Thursday, 21 August 2014

DREAMS background for SAVAGES


You know dreams are another world where many things can be seen and known. You pay attention 
to your dreams and remember what you do there. The knowledge will guide you in this world.

Skills: Insight, Arcana;

You have scratched on your skin a map of a place you saw in dreams. It is somewhere you will 

A set of bones, which you believe will answer questions when thrown (counts as arcane focus)
OR a dream catcher made from human bone and hair (this prevents the Nightmare result).

A handful of poppy seeds. Enough to knock someone out if eaten or drunk.

d8 What kind of dreams do you have (You may roll each night if you wish.)

1 Violence
2 Journeys
3 Meetings with the dead
4 Another life as an animal or man
5 Flight
6 Nightmare
7 Other worlds
8 Magic

Feature: Sometimes you can learn real things in dreams. Once a game, if it makes sense with 
type of dream you had that night, you can sense a simple piece of nearby hidden information. 
A hidden motive, hidden door, the location of a object or some other simple thing. Major 
world-changing information will probably not be revealed.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I touch people when I wake up to make sure that they are real.
2 I always look for patterns in apparently random things.
3 I’m always afraid of ghosts and spirits, except while I'm actually looking at one.
4 I will ask you about your dreams, and talk about my own, at length
5 I’m always looking for a new stimulant or opiate.
6 I seem unfocused around important things and intense about minor matters.
7 I am followed by voices in wind, the rush of water or the buzzing of flies.
8 I’m convinced that people are always trying to steal my secrets.

d6 Ideal
1 Understanding. I would know why things are as they are.
2 Revenge. I see the faces of my dead people in the night, they call for blood. 
3 Oblivion. I want to lose myself.
4 Transcendence. I would step into full into the world of dreams in full.
5 Power. I have been shown a future where I rule, I will fulfil it.
6 Secrets. I will ferret out them all.

d6 Bond
1 If I dream a place, I must go there.
2 I have an ancestor calling me to find their bones.
3 I work to appease the spirit of a particular natural place or feature.
4 My life is dedicated to preserving the deep places, where dreams come from. (Dungeons.)
5 I’ve been shown my people’s survival depends upon a people not my own.
6 I dream of a particular face, when I see it, one of us will die. Then a new face will come.

d6 Flaw
1 I am extremely credulous when it comes to other people intuition.
2 I blame people I know for what they did in dreams I had.
3 I know this world is not the real one and does not truly matter.
4 I treat coincidence like magic and magic like mere trickery.
5 I talk in my sleep and spill both secrets and hidden opinions.
6 I won't turn left, I have to turn 270 degrees right to go 90 degrees left.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Deep Carbon Observatory Print Copy Available

So, my proof print copy of DCO just turned up and it looks ok so I will go and make it available online now. (The picture link on the right saying 'Deep' should take you there.) This is the first time I have ever had a copy of a book I made in my hands. It is a strange experience.

"Oh, who is this by?"


So I should say a few things about the things that have been said.


Probably the biggest issue people have had is with the maps, fairly enough in most cases. A big chunk of the module involves resource allocation and the measurement of time and distance. The module does not tell you how to do this and the maps don't help much with it. Which is slightly unfair. My reasoning for not telling people exactly how to count time and distance was partly because I know everyone would be playing with a slightly different ruleset, but also partly because I was getting tired and hacked off with it and wanted it out the door without inflating page count. But really the maps could be sharper, they could at least have a scale or something.

So it is a slightly dishonest module in that way.

The reasoning for the weird 'side-on' maps is because I knew we would be mainly working in a vertical direction and wanted it to be clear on one page. The logic of the interior spaces was created with that in mind. Gus has done 'proper' top down maps for the Observatory, I have linked to them on the page. I haven't made his maps into a free downloadable product on the same page because I felt weird ranking it along other stuff , the main way I have of turning something into a PDF is still OpenOffice and I can just link to his site so he can get hits for the work that he did.

If we do another one like this we will take better care with the maps.


The opening is a bit of a downer hey?

I almost never write with a clearly stated moral in mind. But you can look at what I made and see what kind of world it signifies. A big thing seems to be the necessity of making hard choices if you want the world to be anything other than it is. If you do nothing the world gets worse. If you try to save everyone in the town you will probably fail. If you focus and decide which problems you can fix and address them one after another, then you can save some  people. That is pretty shit in comparison to most D&D modules where you can generally save everyone. It’s a pretty fair look inside my head anyway. It isn't that you shouldn’t care, or that it’s pointless to care, you should both care and be ruthlessly focused on what you can achieve. Even then you can't save the world, you aren't god, just a person, but you can maybe save this small part of the world. (Of course in this module I am actually god.)

I remember reading about a US army guy who had done numerous disaster relief missions who said that the weak links on those missions were often his best people.  They were good, upstanding, heroic and self-motivated and in a disaster they tried to help everyone to the maximum extent. And this meant they dispersed their efforts and the big machine of the military that did most of the work became less efficient and their primary goal got harder, so less people got helped overall.

Kind of a different view to my last post.


Alex bore with me a lot while we were doing this, all of the flaws in layout should be laid at my door. I believe it is functional. None of the tables go over two pages. Some of the lists do. Nothing you are supposed to consult quickly in one go requires flipping between things. But it is not perfect. It's no Vornheim. I will have to learn Scribus for the next one and set the format first. If I do a second module (It might be 'A Fire Calling’) and if I get ok at design, I may go back and redo DCO. But it won't be for a while.


Is it worth ten dollars? Vornheim is better and costs less. But other things are certainly worse and cost more. I made the choice mainly so it was a round figure for Americans and so both I and Scrap could get a decent chunk out of each sale. We both get  $3.50 out of each sale, take of a bit for the cost of transfers and currency conversion, in human (British) terms this amounts to about £2.00 each time for me. It seems fair. I have set the margin for the printed copy at exactly the same as the virtual copy. So far as I am concerned you are paying for content not format. If it was a posh print copy with a lot of clever shit in it I would charge more, but it’s just Lightning Scource printing, which is just a blurring of software and hardcopy anyway. There is also no extra for buying both at once. I am very sorry for anyone who bought the PDF and now realises they could have waited and got print at the same time for not much more. It wasn't a marketing scheme, it was just me never having done this before and having trouble with the print process. Sorry.


It's interesting that my life has been defined by a great aloneness and that I am a big proponent of 'doing it for yourself'. I do believe that the only meaningful control you have over the world is your body and the area around it. And not much even then. But the things I have actually made tell a different story.

Everything I have ever completed that was any good has always involved another person. Even though I did a lot of the work myself (using those individual qualities I talked about above) the thing as a whole is not 'mine' and if I had been making it alone I probably wouldn't have finished it. In me both life and death are equally balanced and the result is not easy to predict. This makes for some interesting writing but it also means things I generate and pursue only on my own, with no-one else involved, tend not to get finished.

In this case respect should be showed to Zzarchov Kowalski, if he hadn’t got me and Scrap to do it, it wouldn’t exist. All he wanted was a freaky adventure to play in his NGR system and he didn't even get that really. He had to convert the whole thing himself.

And there is Scrap. I wrote the whole thing for, or at least 'towards' her. If she hadn't been there it still might not exist. If it did it would be in a very different form. (Less animals, no Crows, lots of other things.)

Scrap is essentially my Paul McCartney, she cares about actual living things and people, embodied living expressions of the world, I care about sadness and death.

If you think that’s an insult, go and read this.

“Lennon, perhaps because his music relied on a more typical blues structure, used more negative emotion in his lyrics and the data reveal that he was more focused on his own personal distress. Lennon songs are indicative of someone trying to reflect or understand his own negative experiences or situations


On the other hand, the data shows McCartney lyrics to be more intellectually and lyrically complex than Lennon’s. McCartney songs also cover a broader range of themes.

McCartney’s songs are more intellectually complex and cover a far wider range of perspectives
and themes. Lennon’s songs tend to more self-focused and higher in levels of negative emotion.”


Almost exactly 15 years ago I got a tattoo. People thought it turned out well. Everyone asked me if I would ever get another one. I would always say “If I ever get something published.”

Well, self-publishing isn’t real publishing, but its close enough and I didn’t know what to get for my birthday anyway. So if anyone has any ideas about what tattoo I should get you can let me know. Probably something Observatory-related, but you know, inverse.

Also, if anyone has any questions about DCO, feel free to ask.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

BEASTS background for SAVAGES


You have learnt something of beasts you know they are NOT JUST FOR EATING!

Skills: Animal Handling, Nature;
Languages: Of one natural beast;
A whip or goad,
A saddle and reins,

Feature: You have a beast.
If Orc a large Boar, if Gnoll a Hyenadon, if Goblin a Giant Spider, if Mantis Man a Friendly Swarm
Your food requirements are now TREBELED

d8 Personality Trait
1 I need to smell someones droppings before I know if I can trust them.
2 I whisper all my secrets to my beast.
3 I know beasts know more than me, attend to what they do and let them guide my path,
4 If hungry I will drink the blood or ichor of my beast, and sometimes if not hungry.
5 I 'talk' to animals I find by imitating their movements and sounds.
6 I refer to friends by the name of their spirit animal, which I can always sense.
7 I am obsessd with finding tracks and never leaving any of my own.
8 I must show beasts extra respect as death may watch me from their eyes.

d6 Ideal
1 Taming. To tame a beast, to make it answer as a limb answers, this is best. (Lawful)
2 Riding. Wind and speed! To fly like the falcon over the earth! This is best. (Neutral)
3 Knowing. To understand the beast, know it as you know yourself, this is best. (Lawful)
4 Becoming. To be it from within, its flesh yours, your blood its own. Yes! (Chaotic)
5 Stealing. A stolen beast is always better. Steal! Take the beasts you need and laugh! (Chaotic)
6 Hunting. To be poised like a spear in the hand, to know, to see, to strike! (Any)

d6 Bond
1 I know we are the Spirits Beasts, when one wishes to ride us, we must allow it.
2 I sleep, eat, live and die with my beast. If it dies I shall die next to it.
3 I will ride the fastest, the largest, the fiercest that there are! All will know me!
4 I know this beast is the spirit of an old friend.
5 I was raised by these beasts, I live for them, more loyal to them than my own kind.
6 I seek the Animal Lords, one day I will despose one and take its place.

d6 Flaw
1 I had other friends before this, but my beast was hungry, what could I do?
2 I secretly think I am a beast trapped in this flesh, I seek means to free myself and return to what I am.
3 I think my beast is my master and await its secret orders.
4 I harm my beast when I am angry.
5 I HateFear my beast, I control it becasue I fear it, as I fear them all.
6 I do things with my beast that no-one should do. No-one knows (yet).

Armor Class 10
Hit Points 22 (3d10 + 4)
Speed 50 ft.
16 (+3) 10 (+0) 16 (+3) 2 (-4) 10 (+0) 6 (-2)
Senses passive Perception 10
Languages —

Charge. If the Boar moves at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a ram attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 7 (2d6) damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

Ram. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) bludgeoning damage.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one prone creature. Hit: 8 (3d4 + 3) slashing damage.

Armor Class 12
Hit Points 19 (3d10 + 3)
Speed 45 ft.
16 (+3) 10 (+0) 13 (+1) 2 (-4) 10 (+0) 5 (-3)
Skills Stealth +2
Senses passive Perception 10
Languages —

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 14 (2d10 + 4) piercing and slashing damage.

Giant Spider
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 26 (4d10 + 4)
Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft.
14 (+2) 16 (+3) 12 (+1) 2 (-4) 11 (+0) 4 (-3)
Skills Stealth +7
Senses blindsight 10 ft., darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages —

Spider Climb. The spider can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.

Web Sense. While in contact with a web, the spider knows the exact location of any other creature in contact with the same web.

Web Walker. The spider ignores movement restrictions caused by webbing.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature.
Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw, taking 9 (2d8) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. If the poison damage reduces the target to 0 hit points, the target is stable but poisoned for 1 hour, even after regaining hit points, and is paralyzed while poisoned in this way.

Web (Recharge 5–6). Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 30/60 ft., one creature. Hit: The target is restrained by webbing. As an action, the restrained target can make a DC 12 Strength check, bursting the webbing on a success. The webbing can also be attacked and destroyed (AC 10; hp 5; vulnerability to fire damage; immunity to bludgeoning, poison, and psychic damage).

Friendly Swarm
Armor Class 12 (natural armor)
Hit Points 22 (5d8)
Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft.
3 (-4) 13 (+1) 10 (+0) 1 (-5) 7 (-2) 1 (-5)
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, prone, restrained, stunned
Senses blindsight 10 ft., passive Perception 8
Languages —

Swarm. The swarm can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a Tiny insect. The swarm can’t regain hit points or gain temporary hit points.

Bites. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 0 ft., one target in the swarm’s space. Hit: 10 (4d4) piercing damage, or 5 (2d4) piercing damage if the swarm has half of its hit points or fewer.

Thursday, 14 August 2014



HD: 1d6

WEAPONS: Any Wood, Bone, Teeth., Stone. No metallic. (Including arrow tips.)

Saves: INT, WIS;

Skills: 2 from: Survival, Nature, Insight, Performance, Medicine, Animal Handling

(a) a Jawbone Club or (b) a Flint Knife;
(a) a Component pouch or (b) An Enemies Shrunken Head (Arcane Focus); 
(a) Crazy Piercings or (b) Tricked out Mad Tattoos or (c) Disturbing Scarification


When you sleep you go to where the spells are, you hunt the spells. The spells try to get away but you catch them pretty easily becasue you are a SHAMAN. Finding the right ones can be hard though. The longer you sleep the more spells you can hunt. The higher your level the deeper into that place you can go.

When you sleep or meditate to get spells, roll a d6. Go to that number at the bottom of the chart, this is where you start. A cantrip will be here with you. You can catch the catrip if you want, put it in your head, write it on your spell sheet.

For every hour you meditate or sleep, you can travel along one black dotted line to a place where a new spell is. Whenever you reach a new spell, you can put it in your head and write it on your sheet. When you wake up, you can use that spell whenever you want, then its gone back to the hunting ground. When you sleep, all of your spells escape and you have to look for more.

So if you sleep for eight hours, you can hunt eight spells.

BUT. There is a catch. Some spells don't like each other. If you have two spells in your head connected by a dotted line, thats right next to each other, then you have to roll on the Shaman Madness Table once for each line.

So if you go to sleep as a level one Shaman for eight hours and hunt eight spells, then you will have seven madnesses the next day. This is why Shamans are so crazy. You can avoid madneses by not having spells that are connected by dotted lines in your head at the same time. But this means you get less spells.

As you get better as a Shaman you can go deeper into the dream lands to hunt more powerful spells.

From levels 1-4 you hunt in the Plains. From level 5 you can also hunt in the Forest, at level 11 you can also hunt in the Hills and at level 17 you can visit the Mountain for the most powerful spells.

You always start at the bottom though, with a d6 roll.

Lvl 2: A number of times per day equal to your level, any spell you have caught may be cast as an illusiory version of itself.
Lvl 3: ---
Lvl 4: Ability Score Improvement.
Lvl 5: You may now hunt in the Forest.
Lvl 6: Your cantrips deal half Damage even on a Save.
Lvl 7: ---
Lvl 8: Ability Score Improvement
Lvl 9: ---
Lvl 10: add your Int Mod to your Evocation Spells'Damage.
Lvl 11: You may now hunt in the Hills.
Lvl 12: Ability Score Improvement
Lvl 13: ---
Lvl 14: You may halve the number of madnesses (rounding up) that you must take after hunting spells.
Lvl 15: ---
Lvl 16: Ability Score Improvement
Lvl 17: You may now hunt on the Mountain
Lvl 18: You can choose where you begin your hunt on the bottom row.
Lvl 19: Ability Score Improvement
Lvl 20: Instead of beginning on the bottom row, you may drop a d4 on the chart and begin where it lands.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Beauty and Imagination

Long ramble that goes nowhere, prompted in part by recent events, partly by this. It felt like I was going to get close to a point, but the dammn thing slipped away somewhere and I'm tired of searching for it. Read at your own risk

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon

“I record a wonder. The work of the bank was well done. That, with my cold inner eye that trusts nothing, least of all my own likings, I checked later.”

‘Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, A journey through Yugoslavia’ is a book written by Rebecca West. In the copy I have from my local library it runs to 1150 pages and contains maps on both the front and rear inner-covers. It is one of very few books of high literature that is not only improved by maps but could probably do with a few more.

The journey upon which the book is based took place in the mid 1930’s, it took about ten more years to research and complete and was published in the heart of a near-apocalypse in 1942. Anyone who actually read it in full at this point may become so preoccupied (a regrettable choice of words) that they would have missed a large section of the war, however, the book is exceedingly bulky and would provide a good protection against shrapnel, perhaps increasing its utility in those circumstances.

It is one of the great works of English literature during the 20th century and the only two reasons it is not better known and fully accorded the status it deserves in the public mind are that it is 1150 pages long and about Yugoslavia. If anyone is willing to devote the month or so it takes to read it they will find themselves fully regretting their previous view that Yugoslavia is boring, tiresome, violent and best not considered at all. I certainly have. Unfortunately very few people are going to take a month off to find out about a place they do not like and to which they do not intend to go. What follows is my attempt to correct this situation and to persuade you to read this book.

We have the Kindle now, so technology has finally caught up with it.

(This is long.)

Monday, 4 August 2014

Pictures of Titans and a link to a better post.

A picture of a Space Viking riding a tugboat pulled by wolves has sparked a deep intorspection in to the heart of culture.

Firstly, if you want to read some interesing analysis of Mini's, go here and read both the post and the comments (not mine, mine was terrible), then if you want to follow up, go here and read the comments.

Now here are some pictures of Titans I jammed together. Some are very old titans in the 6mm range. that means they are about the size of  your thumb, or smaller. The others are modern Titans in the 28mm range. That makes them the size of your hand, or forearm maybe.