Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Movie: Skyline

I watched the movie Skyline tonight. It had the potential of being a very good movie, but unfortunately, it fell short of that. There were alot of unanswered questions and the end of the movie was a letdown as it just ended without really resolving anything. I think the writers painted themselves into a corner and didn't know how to end the movie. They made the aliens nigh unstoppable and so they just ended the movie in a way that made me go "WTF?". It screams "Sequel" to me, but I'd be hard-pressed to be suckered into watching a sequel unless there was going to be a payoff of a decent ending that would make sense.

The CGI of the different types of alien creatures shown in the movie were very good. Each one had a different look and function, but most had the sole capability of capturing humans for harvesting purposes.

The prediliction of the aliens for human brains as a power source was interesting and that got me to thinking of an idea for a campaign using Mind Flayers as the "alien menace" that arrive on a D&D-like fantasy world as invaders in their Far-Realm Organitech Ships, send out their drones to collect humanoids and keep them penned up and used as slaves until the dinner bell rings for their Mind Flayer overlords. The PC's struggle to survive, by avoiding capture and trying to find a way to combat the invaders.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Traveller Musings

This week-end was one of those where I did practically nothing. I slept until almost noon and just surfed the internet, eating in-between. Time I should have spent working on finishing the power details for the Mental mutations for Xhuul, but instead, I was just a lazy-ass.

I watched all 14 episodes of Firefly on Hulu. It's a shame that this series was cancelled. Of course, when the show was first being aired, I did not watch it. I had heard about the concept of a "western in space" being the premise of the show and I just didn't "get it". Maybe alot of people had the same feeling and that is why it suffered poor ratings and was summarily cancelled. That is a shame, because it had potential and I was just getting into the characters.

A few years ago, I saw part of the movie Serenity, which I caught in the middle of. This was a follow-up to the TV series, when it came out on HBO. At that time, not really having seen series episodes, I was a bit lost and didn't know the characters. I do remember many of the characters dying in the movie, but now I need to refresh my memory of it. I have the movie ordered for rent on my queue on my Blockbuster account.

So, while I was watching Firefly this week-end, it dawned on me that a similar setting could be ideally played using the rules for Traveller. I know that there is a Serenity RPG, which uses rules similar to Savage Worlds, but I have never played it. I used to play Traveller a long time ago, and I had an extensive collection of rule-books published by GDW, FASA and a few other third-party publishers. But there came a time where I had to do some purging of my collection and I gave all my Traveller stuff to a friend of mine. Suprisingly, he still keeps it in the plastic file box I kept them in.

It seems there is a recent surge in sci-fi gaming in the blogosphere of late with the emergence of rules such as Terminal Space and Humanspace Empires. If I was to run a sci-fi game, it would be in a setting similar to the Firefly universe, with the western feel to it. And Traveller would be my ruleset of choice. I'll think more about this later and may whip something up to serve as inspiration.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!
















I hope you all have a Happy Easter. And don't eat too much chocolate now, y'hear?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Star Wars Sexy Corset Wenchday







Darth Vaderette: "I find your lack of pants...disturbing"







Stormtroopette: "Pew Pew Pew!"








Imagine if all the Star Wars characters were females only, that would be one weird movie.

Monday, April 18, 2011

My C&C Mutant Class for Xhuul


The only classes I am using for Castles & Crusades are the Fighter, Wizard (aka Sorcerer), Rogues and Mutant. Below is my writeup for the Mutant class:

MUTANT (Constitution)

Mutants are humans who have been exposed to Cyggugothic emanations or other phenomena that has gentically altered their bodies and minds, giving them unusual powers and abilities. Mutants are sterile and so do not have children. Some mutants can appear as normal humans as long as they do not have any obvious physical mutations.


ABILITIES
Mutations: When rolling 3d6 for the character's ability scores, each "1" rolled on the dice means a Defective Mutation and each "6" rolled on the dice means a Beneficial Mutation. Depending on the ability score being rolled determines the type of Defective or Benefical mutation. STR, DEX and CON are Physical and INT, WIS and CHA are Mental. At the player's discretion, they can cancel out each "1" rolled with each "6" rolled for that mutation type (Physical or Mental). A "1" rolled on a Physical Defect cannot be voided by a "6" rolled on a Mental Mutation. Anyone can be exposed to phenomena that causes mutations during game-play, it is just that characters of this class start the game with them.
PRIME ATTRIBUTE: Constitution
HIT DICE: d6
ALIGNMENT: Any
WEAPONS: Any
ARMOR: Any (However, some physical mutations may prevent the character from wearing off-the-shelf armor without modification or any armor at all. In the case of modification, it will cost teh character 3 times as much in gold pieces) ABILITIES: Mutations


LevelHDBtHEXP
1d6+00
2d6+12,251
3d6+15,001
4d6+29,001
5d6+28,001
6d6+335,001
7d6+370,001
8d6+4140,001
9d6+4300,001
10d6+5425,001
11+3HP+5650,001
12+3HP+6900,001
13+250,000 per level

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dungeon Map

I was reading through an issue of Dungeon magazine (#113) and there is a low-level adventure called "Queen with Burning Eyes". I read through the adventure and thought it would make a good introductory dungeon crawl. The map for the adventure was horrible however, as they used "tiles" form the D&D Miniatures Entry Packs and overlapped them. I thought the general layout was good, just the execution of using the tiles was poor.

So I used Inkwell Ideas Dungeonographer and made a new version of the map and did some refining in Photoshop. I goofed by adding some stone texture along the outside of the dungeon perimeter, when I realized how printer unfriendly that would be, I had to spend some time cutting that out. You'll note the "hanging chads" of the grids where this occurred.

I'm going to adapt this as a starting adventure below the city of Hlatl deep within The Works level.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cross-Section Sketch of Hlatl



Here is a cross-sectional map of Hlatl, City of the Black Crater. The city is divided into various wards which are separated by inner walls. Generally, people residing in each ward closer to the Black Ziggurat are wealthier. The Wharf Ward is is the 'Mos Eisley' of the city where the real scum hang out. You can still find scum in the Commoner's Ward, but the beggars, thieves and other dregs who can't afford to live in the Commoner's ward live in the Wharf Ward.

The city was built up over previous ruins, which were used over time on the level above it as storage areas, sewage tunnels, etc., These under-ruins have been abandoned over several years as strange mutants and undead beings have been making lairs here. The old storage areas left behind have spawned rumors of great wealth and treasures to be found.

There is a central shaft that leads down from the Merchant's Ward to a level deep below the city known as 'The Works'. Here are located the foundries which process ores and other materials into goods that are then sent up on massive lifts to the Merchant Ward and into the markets. It is also the location of the sewage treatment machinery. It is home to other industries such as tanneries, slaughterhouses and other unpleasant smelling trades. The Works are a dark and smoke-filled region, honeycombed with passages that are soot-covered and rumble with the noise of the various industries. The passages are lit with Fire Beetle glands in glass lanterns spaced far enough to provide dim light throughout. There are dark stretches of tunnels which are unlit as well which are dangerous from some of the ruffians who have made their way down from the Wharf Wards to find work or waylay workers.

The Fungal Farms provide the city with a rich variety of edible fungus which serves are a staple diet for most citizens, much like how rice is a staple food in most Asian countries. The Fungal Farms are attended by the Xycil which serve as the city's civil servant class. The Xycil are also responsible for keeping the tunnels and passages beneath the city clear of rubble and garbage, which they usually remove to their colony or the Fungal farms to be placed in the compost pits.

The Xycil Colony is made up of tunnels lined with a self-secreted resin the Xycil produce and well as webbing which reinforce the passages making very stable and easily to crawl along. Here are located the egg chambers and the Xycil Queen.

Below the Xycil Colony is the Necropolis which is where bodies are interred for burial. The city above doesn't have enough space for graveyards and burial grounds, so all the city's dead are placed here. The Xycil carry the dead here and place them in burial niches, wrapped in webbing. The Xycil do not eat flesh so they would not be tempted to use any dead bodies for food. The proximity of the Domain of Ramoskeph is no accident and the necromancer frequently sends raiding parties of undead servants to the Necropolis for freash bodies to conduct his expirements.

The Domain of Ramoskeph is the most dangerous place in all of Hlatl's underworld. The area is a maze of tunnels and chambers, roaming with undead horrors and other vile vat-created homonculi. There are deadly traps scattered about. Ramoskeph is powerful sorcerer of necromantic might and is the provider of the city's supply of Grey Men. He is wealthy and a recluse, always pre-occupied with his researches, and his moments of sanity and clarity are rare.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Zhorh, the Isle of Madness

In the middle of the dark waters of the Aqogago Gulf lies the island of Zhorh. The island is essentially a giant piece of rock jutting from the ocean, some 30-45 miles in width, with sheer cliffs and no natural harbor or coves. The cliffs are about 500 feet high before they level out to a ledge are dotted with numerous caves, some with waterfalls pouring out of them.

Sailors call Zhorh, the Isle of Madness and give it a wide berth when sailing their vessels past the island. The reason being that the island has been known to beguile sailors who have sailed too close with an erapturing song that compels them to sail their vessels into rocks at the base of the cliffs. The song seems emanate from the many caves in the cliffs surrounding the island.

Since Zhorh has no natural harbor, getting access to the island is difficult. The waves that crash against the cliffs would easily smash any vessel that tried to manuever too close, and attempt a scaling of the cliffs by rope, assuming the crew had some protection from the maddening song. The many shipwrecks sprawled along the rocks can be seen at a distance and is a testament to the danger the island poses.

This has tempted many men to consider the risk for the lure of precious cargo or treasure within the cracked hulls of the wrecks. So far, no man has dared such a venture.

The caves are believed to be the lair of some monster or monsters that are the source of the song which beckons men to an early death and to be a meal for the creatures.

Nice Widget

Over at Jeff's Gameblog, he has a post for a cool widget that allows one to print out blog posts or print them to a PDF file.

I've put this widget on my blog, so if you like anything here you would like to use for your games, feel free to use it. The buttons are at the bottom of each post.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Artifacts

Artifacts are technological items of the Ancients that were in widespread use before the Great Cataclysm. Artifacts are usually found in the ruins of Ancient cities and complexes. When an artifact is found, roll to find it's Condition.

Artifact Condition Table

1d20 Roll   Condition
=======   =========
     1-6             Obviously Broken (No chance of Functioning)
     7-10           Poor (20% of Functioning)
     11-13          Fair (35% of Functioning)
     14-16         Good (50% of Functioning)
     17-18         Very Good (70% of Functioning)
     19-20        Excellent (100% of Functioning)

Figuring Out Artifacts

Unless someone who is already familiar with an artifact shows the character how it works, or if the character has witnessed someone else using it to determine it's function, the character must try to figure out an unfamiliar artifact's function and how it works.

It takes 10 minutes (1 Turn) for each attempt to figure out an Artifact. A character can try as many times he desires, taking an additional Turn.

The character must make an INT ability check, by rolling 1d20+character level+Attribute modifier+any modifier for mutations which must equal or exceed the Challenge Level.

The Challenge Level's base starting number depends on whether the character's INT is a Prime or Secondary attribute. If Prime, the base number is 12. If Secondary, the base number is 18. Some artifacts are easier to figure out than others. Each artifact is assigned Challenge Level based on it's complexity, or the DM can assign a number he feels is appropriate.

Artifact Complexity Table
Accelera Dose (10)
Anti-Grav Pods (15)
Anti-Grav Sled (20)
Atomic Energy Cell (4)
Binoculars (3)
Black Ray Pistol (10)*
Chemex Grenade (5)*
Chemical Energy Cells (4)
Control Baton (8)
Communications Sender (20)
Cur-In Dose (10)
Energized Armor (20)*
Energy Cell Charger (15)
Energy Cloak (16)
Energy Grenade (5)*
Energy Mace (8)*
Fragmentation Grenade (5)*
Fusion Rifle (10)*
Genetic Booster (10)
Glow Cube (3)
Hydrogen Energy Cell (4)
Inertia Armor (20)*
Laser Pistol (10)*
Laser Rifle (12)*
Mark V Blaster (10)*
Mark VII Blaster Rifle (12)*
Medi-Kit (18)
Mind Booster (10)
Needler Pistol (10)*
Pain Reducer (10)
Paralysis Rod (8)*
Photon Grenade (5)*
Poison Gas Grenade (5)*
Portent (6)
Powered Armor (any type) (20)*
Sheath Armor (6)
Solar Energy Cell (10)
Stim Dose (10)
Stun Grenade (5)*
Stun Ray Pistol (10)*
Stun Ray Rifle (12)*
Stun Whip (8)*
Sustenance Dose (10)
Tear Gas Grenade (5)*
Ultraviolet Goggles (5)
Vibro Blade (15)*
Vibro Dagger (15)*

*= If a Natural '1' is rolled on the INT check, this means an accident has happened while handling the artifact. Depending on the item, this can cause serious damage to the handler or someone standing nearby. DM will make the judgement based on the item and situation.

Delay of Blogging

Looks like real-world everyday stuff has been getting in my way of regular blog posts. First off is the looming "Sword of Damocles" that is called Taxes. I've been putting this off because I know I owe this year, and why should I pay early so that my tax dollars can get wasted by the government? You know, like meddling in another country's internal affairs (Libya), and wasting multi-million dollar ammo on a country that isn't a threat to us? Anyway, don't want to go off on a political rant.

So, yeah I still need to do my taxes, so that will cut into my fun time. I signed up for Hulu Plus so I can watch previous seasons of TV shows, namely 'Angel'. I don't have Cable TV as my high-speed internet connection allows me to watch streaming video easily enough. In regards to 'Angel', I was a late-comer to the show and wanted to start from the beginning and watch the episodes in order, and see how the stories evolved. So that has gobbled up my time as well.

Well, anyway here is something to cheer you up:



Have a good Wenchday!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lost


A Follower of the blog the other day. That kind of sucks. Probably didn't like my Wenchday post, because it was after that when I noticed they were gone. Well, I'm relatively new to the blogging thing and I am grateful to those who have been following me. I hope I can entertain and give something back to the community. My creativity comes and goes in spurts, and I wish I could post something everyday. I am trying to do so currently.

Thanks you for reading.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cults

The Great Cataclysm which destroyed much of the surface of Xhuul in the distant past was said to be caused by a war among strange alien gods and their servants. Ever since that great war, the many generations of descendents of the original surivors of that conflict have been resistant to put their faith in the very beings which caused such destruction. Most if not all of these gods have been forgotten, but the ancestral madness that drove such men to seek the favor of these alien beings has also survived these many generations. In these few men, the formation of cults dedicated to these foul, uncaring alien gods have arisen.

Cults are generally tolerated, their followers are few, and none have any true temporal power in the day-to-day lives of most Xhuulians. At least most people would hope they do not. In some remote regions, this may not be the case, where a village or town may be the nexus of a powerful cult, secretly trying to undermine or infiltrate their neighbors. Currying the favor of these alien god-like beings usually involve human sacrifice and foul acts of consumating with strange entities and other bizarre rites. The number of cults are too many to list, as most are secretive and do not announce themselves openly.


Sample Cults of Xhuul

KAKATAL, The Burning Chaos:
Appears as a massive ball of churning flame, with tendrils of flame whipping about. This being embodies the aspect of destruction, purification and creation. Armorsmiths, Weaponcrafters and any who work near a forge or furnace give homage to Kakatal, to bless their creations. Devout worshippers are said to be granted immunity from heat and flame.

PYARAY, Lord of the Ocean Abysses:
Appears as a huge blood-red giant octopus with a pulsing blue gem fixed atop it's head. This being commands the Chaos Fleet, a flotilla of sunken ships manned by undead sailors. The cult is strong in settlements near the ocean. Most sailors give lip service to Pyaray, making sacrifices of gold and gems in exchange for good weather on their maritime journeys. Worshippers are said to be granted the ability to breathe underwater or summon the undead.

KORMOG, The Waste Stalker:
Appears as giant, grotesque humanoid with large glowing eyes. It's large lumbering frame looks emaciated, and it's hunger knows no bounds. Kormog is a cannibalistic being that stalks the frozen wastes, hunting down and carrying off travellers to devour. The cult is small, usually located in the high, snow-bound mountains of Xhuul. Tribes of degenerate barbarians usually leave sacrifices for Kormog. Kormog is worshipped by the Yeti and the Gnophkeh. Worshippers are usually granted the ability to track by scent and gain resistance to extreme cold.

AYAI, The All-Knowing:
Appears as a large glass and metal monolith, glowing with points of light. The cult is small and is followed by humans who claim to have "heard the call" of their god. Each cultist is grafted with a device near the base of their skull to better commune with Ayai. Ayai is a god of knowledge and keeper of secrets. The cultists are usually found in ruins of the ancients, looking for sacred objects that Ayai has told them to find. Worshippers are granted bonuses to figure out ancient artifacts.

PAMESHLU, The-Many-Formed-One:
Appears as a writhing mass of flesh, sprouting, reforming and absorbing many appendages, eyes, mouths and other unnamemable organs. This is it's natural form, but it can take the form of any creature for as long as it wishes. Known to be a cult followed only by mutants with grotesque deformities, they hope to gain the favor of their patron god to be cured of their defects or gain the power of shape-changing so as to hide them. This cult is also followed by dopplegangers as well as human assassins that would desire the secret of shapechanging.

YIG, Father of Serpents:
Appears as a large scaly strong man with a serpent-like head. He may be accompanied by a swarm of writhing snakes. Yig is also worshipped by the Serpent People and their kin (Yuan-ti). Worshippers usually gain some immunity from poisonous snakes and ability to talk to snakes.


Gaming Information
There are no Clerics or Druids in the Xhuul setting. This means there is no access to healing spells or ressurection! The "gods" of these cults do not grant their worshippers spells through a "divine magic source" as in Castles & Crusades. The "High Priests" of the various cults are not Clerics or Druids either. They are usually Sorcerers who have learned a few spells and seek greater knowledge from the beings they worship, which know spells equivalent to a high-level Sorcerer. Some High Priests may just be normal men, their insanity and fanatiscm being their only true power.

In many cases, the "god" followed by a cult only exists in the minds of it's demented followers. So not all cults have a powerful being behind it. There are some that do, but are uncaring of their followers and never manifest before them.

Wenchday!


I should have posted the picture on St. Patrick's Day. She's wearing green, so no pinching. Well, unless you want to....

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Black Ziggurat


The Black Ziggurat is an immense multi-tiered structure made of a dark stone and crystal of apparent Ancient manufacture. It sits overlooking the city of Hlatl, which itself is built upon a rocky tor at the center of the Black Crater.

There are old tales that during the great cataclysm an Ancient weapon fired from the heavens, itent on destroying the Black Ziggurat. After the smoke had cleared, the Black Ziggurat stood unscathed. It sat upon a mountain of rock, while all around it a large crater was all that was left to testify of the weapon's power.

The Black Ziggurat is the palace of Hlatl's sole ruler, Kigloth the Mad. Not much is known of Kigloth, except he arrived some 300 years before the city's founding and probed the depths of the Ziggurat. When settlers arrived about 150 years ago, they encountered Kigloth who emerged from the Black Ziggurat and announced he was the ruler of the land. Those who challenged his authority were shrivelled into a black dust by the wave of his hand. This quickly suspended any doubts to his power and the settlers acknowledged his rulership.

The Black Ziggurat is rumored to be a nexus to many planes, where aspects of it's structure appear in other worlds. Its halls are a twisting maze of odd shapes and angles that would challenge any rational mind to stay sane. It holds some of the greatest mysteries and treasures beyond imagining. There are very few, if any visitors to the Black Ziggurat. Foreign dignitaries are usually met outside the structure by either Kigloth himself (rarely), or his appointed representatives and usually are provided luxurious accomodations in some of the outlying buildings on the palace grounds.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ayub


AYUB

NO. APPEARING: 4-16
SIZE: Small
HD: 1 (d4)
MOVE: 20ft, climb 30'
AC: 12
ATTACKS: Bite (1hp), 2 claws (1d2)
SPECIAL: None
SAVES: N
INT: Animal
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
TYPE: Beast
TREASURE: Nil
XP: 7 +1/hp

The Ayub is a small reptilian-like humanoid animal that lives in small groups throughout Xhuul. They dwell in trees and their diet consists of fruits, grubs, roots and vegetables. They are generally passive and will flee if approached. If cornered, they will defend themselves and will bite and scratch with thier teeth and claws. Ayubs can be a nuissance to local farms, where they usually eat crops if food is scarce. Ayubs are hunted as a food animal, and their meat is quite tasty when cooked.


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