Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas, Nerds

Hope y'all have a blessed holiday and find 1d4+1 presents under the tree.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Scraps of Inspiration

I read a lot of roleplaying game materials. Often a title or concept catches my eye but the material itself is lacking. But every so often there's a paragraph or a footnote, or a campaign hook, or something similar that catches my attention. These attention-grabbing scraps are rarely something I have a clear use for. I just see them and think "that's a neat idea" before filing them away. I've decide to share a few of the scraps I've collected.

I think that if you've been reading this blog you may have guessed that I don't like Dungeons & Dragons 3.x or Pathfinder much. In fact, you may have realized that I really fucking despise those games. I'm not a big fan of Mongoose Publishing either but this chart from Slayer's Guide to Sahuagin is actually a pretty nifty tool.

This little excerpt comes from an issue of Dragon magazine, around 212 or so if memory serves. The Masque of the Red Death setting has never really clicked with me. The "Victorian times but with D&D monsters" gimmick is a little lackluster in my opinion. But I do like this bit about drugs, brains, and monsters. Better yet, you can replace opium with a fantasy drug and literal brain-eaters with mind-eating extradimensional entities that possess drug users. I think this has potential.

The details on the process for becoming a D&Desque Lich have always been quite sparse. I like the above article (from Dragon Magazine?) because it lays out the steps for lichdom, makes it risky, and shows why it can be considered evil (the need for fresh corpses).

Last is a cursed portrait from a Paizo-era Dragon module Maure Castle.Like most Paizo modules this one failed to impress me but I do like this haunted/cursed painting .

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Golden Man and The Mighty Destroyer

One of the principal deities of the Tarfel setting is the Sun-God. He is known as Ialtes in the Elvish languages and is the patron of the Day Elves. Humans know him instead as Yalt in Aumsland (an area analogous to Western Europe) and Yalil or Yalel in the Sunlands and the Citadel Kingdoms (analogous to Northern Africa and the Near East, respectively). Ialtes/Yalt has two distinct aspects or modes of being, one being a creative aspect and the other a destructive aspect.

The Golden Man

The creative aspect of Yalt is The Golden Man. He embodies the positive aspects of the sun: Warmth, light, and good temperature for harvests. His connection with harvests has also created an association of him with wealth. Many merchants therefore spread his cult on their journeys. He is depicted as a gold-skinned hairless male Elf or Human (depending on his worshipers). His physique his always that of a well-fed individual which in practice ranges from healthy-looking to rather fat. His expression consists of closed eyes and a serene smile. The Golden Man isn't widely worshiped among the Day Elves or the Humans of the Citadel Kingdoms because of the constant warfare these groups find themselves in. He is most commonly worshiped by the Humans of Aumsland and he has a small but growing cult in many of the Sunland nations thanks to merchant-missionaries.

The Mighty Destroyer

The destructive aspect of Yalt is The Mighty Destroyer. He embodies the negative aspects of the sun: Drought, dryness, skin diseases, and fires caused by drought. He is also revered as a war-god because of this destructive bent. He is depicted as an exceptionally powerful male Human or Elf with a male lion's head. His mouth is almost universally open in manner suggesting a snarl or growl. The Day Elves worship Ialtes almost exclusively in this aspect, as do the Humans of the Citadel Kingdoms. Unlike the cult of The Golden Man, the cult of The Mighty Destroyer is wholly unconcerned with proselytizing. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Cats of Chaos

I've got some ideas I had for a setting (not Tarfel but yet another unfinished setting that's even less developed). The setting is based on Egyptian and Mesopotamian mythology
The idea is that there is a Law (relatively good) versus Chaos (relatively evil) conflict here with the sun god and his wife on the side of law and the cat-god of chaos on the side of chaos (SHOCKING TRUTH!). There are other animalistic/totemic gods that exist in a precarious middle ground between the two camps but I'll detail those later. This god has few worshipers because of its destructive nature but its able to create and command many servitors in the mortal world. What follows is brief overview of its most prominent servants.

 Picture sort of related


The Ahharu are mortals, usually cannibals, who have been given the ability to change into a monstrous version of themselves: When they transform, their muscles bulge, their hair becomes mane-like, their eyes become like a cat's, and their teeth become wicked fangs. Their only weakness is that they cannot assume their monstrous form except between sunset and sunrise.


The Djinn are sowers of chaos, using their power to grant wishes to destabilize society. Djinn closely resemble Humans but they are much larger (generally 8 feet tall), they have cat-eyes, and their finger and toe nails are instead shiny black claws. Djinn meddle with mortals not because of some cosmic mission but because of sadistic voyeurism. Occasionally a Djinn will bestow a measure of his or her own power upon a mortal, turning that person into a Sahira.


The Lamia are simply murderers. Unlike the Djinn (who enjoy the comedy of errors mortals put on) or the Sphinxes (who enjoy mortal flattery), Lamia hate all mortals and desire only their destruction.
Sometimes they attack blatantly and other times they act more subtly but their motivation is always the same. Lamia have the upper body of an exceptionally attractive mortal woman and the lower body a great cat.

Sahira (Witch) 

Sometimes a Djinn finds a mortal with deep emotional troubles or an overriding obsession. To these they gift the power of magic, turning them into Sahira. The motivations behind a Sahira's actions vary from revenge, greed, or even atonement but they are unstable enough to make them dangerous regardless of their reasoning.


Sphinxes are the only servitors of the chaos god that aren't considered wholly evil. Local populations treat these scholar-demons with a mix of fear and pious respect. Sphinxes are incredibly intelligent and have divination abilities that make them much-sought as oracles. Sphinxes don't perform these services for free: They demand treasure in exchange for their services, not because such treasure has value to them but because they recognize the importance of treasure in mortal society and the respect it brings. Sphinxes have the bodies of great cats with the chests and heads of Humans and a pair of hawk-like wings on their backs.

Gimme a break, gimme a break~

Hello, there loyal readers (I'm sure there are at least two of you out there so I'm not embarrassing myself). It's been a while since I've posted since this semester has been pretty jam-packed. Fortunately I'm now in Winter Break™, which means I have some spare time and spare brainmeat energy to use for nerd shit like roleplaying games.

I was too lazy to change the filename. Source is an artist named bkub.

Here are some things I'll try to post here before the Spring semester starts:
-XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Within's version of Chrysallids for Unisytem Classic
-XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Within's version of Sectoids (and maybe their variants too, I dunno) for Unisystem Classic and Heroes & Other Worlds
-Complaints about double standards for Player/PC knowledge split
-A comic book review or two
-Ravenloft stuff 
-Some of the stuff I started on but didn't finish
-A bunch of other crap most people won't care about

See you guys again in a few days.