Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sorcery in Xhuul


Wizard (Sorcerer) characters start out knowing a few spells in their spellbooks as per Castles & Crusades rulebook pg.23. Sorcerers start with a number of Power Points equal to their INT score. These power points allow them to cast their spells. Each level of experience adds 1d4 Power Points. 0 level spells (cantrips)can be cast anytime, and do not cost Power Points. Generally, the cost of casting a spell is the number of power points equal to the spell level. The effects of the spell are limited by the Sorcerer's level.

Some spells will have alternate names for better flavor to fit the setting.


Sorcerors & Sorcery in Xhuul

Sorcery had survived the cataclysm that befell Xhuul. Those few cultists that did not die during the great war passed on the knowledge to their descendants or wrote it down in foul tomes. Much of this knowledge has been lost as some descendants who were taught the spells fell victim to the harsh Xhuulian wilderness, or the books themselves misplaced or hidden, then subsequently forgotten. Given that sorcery was taught by the alien gods and their servitors, it came at a high price to the sorceror's mind and body.

The act of casting spells can sometimes make changes to a Sorceror. Any spell cast by the sorceror has a 5% chance (1 in 20) of causing an Affliction. A roll is made on the Afflictions Table. Unless specifically noted on the table entry, the afflictions last 1d10 x10 hours.

Afflictions over time can greatly debilitate even the most powerful sorcerors. This is why many seek to find ways of ridding themselves of their afflictions. The common method of this is to transfer these afflictions, even temporary ones to others. The 4th level spell Shiggoboth's Spell of Transferance is commonly used by sorcerors for this purpose. However that spell comes at a cost of 1d4 CON.

Afflictions Table
1d100   Effect
01-35   Nothing happens.
36-37   Eyes change into that of a beast's
38-39   Tentacle-like growths appear around mouth
40-41   Grows large pointed ears
42-43   Teeth become fanged
44-45   Eyes glow green
46-47   Hunched-back
48-49   Scaly skin like a reptile or snake
50-51   Skin becomes slimey
52-53   Lose all hair
54-55   Large, oddly-shaped head
56-57   Hermaphrodite
58-59   Body covered in short fur
60-61   Albinoism
62-63   1d4 extra eyes appear randomly on body
64-65   1d4 extra mouths appear randomly on body
66-67   Eyes become large and bulging
68-69   Tongue becomes forked like a snake's
70-71   Gives off a fishy odor
72-73   Hair replaced by long fleshy tentacles
74-75   Eyes become multi-faceted, like an insect's
76-77   Odd skin color (blue, green, yellow, red)
78-79   Ages 1d10 years
80-82   Has delusions or hallucinations (GM determines what it is)
83-84   Paranoia
85-86   Unusual Allergy (metal, water, silver, wood etc.,) causes skin to burn on contact
87-88   Strange sexual desires (exhibitionism, necrophilia, teratophilia, nymphomania)
89-90   Uncontrollable tremors/shakes.
91-92   Phobia
93-94   1d4 bony growths appear randomly on body
95-96   Legs fuse into worm-like lower body
97-98   Grow 1d10 extra digits on hands or feet.
99-00   Mute


Casting Spells and Power Points

The sorceror has a limited pool of energy in which to cast spells, as these are taxing to the mind and body. The character's starting Power points at 1st level is equal to their INT score. If a Sorceror uses all their Power Points, he/she is exhausted and cannot perform any activity besides rest. They can move at 1/2 speed, but cannot make any other kinds of attacks or actions. Power Points are regained at a rate of 1pt per hour of rest. Most sorcerors prefer to drain power from magic items that can store Power Points within them, instead of using their own personal Power Points. Some sorcerors prefer to drain power from their minions or enemies to fuel their spells.


Gaining More Spells

Gaining new spellsa re as per rules in the Castles & Crusades Player's Handbook.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New banner art for Xhuul

I wasn't liking the plain look of the blog so I decided to whip up something to jazz it up a bit. I spent more time looking for the art piece and the font than anything. My meager skills with Photoshop aside, I think it turned out okay.

Overview of Xhuul

Xhuul Prehistory
Long ago, in a distant star system dominated by a red giant star, the planet Xhuul was devasted by a great struggle between alien god-like beings. The people of Xhuul who worshipped these alien gods were humans who originated on Earth that were transported there by magical gates or by alien creatures that carried them, spanning the great interstellar distances in a short amount of time. Most of the humans were insane cultists of these gods, however a few were not. These were usually prisoners, slaves or sacrificial victims taken to Xhuul. The details of the cataclysm that befell Xhuul, the knowledge of these alien gods, their civilization and technology has been lost, buried and forgotten.

Xhuul Today
What remains are the descendants of the humans that survived. They live in a few isolated, walled, primitive cities. Each of the cities is ruled by a powerful sorceror, mutant or warrior of great might. These rulers usually have powerful items of magic or technology in their possession that guaranties their position. The people go about their day-to-day lives, usually beneath the notice of such luminaries. However, a few have loftier goals, these are adventurers who seek fame and fortune. Outside the cities there is a large expanse of dangerous wilderness crawling with alien creatures, Cyguggothic emanantions, necrophagic clouds, undead and mutants. There are arid deserts, fetid swamps, fungal forests, montains and badlands. Hidden within this wilderness are ruins of the lost ages of Xhuul. Rumors of treasures, ancient technology and powerful magic await those foolhardy enough to leave the safety of the cities and brave the howling wilderness beyond. There are also things out there best left undisturbed.

Xhuulian Heavens
The sky of Xhuul during the day is dominated by a red giant star, known as Ygos by the astrologer-scientists of the ruling courts. Xhuul has three moons; Zhlolat, Sartha and Phugo. Zhlolat is a reddish moon, believed to be a desert world. Sartha is green in color, with a heavily clouded atmosphere. It is believed to be covered in steamy jungles. Phugo is black in color. It is believed that the surface is mostly basalt and obsidian. Legends say the souls of the dead travel there. The surface is scarred by giant cracks, most likely great fissures and canyons.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gamma World Acquisitions

I have been fortunate enough to win 2 Ebay auctions a couple days ago. One auction was for the 1st Edition Gamma World rulebook, which I scored for around $10.50. The other was the 1st Edition Gamma World Referee's Screen with the Erol Otus artwork, and 4 Modules: The Legion of Gold, Famine in Far-go, Cleansing War of Garick Blackhand and Mind Masters. That was for $38.00, so I think that was a good deal. They are currently on their way to me and all I can do is wait. I once owned the referee's screen and both the Legion of Gold and Famine in Far-go modules a long time ago, but I got rid of them in some fit of madness.

I am unfamiliar with the other two modules, so hopefully I'll be able to use them in the Xhuul game. No doubt there will be necessary changes to be made to fit those modules into the Xhuul setting. For instance, Famine in Far-go's mutated chickens have no place in Xhuul, I'll have to come up with suitable replacements.

Diary of Inhuman Species

I found this wonderful website Diary of Inhuman Species. The images of the creatures is about dead-on to what I have been imagining the flora and fauna of Xhuul to look like. Its very evocative of the alien nature of my Gamma World campaign setting. Many of the illustrations are Cthulhuesque in appearance and I will most likely want to stat up some of these beings for my campaign.


Some of my favorites:
















Note: Images used with permission by Grograou of http://diaryofinhumanspecies.com/WordPress

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On the Naming of Things

I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not sure if I should be referencing creatures/beings that are copyrighted by others. Maybe I'm paranoid or overthinking it too much. I don't plan to market what I post here for any monetary gain. I just want to share ideas and hopefully inspire others as I have been from blogs that I read. Anyway, I'm using a handy Lovecraftian Name Generator to name creatures and places within the lands of Xhuul, to give it a more unique feel than borrowing from already published sources.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cyguggothic Emanations

Cyguggoths were a servitor race of the Old Ones. They were large shapechangers that shifted form constantly, forming tentacles, pseudopods, orofices, eyes etc., They were monstrous beings, usually unleashed by their masters to commit large-scale destruction.

In the distant past, a new form of weapon was created that used pieces of Cyguggoths, vibrated at a particular frequency. Given the nature of the Cyguggothic flesh to change shape and the vibration, a new kind of radiation was created that could spontaneously mutate any living creature. Not all creatures survived this exposure. Some could be severely burned or be killed outright by the formation of cancerous growths and tumors. Others survived, with strange new abilities or deformities.

Areas of Cyguggothic emanations are hard to detect as is is an invisible energy. Certain mutations make be able to detect such areas. A good indicator are visual clues to the surrounding environment which may be warped or twisted. Given the strangeness of the lands of Xhuul, this is still no guarantee.

Coming into contact with an area of Cyguggothic Emanations requires a Saving Throw vs WIS. This will allow one to notice the strangeness of the area and avoid the body warping effects. A Failed save causes some damage and possible gain of mutations. A successful save resists the effects. Saving Throws are made once each 10 minutes of exposure.

Cyguggothic Emanation Random Intensity Table
1d100   INT   Effect
01-25    1    1d6 damage
26-41    2    2d6 damage
42-55    3    3d6 damage
56-69    4    3d6 damage and 20% chance for Mutation
               (50% Physical/50% Mental)
70-84    5    3d6 damage and 30% chance for Mutation
               (50% Physical/50% Mental)
85-90    6    4d6 damage and 40% chance for Mutation
               (60% Physical/40% Mental)
91-94    7    5d6 damage and 50% chance for Mutation
               (60% Physical/40% Mental)
95-96    8    6d6 damage and 60% chance for Mutation
               (70% Physical/30% Mental)
97-98    9    7d6 damage and 70% chance for Mutation
               (80% Physical/20% Mental)
99-00   10    8d6 damage and 80% chance for Mutation
               (90% Physical/10% Mental)


Note: I wanted a different spin on radiation. Instead of nuclear radiation being the cause of mutation, I wanted it to be something with a Lovecraftian flavor. Another inspiration source similar to this would be Warhammer Fantasy's Chaos taint/gifts.

Necrophagic Clouds

One of the hazards of Xhuul is a Necrophagic Cloud. A remnant of a horrific biological weapon unleashed hundreds of years ago, this black/purplish cloud can turn anyone exposed to it into a undead creature. The undead creature loses all ability to use any mutations. It will attack any living creature it can see to feed upon it. Any creature that survives an attack by a necrophagic zombie will not turn into one.

A Necrophagic Cloud can come in varying degrees of intensity. Anyone caught inside the Cloud must make a Save vs CON. Adjust the saving throw by the intensity of the cloud (1-10). A failed save causes creature to suffer an Energy Drain of 1d2 levels. Creatures reduce to 0 levels becomes an undead creature equivalent to a Zombie. A successful save causes 2d6 damage. Saving throws can be avoided if the creature is equipped in some manner that protects them from exposure (i.e. force field, haz-mat suit, or magic). Saving throws continue each round the creature is inside the cloud.

NECROPHAGIC CLOUD
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1
SIZE: Large
HD: n/a
MOVE: 10ft
AC:10
ATTACKS: Nil
SPECIAL: Energy Drain
SAVES: P
INT: n/a
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
TYPE: Biological Weapon
TREASURE: None
XP: 0

Necromutants

Necromutants are the result of a lifeform infected by a Necrophagic Cloud within an area of Cyguggothic emanations. The creature is turned into an undead being with the hunger for living flesh. Necromutants usually have a greenish cast to their skin. Any fur they may have had, quickly falls away to reveal the sallow green skin stretched tight across their skeletal frame.

Any physical mutations the creature had prior to transformation are carried over, making Necromutants very unpredictable in their capabilities. For encounters, roll 1d4 Physical Mutations (even defects!) and apply them to each Necromutant. They usually travel in small packs searching for living creatures to consume.

NECROMUTANT

NO. ENCOUNTERED: 2-9
SIZE: Medium
HD: 2 (d6)
MOVE: 30ft
AC: 12
ATTACKS: 2 claw (1d3), bite (1d6)
SPECIAL: Mutations
SAVES: P
INT: Average
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
TYPE: Undead
TREASURE: 1
XP: 22 +2/hp

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Welcome to Xhuul, watch your step and beware of the Necromutants!

For a while I have been wanting to run something old school. I've been inspired by some blogs that I read to do just that. Originally I was going to set the game using Gamma World, but then I discovered Castles & Crusades and decided to use that system and just port over Mutations from Gamma World (of course scaled down to work withing the lower hit point thresholds).

The world of Xhuul is a far-removed planet in a star system with a giant red sun. Other inspirations to the setting come from H.P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, such as dark cults of alien gods, fungi, strange alien creatures and magically created beasts of myth.

This is a work in progress and this blog will detail the ideas and house rules as I create them.