Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Machine Magic Market

The Machine Magic Market is the central economic and technological hub in Wizard City Hexcrawl, sporting a plethora of commercial magitech options. It's a common destination for techno-pilgrims, industrialists, and engineering students from abroad.

PROMINENT PROSTHESIS VENDORS

The Market's got dozens of independent and incorporated vendors for prostheses of all shapes and sizes. There's enough here to make you fully metal-fleshed out man, if you had the inclination. Way cheaper to just put a brain in a jar, though.

Antonio's

"There ain't no broken heart Antonio can't fix!"

(Note: Antonio does not recommend replacing all your major organs with platinum magitech constructs unless you absolutely positively need it... Medically.)

Antonio is a big hairy musically-spoken man with a heart of gold. He's also a big softy, especially when it concerns heart-broken young people. You can expect excellence service at Antonio's for all your heart-replacement needs. Plenty of folks go there just for the conversation. 

Need a ticker that's not gonna break down every time you get in a fistfight with a bird? You go to Antonio's! Feeling heartsick from your last breakup? You go to Antonio's! Want to impress your rich friends by replacing all your major organs with immortal platinum machines? Antonio is your guy!

Also sells synthetic livers, kidneys, spleens, and lungs, though they can get pretty expensive. (It's way cheaper to pay a back alley surgeon for an organic service.)

[Note on Internal Magitech Organs: Whether it's Antonio's or another vendor, they largely come in two varieties: expensive and cheap.]

Expensive magitech organs are typically made of flexible rare earth materials (gold, mithril, uranium, etc.) and have a low maintenance cost, but are virtually unobtainable unless you're rich. Examples:

  • Solid Gold Heart - no maintenance required unless physically damaged. Costs ten times its weight in gold and will basically run forever.
  • Nuclear Liver - Purifies your blood with radiation! Typically not recommended unless most of your other organs have already been replaced. Your Poison Save maxes out. Death causes your liver to meltdown and produce a nuclear explosion! Will require monthly blood transfusions.
  • The Mithril Special - A set of indestructible mithril lungs and accompanying aorta will protect you from most chest puncture wounds. Any damage dice against you that come up "7" are negated.

Cheap magitech organs have a very low up-front cost, but come with some serious strings attached: high-interest payment plans, "default reclamation services", and poverty-inducing maintenance costs. Most cheap organs require regularly taken Brain Fluid to remain operational (a healing potion, essentially).

  • Iron Lung - Requires regular aerosolized inhalation of Brain Fluid, or it will rust and suffocate the user. When well-maintained protects against gas attacks.
  • The Classic Ticker - A leaden heart. Prolonged usage without Brain Fluid will drain the user's mental stats. Become immune to Charm effects.
  • The Snake - An intestine replacement device. Can only digest things a snake can digest. Tends to squirm about a bit without brain fluid. Insufficient usage causes Snake Belly Syndrome, which is kind of cool until it begins to eat its host body.
  • Plastic Heart - The cheapest of the lot. Go over 120 bpm and it'll burst. Don't take brain fluid and it'll burst. Try to avoid exercise, arousal, and any stressful situation.


Clock Incorporated

"Having an atomic clock directly attached to my brain stem has increased my productivity by 2.61%! 
I could barely n-n-notice the s-s-side effects! Shop at Clock Incorporated today!"

Byezuke

Contrary to first impression, Clock Incorporated is not a corporation.

It's a private company run by Lilly Calculator - a being more clock than human at this point. Clocks for eyes, clocks for hands, clocks for days and years and centuries. Her automaton-clockwork engineers can insert virtually any kind of clock - mechanical, atomic, electric, or otherwise - right into your flesh with minimal interference to your circadian rhythms, heartbeat, breathing, or understanding of the construct of Time.

The benefits of having a clock literally embedded into your body are more than the minute amount of time saved having to look at clocks, it also unlocks your so-called "clock feel", a self-described sixth sense that can detect unusual fluctuations in time. They also make good foci for time-based spells like Haste and Slow.

Lilly's products have the habit of disrupting sleep during the first month of usage. Abilities are not typically produced until after this layover period. All Implants allow the host to automatically tell the time and sense time fluctuations.

  • Ocular Implant - Lose sight in that eye. Visually 'see' time fluctuations. (This is the second-most accurate method.) Gain a Slow gaze attack 1/Day.
  • Prefrontal Implant - Implant cannot be destroyed or fiddled with unless you die or suffer a serious concussion. Innately 'know' time fluctuations (this is the most accurate method). Your memory cannot be magically altered.
  • Metronome Arms - Mechanically strong full-arm prosthetic. While relaxed they naturally swing like metronomes. Physical attacks using the arms deal -1d4 damage and +1d4 damage on alternating rounds. Can 'feel' time fluctuations (a relatively inaccurate method).
  • Nose Implant - Full nasal replacement allows one to 'smell' time fluctuations (the least accurate method), as well as nearby clocks within 30ft, and personal watches within 15ft.

Armstrong's Long LAW Arms

"Oh yeah, my grandma recently got a L.A.W. Now she can reach the top shelf and slap pigeons out of the sky like they owe her money. Not allowed to play badminton anymore though..."

L.A.W. stands for "Long-Ass W.I.N.G." 

W.I.N.G. is a Wetwork-Incorporated Pneumatic Growth. It's your basic machine-flesh interfaced pneumatic limb. It's like the combination of a robot arm and an air-filled tire. What's with all the acronyms? Armstrong was in law enforcement.

The store itself is filled with inflatable arms flapping around in the breeze like a bunch of wacky inflatable tube men. Armstrong himself is a balding veritable big-blustering used-car salesman when it comes to LAW arms. He doesn't put any of them up for sale that he hasn't tested himself, though. This means at any particular time he presently has 5-13 simultaneously attached mismatched mechanical arms. He rides around on them like a lopsided Doc Ock, talking big and loud and juggling conversations and clients like chainsaws.

All LAWs require some getting used to. -2 DEX for the first month of use. All DEX penalties turn into equivalent bonuses if you're using them to balance like a tightrope walker.

  • The Long LAW Arm - The gold standard of pneumatic arms. Grants the user 10ft of reach. -2 DEX
  • The Longer LAW Arm - The golder standard of pneumatic arms. Grants the user 15ft of reach, but reduces their DEX by 4.
  • The Long John LAW - A LAW for your LAW, an arm on an arm. Unfolds like a big folding knife. When used in reduced format grants 10ft of reach. While extended grants 20ft of reach, but reduces DEX by 6.
  • The Long Arm of the LAW - Your standard Long LAW Arm with a custom mancatcher attachment. Special interchangeable parts include tasers, anti-fugitive spikes, barbed wire balls, and robotic crab pincers.

Minor Prosthesis Vendors

  • Dicks - You can probably guess what they sell here... That's right, sporting prosthetics! Want a tennis racket for a hand? Sure you do!
  • Leg Day - The owner is the sommelier of mechanical legs. The borderline between leg and rocket sometimes gets a little too blurry for comfort.
  • Only Feet - You'll be thankful for the owner's zealous love for feet when your foot gets gnawed off by an owl-wolf or you step in a gelatinous cube.
  • Witch Wigs - Owner has an inferiority complex due to the debate as to whether wigs are official prostheses, that fuels her passion for weaponizable wigs. Want a wig that's secretly a bomb? This place has you covered.
  • The Mark Memorial Motorized Pet Hospital - Hosts a mobile clinic for managing pet prostheses. The whole thing looks like a fat metal centipede and moves with the same consistency. Three resident vets: Mark Jr, Mark II, and Mark III. All replicants of the original Mark.
  • Nose To-Goes - According to the publication Machine, enormous metal noses are in high demand! The better to smell spells with.


EXCELLENT ENGINE VENDORS

Transmuters love engines, and Spellgold technology has opened up a whole new realm of transmutive possibilities. Mechanical engines are really just the tip of the iceberg, though. The engineers of the Machine Magic Market are extraordinarily competitive, and frequently attempt to sabotage each others' endeavors.


Kobold Engineering

"I swear, every time I look away from two proximate Kobold machines they start breeding."

Less an engineering firm than an engineering clan. The company is collectively owned and operated by the Kobold family, whose members number in the hundreds. Even the kids get to participate in some of the less dangerous jobs, such as managing the stores. If one had to point to a leader it would be the clan's eldest matriarch Bea, who's as hard of a hardass as they come, except with her grandkids.

Kobold Engineering specializes in compact personal engines - backpack to pocket sized. Their products cover a range of solutions arcane, mechanical, and chemical, and nearly all of them can be converted into bombs with a minor bit of tinkering. In fact, their products are turned into bombs so frequently that an entire cottage industry of urban bombmakers has arisen in their wake. The Secret Police would probably shut them down if they weren't one of their biggest customers.

Their main product line in the last year included:
  • Anti-Anxiety Box - Pocket sized, converts local anxiety into pleasant elevator music! The more anxiety present, the louder the music.
  • Kobold Splitter Ray - Backpack sized. Fires a beam that converts one big thing into two smaller things of equivalent mass and half the stats.
  • Pocket Water Purifier - Pocket sized. Converts any spell put into it into Purify Water.
  • Greaser 5000 - Backpack sized. Converts any spell put into it into Grease.
  • Knife-o-matic Mk.III - Pocket sized. Converts items finger-sized or smaller into knives of identical materials (DO NOT INSERT FINGERS... UNLESS ONE WANTS THEM TO BECOME KNIVES, IN WHICH CASE DO INSERT FINGERS.)
K.E.'s main operation is a network of self-contained and booby-trapped underground caves and testing sites extending directly downwards of their on-site locations. Not infrequent to feel minor earthquakes in their shops.


Helburger-Forsch

"Your emotional energy is underutilized. Buy Helburger-Forsch converter."

Heimlich Helburger and Hans Forsch jointly own the world's premier developer of emotional-arcane converters, which probably explains their poor sense of humor. Their workshop is a feedback loop of depressing factory conditions soulcrushing their emotionally harvested workers into profitability.

The look of an emotional-arcane converter is best described as spaceman fishbowl - clear, spherical, eerily reflective. What it lacks in style in makes up for in utility - allowing one to transmute emotions into spells is a price plenty are willing to pay. The bigger the emotion, the bigger the spell.

What they lack in sense of humor, they make up for in craft. Their designs are expensive, but nearly flawless. Engines undergo rigorous testing, and occurrences of Emotional Rampage Syndrome are now prevented in 83.3% of hull integrity breaches.

Helburger-Forsch didn't come up with these names. They call all their products "Helburger-Forsch converters". These names were given by the people.
  • "The Fishbowl" - A fishbowl helmet. Any time you experience an extreme emotion (anger, sadness, disgust, joy, etc.) you do not experience it and instead gain a Spell Slot / Magic Die.
  • "The Chrome Dome" - A shiny metal skullcap. Implanted directly onto the skull. You become immune to emotion-manipulating magic, but every time you talk to an NPC without another party member present the GM speaks in a monotone devoid of emotional context.
  • "The Bright Idea" - A lightbulb-shaped helmet. Generates light based on the magnitude of your present level of excitement. The stronger the magnitude, the stronger the range. (5-50ft, use a scale of 1-10). No illumination when unconscious, unless you're dreaming.

Trebuchet Kinetics

"When you want an engine with some umph!"

Sisters Katrina and Catrina Trebuchet are the so-called Queens of Kinetics. While their contracts are largely industrial, they do have a couple of side projects that are commercially available (and a few that aren't on the books). Kat and Cat frequently take their projects to The Mall, using the soul-stealing mannequins as target practice.
  • The Extradimensional Farter Vacuum - This dangerous device sucks out the air and loose material out of an extradimensional space, shooting it out of whatever ports might exist with a force upon the port proportional to the volume, potentially turning the entrance into a projectile.
  • Force to Weight Converter - Works only once, but like a seat belt it can save lives. Converts a single instance of force into pounds of fat on the wearer. One can potentially survive a lethal blow or fall only to succumb to heart disease some time later.
  • Big Bling Bang Machine - This explosive uses Spellgold (and by proxy Spell Slots / Magic Dice) to make a detonation proportional to inputted magic.
  • The Escaper - Kinetic battery. Halves one's effective combat speed when approaching enemies, and doubles their speed when running away from them.
  • Unnamed Poison Tester - Converts the lethality of a consumed poison into kinetic energy. More poisonous, more velocity. Either way cyanide will kill you.

Minor Engine Vendors
  • Rags to Riches - Purveyor of the reverse sewing machine and the cloth to gold converter. Both require an electrical potential.
  • Throng's Long LAW Arm Bomb Bongs - They sell bangin' long bongs made of Armstrong's LAWs. They also sell space heaters on the side.
  • Just Shrink Rays - On the surface it's a shop run by an ant colony. Turns out some of them are shrunken people, too.
  • Extradimensional Associates - They didn't invent the Bag of Holding, they just bought the company that made it. A venture capital corporation wearing the skinned faces of more brilliant companies. The original Bags of Holding made by Dimensional Holdings are rare collector's items and far superior to Associates' current product line.
  • Gas-Powered Poles - Fuel to poking converter. If you want to poke something really good from really far, this is your place. Minor modification can turn gas-powered sticks into bombs-on-sticks.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Fated Symphonies

Bardic magic has always had an allure for the powerful and mad. Unlike other magics, whose powers scale geometrically with the number of casters, bardic magic scales exponentially. A quartet of magic users in any form can unleash hazards dangerous and uncontrollable - a threat to societies and countries, but an orchestra of bards could end the world.

The epitome of bardic music-magic is, and always will be, the choral symphony - scores of bards accompanied by musicians bearing instruments both common and strange.

Source

It's said the Fated Symphonies were composed by the very first person to be cast into Hell - one of the first immortal humans of the prehistorical golden age, before mankind was given its present form, or violence took the earth.

They were cursed by the gods for their transgressive harmonies in their world of their pure monotones. And in the spite of their exile, they crafted songs which must be played - songs which would shake the earth and undo all of creation in due time. There is a prophecy, engraved still upon the mountains of the world, that each Fated Symphony must be played at least once over the course of all creation, and that when the final ring of the final Symphony is concluded the world shall end.



THE FATED SYMPHONIES

The symphonic requirements of these songs can be waived if the song is played upon the Pipe Organ of Bones, or a similar polyphonic instrument of sufficient power, such as the Balafon of the Sorcerer King, or Danny's Golden Cello. Doing so entails assuming terrible risk, however, and only the most legendary of musicians should even consider attempting such feats.

~~~~~

The Song of Centuries
Requirements: 34 sons and daughters, playing on instruments made of petrified bones. At the symphony's conclusion all of the players are to be sacrificed.

When this symphony is played, all who can hear its entirety will not age for a period of approximately 100 years either by magical or natural means. A well-kept secret to elves' immortality myth. Those sacrificed to the Song are rarely discussed, as any mention of the deceased risks exposing the ritual to those who might attempt to sabotage it.


The Song to Undeafen the Earthen Ear
Requirements: 20 musicians minimum, bearing instruments of stone and glass.

Uncorks the hidden block within the inner ear for all who listen, causing them to hear the unfettered voices of the earth, which constantly mutters ancient curses wide in scope and terrible in time. Humans will be driven to madness mere minutes after having heard the song.


The Song of Creation
Requirements: 88 musicians, each bearing one instrument utilizing one unique naturally occurring atomic element. If anyone fouls up the symphony then the creations made will become monstrous.

Allows the conductor of the arrangement to create from nothing whatever their skill can allow. The symphony creates new matter and energy. It can create riches, magnificent arts, seemingly impossible structures, or even people.

It's rumored that the Dread Conductor Matthol Corvin once attempted to use this Song to make a proto-human of the golden age, but at the symphony's final measure the Cesium player misfired, causing the creation of horrendously warp in its final moments, slaying all present. If that were true, though, then where would the story come from?


The Unremembered Song
Requirements: Three players, one of which must be a demon.

The greatest song in the world. Cannot be remembered or written down. Said to happen spontaneously under duress.


The Song of Freedom From Flesh
Requirements: 8 choral singers and 13 musicians bearing instruments crafted from human bones.

During the first third choral interlude, the singers will strip down to their bones and dance with each other. A similar effect happens at the two-thirds interlude for the musicians.

This song coaxes bones from their prisons of meat, instantly killing all who listen and converting them into skeletons. Foul-ups produces partial exeunt - an excruciatingly painful situation.


The Song to Commune with the Red Planet
Requirements: A band of at least seven members, bearing special stringed instruments made from meteoric metals. Must be performed under an open sky facing the distant Red Planet.

The song contains improvisational sections, which are used by a skilled linguist in planetary languages to project their intention. It has been attempted by many ambitious priest-scholars, who believed that the Red Planet would grant them terrible powers. They were, of course, correct.

The Red Planet will respond in 7 minutes. Strange beams and trumpets like those at the end of the world envelope the priest, transforming them into a monstrous fiend. This form is never the same thing twice, and all of them have acquired terrible names: Tongue Eater, Scrivener of Suffering, Black Day, Demi-Lich.


The Song to Give Nightmares Fear
Requirements: Trio of voices under the moonlight, perfectly synced.

To give fear to the unfearable. To Turn the unturnable. Dreams had when the song is being recited will always be pleasant, and any manifestations of fear will become afraid.


The Song to End the World
Requirements: 66 musicians and 33 choral singers, all of which must be over the age of 99 (having experienced three full 33-year lunar-solar cycles). During the course of the symphony every kind of instrument that has ever been played must be played at least once, and the full range of human voice must be sung.

When the symphony is over, and the final note has ceased its final vibration, the world will end. From the time of the symphony's conclusion this will take approximately 1200 years for the last note to finally die out.

Monday, May 10, 2021

High Level Adventuring Rivals

Tidelock has a need for some rival adventuring parties: some groups that will really work to counteract the Players and keep them on their toes. Each major faction needs one that they can unleash, plus maybe one or two rogue groups to act as wild cards.

~~~~~

The Matriarchs' Daughters

Faction: November, the Twilight City
Institution: Secret Society, Military
Leader: Alilyn Cordov di la Kaisar

A group of six drow women pulled from the six greatest houses of the Republic to serve at the behest of the Offensive Council abroad in defense of the city's interests. Each house sends one of its second-best lieutenants, and in return its matriarch becomes privy to the group's operations. Why send their second best? Because an incompetent would likely die or otherwise fail to influence the agenda of the group, and their best are needed for the House's protection.

The group specializes in strategic operations concerning the various client states of the drow: principally the weaker human kingdoms of the Southlands. To this end, they have a variety of tools well-suited for dominating the weak-minded.

Jynn di la Feybar - Enchantress. Tailor. Loves exploring the intersection between those two facets.

Quo di la Timurin - State Cleric. Her three-pronged flail Purity glows in the presence of sycophants or traitors.

Mimic di la Fingol-Mar - Magical Bureaucrat. Flesh Banker. Maintains a train of debt-slaves for use as numerous and meticulously-categorized resources.

Hydr di la Kordelia - Scryer. Secret Stealer. The reflection in the mirror is the real person. Her here body is a puppet Shade.

Rein di la Grachia - Offensive Specialist. Omniglot. Knows the names and aliases of every Wizard in existence.

Leader
Alilyn di la Kaisar is a ranger of great renown in the republic. During the recent civil war she was credited with the kills of no less than 19 of the Royal House's sovereign-clerics with her profane longbow The-Death-Of-States. An olympic marksman, infiltrator, and tactician, she commands considerable respect and cooperation from her comrades without the typical sort of backstabbing and hamstringing, which is really weird (and exceptionally dangerous) for drow.

Modus Operandi
Investigate the target through a convoluted web of various degrees of separation accompanied by false leads and small distractions. Come to know everything that can be known. Then, set up a triple feint. The first is obvious: troop movements, a monster, a plague. The second is subtle, you want them to feel clever for finding it: odorless poison, misinformed double agents, Dominations. The third is where you want them to commit: a personal betrayal, foreign agents, an assault. In that reaction is where they place the true strike.



The Redacted

Faction: Chronulus, Wizard City
Institution: Administrative, Intelligence
Leader: JULIUS

Five elites of the Chronulean Super Secret Police, each having served a tenure as personal assistant to one of the five Archmages. They have exceptional experience with containing ultra-natural disasters and keep a library of ones they've managed to contain and weaponize: frozen hosts of mimetic plagues, vestige gods trapped in relics, impossible beings kept in time stasis.

Codename: Swan - Time Specialist. Terrestrial Cosmonaut. Pioneer of Leap Time, requiring a spacesuit to maintain physical cohesiveness.

Codename: Lilly - Psychoforger. Responsible for the manufactured memories of approximately 5-10% of Wizard City's population.

Codename: Nyx - Veteran of the Infinite Library War. Literally cannot die. Whenever she would, she regenerates out of the nearest significant source of books.

Codename: Avagar - Omni-animator. Has learned how to bestow sentience and speech upon anything and everything. Quite the talent for interrogating doors, chairs, wallets, and spell foci.

Leader
JULIUS is his codename, of course. If he is even a man, and not some philosophical notion that's unbeknownst crept its way into the highest halls of secretive power. Nobody has ever seen Julius, and likely nobody ever will: he retains double-blinded separation from the rest of his Grey Stewards, communicating through encrypted notes, telepathy, or dead drop time capsules. He feeds the rest information, of which he appears to be in abundance.

Modus Operandi

One single agent engages with a problem initially, to lure out any real threats. All information is securely relayed to Julius, and coordinated through Julius to the others. Once any main threats are lured out into the open, they all spring on it at once from multiple angles. The Grey Stewards rarely know what the others are doing, they just know they'll run into each other more frequently than not. ONLY TRUST JULIUS. Nobody else.



The Kobara Hunter's Association

Faction: Kobara, the Dragonlands
Institution: Secret Society
Leader: Adama

Some say that there are seven members of the Association. Others say there are fourteen. Some twelve. A few say four. Others eleven. In truth, it depends how one counts. Which is the Association? The Hunters who compose it, or their Dream-quest Dragon Masks whose personalities dominate their physical bodies? It is both?

Hunters
The Black Spear - Intelligent Magical Spear. Tends to possess the bodies of tall long-armed remorseful newly-weds to steal them away in the night.

Suley - Talking Skull. Only real defense is his clever wit and a sharp bite, and perhaps all the favors he can leverage from various spirits. In life was the greatest hunter of his time, due to the relationships he built.

Boro - Hunter of Hunters. Wielder of the Unseen Blade. Never been seen before, except by his wife and presumably his mother.

Yamma - Buffalo Woman. Master of Riddles and Carnage. Known to take the form of a great horned beast of impenetrable skin. Rumored to be a princess. Those who cannot answer her riddles cannot bring her harm.

Gereh - Wielder of the God-Blessed Bow, the Eyes of the Roc, and the Teeth of the Lion. Destined on the day of his birth to become the "Richest Man on Earth", and has yet to materialize this guaranteed prophecy.

The Swordsman Jombo - Renowned fighter and duelist. A jovial character, outside of combat. "Married" to his four Dancing Swords, who he describes as jealous and petty. Draws them in reverse order of acquisition. His final and first wife/sword, "Scorned Wife", has supposedly only ever been drawn once, resulting in the Massacre of Blades.


Masks
Ooroo - The Mask of Gold Love. A charmer and a civilizer. Commands the gold-soaked dracolich by holding his heart hostage.

Cupa -  The Mask of Ended Swords. Authoritarian and Patriarchal. Any weapon that the mask or he touches with his bare hands is instantly destroyed.

Kijoo - The Mask of Stilled Hearts. Cruel and avaricious. Knows the Power Word: Stun, which induces instant heart attack.

Jari - The Mask of Measures. Stern, prone to sometimes rude insight. Innately knows the precise distance of anything in sight, the contents of anything heard, and the value of anything held.

Leader
Adama is said to be a direct patrilineal descendant of the very first man, and custodian of that original line of secrets and original names which passed from father to son since the dawn of humanity. He is most certainly one of the most powerful magicians and shapeshifters alive, probably a king in disguise, and quite possibly a dragon.

Modus Operandi

The Hunters themselves tend to be pretty straightforward when approaching problems. The Masks only come out for big threats. The Hunters are keepers of the knowledge of secret societies, many of them serving in multiple organizations, so they can marshal a number of fellow secret societies for their cause: the Bridge Keepers, the Sorcerer-Smiths, the Clerics of the Vengeful Wind, the Rivermen, the Manmakers.

The Hunters will leverage whatever expertise they have and frequently come up with solutions so ridiculously specific to the circumstance that one might think they're cheating.



The Crew of Joule Blackheart

Faction:
 Deadwind, the Free City
Institution: Pirate Crew
Leader: Joule Blackheart

True freedom only exists at the height of power, so sayeth the prophetess Helen of the Free Tides, priestess of Liberty, scourge of the Warm Sea. Joule's crew take this to heart in the most Deadwindian way possible: by becoming the best darn dread pirates the seas and skies the world has ever known by piloting a massive flying sturgeon.

Quartermaster Brigs - Halberd Connoisseur. Maintains the world's largest collection of polearms and deadly-things-on-poles, such as: the deadly Mold on a Ten Foot Pole, the dangerous Poisonous Sea Urchin on a Ten Foot Pole, or the surprisingly lethal Plagued Dead Rat on a Ten Foot Pole.

Brigmaster Cook - Salty drugmeister. Crafts combat concoctions to keep the crew constantly lively and at their craziest. Has a signature drug called YARRR!, crafted from rare dragons' blood, which supposedly makes one's abilities proportional to one's belief in them. Supposedly keeps a dragon captive for the sole purpose of bleeding.

Cookmaster Mate - The Orc. THE Orc. The Orc's Orc. The Orc's Orc's Orc. The Orc of Orcs. The Orcist Orc. The Orc to End All Orcs. The Quintessential Orc. The Transcendental Orc. Cook.

First Mate Swain - Griot. Insanely smart. Musician, storyteller, keeper of lineages, Blackheart's lifelong bodyguard and administrative assistant. Has a perfect photographic and audible mimicry memory.

Boatswain Quarter - Technically not a bosun by trade. Actually a veterinarian. Holds dual-degrees in Monster Medicine and Transmutation, and has the world's most comprehensive collection of parasites.

Kornax, The Flying Sturgeon - A hearty product of the Deadwind Archipelago, tempered to toughness by the halberd-rains and tested against Tiamat's spawn. Large enough to field two decks and faster than the wind.

Leader
Captain Joule Blackheart is a bloody scourge and a royal pain in the ass. The royal part being literal: apparently he is a prince of Kobara, so far down in the line of favor that any chance at becoming Mansa is a virtual impossibility. Having been cut off and penniless, he decided to make his fortune on the waves, and has excelled in this regard.

Modus Operandi

They have a giant flying pirate ship sturgeon - that encompasses most of their tactics right there. Any threats open to the sky can expect any variation of bombardment known to man and wizard alike.

However, this is typically a second resort. It just so happens that the Captain is quite skilled in diplomacy, intimidation, and politics. All of the crew exists to support its captain so that he can make clear executive decisions. His crew tend to focus the captain's skills and power to a fine point - ensuring he's not susceptible to magic, checking sources, protecting his body, et cetera.



The Illuminating Fist

Faction: Independent
Institution: Martial Arts School
Leader: Master Pollux

The Order of the Illuminating Fist has for centuries been a reclusive monastery devoted to achieving true martial, intellectual, and spiritual power. In these distant times, the monastery could indeed have rightfully claimed to have inherited the most potent traditions of power. Their monks trained heroes, kings, defeated demons, became emperors. Their influence was hegemonic, their forms righteous.

But it's been long since then. By the time their lands became subject to desertification, their traditions had long been superseded by those that arose among the nations of the south. Upon discovering their new relative weakness, the masters of the school decided to dissolve the Order and split up in order to part ways - each to study the techniques and societies of their rivals to ascertain the source of their power.

Each Master quests independently of the others, and is highly trained to make one's body a weapon.

Master Small - Diamond-Body. Master of the technique immovable form, allowing one to become an invulnerable Immovable Object. Befriended and trained with the orcs of Shadowmountain. Benefited greatly from the square-cubed law.

Master Ring - Ascetic Philosopher. Specialist of the technique freedom from, allowing one to sin without consequence. Acquired by observation of the various clerics of Deadwind, whose heterodoxic devotions exploit rivalries between the gods.

Master Middle - Drow Psychologist. Student of the technique psychology, allowing one to ascertain the weaknesses of a target by holding conversation with them. Infiltrated the chaos cults of Twilight City.

Master Index - Librarian and Esotericist. Practitioner of the techniques amnesia and allusion, allowing one to investigate mimetic plagues and knowledge-dependent hazards. Daughter of the previous Master Index, after she mysteriously disappeared while investigating a 4th dimensional conspiracy.


Leader
Master Pollux was the Grand Master of the Illuminating Fist order. Being the oldest and bravest among the Masters, he decided to take the most dangerous mission for himself: delving into the secrets of sovereignty itself, into Leviathan. This quest has led him into the terrible heart of darkness, to encounter horrors unthought of and languages perilous.

At the heart of Leviathan supposedly lies the Command Language, whose words none may disobey, save those who too know it. Perhaps Master Pollux was successful in his quest, or perhaps he failed and some pretender has taken his place. Either way he has failed to contact the other Masters, leaving the future leadership of the Order uncertain.

Modus Operandi

Use whichever Master's skills work best in the given situation. What one learns the others can learn quickly. Otherwise, they'll go for a direct confrontation.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

d40 Nightmare Art

Sometimes you just need a big ol' table for spooky art pieces.

Nightmare Art (d40)

d40

Medium

Art

1

Glass Sculpture

A translucent glass spider. It moves when you’re not looking.

2

Written symphony

Slowly dissociates anyone who listens. Listen all the way through and lose your soul.

3

Optical Illusion

The shadow of a man that stalks you. Visible around corners, attached to nothing.

4

Clay sculpture

Bust depicting drowning person. Impossibly lifelike.

5

Embroidery

Dolls trapped in spider cocoons. Spiders made of silk farm them.

6

Doll

Uncannily lifelike. Feels like touching a miniature person, but it bends and twists in ways no person should when pressure is applied.

7

Doll

Perfectly realistic in nearly every way except the face, which is disturbingly cartoonish and out of place.

8

Rolled Scroll

“Trapped”: Picture of a horrified and warped man rolled up into claustrophobic space. Tucked into a crack in the wall.

9

Silver Globe

“Moon”: Replica of the spherical moon, as seen from earth. The entire unseen side contains a horrible face.

10

Steel Sculpture

An 8ft tall person made of knives.

11

Skeleton

“Circle”: Real skeleton warped into eating itself: feet bent backward and into ribcage.

12

Skeleton

“Needles”: Skeleton upon an altar. Thousands of small rusted steel needles piercing bones from within and piled below ribcage.

13

Tapestry

Vantablack tapestry. Cannot see the individual threads.

14

Embroidery

“Swallow”: A face of monstrous gape. Mouths where every orifice is.

15

Book

“Early Memory”: Fiction that subtly manipulates reader into having book implant early childhood memories.

16

Leather Sculpture

“Wind”: A pillar of hides, twisting around into a spire. Eyeless animal faces throughout.

17

Taxidermy

Perfect taxidermy of a man. Frighteningly still. The eyes are glass. Skin is real. Examination reveals he did this to himself.

18

Wind Chimes

Produces the sound of a woman crying to help when wind blows past. Faster the wind the louder it gets. Walking by triggers quiet cries.

19

Song

“Empty House”: Written in an intuitive but difficult to decipher method. Singing the song causes one to lose all their teeth.

20

Steel Sword

“Backbiter”: Super flexible sword whips around and stabs user upon a thrust.

21

Glass Dagger

“Trophy”: Various internal facets capture the pained images of everyone who’s touched the dagger.

22

Iron Sculpture

Four iron shapes. In the darkness appearing as people with their hands up in the air. Light shown on them and they noisily collapse.

23

Pit Trap

“Vore”: A soft dirt hole in the ground. A pit of acid at the bottom. Claw marks, blood stains, and loose fingernails embedded in the walls.

24

Mural

A person smeared across 60ft of wall. The silhouette can be clearly read from either end. They are screaming.

25

Preserved Vivisection

“Scattered”: A person vivisected into seven glass sagittal sides. The organs still beat with life. The eyes still move.

26

Skeleton

“Inseparable”: Fifteen skeletons sewn together with steel thread into an incoherent blob. Half the threads are loose, the other half pierce bone.

27

Food

A wonderful brothy umami gelatin, perfectly preserved in an airtight iron pot. Laced with perfectly hidden glass powder. Will shred the insides of eaters.

28

Mirror

“Age”: Warped mirror depicts subject aged and ugly.

29

Iron Mechanism

Wind up clockwork box. Produces an ungodly loud clap of thunder that will deafen anyone nearby at a random interval.

30

Glasses

Produces an effect of vertigo and the sense that one stands before an endlessly deep precipice.

31

Cloth Blindfold

Lidless eyes painted on the outside. Wrapping around one’s eyes makes one see ghosts everywhere. If they see you seeing them, they’ll try and possess your body.

32

Essay

A political treatise. Instructions create a self-fulfilling prophecy for governmental corruption.

33

Porcelain Mask

“Greed”: A grinning obese face with a bird-beak nose. When worn allows one to smell money. When removed steals the wearer’s face.

34

Obsidian Collar

An internally spiked collar. Like a Chinese finger trap. Wearer in constant pain, can’t sleep.

35

Spell Scroll

Casting causes chronic body dysmorphia and desire for self-mutilation.

36

Fancy High Heel

A comfortable-looking shoe. A hidden pressure-activated blade in the heel stabs a bone stiletto through the foot. The blade branches out in a tree pattern, preventing it from being removed.

37

Candle

A candle in the shape of a smiling woman. Wicks on the head and both hands. When it burns down the expression contorts to one of total agony as she melts.

38

Poem

A strange collection of consonants in a offbeat rhyming scheme. Reading it out loud gives those just out of distance the impression that you’re saying something horrible about them.

39

Carpet

A white carpet of intricate geometric patterns. Touching it with bare skin gives the impression of newborns’ hair.

40

Metal Sphere

“Nightmare Box”: Unlocking puzzle traps user in a nightmare dimension indefinitely. Can only be opened from the outside.