seen the film Possession by Zulawski, starring Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neil, well, see it when you want to be really uncomfortable. It's excellent. The effects of this don't really match up with anything in the film, but her performance in it led to the inspiration for this.

Anyway, the idea was a magic item that you think you can use if you're really careful and manage it well, but can too easily get out of control even if you know what it does. Hopefully by the time you figured out what it really does, though, you'd already be in trouble anyway.

Maybe it's a little too ADnD Artifact-y for LotFP though.)

Mme Adjani lived in a great city of the ancient world which was torn apart by the consequences of her passions and admirers. Her emotions were so fevered and unbound that a mortal body and specific time could not contain them. The passions of Mme Adjani left scars on reality, and flare up again when others find remnants of her wardrobe.

While other items of her clothing (or sex toys, bondage gear, torture devices, makeup, etc) may be discovered, the item most often found is a cloth lavishly, beautifully embroidered with decorative figures. It is difficult to discern if the embroidered figures are engaged in feasts, rituals, orgies, murder, cannibalism - or all of the above. The cloth is just long enough to be worn wrapped about the upper body, hanging an inch past the loins. Some have used it as a scarf, headwrap, or decoratively tied around a weapon or limb.

The cloth is often found among the dead; when found, the DM should determine if the previous owner is still alive (see below). Often there will be lavishly written notes extolling the wonderful effects of wearing the cloth. These notes are written by those under the effects of the cloth, and while not outright lies, portray the effects in a positive light.

d6 to determine what the note describes or the effects of wearing the cloth without specifically folding it.

1: Fold 1
2: Fold 2
3: Folds 1 & 3
4: Folds 1 & 2
5. all 3
6: The writer of the note, while overtly positive, worked in enough nuance that with a successful Wisdom roll the reader gleans there may be unpleasant consequences to wearing the cloth. Roll again.

Fold 1: All who behold the wearer of the cloth must Save VS Device or fall for the wearer - desperately, jealously, murderously. The passion is so overwhelming they may even avoid the cloth-wearer at first, taking days to work up the courage to say, "Hello."

Within a week, they will begin stalking their beloved and acting to separate them from other potential lovers. This may start as social manipulation but extends quickly to abduction, imprisonment, torture and murder. Often the smitten person will not reveal their feelings (and attendant actions) until they have accumulated a body count to "prove their love". Those who are not monogamous may work together, but jealousy is one of the passions the cloth enflames.

The enthralled must have the object of their affection. They will not take rejection well.

The Save is rolled the first time one views a person wearing the cloth folded this way. If the person passed their Save, they must Save again if they see a new person wearing the cloth with Fold 1. Once the passions have taken hold (IE the Save is Failed), the effect remains even if the wearer removes the cloth, uses a different Fold, or a new person is seen wearing Fold 1. Each person affected by Fold 1 must have a Remove Curse cast upon them while the object of their affection is out of sight.
Optional: Those who spend most of every day with the wearer (such as party members) save again at +1 (bonus) every day more than 8 hours is spent in the wearer's presence. ("Remember when the whole party was in love with Steve for a week? That was weird.")

Fold 2: The wearer's own passions become ungovernable. Each day they must Save VS Device at a cumulative -1 for each day they have worn the cloth. When a Save is failed, the wearer pursues every passion and interest without regard for safety, social convention, or previous experience until they become unconscious or die. They may veer from animalistic abandon to wanting the finest things society can provide in an instant. If they are still wearing the cloth after a period of unconsciousness, they may Save again.
Depending on your group, the DM may need to control a PC affected thus, or it may be more fun to let the player play it out.

Fold 3, or if carried unworn (such as in a bag): The wearer cannot stir the emotions of others, and is easily forgotten. A companion may cut a rope the bearer is climbing on if the rest of their companions climbed up it first, for instance. The wearer's contributions to all endeavors are taken for granted or forgotten about. If caught doing something nefarious, the wearer may still be attacked, arrested, etc - but will likely be left there to rot, as their associates and guards will forget to feed or free them. The wearer cannot convince anyone of anything except through the most logical argument. Companions will forget to cut them in on profits, and employers will forget to pay them.

If someone attempts to remove the cloth from a conscious wearer, the cloth will strangle the wearer for increasing damage every round: 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, etc
The cloth can be stolen from an unconscious wearer, but see the next paragraph. 

The wearer will be compelled to write notes as described above (describing the effects of wearing the cloth in a positive light) before being able to remove it themselves.

If someone touches the cloth and the previous wearer is still alive, they become obsessed with the previous wearer as if they had seen them wearing Fold 1. If the person so affected has not met the previous wearer, they will dream about them and be driven to find them (and "prove their love" as above).

All current effects of the cloth will be cancelled if it is placed in Mme Adjani's grave. This should take much research, travel, and exploration to find. After a day in her grave, the cloth will attract explorers. Her passion must be spread in the world again.


The PCs coming into a city where the grizzled outcast ruined their life with Fold 2, a local built up followers with Fold 1 who are now turning on each other, and someone else is using Fold 3 to hide in plain sight could make for a nifty investigative adventure with opportunity for horror and peril.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dispatches from Viricon (FLAILSNAILS domain game)

(crowded sweating where do they all come from the city vast the occupants vaster still a susurrus of breath in out in out choke snore sweat cough strange bodies rub in the twilit coldly traversing the dim purple roads)
From A Child's Ten Thousand Views of Viricon by Auds Pendr*

Footbridges between Highton and the following quarters have collapsed from overuse:
-The Artists’ Quarter
The Twin Queens are reviewing bids from Viricon’s many Constructors, but it will be months of negotiations before reconstruction can begin. In the meantime, the Transporter’s Union has recruited many persons strong of body to carry citizens across on their backs. This goes for the Thousand Steps, the Winding Spit, and the Wan river. Many enterprising individuals have constructed vehicles to carry across those of sufficient coin in a more discreet manner.

A Southwest portion of the Tower of Nish has collapsed into parts of Lowton and Wavesend. The Cusk Brothers claim this may be due to Union activity in Wavesend. 
The pattern of debris, as read by Beanpole Matrella, indicates those beginning new endeavors in Wavesend, The Quarter of Fleeing Dogs (the FLAILSNAILS Quarter), and all entertainers in the City should begin as many sentences with the letter G as possible until the end of the month should they wish their endeavors the following Spring to succeed.

Dockworkers in Wavesend report recent sightings of Low Pan Jak. Anyone unfamiliar with that area is advised to avoid low keening, the merry singing of a maiden, and cries for help. It is unclear if wearing a Wok’s foot around the neck is still helpful in avoiding catastrophe.

*The Queens have issued a declaration.* One might recognize the characteristic wit of scribe Aut Mon.
*Those who wish to claim dominion over any area* of the new lands they clear of danger must have a Knight Avant license, available from the crown for a sum of 1000 GP, 
+500 GP for every Lieutenant Avant they wish to declare; that is, one who may claim Dominion in their absence. 
+100 GP for every Squire d’assist, that is fellow person-at-arms who will help in their endeavor under their official banner. (basically, other PCs in their party)
There are no fees for arming and training the common citizenry, especially if one takes them forth; one may be sued by families of the deceased and is responsible for any damage cause by those one arms, however, until the area is declared safe for development.
From A Child's Ten Thousand Views of Viricon by Auds Pendr*

Those who clear an area without a Knight Avant license are in danger of that land being claimed by any official Knight Avant who wishes to develop it. Knights Avant may petition the Twin Queens to have their claims enforced by the Iron Hands or other military groups under the Crown’s control.

It is the understood responsibility of a Knight Avant to clear one or more areas of danger, so that a citizen may feel safe traveling to and settling there. A Knight Avant’s ultimate responsibility to the Queens is to create new areas that citizens may settle and establish livelihoods, so relieve the egregious overcrowding of the capitol and have the satisfaction of Dominion over their own lands.
Should a Knight Avant achieve this, 100 GP per year will be forgiven of their tribute and taxes for a period of ten years.
[How I imaging this will work: in the latter half of March sometime I’ll start running hangouts for high level FLAILSNAILS PCs exploring the new lands; there will be very light play by G+ post between games, possibly in a Community or using my blog comments, to establish who’s going where and doing what. This is mainly for PCs level 7 and higher, those at or approaching “Name” level.

Each Hangout will revolve around a specific PC’s exploration, and the other PC’s along will be helping them, so each one may be a different area or a different set of problems, or we may stick with one for several sessions in a row. When a cluster of hexes is cleared of dangers that actively threaten life, the PC who claims Dominion may begin developing it according to the rules (probably slightly hacked) from the Rules Encyclopedia. I’ll fill you in if you don’t have it. It’s expensive, but hey, then you can start collecting taxes and income.

*watercolors actually by me

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Twilit Lands (FLAILSNAILS Domain Game)

Just posted this to G+; preserving here

For the first time in long memory, the flotsam and jetsam of the Planescapes will align! Though the soothsayer is toothless, blind, and drooling, you feel the truth like a shock. A Concordance is upon us.
In March, the FLAILSNAILS Domain Game Begins.
While one may stumble into the FLAILSNAILS Quarter from any number of cities, it is also in the domain of the Twilit City, Viricon. The Twin Queens Janus have consulted the Debased Oracle of Nai, and call now upon all adventurers to prepare. In a month's time, wild tracts of land will come into alignment with Viricon and the FLAILSNAILS Quarter, some permanently. Adventurers with great resources are called upon to explore and settle these areas, erecting castles and towns over which they will have dominion.

Should an area prosper and stabilize, The Queens Janus will authorize public works projects (helped along by generous donors, who may apply in due time) to run track through for the Genie-powered locomotive, stimulating trade throughout the Twilit Domain.

Beware! None know what wild creatures or indigenous peoples may reside in these lands.

So far, the Debased Oracles have seen with their not-eyes:

-a land of floating islands, many leagues above the ground

-a wasteland devoid of color, where the most stalwart suffer visions

-a forest of magical contamination, ready for the touch of Law once again

-swampland dimly inviting and deceptively quiet

-the sideways land, a mountain face with no peak or base

-verdant plains, teeming with game

...who knows what other sights and smells torture the sightless Debased!

This will be many things; high level FLAILSNAILS characters will have opportunities to spend lots of GP and make strategic decisions to best secure their area of choice, and new Pendragon/Stormbringer hack PCs will have occasional opportunities to serve these new Barons of the Twilight in exploration, settlement, and construction.

Pale shadows tremble in the glory of the Twilight!