Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Quake Bestiary

Quake, released in 1996 by Id software, was the spiritual successor to Doom and Doom 2. In it, the player controls the Ranger, a space marine who is sent through various slipgates (portals) into other realms to acquire runes, so that he can slay the mysterious entity known as Quake. In his travels, the Ranger fights his way through gothic castles, prehuman cities, futuristic research facilities, dungeons, and eventually finds himself in the lair of the being whose codename is Quake; Shub-Niggurath.

It was a weird game, but very fun, light on plot but heavy on atmosphere, with an ambient soundtrack by Trent Reznor providing an eerie mood to the game. An interesting feature of the game was that one could tackle its realms in any order they like, all of the portals that the Ranger had to travel through in his quest are open at the beginning of the game. Not quite a sandbox, but more open than games at the time.

In any event, it had a fun little collection of critters to blow into chunky bits, so I've converted them all into monsters for my homebrew ruleset, JABOM.

(Note that if you do the math these monsters don't fully match up statistically with their in game counterparts but I don't really care all that much.)

HD 1/2
AC unarmored (10)
ATK 1 bite
DMG 1d6-1
HDE 1/2

Rotfish are dog-sized, undead piranhas, with teeth like knives. They are not very dangerous alone, but in large groups they can easily overwhelm even a well armored adventurer.

HD 1/2
AC light (12)
ATK 1 bite
DMG 1d6
HDE 1/2

These are the corpses of dogs, possessed by extra-dimensional demons. They possess supernatural strength, and can leap great distances, but are easily slain.

HD 1
AC medium (14)
ATK 1 shotgun
DMG 1d6+1

Grunts are a grotesque fusion of technology and magic, animated corpses with cybernetic enhancements that give them a burst of pleasure whenever they kill a living human being. They superficially resemble humans, though it is clear they have undergone extensive surgery in their brain and chests.

HD 2
AC unarmored (10)
ATK 1 thrown hunk of flesh
DMG 1d6-1

Rotting corpses given unnatural life through dark magic, these mindless creatures' only method of attack is ripping rotting chunks of their body off and hurling them at their foes. The foul sorcery saturating their body gifts these globs of flesh with potent stopping power, but the truly terrifying nature of zombies is revealed only after they are slain. 1d6 rounds after dying, zombies rise back up, with full hit points and all of their wounds sealed up. The only way to permanently destroy a zombie is to utterly dismember or destroy it, either by burning it, hacking its corpse to pieces, or blowing it up with explosives.

HD 3
AC heavy (16)
ATK 1 sword
DMG 1d6

Nothing more than a suit of armor animated by rotting flesh, the knights are among the simplest of Shub-Niggurath's servants.

HD 3
ATK medium (14)
ATK 1 laser rifle
DMG 1d6+2

Essentially grunts with better equipment, the enforcers also have slightly more of their brain intact, allowing them better tactics and coordination.

HD 3
AC light (12)
ATK 1 acid spit
DMG 1d6

Scrags are demons that look like an unholy cross of human and cobra. They have a gas bag in their abdomen that allows them to glide through the air slowly, as well as allowing them to fire their spit at high velocities.

HD 3
AC unarmored (10)
ATK 2 bounces
DMG 1d6+1 each

These bouncing blobs of protoplasmic black flesh are the children of Tsathoggua, a toad-like demonaic deity that dwells in blackest N'kai. For some reason they have fallen under the influence of Shub-Niggurath, and now serve her. They are incredibly fast, slamming into opponents with such force as to shatter bones. However, they are more deadly in death, as immediately after being reduced to 0 HP, they explode in a flash, requiring anyone nearby to make a saving throw or take 2d6 damage.

HD 5
AC light (12)
ATK 1 chainsaw or grenade launcher
DMG 1d6+2 or special

Ogres are 8 foot tall, cannibalistic humanoids. Their origins are unknown, but some believe that they are humans who have been tainted by foul magic, being turned into huge, bloodthirsty cannibals. They are given chainsaws and grenade launchers to slay their foes. If an ogre hits with its grenade, it deals 2d6 damage to the target, and a saving throw should be made for anyone close to the victim, otherwise they take 1d6 damage. If the grenade misses, it will land nearby, and detonate the next round, requiring anyone near it to make a saving throw or take 1d6 damage.

Death Knight
HD 6
AC heavy (16)
ATK 1 sword or energy darts
DMG 1d6+2 or special

In life, these creatures were devoted servants of Shub-Niggurath, and made blood sacrifices to the witch-goddess on foul altars. They were rewarded with undeath, and transported to her Hellish realm to serve at her side for all eternity. A death knight may fire a spray of mystical energy in a cone in front of it, requiring anyone within 30 feet or so in front of the death knight to make a saving throw or take 1d6 damage.

HD 7
AC light (12)
ATK 2 claws and 1 bite
DMG 1d6+1 each

Fiends are horrific, simian creatures with sharp teeth, hooves, sharp claws, and no eyes. They are little more than mindless beasts, spurred into action by Shub-Niggurath's more intelligent servants. They are prone to attacking their own by mistake, as their bloodlust overwhelms their limited intelligence.

HD 8
AC light (12)
ATK 1 fireball
DMG 3d6 + special
HDE 10

The Shalrath vaguely resembles a centaur, possessing a humanoid upper half, and a monstrous lower half, but the resemblance ends there. These creatures, despite their foul and primitive appearance, have a dangerous magical ability, and can launch orbs of unholy energy which will follow their target until they hit something, exploding in a burst of flame. Essentially, this means that if the Shalrath misses its attack, each round afterwards it gets to roll again to see if its previous attack hits, unless the energy ball strikes some other object.

HD 10
AC medium (14)
ATK 1 claw or energy beam
DMG 3d6 or special
HDE 12

The shambler is a massive, shaggy beast that is often teleported by higher powers into other worlds. The beast exists only to feed and slay, as its bloodstained cavernous maw can attest. In addition to its powerful strength, the shambler can emit a burst of lightning from its claws, automatically dealing 1d6+2 damage to anyone within its line of "sight" (the beast is technically blind, but sees through some unknown process). 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

30 Minute Dungeon: The Disgraced Hero

Right! Its time for the second dungeon. There are currently three other requests for dungeons, and in the spirit of the OSR, I'm going to roll for them on a d3 table.

1. Scott Anderson: "a Peasant Hero and some varlet who wants to frame him for a crime."
2. Matt: "I'm partial to Skaven"
3. matt (a different one): "An old witch's house, built on the edge of a cliff overlooking a cliffside beach. She's lived unnaturally love waiting for her man to return. ..and he just happens to look like one of the party members."

I rolled a d3, and my result is a 1, so it looks like it is peasant hero time!

But before that, here are two links to 30 minute dungeons made by other people!

Now then, its dungeon time!

(I like this Pathfinder doppelganger miniature, I'd use it to represent the changeling in this dungeon if I had one.)

C= Combat
E= Empty
S= Special
T= Trap

A local man, one Timothy Fitzgerald, a local hero, famed for stopping a goblin attack a few years back, has been accused of murder by several residents of the town, who saw him kill someone in cold blood before fleeing the crime scene. Timothy's lover, George Curwen, is convinced it wasn't the real Timothy, and that Hilda Whitewood, a woman who loves George, felt jealous of Timothy and used foul magic to steal Timothy away, replacing him with an evil duplicate. George has seen Hilda sneak away into the woods by night, towards an old ruined castle, and has begged the party to investigate.

General Background
George is right about Hilda, she made a deal with a shape-changing faerie called a changeling to ruin Timothy's reputation. She doesn't have the heart to kill the real Timothy, however, instead capturing him and keeping him in the nearby castle ruins. She is going by night to bring him food and water.

1. Castle Entry Hall (E)
The ceiling is cracked, allowing moonlight to slip in through, giving the room an eerie feeling. A few crumbling stone pillars hold up the roof, and moss grows on the walls and floor. 
If one looks carefully, they can see that there are footprints in the moss and dirt on the floor, leading deeper into the castle towards room 10.

2. Crumbling Floor (T)
The floor here is giving way to nature, tree roots have burrowed like worms into the stone, causing cracks and damage. 
If one isn't careful, the floor might give way in some areas, causing characters to fall into shallow holes, potentially breaking legs.

3. Giant Spiders (C)
A web like that of an orb weaver is in the corner, the desiccated corpse of a deer trapped in it. The source of this web is immediately obvious; a giant spider sits at its center.
The spider is hungry but cautious, and is unlikely to attack more than one opponent at a time, and may even attempt to play dead if injured. It only wants food, it has no desire to continue fighting if the odds are against it.

4. Snare Trap (T)
The corridor appears fairly normal, though the ceiling has given way entirely, and it is somewhat dark due to a large tree looming above. Rubble covers the floor.
Hilda is a skilled hunter, and has set up a snare here to capture any who would try to rescue Timothy. If triggered, the trap will cause any who step in the hidden snare to be snatched upward, dangling from the tree by their leg.

5. Drinking Hall (E)
Tattered banners, a throne at the end of the room, and a huge decrepit wooden table make it clear that this was once a place of merriment and drinking. A few casks even stand in a corner.
The casks of wine in the corner are exceptionally valuable, having aged very well.

6. Wild Boars (M)
The room is pitch black, but as you enter you hear shuffling and snorting.
Some wild boars have made their home here, and will attack intruders. Also in the room is the corpse of a hunter which they dragged in here. His corpse has a pouch containing some coins.

7. Faerie Puzzle Box (S)
This small room contains a chair and a desk with an odd metal box atop it.
If one observes the box, they will find that it has faerie runes inscribed upon it. The runes, if translated, read as follows: "I came before trees, I came before Urth, I will be here long after, for mortal souls I thirst. Who am I?" If the faerie word for death is spoken, the box will open with a click, revealing a gold pendant, intricately carved and built around a red gem. Anyone who wears the pendant is made immune from disease and aging, but only while wearing the pendant; if it is taken off, they will rapidly experience all disease and aging they would have undergone while they were wearing it.

8. Armory (E)
Weapon racks line the walls, with bows, spears, swords, and other weapons of war leaning haphazardly in some of them.
All the remaining weapons are rusted, broken, or just badly made. They would work for a few hits though.

9. The Changeling (M)
A tall, strong man (obviously Timothy) stands with his back to you, gazing at the wall, his hands folded behind his back.
The changeling disguised as Timothy knows that the players are here, and is feigning ignorance to gain the upper hand and let them get close. When someone approaches within claw reach, it will reveal its true form and attack, trying to kill as many as possible. It will retreat if gravely injured, and try to use the real Timothy and/or Hilda as a hostage.

10. Timothy And Hilda (N)
Timothy lies chained to the wall, and is being fed soup by a woman you immediately recognize as Hilda.
Hilda is not very good at keeping secrets, and will admit everything if confronted, realizing the game is up. Timothy is forgiving of her, and wishes her no harm as long as he is let free and the faerie slain.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

30 Minute Dungeon: Night Goblin Lair

(Image from Warhammer Fantasy)

The first request for a dungeon comes from Alberaan, who writes "I would like night goblins and trolls!"

I am more than happy to oblige, goblins are always a lovely starting point for a short delve, and I don't use trolls nearly as much as I should. Without further ado, here is what I came up with!

C= Combat
E= Empty
S= Special
T= Trap

For as long as anyone can remember, there has a been a gang of disgusting, pale goblins that lurk in a cave a few miles away from the nearest settlement. They dislike light even more than those typical of their species, and come out only at night to do mischief. Rumor has it that they have a vast store of gold and jewels, stolen over decades, hidden within their wretched lair.

General Background
A group of goblins have been living in a cave, only coming out at night, for generations, causing them to develop extremely sensitive skin. This gang is strengthened by the presence of a troll, which serves them as long as it is provided with an ample supply of fresh meat.

1. Falling Boulder Trap (T)
The cave mouth yawns widely. A large boulder seems precariously perched right above the entrance, supported by some rope and wood.
There is a razor thin piece of sinew just at human chest level in front of the entrance, hidden in the shadows. If it is walked into, the boulder will fall and begin to roll forwards, crushing anyone trying to enter.

2. Goblin Guards (C)
A few stunted, pale greenish humanoid creatures dressed in black robes lean on their spears, clearly tired. 
These goblins are sleepy, and it may be possible to sneak past them if one is careful. However, if too much noise is made, or a bright light is shone, they will immediately awaken and try to slay the intruders.

3. Latrine (E)
A pit in this room is filled with the most disgusting filth imaginable; goblin droppings. There is an odd rod-like object half sunken in the odious feces.
The rod submerged in the filth is a magic wand, the nature of which the goblins could not ascertain, and thus they threw it away. A magically inclined character will be able to figure out how the device works, and discover it allows the user to make invisible things visible, and vice versa.

4. Storage (E)
Crude barrels and stolen chests fill this part of the cave. Some are overflowing with rotting, ill-preserved meats, while others carry various supplies like arrows and pieces of wood. 
A decent supply of arrows, a few flasks of oil, a bow, and a stolen sword and shield can be found among the mess, along with a few pieces of scattered jewelry and coins.

5. Covered Pit (T)
The corridor continues deeper into the cave, sloping down slightly. Debris like bones, sticks, and rocks litter the floor.
The debris covers a tanned hide, meant to conceal a pit trap with wooden spikes at the bottom.

6. Troll Lair (C)
Lurching out of the darkness, something huge and leathery and tumorous looms towards you. Its teeth are like daggers, and its general form is like a cyst covered gorilla with a hideously human-like face!
The troll is likely to attack on sight, though it is possible to communicate with it. It likes fresh meat, and only sides with the goblins because they provide it with food.

7. Goblin Barracks (C)
A large group of goblins sits around at a stone slab for a table, while some sleep on crude cots. The ones at the table seem to be working on manufacturing spears, torches, and arrows.
The goblins are busy, but at least one is likely to spot the party if they aren't careful, sounding the alarm and rousing the others. Some may try to go to Room 6 and get the troll to come to their aid.

8. Imprisoned Storyteller (N)
A man is shackled to the wall with rusted, ancient chains. He is dressed in the clothes of a traveler, and a series of puppets lie on the floor nearby.
This man is named Jeffrey Williamson, and he was a traveling storyteller, before being captured by the night goblins. They keep him alive for entertainment, both in telling stories of war and conflict, as well as throwing stones at him. He is desperate to be free, and knows that there is hidden treasure in Room 9.

9. Graves (E)
Mounds of stones and the stench of decay tell you that this is a grave site, where the night goblins "bury" their dead. 
One of the graves does not actually contain a corpse, but a chest! Within the chest are several coins, jewels, and expensive golden cutlery.

10. Mushroom Farm (S)
A small field of large, oddly shaped mushrooms is the only feature of this room.
These mushrooms are used as a source of entertainment for the goblins, acting as a natural hallucinogen. If ingested, not only does it provide the user with psychedelic visions, but it also causes them to experience an unnatural bloodlust that grants them a bonus in combat.

Monday, February 25, 2019

30 Minute Dungeons Are Back!

That's right, its the moment at most 2 people have been waiting for, I am gonna start back up my 30 minute dungeon writing challenge. Every day (or at least almost every day), I will sit down for 30 minutes and write 10 rooms/encounters for a short mini dungeon.

Just to recap, here are my general guidelines for what I make when writing one of these dungeons:

A Hook
General Background
3 Combat Encounters
3 "Empty" Rooms
2 Traps
1 Weird Thing To Experiment With
Some Treasure
A Magic Item

No maps are generally included with this, as it is a writing challenge and not a cartography challenge, but I might go back and make some.

I encourage anyone who feels stuck in a rut and doesn't know what to post to take up this challenge as well! At the very least you'll get some semi-usable encounters out of it which you can steal and put in other dungeons.

And, like last time, if you have any requests for dungeons you would like to see, PLEASE comment them down below, and I'll try my best to write them up!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

JABOM House Rules Update!!!!!

UHHHHH I can't actually really remember everything I put in this one?? I think I changed some spells, added some optional rules, fixed solo play for spellcasters, reorganized some stuff, and just generally improved things. Also I added an introduction.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Continuing Tales Of Grumbus The Bardbarian

(A general idea of what our hero looks like)

Last time (which I will elaborate on in more detail at some point), Grumbus met some spider-people and briefly worked with a member of the Church. Of course, he ended up romancing the spider-folk, and taking them home with him to his haunted house.

This time:

At the House on Hell Road, Grumbus and his harem are chilling when the town crier announces that there have been strange reports of tappings and creatures in the local mine. Taking Olaf the Ogre and Henry the Spider person, Grumbus heads to the mine to talk with the mustachioed Mr. Howard Waites, the foreman. After talking with him for a while, Mr. Waites offers Grumbus 125 coins to discover the truth of the matter, either proving that there are no creatures or slaying them.

After descending into the mine, Grumbus finds a lantern with dried blood on it. Licking it, he finds it is not human. Grumbus follows some faint giggling and tapping, and the ceiling falls down atop the trio. Henry is wounded, but the orc and the ogre are unscathed. Grumbus rips off his shirt to serve as a temporary bandage for the bleeding Henry. They press onwards, finding a room with a repeating message of "Leave this place surface dwellers" and icy hand prints appearing on the wall. Finding sorcerous runes nearby, Grumbus chucks a rock at them, deactivating the illusion before he goes even deeper.

Eventually the mine gives way to a cave, filled with stalactites and stalagmites. After ripping a stalactite off the ceiling to use as a club, Grumbus catches sight of a strange pale humanoid by the torchlight, and shouts "Who are you?" in a booming deep voice. In response, the bardbarian gets a rock to the forehead.  Grumbus asks for them to tell him what is going on before 8 figures emerge from the darkness.

A group of kobolds attack the party, and Grumbus instantly kills one and rips its arm off, taking a bite out of it in front of the others, before asking again what is going on. The kobolds hesitantly explain that the humans are stealing the "precious stones of the earth mother". After trying to offer the kobolds some gems in exchange for not bothering the miners, a kobold tries to attack once more, being felled in a single blow by Grumbus's new club. The kobolds retreat for the moment, and the trio head up back the mineshaft, attempting to cause an artificial cave in to seal off the cave. Upon doing so successfully, they hear frantic tapping from the other side. Grumbus shouts at the kobolds to stop or he will kill them, but gets only laughter in response. Enraged, Grumbus, Olaf, and Henry burst through their makeshift stone wall, kool-aid man style, and viciously murder 3 kobolds before the remaining 3 retreat into the darkness, soiling their loinclothes. Grumbus pisses on the rubble to assert dominance, and heads back up to the surface. Once there, Grumbus shows the corpses of the kobolds and demands 150 coins, holding up a kobold's severed arm with a bite taken out of it as a threat. He gets the money he asked for, and returns home to care for his boyfriends.

Treasure Acquired:
150 coins
Big club-shaped rock
4 kobold corpses and 1 arm

Monsters slain:
5 kobolds

Friday, February 15, 2019

I Got Engaged!

Not RPG related at all (except that Loki plays D&D with me a lot), but I am engaged to my former datemate, Loki! E is now my fiance, officially!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Rethinking Demi-Humans And Faeries In The Holy Empire

Why do people want to play elves? Think about that for a second, mull it over, because there are many different answers and there is no right one. I don't doubt that some people want to role play elves because the idea of being an immortal, beautiful forest twink is sexy, but it is unlikely to me that everyone who creates an elf character does so out of a sense of attraction.

No, to me I think that the core appeal of the elf is the ability to be something alien, something inhuman, but not grotesquely so. To be something outside of the human experience, to have the wisdom of an old scholar and the body of an youth. That is the appeal.

Now consider how elves are portrayed in my setting. If you are an elf you have faerie blood running through your veins, and as a result you are better at magic and have pointed ears. You are forced to live among other demi-humans because the Empire is bigoted.


That's pretty boring isn't it? To role-play a character whose background does nothing but give minor stat modifiers and makes people dislike you for no real reason? That's stupid, I have no idea what the Hell I was thinking when I came up with this.

All my demi-humans in my setting were like this, just descendants of humans who begat children with faeries. An interesting idea, but in no way as deep and detailed as other interpretations. There isn't much role playing opportunity.

So lets try this again.

Humanity is but one branch of a larger tree. Imagine a world where neanderthals never went extinct, and the relatives of humanity branched out and began forming their own civilizations. That is what happened with humans and demi-humans in my world. Elves, dwarves, halflings, humans, etc. all descend from a single source, somewhere in the distant past. Of these species, humans have been the most successful, with a faster reproductive rate and greater desire to expand, but that doesn't mean demi-humans are inferior, they are just more localized.

While there are many different human nations, there are usually only one or two different nations for each demi-human species, which are usually distant from human nations. Demi-humans are almost universally foreigners, travelers from distant lands seeking adventure. Many humans spend their whole lives never seeing a demi-human.

With that explanation of WHAT demi-humans are out of the way, lets get an explanation as to WHO they are:


(Taken from Mordenkainen's tome of foes)

The elves live on the Southern continent, in a land surrounded by mountains and forests. Among all demi-humans, they have the most positive relationship with the faerie folk, a fact which has led to some viewing elves with fear.

Elves are somewhat shorter and smaller than humans, with a wide variety of skin, hair, and eye colors. An elf is as likely to have brown skin as they are to have purple. Owing to the warmer climate of their homeland, elves are not very hairy, and facial hair is hard for them to grow beyond a faint mustache. It is not known exactly how long elves live, and as far as most are aware, no elf has ever died from old age.

Owing to their constant interaction with faeries in their homeland, elves are not a very religious folk. To them, magic and miracles are nothing more than a simple fact of life, nothing to get all excited about.

Elves do not have a very strong grasp of gender, for a variety of reasons. For one, all elves are naturally androgynous looking, and for another, when one lives as long as an elf does, being restricted in one's life by gender roles quickly becomes tiresome. Elves do not have a concept of gender in their own culture, and usually simply adopt whichever pronouns/gender is convenient for them when they enter human society, if they choose a gender at all.


(From Pathfinder?? I think?)

Halflings live on a small island off of the coast of the Eastern continent. They live in a mostly agrarian society, with few large settlements. Halfling culture emphasizes sustainability and a healthy respect for nature. Halflings worship a variety of deified folk heroes, whose stories are told in songs and poems.

The average halfling is about 3 to 4 feet tall, with thick soled feet for climbing the rugged cliffs of their island home. Otherwise they mainly resemble humans. Halflings live around two to three times longer than humans.

These folk are probably the most accepted of demi-humans in the Empire, as their short stature and culture of simplicity and sustainability seems nonthreatening.


(From the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook)

The rugged dwarves live to the North of the Empire, an inhospitable wasteland of cold and ice. The secret to their survival lies underground, in the upper reaches of the underworld.

Dwarves have adapted to underground life well. They are short, usually 4 to 4.5 feet high, and have incredible vision in the dark and an insensitivity to pressure. All dwarves are very hairy, with full beards, to better trap heat to survive the cold environment.

Dwarves worship a pantheon of deities, each representing some facet of the world around them. Dwarven culture is focused around survival, and the betterment of the whole rather than the happiness of the one. It is true that dwarves love gold and jewels, but not for any monetary value they hold, but rather the sheer beauty of them, and in such an underworld that the dwarves live in, such items hold little to no value.

Thats a good enough basis for the three main demi-human species. I should also write up similar short write-ups for some other human nations, but that's a post for another day.


So, currently as written in my setting, faeries fled their home plane from demons and then warred with humans for domination over the planet, and lost, being forced to recede into the forgotten places of the world.

This seemed cool at the time but now doesn't really match up with my own assumptions of what a faerie is, for the following reasons:

  1. If faeries are very powerful magical beings, why did they lose to primitive humanity?
  2. In my mind, faeries are meant to be old, timeless beings, so how come humans have existed in this universe longer than them?
So I have gotta scrap this, its neat but doesn't fit what I want faeries to be like. So here is my new interpretation of them:


(The Birch, from CryptTV)

Humanity and its relatives are not the first intelligent creatures to roam Urth. Before humanity, there was an age of magic, chaos, and passion, this was the age of the faeries. These days are over now, and the once populous faeries of the distant past have receded, into the woods, ancient prehuman ruins, and caves. 

The fall of the faeries from power and grace was not sudden, like the collapse of a building, but gradual, like the gentle drifting of a loose feather falling from a great height. Perhaps they are simply tired of life, tired of the constant frenzy of existence, preferring to spend the rest of eternity hiding in the forest. Nobody knows for sure, but one thing is known; the faeries are terrifying. Some faeries simply want to live a life of seclusion, but others, in their boredom, have developed bizarre and dangerous desires, such as stealing children, transforming people into animals, and just straight up murdering people.

Faeries exist in a variety of different forms, and it is not known how they are related, nor what makes a creature a faerie as opposed to some other organism, but faeries can identify another faerie when they see one.

Goblins are creatures which are absolutely not faeries, but it is almost universally acknowledged that goblins are faeries' fault. At some point in the distant past, as a prank, or perhaps in an attempt to make servants, some faerie created the first goblin; a highly adaptable creature who breeds rapidly and whose children quickly mutate into new forms. Unfortunately, the creature was also a chaotic, impulsive monster. The faeries view goblins with shame, and are embarrassed as a species that they are responsible for their existence.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sharing Mandy Morbid's Statement On Zak S

Click here to read Ms. Morbid's statement on Zak S, and his abuse. The entirety of the text will also be reproduced below. Comments will be disabled for this post.

Trigger Warning For Sexual And Emotional Abuse

Please feel free to share this widely, on
any platform you have.
Dear Zak Smith, aka Zak Sabbath
I know posting anything about you or this publicly will get me labeled “angry”, “crazy” or a “liar”. Despite that, I still need to speak. As a warning, there will be potentially triggering descriptions of abuse, violence and sexual assault to follow.
What I want to convey is my grief. And my shame. There is so much of it. I think when women come forward to talk about their abusers people strip them of their grief. And I am not okay. And I should be angry but I can’t be because the shame is too great. Because the abuse had me taking responsibility for everything and it’s very difficult to stop that after all these years. Everything was always my fault, the problem was me--but it wasn’t.
Eleven years is a long time. I was twenty one when we met in person the first time, and a month later, 22 when I moved in with you. It’s difficult to organize my thoughts about everything that happened, everything that went wrong over a decade.The abuse came in cycles where there were times you seemed to idolize me (in hindsight there was a twisted, sexist, infantilizing angle to the "idolizing" because it was always about my body and not me as a person). There were other times when you tore me down, made lectures that went in circles of manipulation, or fits of rage where you’d scream that I was useless and worthless and slam doors or throw things at the walls. You tore me down to manipulate me, and to get your way.
As time went on you learned you could threaten me in various ways. Killing me if I ever got pregnant and didn’t have an abortion started as a joke but you repeated it so frequently it was clearly a warning. Kick me out if I didn’t want to have as much sex, or lesser reasons.
When we would go out, you would rate the women you were watching, making sure I could hear it. You would see a woman and comment that she was attractive, until you saw she had "small" breasts. Then you would say to me “why do they even make them like that? What’s the point?” As though I automatically would agree with you about a woman’s worth being dictated by the size of her breasts. And how was that supposed to make me feel about myself? You would know that I would not want to start an argument on a nice evening out--finally I was feeling well enough to be out with you and I would ruin it? No. Even in the face of rude or disgusting comments about other women I would stay silent.
I am ashamed. I was often silent because I wanted to keep the peace. To keep you happy. You see, I did know how to make you happy. I am ashamed I did it because I rationalized that was love. You pressured me to find and groom other women sexually. As I grew sicker, and my physical limitations grew, you were more concerned with your own needs than my illness. Eventually, even, you took my doing this for you, and me, for granted.
I saw you mistreat women we were with together, and again I was silent. I choose you over them and I am deeply ashamed. And when it was me who was being mistreated I often didn’t even register it as such because the first time it happened was so traumatic. You told me I wasn’t allowed to stop or say no to sex or fooling around if we’d already initiated it.
I was young and this was during the first few weeks we lived together and no one had ever taught me about consent. You were extraordinarily angry I had stopped, your hands were clenched into fists and they were shaking. I was programmed to accept it, and you always just kept telling me you loved me even if your behaviour never really proved it.
Then you started with the online gaming arguments nonsense, and that put a real crack in our bond. In the beginning I felt genuinely protective of you, my provider, and of course that was my very strong trauma bond. I didn't know better, and I just thought I was caring for the person I loved. Callously, you exposed me to death and rape threats and you then never took the distress this caused me seriously, you were in no way sympathetic to the very real stress these disagreements caused. You enjoyed it. And you gloated over the harm you caused other people. (It was extremely unattractive.) You just used those threats we received as an excuse, used me and my marginalized identities as shields in your continuing misbehaviour online.
That Tumblr post defending you was posted in my name, but you were the one who wrote it. The long one you always referred people to. I feel more shame that I let you use my name, my identity in that way. I feel shame that when people noticed it probably wasn't written by me, we called them sexist. After that Tumblr post I told you I was done being involved in any of your arguments online. You really didn’t like that. You forever afterwards accused me of “never saying anything” when you were dealing with the shit you’d stirred up.
I am so ashamed you let me get dragged into your awful trolling behaviour. One time you had a screaming/throwing fit at me (“useless,” “worthless,” “no one cares about me”) because I didn’t want to retweet something to a big gaming company you were mad at. This was all abuse. That you continue to behave so badly online disgusts me, and I am ashamed that I helped you to hurt or damage others online. I am sorry that I have contributed to the abuse, and I am ashamed that your abuse pushed me to think that it was okay to do.
This behavior is what created the cracks in the narcissistic façade that you built up for me. Seeing the behavior that you normally directed towards me being directed towards others started to open my eyes towards what you were doing to me.
It was then that I slowly began to reassess how you treated me. This process started very slowly as I was extremely ill. And needed to focus on my health and I couldn’t shake my life up too dramatically.
Over the next two or three years my faith and trust in you completely failed. You let me down over and over. And I came to terms with the fact that I had been a trophy wife all along, an object that was owned, not a respected or loved partner. Towards the end you weren’t even trying to keep that mask you wore in the beginning on you were just straight up cruel and cold and abusive and there were no reprieves of loving or sweet acts, it was all gaslighting and narcissism gone unchecked. And there was a lot of my grief and shame at that time. Because I tried so hard to make it work anyway.
I thought if I loved harder, if I loved more I could save us but it was futile because you were already done with someone who wasn’t spending all their energy on living to please you as I’d formerly done.
I’ve grown up. I want to live my life for me. My values and morales don’t align with yours--I’m ashamed I was complicit in your misogyny and supportive of your online abuse (whatever my reasons).
I only began to register the pain and damage done to me by this relationship in the last year we were together and in the year and half since I’ve left. I have PTSD. I am doing my best to focus on healing, and since leaving both my mental and physical health have improved. I’m not okay yet, but I am improved. People can see the difference in photos. Rebuilding a life after a decade of trauma takes time but I will get there.
After this I am including statements about Zak from Jennifer, a long time friend and lover of Zak’s and mine and Hannah who was also involved with us and lived with us briefly. Jennifer was spending time with Zak before Zak and I met, and Hannah was assaulted by Zak.
CW description of sexual assualt
Jennifer’s post was originally posted to her facebook and she’s given me permission to reshare it here:
Hey guys, this is a heads up for anyone who is friends with Zak Smith or likes his page. This is somewhat out of the blue but he's been posting more in the past year or so and I keep seeing some of you interact with him or just liking his posts, and thinking: You wouldn't be doing that if you knew him better.
To get to the point: While he comes across as a fun person who is super cool with everything and leads such a compelling and interesting life, and I considered him a good friend for a significant amount of time, he's also someone who has habitually abused and assaulted women. He talks negatively about them when they're not around, and also says really degrading things to their faces. He will aggressively pursue sex and rely on the fact that most women are hesitant to reject a man in a quasi-sexual situation due to safety concerns and social conditioning. Especially when he has presented himself as caring and trustworthy. But I've also seen him physically take women and start fucking them, ignoring their lack of enthusiasm or freeze of shock. He will navigate kink spaces and take someone's presence there, of general involvement in bdsm as implied consent to assualt them. And he is fully aware of what he does, he has described a sexual encounter to me as, I quote, "raping a 12-year-old". The person in question was not underage, but so massively uncomfortable that this was his most apt description. It didn't make him stop.
He's really good at being so blasé about everthing that you doubt what happened or compartmentalize it, then move on. He's also good at talking the talk and walking the walk of being the progressive liberal artist and author who is just so open about having done porn and living his sexuality uninhibited by social norms or whatever. He can be pretty manipulative and resorts to gaslighting.
This post might seem unnecessary at best, and like slander at worst. Especially considering I haven't even personally seen him since god knows when. It's based on my own experiences with him, some dating as far back as 2005, and the fact that almost every mutual female friend has similar experiences, up to this day. Ultimately I've seen him do so much fucked up shit that when I hear anything by another woman I immediately believe them without a shadow of a doubt. And yes, I'm ashamed I didn't speak up sooner. Often things only start falling into place after time passes and you see things for what they are, and when they are confirmed by others who have had similar experiences. By the time I really fully grasped the magnitude, being vocal would have meant intruding on and hurting people who didn't deserve it, with little discernable good to come out of it.
Basically if you know me and trust me, believe me and maybe reconsider your support of him and his art. Besides that I'm not asking you to do anything. And I don't benefit from any sort of outcome in any way.
I'm posting this to a curated audience; if you see this I trust you to at least not create drama. If you don't believe me, I guess just ignore this post? Although I'd prefer if you removed yourself from my list then too. I don't want this to reach him because I don't want to deal with the fallout. I want people to know this to make a better informed decision about who they associate with. The last I heard of him was a few months ago, after he saw that a friend had confided in me about him, and he slid into my inbox with some disingenious bullshit about how sad he was about that situation, trying to influence my opinion. I ignored it. If something like that happens again I will obviously know that someone on this list blabbed and will pretty much delete and block anyone it could have been. Please don't make me deal with all that trouble. Thank you.
And here is Hannah’s account:
Back when I first knew them, I lauded Manda and Zak as a perfect couple. I would see them only once every few years, and when I was with them, they seemed happy. It wasn't until I was with them for an extended period of time that I thought things seemed off. I used to take Zak's general demeanor towards women as joking. Eg, "if I talk to my girlfriend and her friend about their feelings, will I get a threesome out of it?" But now I think that's how Zak actually feels. At first when I kept hearing him say the phrase "chin up" to Manda, I thought he was just telling her to stay positive, but in actuality he didn't like it when she had a tiny double chin when looking down. (Like all humans at that angle.) He also told her things like "You don't need glasses, its more important for you to be pretty than it is to see" and "If you can't even have sex, what good are you?" It was not a joke. For a long time I tried to see the good in him, and hoped that he would change his behaviours once Manda confronted him about them, but he didn't seem to understand that he had done anything wrong. She told him she felt more like a doll than a human, outlined what things had upset her, and wanted to work towards a better relationship. He acted ignorant about things he had said or done, and then threatened people when anyone talked about him. (Which is why I was afraid to write this for a long time. I still am.) There was also a strange incident when we were first hanging out together during which he asked if I was into kinky stuff, to which I replied yes. He proceeded to slap me and choke me against a wall, in public. Now, in a bedroom setting, with clear boundaries and consent, it would have been fine, but out of the blue and in public, it was not okay at all. Years later, I mentioned this to a mutual friend as something that made my uncomfortable, and when Zak found out he made a half-hearted apology attempt. I don't think he actually felt bad, I think he just didn't want me to tell anyone else. I tried to stay friends with both of them for a little while, but after hearing more about what he said/did to Manda, I couldn't keep him in my life anymore. She is one of my best friends and one of the sweetest people I know. I don't understand people who say they "can't take sides" on something like this.

The False Children

You hear scuffling and a metallic-sounding wail from behind you. Your comrade grunts, moving as quickly as he can with a shattered left leg. Suddenly, he trips, falling to the floor with a thud. He calls out to you to help him up, to save him from them, and you glance behind you. Dozens of them emerge from the darkness, their glassy eyes and unnaturally smooth skin reflecting eerily in the light of your torch. Before you can let out a scream, they are upon your fallen friend, battering him with their closed, chubby fists until he is nothing more than a pile of bloody flesh. You try to run, but one of them shrieks so loud that you drop your torch involuntarily and fall to the ground, clutching your bleeding ears. In the cacophony, one thought enters your mind; you never want to see a baby ever again.

Long ago, there was a wizard. This wizard desired a child, but unfortunately he was impotent due to years of meddling with strange chemicals. It was clear that no conventional method of reproduction would be able to give him the children he desired, and so the magician turned to fouler means.

Using a porcelain doll, his own blood, and a mix of many other arcane ingredients, the wizard produced a child. But it wasn't what he was expecting. The doll was given life, yes, but its skin was smooth and hard, like the exoskeleton of an insect. Its eyes did not move nor blink, and its cries sounded as though an infant was crying through a metal tube. The worst was how it grew. The thing seemed to eat anything, stuffing anything it could into its ravenous maw, but no matter how long the wizard waited, it never grew into an adult. Eventually the thing was 5 feet tall, but still possessed the proportions and intelligence of an infant. However, this childish stupidity was combined with a murderous rage. The wizard was killed by his creation, and it fled out into the wilderness. Nobody knows how the things breed, but fortunately it seems to take a while, it can take years for a sizable colony to be established.

False Children like dark places, and as such can be found in caves, dungeons, and abandoned buildings.

False Child
HD 1
AC medium (14)
ATK 1 fist
DMG 1d6

False Children may release an earsplitting screech once per day, requiring anyone in earshot to make a saving throw or be paralyzed for 1d3 rounds.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Urth's Underworld

Beneath the surface world is a land of nightmares and darkness, illuminated only by light of phosphorescent rocks and glowing fungi. The underworld is a vast network of tunnels and caverns, essentially forming an enormous, nigh-endless dungeon. The only creatures that live in this horrific place are horrifically mutated animals, troglodytes, goblins, and deep fae, and demons.

Troglodytes are what happened to the humans that the faeries captured when they were forced to flee beneath the ground. They escaped their faerie captors, but were unable to find a way out. Over the generations their eyes became tiny and nearly vestigial, their skin turned pale, and their teeth grew into sharp fangs like daggers. Now, these creatures scuttle about in the dark, reduced to mere animals.

(From The Descent)

HD 2
AC unarmored (10)
ATK 1 bite or club
DMG 1d6-1 or 1d6
Troglodytes cannot tolerate bright lights, and take a -1 penalty to hit when exposed to it.

Goblins adapted well to underground life, their natural reproductive speed and ability to thrive in almost any environment allowed them to quickly become one of the dominant species of the underworld. Goblins are the most often encountered intelligent creatures of the underworld.

(From Lord of the Rings)

Deep Fae are the descendants of the faeries that were forced beneath the ground by humanity long ago. Though many faeries are already naturally small, the Deep Fae are stunted even by faerie standards, having adapted to their environment long ago. Despite their small height, unnaturally pale skin, and occasional eyelessness, the Deep Fae still maintain an air of otherworldly superiority and arrogance.

There are several colonies of demons that lurk in the darkness underneath the world. Some find their way to this plane by accident, and are unable to return, while others seek out Urth, viewing the lightless depths of its underworld as an ideal environment to live. Brain eaters, tentacled humanoids with immense psychic power, build alien cities in the dark places of the world, deeper even than the Deep Fae dare to go. Strange, slimy things splash and wriggle in vast subterranean seas, paying homage to unholy gods. It seems that the deeper one goes into the underworld's depths, the more likely one is to encounter demons, perhaps leading to the myth that Hell is at the center of Urth.

The Underworld can be roughly divided into 3 "zones"; the shallows, the deeps, and the abyss.

The shallows is often what connects up to particularly deep dungeons and a few cave systems. While still horrific, the creatures that dwell here are mostly just mutated versions of surface dwellers. Goblins lurk here, rarely coming to the surface to hunt and cause mayhem. Some troglodytes live in the shallows, but the majority lie deeper.

In the deeps, the light of day is but a distant memory. The is the realm of troglodytes and the Deep Fae, a land of strange, unearthly cities inhabited by beautiful yet repulsive faeries. Few who reach this far ever return.

Finally, there is the abyss. It is here the demons dwell, and things that should never be seen by mortal eyes dwell sleeping in black pits. The very tunnels seem alive, and the laws of physics are not always obeyed. The Deep Fae whisper that there is something terrible that lurks at the heart of the world, a being of pure and absolute evil. Nobody goes into the abyss unless absolutely necessary.

(From Rage of Demons)

House Rules Update!

Its finally here! The most recent iteration of my house rules system! Here is what is new in this update:

  • Level-less spells! I finally cast off the last of the shackles of the Vancian magic system.
  • The layout is better now, but still nothing is alphabetized.
  • I changed the fonts for some reason!
  • There is some advice/rules for running wilderness crawls and megadungeons!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Scolendra, The Queen Of Vermin

For cultural reasons, most people in the Holy Empire find insects, arachnids, and other "bugs" disgusting and filthy, and an irrational fear of such creatures is not uncommon. However, some have genuine reason to fear the clattering chitin and sharp mandibles of vermin; those who have had experience with the demon goddess Scolendra.

In the Hell that Scolendra hails from, vermin dominate the world, and mammals, reptiles, and birds are crushed underfoot by monstrous bugs of unnatural size and ferocity. Her influence leads to the mutation of otherwise normal sized vermin, resulting in enormous mutants that hunger for the flesh of vertebrates.

Those who worship Scolendra believe that vermin are the true inheritors of Urth, and that humanity is not fit to walk the world. They pray and make blood sacrifices to their cruel goddess, hoping to be blessed with mutations that bring them closer to the creatures they revere.

In her home plane, Scolendra takes the form of an enormous centipede-like creature, with scythe-like limbs near her head that allow her to slice through flesh and bone with ease. Demons from her hideous realm appear as horrific conglomerations of chitinous flesh, resembling absurd hybrids of various insects, arachnids, and other vermin.

(The Raveners from Warhammer 40k somewhat resemble Scolendra, if smaller and with no legs)

To generate a Scolendran demon, roll 3d6, with each die rolling on one of the following three d6 tables, and then combine the 3 bugs together in some creative way.

Table 1

  1. Mantis
  2. Crab
  3. Cockroach
  4. Centipede
  5. Spider
  6. Scorpion

Table 2

  1. Tick
  2. Fly
  3. Beetle
  4. Stick insect
  5. Wood louse
  6. Moth

Table 3

  1. Ant
  2. Termite
  3. Bee
  4. Lobster
  5. Dragonfly
  6. Caterpillar
For example, if one rolled a 2, a 3, and 4, we get a demon that is a mix of crab, beetle, and lobster. I'd interpret this by saying the creature has one small claw and one large claw, a shiny black carapace, 10 segmented legs, and a long armored tail ending in a fin. 

Similarly, one could use the tables above to determine what verminous traits a mutated Scolendran cultist takes on, rolling 1d3 for the table to roll on, and then rolling 1d6 after that.

Adventure Hooks:
  • The lord of a nearby castle has taken to wearing concealing clothes in public, and never revealing his right arm. There are rumors that he has been affected by a curse of some kind that disfigured him. In reality, the lord is a secret worshiper of the Queen of Vermin, and his arm has been replaced with a chitinous claw. The dungeons beneath his castle serve as a temple for a Scolendran cult.
  • Vermin of all kinds have been increasing in both numbers and size in recent weeks. Terrified hunters claim there is something huge and armored lurking in the woods, eating all of the deer. A Scolendran demon has arrived on Urth, and its presence is mutating the vermin nearby into monsters.
  • There is a town that openly worships Scolendra, and all of its citizens have been mutated into horrendous monsters. They are preparing for war against all vertebrates.