Sunday, 20 August 2017

Yoon-Suin Opium Table

My players are all opium addicts. The whole plot of the campaign is just them doing crimes to get more opium. There's already a table in the book for what happens when you smoke opium, but I wanted the effects to have a larger game impact and be more likely to be bad. Hence this. Probably a few ways you could use it.


Nothing happens.
Nothing happens.
Jittery. Your nerves are on fire and everything makes you flinch. +2 dodge bonus to AC.
Lethargic. You can’t keep your eyes open and everything seems to move in slow motion. -2 AC.
Furious. You are filled with a terrible hatred of all living things. +2 to attack rolls.
Peaceful. You are filled with a great love for all living things. -2 to attack rolls.
Alert. You can see every detail of everything. +1 to critical hit range.
Vague. The world is a blur to you. +1 to fumble range.
Dulled pain reception. You can’t feel anything. 1d8 temp hit points, lost when opium wears off.
Heightened pain reception. You feel everything, way too much. Take +1 damage from all attacks.
Competent. You feel like you can do anything. +2 to all skill checks.
Forgetful. You can’t remember how anything works. -2 to all skill checks.
Mildly precognitive. Always go first in combat.
Melancholy. Don’t care if you live or die. Always go last in combat.
Paranoid. They’re all out to get you. You can’t be ambushed or taken by surprise.
Echolalia. You can’t stay silent unless gagged.
Friendly. Everyone is great. People you meet for the first time will like you and want to do favours for you.
Dry mouth. You need to drink something every fifteen minutes or you stop being able to talk.
You can understand all languages and can make a Wisdom save to determine if someone is lying.
You forget how to read and automatically believe anything you’re told unless you make a Wisdom save.
Gold smells like cinnamon to you. You will always know if there’s any in the vicinity, unless it’s actual cinnamon.
Your digestive system rebels against you. Take 1d6 damage from gut cramp whenever you eat.
You gain an unseen servant, as per the spell, that can’t attack but otherwise does your bidding.
Whenever you take damage, make a Wisdom save or be paralysed with laughter for one round.
Fire doesn’t hurt you, but tickles immensely.
Pure water burns you like acid.
You can see, and speak to, the ghost of anyone who has died in the last day.
All animals that see you feel compelled to harass you.
Your features flow like liquid. Once an hour you can make a Wisdom save to look like anyone you want to look like.
You must be outside, breathing the fresh air. You can’t stay in any enclosed space unless you make a Wisdom save.
You enter a creative trance and write an excellent poem, which can be sold to a journal or traded to a noble for a favour.
Music sounds so beautiful to you that you are immobilised with delight so long as you can hear anyone playing it, unless you make a Wisdom save.
A vision shows you victory. Can be cashed in by player to critically succeed on any roll.
A vision shows you defeat. Can be cashed in by DM to make player critically fail any roll.
A demon comes to you in a vision and offers you a bargain.
You blunder into the dream-realm of a minor deity and are now obliged to placate it.
A vision shows you a dangerous place where treasure is hidden.
You dream of thieves and awake to find d100 gp missing from your purse.
A vision resolves something that’s been bothering you. You can ask the DM a question and they will give you a helpful answer.
You are now addicted to opium.

You wrestle
A beautiful courtesan
In a tranquil garden
You ride on the back of
A pustulent leper
In an endless library
You play chess with
A colossal worm
In a cave of jewels
You make love to
A ferocious tiger
In a palace of glass
You are chased by
A swarm of beetles
In a tropical jungle
You are eaten by
A chattering monkey
In a burning city
You debate philosophy with
A rotting corpse
In a lifeless desert
You get married to
A bronze statue
On a sinking ship
You eat dinner with
Your best friend
Atop a high mountain
You are told secrets by
Your worst enemy
Atop a thundercloud

Whenever you rest, if you didn’t smoke any opium that day, roll on the withdrawal table.
  1. Nothing.
  2. Can’t regain HP until the next time you smoke opium. If you already have this, take 1d6 damage.
  3. -4 to random stat until the next time you smoke opium.
  4. Roll on the bad effects table. Effect lasts until the next time you smoke opium.
  5. Monkey demon follows you around harassing you until the next time you smoke opium.
  6. You are no longer addicted to opium.

Friday, 18 August 2017


This stretch of Hyperaustralis is an ice age Australia grating painfully up against the mystical Altai mountains. Chinese heroes wander through the region on their way to Shangri La and death. Mongolian peasants smile and grumble against the impossible cold. Caravans pass through and herbalists scour the land for duyao, rare and powerful ingredients in sacred medicine. The indigenes of Australia do their best to leave the place the hell alone; they understand that this is not a place for mortal arrogance.

Frozen Rainforest

The forest has three layers, each of which can be traversed. The branches of the eucalypts support a sheet of ice, thick enough to support a person's weight, a dripping glass ceiling suspended above the forest below. A layer of heavy moss carpets the tangled mass of roots and vines and broken branches that is the forest floor. Beneath the moss, wombat warrens and gullies cut twisting paths through the rootmass. 

The ground here is almost as great a danger as the denizens. Ice will crack, snow will slide away, wet moss will hide the fragility of the branches below. If you want to you could map the terrain of an encounter as a 10x10 grid, scattered with 3d4 loose, 2d4 weak, and 1d4 fragile sections of ground. A horsecart will break fragile ground, heavily armoured people fall through weak ground, heavy set people will break loose ground. Running, jumping, falling or getting thrown around upgrades your weight class; you move slow as hell or risk losing a foot, maybe dropping straight through.

Flora and Fauna Horrible Danger People Duyao
1 Moss
Frozen toads
A tawny frogmouth
Gu zheng spider - legs stretched over the arboreal web like it’s playing a gu zheng. Plucking strands shakes free icicles to drop on those below. Use the dangerous ground generator to find out where the icicles are Well-meaning, gullible young shaman wants to commune with an animal/forest spirit to find out what's wrong with the bush. Has no idea what the appropriate etiquette is Frozen green tree frog
2 Bracken
Bumbling echidna
Flittering waxeyes
Leaf curling spider - ground generator shows you which cylindrical bark cocoons the whole spider can push through, which are smaller traps that your legs will slip into, ready for grabbing. Generally found in mating pairs. An inseminated pedipalp is worth a small fortune as aphrodisiac Herbalist discovered a powerful-seeming new duyao, but one of their companions was badly injured by the wildlife. They think they know where medicine can be found, as well as the rare duyao Inseminated pedipalp
3 Staghorn
Inquisitive wallabies
Pair of currawong
Pit spider - makes thin web roofs over roo-sized pits. It’s surprisingly hard to climb out. The spider waits until you’re exhausted before burrowing through the wall to collect you Caravan forced onto the delicate ice-path above the trees by an enraged ’thunder bird’,a dromornis. The leader of the caravan is, quite unwittingly, wearing a cap decorated with the feathers of the bird’s mateBeech nuts
4 Lichen
Ghost moths
Black cockatoos
Pygmy possum den. Once you fall in, arm-length possums pour out of the exposed tunnels to gnash at you. You can't climb out, but you can bash through the snow around you to open out at even bigger pitCrew of furriers came out to hunt the thylacoleo, have instead spent the last few days trying to get pygmy possums out their den and most just getting bitten into retreat Witchetty grubs
5 Fallen eucalypt
Little red flying foxes
Unbearably loud lorikeets
A roost of flying foxes sleeps in the shadows above, guano dripping quietly down. There are three species. Little reds eat flowers, impart a rash. Black foxes eat bugs, cause madness. Grey-maned foxes mash people up to drink their blood. Their breathe is said to shred the lungs.Team of loggers camped above the canopy, most pruning leaves off eucalypt branches, a few abseiling down the bald tree, logging the trunk in sections. Would value help with the work, are going to be fucked if they wake up the foxes.Bushels of eucalypt
6 Cinnamon fungus
The whole middle layer of the forest has been overgrown with wait-a-while, cut free from its surroundings and hoisted into the air by a band of tiger quolls. They're going to drop it on you. They do not have a plan for how to get you out once they've trapped you under itTiger quoll shaman. As smart as a dumb, hungry goblin, but surprisingly cogent when it comes to the cinnamon fungus; she can feel the threat it offers the forest, will assume you are its agent Cicada skins

Salt Flats

Lashed by a thin, bitter wind that kicks salt into your eyes and leaves a dry taste in your mouth. From the feet of mountains out to the shallow pockets of trapped ocean, dry grasses cling to life and herds of strange animals follow strange shepherds. Though there are monasteries here, forts and towns, most people are semi-nomadic, whether trading, hunting, droving, praying or politicking.

People AnimalsBreed Traits Tradegoods Secret Knowledge
1 Cook and herdsmen Bovine Flatulent. Enough dung to make a campfire every night. Impossible to be around after a meal Salt and animals Seeing of futures in fire
2 Wandering hero and sidekicks Porcine Inquisitive. Twitching nose can find food, water and lost friends. Loves treats Weapons and charms Reading of terrain
3 Shaman and attendants Equine Fecund. Enough milk to make a big ol' cheese wheel every week or half a ration every day. Picky about foodIncense and fabrics Etiquette of the spirit world
4 Merchant and bodyguards Hircine Alert. Twitching ears prevent ambush. Hates liars Spices and silk Leyline navigation
5 Minor royal and hunting buddies Canine Friendly. Will play with children, make adults chuckle, earn you friendship in most villages. Easily distractedGems and wine Language of a beast; bird, horse, goat, etc
6 Herbalist and monks Cervine Clean. Antibacterial saliva will help heal superficial wounds, protect against infection. Licks everything compulsively Aphrodisiacs and rare woodsHealing. Herbal medicine

echidnas: they are in snow sometimes

not quite this because this is in canada

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


The first thing you see as you approach the shores of Hyperborea, the lost continent to the north of everywhere, is a dim red beacon guttering in the polar night. The flame atop the Ivory Tower - scrimshawed, soot-blackened, home to the Illuminators and the tallest building in the whaleport of Kesselhaven - never goes out. As your ship threads its way between jagged shoals and treacherous chunks of sea-ice, striving to reach safe harbour, you see smaller fires blazing in crevices of barren rock. Brass kettles, spitting and hissing. Men in leather aprons, streaked with grime and blood. Whales. By the hundreds. In varieties you've never heard of. All, expect for a few unlucky ones, dead. Long knives flaying the blubber from their corpses, carving it into strips and flinging it into the overflowing kettles. Sea wolves and piranha penguins lacerating the bloody shallows, snatching gobbets of whaleflesh and the limbs of men who stray too far from the firelight. Officers screaming, praying, cracking whips. Birds wheeling in their thousands.

The nights are long in Hyperborea and there is always a need for more heat. Whales are more plentiful than trees, more common than coal. The work of the oilmen never stops.

(Here is the rest of this post. It's in a Google doc because it was too long to put anywhere else. I am thinking of writing a setting guide to Hyperborea, the lost continent to the north of everywhere.)

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Yoon-Suin Demon Generator

click me for a world of oriental mystery

Played Yoon-Suin last weekend. Writing material for the next session, whenever that will be. Came up with this demon generator for you to also use. They're designed as quest hooks - either your players will want to summon them and earn their vile gifts, or someone else is already doing that and your players have to bind and dispel them.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

The Shore

The coast of the Southern Salt is an intertidal zone that stretches well beyond the sight of any eyeglass. The tides beat a slow, unsteady rhythm and the locals keep pace. The local measure of time, the fiveyear, follows the water - it hasn't been anything close to five years in living memory. Somewhere in the endless expanse of littoral variety is the Captured Sea and its resident islands but for the most part it's fishing villages, houseboats, seaweed farms, snail ranches and merfolk warrens.

The below table isn't going to cover your whole adventure, but should be useful for generating a stretch of tidepools in a pinch. I'm thinking most groups of people you meet can just be from Skerples' neat camp follower table, reskinned a little for the setting. Oh, and remember to roll a d20 to figure out how many inches deep the water mostly is right now!

Terrain Creatures Features People Threats
1 Round black stone, slick with algae Toadfish and salamanders Unfathomably deep pool. Suspiciously brackish Floating house. Family of fishers, tiny dogs. Huge lucky fish under floorboards Hermit crab. Cart-sized. Known for eating hermits
2 Jagged rows of orange rock Gulls and clams Massive ball of driftwood washed down from mangrove forests. Rustles Clade of nomads on stilts, picking at debris with hooks and spears. Odd philosophy Storm petrel. 20' wingspan. Lands like a thunderbolt
3 Thick layer broken, razorsharp shells Snails and octopi Dead animal, bloated and swarming with scavengers Gang of smugglers in cramped boat, happy to trade for smallest valuables you have Field of giant salt squirts. They begin erupting when you reach the centre*
4 Sucking mud, clumps of rotten seaweed Crabs and platypi Abandoned rowing boat. No oars, half full of rum, smashed chest in bottom Snail gaucho, performing one of the slow hobbies of the snail people. Hundreds of whittled idols for sale, keen to buy anything smokeable Bask of false gharials, ever smiling with those idiot mouths
5 Brittle, bleached coral  Silver fish and plankton clouds Ineffectual attempt at tower. Long ago abandoned. Tallest thing for miles around Salt witch on unidentifiable riding beast, pretending to not be a witch for comedic effect Sentient algae. Exposed to a cut it will do its sad best to communicate via hallucinations, prophetic visions
6 Water slick quicksand, reflecting the sky Silverfish and anenomes Raised peat mound, standing out like a sore thumb. How has nobody nicked this yet? Merfolk studiously pretending to be a "NORMAL HUMAN PERSON". Thinks there's nothing at all funny about this Riddle fish. Squat, ugly, not near as well camouflaged as it thinks. Laughs, spitting poison, when you can't solve its riddles
*Remember that falling over on rocks or coral is likely to cut your shit up and maybe crack your skull unless you're wearing armour. If you're wearing armour, falling over in mud could see you drown before your slip-sliding companions can get to you. In sand it's just a fun and light-hearted time!

And of course you need a bunch of magic junk washed up on the interminable shores.
  1. Spiral shell. Tip it and a pinch of sand pours from the mouth. Spin it around and other pinch falls. Spin faster and the sand begins to flow out in a stream. Held to the ear, one can hear the ocean, and the sound of someone very far away shouting into a near identical shell.
  2. Palm-sized, translucent jelly, washed up after a savage storm. If the skin breaks it bursts into a wave. Good throwing technique allows for increased control over the resulting wash of water.
  3. Knot of driftwood, snapped from a long-sunken ship. Molded by currents in the glacial rise to the surface, it now resembles a leering beast of the deeps. If returned to salt water, even just a bucketful, the wood will contort itself into a living, hateful creature and attack all in sight. Whittled into a religious symbol it will instead ward against the undead, evil, bad luck.
  4. Bubbling fulgurite, emerging from the sand just before a storm strikes. If exposed to a cloudy sky it will call down a bolt of lightning and explode violently. The stone will absorb magic moving above it. Larger specimens soak more power before shattering.
  5. Coral grown into jagged folds. When the right seam is found, and the coral twisted just so, the wielder is folded up into the piece. Fresh specimens may contain lairs of eels, labs of merfolk witches, troves of forbidden treasure. Some corals twist deeper and deeper, seeming without end.
  6. Forked mangrove root. Held by the forks it points to fresh water. Held by the shaft it points to dry land. Planted forks-down in a dish of salt water it grows a serviceable quarterstaff in about 40 minutes.
  7. Head-sized salt crystal, looks very nearly like it has a face. Touch the 'mouth' to anything and it will attempt to suck the water out of it. Wood can be rendered dry and brittle, flesh exsanguinated, pools of water greedily devoured. Also makes the air quite dry, if you don't cover it up.
  8. Cuboid lump of pumice. Clutched in the fist it lightens the holder. Gravity is about 1/6th as effective on them and anything they hold. If something would float in water, it floats now. Swimming through air is hard, but achievable with a pair of wings.
  9. Hard red jelly. Ingested, it causes the blood to thicken and grants immunity to bludgeoning, falling. A little more eaten and the limbs swell, crimson and heavy as cudgels. A little more seizes up the body and mires the heart. Repeat users are sluggish and mildly addicted.
  10. Sea's tooth. A fist-sized rock that, nestled into mud or sand, functions as if it were the tip of a boulder ten thousand times as large. There's an exceptionally sturdy iron ring embedded in it, for convenience.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Misremembered Men

In The Destruction of the Philosophers Al-Ghazali teaches us that all things in the material universe exist only as information in the mind of God, much as all things in a video game exist only as information in the mind of a computer. He was not quite right. In fact all things exist only as information in the mind of Yaldabaoth, the corrupt and rebellious entity who created the material universe against the express will of the Ineffable Monad, who wished to remain forever in eternal contemplative unbeing. Yaldabaoth does his best to keep track of everything, but his brain is slowly rotting with age and he was never a particularly diligent student of philosophy in the first place. Sometimes he forgets things, and those things simply blink out of existence. Other times he gets the details wrong. In the book of his memory all things are written in the divine language Enochian, and even a single misremembered letter can have dramatic consequences.

These are the Misremembered Men, the Flawkind or Glitchenkin. They were not always like this. Some have memories of their former lives. They have the stats of a normal human, but they
  1. Have one random stat set to 99.
  2. Have one random skill set to 999.
  3. Have no HP variable and therefore cannot be killed. Blood and viscera gush from their wounds but they take no actual damage.
  4. Do not register as a valid target for an attack roll. You can't attack them, though you can still damage them in other ways.
  5. Can glide through solid objects, ragdolling frantically and spraying polygons everywhere. Will grab you and pull you into the negative space under the floor.
  6. Can swim through air as if it were water and walk through water as if it were air. 
  7. Can, whenever you leave a room they're in, spawn a duplicate of themselves in the next room you enter.
  8. Can interact with anything they can see as if it were in melee range.
  9. Are slowly growing larger at all times. Reset to default size whenever they roll a 1.
  10. Are ten times as fast when walking backwards.
  11. Are invisible so long as their hit points are an odd number.
  12. Turn anyone they deal combat damage to into a level 5 elven wizard named Risparillion.
and they
  1. Have no inventory and therefore cannot hold, wear or possess objects.
  2. Have a memory that resets every time you initiate conversation with it.
  3. Can't turn left.
  4. Can't go through doors.
  5. Can't make sound, directly or indirectly.
  6. Can only speak in mangled, distorted word fragments and write in broken spidery symbols that crawl across the page.
  7. Are completely passive - can't instigate action, though they can respond to stuff done to them.
  8. Are constantly, rapidly aging. When they turn 100 they roll over into a baby again.
  9. Will instantly teleport back to a particular spot if they move more than a hundred feet from it.
  10. Freeze up whenever they roll a 1 and can't do anything until they are manually returned to where they were at the beginning of the day.
  11. Looks like a mundane object - broom, dog, teakettle, etc. Still can do anything a human can do.
  12. Looks like whoever's standing closest to them. But all glitched out, obviously.
Some Misremembered Men just want to lead normal lives. Others take revenge on a world that hates and fears them, or act out of motivations comprehensible only to themselves. The Syntagmatic Order wants to find Yaldabaoth, said to lurk shamefully in a cave beneath the world, and force him to remember than again. They do other chivalric stuff as well, and are often found waiting by bridges to challenge those who cross. Their horses are nervous.

Misremembered Men grant corrupted XP. If you level up in a session where you kill one, you get a corrupted level. This probably needs to handled on a case-by-case basis, but you could get bonuses to the wrong stats or spells from the wrong class. They also sometimes drop treasure.
  1. Perfectly neutral and generic object. Has no properties. Valuable as a curiosity to a certain type of collector.
  2. Fishing rod with the data of a broadsword. Can be used to do anything a broadsword can do. Cannot be used to fish with.
  3. Boots that let you walk through the air, but only along a flat plane located at exactly sea level.
  4. Infected coin. Lettering distorted, face of monarch warped. Slowly dissolves into pixelated rainbow dust, but not before it's infected 2d6 other coins in the inventory of whoever's holding it.
  5. Displaced horse. The rider sits in the air ten feet behind it.
  6. Bow with infinite range. Arrow gets bigger the longer it travels. Can be used to destroy the sun. Don't do that though.
  7. Spellbook full of corrupted spells. If you memorise them they can't be cast but also can't be forgotten, and just sit in your head taking up spell slots forever.
  8. Sword of plus. Not plus anything, just plus.
  9. Rations that make you feel full but don't provide nutrition.
  10. Cuirass that takes up a head slot instead of a torso slot. Wear it as a hat along with a normal cuirass.
  11. Whistle that, when blown inside a room, makes all the doors in that room lead to the Minus World. The Minus World is constructed out of bits and pieces of all the other settings in your campaign, copied and pasted in incoherent order. It is said Sophia, Yaldabaoth's mother, dwells therein, imprisoned by order of the Ineffable Monad in the sinful universe she helped her son to create.
  12. A fuzzy mass of pixels. If ingested, causes one random item in your inventory to duplicate itself 99 times. Stolen from here.