Sunday 15 March 2015

Pygmy Marmaduke - Eater of Tongues

Greg Acker asked and, despite having been distracted by the Santicore summary project, I SHALL ANSWER!

Pygmy Marmaduke
Eater of Tongues.

HD 3, MV unencumbered man, AC leather +2 (agility), ATK 1 DMG Special, ML 8

The Pygmy Marmaduke eats language.
Upon first encountering the Pygmy Marmaduke, show this picture to the first player to walk into the room. They have up to one minute to describe it without using words.
For the duration of the player's interactions with the Pygmy Marmaduke, they cannot use words to talk or to describe their actions
Words cover both writing and speech, and thus the players may make use of mime, drawings, symbols, and other such contrivances in order to make their intentions known. Take too long and your go gets skipped. This effect persists for as long as the players are in the creature's vicinity.

The Pygmy Marmaduke attacks by springing onto one's face and placing its skull against the forehead, draining a language that person knows into itself. It will automatically hit on subsequent rounds unless the victim succeeds in a Wrestling roll to throw it off.
Each language eaten invigorates the creature:
1d4 HP if the language is local to the area (classically "Common").
1d6 HP if the language is not local to the area (foreign dialects, local Demihuman languages).
1d8 HP if the language is considered to be exotic (English versus Japanese, seldom-spoken or rare Demihuman languages).
1d10 HP and a permanent additional hit die if it is an ancient, dead or dying language. (Latin, Duvan'Ku)
This can heal it over and above its maximum HP, but any excess is lost after 24 hours.

In LotFP, when the creature has drained all languages players know it starts draining points from the Language skill. This heals it for 1d6 HP per pip.
If not using LotFP's retroactive language thing, skip straight to the tongue gobbling and catatonia.

When the last Language point is drained the victim goes catatonic. They are unable to subvocalise, unable to frame thoughts, and incapable of thinking in anything but raw concepts. With months of specialised psychiatric care they may recover.
As the victim falls drooling to their knees the Pygmy Marmaduke steals the person's tongue and leaps away. The stolen tongue dangles beneath its skull-jaw and enables the Pygmy Marmaduke to speak in the victim's voice.
It often uses this ability to pretend that the victim's consciousness has been swapped with it. Allow the player of the catatonic character to play as the Pygmy Marmaduke (the deception is perfect) until it has an opportunity to strike again. It should go without saying that a party that sleeps in its vicinity will be rolling up fresh characters by morning.

The Pygmy Marmaduke seeks to eat all language. It has a particular fondness for the culinary delights of foreign, rare and old languages. The anachronism-laden speech of player characters is a strange but somehow moreish treat.
It is highly intelligent and able to speak in the voice of any person whose tongue it is wearing. It uses this ability solely to concoct plots in which it can eat the tongues of scholars and speakers of obscure languages.
Its fondest wish is to savour the tongue of the last speaker of an ancient and beautiful language. It will go to any lengths to achieve this goal.

If slain, the Pygmy Marmaduke's brass necklace can be removed after cutting off the creature's head.

Necklace of the Marmaduke

This necklace allows the wearer to replace their tongue with the tongue of another.
The wearer knows any (and only) languages the donor of the tongue knows or knew. They speak with the donor's voice.
Casters take 1d4 days to get used to the new tongue before they can cast spells, unless it's something ridiculous like a lark tongue in which case spellcasting is impossible.
While actually bonding a tongue is painless, ripping out your tongue deals 1d6 damage.

Hey but I'm running LotFP how does anyone even re-learn languages

Dee-dubs, Doom Cave room 5 has you covered -

a character
is considered conversant in a language after
6 months of full immersion, fluent after two
years. A language can be taught by a tutor, but
that takes two years of at least five lessons a
week (at 3sp a lesson!) to become comfortably
conversant, and fluency does not come until
being immersed in the language.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Santicore Breakdown: Monsters

Next up on the Santicore breakdown - Monsters!
HD supplied if applicable.

As before, all content will be collated into Adrian's spreadsheet.



Extra Gribbly Arachnid Facemunchers for Old School D&D. Peitsa Veteli for J.
Spiders. Think Esoteric Creature Generator but JUST for spiders. Tables for No. Appearing, size, hunting method, poison, and 50 goddamn fantastic spider mutations. You should read the now-destroyed Monstrous Television's spider post on the Wayback Machine if you haven't yet commited it to memory.
If your players don't nope the fuck out when they see evidence of giant spiders already, this entry is here to help.

Hellacious Die Drop Tables. Kálmán Faragó for R.R.
Die drop hit location tables. It covers, get this, humanoid (+extra limbed), quadruped, and winged creatures with a variety of critical effects based on what you rolled. 5's have a variety of weird spiritual effects like smacking a dude in his Third Eye Chakra or inverting someone's sense of balance. Honestly you could make an entire Monk class with this baby, just have a Fighter who rolls on this when he fights bare handed.
You can hit people in the dick. I never knew this was something I needed until now. Quality.

Daughters of Terror. Erik Jensen for J. A.
Medusae. Tables for creating ladies who turn you to stuff. Tables for what she does, how she does it, what she looks like. Results such as (roll roll) a lady with a long, prehensile tongue who transforms you into a black cat when she speaks your name.

Fever Dream. James Aulds for T.S
Viral infection zombies who (1/6) turn into oozes after a while. Both vomit multicoloured pus-vomit to spread contagion. Patient zero can, under the right conditions, become an unstoppable rolling juggernaut of "colours and hate and teeth".
Intended for weird non-gonzo modern horror and thus easy to convert to any game.

How to Train Your Giant. Legion for J.T.
Giants. These seem to be "small" kind of giants that are 10' tall or so. Skyrim not the one at the end of Troll Hunter. A variety of means by which one might break a giant and rules for training your new giant in a variety of skills. Rules for multi-headed giants included.
You could use these rules for breaking and training human beings too for extra fucked uppiness.

Secret Glyphs of the Minotaurs. Arnold K for T.H.
Glyphs in the style of the Symbol spell that fuck you up if you see or walk on them. Ten different glyphs including Vanity (stay protecting the symbol),  Fire (detonates all flammable materials on your person) and Naming (steals your name).
Loosely tied to a minotaur theme which is why they're in this section I guess.

Temerity Creatures. Dan Shiovitz for M.C.
Alien monsters. Flora and fauna of a strange planet from which "the boiling hot tide rises from within the earth every 24 hours to drown all but the tips of several small but lush mesas". Said mesas could be turned into a strange island chain for standard fantasy.
Creatures are cool, strange, and alien. Each entry leads into the next which is real neat, contains Butcher Birds that create jaggedy metal sculptures in which to trap prey who wander into the spikes.

Boars, Bears and Tigers. C. Weeks for A.F.
Various overworld encounters in a weird and foreign section of the world. Table-heavy, heaps of content. Runs the gamut from animals to weird foreign animals to supernatural foes to botanical threats.
Wacky results rare but possible like a 0.0001% chance for any encountered animal to be a primordial Deity beast. Mooses (meese?), deadly tigers, crazy natives, environmental troubles, hyperlocal gods, and other stuff rare and wondrous.
Tables easily taken on their lonesome if you want to split them up. Real cool!

Monsters! Joey Lindsay for J.D.
Sci-fi serial killers. A variety of killers in the vein of Jason Voorhees and other movie baddies. One guy hunts you down to eat your ego, another eats your brain and crawls in there himself.
Pictures supplied for each baddie, and each would make a good monster for any game with the right fluff twist. My favourite is the guy who pretends to be a henchman while subtly leading you to your doom.

Evil Yeti Wizard. Lucien Reeve for H.S.
A wicked sweet drawing of an evil yeti wizard. This dude's like an orangutan with bell-draped horns and a skull stave and badass robes.
If I got killed by this guy I wouldn't even be mad.

Spider Mother. Matt Adams for J.S.
Jesus fucking christ.

Ophiotaurus. Peter Seckler for M.E.
Giant 8HD flying creature. Includes a picture of a Halfling being ambushed by said creature, although I almost prefer my initial impression of a giant horrible snake monster picking the dude's pocket. Main schtick - impales you with its stinger then flies off to eat you and drain your stamina.
Burning its entrails and breathing in the smoke gives you a boost.
Stats supplied for DCC and thus easily convertible to whatever system you're using.

Mamesk. Henry Stokes for J.B.
A new god, "He of Too Many Tusks". Images of Mamesk, the high priest of the Mameskites (or "Skites") that worship him, and Mamesk's holy symbol.
Mad cool.

A variety of fiendish beasts with which to kill my players!

 - You've got a month or so until the deadline for the One Page Dungeon Contest.
 - The Chaos Request Line is a sort of year-round Santicore and is running right now.

This summary/review/opinion piece/whatever is also available on this spreadsheet along with the other sections written by my collaborator Mr Ryan.

Saturday 7 March 2015

Santicore Breakdown: Adventures

There is an absolute shedload of content in Santicore this year.
Turns out doing this gives me a good reason to go through them properly!
Comes with authors and initials so you can search for yourself if you, like me, forgot what you asked for.
I'll go through them in order in subsequent blog posts because not even my refined mind can do all this in one burst.

Looks like Adrian is also on the case and collating it all in a nice spreadsheet
By our powers combined, we can do this!



Plague of the Vermin Guild. Tim Snider for M.R.
Dungeon crawl through caves full of diseased rats and ratmen. Skaven-analogs lose control of the sentient rot they were going to use to destroy the surface world.  Lots of baddies and treasure, town above will be destroyed if the players don't do something.
I will definitely use this because I've got ratmen and a mold disease and I need adventures for characters level 5-7.

System Generator. Matea Diaz for A.R.
Sci-fi solar system/adventure maker. Two 1d6 tables and leans towards the gonzo. Entries are real cool and suggest their own adventures.

Super Lucky Cat. Dyson Logos for K.M.
Modern-with-magic weird adventure. Chinese defectors and double agents being stolen by magical conspiracy beneath a Chinese Takeaway. They become addicted to magic cat milk and die if they leave. Final boss owns tigers and lives in the dimension behind the skin of the giant catmother in the basement.
Should be fairly easy to translate into the generic fantasy game of your choice. I'll use this as a city adventure for sure.

The Grotto of Corruption. Eric Hoffman for J.S.
Dungeon crawl beneath ruined church full of fungal fungus worshippers and other beasties. Lots of treasure and secret doors, a false tomb, mold zombies. Table of Hallucinogenic Spore Effects is excellent.
I'll use this because I've got a big mold thing going on in my campaign, and one of the players has decided he's a Cleric of the Mushroom God.
I think maybe this was for me and they got my initials wrong? In which case thanks Eric this is perfect!

Golem Complex. Stephanie Bryant for R.S.
Dungeon crawl through a vast dormant magma-powered machine. Native robot guards and giant golem lady dormant until meddled with. In fact, the whole place is fairly safe until meddled with.
Even better, the dungeon is written without stats but with tips to scale it to your party and system.
My players are threatening some Underdark action so this comes at just the right time!

The Torture Chambers of the High Inquisitor. Joshua de Santo for S.
Dungeon crawl in torture chambers full of angry undead. Pentagram shape, keys found as trap bait in corner rooms unlock door to central room. No map but easy enough to make.
Easily placed in a city and good for about a sessionsworth of adventuring.

Drawing Down the Moon. Jeremy Friesen for S.R.
Village-based adventure wherein Kenku steal the moon. Village's traditional harvest ritual is surprisingly effective due to shenanigans. Disaster looms unless someone can find out what actually happened last night.
I'll probably swap out the Kenku for something more generic like goblins or cultists because I'm boring, but I will definitely keep their fantastic names like Wicker Vicar and Lord Pretty Feathers.

The Abyssal Bog of Doom. Victor Garrison for J.J.
A hexcrawl through bogs and swamps. Holy shit did Victor pull out all the stops for this one. 67 hexes of content and explanations of the local factions and their goals? Hexes containing such things as a man who lives in a giant catfish, a bunch of dead boars with the Alien inside them, and a centipede made out a whole bunch of crying, vomiting babies!?
This entry is the absolute tits.

All Along the Watchtower. Matt Jackson for J.H.
Fantasy caper wherein goblin PCs attempt to save the princess in her zombie-infested tower. Two wonderful tables of weird goblin traits and abilities suitable for jazzing up any generic goblinoid. Tower itself contains zombies, zombie owlbear, a slug demon that eats adventurers to make more zombies, and in a shocking twist the princess is evil.
Neat, useful, and a good session filler. Unlike Raggi's ha-ha-the-princess-was-a-ruse thing it's got treasure in it.

Howling Frontier. Conor Toleson for J.
Hexcrawl in a weird west setting. Demon-powered train leads to the suspiciously death-themed frontier town of Gravedust which the suspiciously death-themed Countess would have people believe has fallen on hard times of late. Goblinoid natives live in the hills and forests while herds of oryx roam the plains. Asks more questions than it answers which is what you want out of a hexcrawl.
I love a good undead conspiracy, and there are enough moving parts between factions that the PCs will be upsetting the precarious balance of power as soon as they step off the train.

Manon, Witch Pirate of Guernsey. Steve Albertson for P.N.
Small island chain (Guernsey) filled with pirates and Lovecraftian entities we know and love. The eponymous Manon is trying to spread her cult of Yog-Sothoth via a crazy drug. Drug effect table supplied. Competing factions on different islands and the party has been sent to capture the witch pirate herself.
Whaddayaknow, my campaign's set in a weird sorta-UK! This one's an easy one to plop down and gives me a reason to stall them if they decide to sail the seven seas some session.

A Telephant Never Forgets. Justin Davis for S.F.
Location-based sci-fi adventure for Mutant Future. Poachers on motorcycles seek to poach the brains of telepathic elephants within the ruins of your nearest zoo.
That's the long and short of it, really! The elephants are 10HD terrors with psychic powers out the wazoo so if you're joining the poachers you're in for a hell of a job.

Space Dungeon Adventure. Paul Schaefer for M.F.
This is a dope picture of space mans fighting a skull crab in space and it is dope as all get out. Quality.

The Cubemen from the Woods. Nathan Ryder for C.W.
Location-based somewhat gonzo adventure with clay people. Clay people's goal is to make more clay people, closest source of clay is nearby human settlement. Trouble ensues. Cubemen are main foes and have cube heads with different faces on each face. They shoot fire from the angry face. Various internal issues make clay people faction unpredictable.
Easy to fit into anywhere fairly remote, I'll be putting this on the road to somewhere else.

Pit of Slimord. Andrew Bellury for E.H.
Dungeon crawl in... wait did Joesky write this? Who is this Bellury guy!? This is sick. There's a shower that Nickelodeon-slimes you and makes you mutate and the final boss is a slime monster called SLIMORD who has a magic hat.
Five room one page dungeon with a big bit of page taken up by a silly "squares are 10'" pictogram and a picture of a slime skeleton playing Go Fish.
This is joyous.

The Eye of Melchizedek Antigropelos. Tom Fitzgerald for ???
A whole dungeonsworth of traps, tricks, doors, dooms and other anomalies. The framing device is some sort of pants-obsessed gnome's fever dream into which the PCs are drawn should they express an interest in his choice of trousers. 144 whacked out dungeon things from Mr Middenmurk himself, along with some delightfully renamed spells. Also present - a picture of a horrible little gnome.
There's like 20 pages of this stuff.
Very useful and immediately usable in your game, whether it's for running as presented or for stocking a dungeon. Like most things by the author, his writing causes me to form even longer run-on sentences which sound mellifluous to my interior ear but no other.

Some real good stuff this year! And the vast majority I can use directly which is brilliant.

 - You've got a month or so until the deadline for the One Page Dungeon Contest.
 - The Chaos Request Line is a sort of year-round Santicore and is running right now.

This summary/review/opinion piece/whatever will be available on this spreadsheet
once I've had a sleep. It's late here, ya know.