Thursday, 18 September 2014

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

My Country Has Nine Days To Live

This is a politcal post. I considered  setting up a politcal blog to put it on but to be honest, no-one would read it and I don't think about politics enough, or enjoy thinking about politics enough to make a habit of it.

Plus my policy here has generally been the opposite of internet best practice, I just dump what I like on the blog and let you filter it.

 So here it is, its under a break so you can just avoid it if you want.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Life is a Horror Movie, be the Monster

(This is just me thinking out-loud about what a full SAVAGES game would look like.)

You get XP for surviving. Every day you live, you get 100 xp.

If you have a thief in the party and they steal stuff, you all share the XP for that. But otherwise money has little real value. That’s why you leave it piled up in rooms. You take things that have use.

You start with no food and no water. The fatigue and food rules are the same as in 5e but moved to the front of the book as they are more important.

You begin in the middle of a map instead of on the edge. Maybe you need to explore the map or maybe you already know whats in it and played a part in creating it, still not sure about that one.

Around the edges of the map are single 'dark' hexes. These all hold different human communities. Each human group is based on a particular human archetype. Tang China, Conquistadors, Zulu Empire, Mongols, Crusaders etc. This gives each one different powers and abilities.

If you do nothing and no not attack each hex, they grow. Some grow fast, some grow more slowly and are more heavily fortified. Some, like the pseudo-Mongol one, move around quickly. 'Explorer' hexes can turn up randomly on river banks and shorelines.

You must attack them to stop them growing. Each culture works differently so you have to find out how to fight it. Some are highly centralised so if you take out the main guy then they fall apart and don't come back for a while. Others are faith-based so you have to destroy the religion. Whatever it is, you have to find a way to stop the culture growing.  (Just killing everyone should always work, but there are a lot of them.)

There is never enough time to stop them all.

In these situations, villages and fortifications take the place of Dungeons in a normal game. Like mission one is 'take down the village of Homlet'

Where would you attack first?

You get XP for retarding or removing human cultures, but they would have to be specific rewards for each culture so PCs were incentivised to think of cunning solutions for getting rid of them.

So your map ends up looking like the spokes of a wheel gradually infiltrating into 'your' territory.

To take out a human culture completely, or at least retard it for generations, you need to go for their capital city. That's like a level 20 mission. Orcs fighting a city is like humans fighting Cthulhu.

As well as fast-growing humans there are Elf hexes and Dwarf Hexes. These don't grow, they just stay in place and cause you trouble. They are hard to get rid of and provide a jumping-off point for Adventurers.

Burning Rivendell is a high-level mission.

If you have a Dungeon, its one the group creates themselves at start of play. Some kind of microscope-lite game, or a points-buy system. That way it bonds the players to the space, it becomes 'theirs' and they will want to defend it. Its somewhere you can go to be in *slightly less* danger but sometimes adventurers will try to come in and take your stuff and you need to trap and kill them.

A bunch of Orcs and Goblins trying to take down a high level adventuring party is a bit like humans trying to take down a Kaiju, you have to separate them, wear them down and take them out.

I am not sure what to do about the Dungeon 'Boss'. Having a scattering of individual high-level monsters around may make the forces of chaos too powerful, but it gives you someone to get missions and stuff from, and who will also threaten you and make you do stuff. Also, other peoples dungeons are not necessarily allied to you so you can still invade those and do what any normal D&D party would do.

Plus other tribes of non-humans are not necessarily friends so subverting, destroying, evading or commanding them could be a mission.

Also everything that is dangerous to adventurers, ie Trolls under bridges, spiders in the forest, is still dangerous to you, unless you know those particular Spiders or that particular Troll.

The whole thing should be kind-of inside-out from a normal D&D game. Instead of being free agents, you possibly have a boss. Or maybe at least one of you does. Instead of having some food and money and nowhere to stay, you maybe have a whole dungeon you can use that you know every inch of because your player helped to build it, but you have no money and no food at all so you are starving to death from day one.

Instead of starting from the edge of the map and going in towards the unknown centre, you start at the partly known centre and do stuff towards the edge. Instead of gradually getting a larger world and being able to explore more, you are gradually hemmed in as those black human hexes proliferate and work themselves deeper into the wilds.

You never stop having to get food and you never stop getting attacked but enemies are also food so that solves that problem.

Whole thing would be like a weird mix of Microscpe, Apoclaypse World, 5e and Blood Meridian.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Experimental Character Generation Document for SAVAGES

I had a big whiney rant about what the D&D people should do with 5e. Reddit hated it, others pointed out that it was just World Of Darkness for D&D, which was kind of true.

Nevertheless, this is the (sort of) OSR! We are pledged to never give a fuck about what anybody says and to simply go straight ahead making  things without worrying too much about whether it would be any good or even if anyone cares.

So that is exactly what I have done.

Here are the experimental character generation rules for an alternate version of the free D&D 5e pdf where YOU PLAY THE MONSTERS*.

It is awkwardly hacked together and the Fighter and Thief class are pretty much just straigh rips from the free PDF. I ripped off guys who did the A5 condensed versions as well becasue I used them a lot.

(The Picture is by Scrap, click on it to get the PDF.)

*Except who are the monsters really hmmmm*?

*Still you. You fucking eat people.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

MAN background for SAVAGES


You know of Man. The ant people. Those who come in many shapes and shades, and always dying. Others think them weak, because they are weak, slender, quick to starve or bleed, but you have been captured by them and escaped, or watched them carefully from the edges of their towns, or taken some and kept them, seeing what they do. You know there is a hideous strength in man. A beserk rage for 'order', like the armies of the ants, but vaster and more powerful. Men are weak but Man is strong.

Skills: History, Insight
Languages: Other than the group language and/or your tribal tongue, you may choose two human languages. You can also read;

A book (non-magical) of whatever subject you wish,
A plan of a particular human settlement, on human skin,
The holy symbol of a human faith,
The Toy of a human child.
A bag of human 'money' a handful, you don't know how much by their count. (Unless you roll 'Money' below.)

d8 Expertise. You have learnt a thing they do, and can do it too.

1 Religion. You know the creed of a human faith, enough to persuade the gullible that you are an unlikely convert.
2 Money. Apparently valueless things have meaning to them. You can ask the DM for the price in gp of objects you find.
3 Politics. Man-Tribes are big, but many. Sometimes they hate each other more than they hate you.
4 Families. They value the small ones. Bond-pairs value each other, sometimes enough to deal if you have one.
5 Tactics. They fight like they build, lots of little pieces making one big thing.
6 Strategy. Big man-tribes are like big animals. Sometimes you don't need to win, just make them tired and confused.
7 Magic. They get it from books, it runs out each day, if they can't sleep, or have no book, they have less magic.
8 Technology. You understand how a mill works and could take apart a lock.

Feature: Man-Tongue. You can talk like they do and understand them easily (though this is not the ability to mimic the sound of a human speaking, that requires a persuasion or performance roll.) You have some idea what they want and the inner logic of their actions. With the DMs consent, when dealing with any human thing relating to your speciality, you may add your proficiency mod to any roll. (Other SAVAGES find you talking like a Man very suspicious.)

d8 Personality Trait
1 I try to work things out carefully and explicitly into related chains of action before I act.
2 I sometimes speak knowledge that comes from dead paper. Others find this creepy and impressive.
3 I keep 'explaining' things or asking others to 'explain' what they mean.
4 I try to find things out even though the things are not useful.
5 I worry about the consequences of things that I do. Not just tomorrow, but many tomorrows away.
6 I wear fragments of human clothes and uniforms and am always adding to or changing the things I wear.
7 I wear fragments of humans and am always adding to or changing the things I wear.
8 I keep talking about places I have never seen and times I have never been.

d6 Ideal
1 Avoidance. If we avoid contact they will attack each other and forget us. Or something will kill them.
2 Fun. So much to destroy! And eat! And destroy!
3 Escape. We have to find some place they cannot follow us.
4 Cultural Theft. Steal their power and make it our own.
5 Enslavement. They will make good slaves once they are broken.
6 Genocide. They all have to die. All of them.

d6 Bond
1 I must preserve my tribe whatever the cost.
2 I must rule my tribe whatever the cost.
3 The Men know something that could destroy them, I must steal that knowledge and use it.
4 I must stop the men expanding their hives of stone and wood into the free lands. Not one inch more, they must burn.
5 They killed my people, took everything, I will teach them pain.
6 I need to keep this group of freaks together and alive as I have nowhere else to go.

d6 Flaw
1 I secretly cradle the fear that Mankind is somehow superior.
2 I am far too confident in my ability to understand them.
3 I can never stop with just one, I have to eat another one, then another..
4 I am obsessed with observing them without their knowledge.
5 I have dreams where I *am* one and they trouble me.
6 I am secretly utterly mad with a deep hatred for them which explodes unpredictably at the wrong times.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

FIRE background for SAVAGES


You know fire. Maybe you were born in fire, burnt by fire, maybe it comes to you in dreams, or you just really really like fire. FIRE.

Skills: Investigation, Intimidation

Tools: Anything that makes fire;

Equipment: Six torches,
A big bag of kindling,
3 jars of stolen lamp oil,
Chunk of cauterised Troll Meat.
Either a simple weapon OR 3 flasks of Gunpowder.


1 A Druids grove, they tried to cut down the trees to save the rest. Failed.
2 An Elven tree village, they fell burning and lit the dry grass where they hit.
3 Forced herd of burning swine into a dwarven mine. It collapsed.
4 My own tribe while they slept. (Whoops, haahahaha.)
5 Crammed Halfling family into their own oven. Delicious.
6 A Temple full of Human Knights, barred the doors, baked them in their own armour.
7 Myself by mistake. Kind of messed-up looking now, still you live and learn!
8 The entirety of the plain to the south, got a little out of hand there. Dry season.
9 A wizards tower, piled up wood at the base and lit it like a match. The fireworks!
10 Boiled a pool full or water nymphs. Steam nymphs now!

Feature: You are really good at burning things! You can always add your proficiency bonus when trying to set things on fire. You are also resistant to natural non-magical fire. With the DM's agreement you can also add your proficiency bonus when dealing with things that are *on* fire. You like to set your weapons on fire and it doesn't always go that badly.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I judge people by how easily I think I could set them on fire.
2 If someone is in trouble, I’m always ready to lend help. So long as that help includes fire.
3 When I set my mind to burning something, I follow through no matter what gets in my way.
4 I like to cover myself in patterns made from the ash of things I have burnt.
5 Unusually, I prefer to cook my food, especially when it's still alive.
6 I'm spiritually worried, yet fascinated by, things that don't burn, like ice. Or teeth.
7 I like to wear burning tapers about my person to create an impression.
8 I get bored easily. But there's usually a solution to that nearby..

d6 Ideal
1 Combustion. It's getting as many things as possible *on fire* at the *same time*, gotta hit max burn.
2 Destruction. The maximum amount of material things destroyed, that’s what matters.
3 Ash. To reduce everything to that cold, grey plain. Silence, Peace and fragments of bone.
4 People. You only burn the house to get the people inside to run out. Then burn them. It's people that really matter.
5 Beauty. It's the impression the fire *makes* really, its an art form.
6 Justice. I should never have to face it. The most important thing is that I get away clean.

d6 Bond
1 I remember the burn for every scar I have, and am looking forward to more.
2 I'm really happy to find anyone willing to tolerate me and will try not to burn them alive.
3 I get flashbacks whenever I see fire, they're great.
4 I've always dreamed of seeing the greatest city on earth, and burning it down.
5 I really want to travel to the Plane of Fire.
6 It's change that matters in life. Everything has to change. Preferably into something smaller, and blacker, and deader.

d6 Flaw
1 I treat burning flames as NPC's, will listen to them when they 'speak' and will have relationships with them.
2 I really don't like travelling in the dark without fire, even thought I can see quite well.
3 I believe my soul is a fire inside me and am fucking terrified of water, especially large volumes.
4 If you leave me owning, or wearing, anything that *can* be turned into kindling, it *will* be turned into kindling.
5 I will totally do whatever I'm told by the first fire daemon, or fire elemental I see. I LOVE THEM!
6 I might be resistant to fire but I really believe I'm IMMUNE.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

DUNGEON background for SAVAGES


Skills: Stealth, Intimidation;
Tools: One type of Gaming Set, Locks;

Equipment: A martial weapon, formerly human owned,
Keys to the doors of a certain underground place,
A set of dice made from human bone,
Chainmail with the sign of your Earth Lord,
A lamp with candle that burns slowly with a low, red flame.

d8 Your Former Boss. (You speak their language and they may even remember your name, or at least what you look like, maybe.)

1 A Wyrm Of The Sky
2 One Of Those Without Breath
3 A Maze-Minded One
4 A Man, burning in the flame of knowledge, driven out.
5 A Thief-King
6 A Soul-Taker
7 One Most Hungry
8 One-Ten-Strong

Feature: a Crew and a Womb. You have done service for an Earth Lord in one of the Wombs of the Earth. A Dungeon. There is a dungeon somewhere you know well. You are familiar with its guards and paths, they know you there. There is a reason you left, work with your DM to decide what it is. You know how far humans can see in the dark, less than you. You know how to stack outside a door before you break it down and that an area is never safe unless its patrolled on a regular basis. You also know to defend in depth, lure superior numbers into choke points and take them from the side.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I always obey the pecking order, and expect it to be obeyed.
2 I actually know what a schedule is, and can keep one.
3 I won't sleep without a sentry watching and get VERY ANGRY when they fuck up.
4 Nothing can bore me, I can wait and wait and wait.
5 I understand doors, locks, bars and chains. I like to be well protected from the outside world.
6 I get hyper-vigilance while resting and keep expecting someone to burst in.
7 I take prisoners, and I don't always eat them.
8 I kill the wizard first. KILL THE WIZARD FIRST!

d6 Ideal
1 Jobs. Do your fucking job and shut the fuck up about it.
2 Earth. Protect the earth from which we are made, stop the others getting into her.
3 Dark. Be the dark between the stars, light comes and goes. Darkness is eternal.
4 Place. Controlling places is good, know a place, make it yours.
5 Deep. Stay low, come from below, sleep in the earth, burn any structure above ground.
6 Master. Find the most powerful Lord, help them kill the rest.

d6 Bond
1 They stole a treasure from a place I protect. I will get it back.
2 They aced my boss, now I have his Phylactery and he won't shut up.
3 They killed my crew, I'm going to hunt them down, one by one.
4 Why should I not be the Earth-Lord, and rule my own maze?
5 Do to them what they did to me, break in, steal and kill. This time where they live.
6 I will eat the sun and make the world dark.

d6 Flaw
1 I can't hear for shit, even a battle taking place in the next room.
2 If something fails, I'll probably just try it again, and again and again and again.
3 I put way to much trust in anybody wearing a robe and a dramatic hat, waaaaay too much.
4 I get really confused if presented with more than one or two possible choices at a time.
5 I have a dangerous amount of confidence in my own plans and traps.
6 I found out about alcohol and I really really really really like it.