Sunday, 26 July 2020

blazing kansas

Something bad is happening in Kansas. A strange meteor fell from the sky and the government has sent you to sort it out. A yellow brick highway leads between cornfields towards a distant green glow on the horizon.

This is a depth mechanic. Take a step into the zone by rolling d6 on each table and adding 2 for each step you've already taken. Keep going until you destroy the Super-Wizard. Or you could put it on a grid and treat it as a squarecrawl, it's up to you.

LANDMARK
  1. Big white cross on the top of a hill. Crows circling overhead. Grants a blessing to anyone who's willing to kneel before it and commit their soul to Jesus Christ.
  2. Gas station. Wizened old man with shotgun behind the counter. He'll sell you snacks and potions if you can convince him you're not a thief or a jayhawker.
  3. Old-fashioned wooden grain elevator. The inside smells of sweet corn. Mutilated, rat-chewed bodies hang by necks from rafters. SLAVER written on walls in blood.
  4. Row of oil derricks. Guarded by a creaky, rust-riddled mechanical man. The slightest disturbance to the pumps will cause an explosive gusher that spews crude oil everywhere.
  5. Abandoned farmhouse. Haunted by spooky ghosts. In barn, covered by tarpaulin, strange machine of coiled glass that can project people into the Phantom Zone.
  6. Corn maze. Grows new walls to trap sinners. Scarecrow men lurk in the corn. Farm princess trapped in the longhorn minotaur's central lair - only her kiss can slay the beast.
  7. Wagon train. Pilgrims terrified of "Injuns", have circled their wagons to protect against surprise attack. On their way to ask the Super-Wizard to help them get to Oregon.
  8. Cheap motel. Clan of desperate bank robbers hiding out in room one through four. Innocent travelling salesman in room five. Pimpled teen on counter reading comic books.
  9. Revival meeting. Big white tent. Preacher baptising converts in a tin tub and inducting them into the Army of Gilead. Wants you to join and won't take no for an answer.
  10. Baseball field. Overgrown. Mechanical men play ball, their rusty joints squeaking, in front of the empty stands. Score a home run off the batter and he'll spit out a prize.
  11. Railway station. Glum hobos dwell in forgotton freight train, its wheels rusted to the track. Manic mechanical station-master insists on taking your ticket.
  12. Sculpture garden. Grotesque scrap-metal caricatures of celebrities and politicians. Owner has declared himself the Kansas antipope and wears a tinfoil mitre.
  13. Applebee's. In every way a fully-functioning, completely regular Applebee's. No trick whatsoever. Try the shrimp 'n' parmesan sirloin or the double-glazed baby-back ribs.
  14. Bible museum. Sleepy tame dinosaurs inhabit a life-size model of the Temple of Solomon. Friendly pastor explains how God created them to show that evolution is a lie.
  15. Saloon bar. Piano stops as you walk in. Whiskey-sodden desperadoes slump against the bar. Football plays on TV in the corner. High-stakes poker game going on upstairs.
  16. Wal-Mart. Libertarian management policies have led to a civil war raging between the aisles, with every department ruthlessly competing for your business.
  17. Meatpacking plant. Blood-smeared mechanical men herd screaming cows across the factory floor, slaughter them and extract their organs for use in Super-Wizardry.
  18. Clockwork factory. Mechanical men labouring tirelessly to produce more of their own. Interlopers have their brains chopped out and used in grotesque experiments.
  19. The Perfect City of the Super-Wizard. Lobotomised suburbanites with gleaming, drool-slick smiles shuffle between rows of identical green houses, watched by mechanical police.
  20. The Atomic Fortress of the Super-Wizard. Citadel of green crystal, home to a legion of mechanical men. Grew from a seed in a crashed alien spaceship.
ENCOUNTER
  1. Looming grey tornado, slowly rolling towards you. Cows and houses orbiting around it. Psychic baby with giant brain levitating serenely in the eye.
  2. Jayhawkers from the Army of Gilead. Men in red trousers and floppy hats, armed with rifles and broadswords, hunting down pagans and industralists in the name of Free Kansas.
  3. Satanist serial killer with mask made of human skin and swastikas carved down his arms, armed with an iron sickle, preparing to chop you up. Surprisingly stealthy for such a big guy.
  4. Phalanx of mechanical men, armed with axes, out looking for human brains to extract and return to the Atomic Fortress so the Super-Wizard can make more of them.
  5. Cynical teen genius with a laser gun. Perfectly bald. Cannot be restrained from denying the existence of God. Obsessively tinkers with every machine they can find.
  6. Longhorn minotaur. Hideously overmuscled from bovine growth hormone. Twelve-foot hornspan makes doors difficult. Wants to bring you back to the corn maze and eat you.
  7. Pack of masked harlequins with blood-stained teeth and wheels for hands and feet. Act like rabid wolves. Scarily quick on flat ground, but have difficulty turning.
  8. Red-haired boy reporter looking for the story of a lifetime. Excitable. Prone to ludicrous bad luck but is never actually seriously hurt. Constantly needs rescuing though.
  9. Stone-faced war preacher and band of jayhawkers looking for recruits for a military raid on the Atomic Fortress, intending to abolish the Wizard and all his sinful works.
  10. Woman in aviator goggles and diaphanous white robes. Claims to be the rainbow's daughter, fallen out of the sky. Can only eat the purest dewdrops and is therefore slowly starving.
  11. Shaggy-haired sasquatch in a battered top hat, wielding an enchanted magnet that compels people to love him. Depressed. Seeking someone more deserving to give the magnet to.
  12. Robotic flesh-eating worm with the head of Hillary Clinton. Wants to take your guns, raise your taxes, drink the blood of aborted children and convert Kansas to Islamic communism.
  13. Flock of yellow-fanged baboons with vulture wings, in comical blue jackets. Vicious, but crave discipline. Looking for a witch to govern them and keep their mischievous impulses in check.
  14. Giant hungry tiger. Wants to kill and eat some big fat babies, but can't, because she's born again in Jesus Christ and very active in the pro-life movement. Won't stop talking about it.
  15. Barber-surgeon with tuberculosis and a huge bushy moustache, looking for tooth-pulling work. Expert gunfighter but won't admit it, since he keeps getting challenged to duels.
  16. Obese purple leech-mouthed parasite man that drains energy by touch, getting fatter and stronger as it goes. Leaves behind a trail of smouldering skeletons. Scared of eggs.
  17. Four-faced brass helicopter heads kept in air by impractical Da Vinci corkscrews. Loudly announce their intention to devour you. Easily distracted by philosophical riddles.
  18. Reverse-talking bizarro clones of the PCs with chalky white skin and inverted systems of morality. Want to do exactly the opposite of whatever the PCs want to do.
  19. The Green Guardian. Secret weapon of the Super-Wizard. Muscled adonis in acrobat's tights with magnificent emerald beard and moustache. Impossibly strong, naive, refuses to kill.
  20. The Super-Wizard. Toymaker in a checked waistcoat with pockets full of marvels. Pretends to grant wishes with holograms. Planning to conquer the world with mechanical men.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Space Prison From My Dream Last Night

Okay I just had this dream last night. It is for Mothership probably though I've never played or read it.

The TETRAD is a prison ship, or was. A thin torus spinning to produce uncomfortably heavy gravity. You probably docked because of the distress call, but maybe you just saw the scorch marks and missing section and thought 'huh'.

Doors open to reveal a bomb the size of a golfcart. Oh it is a golfcart! Covered in accelerant with a scrawled note: 'lol u idiots - pay fealty to Lupin and maybe you can leave'

You've landed in Storage. Here's a map.


In a minute Victor 'Figs' Fontanelli jumps on the intercom, announces that he's 'the warden round here'. He's doing some kind of cowboy/Zsasz routine. Sounds like he's having fun. There're panels by most doors you can use to talk back, and he's keen to talk. He'll explain what he knows, that something went wrong and the prisoners got loose. He's holed up in Command, the last person there alive. He's got guard droids blockading the door between Storage and Rec, where the surviving convicts are holed up. He apologises, Lupin is 'no longer with us', and Figs doesn't know how to disarm the bomb. He's been taking advice from Chanibul Vector, a cannibal savant locked up in Solitary, who might know how to help.

STORAGE
If you stick around and search thoroughly, you might find Rodney Peck, holed up in a shipping container with two thousand cans of seaweed and five other guards, four dead and one comatose. Rodney's mind is pretty much gone. He has no idea whether he's been eating dried food or his friends. He can help clarify that Figs is 'one of the crazies, worse than them in Gen Pop'. He has a vague understanding that the explosion was some kind of insurance scam gone wrong, and can maybe answer questions about guard droids or bulkheads or whatever else. If you spend long enough dicking around, or start Rodney screaming again, a scout team from gen pop will find you.

REC
It's mildly tense, but democratic and well organised. There're two inmates more in charge than the others. Shadrock Clemens is short, nosy and intense. Locked up for anarchist agitating and industrial espionage. Hates making decisions, though actually very good at it. Bolo Startrek dealt drugs and killed people in a different life. Reformed for the last three decades, locked up for the last two. Bolo will probably never recover from the anger and pain of imprisonment, but channels that energy into community organisation and support.

For those inmates who weren't killed in the explosion, life has considerably improved. They can sleep where, and with who, they want, have free access through the rec rooms and what's left of Gen Pop. Despite the rations they've self-imposed (with a 2/3rds majority vote) everyone has more food than they've had in years. They practise restorative justice for the few incidents that arise. Their simple rules, rarely broken: let everyone be heard, respect people's boundaries, follow consensus, don't lock any doors.

They get to storage through the air ducts, avoiding Figs' blockade, foraging for dried goods every few days. They try to not be spotted, so as to not upset Figs' paranoia. A minority would like to overthrow their assumed warden, but most don't really care. Sneaking past the droids is pretty fun, and they're not going to gain much by taking over more spartan steel corridors.

COMMAND
The bulkhead between here and Storage is actually secure, no air ducts and cheap hollow walls, and Figs will ask you to leave your weapons in the bin provided. The first few rooms are plant equipment: water cycling, O2 and power. Next are barracks and droid storage, maintenance shop, the control room, sickbay, then the bulkhead to Solitary. Figs is holed up in the control room. He's dragged in a dozen mattresses, replaced the security feeds with porn and cartoons, spray painted a little colour into the place and even found a potted fern somewhere. He doesn't seem put off by the smell of the old warden, gutted and nailed to a wall. Figs is very accomodating, smiling and eyeing you off like a tiger. He always has a couple of knives on him, and two taser-armed droids he's named Benny and Penny. He wants to kill you, obviously, but only A) if you lower your guard, turn your back, or otherwise show your trust, or B) if he thinks you're gay.

SOLITARY
Figs will insist on showing you the way to Chanibul Vector. The other cells you pass have had the air vented, most contain a mummy in a white jumpsuit. Vector's has the lock welded shut and a droid on watch, though the man is calm, composed, his superiority lacking the desperation of Figs'. He insists on pleasantries and introductions, a little background insight into his new 'guests'. Before answering any questions he demands payment from Figs. Suggests one of you go help Figs carry back a treat. Once Figs is gone he is direct.

The ship was sabotaged by the old warden, though not very effectively. The O2 lines didn't combust properly and only a quarter of the ship blew up. Lupin, in solitary for repeated escape attempts, busted loose and freed Figs to help subdue the guards. With the droids distracted fighting fires and riots in Gen Pop, Figs killed the head officers and commandeered the command deck. Lupin hacked into the droid controls, turned them on the leftover guards, and in about four hours the ship was theirs. It took only a couple days for Figs to decide Lupin had got 'too queer'. He threw him out an airlock, and only now realises he's stuck here. He can't update the droids' orders, doesn't know how to disable the bomb blocking the only dock, and is terrified the other prisoners are going to bust in to command and 'take turns on him'.

Chanibul would like to be free, but for that will need the door unwelded and the guard droid disabled. He suggests a coup. Lupin's body is still tangled in the wreckage just outside, and his notepad has the passwords and filepaths needed to reconfigure the droids. Figs, who will be back any moment with a plate of fried human, is readily distracted. Apologies if he's already killed anyone you sent with him. Once you have disabled his droids and taken him down, come bust old Chanibal out and he will take care of that nasty bomb for you. (The bomb is a convincing fake, which will become obvious when Chanibal steals your ship and flies off cackling)

Sunday, 3 May 2020

A Taxonomy of Elves

Kindly recall that elves are magical phenomena that do not exist in material reality. Though physical means of treatment are absolutely necessary, they cure only symptoms, not the disease. Killing them does little but keep the abductions down.

artist: john anster fitzgerald

Viral elves are called fae, faerie, folk. They are the least concerned with human life, though as dependant on it as the rest. They are the most uniquely aware of their unreality, that they are momentary projections of a subtler force, mere ghosts of metaphor.

Fae are a parodic reflection of man's relation to nature, a psychic hijack of a corrupted means of production. They embody not wrath but scorn and derision, most often scolding and punishing. Tangled are their judgements, buried under irony and snared on subconscious guilts. Outbreaks occur most commonly as morality shifts, when old taboos are broken or new ones formed.

They appear most commonly in carousing bands, near-identical but reaffirming themselves with titles and caricatured relations. They pantomime society's most powerful figures to find better purchase in its psychome (their host), bitterly counterfeiting an individuality they can never possess. Identity is often erased by their judgements, sad princes turned into ponds or flayed poachers stuffed in goat skins.

The classic witch's cure is a simple memetic immunisation (leaving out perhaps a saucer of milk, or never breaking twigs on the solstice) and of course reconciling a culture with the natural world is an instant fix.


Bacterial elves are called borrowers, brownies. They exist in the essence of man's slow succumbing to nature: where homes crumble, bridges rot and fall, a carriage molders in the wood and a low cairn grows over with moss.

Feeding off this decay, borrowers must necessarily nurture it, protecting it from other agents of decomposition. They are martial, though more concerned with ceremony, ritual, keeping house.

Their population kicks and spurts; only after a decade do they move in, then five or six, a family. Each decade brings a dozen more, each century or so another clade, an institution enshrining their traditions against the ending of the slow collapse they ride. Castes of candledousers, damcoddlers, snailslayers and lichenmonks war against entropy.

White-haired sages sing their legends to starry-eyed squires (each turning of a season is 400 of their years, a lifetime) and pass the sacred knowledge of their home. Every detail is recorded in verse, woven into tapestry, tattooed, mosaiced, tallied and stored that it might be preserved for only a year more.

A flip book the size of your thumb, four hundred perfect paintings of a bench rotting away in the woods; a loving, anguished study of a raindrop falling to dissolution in a puddle.


Insectile elves are called sylphs, sprites, satyrs. Thriving on the sheer bloody mass of humanity, their encouragement of human activity is direct, usually carnal. They crave places held to be sacred, private or simply sentimental.

They machinate behind shotgun weddings and runaway brides, keeping families large and power structures volatile. It is fresh blood they want, not stagnant inbreeding, in politics encouraging unlikely alliance, conquest and coups. Even they seem not to know their motivations, caught halfway between lust and love, upturning old order for a joyous germination.

Commonly likened to pubic lice, in purpose far closer to the humble bumblebee. Fairy godmothers are their ilk, though any stated preoccupation with destiny is a distraction from the base nature of their desires. They watch you when you fuck.

They can be differentiated from viral elves via vivisection. From the many-eyed drow to the furze-girdled satyr under a mantle of antler antenna, all are invertebrates.

figuring out how 2 trick some guy into jacking off

Fungal elves are goblins, bugbears, redcaps and boogieboos. Their range of form and demesne are unparalleled, seemingly a species for every niche.

They may imitate other elves or other beasts entirely, stealing their wit from the foolish with tricks and pranks and gambling games. They are rambunctious and quick, most inclined to false friendship and eating children.

Of all elves the least anchored to this material plane, their form and fearsomeness may shift as a matter of perspective. Just so they are a stiltskinned wedge into our world, leveraging cracks and unbalances that other elves may colonise.

Loosest in form, they are the tightest mirror of man. Their characters are the nearest to human, with emotions in broadest range and schemes driving to most particular ends. Addicted to elvish irony, they hunt those whose true natures jar against their station in life and ruin them utterly.

Traditionally treated by throwing stones, numerous apocryphal tales suggest a stubborn infection can be cured by beating them at their own game. Such stories are gleefully disseminated by goblins.

artist: georgedragon
Elvish animals is what people are.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

People & Gods & Problems

Arnold's latest dungeon got me going back to brass tacks:

OH HI
3d8 for relations, jobs and seeecrets
  1. Asema Baseball is the mayor's niece. She's head stablehand at the inn, secretly collects horse semen to sell to a local breeder.
  2. Batrok Eth is the butcher's husband. He feeds the pigs and runs errands, is mostly a drunk. In his youth he killed a dear friend in a fight, passed it off as an accident, keeps a secret, guilty shrine.
  3. Cain 'Morbid' Batoombi is the miller's brother. He runs the post office and graveyard. Secretly reads everyone's mail and fucks the newly deceased.
  4. Deni la'Vet is the duke's wife's sister's daughter. She manages a hatshop (poorly). She's involved in several groups plotting against the duke, is secretly quite loyal.
  5. Esme Merell is the witch's twin sister. Her home is the de facto orphanage and a thriving farm. She's secretly the witch.
  6. Franzo Furnk is the son of the garrison commander. He's a reasonably competent captain in the guard. He's secretly addicted to confiscated drugs.
  7. Gale Gadrot is the mother of a good half-dozen townsfolk. She's 'retired', but can't stop accepting new carpentry projects. Secretly had an affair with the duke in her youth - three of her children have claims to the inheritance.
  8. Hego Abondine is the grandson of a famous knight. He's apprenticed to the blacksmith. Has secretly been stealing offcuts to make himself a sword.
bruegel the elder
O HARK
6d6 for maximum mix matching


Beast & Body Name Mood & Role Demesne
1 Owl-headed Aestena, Somnolent Sage of Fortune and Arguments
2 Moth-backed Baorun, Suspicious Tallier of Poison and Seeds
3 Crab-handedCoucauroo, Jovial Usurper of Dinners and Riverbanks
4 Eel-footedDenepet, Cantankerous Caretaker of Births and Prisons
5 Donkey-eyedEolou, Dim-witted Poet of Love and Archways
6 Chicken-tailedFyarid, Nervous Mother of Roofs and Merchants

brb worshipping moloch with my pal nancy pelosi

OH HECK
The animals started going missing, then the children, then whole towns. What was once a hapless hamlet, a charming chapel, is now corrupted, afflicted, twisted, cursed. It is...
  1. The colour from space. Everything is slick, the air heavy. Maddening spirals appear in stone and wood, though whether carved by webbed hands or the passage of this leaden, unearthly light, none could say. Everyone has too many teeth, eyes like plates and watery nightmares that drag you in.
  2. The fallen sword. It is too pure, too perfect to exist here. No mortal, living being could ever deserve to exist in the same realm - the very thought is sickening. So it dredges up the dead to cleanse the land. Old bones, rusted blades, pale and hateful ghasts. Nothing can rest, or pass to a better life, with heaven trapped and tainted in the earth.
  3. The caged moonbeam. A silver mirror rippling with tarnish. Flesh ripples too; veins and fur and torn muscle bulging, teeth and tails budding and bursting from the tortured form. The very walls sprout hair and sniff the air, howling at the pale orb ever out of reach.
  4. The pit of shit. Your joints ache, your eyes burn, your head throbs whenever someone speaks. Desires play in you like children, urge you to bite and taunt and poop and laugh. Everything feels unfinished. Clay that never made it to the furnace. The twisted runts that were once people feast and fuck and fight; a terrible pantomime far too hard to distinguish from your own life.
  5. The fecund mass. Air thick and yellow, awash with spores. A strain for every substrate. Fat black stalks crack stone, slime molds melt wood like butter. A thousand thousand fungal forms fight for supremacy in your flesh. Everything that could move still does, limbs hijacked by sticky purple mycelium then abandoned as crimson stalks pop through the sockets. That which was inert begins to shift, the whole steaming, rotting, thriving mess of countryside dragging itself as high as it can to spore once more.
  6. The bad book. Bound in skin, of course, and inked in blood. Wrapped in chains and warnings and hidden, poorly, always to be found again. A hand that should know better leafs the pages. The barest wisp of breath revives the cracked brown words. Shadows stretch up the walls, eyes roll back in the head. Roads crack, rivers flood. Devils caper through the forest and in the back of your mind. 66.6 square miles of earth prepare to sink down to hell.
  7. The golden cask. Age weighs heavy on the world. Rusted metal and rotted trees give way to gravity. Nursing homes sigh quietly with dying breath. The sand builds up, in corners first then dunes against the door. The weather beyond unseasonable, waves of heat and a biting wind of bugs. Slower than time the cask cracks open, in no rush to claim its new kingdom.
  8. The silver pond. It fell from the night in a bright white rain. Pooled in a cup of rock at a lofty height. Its flickering surface shows banners, spires, coruscating forms that splash through like moonbeams. Businessmen scurry like rats with windsor-knotted tails. The butcher wears a pig's face, her mistress the head of an ass. A knight on a noble horse, thin and beautiful and horrible, laughing gaily as it seats a lance.
  9. The wetted bed. Stretched blue shapes with thoughtlessly placed joints. In the daylight their tummies are fat and soft, tweedle-dumming down the lane peeking through the boarded windows. At night their fingers grow long as their shadows, grins split lava-lamp bubbles off their heads. They gather, clowns and dogs and angry parents, around a bed of twisted sheets and softly coo. Mustn't wake the sleepy babe.
  10. The crashed ship. Netted up in plastic tents and checkpoints. Everything's under control, say suited men who won't remove their glasses. The paranoid junkie behind the bus stop is calm for once, pupils square. Nothing to see here. Absolute normalcy creeps through the town like a fog. Spats are settled discreetly, grudges forgotten. Take off the mask, don't worry. Everything is going to be okay.
this is my zone hole

Friday, 3 April 2020

Reasons it Rains

Hey why is it always raining in dystopian sci-fi cityscapes??
  1. Classic mind control, precipitating depressants and stimulants sinusoidally. Populations riled into untimely rebellion and crushed under hopeless fog. Clouds and consent manufactured at the same time
  2. Rust and degradation. Renters paying repairs for faults they didn't cause. Hard-earned paychecks lost to addictive cold medicines and dermatologist bills
  3. Strictly aesthetic purposes. A roiling cloudscape for rich cunts towering high in the skyscrapers, keeps the rabble from seeing what they're missing out on
  4. Cooling system for city-spanning AI. Cloud cover keeps sun off the circuits, water washes away the heat. Servitors thermal scan to find water pooled, trapped in facades and firmaments. Pump it out and pump in liquid computing to expand the AI's reach
  5. Eugenic experiments misted down by upper classes trying to breed the perfect citizen. Hormones and engineered plagues leave a sticky residue activated by ancient 5G radio tech
  6. Maintained by weather priests for baroque cultural reasons. Rain as an obtuse metaphor, dousing unworthiness and purifying the many sins of its inhabitants, justifying the oppressions heaped upon them. Keeps everyone depressed and fills them with a strange bitter pride.

Damn who runs this biz even
  1. Fast food chain. All meat products are vat-grown clones of the CEO, all staff are lobotomised clones of the CEO. (shamelessly plagiarised from Dan)
  2. Subscription access to fresh water. Note you're only loaning the water. It can be returned in the same container you got it, in whatever form it left your body. Some inefficiency is expected, but return too little and the company comes to collect, with white rubber suits and vacuums
  3. Distribution specialists. Will sell enormous quantities of junk for impossibly low prices. Once you realise you don't want it, they charge through the nose to remove it again
  4. Medical insurance company. Will organise treatment for almost any ailment, for free. Require only a lifetime commitment that they can infect you every week with new experimental viruses
  5. Socialisation service. Will provide you with friends, of a number and temperament commensurate with your payment plan. It's basically impossible to afford the tiers where they no longer advertise in mid conversation.
  6. Self-actualisation agency. Give them your genome and they'll clone your brain, set your mindclones to anthropocentric tasks (mostly pattern recog and generating bad movie scripts). Once they figure out the things you're most useful at, they send you a print out of career advice. These guys never flip a profit, are propped up by tech entrepreneurs who want your genes for... nice reasons?
thanks to friend Henry for inspiring this post approx two years ago

Here is why it's raining in this town on Mars
  1. Weather machine fills canyon with foggy, breathable air. Company that owns machine and town both drugs the rain, subliminal messaging encoded in neon flashing through the cloud 
  2. Built in jagged crater, glass roof pinning permanent cloudceiling. Lightning arcs between the walls and the central weather machine, sending storms coursing down hilly streets.  Two feet under the concrete skin of the town is the old research station the weather machine was originally built for, choked through with experimental, psychotropic fungus
  3. Huge drilling rigs blast holes in the polar ice. Buildings and streets cluster between the mammoth rigs, kept warm by hot steam and pelted with gritty sleet. Occasionally a drill 'chokes'; an explosion of steam that blows away people, buildings, the rigs themselves, freezing them in place in the air
  4. Carved into cave underneath a huge aquifer, soaking power from the water pressure above by means of huge jet arcing across the town. Ever present drizzle dripping from the ceiling, near constant buzz of mining and research crews journeying into the water-carved caves below, and the occasional peasoup fog leaked from the hydrothermal plant on the edge of town
  5. Built into underhang of a waterfall. Town skinned with a thick layer of rainforest, this covered in turn by the vertical river that runs over every surface. Cliff walls papered in solar panels and vertical-axis turbines, a glut of captured warmth for when aphelion winter threatens to icyclise the town
  6. On a hydrothermal vent in a frozen CO2 sea, rechannelled heat clutching a bubble of sublimation. Unpredictable flumes lash the frozen dome with heat and pressure - a spray of liquid CO2 will give instant frostbite before evaporation 

THERE’S NOTHING BETTER AT BEING THE HUMAN HAND THAN THE HUMAN HAND
You can have, like, a robot hand, and it’ll be super durable or whatever, but you’ll suck at piano and handjobs and all the good things in life
  1. Lobotomies, removing: pain, fear, love, hunger, revolutionary drive, concern for aesthetics
  2. Additional tastebuds, not necessarily on your tongue: valuable metals, carbon monoxide, infrared light, gamma radiation, etc
  3. More eyes. One of the most well developed body mods. The more complicated you make things the more migraines you will get
  4. Photosynthesis genes (actually an algae-and-virus compound injected under the skin)
  5. Plastigut. Gut flora that lets you digest plastic. It’s basically like drinking oil though
  6. Artificial callous (actually an altered strain of HPV, can be grown several inches thick)
  7. Induced alopecia. Never clog drains/air filters again. Look like a huge weirdo though
  8. Induced hypertrichosis. Warm, cuddly. Definitely not a furry thing
  9. Satellite phone. Antenna is usually just looped around your bones, but also you can fill your blood with iron, and then die in a couple months like an idiot. Don’t stand near microwaves
  10. Gyroscope. You’re really hard to push over, and can rotate at will in zero g
  11. Disassembly array. Generally replaces the mouth and tongue; there’re enough nerves there that you can actually do anything useful - e.g. rapidly stripping circuits - with the prosthetic
  12. Voice box. Lets you copy any voice, accent, noise, etc that you hear. Sounds kind of muffled unless the mic protudes from you somewhere obvious
  13. Universal translator. Never gives you real fluency, but is way faster than learning a language yourself. Will let you read .mp4s, binary, etc, with enough practise.
  14. Arithmetic engine. You know the answer to any equation you see, so long as it has a rational answer. Irrational numbers and equations with too many solutions can give you a seizures
  15. Water autocycler. Not much more complicated than a yellowing tube coming out the bottom and going back in at the top
  16. Vitamin drip. Just a big pill stuck in your skin. Rarely causes abscess
  17. Spring limbs. Massively improved performance at one extremely specific task, completely crippled in most other respects. Reversible, if you're staggeringly rich
  18. Tool hand. Nothing too fancy or expensive. Your index finger's a screwdriver now, your middle is a stethoscope, your pinkie a pair of tweezers. Very popular with people already missing fingers
  19. O2 ration kit. Sometimes they'll stick a converter in your lungs and pump you full of synthetic hemoglobin, but by far the cheapest and most efficient technique is a coma bomb in your brain
  20. Skin pockets. Gross!

Thursday, 2 April 2020

HEX CRAWLER 666

Several years ago I spent some time accumulating a big collection of art for a dead-future setting called Scavenger I was working on at the time.

It's a lot of good art. I have never been sure what to do with it.


I was already on Twitter as @circusarmy. Now I'm also on there as @hexcrawler666. I have a million of these things. I will be tweeting vile hexagons at you until the world perishes in flame, so about five weeks.

Here is the merest sample of my power:
  1. A gravel track across barren plains to distant, snow-capped mountains. Not a scrap of vegetation to be seen. Tiny mouths and eyes peep open in the dunes, pleading for water. Feed them a river and they’ll grow you a forest.
  2. Fur-swathed nomads huddle in their yurt, brewing healthsome tea in an iron pot. Yapping, rheum-eyed mongrels with frost beading in their fur hate you on sight, and the nomads always trust their dogs.
  3. Love-maddened polyamorous ground sloths try to shake a hunter out of a tree. They just want to kiss and cuddle him. He has a lucky amulet and a crossbow, but no luck or bolts. He’s been up there for a week, eating apples.
  4. Proud bear hunter and her family celebrating the occasion of her first kill. They will invite you to join the festivities. Warriors from a rival clan lie in wait over the hill to ambush the once everyone’s drunk.
  5. Hollow radio golem bristling with antennae, wandering the desert. Wants to open up and pull you inside, where you’ll be forced to listen to alien transmissions from beyond the stars. This gives you magic and makes you insane.
  6. Lake full of floating trash. Colony of junkdivers living on dragon-headed rustboats, holding their breath and wrapping themselves in lead weights to sink through murky metallic water in search of trinkets.
  7. Erotic lizard-themed sorceress locked in intense argument with her enslaved iguana familiar over who is domming who. They are looking for the Chrome Pyramid but they can’t understand the map they bought in the bazaar.
  8. Bejewelled lich and retinue of obsequious skeletons with gilded halberds. Hunched mummy-ape totes huge parchment umbrella to protect it from the deadly rays of the sun. Wants cash and servitude.
  9. Frozen remains of a steaming alien gigamachine, melting a crater into the surrounding snow. Enter through the heat vents. A gang of outlaw archaeologists, paranoid about shapeshifters, have set up a camp on the icy rim.
  10. Barrow-tomb of the King of Golden Grief, lying in stately sorrow. Wall paintings tell the story of his defeat and exile. His mask grants you an air of solemn authority such that none can gainsay you.
Did you like that? Are you a little piggy for it? You will like HEX CRAWLER 666.

picture pong LAST

this is the last one. thank you for your service                                          The Ocular Realm

Also known as: the Hell of Deep Dreams, the Garden of Procedure, the Mordvintsev Continuum.

What are its aspects: dogs in the clouds. Demons in the bricks. Crawling eyes in sidewalk cracks. Only the flattest plainest surfaces are safe. Anything that's not a face is a face. Anything that's already a face you don't even want to think about.

Why fear it: mass pareidolia. The rapid shoggothification of everything you love. Look at a thing in your room. Is it a lamp? Is it your brother? Now it comes towards you with mouths that are toes that are trains.

Whence it came: God's eye detects all living things in creation. The reversed eye of the demiurge, God's bleak opposite, imposes life and form in a stupid hiccuping parody of the sacred algorithms.

How to beat it: Closing your eyes doesn't help. Despite the name this thing doesn't care if you look at it or not. Scholars don't know if it's a disease or a miracle or a physical place. I'm not going to say there isn't a mad wizard somewhere, or a big eye that you could just stab with a sword. Run through streets lined with snakeskin and glooping with unborn monsters and hope Yaldabaoth doesn't turn its baleful eye on you.