Thursday 24 July 2014

Undead are Pockets of Stopped Time

Organic bodies are bullets of flesh shot out across the two dimensional plane of the past, present and future. Flesh, meat and blood is specifically designed to best deal with the harsh realities of linear time. Organic beings are consciousness's on a one way track with a clear beginning and end. Their fleshy masses are the best vehicles of this existence - constant reminders of time's rotting entropy.

How is it ever possible for something be alive and dead at the same time? It could only happen if the thing stopped being affected by the passing of time. If this was to happen then that thing becomes Undead, neither alive nor dead. It is detached and disconnected from time's one way track. The thing would become an abomination to those still victimized by time's passing, but their outrage would truly come from a deep,dark jealousy.

If organic beings are given respite from the drag net of time, their flesh happily melts away, no longer necessary. Only the lithe, mineral form of the skeleton remains. The organic components of the being are still subject to time's clutches and their deterioration will be noted by those still living in time's domain. The Undead being will pay no heed to their useless rotting flesh. Those Undead of a seemingly impossible vain streak will adorn their forms with gold and diamonds, symbolic of their timelessness.

The Undead have no need for verbal communication because when time has stopped everything has already been said. All Undead implicitly understand all other Undead, they have infinity to discuss an infinity of matters. The machinations, plans and purposes of the Undead are completely incomprehensible to organic time-experiencing beings. Organic beings are unable to escape their preoccupation with efficient resource allocation brought on by their ever-looming annihilation. The Undead alternatively have an eternity of freedom and unlimited resources - though this fact gives some the appearance of wanton lethargicness to time challenged observers.

Time is a force that heaves like the ocean - tides and waves of it crash over conscious observers. Though it doesn't seem possible for those drowning in time's ocean, there exists dry land. Great tracts of timelessness stand in defiance of time's fury, serene and calm bastions of stillness in the otherwise chaotic multiverse. Time's violent bashing and trashing on these place's shores cause bubbles and chunks of stopped, ceased time to hurtle back through time's ocean. The Undead climb aboard this flotsam and jetsam of stopped time and are able to look out over the horizon of time's ocean with a startling clear view of existence's horizons. The Undead are imbued with the infinite wisdom of the timeless lands.

Conflict erupts between organic beings still enthralled by time's greedy clutches and the Undead due to an nigh insurmountable difference of perspective. Some Undead seek to bless the multiverse with the total eradication of time, which ceases to exist without conscious beings to experience it. Other Undead wish only to save organic beings from the crushing embrace of time, to make them like themselves. Time itself views organic beings as its property and instills within them an overwhelming disgust for the Undead. This is an unconscious defense mechanism which only organic beings capable of the deepest form of self reflection are able to overcome. With the realization that time's inescapability is an illusion comes the appreciation of the beauty and serenity of the Undead form, followed by overwhelming desire to escape time themselves.

d10 Abilities for the Undead, Escapees of Time:

1) Any one attacking the Undead must roll To Hit twice, if either roll misses the attack is a failure. The Undead has the advantage of already being aware of the incoming attacks before the attacker even decided to attempt them.
2) The Undead can never be surprised or snuck up upon and are immune to sneak attacks. The Undead are well aware of their enemy's intentions an eternity before they occur.
3) The Undead can recite a person's entire life, well past the point of the present day. This is audible to the person as a calm, even whispering within their mind. A Save Vs Spells or Insanity is required to avoid clambering as far away from the source of the whisper as possible. If the Save is made the whisper is still highly distracting and all actions are taken at a -4 penalty.
4) The Undead know, for a fact, the weather forecast for the rest of eternity. This can always be used to their advantage.
5) The Undead will reveal, through a calm, even whispering within the mind, the secrets of every person in their presence which is heard in unison by everybody.
6) On destroying an Undead's physical form, Save Vs Spells. If failed the destroyer is cursed with never-ending deja vu. While novelty at first, in d6 days the cursed must make begin each day with a Save Vs Insanity to not commit suicide.
7) The Undead rots all food/supplies and dissipates all drinking water of its attackers.
8) The Undead emits a 10' field of anti-consumption. Oil and torches cease to burn, food, drink and potions cannot be drunk, Scrolls can not be read, etc.
9) On destroying an Undead's physical form, Save Vs Spells. If failed the destroyer is cursed with d6 days worth of visions. The visions appear whenever the cursed person closes their eyes, and what is seen is their own death, over and over again. The cursed will be unable to sleep due to this. Save Vs Insanity or the final day of the curse to avoid permanent mental disfigurement.  
10) The Undead simply can't be hurt. It is aware of all possible actions an enemy can take against, it knows its physical form can not be endangered. It is also completely passive but will attack in self defense (ceasing it's retaliation after one round of not being attacked).

Monday 21 July 2014

Bexley, City of Squabbles (and City Adventure Idea Generator)

Bexley is my ad-hoc fantasy city which has been the setting for the last few sessions of my campaign. It popped into existence as the home of Baron Chidick - a cold, rude, and super rich  leader of a religion/cult obsessed with elephant-sized metallic pyramids. I was never sure how long the party was planning on staying there, so Bexley organically grew in scope through play/me cram-prepping before a session. Unfortunately just as I got my handle on the city and had it ripe and ready to explode with adventure the party got a ship and up and left!

Though the party has left it behind, Bexley is a great port city and her tendrils will reach far and wide into the world...


Bexley is plutocratic city ruled by a council of elected officials picked from prominent trade houses, the council is referred to as "The Bexley Circle". The local constabulary is the "Bexley Port Authority", though their main focus is the ports and gates of the city they are also the law-keeping arm of The Bexley Circle. "The Halls of Magnitude" is the all encompassing mega-church structure, the myriad of deities and beliefs enshrined within its walls form the official religions of the city.

Bexley is a city that bubbles with passive-aggressive conflict, the prominent trade houses and official religions constantly clamber for the top of the heap. An overarching greed for trade and gold prevents any squabbles erupting into a city-wide bad-for-business battle. It should be noted that the houses and churches have no scruples with employing independent third parties to conduct deniable dirty work.

Wrecktown is a seething, smoldering mass of slums and hovels on the eastern shore of the Bexley river. West Coast Bexlians have developed fantastical skill in pretending it doesn't exist. Mention of the other side of the river will bring frowns, tutting and the disdain of locals. Rumors of a vast tunnel network running beneath the river, connecting Wrecktown and Lower Bexley are surely exaggerated and false. Also surely false are rumors of a long thought wiped out royal lineage emerging vengefully from the slums.

Guarding the Bexley river mouth from the toxic poverty of Wrecktown is Fishertown. Fishertown serves as an auxiliary port for the city and is home to Bexley's maritime tradesmen in all their oceanic forms. Unfortunately due to it's proximity to Wrecktown the location is under the strict martial law of The Bexley Port Authority. Residents of Fishertown often mutter with dissent and display an eagerness to dismantle the harsh rule of the Port Authority.

A pervasive whisper throughout the entirety of Bexley is the existence of The Society of The Void. Behind every unexplained murder or bizarre crime that oft serves as impetus for city-wide legal changes are clues and hints pointing towards the Society. Much like Wrecktown, The Society's existence is officially ignored and superstitiously avoided in conversation. Many an aspiring trade house representative has found his conniving plans thwarted or accelerated by a grey, faceless third party whose identity is never fully revealed.

(I'm pretty sure in the far-flung future Bexley transmogrifies into The City.

Guarded Farmland: Great fields rimmed and guarded by the Outer Bexley walls, Much sparser population than the rest of Bexley, inhabitants impressed by passing adventurers, General unrest, Squabbling for land and property ownership, infrequent incursions by outside forces/breaks in the Outer Wall.

Lower Bexley: Where the great masses of the Bexley live, Crammed and messy architecture built on top of itself, Houses many large and sprawling marketplaces, Home to specific and exotic merchants and craftsmen, Rumors of a pox and a growing sickness, Sits atop a large, intricate and ancient tunnel system.

Upper Bexley: On a hill, towering above the rest of Bexley, Houses The Bexley Circle buildings, Innumerable churches and temples, Houses The Halls of Magnitude, Houses the Halls of the Trade Houses, Opulent architecture and wide streets, Heated arguments often erupt in the street between gaudily dressed nobles.  

Manorville: Rolling hills hosting the gated communities of Bexley's elite, A variety of eccentric, individual architecture, Overpowering presence of Bexley Port Authority guards, Palaces and mansions, Lakes and Parks, foreigners and outsiders are shunned, looked down upon or outright arrested.

The Port: Thriving hub of activity, Exotic and bizarre locals, General Portery.

Wrecktown: Anarchy, Slums and Hovels, Rotting ancient forts and castles filled with squatting tenants, Locals display hate/repulsion/aggression to outsiders, Rocky, muddy ground, Caves and tunnels, Black beaches, Towering piles of refuse, Bone and fire filled public rituals, Unknowable population size which appears to swell and shrink each day. 

Fishertown: Grim and salty population, Hardworking men and women, Sailors, Bleakness brought on by martial law, Secret meetings, Rumors of dark, deep things in the ocean.

The Everforest: A covetously guarded forest rimming the northern edges of the city, only members of the aristocracy are allowed to enter, rumors of weird rituals, rumors of communion with weird beings and creatures.

Bexley Happenings/Rumors/Adventurer Generator:

 (Adapted/stolen from: Thanks +Zak Smith.)

(Though these tables have a "Bexlian" flavor, I feel that they're generic/broad enough to reskinned for other fantasy cities in a pinch.) 

Roll a D6, then a D20. Do this twice and combine the results. Your brain should be able to smash the two concepts together/fill in the gaps and come up with something interesting: 

1) Society of the Void:

1) Drug and poison production and shipping.
2) Assassinations!
3) Inciting groups to take violent, heated and savage actions against others.
4) Silent and sudden exodus of masses of the population.
5) Unexplainable thefts, of a stunning scale.
6) Dismantling/sudden disappearance of buildings and societal groups.
7) Blackmail.
8) Spying, covert gathering of nefarious information.
9) Experimentation in illusionis/ Illusions.
10) Illusionists, tricksters.  
11) Large scale mind control.
12) Sleeper agents, mind controlled agents.
13) Councils and meetings in high, secure, secret places, or hidden in plain sight. 
14) Esoteric knowledge from all over the world.
15) Absence of power, still, calm anarchy.
16) Disguised in plain sight, operating in the open but not recognized/spotted.
17) Mind controlled masses of commoners.
18) Disguises and poison.
19) An anonymous third party in plots.
20) Long term plans, playing sides against one another.

2) Nobles, The Bexley Circle, Trade Houses:  

1) Taking advantage of less well off people and groups for material benefit.
2) Lavish displays of material wealth, shows, parades, games.
3) Games for the people, feasts for the people.
4) Social events, balls, galas, banquets.
5) Hunting/Rituals/Communions in the Everforest.
6) Deployment of The Bexley Port Authority.
7) Armed litters and transportation, grand wagons and carriages.
8) The acquisition of rare/exotic/rich food, drink, materials. 
9) Fine wine, good food.
10) Conniving and backstabbing.
11) Spying and espionage between one another.  
12) House Pearl: Seafaring traders, Demeanor = Gluttonous.
13) House Brackel: arms dealers,traders, armorers, smithing, Demeanor = Jealous.
14) House Spinot: mining, gems, raw ore, Demeanor = Unmerciful.
16) House Trumpet: livestock, animals, farming, food, Demeanor = Disgusting.
17) House Gaggox: engineering, building, bridges, roads, Demeanor = Disturbed.
18) House Locke: bankers, insurers, Demeanor = Whimsical.
19) House Plocket: Jewelry, fashion, luxury good, Demeanor = Disinterested. 
20) House River: Alcohol, wine, spirits, beer, Demeanor = Seemingly generous.

3) Royalists from Wrecktown: 

1) Wild anarchy at all costs.
2) Tunnels beneath the ground, honeycombing the ground beneath Bexley.
3) Sewers.
4) Rats and vermins, insects, pests in swarming numbers.
5) Explosions, fires, terrorism, wanton violence.
6) Ancient royalty, betrayed by Bexley.
7) Old Rotting Ratgod beneath Wrecktown. 
8) Mud, stone, wood, heaped together in a shambolic manner.
9) Ancient stolen things, remade for new uses.
10) Worship of the dead, long passed away.
11) Large piles of refuse, littered sometimes with valuables.
12) Waste and wreckage.
13) In-breeding, sacred blood lines.
14) Mutants, freaks, shape-shifters.
15) Chaos magic.
16) Ancient, primitive and arcane rituals involving the dead, rats and rot.
17) Ratmen, Ratkings.
18) Corpses, skeletons, skulls paraded through streets on litters.
19) Underground fortresses and castles.
20) Ancient castles and fortresses above ground, rotting and filled with slum dwellings.

4) Merchants, Sailors and Fishers: 

1) Constant quest for upwards mobility, pulling a noble down so they can take their place.
2) Exotic overseas or outside of Bexley interests.
3) Slave trading.
4) Requirement of exotic, rare supplies and materials.
5) Cheap liquor in large quantities.
6) Thefts, large scale and of precious items.
7) Different races and cultures.
8) Treasure maps, rumors of ancient hordes.
9) Art.
10) Pirates.
11) Men of dubious pasts and infamy.
12) Fruit shipments, dried meat, rations, food and drink that travels.
13) Raw materials in great abundance.
14) Conniving with the houses of Bexley.
15) Jewellery
16) Furniture
17) Tales of outlandish seas beasts and fish.
18) Arms or Armour.
19) Tales of outlandish places and people.
20) Foreign Trade House interests.

5) Religious Orders, The Magnitude, The Churches:

1) Bribery. 
2) Inducing the mob into action at the behest of another group.
3) Bizarre ceremonies.
4) Righteous and zealous bloodshed.
6) The Halls of Magnitude, gallery of all accepted, official religions
7) The ousting of “Cults” religions not accepted to the Halls of Magnitude
8) Visions of Gods, Devils, Demons and Angels.
9) Minor God of (Roll on Aspect Table or Deity Table)
10) Major God of (Roll on Aspect  or Deity Table)
11) Rumors of Forgotten, Dead Gods.
12) Conniving with the Bexley Houses.
13) Plans of upward mobility.
14) Miracles.
15) Rituals and ceremonies on a regular basis.
16) Clerical power and might, armed churches and offensive spells.
17) Exotic tastes and needs.
18) Ceremonies and happenings in The Halls of Magnitude.
19) Work with the Bexley Port Authority, suspicious and overly close relationship.
20) Monks, meditation, calmness.

6) The Rabble, The Mob, the Peasants, The farmers:

1) Riots, anger at particular issue risen to a fervor.
2) Disease, death, epidemic.
3) Hunger, starvation, famine.  
4) Overcrowding, overpopulation, masses and crowds.
5) Pubs, bars, inns and taverns.
6) Prostitution.
7) Sporting matches, festivals, crowds.
8) Gathering to watch trivial happenings of Bexley, any excuse to get out of the house.
9) Pirates, freaks, mutants and other outcasts. 
10) Adventurer worship.
11) Refugees or new social/cultural/racial/religious groups.
12) Farmers.
13) Drug abuse.
14) Kidnapping, murder, domestic violence.
15) Corporal punishment, hangings, whippings.
16) Gambling and betting, on anything possible.
17) Bexley Port Authority, Guards and Police.
18) Property damage.
19) Fires.
20) Broken, disused accommodation/sewage/public works.