Sunday, January 7, 2018

Or close the wall up with our English dead!



Welp... Tomorrow morning I'm running something I've written myself for the first time in a couple years. The dudes weren't too into the Maze of the Blue Medusa (they thought it was "too weird" and none of the NPCs were helpful enough), so god only knows what they'll think of my own stuff. They are already starting to cry about having "shitty stats" and not enough hit points. I hope tomorrow doesn't suck.


Friday, January 5, 2018

MAPS II

Well, for once I managed to roll out of bed and google up EXACTLY!!!! what I needed. Not sure who created this originally, got it from here with an image search.

This thing rules. Click to make it (much) larger.




Also, this guy has one about population densities in Norman England that I feel is generally useful to anyone doing hexcrawls or mapping any old thing in D&D-land.


Monday, December 4, 2017

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Nameless Cults 666: Reflections of the Solstice / I'm Flaying Everyone


Here we go with some cultishness that for once isn't based in H.P. Lovecraft! 

I'll bet you thought it would never happen. Starting with the heaviest, nastiest, most Black Metal bad guy, the whole reason I'm using the classic demon lords in the first place:

ORCUS!!!
AKA Prince of the Dead, The Goatlord, Yredelemnul, His Corpulence

Why even play Labyrinth Lord without Orcus? He is the game's mascot. The question is how to make him scary, dangerous and interesting? We already have Chthulhu, Azathoth and other extra-dimensional beings inimical to human life and sanity.

The difference has to be interest. Yog-Sothoth doesn't care about you and doesn't even notice its human worshippers, but Orcus Wants You to play Labyrinth Lord! (and for his army of the undying). He answers prayers, gives instructions and sends servants and avatars to Earth, just like normal D&D gods & demons.


If you don't want this guy in your game, then fuck you.

In classic D&D and Labyrinth Lord, Orcus is the lord of the undead, but I've already given some control over undeath to the Esoteric Order of Dagon, who raise the drowned from beneath the waves. Of course lots of people could learn to raise the dead, but I want more flavour.

Since I included muscled-up Chris Moyen goat monsters in my game, they naturally fall under Orcus' purview. Let's say their own legends place him as their ancient progenitor. If this is true, it means they are a race of true demons living on Earth, and should be vulnerable to banishment, holy word, etc, although few pious folks are interested in finding out. No musclegoat-women have ever been spotted, and nobody knows if they are created, summoned through gates from Orcus' realm, or born by some other means.

Orcus also resembles Baphomet, which is interesting. D&D and heavy metal already combine in a great way, but Baphomet means the occult is no longer implied, it MUST be involved. This gives Orcus domain over secrets, forbidden magic and maybe some groups worship him under the guise of some other being, never knowing who they really pay homage to? I see it as Orcus representing all the things your mom's church said D&D was about. Orcus' priests will have special spells, and I can try to base them on historical ceremonial magic to add that little bit of Extra.


The grand-daddy of them all.

To sum up:

Orcus is the demon lord of all black metal topics: undead, goatmen, spikes, whips, church burnings, human sacrifice, the occult and crucifixions. He opposes Christianity (unlike Satanism, which I'm placing alongside Gnosticism, etc as one of many choices in a MUCH more tolerant, polytheistic and unrealistic Judeo-Christian pantheon), countering the ideas of piety, meekness, martyrdom, and heavenly reward with: existing forever among the undead.

He is not charismatic, tempting or sly. He just sits around saying "Hey human, you wanna live forever? Well, here's the next best thing: lichdom, or if you aren't a wizard, maybe as a shadow or wight or something. We'll give you a bunch of skeleton slaves and you can keep all the goth girls to yourself."

"Don't like it? Finger of Death!!"


LICK THE HOOF.

Placing the worship of Orcus in the setting should be quite easy: the historical Orcus was a Roman underworld deity. So I'm thinking Rome made dire bargains to preserve its power in the waning years of the corrupt empire. Along with Demogorgon and other demon lords, Orcus was invoked by the Romans during their withdrawal from the old city of Londinium. The disastrous results of that final battle can still be seen today by anyone foolish enough to venture near that cursed city (better believe we'll be seeing more of it soon).

Wherever decadent and corrupt Roman culture still lives in Albion, the worshippers of Orcus can't be far behind. They hate that they were driven underground by Christianity, and sometimes make temporary alliances with other forgotten cults to bring down the age of the Crucified One.

The other great thing about putting Orcus in the game is I can use all those Necromancer Games adventures I have, since they also love the guy and so many of the dungeons were built by his cultists. Holy fuck, should Rappan Athuk, the dreaded Dungeon of Graves, be somewhere in Albion? Maybe/maybe not, but there is a good stack of other great adventures to be used. The Crucible of Freya and The Tomb of Abysthor are both sweet low-level jams.

Flipping through these modules again is already getting me stoked to start hacking them up and shoehorning them into the game!

*****

I was going to write up Demogorgon too, but I forgot about this! I simply can't come close to doing a demon lord like the aliens from Animal Man and referencing every band with that name from Metal Archives. I'll try and reinterpret some other classic D&D villains if I can.

*****

Now here is a fat stack of Orcus-approved albums:

The main thing:


You have no choice but to turn this up loud:


Hella fast goat-grind, listen or be FLAYED:


Worth it for the atmosphere, vocals and guitar tone alone:

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Naming the Cults

It's snowing outside.
This is an easy one. A master table of all the religions in the game! I had a heck of a time adding and subtracting to this so that some might be familiar to my players, there aren't too many to keep track of (I'm looking at you Celts), few boring non-adventurer gods, and it still adds up to a number that we can roll on a set of dice.

I think this is a good balance. The other gods from the real-world pantheons are still around, but the priestesses of Hestia for example won't be encountered strolling down the highway on a quest.

You may note a great degree of... "ecumenism" in this setting. I'm definitely taking a more freewheeling approach to religious conflicts, where the temple of Satan can walk across the street to talk to the Christians instead of ally themselves with the servants of Orcus against all the forces of good, and where Loki's clerics could team up with Wotan's servants to help their culture conquer Britain and the forces of Lugh & Arawn. Plenty more combinations await!

!!!! RELIGION TABLE !!!!
Master table for rolling up random clerics/cultists
Where devotees of some of these "religions" get their spells is up to your own judgement.


D48 (d6 & d8) ROLL:


ABRAHAMIC
11 Jesus
12 JHVH
13 Satan
14 Gnosticism
15 Pelagian Heresy
ANGLO-SAXONS
16 Baldr - the shining one
17 Bragi - skalds
18 Loki - trickster
21 Thunor (Thor) - storms, thunder, you get it
22 Tiw (Tyr) - glory, war, law
23 Wotan - wisdom, language, war
24 Eastre - spring, dawn
25 Freyja - love, fertility, sex, death
26 Frige (Frigga) - wisdom, foreknowledge
27 Hel - underworld
BRITONIC
28 Arawn - underworld
31 Belenus - “the fair shining one”
32 Crom Cruach - “bloody crooked one,” human sacrifice
33 Dagda - druidry, magic, fertility, agriculture, strength
34 Lugh - skill, crafts, war
35 ManannĂ¡n - sea
36 Brigid - spring, healing, fertility, poetry
37 Ceridwen - rebirth, transformation, inspiration
38 MorrĂ­gu - war, fate, doom
ROMAN
41 Apollo - sun, music, healing, truth, prophecy
42 Bacchus - wine, madness
43 Jupiter - sky, thunder, king of the gods
44 Mars - war
45 Mithras - secret warrior mystery cult
46 Neptune - sea
47 Pluto - underworld
48 Saturn - agriculture, wealth, generation, dissolution, time
51 Vulcan - fire, forging
52 Diana - hunting, the moon, nature
53 Minerva - wisdom, strategy, trade
ANCIENT ONES
56 Dagon
61 Tsathoggua
DEMON LORDS
62 The King in Yellow
63 Thasaidon
64 Arioch
65 Orcus
67 Jubilex
68 Lolth


*****


Now for something more relaxing:




Wednesday, October 25, 2017

MEGA MUTATION POST!!!!

Okay folks, it's been a minute. Tonight I am trying to switch over to night shifts for the rest of the week, so I'm up til 7 drawing a new map of Albion, writing up dungeons, and collecting links and ideas for various aspects of the game.

One thing that's been on my mind for a while is a bad-ass "super-mutation" chart. Something that has EVERYTHING, where I'll never run out of new shit to inflict on PCs, and I can also use to whip up freakish Chaos champions, pathetic sorcerous experiments and everything in between. I will also use some of the more innocuous and cosmetic mutations for the elves in my game, who are supposed to look freakish and alien.

So far, I have no such compiled table, but a list of links or references to other people's tables. All I have to do is create a weighted chart that lets me decide which one of them to roll on! I will weight it so the really savage tables are much less common, and so the tables with MORE STUFF are used more often.

-Tiefling appearance table from the 2nd edition Planeswalker's Handbook

-Mutation table from Carcosa

-"Effects of the purple lotus" from Death Frost Doom

-This sweeeeeet table from WWCD? (please I hope to see more of these)

-I think this one's from Warhammer.

-This one is more of a 'sorcerous mishap' chart but has plenty of great stuff.

-Scrap Princess at it again!

This will be added to as I find more links and get more books. I'm not really sure how to format a table in this stupid blogger interface, so w/e bro, the Notepad solution it is.

ROLL d100:

1  - 20%  - Tiefling
21 - 28%  - Carcosa
29 - 34%  - Purple Lotus
35 - 52%  - WWCD?
53 - 74%  - Warhammer
75 - 91%  - Dungeon of Signs
92 - 00%  - Scrap Princess

*****

Brought to you by the changing of the seasons and the unconquerable sun:








Saturday, May 13, 2017

Nameless Cults V

CULTISTS OF YOG-SOTHOTH who is The Key and The Gate, AKA Iok-Sotot

No. Appearing: 2d4
Alignment: C 
Move: 120’ (40’) 
Armour Class: 17
Hit Dice: 2 
Attack: 1d6+1
Save: Cleric 
Morale: 12 
Hoard Class: *
Experience: 38

Only madmen would worship this Ancient One. Anyone who isn't mad when they join sure will be after the terrible initiation rituals this cult administers. They charge into battle in once-fine robes and giant black hats, wreathed in pungent incense smoke and swinging two-handed weapons (scythes, hammers or flails) chanting "IOK-SO-TOT! IOK-SO-TOT!"

In any group, one of the cultists will have a censer that looks like a big two-handed ball and chain, from which issues the maddening and pungent smoke that drives the cultists into their battle frenzy and disables their opponents. It gives them insight into space & time so they can predict their enemy's movements, this accounts for their high AC and makes them immune to surprise and sneak attacks while in the smoke. If you try to jump them, you find they are looking straight at you no matter which way you attack from, even if you are invisible (they have a premonition of being stabbed in the back, even if they don't know who will be doing it). This also means that the cultists, from a short distance away, look like a big chanting cloud in the dungeon.

Outside the smoke, effects wear off (for cultists and victims) after 1d6 rounds, which renders the cultists AC 13 and vulnerable to surprise. The smoke renders them perpetually weird and difficult to converse with - as if they weren't already bloody lunatics. Imagine that girl/guy you tried to pick up outside the bar that one time, but she/he was stoned as hell and kept saying things sort of annoying and totally unrelated to the conversation*.

The smoke has various effects on those who inhale it. Roll 1d6 on the table for each character who inhales the smoke.

1 - Bugs!!!: They're crawling all over you. Save vs spell each round to do anything other than freak out and pick at your clothes.
2 - Permafried: No save. The same ability the cultists have. +4 to AC, -4 WIS, can't be surprised, you have trouble making complex decisions (rush the player, make them decide what to do first every round even if their initiative roll is way later. If you skip over them for being too slow, they'll get the idea).
3 - Dream Warrior: No save. Move slowly, just like you're fighting in a dream. Hit last every round, movement rate and damage reduced by half (round up). Taking any hit point damage will wake you up and you're back to normal.
4 - Terror in the Depths of the Fog: No save. How big is this room again? Why is it so quiet? Where is everyone? The smoke is too thick, your character is lost in the Silent Hill emptiness between worlds. After 1d6 rounds of wandering, make a WIS check to find your way back. If you succeed, no problem. If you fail, something followed you back. Roll up a low-tier demon encounter, hostile to anyone and everyone. Or if you are a real dick, the character ends up in another dimension chosen by YOG-SOTHOTH.
5 - Through the haze of Time: Granted a vision of the future! The player can look at the dungeon map for a number of seconds equal to their character's INT or WIS, whichever is lower. Save vs. spell. If you fail, the character is so terrified by this knowledge that they cannot discuss it aloud. If the player SPEAKS about any of what's been learned, visit some horrible doom upon them: time paradox, insanity effects, curses, etc. Once the future has come to pass (the party has explored some more rooms, met more monsters, etc: 1d6 encounters), player can speak normally.
6 - Instant Death: Not really. Character believes self to be dead, falls over, breathing and vital functions slow to a crawl (only an expert can tell). Save vs. death every 2nd round to wake up, no worse for wear.

They don't usually carry treasure, but their robes are high quality (although often ripped and torn). Also the censers are finely made and could be worth 1d6x100 gp to the right buyer (a church or collector maybe).

*This is important, as all the cults of the Ancient Ones still have their own motivations and goals and can be open to negotiation, trades or even temporary alliances. Most have human-level intelligence, it should just be difficult and confusing at times for PCs to understand them or make themselves understood. This is a way to get some more adventure hooks happening, and I find dungeons can be real boring sometimes with nobody to talk to.

*****

Today's post brought to you by IPAs and:

BLOOD AND SOULS FOR MY LORD ARIOCH