Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Brains in the Garbage

I'm starting a new campaign in my world of Requiem. It's called Brains in the Garbage. If you're asking wtf, the campaign title worked.

Anyhoo, I'm now being forced to sit down and flesh out/codify all the things. I'll present them in no particular order. Expect 5e flavored with OSR.

Here's the lore!

A long, long time ago, Mother Sun and Father Moon created the world from nothing. They sculpted the mountains, dug out and filled the oceans, scattered pockets of precious ore, and seeded the world with life both sedentary and mobile.
They wanted more. What good is art without intelligence to appreciate its nuance?
So they gave up their physical forms, molded beings strong, tall, and wise out of their own flesh, and filled these shells with ephemeral, flickering energy plucked from the void.
These elves, the first sentient creatures, gave the gods the adulation and validation they sought and created many wonders in their time on the earth.
Eventually, the elves began to experiment on their own and the earth around them, reshaping flesh and spirit at a whim, working towards unlocking the secrets of the world and turning away from the gods.
Caught up in their perversity, the enraptured elves ignored the warnings and pleas delivered by Mother Sun and Father Moon, so the world burned. Proud metropolises of spiraling wood and tempered adamant sunk into themselves while the elves screamed their pain into a cold, uncaring void.
Afterwards, however, Father Moon felt guilt over his rashness. He spoke to Mother Sun about bringing back the innocent and kind, but in her pride, she refused, and spoke of a new race of beings she planned to bring forth, both humble and mighty.
She spurned his advice, and he refused to help her.
Father Moon, tormented by the screams of his children, raised the few he deemed worthy of life, but without the spark of Mother Sun, they returned as shadows of their former selves, as vampires, forever craving the warm flesh of the sun.
Mother Sun, ignoring her own pain and guilt, brought forth the angels to inhabit a scorched earth, but without the soft glow of Father Moon, they emerged bright and terrible, forever lacking the softness of the moon.
Each god, upon seeing the abominations the other had wrought, began to argue and then spar, invisible hands pummeling the fabric of the world.
As the gods fought, the vampires crawled out of the ruins of their homes, and the angels descended from the skies on flaming wings. Each side was seized with a terrible hunger, and each fell upon the other, ripping and devouring.
For years, the skies blackened, twisted, and split open.
When the fury of the gods abated, bleeding and broken, they looked upon a world burned at their hands and riven by their creations. Remorseful, they decreed that never again should gods fight each other, for to do so was to neglect their responsibilities as creators. Mother Sun tended to the hurts of her remaining angels while Father Moon healed his few vampires of their wounds.
United, they named their world Requiem, in honor of the dead, and one final time conjured clouds of life-giving rain to heal and erase the awesome sprawls of ruin. This last work done, Mother Sun, Father Moon, angels, and vampires retreated from the face of the earth, sick of war.


While each god promised that they would never again birth a race, the legacies of the elves persisted. Ancient vaults, built secretly to resist the powers of the gods, opened, unleashing new spawn birthed of godflesh upon the world.
Humans, dwarves, and orcs, the three Founder Races, spidered out across the world, rediscovered metallurgy, writing, agriculture, and settled atop Requiem, a graveyard for billions.
Their children, known as halflings, goblins, gnomes, and ashanti, forged their own distinctive strains of civilization. Wars flared up, as they always will, but wars of swords and spells, not wars fought with weapons capable of scorching the world.
New gods arose, offering knowledge and power, garnering devoted flocks. Advances in tech and magic improved both standards of living, trade networks, and the lethality of wars. Mighty dragons awoke, and carved out places for themselves.
Eventually, though, Mother Sun and Father Moon turned their gaze back to their monument, and were shocked by the proliferation of new life. The angels and vampires awoke, charged by their creators to walk among the races and learn their ways. What they discovered changed them.
Some vampires, wishing to redeem themselves, began to teach and guide the new races of the time before, dribbling out scraps of knowledge and caches of technology, seeking the blessing of Mother Sun. Some vampires, seeing a chance to live again, shed their former identities and walked among the new flesh, rejoicing in both familiar and unfamiliar sights. Some vampires, bitter over the loss of their world and their new form, disappeared into what old vaults of the elves still existed and became something worse. Darker.
The angels, offended by the new gods, descended to convince the new flesh of the old gods and their power. Some succeeded, and established bastions of Mother Sun. Some were conversely persuaded of the righteousness of the new gods, and broke away from Mother Sun. A few simply discarded all bonds like old robes, and took to exploring the world both old and new.
Eventually, the puritanical angels, hurt by their more “enlightened” brethren, demanded a meeting to refute the usurpers. Both sides brought mortal supporters, and sought neutral mediators. An agreement was reached: seven vampires would serve as the mediators, and each side would respect what the seven decided.
Maybe a mediator sought war. Maybe a mortal supporter decided to take matters into their hands. Maybe an angel betrayed the terms of the contract. Whatever the case, the negotiations broke down with the assassination of a puritan angel, and an angelic civil war erupted.
Father Moon and Mother Sun, afraid of the damage divinities could do, prevented any gods, new or old, from taking part as armies lead by screaming angels clashed over entire nations. Atheist states attempted to distance themselves from the fallout while neutral angels and vampires were pressured to take sides.
The vaults of the elves, perhaps tampered with, perhaps sought out for their ability to decide wars, birthed one last, horrific thing: demons. Hordes of slavering, whining, cringing, starving bundles of twisted flesh began to feed upon the armies of both sides.
Eventually, the waves of demons were forced back, but not before mortals learned how to control and summon them, and not before especially powerful individuals, bloated on souls and biomass, laid claim to the title of demon lord.
In the wake of the demon war, society started to rebuild. New alliances were formed, formerly verdant lands were abandoned or burned to purge demon infestations. Most major metropolises survived the conflict, notably the unlikely confederation of Bblyns and Torre’kan.
The present is a more cynical time for mortals. Some people cling more strongly to their gods than ever, hoping for protection and deliverance, while others reject deities. Angels are viewed in the same light as deities. Vampires are distrusted for their dietary restrictions and history but reluctantly accorded respect for their knowledge and proven leadership. Most alliances center around the military containment of demons or the turf wars that occasionally flare up.
The new art of devilry has attracted support and controversy like moths to a flame. Some argue for its expansion, others for its immediate cessation. Demons are demons, no matter how they’re bound.
Following the demon war, most angels have been ordered to pay penance. Some have renounced arms and dedicate themselves to helping and protecting the innocent. Some pledge themselves in service to an organization, and some have willingly locked themselves away.
A select few angels have discarded all allegiance, believing themselves betrayed. These angels look for answers, like some vampires before them, in the treacherous vaults of the elves. Some return, chastened, sporting new scars. Some never return, but tales spread of beautiful and terrible beings of flame both glorious and grotesque.
Nations rebuild as they always have around war and trade, two sides of a coin. The new gods, kept from fighting and deprived of their angels, work through mortal proxies. Throughout all this, Father Moon and Mother Sun observe, occasionally working small changes in the world towards their own inscrutable goals.

Welcome to Requiem.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

OSR Fighter: Gladiator-Butcher

Idea stolen wholesale from Ben L's stupendous Bestiary of Ruined Ghinor.

The lords of Torre'kan shall dine well tonight on marinated brisket
It takes an interesting person to become a gladiator-butcher. Brutal, yet incisively intelligent enough to memorize the anatomies of all sorts of strange monstrosities. Strong, but delicate in their cutting. The guts of a monster can't be punctured - that spoils the meat!

Above all, they must have a large dollop of showmanship. This isn't a manticore hunt (the manticore has already been hunted, caught, and prodded into the arena), this is a gladiator fight. More sapient enemies are given weapons if they so wish, but no armor. Gladiator-butchers wear smocks, chef's hats, and a light yellow jerkin with pantaloons. They don rubberized boots for traction. If they have no armor, why give any to the meat?

To a gladiator-butcher, all opponents (including other gladiator-butchers, sometimes) are meat. Meat is for consumption. Accordingly, gladiator-butchers have no names, only numerical designations stamped on their hats to display that all are equal to the masticating and digestive organs. Whatever creatures are on the menu are addressed as "appetizer", "side dish", "something resembling tender chunks of veal stewed in a light rose-cream-of-mushroom bisque with rosemary", or the almighty "main dish". 

These hardened butchers (men and women alike) rarely leave the city in which they practice their craft. They are customarily slaves and occasionally have to defend themselves from religious or legal authorities in other locales when they are suspected of murder and cannibalism. Most hail from Torre'kan, the largest port city in the Ecumenides. 

Sometimes, they depart on a grand hunt to attend their lord and his retinue of knights, necromancers, griffon riders, giant-riders, rickshaws, or what have you as yet another privileged noble sets their taste buds on a rare, usually magical beast.  

Sometimes, such a hunt ends with a spectacular slaughter in the middle of a trackless expanse of woods, leaving a solitary gladiator-butcher and a handful of retainers with no employer or means of travel. 

What creature probably ate your employer? (1d6)
1. A green dragon by the name of Vladicleres the Shade-stalker
2. A massive mantis shrimp that lurks off the coast of the Anatolian Bay
3. A demon named Rumbleguts who likes to pull off limbs
4. A mind flayer who didn't take kindly to having their door kicked down
5. The orcish warlord Daggerpick Molarcrush
6. A band of redcaps that asked your advice on cooking your lord/lady

What is your "fighting" style? (1d6)
1. A sharp, sharp knife and detailed knowledge of tendons
2. Polearms to the aorta
3. Blinding: with spiked caestus, throwing knives, or even blowgun needles
4. Entangling and dismembering meals with bolas, nets, and axes
5. Inflicting massive quantities of pain through sticks coated with burning pitch, flaying, etc
6. Concussion and trepanation with a mallet and corkscrew

Nicholas Papatzounis

OSR Class: Gladiator-Butcher

You get +2 Smock HP for every Gladiator-Butcher template you possess.

Starting Equipment: smock (leather), boots, hat, butcher knives, and proof of ownership
Starting Skill [d3]: 1 = Actor, 2 = Soldier, 3 = Chef

A: Coup de Grace, Smock HP, +1 Attack
B: Tricky, Carver
C: Notches, +1 Attack
D: Brag, Reputation

Coup de Grace
Once per combat, if you deliver the deathblow to a creature you're fighting, you may narrate it in a suitably bizarre and signature fashion. All onlookers who've never seen this method of dispatch before make a new reaction roll with your choice of a +4 or -4 bonus.

Smock HP
While you are wearing your smock or a similar garment, your maximum HP is increased by 2 x [Gladiator-Butcher templates]. If you wear something that obstructs your smock, this bonus is lost.

You do whatever it takes to avoid becoming dinner, especially if it means bruising the nethers. When a hostile creature enters or exits your space, you can use your reaction to attempt a Dirty Trick.

You're well versed in the art of separating muscle from viscera, and can butcher any creature who you're anatomically familiar with in [HD] hours. This produces crude but edible meat and probably destroys any delicate unedible parts. If you double the time spent butchering a known creature, you have a 4 in 6 chance of retrieving organs of your choice. If you butcher an unknown creature, you have to spend 2 x [HD] hours learning its anatomy.
Each gladiator-butcher has a distinct repertoire of butchery, but all know how to butcher humanoids.

Keep track of your kills with one specific weapon. When you reach 100 kills with that weapon, you gain a +1 bonus to damage. 350 nets you a +1 to hit. 500 kills gives you +1 to Defense while wielding that singular killing tool. 1000 kills garners you a nickname based on your slaughter style and .

You may spend a turn boasting of your gruesome kills, presenting trophies as appropriate. Opponents of [HD] < [1/2 HD] of your favorite trophy must Save or flee/surrender/accept a challenge to duel as appropriate.

By dint of survival, panache, or dogged persistence, you've garnered quite a reputation. If your owner or their estate still exists, they'll definitely send agents to retrieve you or negotiate the purchase of your freedom.
You'll also attract 1d4 novices a year eager to learn the trade from a master, and will have to field occasional job offers from organizations interested in your services.

Dirty Tricks:
1. Reflect light into your enemies eyes.
2. Hard boot to the tenders.
3. Tackle 'em.
4. Throw something small.
5. Hook a hand in their mouth and yank
7. Throat punch.
8. Kick a joint.
9. Sucker punch.
10. Thumbs to the eyes.

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