Sunday, 12 February 2017

Raform Zokuworm Biomass Gladiator

[Fragments from the Draft Archive: This post has been resurrected from my back catalog of draft posts left unfinished over the past few years. I'm dredging through them all, deleting most but pulling some out, polishing up whatever is there and publishing it. I'm hoping it's an exercise in clearing out the backlog of ideas my mind still might be slightly attached too - scrubbing out my psychic connector tube to the unrealrealms for fresh new torrents of multiversal plasma.]

The Raform Zokuworm Biomass Gladiator:

Across the spongy deserts of  Sargossa, civil war has raged for eons. The biomass lords, slathered across their wormthrones, direct their effluents of genetic mass at one another hoping to claim new strands of DNA to bolster their melting forms. The zokuworms suck genetic information from the lords to pump out malformed warriors, bred for bloodshed in the ceremonial pits pockmarking Sargossa's surface.

Two Zokuworms spawning a fresh batch of gladiators.
 [Originally planned for White Star (or B/X) the Raform Zokuworm Biomass Gladiator class will now be written for the Black Hack. A) Because it's quicker and B) The Black Hack is what I'm running at the moment.] 

The Raform Zokuworm Biomass Gladiator begins its life ejected from the zokuworm of its father biomass lord. Life begins in the holy fighting pits of Sargossa, in a ceremonial battle between the gladiators of two biomass lords. The opposing zokuworms will vomit combatants out at one another in accordance to an ancient and bloody ceremony of war. The victorious gladiators win a feast for their mother zokuworm - who slurp the remains of the defeated at battles end.

The zokuworm is the genetic factory of the biomass lords. The zokuworm drains the lord for genetic mass at his seat of power and prison, the wormthrone. The zokuworm churns out gladiators by draining the lord's genetic makeup. When the ceremonial battle is complete, the victorious biomass lord will have fresh and reinvigorated strands of genetic mass. The loser of the battle will have been drained, taking another step towards the inevitable fate of the weak biomass lord - to become nothing more than a rotting pink puddle atop a dead wormthrone.

The Zokuworm is the Gladiator's mother and the Biomass Lord its father and liege lord!

A young, malformed gladiator. 

The body of the Raform Zokuworm Biomass Gladiator unformed and unstable, pink oozing flesh constantly boils and bubbles. As such the vitality of its form is in constant flux, each level the following basic statistics of the gladiator will change (staying the same until the next level): 

Starting HP: Always d10+4.
Hp Per Level/Resting: Each level, roll a d4: 1 = d4, 2 = d6, 3 = d8, 4 = d10.
Weapons and Armour: Always any and all, but armour price is tripled due to customization required for flux like state of body.  Armour must be replaced every level.
Attack Damage: Each level, roll a d4: 1 = d4, 2 = d6, 3 = d8, 4 = d10. Unarmed/armed gladiators do they same amount of damage - if no weapon is available for use their bodies will create one.

Special features: 
Armor costs: Armour price is tripled due to customization required for flux like state of body.  Armour must be replaced every level.

Gifts of the Father (mutations): The genetic information of the father biomass lord will manifest themselves randomly over time in a gladiator. You will have to find your own random mutation tables. (I use this PDFand this PDF. Thanks to Red Box Vancouver's Blog and The Weirdlands of Xhuul.).

  • A gladiator receives 1 x cosmetic mutation at level 1. 
  • A gladiator receives an additional 1 x cosmetic mutation and 1 x power mutation at level 4. 
  • A gladiator receives an additional 1 x cosmetic mutation and 1 x power mutation at level 8. 
  • A gladiator receives an additional 1 x cosmetic mutation and 1 x power mutation at level 10.
Shield of the Zokuworm: Any skerrick of mystical or arcane receptibility was bred out of the inhabitants of Sargossa many ages ago. Roll with Advantage when resisting magic of any type.

Language: Although not all Gladiators will have mouths there exists a Sargossan spoken language inherited by all Gladiators. This language is presumably not spoken in the vast majority of the multiverse. Gladiators can employ  minor emphatic communication between other natives of Sargossa. This ability may extend to other beings too.

The Test of the Annelid: At level 8 and above a Gladiator may attempt to defeat a flagging biomass lord, pitting themselves against the gladiators sent forth by the lord's zokuworm. Victory results in the gifting of an infant zokuworm and the ceremony of the wormthrone will be offered...

Leveling up: 
Roll to see if attributes increase. If any do increase, you may test that attribute an additional two times to possibly increase an attribute by a maximum of two points a level.

Raform Skills:

 [The following are probably the most "draft" aspect of the post. I had plans to flesh out the setting of Sargossa and to write up some rules/tables for "Sargossan Fields Crawling". This would probably be a campaign focusing on a party of gladiators eventually inheriting their own Zokuworm/ending the civil war/dying. These are more ideas for skills than anything else.] 

Each skill can be attempted once per day. Each Gladiator starts with all skills at d20. For a skill to be used successfully a 1 must be rolled on that skill's die. Each level a Gladiator may decrease 1 skill die by 1. For example, at level 2 the Gladiator can pick 1 skill's die to be reduced from d20 to d12.

Skill list:

Fleshmelding: healing of others at own detriment.
Fleshouflage: disguise via warping flesh. 
Fleshpulsifcation: temporary additional mutation. 
Geneticwarper: decrease others genetics. 
Fleshmune: Join with others.
Fleshsume: Eat others for health. 
Fleshearch: Save genetic information (lock in current HP/Damage Dice). 
A Sargossan biomass lord, being slowly drained by his wormthrone. 

Friday, 4 November 2016

40 Ex-Professions for Guild Dogs (and murderhobos, adventurers and other assorted miscreants)

The reasons for this table are two fold. Firstly, To give players a hook or insight into the history of their new Guild Dog character and, secondly, to imply some of my setting that is "The City". I tried to avoid too many mechanic heavy results and keep things open for interpretation. I am hoping these give players something to work with in terms of working out bizarre solutions to the problems The City presents them with and also make their character feel unique. I feel these jobs aren't overly The City specific and can be used in other grimy fantasy games (The City is the bubbling, mutating, gooey amalgamation of  a myriad of fantasy cities anyways, so I think these will be broad enough to be used in other places). 

The listings are in the following format: Title - possessions  - know-how. 

A seasoned guild hog, what was her old job? 

Knight of Degenerate Lineage – Rotten tabard and gaudy decorative shield – Patchy knowledge of ancient bloodlines.
Church Thug – Thick brown robe (light armour) and ornate club – Memorized code of conduct of a minor religious guild.
Tome Thief – Cloak with hidden book holding harness – In depth knowledge on an obscure topic.
Monk’s Meditation Guard – Silk robes and slippers – The ability to stand silently still, alert and awake in the same position for around 12 hours.
Mountebank Chemist – Portable alchemy case and d20 vials – Can discern a community’s biggest concern with a successful WIS test rolled at Disadvantage.
Street Corner Prophet – A booming, dread inducing voice – Can instill doubt, depression and malaise on any conscious target after speaking to them for ten minutes and passing a CHA test.
Rooftop Burglar – Grappling hooked rope and sturdy silencing slippers – A comprehensive map of the rooftop passages of d6 suburbs.
Dust Peddler – Garish silk robes with 10 hidden vial compartments – The effects of any Dust on your system is halved.
Lookout – Fuligan cloak, tight fitting tunic and mask – Ability to notice nigh hidden man-sized cracks in walls.
Beyond the Wall Raider – Horrific scars, suit of armour of choice, d6 weapons of choice – A vast collection of fantastical tales from beyond The City.
Debt Collector – A menacing gait and intimidating growl – Most crowds of sane beings will give you a wide berth, parting a path for you.
Counterfeiter - An alley shack workshop - The ability to create passable copies of objects with the correct material.
Coin Scraper - Double starting Gold Coins - Can scrape d100 Gold Coins worth of Gold from 1000 GP (Coins retain value), takes 1 night.
Cult Sacrifice Recruiter - A mesmerising, soft spoken voice -Rolls with Advantage when testing CHA to convince people in whispered conversations.
Back Alley Nurse - Scalpels, heavy duty needle and thread and d6 metal buckets - Journeyman knowledge of internal anatomy.
Pretend Porter - A false bottom barrel and chest - Can carry double their STR before becoming encumbered.

Tattooist - Tattoo kit and ink covered skin, bleeds blue-black blood - Can make lurid dye from colourful corpses.
Reformed Ratcatcher - d6 nets and d6 wooden cages - A pack of d10 trained rats, could train other vermin with effort.
Gizzard Chef - Stained and enormous cleaver, ladle and pot - Can make an edible meal out of nearly any corpse.
Lush Bumper - A believable drunken stagger and slur when sober - Roll with Advantage when attempting anything untoward on a inebriated entity.
Whore Muscle - The exaggerated physique of a bodybuilder - Knows Pleasure Cant, language of the brothel.
Misfortuneteller - A gaudily decorated person drawn cart about the shape and size of an outhouse - Able to discern what an individual dreads most after conversation and successful WIS test.
Extortion Beggar - Gruesomely disfigured and the owner of decade aged, tattered stench robes - Unbothered by foul odours and sights, Rolls with Advantage against most miasmas.
Gambler - Quadruple starting Gold - In Debt (d100 x 100 Gold), check d8 usage die each session for visit from debt collectors.
Fire Breather - d20 usage die barrel of oil - An impressive knowledge of pyrotechnics.
Sewer Scooper - d6 Long poled metal rakes and scoops -  Always aware of the nearest sewer entrance.

Flesh Golem Crafter Assistant - A nigh useless offcut homunculus (all stats = 1d6) - Can make malformed 1HP flesh golems (requires approximately 2 body loads of flesh).
Feral Dog Trainer - A snarl most beasts will submit to- Aware of the tides of the wild packs

Exotic Beast Handler - d6 large metal cages and a trained exotic beast- Minus 2 to Beast reaction rolls (lower is better).
Ruins Tender - A well hidden shack in the closest ruins - Comprehensive knowledge of d12 defunct, destroyed or mythical Guilds.
Arcane Stockpile Worker - A mutation from working in reality strained, high magic areas - Rolls with Advantage when identifying magical items.
Slum Bandit - Flamboyant silken outfit, feathered and faux jeweled and d6 HD1 lackeys - Contacts in d6 nearby slum gangs.
Deep Sludge Brewer - d6 dubious magic potions - Knows of d4 secret locations where the lower depths are bleeding into The City.

Deadpan Jester - A face that never shows emotion and a harlequin’s outfit - Ability to show other beings the humour in the most horrific of situations.
Fungus Butcher - An alleyway farm of useful mushrooms and mould - Can vaguely understand the language of spores and knows the physiological effect of most fungi.
Library Guard - A belanterned  spear, compacting ladder and silencing slippers - Can often discern the intellectual poison of most seers, wizards and crones.
Pain Mapper- d6 obscure torture implements - On making a critical hit, target is stunned with pain for d10 rounds.

Grave Digger - Ornate metal shovel - knowledge of the resting places of peculiar bodies and persons of interest.
Unlicensed Shadow Broker - A shadow either much larger or much  smaller than it should be - Contacts with d6 professional thieves.
Corpse Grinder - A small hand operated mincing machine - An apprentice level knowledge of complicated machinery.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Fantastical Beast Visual Generator

Much easier to navigate google doc version: 

Roll a d4 and a d10 for each table (There is two: Form of the Beast and Aspect of the Beast).
Combine results for a fantastic beast. 
Examples at bottom of post. 

Form of the Beast: 

Aspect of the Beast: 

A roiling and bubbling suit of animated armour, ever melting and reforming. 


Giant flying bugs that feed on magical energy. Becoming visible and active when spells are cast and burrowing themselves into the closest wizard. 


Ghosts of long dead wyrms that form in the dying ashes and coals of a campfire. They will completely coalesce in the early hours and wreck havoc with a mocking grin.  

Update: An illustrated example:

Lurking Man Trap
HD 5, 4 in 6 chance of being hidden in swampy regions, AC: 12 on land, 14 beneath the water. 4 x tail/tentacle attacks a round (1d4 each), if a target is surprised by the lurking man trap or successfully attacked by 2 or more of its tail/tentacles in a round Save Vs Paralyze or stuffed into maw (die in 1d4 rounds due to gastric juices).

All images are royalty free, gathered using the very, very useful:

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Hirelings in The City

The City  teems and surges with untold bravos, sell swords and unscrupulous lunatics, willing to accept gold in exchange for blood and mortal danger. Guild Dogs may seek the service of these unaligned thugs, to assuage the threat of doom and death their career bears upon them.

Mechanically hirelings in Guild Dogs sit some where between HD creatures and a fully fledged PC. They roll a d8 for their Hit Points. They attack and defend using their own STR/DEX statistics that are rolled up using 3d6. Other statistics should only be rolled up when they are needed (using 3d6). Hirelings all have a "Morale" statistic, determined by 3d6, the player employing the hireling must roll a d20  under this score if asked to do something particularly dangerous or confronting. Each hireling will have something unique about them which is rolled up on the "Hireling Aspect Table". If it is a high statistics other than STR/DEX it is probably worth while rolling up straight away. Hirelings level up but do so much slower than PCs and can only do so 5 times. Hirelings use my HD creatures AC rules for The Black Hack. The amount of hirelings a Guild Dog can employ is dependent on their CHA.

Where to find Hirelings: A healthy roster of hirelings can always be found lurking around the perimeter of the Bone Fortress, drinking, dusting or perusing the Transient Bazaar . In a perfect world, a GM would have about 6 rolled up ready to go and roleplay out the hiring procedure. I'll probably just roll them up as players need them though... 

CostThe cost of employing an individual hireling is as follows:

(Equipment Score x Hit Dice) + Morale Score = Cost per day, in Gold Pieces. 

Equipment Score: Roll a  d4:
1) Empty handed (no weapons), clothed in rags
2) Makeshift weapons and sling (d4 damage), light armour (+1 to STR/DEX when defending)
3) Well made weapons and crossbow (d6 damage), medium armour and shield (+3 to STR/DEX when defending)
4) Excellent weapons and crossbow (d8 damage), heavy armour and shield (+5 to STR/DEX when defending)

(Upgrading equipment: Hireling's equipment can be upgraded for the following costs. Once a hireling's equipment is upgraded , their daily rate increases to reflect their new equipment score (maintenance is expensive!).
Upgrading to Equipment Score 2) 100 Gold
Upgrading to Equipment Score 3) 500 Gold
Upgrading to Equipment Score 4) 1000 Gold.
Hirelings can be gifted clothing, costume, magical items, specialty items and the like without cost - the equipment score purely reflects how well equipped they are for battle.)

Hit Dice: Roll a d6, the result is the hireling's Hit Dice (Roll a d8 for each Hit Dice to determine Hit Points).

Morale Score: Roll a 3d6, this is the hireling's morale (morale must be checked when the hireling is asked to do something particularly dangerous or confronting. A d20 roll under the moral score is required or the hireling will flee, refuse the order, ask for additional danger money, etc).

While equipment score costs can change over time, Hit Dice cost and Morale Score cost remain the same even if they improve.

Hireling Aspect: Each hireling will have a special ability or strength roll on the table below to determine this:

Good Natured, roll CHA on 4d6 but test morale when asked to do something "evil".
Cleric, has access to Divine Spellcasting
Wise, roll WIS on 4d6, WIS tests relating to knowledge rolled at advantage.
Calming Bard, soothing songs gives each party member back an additional 1d6 hit points when resting.
Golem, costs an additional 20 gold a day but morale never tested/fails.
Thief, test DEX with advantage when engaging in thief-like activities.
Tireless, roll CON on 4d6, CON tests relating to athletics rolled at advantage.
Fleet footed, always passes initiative tests and goes first.
Lurker, tests DEX with advantage when hiding.
Honest, always tells the truth. INT tests relating to remembering rolled at advantage.
Ascetic, doesn't eat, doesn't talk, doesn't drink, dust or indulge in any other vices . Only drinks water.
Reptilian, + 1 to Armour from scales, can regrow lost limbs.
Rich, incredibly wealthy but enjoys the life of a hireling - will sometimes pay for feasts and provide opulent accommodation.
Wizard, has access to Arcane Spellcasting.
Blood thirsty, attacks with + 2 to STR/DEX but WIS test required after any kill to sate blood lust (other wise will attack next closest entity).
Twins, two identical hireling for the price of one. Expect traumatic breakdowns if one dies.
Vengeful, must kill anything/one that causes them harm.
Brave, all morale checks rolled at advantage.
Acid chemist, creates 1d6 vials of acid or similar chemical a week.
Ex soldier, hirelings equipment is upgraded one level for free and does not affect daily cost.
Vine person, man shaped woven mass of vines. Can climb sheer surfaces without any test. Communicates telepathically.
Beast person, Roll STR and CON on 4d6, + 2 to damage, roll morale at disadvantage.
Moss Druid, has access to the Mossen Craft
Mutant, roll on mutation table of choice.
Anarchist, creates 1d6 grenades a week.
Magitecht, has access to City Spellcasting.
Goro, has an extra set of arms, attacks twice in a round.
Visionary, has dreams of the future can and can re-roll a failed roll once a day.
Monster, a terrifying sight, roll with double advantage when attempting to intimidate.
Giant, + 10 Hp, roll STR at advantage.
Voluptuary, roll at double advantage when attempting any form of seduction/pleasure giving.
Lock cracker, roll at advantage when picking locks.
Dark vision, can see perfectly well nearby in the dark.
Skilled, has a randomly determined skill statics (see specialist below).
Ebonstone man, natural + 2 to AC.
Royal blood, from a once great lineage, has Status statistic (see specialist below)
Cruel, does not require a morale check when asked to do something despicable.
Cultist, has access to Elde Spellcasting .
Haunted, something great and terrible happened in the hirelings past.
Cursed One, all statistics rolled with 2d6 but hireling can't die.

What does the Hireling look like? Use "The City Visual Generator". 

Leveling up Hirelings: Hirelings receive level up points (explanation of level up points is found here) as would any other Guild Dog but require twice as many level up points to gain a new level. Hirelings may level up 5 times, gaining an additional d8 hit points each time. They may also test each of their statistics once to see if they increase (roll a d20 for each, if the result is more than the hirelings current score that statistic increases by 1.). 

Maximum Hirelings: While there is no test to see whether a hireling will accept the offer of employment or not, the amount of hirelings a Guild Dog is dependent on their CHA. Uncharismatic Guild Dogs will find they are unable to procure the services of hirelings. 

Charisma Score:
Maximum Number of Hirelings:
10 - 12
13 - 15
16 - 18

Other things: Hirelings need to eat and rest just as any other entity would.  

Specialists : Specialists are available for a single, specific job. They are hired through agents who source the specialist for the Guild Dog. The more skilled, connected and popular the specialist is, they more expensive they are to find and hire. The cost of hiring a specialist for a single task is as follows:

Specialist Sourcing Agent's Fee (paid up front) + ((Equipment Score x Hit Dice) + Morale Score) x Status Statistic x Clout Statistic x Skill Statistic  = Cost for job, in Gold Pieces. 

Specialists are assumed to always have an Equipment Score of 4 but Hit Dice and Morale Score are still determined randomly. Status, Clout and Skill are statistics determined by 4d6 that simulate how good a specialist is at a certain type of job. Not all specialists will have all three statistics. When wanting to hire a specialist, a Guild Dog indicates which of the three statistics they need in the specialist they wish to hire. An order is then given to an agent who will source the specialist. Requesting a specialist with any of the Status, Clout or Skill statistic costs 250 gold for each separate statistic (ie; requesting a specialist with all 3 costs 750 gold). The specialist sourcing agent's fee is paid upfront and non refundable, but the specialists services can be cancelled once sourced.

Determining the specialists success in the job set for them is a matter of testing their Skill by rolling d20 under their Skill statistic. When appropriate the Status and Clout statistics can be tested instead of, or in place of the Skill statistic. The Status, Clout and Skill statistics are intended to cover a wide range of possible specialist jobs and it is up to the GM to determine the most appropriate statistic to test and the result of the job attempt.

Status: Reflects the social standing of the specialist and their position in their guild, class, family, church, etc. It is their legitimate and official position, rank or title, backed up by tradition and history. A specialist with a high status has the weight, power and gravitas of ancient social hierarchy behind their demands and actions.

Clout: Reflects the network of influence the specialist has. Through charisma, threats, blackmail and the like the specialist is able to bend others to their will. A specialist with a high clout will know exactly who to bribe, who to threaten and who to kill to get things done.

Skill: Reflects the specialist's ability in a specific activity.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Guild Dogs House Rules for The Black Hack


Rather than armour giving "armour points" that reduce incoming damage, armour in Guild Dogs adds its value to a defender's DEX/STR statistic when being attacked. A Guild Dog wearing Light Armour (+2) with a STR of 12 would attempt to roll under 14 when defending. If a piece of armour prevented a Guild Dog taking damage (rolling above their DEX/STR, but below the armored DEX/STR value), they must check if it falls apart at the end of combat. Each type of armour has a usage die, rolling a 1 or 2 at the end of combat will reduce the armour's usage die by 1. Roll a 1 or 2 on a d4 means the armour is destroyed.  

Armour values:

Light: 2 (d4 usage die)
Leather: 3, requires medium armour ability but can be used for sneaky activities (d6 usage die)

Medium, Heavy armour and shields are all metallic and noisy, inhibiting sneakiness.
Medium: 4 (d6 usage die)
Heavy: 6 (d8 usage die)
Shield: 1 (d4 usage die)

HD Creature's AC and Attack Bonus:

HD creature's AC is added to the attack test/roll of a PC (as well as their HD above the attacking player for the Powerful Opponents rule). This is to allow lower HD foes to be a little tougher/varied. HD creatures never have their armour tested to see if it falls apart, so the mechanical bonus is slightly less than PC armour. The rules for working out HD creature's armour listed in The Black Hack are no longer used.

HD Creature's Armour values:

Light Armor: +1
Medium Armor: +3
Heavy Armour: +5
Shield: +1

Additionally, HD creatures a can have a bonus to attack, reflecting a number added to a PC’s DEX/STR test when defending.