Sunday, November 5, 2017

Shadow Post: Remaking Hoard of the Dragon Queen

Attention, my players: if ever you come across my blog and see something entitled "Shadow Post", that means it is about a campaign I am running and not to be read. I can't stop you, but you'd spoil the fun for yourself.

Anyway. The blog isn't going dark, I just went through a major life transition. Posts will probably be more infrequent.

Thanks to Power Score

Hoard of the Dragon Queen

This adventure is one of two parts that ends with the players confronting Tiamat herself (or not, if they work together) at level 15. It's intended to introduce new players and potentially new DM's to D&D. It's.....okay at that. I've run it before and I'm about to run it again, but this time I'm taking advantage of Volo's Guide to Monsters and plawt twists to improve it. 

Oh yes, major spoilers ahead. 

The adventure is divided into 8 episodes: Greenest in Flames, Raider's Camp, Dragon Hatchery, On the Road, Construction Ahead, Castle Naerytar, Hunting Lodge, and Castle in the Clouds.

From the episode titles, you can already divine the basic narrative flow: burning village to tracking down raiders, something with dragons, travel to Castle Naerytar and a hunting lodge, and a confrontation in a cloud castle. 

Greenest in Flames: A town is being destroyed by cultists! Wat do?

Raider's Camp: Follow the cultists to their camp and investigate. Try to blend in/not die.

Dragon Hatchery: A misnomer: there are no dragons here. Only a lot of dragon eggs lying around (no dragon hatchlings, even) and a lot of kobolds/cultists/monstrosities.

On the Road: Pursue the main villyan! Spy on cultists along way.

Construction Ahead: Mostly detective work and a surprisingly dangerous random encounter.

Castle Naerytar: Villyan base reached! Destroy with extreme prejudice. 

Hunting Lodge: The main villyan has escaped! Follow them!

Castle in the Clouds: Giants, dragons, and vampires, oh my. Thwart the villyan!

My new group (they haven't cohered enough to be a real group) are busy with saving Greenest right now. `

I'm going to look at the background that's provided in the game book and alter it to offer a more interesting look into the relationships between the major players. 


"Severin was a young Calishite member of the Cult of the Dragon, inspired by Tiamat. Severin carefully reread the version of Maglas's Chronicle of Years to Come--translated by Sammaster as "naught will be left save shattered thrones with no rulers, but the dead dragons shall rule the world entire..."--and ultimately came to believe that the correct translation was "naught will be left save shattered thrones, with no rulers but the dead. Dragons shall rule the world entire...", a translation that many sages believed correct but heretical with respect to Sammaster's words. Thus the beings that should be the targets of their devotion were not dracoliches, but living dragons. Armed with this new conviction, Severin decided he needed to meet and speak to a living dragon.

He went to Mintarn, to the lair of the famous dragon Hoondarrh. Severin managed to befriend the terrible dragon, impressing both Tiamat and his fellow cultists. Thus Tiamat gave him a scrap of knowledge about the dragon masks. Severin discovered the whole history of the dragon masks and in long years of travel he recovered all five masks. These he gave to his most trusted friends, and saved the red dragon mask for himself. With a reputation gained from this search, Severin quickly rose through the ranks of the Cult until he became the main leader."

- Forgotten Realms Wiki

So Severin is a young man who, it's assumed, falls in with cultists and retranslates a text that had been translated by a mad wizard. His translation is the better one and he has a new purpose: conquer the world with living dragons instead of devoting vast resources and time to creating dracoliches. Sounds vastly more sensible than the proposal by a certified insane archmage. 

This is what he tells others. He's a charismatic and intelligent young man. Powerful but affable, with just the right touch of apathetic cruelty to temper his burning ambition. People tell themselves they like him because they want him to like them, because they sense the passion within him and are drawn to it as moths to a flame.

He hates all of them. Every single arrogant, sniveling, evil one. 

Severin is a Amnian, who grew up in the nation of Amn. As a child, he eked out a paltry existence with his mother and father, walking miles for water that did not carry a toll or a barely affordable education under a distant wizard. His mother, the strong one, worked the blacksmith shop and kept the family coffers soluble. His father, a crippled soldier, was a storyteller, who recited and memorized epics on the local stage and secretly worked on a poem of his own, a story of life, love, and acceptance after humiliating injury. 

The local village council, never competent, forgot to pay the garrison one month. The soldiers shrugged, packed up their kits, and left, taking a couple of children with them as currency. 

A local group of bandits, recently subjugated by a blue dragon, ambushed and killed most of the garrison. The survivors agreed to join the bandits and the children were fed to the dragon as a goodwill offering. 

Several days later, the soldiers returned to the town. They understood that the town had fallen on hard times, and laughed away the payment offered. They'd stay for good now, especially considering what happened to those poor children. What happened to their captain? Oh, he had been killed by some bandits. 

That night, the soldiers let the bandits in, and the calm starlight was rent by lightning. Howling bandits adorned with shed sapphic scales and crude wooden dragon masks stalked the villagers, killing the adults and netting the children as the dragon Lennithon soared above, toppling buildings and pinning resisters down with dragonfear. 

Severin watched this all from the balcony of the wizard's house, several miles away, and when the old woman refused to help him, pushed her down a flight of stairs, breaking her neck.

Severin sifted through the ashes of his town, recovering his father's cane and half-finished poem and his mother's blackened skull. He tracked the bandits back to their rough huts outside Lennithon's warrens and was captured by a patrol. He killed two of them before they trapped him in a net. The young man woke up staring into the eyes of a dragon, as food. He begged for his life, demonstrating his limited magical capabilities, and the dragon spared him.

Severin began to work his way into the dragon's trust and started to plan out his revenge when Lennithon revealed to him the existence of a larger body - the Cult of the Dragon. He swore a blood oath over his mother's bones and his father's cane that very night to destroy both the cult that killed his family and the callous mercenaries that abandoned his town. 

On his first raid, he found another boy, slightly older, who nearly skewered him. Severin spared him and his parents, and explained what he was trying to do. Tarbaw Nighthill agreed to plot an elaborate revenge against the depredations of the cult and the evils of money.

Over the years, he carefully crafted a cover identity, and after seeing the poverty and corruption of the cities, decided to destroy chromatic dragons and all mercantile oligarchy. He learned that the god of greed and chromatic dragons was trapped in the Nine Hells.

Now he seeks to free her so she can crush and loot the richest cities in the world, and then destroy her along a powerful force of heroes, Tarbaw, and metallic dragons. The world is better off without greed, he reasons, and he needs a champion to act as a foil to his projected grand evil.

Tarbaw is grateful to Severin for sparing him and also for letting him play the hero. He also believes the cities are horrid, filthy places, and rationalizes that the utter destruction of decadence is worth a few thousand innocent lives, as so many more will be saved from the addiction of gold and meaningless pursuit of grandiloquence.

Tarbaw seeks out small to middling to communities and gains their leadership through even means if he can. Then Severin has a detachment of cultists attack, and Tarbaw rallies the residents against the evil dragons and cruel mercenaries. He takes a grim pleasure in personally killing for-hire soldiers and slavers. 

Their search for an appropriate place has led them to the old base of the Cult of the Dragon: the Well of Dragons. With the Greenfields so close to the Well of Dragons and Amn, Tarbaw has decided to convert the region while Severin quietly subjugates the rest of the cult, assassinating the old guard that intractably believes in Sammaster's words and fending off challenges to his power. 

To this end, Tarbaw rose to become the village elder of a small town named Arkady. After fending off some cultists, he leveraged his victory to become a provincial governor after the old one passed away. Proctor Themberchaud runs the entire pastoral region under the nominal authority of Elturel, and Severin has ensured that the most terrifying raid yet will take place when Themberchaud visits. If Themberchaud dies in the conflict, perhaps Tarbaw can assume his place...

That's both an oddly specific and incredibly vague backstory, but more compelling than the "evil guy", I think. On the next post I'll cover how this will affect the specifics of HotDQ: Greenest in Flames and Raiders' Camp.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A transient moment in the life of a starbeast

My objet d’art is a representation of the tunnels a space termite bored inside one square hectometer of a massive, sentient, spacefaring creature’s flesh.
Microscopically honed mouthpieces pulverize tunnels through flesh growing and dividing in a complete vacuum. This tough, dense, whitish material is torn through by a creature whose mouthpieces treat diamond like wet paper. The alkaline ooze spurting out of defensive pockets is designed to protect outer layers of flesh from exactly these parasites. The termite treats it as a mild irritant at best, and an unfortunate hit at worst. A lucky gush occasionally triggers an autoimmune response that causes a leg or an eye to slough off.
The barely insectoid form drills away, powering its mandibles with thick, acidic blood naturally pressurized to function as organic hydraulics.
The titanic creature registers an itch, somewhere along its lower dorsal quadrant, around its third supernumerary cluster of redundant filtering systems. Analogous to livers and kidneys, they filter the sludge-like blood and produce the long strands of proteins necessary to replicate the mammoth’s incredibly dense, armored cells.
This creature, this fleshgod, unwinds a manipulatory tactile organ, a spiraling tentacle hundreds of meters long, to scratch at the itch.
The termite is hit with a sudden, colossal convulsion that ruptures the stressed sides of its tunnel walls, engulfing it in a sudden deluge of superalkaloids. It instinctively engages a natural defense mechanism, encasing it in a shell not dissimilar to the ones formed by anthrax bacteria to hibernate. Particles blossom from hidden gills, reacting to the bases and forming a hardened, crusty shell, that encloses it in seconds. Currents of blood are drawn outward to the vacuum of space, simultaneously boiling in the sunlight and freezing in the shadow of the fleshgod as its solar sails eclipse the light from the closest star, filtering all but the most unstable wavelengths and converting them into energy.
The encapsulated termite floats with the blood, forming crystals of ice on its dark side and steaming on its sunlit side.
On the flank of the fleshgod, the blood pouring out of the wound undergoes an instant reaction as proteins from a nearby lymph network reach the site. The blood, in a matter of milliseconds, freezes, expands, and adheres to nearby cells, creating a crusty shield keeping thousands of gallons of blood inside.
The cracks are where flesh has started to regrow, eradicating the crystalline clots filling the tunnels. Nubs are tunnels being reclaimed by growths of new, healthy flesh.
Opaque blue for the outer coating, the scum over the living flesh and fluid.
Green for the areas affected by void bacteria, those hardy space organisms.
Brown for the necrotic areas, those dying and being reabsorbed. Targeted for waves of antibacterial product by the local lymph network.
Digging through this flesh is akin to mining through solid metal. The tunnels are geometric, the result of technique adjustments made by the parasite while drilling.

My art is the remnant of a cosmic feast.

threading through the blackest incomprehensible eons until rude gravity clutches at its godly flanks

Friday, August 11, 2017

I had a probably stupid idea that might actually be educational

Say your people are busy saving the world. Say they've saved it. Doesn't matter. This can apply to the best of players, and happen at any time.

Spread rumors of a new virus. This virus is memetic in nature; it propagates through a pamphlet. When you read the pamphlet, you contract it. If someone explains the information in the pamphlet to you well enough, you contract it. If you ingest some infected person's blood or mucus, you contract it.

Who are the infected? What does this virus do?

The infected are odd creatures. They dress weirdly, alternating between flamboyant poufery or incredibly drab clothes. They have little to no regard for money, hoarding it selfishly but rarely spending it except on new equipment or purported magic items. They love their equipment, but they mistreat and ignore it when not in battle or busy burrowing through the warrens of some intentionally buried necrothing crypt.

They don't really talk to strangers, and move in packs. People avoid them instinctively, flowing around them. They are weird. They are outsiders. When they talk it is stilted and often simple.

They look at each other constantly. When they talk to each other, it feels like round words being forced through square mouths, off-kilter.

To a creature, they are deadly in battle. All their battles, except for spells, are fought in complete silence. They die quietly, eyes flicking furiously around. They take no heed of lethal wounds.

Anyone close enough to them can sense the wrongness. The fundamental disconnect. The jerky, spastic movements they make. They are like puppets, moving in some strange dance, some like a standing corpse, others loosely animated.

When your players come across a pamphlet, it needs to be nasty and grease stained. Trampled underfoot in the gutter. It should be badly printed and unintelligible.

It should be, with no spite intended, a summary of the Player's Handbook.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Strange Teeth

Teeth hold a special significance for the farmers of the Styssios Wetlands. They are symbolically the means through which life enters your body by the vessels of food and drink, and therefore an important way to express vagaries of thought and body. Strong teeth indicate a hale person. Neat teeth are a sign of intelligence and a good predictor of literacy and mathematical ability. Even teeth show a person's purity, small teeth demonstrate strength, and large teeth show off a person's dexterousness.

This person is hiding something

Here is a table for teeth and how they can affect the mindset and body of people. Judge your PC's by their teeth. Cleanliness in outsiders doesn't matter if you don't have the money to afford it , but a sumptuously dressed adventurer with filthy teeth will be regarded with suspicion.

Teeth and what they mean (1d4s)

The first roll is odd.
  1. These teeth are glasslike. If you look closely, you might be able to see a vein. People with translucent teeth must be either grounded in this world or drifting. They are sapient but distant.
  2. Strong canines and small fronters. This person is witty but often employs cutting words.
  3. These bones are even and uniformly sized, signs of a scholarly future.
  4. This person has the touch because their front two teeth are gapped. They can peek into the cracks and crevices of other's thoughts, albeit dimly.
The first roll is even.
  1. Well-cared for teeth, if a bit crooked. This body enjoys the company of others, and people reciprocate affection around them.
  2. Small, squat teeth well suited for grinding and crushing. This person likes using their strength to solve problems.
  3. Even chompers with rounded tops that are dirty and discolored, hinting at a light hidden under a bushel.
  4. This person has buckteeth, the better to project with. They will speak their mind, whether sensible or not.
Quite normal actually

The second roll is an odd prime.
  1. These teeth are false! Roll again to see what teeth this person used to have, and what teeth they currently possess. 
  2. Overbite is an indicator of an energetic personality. 
  3. This person has wisdom teeth that have come in evenly. They are lucky and placid.
  4. These organs are overly large for the palate, but this person has learned to nimbly evade this difficulty, making them spry and quick-witted.
The second roll is an even prime.
  1. This person has a canine missing. They have been through a great stress, which makes them kind or acidic.
  2. This person has a molar or two missing. Do not trust them with significant matters, for they are rotted at the core.
  3. When this person smiles (which is rare) the missing front teeth are very noticable. They will lie as easily as breathing,
  4. Through luck or riches, this person now has no wisdom teeth. They are charismatic, but something is missing.
The second roll is a number squared.
  1. Their teeth twist slightly inward to the right, as if corkscrewed by some mammoth antediluvian in the womb. Their bite hexes its target. 
  2. They have a second row of teeth. Roll again to see what it is and determine how hidden the row is. 
  3. This person still has their baby teeth behind their adult teeth. The baby teeth are dead, but they refuse to let go. This person can sacrifice a baby tooth and plant it to summon a zombie or skeleton.
  4. This person has a hideous layer of overlapping canines that wave slightly. Their grin paralyzes like hold person. It is a predators stare, one that fixes a victim in horrible trance to the earth.
When you walk through the flats, it is considered proper courtesy to only take the briefest look at a new acquaintance's mouth. A true sign of trust is never looking at their teeth unless permission is given. Often, friends will greet each other with wide grins and others with small smiles. Styssians are close-lipped because they do not trust strangers with their identities.

Rulers of the Muds will approach each other with lips stretched over wide open mouths, to ensure each other that no deception is intended. Until salutations are brought to a close, it is considered proper to never close your mouth entirely, not even to enunciate. In cases of great import like peace negotiations or marriage contracts, professional ivorywrights (always part of a retinue) will inspect the other leaders teeth in front of a court assembled to insure that no glamors or false teeth obscure the truth.

This person is very trustworthy
As is this person

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Petalord

 Velvet, passionate, verdant, beautiful, wild, rich, beloved of lovers.

A rose is a metaphor so beautiful and perfect in its own right that it fully deserves all the cultural and personal adoration it receives. It grows, as love does. It has thorns, as love does. It unfolds into a beatific blossom, as love does.

Let it grow, and it runs wild. Prune it, and it only blossoms more. 

Developing an infatuation is called "pricking the rose". Jilting a lover is "pruning the bud". When a rosebud is presented to a lover, it serves the same purpose as an engagement ring. That rosebud, always a white rosebud, is typically preserved by magic, and taken into the couple's bed on their wedding night. Legend has it the rose will turn red and blossom in the morning if the new spouses have been faithful to each other. The rose is then planted, and nurtured. The tenements in most major cities are crammed full of roses feeding off the light through the ventilation hole penetrating the center of the building. Some plants have survived for decades in the stench of the cities, and a well-pruned rose bush is a sign of dutiful potential in-laws.

Naturally, roses are the ingredients in most love spells.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Taxonomy of Magical Weapons



5e has bounded accuracy as a massive mechanic, which has the effect of limiting magical weapon bonuses a lot more than previous editions. If PC's can't hit the monster more easily

SIDENOTE: increasing AC with increasing CR means largely that 20th+ level PC's have roughly the same chance of hitting a 30 CR monster as 3rd level PC's have of hitting a 5 CR monster without a ridiculous amount of buffs and modifiyan. I think. END SIDENOTE

 then they have to murderize it more easily. Ergo, PC have to do more damage to stay competitive, instead of just increasing every bonus (and monster AC) to ridiculous levels.  What this means to me is that magical weapons that serve the purpose of increased usability do so through damage. Since any given magic weapon with its +1 or +2 bonus won't massively increase the amount of times one hits the tarrasque, it has to have some sort of bonus that makes it worth using. Moar damage. Slap a +1 on a sword, give it the ability to deal +2d6 fire damage on a hit, done. Flametongue. Add ribbons (sheds light in x radius) to give thematic flavor, and you have a classic weapon. 


Monday, June 19, 2017


This is the poem that, rephrased, would eventually become my contribution to Synthexia. Thanks to +Arnold K.  and Usher for inspiration and +Patrick Stuart  for phrasing writing well. Patrick, this is where I went to fucking fly.

The Main Feature

pistons screech
hair spins in a wild, wild halo, prismatic beads of oil and synth-sweat and blood frothing over the strands as I dance
and dance
and dance
feel us throb and pulse to the half-rotted ventricles of our hearts and the wavering dust of our high-giving beat as we writhe and wave and froth to the beat
beats love
beats life
beat pulses beneath my skin, sinuous and amoebic and rainbow colored like the crysgolems as they pound across the floor jerkily
can you do this?
Our decaying flesh wafts under our noses like a hot summer breeze after a slaughter
fills your mouth with saliva as you gag
we don’t care
we’re gods on beat
we’re gods on beat
if you can’t feel the pulse, pulse, pulse of the floor and dance to the beat, beat, beat, you’re dead to us
if you can’t keep up we’ll trample you
put you out of your hollow, beatless misery
So dance
dance with me
dance to the beat
feel it fill your cavities and sinuses
doesn’t it just light you up?
burn your candle at both ends
you need to replace these fleshy tendons anyway
they fray and snap and need food
sashay your way onto the dance floor
cross that party line!
no you can’t go back
watch that the PASTE doesn’t shred your organic feet
don’t worry, stop screaming
here I’ll surf you to a meatsmith
he’ll give you some swag legs
just tell him you don’t want to be a bloodspeaker
well, I guess the meatsmith wanted to make a bloodspeaker
the PASTE twines around my metallic legs and my recently used mercystills still glistening with putrid bloodsludge
mercystills are for putting down fallen dancers
swift thrust silent death hsssh whisper krch thump
lose myself in the flash
in the spectacle the gleam the spark of madness
dodge the lazers ripping out of the neoniron girding
manned by ten million rubbery green scampering gretchlings
keep up with the beatmasters each limb they have revolves, revolves, revolves with their thrashing separators
That Old DJ has 18 arms and 20 legs spread out between 4 torsos and 3 heads
he ripples and flashes and blurs like an ocean while getting down to the beat
the beat polishes his fluid synth-skin, pulsing and animating it to the soundwaves that come from the speakerhives
fat techno-bees scurry around the bloodspeakers in the speakerhives, draining them of boiling pus and producing dust-paste to drop into our ravening frothing champing mouths
we don’t eat
that’s an organic thing
we indulge
one of the techno-bees pulses too close to the Disco Balls and is vaporized by soundwaves pulsing out from it, shaking any dancer who approaches it to bits
legend has it the First DJ entombed themselves in there, all his organics disintegrated but his brainship still extant, still calling out the steps and still shuffling the songs
others say the Beat Crystal now calls the beat
who can say no?
yes is the only way to go
do you wanna dance? Yes
want some beat paste? Yes
want to surf to a meatsmith? Hella yes
wanna taunt the PASTE? Yes
if our dance is an ecosystem, the PASTE is the scavenger and natural selector
we call out as we step to the beat that a fragment of a dying hemorrhaging brain called out to its biochip to move its limbs and as connexions broke down the chip reached out to the nanobot-infused half-congealed blood and made it ripple in a giant slushy wave
and then again
and again
and then the connexors responded to the dead-beat’s call and tore themselves out of synth-sockets and joined the blood paste
now the PASTE feeds off our corpses and the weak
strips them of metal and meat in a darkly pulsing, screeching maelstrom of metal shards moved by slurried blood
and surges on like a wave, coiling around our ankles and knocking an unlucky few of us off our feet
they get pulled into the PASTE by its trailing metallic undertow of slivers and die screaming upwards, the stars hide their faces
I haven’t seen starlight in millennia
who wants stars when we have lazers and pulse-beams and stickylights?
lazers to flash brighter than an organic eye can take (don’t use meat eyes!) and shine on, light up, show off, throw down
pulse lights to strobe to, flashing several times a second
if you can sync yourself to the pulselights you are Applauded
stickylights to slow you down like flies in amber
they muddy your thoughts and mire your limbs
its like swimming through green, molten honey
watch the metal mechapods flash
flex in 10 different places, rippling like the heat waves generated from our bodies
good meatsmiths can add up to 10 joints in a limb
then you can flex jump twist and rotate with the best of them
if you’re not careful around a meatsmith, they’ll replace as much as they want
so back off after they’ve finished a part
lest you become a roboshell that shambles or a brainless husk
if you got no brain, you got no beat
and the hypomen will pump your head full of beat
ooh, beat zombie!
then they try to eat you
take the gore with the heat
the good with the bad
the splat with the gasp
hypomen will do that to a dancer
hypoteeth and hyponails glistening with freshly spilled beat
if they so much as see fresh meat they all converge on it and rip it to shreds pumping beat into the organic as they bite and claw
killing each other
this is a meat party
stay away from it until the PASTE comes and eats the mess
or until a crysgolem comes and backhands the offenders away
mousy faces smashed and twisted, tumbling three hundred feet through the air
skin and gibbets flying beat splashing in long lazy loops
blood spraying and marking you for the PASTE
dance away, dance away from a meat party
the PASTE or flesh-maddened hypomen will rip you apart
or you’ll get too much beat and go NOVA
going NOVA is when the beat passes your metabolic rate for the lastime
then the beat converts all your organics to heat and metallics
heat up hundreds of degrees
and NOVA is scary because it can make other dancers go NOVA too
3400 years ago, the crysgolems and and gretchlings had to contain and fry 5000 dancers before we all went NOVA
gretchlings work the lazers and pulselights and stickylights
they conduct well
both lightshows and electricity
they have a very static shock and a nasty bite
they can fry you or sting you or pulse you if they like
they hold the gantry and the lights together and power the speakers
do not call them beatless
they will kill you at the speed of light or freeze you in a stickylight and taunt you
we call these dancers fliesinamber
they will never get out
gretchlings have long memories
crysgolems announce themselves with a stamp stamp stamp and a pound pound pound
they revolve all their joints as they move fast enough to heat air and rip skin
they flash
sparkle each joint a jewel, each jewel has 100 sides, each side flashes with their bright inner light
each golem has its own spotlight trained on it
hypomen scurry
bite rip tear inject
beads of beat flying
weaselly faces flashing mute desire
they have to pump beat
they need to pump beat
they want to pump beat
gretchling pivoting riding and gliding and fixing lazers and other lights
the big neon purple crystal in the center giving off beat haze as the reverberations hit it like waves on a shore and thumping out our muzak from its million speakers
the speakerhives slowly sliming across the dancefloor trying to elude the paste
the PASTE hunting for blood and fresh meat and fallen dancers
the Beatmasters leading the dancers
the meatsmiths lurking or modifying fresh sprays of blood erupting from their rustytools
a scream as a fallen dancer is put down
a scream as a bloodspeaker is made
a scream as a dancer flips 100 feet in the air before gliding towards the center
the beat throbbing pulsing thumping pounding ecstasy as our spirits soar
glowing shining slithering writhing wet agony as our flesh rips
light flash
strobes pulse
twist pump turn dodge spurt
lose yourself
live forever
we’re gods on earth!
The Great         Rave        of        Synthexia!

Lightning and the Thunder

The moment before their arrival lingers, heavy with a faint musk of fresh rain off concrete, that elemental smell so peculiar to the city. The ozone in this instant almost condenses on the tongue, an acrid taste, alien yet reminiscent of vomit.

I've only seen a red liminal twice during thunderstorms
And then, a Brobdingnagian boom resounds throughout your body and soul, shaking you down to the toes and up to the hair. Your eardrums have probably burst by this point, which would have happened soon anyway. The pain is sudden and dazing, another crimson pall cast over your vision in addition to the cerise light spilling over the horizon, painting everything the eerie color of almost-blood. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Tremmulous the Strange King

He walks across the forest in such a manner that one's nose begins to burn. Then the eyes itch, and your thighs will turn to jelly. You begin to feel like you might fall asleep at any moment. The closer he comes (or is it the further he walks away?) the more phosphenes you see swim before you, dancing effervescently across your failing scleroses. Eventually, as he approaches further away, your heart will go pitter-pat and stop.

Do you see what I see?

This is not the end, but a beginning. As his gnarled and lithe finger, with its unkempt manicured fingernail, touches your chest, your heart will regain its rhythm, much like a child found not working that will scramble to look busy again. Eventually, you will come out of the eyes wide shut and look around blearily, head pounding. The most noticeable sign of an encounter with Tremmulous is a massive quantity of dried snot mixed with salty tears. Your lashes are almost glued shut and your nose is crustier than Spongebob's bum. That jerkin is probably trash now and you are desperately thirsty.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Terror of Druids

Bblyns used to have a sister city (whose name has been extrapolated from a fragment of text in an unknown script and clumsily translated), Akns. It existed on a whole other peninsula, and formed a rough equilateral triangle with Bblyns and Torre'kan, with Akns as the peak of the triangle.

Then, the established clerical hierarchy, feeling restless under a relative renaissance of knowledge and magic, decided to expand its network, teleporting teams of clerics, fighters, and woodcutters into the deep stretches of the old Antolian Expanse, commanding them to establish a system of linked outposts and bring enlightenment to the heathens.

This worked for several decades, and the druids even succeeded in teaching some Akns how to live in harmony with the forest, singing trees down. But the inherent superiority of civilization and the unconscious devaluation of the Antolian angered the druids, who took steps.

The first sign that the forest does not want you is crop blight. Those areas so recently liberated of trees by fire and ax will wither. The Akns had their clerics fertilize the fields. Next, animals began attacking. The Akns undertook extermination campaigns.

Monday, April 24, 2017

What is Magic?

Draven Lyndholm
On the Misrepresentation of Magic

If you travel around Requiem, asking various people what magic is, they will give you vastly different answers. 

A mud farmer in Styssios, wiping his brow with a blackreed hat while balancing on his dirtpoles, will tell you very seriously that magic is the way that souls reproduce: the mental ejaculate of a wizard or cleric, floating through the ethereal until it bumps up against a clot of ephemeral matter and infuses it with energy, creating yet another soul that is sucked into the biological vacuum of a baby as it is born, giving the child a personality. Druidic souls will instill a connection with nature, or perhaps eel-like tendencies. Clerical souls might infuse a natural skill with healing, or maybe a really good eye for detailed symbol carving.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

What a beholder told a terrified group of adventurers shortly before killing them

"You want to know why I'm going to kill you? Why I'm going to murder you knowingly, in cold blood, and watch you die? Why I and others like me despise you all relentlessly?

"I'm going to kill you because you humans never think. Never watch, never observe, never reason. Instead of attempting to find a plausible answer, you jump to the most immediate and self-serving one. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

D&D Abbreviations: A Guide

I'm new to D&D or other roleplaying systems, what do all these abbreviations/words mean?

Hi there, and welcome to my little corner of the interwebs. Despite the look of things, D&D isn't that complicated, just wordy. We use abbreviations so we don't have to type/write/say the same long words over and over again. Here's a basic list that will probably get longer and longer as time goes on. I apologize for my instinctive 5e bias. And I'll alphabetize this eventually. Just hit ctrl + f for now and search for your term.

AC: Armor Class. Measures how hard a creature is to hit. 
Con: Short for Constitution. Determines general endurance, grit, and hit points.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Cygnate Principalities, Part 1

So my current campaign world is called Requiem. (Please ignore the first posts I made about my world, I'm currently treating those like an inchoate, undeveloping fetus). It features the Tritonius Ingenium, which is an empire of coastal barbarians, tempest magic, Mongolian savagery, Greek creativity, and Romanesque military might that was fighting a very successful war against Ruhrum Aqklas, a loose confederation of tribes encompassing a huge inland desert. Unsurprisingly, the further away the Ingenium got from water, the weaker they became. So they tried to conquer up the top half of the continent, which was close to an ice sea, and got mired in tundra for their troubles trying to circle back down towards the caravan-capital of the Aqklas, Quorrummeklas. One front is cold, inhospitable ice with ebony dragons, two others biting sand with dustwyrms and sandstorms and no water along with the Ruhrum Antlions, and yet another route is cursed savanna between the tundra and the desert that swallowed up the first army that was sent into it and all other small expeditionary forces/adventurers sent into it so far. There are rumors of a massive citadel, constructed out of a volcano's peak, deep in the savanna. For now, propaganda abounds about the successful advance of the armies, while the war slowly loses its momentum as the Poseidon, Amphitrite, and generals watch. Logistics has become a mindfuck of colossal proportions, and the Aqklas are adapting. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Great Rave of Synthexia, Part 1

So Synthexia is an 80's neonwarpworld style hexcrawl filled with glowing sinuous animate lazers that snake miles underground through forgotten miles wide decaying fiberoptics and occasionally push a loop of themselves up into a humble hamlet that used to be a nexus of fiberops and fry/drive insane/convert the inhabitants into lazermen who are as fast as light and have no sense of how to control their new bodies and great apocalypse tigers with 3 eyes on each of their pawpads and infinite fuzzy green tentacle tails that can turn your soul into a black screaming tortured crystal that burrows its way out of you in 1 round with one look (save vs. death). Shit like that. Crystals and lazers and incredibly powerful technologic cities long since degraded into cults of broken AI's and dimly pulsing wires with frothing cyborg-zombie as the world tumbles towards its sun. Postapoc futuristic disco world slowly dying. Corrupted versions of this song glitch over degrading organoplastic speakers as crysgolems slowly shuffle over a holofloor, ignoring fallen golems that spastically twich, painting erratic patterns in the fresh blood from adventurers who weren't good enough dancers.

Et cetera.

Here is my humble contribution.

10,000 Chambers of the Cnite King

Deep within the turgid reaches of the Samarkand Desert, a lone crag of withered sandstone presents a visage long scoured by time.  Samuele B...