Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Savage Synnibarr: God Roll

Synnibarr has the rule that if you are killed, there is the possibility that your god intervenes and saves you last minute. For Savage Synnibarr I created the God Roll Setting Rule to cover this:

If you worship a god and get killed, you are allowed to roll percentile dice to see if your god intervenes. Per experience point there is a one percent (1%) chance of a godly intervention. The god will talk a few sentences to the character, but will only listen to one sentence per rank of the character. The will make clear that the intervention is a great favour and that he or she expects loyality and a minor quest for it.
After an godly intervention through a God Roll, the percentile chance is reset to zero. With each gained experience point gained it raises again one percent.
 If you don't worship a god, instead of a god roll, you roll for the percentage to be turned into a poltergeist or technageist. There is only a one percent (1%) chance per level though. These geists are NPCs in most cases and therefore the player has to create a new characer.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

New Race: The Generazeeons

The Generazeeons (sometimes Generasheeons or Generacheeons) are a short lived race with an ancestral memory.

The life span of a Generazeeon generation can last from one week to six month. They consume an enormous amount of food, bio mass and minerals compared to Earth creatures and grow rapidly in this time. When being harmed or even when the current body size is detrimental, they shed most of it and leave behind the "seed" or "head": the small body of the new generation.

The seed is essentially a clone of the last generation that contains most of it's memory as well. The following body growth is depending on outer circumstances. Generazeeons adopt according to their current environment. Once having grown certain traits they can only be dropped by initiating a new generational shift though.

Creating Iconic Races

I tried to create a set of races that cover all archetypes and are somewhat generic. They probably are most useful for science fiction, but essentially fit in any new fantastic world.

My general design pattern followed the Monkey, Robot, Pirate, Ninja, Zombie model. But obviously we will need Vikings as well.

Will the Liefeldians fit?

Part of the challenge will be to decide what "skin" to use for the archetypes.

For example, you obviously will need the huge, strong Goliath archetyp. But nothing is harder to decide: give this archetype a skin a yeti/wookie/fur skin or a stone creature skin or a plant/ tree creature skin?

My reply should probably be: why not both?? why not all of them? Maybe just make it a plant creature with some kind of grass fur and stone limbs? I am not sure about that approach yet.

Or how about a flying race archetype? Probably they should be small. Probably nearly fairylike. But then you can still go insect or lizard or plant creature, etc.

One solution would be to have a body type selection cross referenced with a origin section.
E.g. human, insect, lizard, plant, furling, stone, robot vs. goliath, flyer, agile race, bighead, ubermensch, psionic, shapechanger etc.

But is "grey" a body type or an origin? Probably it is the combination of bighead with lizard creature? Most likely we will end up with dozens of races this way. For player character creation would be probably better to let them pick/ roll just two of the origins and intersect themselves.

And then there is the idea for the Generazeeons.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Vines (Savage Warhammer)

This was a one shot I run in 2012 at the beginning of a Savage Warhammer campaign that never made it to session three. Basically it is more a less a generic fantasy adventure, even though it is a little bit on the darker side.

The adventure starts with the player characters taking a coach to any destination. The street leads through dense forest. At dusk, 150 metres before a sharp turn of the street, the coachman (named Falk?) stops and gets to the front to check on the two horses. Without a word he releases them and makes them run off along the street, mounting one . [I don't remember the actual way the coachman disappeared. So I just make the running to the forest part up now, as it is hard to figure out why the players would not focus on the coachman. Maybe it is Sybille (see below) shouting for help? Another creepy option would be the coachman committing suicide on the spot.]

If the player characters follow, they arrive after around 50 metres, at a clearing. There is one huge oak tree standing there. Five people are hung there - gallowsstyle. One woman is lying seemingly unconscious or sleeping at the beneath the tree.

Actually this is a set up: the women whose name is Sybille is pretending to be unconscious to trick the player group to come near the tree. The people are not hanging from ropes, but from vines. These are some of the "arms" of a dangerous plant creature that is lurking in the tree. It is similar to a giant octopus, except that it is a moving bundle of vines. Just use the game stats of a giant octopus for it! It has eight "arms" and while four are currently holding former victims by their necks, the other four will grab whoever comes near the tree. The vine octopus is patient enough to wait for more than one person to move into his range (2" or 4 metres around the tree). But latest, when it seems that someone moves out of its range, it will attack.

To attack group members that did not move towards the tree, the vine monster throws the corpses it is currently holding. Only if everyone moves away from the tree, the vine octopus leaves the oak and follows. Until this moment it seems that vines have overgrown the tree. The vine monster actually is just tool for the real enemy: the "Heart of the Forest", a glowing crystal that contains the actual consciousness of the creature. It tries to cover it up as good as possible, but when attacking multiple targets in different directions at once, it will expose it. The crystal is very hard to damage [Toughness 10, damage dice don't explode], but when damaged will detach from the vine body and just fall to the ground. The vines stop moving.
The Heart is stored in a cabin nearby, but controls the vine octopus from the distance.

The woman, Sybille, will never be attacked by the Heart of the Forest. She started serving the "heart of the forest" after a religious hermit named Vater Ewald showed up and told her that her two children that disappeared many years ago (being abducted by beastman) could return, if she started to join his dubious religious rituals. Vater Ewald is seen by the locals as pious man, but something out there in the forest  - the Heart of the Forest to be more specific - turned him into a disciple of sinister forces.
Sybille who is the wife of the farmer of one the bigger farms nearby felt obligated to do so. While she rarely sees Vater Ewald who lives in a cave deeper into the woods and secretly associates with beastmen, he handed the Heart of the Forest over to her and she stored it in a cabin not far from the clearing.

The Heart started to telepathically speak to Sybille and persuaded her to bring her victims. Hoping to get he kids back, she agreed and lured known highwaymen to the oak where the Heart of the Forest had created it's vine octopus body. After doing that she realised that having more people disappear would not work well. But the Heart wanted more victims. Sybille came up with the plan to seduce a coachman travelling through every few days. All she wanted from him was to halt at a specific spot in the forest, release his horses and ride away. This way she should be able to provide enough victims until she was reunited with her kids.

(The kids are actually long dead or at least neither Vater Ewald nor the Heart of the Forest ever knew anything about their fate. He just used them to trick Sybille in collaboration.)

In a way Sybille hopes that the Heart of the Forest's creature will be slain. It's not really a good feeling running around at night luring people stronger than yourself into ambushes and see them killed - even if you rationalize that you do all of this to save your kids. She will admit the truth and tells her whole story after the vine monster is destroyed. She will lead all the survivors to the cabin nearby, where the Heart is stored.

After entering the cabin and telling about the location of it - it is hidden beneath the wooden floor -, she collapses. The Heart decides to safe itself by taking mental control of the person present with the lowest willpower (Spirit) and attacking everyone else. It can only control one person at a time, but is able to shift every round - in case a victim is restrained or incapacitated. To stop the mind control the Heart of the Forest in it's crystal form needs to be smashed. It has Toughness 12. As with any structural damage, damage dice against it don't explode. [I actually don't remember how the Heart defended back, when we played the adventure.]

After the destruction of the Heart, Sybille can be woken up again. She is in tears as she is scared of her fate and begs the player characters not to tell anyone what she did. If they agree she asks them, if they want to take her back to her home - the big farm.

(I also created this relationship map, but don't remember what it really means. I used the names on it for the three NPCs. I probably would have forgotten about Father Ewald's role otherwise.)

Follow up adventure: the farmer hired a team of mercenaries to find his disappeared wife Sybille. When the player characters bring her back, they feel cheated about their reward and start getting more and more brutal. One of the farmhands actually is also conspiring with Father Ewald and kills Sybille before the truth can come out. If the player characters kept Sybille's dark secret, it is hard to figure out who did it and why. The mercenaries as well as the player characters are suspicious.

If the player characters tell on Sybille, she will have a witch trial with an inquisitor showing up surprisingly and suspiciously fast.

The showdown is supposed to take place in the cave of Father Ewald, who is a quite powerful wizard. On the way there the player characters are ambushed by beastmen.

Monday, September 21, 2015

An Artifact as Dungeon: The Unclosed Door

The Unclosed Door is an psionic artifact in the shape of an 4 sided pyramid with an edge length of 64 cm. The pyramid is of deep black colour with the edges glowing in different and shifting neon colours and floating in front of the owner it has aligned itself to.

It will always try to align itself to the person with the strongest psionic powers within 64 metres. The current owner can try to keep it under his control by a test of mental strength. Potential new owners can join in to take over control.

The Unclosed Door gives the wielder the power to project solid illusion in a radius of 64 metres of the artefact. It takes nearly ten seconds for the solid illusions to stabilize and they are pretty bad at simulating objects in motion. Illusions in motion looks like old polygon computer graphics with serious clipping issues.

The traditional shape that many wielders of the Unclosed Door use is that of a floating pyramid with 64 metres edge length, basically a bigger projection of the Door's standard shape. This pyramid can be raised to any height - even outer space - but it only moves with a speed of around 30 kilometres per hour.

The floating giant pyramid has the ability to emit gravity and so slowly suck up smaller objects and people, if they owner wants so. Once having been absorbed by the outer walls, the person lands in the Inner Space: a pocket dimension that shows a beautiful star sky towards the outside, where the "normal world" should be found, while the absorbed people walk the outer surface of the pyramid. Gravity seems normal and pulls towards the centre of the pyramid, so that you can walk from one side of it to the next without ever falling off. It is not so unlikely to find bones or other remains from past visitors here.

In the centre of each of the four planes there is a shaft leading towards the centre. It is about 3 metres in diameter in round. You can see some dim glow from the centre. Falling to the end of the shaft transports you to an exactly globe shaped room with a diameter of 12 metres. Gravity here is pulling you to the outer sides of the "globe". So jumping down the shafts, you will not crash into anything, but merely come to a halt on the "floor" of the round room. Making it to the floor from your floating position "above" the shaft is no big deal.

In the centre of the round "room" where you can walk the ceilings in any direction you will find the actual Unclosed Door floating. As current owner you can direct it within the room and by touching it, and "merging" with it, you can observe the outside world, as well as "sucking up" objects from the outside world that come near the 64 metre pyramid projection. You can also move the whole pyramid around with the before mentioned 30 kilometres per hour.

It's the owner's choice where sucked up objects appear: be it the outer planes of the pyramid, or the inner globe room.

Merging with the pyramid is a literal act. It does not matter, what body part the owner picks, but the Unclosed Door becomes part of his body. Normally owner's "wear" it over the head like a mask, or make it melt into their chest. This will never cause bodily harm. It is known that one dragon who was in possession of the Unclosed Door merged the pyramid artefact with his forehead, making it look like a weirdly shaped horn. The merging is a natural occurring phenomenon with no drawbacks, but not necessary.

No matter if merged or not, the wielder can shoot powerful energy beams out of the Unclosed Door.

It is a mysterium whether the "Inner Space" of the Unclosed Door described here, resides within the artefact itself, or whether it is inside the projected 64 metres pyramid. The fact that a star sky is visible at the outside, and not the "real world", as well as the shafts are not visible from the real world, speak for the first theory.

But this Inner Space still harbours what seems to be the Unclosed Door - the 64 cm artefact. This seems to be only the 1st of more layers though.

With pure force or willpower one can enter the Unclosed Door even further. It has to be noted that the wielder does not get a connection to that deeper level, the way he gains insight about the outside world. Actually the wielder is left completely dark about that fact.

It is more likely that people being harmed by the energy beams of the Unclosed Door discover it. Especially touching the Unclosed Door that is merged with a wielder can take them deeper.

There are different reports of the next level. One report mentions that once absorbed you end up again on the outside of a pyramid. But this seems to be overgrown by slowly moving antennas that remind of giant sea anemonae or even hair, growing up in the air. Instead of a single shaft, there is a whole labyrinth of passages, others tell.

But everyone agrees that there is an oracle that is willing to help those stranded here. They have to gamble for decades of their life time though. What the oracle looks like noone seems to remember. Some are thrown back to the globe room only minutes later, having aged decades.

If there are deeper levels, nobody can say for sure. Sometimes in your dreams you may feel though that the deeper you get, the bigger the Unclosed Door gets. And in some of those dreams, you are sure that something stares from far, far in there towards you through the Unclosed Door. It is not a statue with no eyes. You are really sure about that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Savage Synnibarr: Cloudpuncher and the Fight for Loot

The groups escapes with the Airy's submarine from the temple. They have a look at the remains of the destroyed airship which is under the water now and spots 5 burnt giant corpses.

Dita scans the area for ghosts and there is actually one around: one of the dead giants did not go to the afterworld. She starts a conversation with him and figures out soon that it actually is the ghost of Captain Cloudpuncher, the slaver who took her brother. Dita is upset because it seems she will not be able to get her revenge, as he is dead already.

He tells her that he came to the island 4 days ago, because he received a distress signal and was hoping to make slaves out of whoever was needing help. But when his airship showed up, 4 apelike creatures took the mighty airship down with a powerful attack. Him and the four remaining crew members died in the blast.

He lost everyone else some time before in a mutiny, where he killed every other crew member, but he had no slaves on board as he is used to sell them as fast.

Dita asks him if he know who she is, and while before he did not even consider that option, he finally seems to remember her face. He mentions while for her this most have been the most important day of his life, for him it was just another day. But he calls himself a "lover of slaves, a connoisseur" and tells Dita that he could have shot her in the back when she was fleeing, after he took her brother and stabbed her mother, but that he was not this kind of guy.

She asks if he knows what happens to her brother, and he says that he must sold him fast, like always, but that he has a complete log of all the slaves he ever bought in his house in Ships' Home, the harbour town of giants.

She wants to banish him in her lamp, but Cloudpuncher resists. She tries to convince him to get in there, but he says he would prefer to be hosted in her body, if she really wants him leave the remains of his ship of 40 years. In the end Dita convinces him to join her in the lamp instead.

Trush has a look, if there is any loot in the meantime and actually is able to find a locked safe. With the 2nd of two mighty strikes of his laser sword he is actually able to take the top of the safe off.

He finds a big Midnight Sunstone in there, when he wants to examine the other objects, Dita decides it is her turn now to grab something. Trush hits her with the hilt of his laser sword skillfully and wounds her.

She is able to fight back, despite the damage and uses Chi Shout on Trush, damaging him as well. She grabs 2 gloves out of the safe: a black one that gives or increases telekinetic powers and a red one, that lets the wearer reach with her arm into an unkown dimension.

Trush is able to repair himself while they worse injured Dita is able to use her Golden Hand healing power on herself.

Trush uses his mind control powers on Dita and forces her to be happy. This is not an easy task as it is against her will, because she is vengeful, but he succeeds.

The two decide that it is the best option to go to Ships' Home to find the business book of Cloudpuncher in his house.

Next: Attack of the Giant Airships