Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Lost Kids part 1

All children grow up and the way Wendy knew this was that adults are inconsiderate of children and talk about mortality in front of toddlers. 

Some children avoid growing up by remaining forever children, though, perhaps not, technically speaking, human.

It is a well known fact that a small percentage of children walking down lonely footpaths in wild woods or unkempt fields of shoulder-high wild flowers, that little boys and girls hiding in wardrobes among the tall smooth and buttoned coats that hang like vines in a jungle, that those hiding behind curtains or under beds or in bushes so large they have a space by the root which is almost like an inverted nest, the bare and brittle limbs like a poky cradle, have hid so well that they have hid from the eye of reality, slipped beneath the skin of perception and fallen or perhaps climbed or else woken up in some place very different but in many strange ways quite the same. Search parties find nothing, or rarely anything. Occasionally a missing shoe or a torn pair of pants, none of which are very convincing to anyone but the police who, it should be noted, would very much like to be convinced and then out of the cold and back in the station around an electric heater.

Birds, we learn on the radio, migrate from one place to another, very distant place because of something to do with their skulls and bones and magnets making them sensitive to occult energies.

Children of ages 8 to even as old as 16 are possessed of skeletons whose proportional characteristics render them susceptible to similar effects and fields as our migratory birds.

For example: a child now lost in a strange and difficult land may be able to navigate their way to a safe place by following the stars (second from the right, straight on til morning) or by testing the moss growing on trees for any clever, well-read child knows that moss and other wet, dark green things hide from the sun.

Children lost and wandering in this manner usually find themselves at one of several places: the Fort in the Woods; the Castle in the Caves; the Ship on the Island. On the way there or once they've arrived, they find themselves a bit changed. Perhaps a bit grey or scaly and possessed of eyes larger than normal and teeth which are certainly sharper than they used to be. The change isn't dramatic, just enough that they might appear like-themselves-but-not-themselves should an adult compare their photos to a registry of missing children.

These lost children have the same stats as goblins, though they have greater variety and many of them are missing a shoe or a pair of pants or are wearing a magical scarf and use kludged weapons and wooden swords to attack (doing damage as normal).

More on variations, each of the places the children live, and on Wendy, Peter and terrible elves in another post (or two).

attributions: Nintendo, Berserk

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Childhood Staring for Too Long

Part of my front tooth flaked off and its all raw and sensitive.

Here are things I like:

PCs who are children or teenagers who rescue other children or teenagers or fail horribly trying to rescue them. For tactical reasons and emotional and spiritual ones. (Monsterhearts. Over the Garden Wall. Adventure Time. John Bellairs. Gorey. Shintaro Kago. Takato Yamamoto. Maruo)

Wizards are from some wizard academy and they are all hot, condescending rich kids that don't really give you the time of day. like this one.

Dopplegangers not so much in the D&D monster sense, but in the literal sense. Jealous alternates. And places that are dopplegangers. (If a PC dies when no one is around, ask the player in secret if they want to come back as the malignant, weird version of themselves. They weep after killing a monster. When they think no one is looking, their character stares into the distance and they detect as neither evil nor good, but they are terrified of _sanctuary_. And they gain a fetish for masks of any kind, always wear them.).

Animals that wear clothes and act like people but also eat one another and don't really understand language and just pretend at civilization and stare too long at the humans that talk to them. (there is a 1 in 3 chance that any village or town is animals instead of people. The shops take nuts (squirrels sell books and clothing and rations and tools) or worms (birds sell spells and secrets) or fresh meat (weapons, armor) instead of money, the courts determine things with fights to the death using only claws and teeth (you can probably convince the judge that a sword or something is like "your claws" if you do a good job of miming. otherwise charisma check or something))

People riding deer that seem to understand them like a person would.

Fairytales and Ovid and things where people are punished because the world is unfair and because they weren't clever and hadn't figured out the secrets. (dryads trapped in trees by thug  boyfriends. nice people turned into monsters because the mayor didn't like them. children raised as killers because their parents are awful. the emperor is the worst of all, like a monster pope.)

Gods that are monster.


Orcs that are just racist regular people in white robes and pointed caps with lots of muscles that worship something horrible and all fuck eachother.

Goblins that are just the lost boys and their king is a scaly peter pan. They are at war for esoteric reasons with other goblins led by the serious and kind Wendy (who is an Alice). They have magical scarves made by mothers they've forgotten (cantrip 1/game and then the scarf is ruined, the scales fall off and the boy or girl starts growing into an adult).

Magical longjongs (always warm or jump high or better AC).

Landscapes that are  the maps of people's minds. Like Ghostland. Or the limbic crust in Limbo.

Things with eyes like flashlights. Like that frog in the fiend folio.

Ghouls that glow like ghosts in the night.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Red Saint

This is from that hexcrawl thing on which I'm working.

There are are seven Saints in the garden, five of which are known and two of which have wrapped themselves in secrecy. One of the five is presented here.


Are sought after for succor, magic items, etc.

Treat each as a Lich, but for:

a. give them resistance to magic;

b. none may cast spells, but my use teleport 3/session, geas 1/session, gate 1/session and true polymorph 1/session;
c. have advantage against turning; and
d. except for the Red Saint, they don't really look like they could be undead and none detect as such.

Each has a phylactery hidden like a splinter in the eye of a demon prince. The princes are tormented by the phylactery, but no demon may remove them.


Red is a pretty, emaciated, young woman in a tattered dress. Wounds describe her body, some fresh, some necrotic, a few still sport darts or arrow shafts. Her legs are wrapped tightly in dirty bandages  so that the flesh of her thighs and calves bulges through the gaps, like purple marble. Her nails are broken and filthy and when she is thinking, she runs them through her endless, greasy black hair. She coughs despondently, frequently. She is bad at feigning piety and compassion and mostly moans to cover up her disgust with supplicants.

It's said she takes pity on doomed lovers, especially women, and those suffering from afflictions; it's also said that she is most fond of the gallant and chivalrous.

She hates the blue saint most, then doomed lovers, then the gallant and chivalrous, then everyone else

Hidden on her: behind her hair, along her back, are hundreds of faces of various size, many no larger than a wart, but some the size of a hand. She uses these faces to replace her own should it be damaged for she cannot stand disfigurement of her visage. All these faces and the one she now wears are identical in appearance; also

buried into her arm, the base just protruding from below the wrist is a needle-like wand of hemorrhaging with four charges (being buried in her flesh recharges it) (treat as a wand of fireball but damage is dealt by leaking blood out of various orifices for d3 turns).

When no one is watching she is popping one of the faces on her back like a pimple (listen for the tiny screams). With each pop, she shudders sensuously.

If near death: she'll gate to a demiplane that's a red flesh landscape pulled taught over numbing needles walking about likely causes paralysis.

services provided

she unravels a bloody bandage from her leg luxuriously. Stuffing this in your mouth heals as if rested. A character can only enjoy this effect 1/session.
the blood, heart or liver of something magical or exotic
cure all diseases afflicting a person
as above
places the soul of one thing of 3 HD or less in a doll in a red dress. The dress and doll slowly fall to pieces, turning to a charred stake in 1-2 weeks (the Merchant will say three), at which time the soul returns to its original home
one’s soul (must obey the commands of the Merchant 3 times, after which the soul-let is relinquished)
can make a red knife, or long long red sword, magical, +damage against living things as it causes profuse bleeding and welts
the heart of a mighty creature; or the death, maiming or face of whomever is connected to the person making the request that would be most awful to choose*
return a character to life
*so like, if a woman is asking for her lover to be returned to life, the Red Saint will grant the request if the woman surrenders her face. That sort of thing.

attribution: me

Friday, January 2, 2015

something something something (what I've been working on)

I have been largely absent because of not-game things. I continue to work on a hexcrawl that's also kind of a pointcrawl. I dunno. One of the few times where I care less about the mechanics than I do about the thing itself.

*Humans made themselves out of tools and so they make weapons and armor but they also make gods that are just and kind.

*Elves are thin and beautiful and perfect and cruel. If humans were monkeys before they were humans, elves were wolves.

*There are a number different version of the world, each with its own dominant peoples. It's not clear why this has happened, but there was one world and now there are an untold many: a world of elves and its all dead leaves and long teeth and hunger and there is a wold of humans and its all making things making rubbish and leaving it behind and controlling others and organizing and being safe and looking out of windows at the dark, and there is a dwarf world where the trees feed machines and everything feeds machines because the dwarves are making another world and the dead are piled like mountains and there is poison everywhere and a shimmering gas, and there is a proto-world that eats the other worlds and its full of dopplegangers and ghosts, etc, etc.

*Elves use human souls for a lot of things. They command golems that look like clay hulks that have only mostly forgotten they were human.

*there is a lake of suicides that connects the human world and the elf world, there are also hiding places in bushes and cupboards and under beds that are small enough for children and that open into black and wild places in the elf land

*there are color merchants

*there are a few human/elf groups, the humans a little wild and cruel, the elves a little more willing to ask for a thing instead of just taking it

*there is a secret factory that makes kindness

*monsters that forgot they were monsters

*there is a wild hunt and the huntmaster's agents is handing out masks

*children that were always monsters, but some that are getting better and one that is trying very hard but can't stop and feels terrible and sad about it

*tall dark trees in endless forests

*knights in white armor fighting and hurting everyone else but not eachother because they have great armor and are actually monsters themselves

*snags in order so that things repeat but the memory stays around like a pencil you can't quite erase. Say there is a village and it is being attacked by goblins and the party stops the goblins. Great. Later, there is the same village being attacked by goblins and the goblins are sort of larger and more vicious and sometimes there are more of them because the last time this happened, the goblins died but aren't gone entirely. Someone is usually carrying something or went off and did something and you have to fix it or the loop continues until nothing can be there and it's just people and goblins dying and grey and black and goblins falling into people and houses burning and everyone melting and being born again like a ruined sheet of paper where the graphite has been erased too many times
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