It came from the 90’s

Recently, my DF game intersected with a theme from a  GURPS Horror game I ran for a few years. We had played a lot of 1920’s, using CoC sourcebooks but GURPS rules, and we also played a contemporary game.  The characters included an albino taxi driver and roadie who became a were python, an FBI agent, an illegal Irish building contractor, a dilettante millionaire, a used car salesman, and an agent of the Shop,  (the Office of Scientific Investigation, from Firestarter).  They dealt with things like a giant silverfish in the NYC subway tunnels, punk werewolves on angel dust, vampires (the millionaire eventually became one, and carried on along with a ghoul from the 1920’s game when we played a Horror/Cyberpunk game later on), but the major plot, drawn from an assortment of Settings books, like GURPS Cabal, came from ‘Investigative Journalist’ Maury Terry’s book about a conspiracy of drug dealers posing as serial killers and the intersect between the hallucinogen and snuff industries in the 1970’s, called The Ultimate Evil.

Our mixed bag of heroes started hunting someone they called The Visine Thief, and eventually called Lidless, who they thought was a serial killer.  He was killing a lot of people, and robbing Duane Reade’s of cases of artificial tears. A low level villian with a fridged girlfriend (Yes, a horrible trope. Thirty years ago, I was a horribly unaware person) who he had had to watch killed with his eyelids sliced off, he was hunting members of his former organization.  Terry had gathered the threads of his grand conspiracy from random clippings and interviews with Son of Sam, who he was convinced was a murderer, even a multiple murderer, but also a member of a psuedo satanic cult of drug dealers who coerced the members into murders which they filmed, and held power over by threats to kill their families. The proposed modus operandi of this group was to kill drug dealers who were holding out, and then off a bunch of people that looked like them so that the well funded narcotics squad wasn’t assigned the case, but that the understaffed and minimally experienced serial killer division was handed the work.  Multiple killers using the same gun further confounded things.

This conspiracy theory was tangled up with the suggestion that the Tate killings were related to the LSD trade, and that later traffic in ecstasy was handled by the same batch of goons, who lured members into their covens with drugs, then revealed the “truth” of a triumvirate of Yahweh, Lucifer, and Satan, which was itself a front for the drug and snuff film business.  Just wacky enough to support a kitchen sink of supernatural enemies entangled in a web of vice and death. It made for a good game.

How does any of this drift into Dungeon Fantasy? I have been making the primary enemies in the city/upper works of the megadungeon cultists of the elder gods masquerading as a demonic pleasure cult, and also a fertility cult tangled up with succubi.  Their attempts at parleying had them quoting talking points about autonomy and free will from the Satanic Church.

The posse of demon hunters accompanied by Kalima the four armed Celestial demon slayer and Benny Morales, a Dungeon Saint of Hermes, started combing through the brazen alley, an area where religious articles are made for devotion, but often by non-believers. There they encountered Aloysius the Undamned, an infernal friar of the One Holy Triunist Church, who has been Forgiven. While the Slayer wanted him dead, and caused a smoking wound with the tip of her Demon Slaying Spear, the others put him to the question and realized that he was actually good.  They also got a whiff of the above cult, when he described some heretics who indulged heavily in sacramental intoxicants.

Why do I have so many demon cults creeping about? It might be that I need non-undead opponents who can be freely dispatched, since so many of the commonly monstrous races are player character options, and are mostly just living their lives and not planning human massacres.

In this I have been ahead of WoTC’s disclaimer about the content of some of the seventies-eighties era games, with gender based ability score caps, and inclusion of proposals for clearing land and intimidating humanoids that were taken straight out of King Leopold’s playbook, and quoting Chivington’s “nits make lice” justification for genocide. The founding fathers of our games, while appreciate their combined creation of our hobby, were nowhere near as nice a bunch of guys as they thought themselves to be, and if you have fun playing through B2, it is something you need to keep in mind, just as you need to be aware of the content of Lovecraft’s personal letters and the name of his cat if you going to read his fiction.  Racism is an insidious thing, and is interlaced throughout the tropes of our cultural history. This doesn’t mean you need to burn books, but it does mean that you need to be a conscious consumer, or you will risk integrating some of that quiet content into your worldview. Know that it is there, and you have more choices.

Demons and Patrons in Basic Era Games

I am working on converting both my adventure Beneath the Fallen Tower and the Redoubt of Hades from GURPS (because I don’t have a license) to BFRPG (in particul;ar my publisher’s variant Odysseys and Overlords) and OSE.  BFRPG is very easy to pick up; it was designed as a quick and cheap starter game that anyone could immediately pick up and play. Old School Essentials is an elegant and accurate re-framing of B/X D&D. A circumstance I have discovered is that while my games feature a lot of summonable creatures, infernal, celestial, and elder entities, BX has no such thing.

Literally, in addition to the menagerie a couple of the druids are porting in, the Necromancers accompanied by the spirits of their ancestors, and the earth priest with his pet elemental, there is a character with elder thing power investiture from an otherworldly sorcerer that keeps rolling insanely good reaction rolls, a wildly talented bureaucrat who summoned a celestial demonslayer, and another player who has a hellhound, demonic servant,  and ‘Spirtitual adviser’. It is a lot.

Neither old school game system has any spells for summoning,  which makes things less of a headache for the DM, and generally kept these editions from triggering Satanic Panic responses, but they do have devices for summoning elementals and both djinn and efreet. Therefore, I propose items for summoning other extradimensional entities, perhaps graded for the HD of what they summon, 1d12 HD, with lemures, larvae, or manes at the low end, and a demon lordling at the high end, and an extra chance for getting something higher level.

   Brazier of Extraplanar Summoning

brazier

This iron or bronze brazier, incised with runes and chased with enamels or silver inlay , is inscribed with the name of a being from a nearby dimension. Any item of this type is good for summoning that singular being, for a period of up to one hour, and can be used no more than 6 times per owner.  For any given brazier, roll 1d12, and on a roll of 12, roll an additional d8. The total number rolled is the HD of the creature that can be  summoned by performing a ritual with the brazier as the central feature, involving candles and diagrams on the floor. The creature summoned may be of any alignment, and this can be determined by random die roll.  The summonee must perform a service for the summoner, but may make a save vs spells (minus the summoner’s wisdom bonus, if any) to resist. Braziers are worth 1000 GP per HD summonable.

Now, you can find game stats for any sort of extradimensional being in most advanced rulebooks, and in a variety of blogs ( such as Hereticwerks  where I got the Ymid from), but if you want to keep B/X formatting, I can recommend New Big Dragon’s Fifty Fiends (available on Drivethrurpg for only a buck!)

And for that matter, you can get a bunch of neat pictures of demons from me too!

(Or from Jeremy Hart )

And now that demons are in play, what about patrons? DCC did this excellently, but here I have

20 answers to the question: What does your warlock’s patron want in exchange for power?

1 to spread chaos! Go out there and blow shit up!

2 to be entertained.  They are bored, and find your actions interesting…until they don’t.

3 to be amused. They find the supplicant ridiculous, even pathetic. 

4 to annoy a rival, by showing them up with their own fancy minions.

5 to annoy a rival, by encouraging the destruction of their (equally) nefarious plan.

6 to spread their own influence; use of their powers tags an area with their signature,  the entity with the most tags wins something, as if our world was a boardgame to them.

7 to manifest themselves in our world; the more their power is used, the greater their ability to enter our plane.

8 to void excess energy that is causing them etheric indigestion. 

9 to silence your yapping. You are annoying, but not yet worth the bother of destroying.

10 to alleviate the irritation of the sense of debt; the entity cannot tolerate supplication without response; it itches.

11 to appease their sense of vanity. They desire worship.

12 to appease their curiosity. Whatever will the minion do with a little power.

13 to appease their hunger. Blood and Souls!

14 to appease their hunger. Only creatures empowered by and flavored like them can fulfill their hideous appetites

15 to appease their unnatural lust. Only creatures empowered and flavored like them can fulfill their hideous appetites.

16 to better observe our plane. Buying a pair of eyes is cheaper than actually manifesting.

17 to relieve their aching loneliness. Being immortal makes it hard to keep friends.

18 to pay a gambling debt. The being is making the pact because of an unfortunate forfeiture on a wager.

19 to pay back a favor. The summoning and binding spells are vestiges of an ancient promise made to someone who liberated the being from imprisonment, and then forgot that they were still active.

20 to be left alone. Power is cast out to deflect contact.

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The way I Roll

No bad/wrong fun. You play the games you like, the way you most enjoy. I happen to enjoy a certain style of play, and am particularly enamored with a particular system that I have played with for some years.

I started gaming in 1981, and have played with a variety of systems. The ones I remember were Basic D&D, along with 1e and 2e, Star Frontiers, Top Secret, Gatecrasher, Paranoia, Toon, Palladium Fantasy and Rifts, CoC, Twilight 2000, Both MSH and DC Heroes, V&V, Cyberpunk 2020, Fasa Star Wars, and early WoD, in its original form, LARP, and ported to GURPS.

I have played GURPS  since 1989, and enjoyed a number of translations of other settings, principally CoC and VtM. I discovered skill systems in 2e, and am a firm believer in your character having competencies that are measurable  and checkable with probability as well as roleplay. The description is always integral to the resolution, the numbers are a mechanic that determines success, much the way more than mere intent is neccessary to resolve things like combat. Do you remember the thing, or were you asleep during that class? Can you make a positive impression, (or do you have spinach stuck in your teeth, or did your voice crack)? Can you craft something on the fly, or jimmie a lock in the dark? Do you recognize the noble’s house by their heraldry, and do you know their properand preferred form of address?

I stopped playing for about ten years, and when I started up, I collected every retroclone I could find, and have had tabletop experience with DCC and SW:CL, as well as GURPS. I have also read Torchbearer, Fate, Mothership, and Dungeon World.

For the last 6 years, I have run GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. As I recently told someone, my style of play involves deep construction of a sandboxy world, that has both a measure of secrets and an internal consistency that requires building on my part. My need for this is partly tied to a memory problem I have. Players shape the world, according to the limits and abilities of their character concept. They also do some shaping of the world during character creation. You were trained by a mystic order? They, and their enemies, are out there. Suffered an injury at the claws of a dragon? Don’t  be surprised to see her shadow flying overhead at some point.

Now, we play with a certain set of expectations; these are covered in my online information about the game (the game is a play by post. ) I want the characters to be built from certain sourcebooks according to, or very close to template, and customazeable to an extent within your character concept. Technology is limited to specific tropes of the genre. I take characters at a few different power levels, higher powered concepts are not something I am equipped to deal with at this time.  Expect that your character will be excellent at the primary features of their concept, fairly good at some related things, and not so good at things that are not part of your chatacter’s main focus. If you wanted a sort of multifaceted jack of all trades, you might be good at a lot of things, but not particularly amazing at any one thing.

You can expect that other characters, much like yours, will have their own motivations, dreams, fears, limits, and connections to the rest of the world, and are invited to participate in these aspects. You can expect to have some effect on the world, actions have consequences, and good deeds make the world a better place.  There are a certain amount of fate-influencing conditions that can be built in to a character design (GURPS is a point buy system, so it is a very thoughtful choice to make to include things like this). Advantages like Serendipity, which will always place you in reach of what you need, assorted varieties of luck, Weirdness Magnet, which keeps things interesting, Wild Talent, that lets you try and spontaneously learn things you have no training for,and Gizmo and Widget, which make sure you packed your whatsit when you needed it. There are modular abilities that let you become a temporary expert in any topic, and there are social advantages ranging from allies you have a close tie with, and enemies likewise entangling your life, smaller scale things like “I know a guy” and Favor that kick in in a pinch, but there are no real narrative switches that are player defined the way they are in FATE or AW.

You build your character, and that is a worthy endeavor, and I build the rest.  This is not to say I am giving you a script, but a stage with scenery, lighting, perhaps thematic music, and I hire all of the actors not in your troupe, and write some of their lines.  I keep track of hundreds of NPC’s and their motivations, some with minimal notes, others growing in detail as their interactions with players define them.

A good knowledge roll may inform you that there are tunnels below the city, and that they have been used for smuggling, but it will not tell you that the nearest manhole opens directly into the ninja’s secret lair, because I know all of the entrances to their lair, which ones are trapped, which are guarded, and which are forgotten.  At the same time, someone built their character as a member of the Sewer worker’s guild, and paid to have a rudimentary map of the undercity.

The same way you can build a character who oozes magical terror, and someone else can be immune to fear,  you can build someone who is (expensively) supernaturally attractive and inhumanly charismatic,  and anyone else can have a (cheaper and easier) build that is simply immune to their charms;  A bonus laden roll to use sex appeal on someone completely uninterested will not sway them to your cause, sometimes the best response you might get is a polite “You are cute, but not my type”.  Likewise, a terrific search roll will not reveal a secret door that isn’t there. I usually reward critically successful search rolls with the discovery of something valuable that the inhabitants of the area are unaware of, but abilities like inventing a door when you need one are worth almost half of you character’s base points  (Warp, -10% (accessibility) for requiring a search roll to “find” a temporary door (+0% special effect) that leads where you want to go: 90 points).

Around the time of the collapse of G+, I had been to the gauntlet forae, and attempted to initiate conversations about the type of games I play, and was greeted with the same kind of condescending hostility that I used to only get from ZS and Pundit back in the day, for not playing their kind of way.

My game isn’t colonial, folks are largely exploring an area that was depopulated after a plague, and dealing with undead in the same areas, or fighting bullies, or rescuing a mixed couple from an angry mob. Sometimes they are fighting demons, cultists, and ninja, other times they are helping people the local law enforcement choose to ignore.  One group (I am running eleven threads, each with its own party of characters) is helping a village that is comprised of refugees who left their homeland without their genealogical records, and as such cannot call on aid from the ancestors they have forgotten the names of in order to combat evil spirits.  One group I had all ready to throw down with an alien elder thing, and to my surprise they parleyed, and the dice delivered an awesome reaction roll… now they have it living in their compound – an abandoned set of tenements they are revitalizing in the wake of a set of serial murders and a magical disaster that collapsed the streets. Another team had been accompanied by a GM PC that was a  godborn demon hunter.  The huntress was banished back to their home plane, leaving them to track down a magically moving shop on their own, and the gang split up to try and summon her back. I wasn’t expecting them to want her, but apparently they became very attached to the four armed celestial, and now she is back in the game.

I told someone the other day that my play style and my game were not a good fit for any systems Powered by the Apocalypse, and they asked me why I didn’t want to improve* my game, without knowing what or how I play. It all depends on what your group likes.  My daughter expressed an interest in having me run a game for her friends. I love my GURPS, but, if the game actually formed, I would be spending a bit of time learning what their assumptions and preferences were, and might end up running Far Away Land, Blood & Treasure, or 5e (like the fancy kids play) for them depending on what they wanted. I might go with BFRPG because I could get everyone the books. It depends on what they like or want. There is no wrong way to have fun.

 

 

*What they had said is why wouldn’t you want to be improving your game, but had meant doing more improv (improv-ing maybe should have been improvising) not making improvements…

 

Undead Stock art and reviews

undead cover.png

Just released this week ( and in time for Halloween) is my latest bundle of stock art : Undead available from DrivethruRPG for $4.99.

eff thumb

eff thumb2

 

I have been doing a lot of work these past months for Gabor Lux’ Echoes from Fomalhaut, and in particular for his upcoming Tegel Manor inspired megadungeon, Castle Xyntillan, and the still-in-development In the Shadow of the City God

in the shadow

 

Two of his most recent items, The Nocturnal Table currently available as a pdf from Drivethrurpg and featuring work by Mathew Ray, Stefan Poag, and Peter Mullen as well as myself, along with EFF#6: The Rising Tombs which has art by myself and Stefan Poag also, both are suited for describing convoluted weird cities at night. As my own game takes place in such a place, I found this rather interesting. The random encounters in the Nocturnal Table go way beyond the old DMG city encounter tables, and into some very strange places. Otherwise boring encounters with nameless NPc’s are richly described run ins with peculiar named personages, each with a distince flavor. There has been a lot said about demonstrating an implied setting by examining the encounter tables instead of dropping in extensive exposition, for example, regarding OD&D. The Rising Tombs does this with minimal descriptions and small notes, and leaves the reader to connect the dots.  In one part of the city, in a sealed community where the swells reside, it is always night with a perpetual full moon. This is atmospheric, but there are some supporting features; The city is ruled by a powerful illusionist, and also the rich folks are near immortal and addicted to potions of longevity… or they may be vampires.  The under layers of the city evoke a bit of the depths of  Dwimmermount, without dumping pages of history up front.  There are, by way of anticipating adventurers who want to burn down the tavern, mentions of an enormous machine that extends into the depths, that might explode like a megaton warhead if tampered with, and the side note that one must wear “sacred vestments” (radiation suits) to safely enter the lower levels of a dungeon. Not only are the routes to this area from a  cheap hotel that H.H.Holmes might have built, or through the green room of a collapsing Theater haunted by a phantom… or through a temple of a rat/plague god. These are not your typical entry by sewer dungeons, and definitely not like either  my  or Hasbro’s  taverns with conduits to the underworld.  Gabor Lux, (known on forae as Melan), for all his resentment against the Sworddream style of OSR derived play, is firmly in touch with the parts of our hobby that are gonzo and rooted in Weird fiction.  It is no secret that I like that style of gaming, as I grew up reading my dad’s virtually complete Appendix N library (assembled as it was printed, in crumbling 35 cent paperbacks, most of which I have been reacquiring from used booksellers), and while a good amount of both Gabor’s and John Stater‘s products are procedurally generated, they go into some far out places that I am happy to illustrate.  That headless undead in my stock art bundle is based on one of the encounters in Nod zine, although I forget what issue.  I own copies of about eight issues I did illustrations for, but there are 26 other issues of the same grade of super detailed and strange hexcrawls.

Meanwhile, in my game, there have been some odd developments.

The group travelling with the  demon hunting celestial Kalima  have decided to try and summon her back to the world after a demonologist they were fighting banished her with a hurled Spellstone. I was thoroughly expecting that they would be glad to be rid of such a DM PC, but no plan escapes an encounter with players unscathed. They are enlisting the leader of a Kali cult named Molaram to help in the summoning…

My Wuxia group has traveled into the megafauna rich land of Veroigne, nominally to collect a rice harvest for the Sahudese population back in Northport, and have encountered the odd ecosystem of the rice grower’s village.  Swarms of stirges rise out of the rice paddies, but are chased away from the workers by a sacred giant dragonfly, from whom the party received a blessing, much the way the other group in the area had their ranger blessed by the Stag of Veroigne, who was somewhere between the Forrest Spirit of Princess Mononoke, and Bambi’s father. Both groups have seen tracks of giant rabits being stalked by dire wolves.

The group that were hired to hunt a rampaging beast have instead decided to try and take over an abandoned castle, which brings me around to an issue developing around my Juniors group. They have been trying to establish themselves with real property (excepting those among them who have Social Stigma:Criminal, who cannot directly own real property in Northport) and I have been using the Base Perk as a leveled one.  Base normally gives you a place that you don’t have to pay rent that is about as good as what you might have, but with a status level of 2 levels lower than your own.  At status 0, that is not much to talk about, in this case, a peasant’s hovel or tenement row house in disrepair. I suppose in other settings it would be a back booth in a diner or a leaky basement apartment.  Making it a leveled perk lets you raise it by one status level per point invested, which means that at 3 points, it is a clean, functional status 0 home.  This group of PC’s are trying to control the housing above an entrance to the dungeon and in particular, to a magical gate.  I had originally had them invest in independent income, but that was only netting half a silver a month per point at average wealth, so I converted those points to base. The Initiate in the group has been attracting followers (not yet bought as allies) who have been doing things like basic carpentry, weeding, whitewashing…etc, that have resulted in the area being upgraded.  A lot of the things I have been thinking of here were sort of echoed in Necropraxis’ blog about Stronghold Achievements for low level characters.

I miss things like the Mansion advantage from GURPS VtM, and the leveled advantage Sanctuary, from the defunct Advanced Goblins & Grottoes setting from Otherwhere dot org, (sadly even beyond the reach of the internet wayback machine). That one let you build anything from the Batcave (large, secret, secure) to something like the airships of Girl Genius.

A resolution to part of a campaign, and some play reports

For several years, I have been running a Wuxia pastiche campaign within my Northport setting.  The population of Northport is quite mixed,  having a large number of goblin artisans (the goblins have lived in the city since its founding a few thousand years ago), humans, orcs, and a fair amount of mixed folk, given the situation to the east, where the nation of Shevnia lost a war with orcs because of a lost paytrain for their army, sort of like the post goblin war of Lesserton & Mor.  There are nations with different cultures to either side of Northport, which is set in an area inspired by Banestorm, in the old empire of Aral, with Valdassya to the west, and Shevnia to the east.  In addition to the Aralaise speaking Orcs, Goblins, and humans, there are two other communities: Little Shevnia to the east, and Little Sahud to the west.  I was sort of looking at Tredroy as an inspiration for part of this.  (Of course my city was also informed by the advenure Banrnacus, City in Peril. from Dragon Magazine # 80, as mentioned on my last podcast, along with my frequently recommended Ruins of the Undercity)

I know that using a pan-Asian pastiche like Sahud in my campaign is pretty crassly not PC, but I had a request by several players armed with google translate and wikipedia articles and a general knowledge base of cheesy kung fu films that wanted to play in that kind of setting. With apologies to the large number of people who may be offended by this kind of colonial cultural appropriation, this is how the long running conflict between Sakemoko , the patron of these characters, roughly 450 points:

Sakemoko is a squire+treasure hunter+ 50pt genin lens
with born warleader 3 ,charisma +2, social regard 2: respected,
(Social stigma minority, code of honor: bushido, sense of duty to
Sahudese,) guild rank 4, status 2 filthy rich
Large ally group of catfolk ninja office:master of funerals,
He also has several points in independent income based on
His involvement in numerous side businesses

and Akira Aku No, his enemy, roughly 500 points

half oni boss, head of rival ninja clan

Brute +treasure hunter+ 50pt wizard lens+ 50pt ninja lens+
 infernal + half ogre, has bloodlust, berserk

Both of these figures had extensive ally groups, each having at their service numerous ashigaru, and rival ninja clans.

The Team consisting of Chye Isuel, an ashigaru with some distant dragonman heritage, Chou-Zen Mou, an elder infused wizard specialized in lightning spells, Ales Konstantin, a Shevnian Squire+Adept, Iskander, a Valdassian martial artist (the player was using mostly 3e to build him), Tanaka Kojimaru, a Samurai warrior poet. Jin the Yak and Airis Moonshadow were no longer with the group.

Along with them were Di San Ge Er Zi the one eyed Ashigaru, and a number of mercenaries they hired away from Akira Aku No’s mercenary recruitment drive  for promises of better pay, the swordsman Xu, and his partner Chung Wang (Thank you Jackie Chan) as with most of my npc’s, I give a super brief stat block pulled usually from DF15 until more details are needed.

Chung Wang is a Brute
St 15 DX 12 IQ 10 Ht 12
Hp 15 per 10 will 10 fp 12
T/s 1d+1/2d+2
Bs 6 mv 6 dodge 9 parry 10
DR 3 torso 5

Skills brawl 13
Two handed sword 14 tetsubo, 2d+4 crushing
Gluttony, overconfident, compulsive carousing, greedy

 

Xu is a Skirmisher
St 11 dx 14 iq 10 ht 11
Hp 11 per 10 will 10 fp 11
T/s 1d-1/1d+1
Bs 7.5 mv 7 dodge 11 parry 12
Dr 3
Combat reflexes, ambidexterous
Extravagant, impulsive, compulsive carousing
Ambitious, suspicious, jealous

Broadsword 16 1d+2 cut
Shortsword 12 1d cut
Karate 12
Fastdraw katana 15
Fastdraw shortsword 15

Light lamelar and helmet with ear and neck protection,
Cheap ornate katana and wakizashi

Having decimated the forces of Akira Aku No on the initial raid to recover the tea set containing a divine being or two, and then by robbing his casino, the oni blooded boss had to resort to hiring mercenaries, including, initially Xu, and Chung Wang and a couple of naginata wielding ashigaru, along with Ale’s enemy, Bresnark, a magic user equipped with Rain of Stones and also accompanied by a Created Brute Warrior, who was defeated and robbed of his mundane gear by Iskander and Tanaka. Bresnark could probably have been taken out, except that he has plot protection as an enemy, and has to be defeated by Ales.

During the assault on Sakemoko’s compound, with rooftop ninja archers and assorted poorly armored mooks attacking the gate, a couple of ninja’s got in ( one disguised as a new ashigaru hireling, who was spotted as odd by Di San Ge er Zi,) and  poisoned the food stores in the kitchen  and then through poison shuriken at the two ashigaru it was hired with. They then led a chase through the complex, cutting holes in shoji paper walls and hiding in the rafters before being cornered in the library, where they were cornered and threatened to burn the place down (Ales stepped in and used Extinguish Fire) They were locked in irons, from which they made an escape, and were eventually hunted down.  Chou-Zen had eliminated another ninja who had been on the roof, by casting grease and causing them to fall into the koi pond in the courtyard. Another one was dispatched after the shoji walls were all collapsed and it had no place to hide. The poisoned Ashigaru were treated by the house physician, Yodoko no Hana, who is based on Ehi Shiina from Audition

Yodoku  no Hana (poisonous  flower)
125pt sage, with Alchemy, poison, physiology first aid, physician,
 herbary and
esoteric medicine, Psychology diagnosis and surgery and detect lies,
but no modular
 book learned wisdom. (Instead, she has the ninja lens)
She has callousness, sadist  and curious and has torture, pressure secrets and
 massage? She is attractive  and immune to poison and has high pain tolerance.
 She makes poisons and potions
That cause sensitivity and reduce will

In the end, Sakemoko siezed a coveted office, MAster of Funerary Services, from Akira Aku No, who had botched things when his barrels of salt packed dead waiting shipping to the homeland were animated by a toxifier demon, and arranged for all of the funerals of the people who had attacked him, and even gave stipends to the families, building him more Social regard.

Akira Aku No appeared a day later with a full procession including dragonmen and musicians, and sued for peace, saying that he was relocating to Little Shevnia for a beaurocratic job, and sold off his remaining interests in Little Sahud to Sakemoko.

From here, the crew will be heading to Veroigne, a region south of Northport where rice is grown for the Sahudese of Northport.

Veroigne developed in the campaign because a new player wanted to play a member of royalty and his husband, captain of his guard. I had little trouble building them, except for the general absence of Social Status in DF, and settled on giving him a couple of levels of Courtesy Rank. The two, both handsome  Chivalrous knights, had a backstory that created some campaign setting. By not accepting an arranged marriage, Baronet James forfeited the barony to his sister Loraine, who had married Marcel Pequenaud, the baron from a neighboring comunity that had serfs, while most of the Veroignese had died during the plague forty years ago, leaving the small barony struggling.  Pequenaud is a horrible ruler, and most of the family retainers loyal to Sir Percival and James have become Robin-Hood like bandits dedicated to protecting the peasantry from the Barons predations. As his soldiers are largely collecting taxes, Several other PC’s from Northport (Kirpich Rockson the Priest of Grom, Syvanus the elven archer/thief/wizard,  Marlena the Seasoned Apprentice and Snorry Rosslovich the Seasoned Guard, all of whom searched for the lost paytrain in the Shevnian Hexcrawl, along with Dionysus the faun swashbuckler, Aethul the ranger, and Balir Ironhide the Dwarf are on their way to hunt the Terrible Beast of Veroigne, which is terrorizing the peasantry.  Along the way they have met a party of Dolmenwood creatures,  a moss dwarf, a woodgrue, a frost elf and a grimalkin, and had little issue with them except for the compulsive playing of the woodgrue, that affected a party member or two, and a fantastic creature, the Stag of Veroigne, which gave Aethul a blessing when he approached it nicely. Killing it would have brought on a curse, which would have intensified if they had eaten it. It would have resurrected itself like Frey’s Goats the next day had they done so.

As to what James and Percival were up to in Northport? Thjey joined up with a pair of warrior /wizards, Sederic and Grimaldi to hunt down the racketeering Connard DuMenteur (Asshole the Liar) who had informed the Guard of Vilgar’s underground fighting operation at the very start of the campaign, back in August of 2013.  Connard had a fortified building with all access to the undercity cut off, so as to prevent an attack from below.  Among his personal crew of kneecappers and fingertakers who collected money for him were five brutes (including Lourdad and Chienne LaChatte, a gigantic elder infused brute that collected fingers as trophies.

After bashing through the brutes, one surrendered (Lourdad) and they went after DuMenteur. He had holed up in his Magelocked lower appartment, and had time to load up on paut, and  set up a trap. He opened a secret door that lead into an L-shaped closet, and hid in an alcove behind an arras, and waited for them to break in the door. They had been using sense foes earlier, but they all blindly ran into the close, and had it Magelocked behind them, and were stuck for an hour. when they got out ( the door was stone, and the knights were in front, unable to squeeze past to attempt to break down the door), Both DuMenteur and Vilgar were waiting for them, having come to a financial arrangement. ( I have a lot of bosses parlaying).  Grimaldi and Sederic of the cursed, dancing sword went on to do some advertising work for the underground tavern, standing watch while some laborers nailed signs.

 

Another group, the one that had negotiated a truce with the ogres in the winecellars and are travelling with a four-armed demon hunting celestial descended from a servitor of Kali had tracked down a couple of cultists who were on their way to buy cuttlefish. The cultists of Saturnos the Devourerer have an initiation rite in which the supplicant dyes their robes in cuttlefish ink by placing it in a barrel with them and agitating the squiddos by drowning a cat. This leads to the typical markings of the cultists, blackened hands and scratches all over their faces.  Typically, they are led into what they think is a sex cult with offers of carnal relations with succubi and incubi, and up until now, the assorted groups of PC’s had thought they were dealing with a demon cult, especially due to all of the petty demons and Demons of Old that they had faced. They were forgetting about the Demons from Between the Stars… As it was discovered by this group, which included Oly the thief, who had funded the paytrain Hexcrawl with loot from fighting the cult when Ludlow the Munificent  accidentally blocked their ceremony and created a gate to Hell, Mancini the Guild agent (Agent+Treasure Hunter) and his guard ally Norman, Aoife the Leprechaun Druid who was on the mission to negotiate with the Trolls and entered the Library of Flax, Ardenas Barehand, who had been involved with Oly  in stealing the Jugga Trophy from the Orcish Dojo, along with Kalima, they discovered what the cultists were really about.

 

Note: Kalima has been edited with info from DF20 Slayers

Kalima - 300 pt celestial avatar of Kali

Att 80
Adv 149
Dis -50
Q-5
Sk 44
Sp  32
Total: 250

Attributes: ST 15 [0]; DX 12 [20]; IQ 13 [60]; HT 13 [10].
 Damage 1d+1/2d+1; BL 39 lbs.;
HP 15 [0]; Will 14 [0]; Per 13 [0]; FP 14 [0];
Basic Speed 7.00 [-10]; Basic Move 7 [0].

Advantages:
Celestial [75]
 (ST+1, dx+1,iq+1, ht+1, will+1, fp+1, bs +.5, attractive ,
  fit, spirit empathy, celestal nimbus,divine gifts,
  Divine curse (preferred enemy of demons) weakness to evil areas)
Half Ogre [20]
 ST+4 [40]; IQ-1 [-20]; HT+1 [10].
 Advantages: Damage Resistance 1 (Tough Skin, -40%) [3]; Fearlessness 1 [2];
 Night Vision 3 [3]. Disadvantages:Appearance (Ugly) [-8];
 Social Stigma (Savage)
2 extra arms [20]
Higher Purpose, Slay Demons [5]
Sharp Teeth [5]
power Investiture 2 [20]
signature gear, spear [3]
Charms [5]
Vampiric bite [30]
Blessed Touch [1]
Demon Sniffer [10]
Hell Vision [15]


Dis:
Unattractive [0]
Honesty [-10]
Pacifism, Cannot harm Innocents [-10]
Sense of Duty [-5 ](Adventuring Companions)
selfless [-5]
Bloodlust [-10]
Bad Temper [-10]


Unnatural Features 3, (3rd eye, Black glossy skin, flame red hair)
Q usually wears only silk loincloth, coral bracelets and anklets,
 marigold wreath, likes to dance


Charms
Aura
Invisibility
Turn Spirit
Final Rest
Eviscerate

Skills:
Brawling 8 15
Wrestling 4 13+2
Spear 12 15
Garrotte 4 13

Theology 2 12
Thanatology 2 12
Hidden Lore, Demons 4 14
Meditation 2 12

Intimidation 1 15
Detect Lies 1 11
Diplomacy 1 11

Stealth 1 12
Observation 1 12
Dance 1 12

Spells:
Protection from Evil 4 15
Invisibility 4 15
Final Rest 4 15
Aura 4 15
Turn Spirit 4 15
Eviscerate VH 8 15


Equipment: Spear Pussiant +1 vs Demons
Currently wearing a bolt of reddish linen as a sari.

When they followed the cuttlefish seekers back to their lair, finding their signature trap, Evil Runes that drain FP,  and stealthily took them and a couple petty demons out, they found a large crowd of cultists about to sacrifice a demon of old! the demon, along with some petty demons participating in the ceremony, immediately attacked Kalima, a favored enemy. The feeling was mutual, and she drained health on a couple, like her ancestor, and the demon ripped free of his silvered chains and flew up to attack her (he had berserk). She killed him by eviscerating him and eating his heart.  Unfortunately for the PC’s all of the deaths (and there were many) enhanced the ceremony in progress, the summoning of an Elder Servitor.  It took a lot, including Ardenas using Winged Knife on the cult champion’s silvered greatsword to kill the servitor but they did. The cultists of the Devourerer, who started the campaign by killing everyone who had the spell divination or any kind of oracular ability, are Cultists of the Elder Gods!

This was noticed by the Ymid, with his Sense Weird ability, but he was two bothered by the destruction of his skiff ( a nifty little contragravity craft he had parked on the other side of the Bone Gate) by a Bhole passing through the gate. Yaay there is now a super Dire Rot worm  somewhere in the dungeon (pencilling in a purple worm encounter). The Juniors group will be fetching alchemical components for the repair of the skiff. Additionally, they have just acquired some cultists of their own; some serfs fleeing Veroigne who were met on the road by thatr gorup, who are all worshipers of Vejovis, the roman defender of injustice, worshiped by Nodwin, the Initiate travelling with the Juniors group.

Now for some art updates:

 

 

These two are going to be in Gabor Lux‘s Echoes from Fomalhaut 5.

I am also working on a bundle of Dungeon entrances:

 

 

Links coming soon when I get a few more drawn.

In the meantime: Support my Patreon!

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Also, I just won a contest on another blog. I should run one here… It is a great blog, Geek Girls Rule. I have two at home, I know it to be true.