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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Some More Public Domain Artwork!

I am once again too tired to make a proper, gameable post for the day, so I am going to once again peruse through my inspiration folder, to showcase some public domain artwork.


I like to think that this is actually a picture of an adventuring party (yes, including the skeleton).


"Answer my riddles three, and I shall tell you the password!"


A coven of hags on the hunt for mortal flesh.


I feel like the hydra's relationship with water is often understated in modern fantasy (also I love the goofy faces on this monster, I feel like they should talk).


I don't even want to know the context for this picture, the eerie unearthliness of the piece is better without explanation.


A peaceful dock by night, moments before Sahuagin strike...

Friday, September 28, 2018

My House Rules: Just a Big Ol' Mess of Mechanics



This post is kind of a mess, and I'll probably compile an easy to use house rules document in pdf format at some point. Feel free to steal anything you want from this (especially my d18 I'm stupidly proud of that).

Stats


Roll 3d6 to determine stats (Attribute Scores). Each stat has a modifier as defined below:

Stat            Modifier

3                -3
4-5             -2
6-8             -1
9-12          +0
13-15         +1
16-17         +2
18              +3

STRength modifies damage and attack rolls with melee
DEXterity modifies damage and attack rolls with ranged, also AC
CONstitution modifies hit points at first level and gained each level
INTelligence modifies languages known, base 2, minimum can’t read but can still speak simple sentences in one language
WISdom modifies saving throws against magical effects
CHArisma modifier is multiplied by 10, added to starting currency


Saving Throws


When told by the game master to make a saving throw, roll a d20 (or d18). Your aim is to roll equal to or higher than 15 minus your level (Or 14 minus your level if rolling a d18). Add your WIS modifier to your saving throw roll if you are attempting to resist a magical effect.

What the heck is a d18?




This, rolled in conjunction with a normal d6, is a d18. Its basically how I brute forced my home system to technically be d6 only if I wanted it to. Take a d6 or a blank cube, and write +0 on two opposing faces, +6 on two opposing faces, and +12 on two opposing faces. When you roll that with a d6, it will generate a number between 1 and 18. Whenever a mechanic in my system uses a d20, there is an option to replace it with a d18. 

Combat




In combat, player characters go first, followed by NPCs. During a round of combat, characters can move and perform an action. An action is anything that takes a few seconds to complete, such as casting a spell, attacking, or drinking a potion.

In order to attack, roll a d20 (or d18), add any modifiers to your attack roll, and check table below to see if hits, cross referencing your modified roll and the armor of the opponent.

D18 Roll      D20 Roll                       Hits

9                   10                                  Unarmored
10                 11                                  Unarmored plus shield
11                 12                                  Leather/Light armor
12                 13                                  Leather/Light armor plus shield
13                 14                                  Chainmail/Medium armor
14                 15                                  Chainmail/Medium armor plus shield
15                 16                                  Platemail/Heavy armor
16                 17                                  Platemail/Heavy armor plus shield


Weapon Damage Table

Weapon                           Damage

Unarmed                         1-3 (1d6, divided by 2)
Light Weapon                 1-5 (1d6-1, minimum 1)
1 Handed Weapon          1d6
2 Handed Weapon          1d6+1
Heavy Weapon               1d6+2

Healing


Characters may heal 1d3 HP after a combat, representing resting and catching one’s breath. Characters who rest for a full day regain 1d6 HP.


Leveling Up
Method 1: Milestones
Every time the player characters complete an important task/quest, they gain a level. This could be as simple as clearing a dungeon of monsters or as complex as banishing an eldritch deity to the moon. This method works better for a quest based/heroic fantasy game.



Method 2: Money as XP
For every coin of treasure one acquires, they gain 1 experience point (XP). When one acquires enough XP, they gain a level. This method works better for a sandbox game. Below is a table containing the total amount of XP needed to level up. Note that XP is cumulative, and is not lost upon gaining a level, and that if coins are lost, XP is not lost.

Level        Total XP Gained
1               0
2               2000
3               4000
4               8000
5               16000


Non-Human Species



Characters are assumed to be human, but don’t necessarily have to be. If one wants to play as a non-human creature, roll up a character as normal, and then apply the modifiers given by each species.



Elves
Elves automatically gain +2 to their DEX, but take a -1 penalty to CON and STR. Elves can see by moonlight as if it were daylight. Elves tend to be shorter than humans, but not much so. If their pointed ears are covered they can pass for exceptionally graceful humans.



Elves tend to be at home in the woods, building their homes in and on top of trees, or in underground caves. There is no known upper limit to how long elves can live, as they have only ever been recorded dying from battle, disease, or suicide.



Dwarves
Dwarves automatically gain +2 to their CON, but take a -1 penalty to CHA and DEX. Dwarves can always see at least a few feet in front of them, even in complete and utter darkness. Dwarves are only around 4 feet high, but as wide as a human. Dwarfish features tend to be bulbous and rounded, with exaggerated faces.



Dwarves are adapted to live underground, and many spend their entire lives without ever seeing the sun. Dwarves usually live in large extended family units, called clans. They live a couple centuries.



Halflings
Halflings gain +1 to their DEX and CHA, but take a -1 penalty to CON and STR. Halflings are only around 3 to 4 feet high. Halflings have long fingers and slightly pointed ears.



Halflings are essentially a smaller subspecies of humans, who dwell in burrow-like homes or small cottages. They have a faster metabolism than humans, but still tend to live longer, around a century or so on average.



Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Holy Empire, Part 7: The Cult of the Mother Goat

“Bigger’n a barn . . . all made o’ squirmin’ ropes . . . hull thing sort o’ shaped like a hen’s egg bigger’n anything, with dozens o’ legs like hogsheads that haff shut up when they step . . . nothin’ solid abaout it—all like jelly, an’ made o’ sep’rit wrigglin’ ropes pushed clost together . . . great bulgin’ eyes all over it . . . ten or twenty maouths or trunks a-stickin’ aout all along the sides, big as stovepipes, an’ all a-tossin’ an’ openin’ an’ shuttin’ . . . all grey, with kinder blue or purple rings . . . an’ Gawd in heaven—that haff face on top! . . .” -The Dunwhich Horror, by HP Lovecraft


There are countless demonic entities that peer at Urth with thirsting eyes; among their number is the so called “Mother Goat”, the alien goddess of fecundity known as Shub.

Shub is a demonic deity of fertility, and as such, most of her cultists are farmers, recruited during hard times with a promise of food and growth. Others are attempted parents, people whose seed is weak or wombs are barren. These poor souls willingly prostrate themselves before this foul goddess out of desperation to continue their family line, and many an aged noble have found themselves praying before a tentacled idol of the Mother Goat.

In her Hellish realm, Shub appears as a gargantuan mass of tentacles, horns, and millions of goat-like eyes. Countless cloacae dot her body, continually expelling hideous demons, some of which are immediately consumed by their own mother. She is a living embodiment of birth and death.

(The Kennel Thing from The Thing)

Those that pray to this bestial matriarch are blessed with fertility. Farmers whose cows have produced stillborn calves suddenly find their fields full of cattle, and women who by all rights should be too old to give birth suddenly find themselves pregnant (sometimes without even conception occurring). But there is a price to these divine gifts. Animals born from Shub’s blessing grow quickly, but are broken and mutated, their flesh tasting sour and their body misshapen with tumors and extra limbs. Children born by cultists are barely human, masses of writhing flesh emitting a newborn babe’s cries.

(The Flesh from Darkest Dungeon)

High priests of a Mother Goat cult are usually not fully human. Goatish eyes, tentacles hidden under flowing robes, and small horns hidden under long hair are common signs of Shub’s corruption. Even the most human-looking of Shub’s children have internal anatomies utterly alien to humanity, with vestigial organs, strange bone structures, and tumorous growths. These half-demons grow quickly, appearing fully grown after only a decade or so, and having the emotional maturity of someone much older. They often study magic from a young age, and some may even make contact with their true mother.

(Wilbur Whately by King Ov Rats on Deviantart)

The ultimate goal of all cults of Shub is to bring about the birth of the Screaming Child, a being so hideous and powerful that its very existence will cleanse Urth of all natural life, to give way to Shub’s legions of amorphous horrors. Nobody knows what the Screaming Child is, or exactly when its birth will occur, but one thing is for sure; if the Child is born, humanity will die.

Summary
  • Worships the demonic entity known as Shub, represented as a horrific mass of tentacles, horns, and countless goatish eyes.
  • Her followers believe that their duty is to help the Mother Goat produce the Screaming Child, a being that will bring about the end times and “purify” the land.
  • Those blessed by Shub can give birth through immaculate conception, though the children are half-demon.
  • The high priests of Shub tend to be half-demon, the more humanoid children of Shub. They often possess goatish features, and internal structures that are utterly alien to normal humans. 
  • Worshiping Shub can benefit farmers, as their cattle can be blessed with fecundity beyond normal limits, though the resulting offspring are mutated and hideous.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

My House Rules: Buying Items, Starting Gold, and Equipment Packs


Player characters begin with 3d6x10 coins, plus their CHA modifier x 10. They may choose to buy items from the list below (or ask the game master for prices of other items that aren't on the list) or they may pick an equipment pack, still adding their CHA modifier x 10 coins.

(Image by Erol Otus, taken from the 1981 D&D basic set)

Mundane Equipment
coil of rope 1 coin
lantern 5 coins
10 torches 1 coin
flask of oil 1 coin
crowbar 5 coin
hammer 5 coin
10 stakes 1 coin
backpack 5 coins
week's rations 10 coins
water skin 1 coin
chalk 1 coin
notebook 10 coins
10 foot pole 1 coin

Religious Items
holy symbol 5 coins
holy book 15 coins
holy water vial 25 coins

Transportation and Pack Animals
horse 25 coins
sack of oats 15 coins
donkey/mule 20 coins
saddle 10 coins

Ranged Weaponry
light ranged weapon 10 coins
1 handed ranged weapon 20 coins
2 handed ranged weapon 30 coins
heavy ranged weapon 40 coins
10 shots ammunition 1 coin

Melee Weaponry
light melee weapon 5 coins
1 handed melee weapon 10 coins
2 handed melee weapon 15 coins
heavy melee weapon 20 coins

Armor
light armor 20 coins
medium armor 40 coins
heavy armor 60 coins
shield 10 coins


Equipment Packs

Archer
Leather armor (light armor)
Bow (2 handed ranged weapon)
20 Arrows
Dagger (Light melee weapon)
43 coins

Berserker
Great-axe (Heavy melee weapon)
Hide armor (light armor)
60 coins

Swashbuckler
Pistol (1 handed ranged weapon)
20 bullets
Rapier (1 handed melee weapon)
Leather armor (light armor)
48 coins

Knight
Platemail Armor (Heavy armor)
Shield
Shortsword (1 handed melee weapon)
20 coins

Warrior Priest
Chainmail (Medium armor)
Holy Water Vial
Holy Symbol
Holy Book
Maul (Heavy melee weapon)
15 coins


Dungeoneer
Coil of rope
Ten foot pole
Crowbar
Chalk
Lantern
5 flasks of oil
Leather armor (Light armor)
Cutlass (1 handed melee weapon)
Pistol (1 handed ranged weapon)
10 bullets
31 coins

Hermit
Hide armor (Light armor)
Backpack
Water skin
Bow (2 handed ranged weapon)
10 arrows
Axe (1 handed melee weapon)
43 coins



Tuesday, September 25, 2018

My House Rules: Spell List


Here are some basic spells, which are used both for clerics and wizards in my house rules. They're meant to be easily written down on a character sheet.

Level 1

Charm
Target within sight must make a saving throw or believe the caster is their friend.

Detect Magic
All magical effects, items, and creatures glow slightly in the caster’s vision.

Create Fire
A candle-sized fire is created on any object or location the caster can see.

Sleep
2d6 Hit Dice of targets within sight must make a saving throw or fall unconscious.

Magic Missile
Target within line of sight takes 1d6+1 damage.

Translate
The caster or a target within line of sight can speak, read, and write a language they don’t already know for 1d6 hours.

Protection from Supernatural
The caster or a target within line of sight is protected from the supernatural; they make any saving throws against magic with a +2 bonus, and supernatural creatures take a -2 penalty to hit them.

Light
An orb of bright light, with the intensity of a small lantern, is conjured, and will follow the caster, acting as a light source. This effect lasts for 1d6 hours.

Cure Light Wounds
The caster or a target the caster is touching regains 1d6+1 Hit Points.

Hallucinatory Monster
The caster creates the illusion of a horrific and terrifying creature, drawn from their own imagination. The creature is not real, but can be seen, smelled, and heard. The creature obeys the mental commands of the caster, and lasts for 2d6 minutes.



Level 2

Invisibility
The caster or a target the caster touches is unable to be seen for 1d6 hours.

Unlock Door
A door that the caster touches that is locked by a non-magical lock becomes unlocked.

Inflict Weakness
A target the caster can see takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls for 1 day. The target is allowed a saving throw to resist this effect.

Levitate
The caster or an object/creature they touch now floats around 6 inches above the ground, and is capable of hovering their normal movement speed if they could move in the first place.

Erase Memory
A target within sight of the caster forgets something they have learned/experienced in the past day. The target is allowed a saving throw to resist this effect.

Magic Lock
A door the caster touches that has a lock is magically locked, and cannot be opened using the spell Unlock Door.

Blind
A target within sight of the caster can no longer see for 1 day, and as a result takes a -4 penalty to attack rolls. The target is allowed a saving throw to resist this effect.

Deafen
A target within sight of the caster can no longer hear for 1 day. If this effect is combined with the spell Blind, then the victim takes a -8 penalty instead of -4. The target is allowed a saving throw to resist this effect.


Level 3

Fireball
A ball of fire is produced from the caster’s fingertips and is fired like an arrow. Anyone within 5 feet of where the fireball lands takes 5d6 damage.

Summon Monsters
1d6 monsters with 1 Hit Die, Light Armor, and a single attack that deals 1d6 damage appear within 20 feet of the caster. The monsters will obey the casters commands to the best of their ability, and will disappear in 2d6 rounds.

Paralyze
A target within sight of the caster is paralyzed for 2d6 rounds, unable to move or make actions. The target may make a saving throw to avoid this effect.

Prophetic Vision
The caster sees a vision of their future, or the future of someone they are touching. This vision of the future can be altered, and the game master is allowed to be as vague as they want.

Breath Underwater
The caster or a target they are touching grows gills and can breath underwater for 1d6 hours.

Fly
The caster or a target they are touching can magically fly at their speed for 1d6 hours.

Cure Disease
The caster or a target they are touching is instantly cured of a non-magical and non-mental illness. Physical deformities are not affected by this spell.



Monday, September 24, 2018

My House Rules: Base Classes

I love (almost) all things OSR, and I love tinkering with things, so as a result; I do sort of have my own house rules. They change and evolve often as I take inspiration from other sources, but common trends are:


  • A focus on d6s, either exclusively or using d6s and d20s only. (In this more recent ruleset, you can use a d6 and a d20, or a d6 and a d18. A d18 is when you roll 1d6 and add the result of a die that is numbered 0,0,6,6,12,12, thus generating a number between 1 and 18.)
  • Not very many classes, and what classes there are are fairly simple.
  • Simplified saving throw systems.
  • Alignment doesn't exist.
  • XP either doesn't exist, or is awarded by treasure.

While my current house rules document is under construction, I have completed a first draft of the classes, based off of mainly LOTFP. These should be pretty compatible with most old school rulesets, and are pretty simple.

Fighter
You are good at killing things, and at avoiding being killed. Outside of combat you don’t have any particularly special abilities, but in combat you can slay your enemies and protect your comrades better than the average person.



Hit Points: You begin with 8 Hit Points.
Combat Bonus: When rolling to attack, you add 1 to your roll’s total.
Leveling Up: When you gain enough experience points to level up, you gain an additional +1 bonus to your attack rolls, and add 1d6+1 to your total Hit Points. Every odd level after the first, you gain the ability to make 1 more attack each round. For example, a level 3 fighter may make 2 attacks each round, a level 5 fighter may make 3 attacks each round, etc.
Rogue
You don’t fight fair, and usually survive by avoiding combat rather than enduring it. Outside of battle, your skills you picked up from a life of being a criminal make you exceedingly useful in the dungeon.



Hit Points: You begin with 6 Hit Points.
Skills: You begin play with 4 skill points, to upgrade your skills as you please. All skills begin with a score of 1, meaning you must roll a 1 on a d6 to successfully use them. Each skill point spent increases a skill by 1, to a maximum of 6. If your skill is 6, you roll 2d6, and if both come up as 6, you fail to use your skill.
You may choose from the skills below to upgrade, or ask the Game Master to create your own.
Move Silently
Lockpicking
Disguise
Hide in Shadows
Disable Traps
Find Hidden Things
Sneak Attack: When attacking an enemy who is not aware of you, you gain a +4 bonus to your attack roll and deal double whatever damage you roll.
Leveling Up: When you gain enough experience points to level up, you gain 2 more skill points to upgrade your skills, and add 1d6 to your total Hit Points.

Priest
You are devoted to your god, having spent your life worshiping them and spreading their word. It appears as though your god has rewarded you for your services. You can cast spells through the sheer power of your faith, and can turn back the unholy by brandishing your faith as a weapon.



Hit Points: You begin with 6 Hit Points.
Spells: At first level, you know two level 1 spells, and have 1 Mana per day. Casting a spell expends Mana equal to the spell’s level, which is restored to full at the beginning of each new day.
Repel Unholy: You can repel the unholy once per day. By praying loudly and perhaps brandishing your holy symbol, you can cause 2d6+1 Hit Dice worth of unholy creatures to flee for 1d6 rounds.
Leveling Up: When you gain enough experience points to level up, you gain 1 more Mana per day, and add 1d6 to your total Hit Points. In addition, you now can repel +1 more hit dice of unholy creatures. For example, a 2nd level Priest can repel 2d6+2 Hit Dice worth of unholy creatures, and a 5th level Priest can repel 2d6+5 Hit Dice worth of unholy creatures. Also, you learn any 1 new spell (as long as you have enough Mana to cast it).


Wizard
Whether through blasphemous rituals, a strange and magical bloodline, or simply decades of research, you are able to bend the energies of reality to cast spells. While Priests may be able to use their faith to produce magic, you are better at it.



Hit Points: You begin with 4 Hit Points.
Spells: At first level, you know three level 1 spells, and have 1 Mana per day. Casting a spell expends Mana equal to the spell’s level, which is restored to full at the beginning of each new day.
Familiar or Focus: At first level, you may choose to have a familiar or focus to help you cast your spells. A familiar is a small animal that is possessed by an otherworldly spirit, and a focus is a small item that helps you channel your magical energy. If you have a focus, you have 1 extra Mana per day as long as the focus is on your person. If you have a familiar, you can see through its eyes and communicate with it telepathically.
Leveling Up: When you gain enough experience points to level up, you gain 1 more Mana per day, and add 1d6-1 (minimum 1) to your total Hit Points. Also, you learn any 1 new spell (as long as you have enough Mana to cast it).

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Some D&D-Adjacent Inspirational Public Domain Art

Couldn't really think of a post today, but then I remembered my Public Domain Art subfolder on my computer. I keep this stuff for potential use in products, as well as being a source of inspiration.

Without further ado, here are a few of my favorite pieces:


Are these simply statues from a long dead civilization, or are these perhaps living beings, giants from the underworld awaiting a call to battle?


An undead sorcerer, looking through a tome of forbidden knowledge in some forgotten crypt.


Are those simply bats? Or stirges, swooping out from beneath this underground bridge to attack the intrepid adventurer?


This piece from Journey To The Center Of The Earth gives off a vibe similar to the feelings I get when reading Patrick Stuart's Veins of the Earth.



"Ruin has come to our family. You remember our venerable house, opulent and imperial, gazing proudly from its stoic perch above the moor."
-The Ancestor, Darkest Dungeon

The resulting of a summoning ritual gone horribly wrong? Or perhaps just a bogeyman, recently crawled out from beneath this gentleman's bed?


This almost seems like it is a picture taken out of Bastion, Chris McDowall's incredibly interesting campaign setting.

Death itself would make quite an interesting NPC to encounter on the road, wouldn't it?


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Bigfoot for Holmes Basic

"Shuffling toward him in the darkness was the gigantic, blasphemous form of a black thing not wholly ape and not wholly insect. Its hide hung loosely upon its frame, and its rugose, dead-eyed rudiment of a head swayed drunkenly from side to side. Its fore paws were extended, with talons spread wide, and its whole body was taut with murderous malignity despite its utter lack of facial expression." -The Horror in the Museum, by HP Lovecraft

(Patty, the bigfoot allegedly taped in the Patterson-Gimlin film)

Bigfoot
Move: 120 feet/turn
Hit Dice: 5
Armor Class: 6
Treasure Type: nil
Alignment: Neutral
Attacks: 2 claws + 1 bite
Damage: 1-6 claw, 1-8 bite

These ape-like creatures are known by many names, such as skunk ape, sasquatch, or (possibly most famously of all) bigfoot. Their most common nickname refers to the tracks that they leave, large humanoid foot-prints around a foot and a half long.

Oftentimes these footprints can be followed for a short time, and then simply stop, as if the creature vanished into thin air. The reason behind this is simple; it did vanish into thin air.

From a distance a sasquatch looks like an earthly creature, a concrete being of flesh and blood. Sure, it may be a bit strange, apes don't typically walk upright, nor do they wander temperate woods, but it appears to be something natural. Up close, however, it is a different story.

Beneath their fur is a carapace of glistening black chitin, and in their otherwise normal sockets lie unblinking, compound eyes. Their mouths, when opened, stretch to a foot or more, revealing razor sharp fangs.

These shambling horrors from beyond reality can travel through the fourth dimension at will, leading them to be found all over the globe, with their appearances often accompanied by strange lights and odd noises. Travelling between dimensions requires 1-4 turns of concentration for the creatures, during which time they appear to glow slightly with an unearthly violet light. While travelling to other realms, they become partially immaterial, and only take 1/2 damage from non-magical means.

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Mad Gasser of Mattoon and the Mongolian Death Worm for Holmes Basic




The Mad Gasser
Move: 120 feet/turn
Hit Dice: 3
Armor Class: 7
Treasure Type: nil
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1-6

The Mad Gasser, also known as the Phantom Anesthetist, is a strange being that occasionally appears in large cities, starts a reign of terror lasting for a few years, and then vanishes without a trace. The being resembles a human in general form, with a tall, thin body, and a face so inhuman that most interpret it to be some kind of mask.

The Mad Gasser is named for its ability to produce copious amounts of anesthetic gas, sometimes through the use of an odd gun, sometimes just from its body. Instead of attacking, the being may instead spray gas at a target within 200 feet, requiring them to make a saving throw against poison or be paralyzed for 1-8 turns.

The Phantom Anesthetist usually does not kill its victims, usually simply paralyzing them to cause fear; it is hypothesized that the creature feeds on terror, which is why it targets large cities to cause mass hysteria. However, if threatened, the Mad Gasser can produce a scalpel with which it can defend itself.

The Mad Gasser can turn invisible and intangible once per day, which is usually how it enters peoples' homes. However, in this state it is incapable of attacking, and can still be harmed by magical weapons and attacks.



Death Worm
Move: 180 feet/turn
Hit Dice: 2
Armor Class: 7
Treasure Type: nil
Alignment: Neutral
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1-10

Death worms are two to five foot long annelids that dwell within a large desert to the east. They are red, and appear almost like disembodied intestines. They lay their eggs in the intestines of dead camels, which they kill through their extremely deadly venom.

Simply touching a death worm with one's bare skin required an immediate saving throw versus poison or instant death. Even if one survives the contact, they will still suffer 1-6 damage. The death worm's primary form of attack involves spitting up a mixture of electrocuted acid and diluted venom at the face of its prey, often causing them to dissolve painfully.








Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Hopkinsville Goblins for Holmes Basic


Hopkinsville Goblins
Move: hover 120 feet/turn
Hit Dice: 1
Armor Class: 3
Treasure Type: nil
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1-6

These goblin-like creatures arrive on earth in saucer-like spacecraft, usually in groups of 12-15. They do not speak, though they may giggle in an unearthly, slightly artificial sounding voice.

The beings do not possess any weapons, beyond their claws and any objects they can get their hands on. Indeed, they seem decidedly primitive in comparison to humans, with little to no tactical ability nor advanced technology beyond the strange ships they arrive in.

The "goblins" have glowing, saucer-like eyes, a line where their mouth should be, and pointed ears. They are gray in color, and do not have feet, instead hovering above the ground. Their skin is metallic, as evidenced by a clanging sound whenever they are attacked. Whatever passes for their blood glows in the dark in the rare event of them being wounded.

The aliens' usual modus operandi is pestering a small, isolated pocket of human civilization (such as a small farm) for several hours, before returning back to their ship and leaving abruptly. Some scholars believe that the creatures may be juveniles of a more advanced species, or perhaps even automatons controlled by an external intelligence.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Flatwoods Monster for Holmes Basic



The Flatwoods Monster
Move: fly 180 feet/turn
Hit Dice: 5
Armor Class: 4
Treasure Type: nil
Alignment: Neutral
Attacks: 2
Damage: 1-6

This strange semi-mechanical monster occasionally comes down to Earth from whatever star it originates from. The creature is around 3 meters tall, with eyes that emit greenish-orange light. It is unclear where the quasi-humanoid creature's body begins and where its mechanical enhancements end.

The creature emits a foul smelling mist from its skirt. This, combined with the oddly hypnotic eyes, cause anyone within 100' of the being to take a -2 penalty to attack rolls. 

The monster communicates through hissing and flashing lights. It leaves behind gummy residue and burnt skid marks when it lands, and it appears as a meteor when it comes down from the sky.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Holy Empire, Part 6: Monsters and Their Origins


I couldn't really work up the energy to write up a full paragraphed style post about monsters, but I had enough ideas to write a decently long bullet point list on the origins and mythology of some monsters.

(The Wolf Man from Van Helsing)

Monster Origins
  • Goblins were essentially foot soldiers in the war between faeries and humans, created by the faeries to reproduce fast (all goblins are capable of producing young without needing sexual intercourse) and survive in most environments. However, after the war they escaped the servitude and infested the land. Over time, mutations have created specific strains of goblins, such as kobolds, hobgoblins, and bugbears.
  • Orcs were created by a demon worshiping wizard long ago, fused together from the corpses of humans and beasts using a dark ritual. However, his slaves killed him, and learned from his notes how to create more of their kind. Orcs wander the land, burning and killing, and then use the corpses of livestock and their foes to create more orcs.
  • Ogres and trolls are mutated descendants of giants. Though giants still exist, they are much rarer in the world now, though in prehistoric times they held a great empire, particularly on the Northern continent.
  • Dragons are the ancient reptilian monsters from the dawn of time. Though thought of to be rare, in reality many dragons are in the world, simply resting in hard cocoons of stone beneath the earth, hibernating. When a dragon wakes up, death follows in its wake.
  • Demons are beings that cross the walls between realities, creatures from Hellish alternate universes. Though some resemble traditional Faithite depictions of fiends, many more are bizarre and utterly alien.
  • Giant versions of otherwise normal animals are often mutations caused by magical radiation, or escaped experiments of wizards and sorcerers. They are often used by the empire as evidence that magic is evil; few commoners feel very kindly about magic after being shown a 6 foot long scorpion.
  • Vampires are humans and demi-humans who have been infected with a demonic curse that requires them to drink the blood of the living to survive. However, in exchange for this curse, vampires are blessed with immortality, superhuman strength and agility, as well as magical powers in some cases. The older a vampire becomes, the more inhuman they become, with ancient specimens often taking on traits of mosquitoes, fleas, leeches, or blood sucking bats.
  • Werewolves are humans who are possessed by an incorporeal demon which can only manifest under the full moon. When the full moon rises, the demon casts off the skin of its host body, revealing a hideous, semi-humanoid lupine form beneath. When the sun rises, the skin regenerates and the host takes control again, losing all memory of the previous night. There are other varieties of these demons that take on different forms when manifesting, such as wererats, werespiders, and werebears. These creatures may have different requirements to manifest themselves.
  • Zombies and animated skeletons are simply corpses animated by magic, oftentimes controlled by a minor demonic spirit. Usually these creatures are created intentionally by a wizard of some sort, but sometimes they can spontaneously arise where the boundaries between realities are thin.
  • Ghouls are strange humanoids that are very mysterious. In many ways they resemble the undead, simply animated corpses that hunger for flesh, but some specimens have hoofed feet and dog-like faces. The most common belief regarding their origins is that ghouls are the result of a human partaking in cannibalism. After death, the body of the cannibal is believed to be corrupted by demons, and brought back to life with an insatiable hunger for flesh. Others believe that ghouls are not undead at all, but merely victims of a disease that is spread through eating human flesh.
  • Ghosts are the psychic imprints of the dead, the personalities and consciousnesses of creatures the deceased given an incorporeal form and magical abilities. Some believe that only certain people possess the psychic capability become ghosts after death, while others believe that anyone who dies with enough emotional energy can come back as a spirit. Still others believe that ghosts are not human at all, and are simply demons hijacking the psychic energies of a deceased person to manifest themselves on earth.