Tuesday, September 3, 2019

MUTANT CRAWL CLASSICS

This past Christmas I received a copy of Mutant Crawl Classics, an OSR post-apocalyptic game, which is fully compatible with Goodman’s Dungeon Crawl Classic game. As expected, it is old school and would play like the old school games many of us grew up with. The rules are pretty simple, and it would not take all that much to jump into the game and start playing. Also, besides a very small number of overall setting notes and the wider application of classes, Patron AI’s (the gods of the setting) and Archaic Alignments, the setting for Terra AD is wide open for interpretation. 
As I LOVE this sort of setting, I will be posting a series of Mutant Crawl Classics articles, art, maps, MONSTERS, mutations, races and whatnot. The majority of this and other material will be found on my PATREON page. So if you want to see the GOOD STUFF, head on over there.
So, stay tuned!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

HEROIC AGE: POWERHOUSE (Subclass)

This are my attempt at making heroes that are physically proto-superhuman, more on par with Doc Savage or the Goon than Superman. These Golden Age style heroes and villains are definitely beyond the average Joe, but are still human. More-or-less...

POWERHOUSE (Fighter Subclass)
Also known as Bricks, Tanks or similar, the Powerhouse is a hero or villain that is hard to miss. Physically, a Powerhouse is enormously muscled, often to a "hulking," degree. These heroes are the result of intense physical training, using their intense focus on physical perfection that they surpass human limits bordering on the superhuman. In the Heroic Age, there are many Powerhouse heroes and villains running around. Several Powerhouse heroes active in Empire City are; Black Lion, Bulldog Denny, Gladiator, Hercules Jr., and Captain Triumph. Known Powerhouse villains in the city are Blunderbore, Curtains (android), Iron Jaw, Monstroso, and Porcupine.

Minimum Ability Scores: Str 16, Con 14

Image result for Hugo Danner
Gladiator by Philip Gordon Wylie
Powerhouses have all of the abilities of a Fighter, with the following changes:

A Powerhouse is skilled at the following tasks: Bend Bars/Lift Gates, Climb Sheer Surfaces, Jump, Swim.

Powerhouses are capable of using their muscles to influence reactions, either through charm and awe, or sheer intimidation. Powerhouses can modify reaction checks with their Strength score rather than Charisma score if the GM deems the situation appropriate.

Powerhouses add 1 and 1/2 their strength bonus to attacks and damage when armed with double-handed, melee weapons.

Powerhouses treat creatures as one size category smaller for grapple and bum rush attacks.

Once per day, a Powerhouse can call on an adrenaline rush and either re-roll a failed strength check with a +2 bonus or double their strength bonus on a single melee attack and damage. They can also make sundering attacks with their bare hands.

A powerhouse spends a great deal of time in training. Every four levels, beginning with fourth level, they can deduct one point from intelligence, wisdom or charisma and add it to their strength score.

SPECIAL MANEUVERS
Powerhouses gain additional Special Maneuvers as they advance in Powerhouse levels if their strength score is high enough.
  • Burst Chains and Iron Bands (Level 3, Strength 16): A powerhouse can burst chains and iron bands simply by flexing their chest muscles or biceps.
  • Fastball Special (Level 5, Strength 17): A Powerhouse can toss allied rogues (Str 17), daredevils (Str 19) and fighters (Str 21) at opponents. Treat this as a ranged attack with a range of 10 feet. If the muscleman misses, the tossed character gets no attack, loses their turn and suffers 1d4 points of damage. If their attack hits, the tossed character makes an attack as though charging, and the mere act of throwing them scores 1d6 points of damage for rogues, 1d8 for daredevils and 1d10 for fighters, plus the muscleman’s strength bonus.
  • Hammer Nails (Level 7, Strength 18): A powerhouse’s sinews are iron hard, allowing him to hammer nails with his bare fists. Difficulties include hammering sharp items larger than nails, or hammering into materials harder than wood.
  • Bite Through Chains (Level 9, Strength 19): A powerhouse’s jaws are such that he can bite through metal. In addition, he can bite characters that he grapples for 1d6 damage (treat as an additional unarmed attack).
  • Thunder Clap (Level 11, Strength 20): A powerhouse can clap his hands together with such force, that they blast an area with a tremendous cacophony. Every creature in a 10 ft. radius area takes 1d8 points of sonic damage and must succeed on a Fortitude save to avoid being stunned for 1 round. This can be done once every four rounds.
  • Mighty Leap (Level 13, Strength 21): A powerhouse can jump 1 ½ feet per point of Strength from a standing position. From a running start the powerhouse can jump 2 feet per point of Strength.

This subclass is for use with the Grit and Vigor RPG by John Stater and the Heroic Age campaign setting.  

Thursday, May 9, 2019

HEROIC AGE: A Grit and Vigor Campaign Setting

The Grit and Vigor roleplaying game by John Stater is excellent in creating pulpy, proto-superhero type characters. In games, I have seen PC’s chase enemies on top of speeding trains, hurl enemies into each other, kung-fu monsters into submission and otherwise be extraordinarily heroic. Personally, I like pulpy heroes more than superhuman ones. And so I shall be detailing a setting well suited to modern pulp heroes; The Heroic Age.

OVERALL HEROIC AGE SETTING
Heroic Age takes place in a modern(ish) setting of 2033. A world where ghosts, UFO’s, demons, mutant monsters, urban legends, magic and weird science are all real and have influenced the world in many weirdly wonderful ways. Everyday folks mostly ignore these strange entities and occurrences until they are directly troubled. Many times, people are more embarrassed by alien abductions, demonic possession or abuse of super science by their kids than horrified. Most people are trying to get on with their lives, with strangeness being another thing on the news.
Furthermore, costumed heroes are a presence. Some, such as public “Science Heroes” and other themed "Two-Fisted" adventurers. Such heroes are vigilantes who work as bounty hunters bail-bondsmen and semi-criminals are more-or-less legal. The more popular are seen shaking the hands of politicians and opening supermarkets, thanks to their publicists.
The setting is a “retro now” version of our reality, being an ultramodern version of the near future — live prime-time TV and soda fountains in drugstores coexist with orbital space stations and interplanetary flight. Alien invasions, mad scientists, zombie uprisings, Atlantis and cosmic monsters have changed the course of human history. 
Excellent inspirational reading: Airboy (the Image reboot), Archie Comics (2015 reboot), Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, Dick Tracy (strip), The Goon, The Onion, The Weekly World News, Hellboy and Tom Strong.

WEIRD HISTORY
As a general rule of the Heroic Age, a great many puply and over the top events in pulps, B-Movies, comics and cartoons are in-fact Historic Documents. Player characters will have grown up watching atomic horror flicks in school as documentaries. Some movie examples are: The Blob, Conga, Dracula (book and movie versions), Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Gwangi, Night of the Living Dead, Gorgo, Them!, The Deadly Mantis, The Giant Claw, Galaxy of Terror, The Land that Time Forgot, War of the Worlds (all versions) and Zarkorr!, the Invader (to name a few). 

Some locations of note:

EMPIRE CITY, NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY/CONNECTICUT
Empire City is the major Northeast megalopolis that comprises the greater New York metropolitan area. This includes New York City, Long Island, and the Mid and Lower Hudson Valley, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, and Edison, and the Connecticut cities of: Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, Waterbury, Norwalk, and Danbury. 
Empire City is a multi-species “mega-city” built up and over New York City, the five boroughs and Jersey City. The old cities were flattened so often by alien attacks, giant robots and atomic monsters. that the many heroes, (villains) and super scientists decided it was time for an upgrade. Now this city stands as a testament to the power of ingenuity, SCIENCE and the can-do attitude of America. Empire City is a pinnacle of technological ingenuity and the corruption at the heart of all industry and power. The Rich here like in opulent splendor reminiscent of the Great Gatsby, while the poor are among the most downtrodden in the universe. More on this city soon…

LUNA CITY, THE MOON
International city on the Moon. Earth's moon has been visited many times by Earth explorers, most notably Clutch Cargo of US fame, leading to colonial efforts by international powers. Now, the moon has many small towns and bases, each the territory of one or the other Earth nation, but Luna City is a sort-of international (NATO/UN) melting pot. High tech domed city and home to many influential super-scientists and heroes. Located is Mare Imbrium and is encased in a geodesic dome. Under the dome the city has Earth Standard gravity and a temperate climate. 

SAN ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
This post-earthquake Californian super-city merged Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernadino and Riverside. This city is also known as "Los Andiegoles", and "Rattown" among its citizens; San Angeles remains the more popular name. Featured in the movies Blade Runner, Demolition Man, Double Dragon and in many other sources. It is a high tech, polluted and overcrowded concrete jungle that always seems to be dark and gloomy.

ZOOM, CITY OF THE SORCERESS
A city ruled by a sorceress, that can be transformed into a cloud, at her command, to travel over land and set down where she wishes. It is inhabited by slaves and undead creatures created by the sorceress from the corpses of her enemies.



NEXT: Empire City, Weird Races, Rogues Gallery and more!

Friday, December 21, 2018

COSMIC SEAS: WITCHLIGHT MARAUDER

WITCHLIGHT MARAUDER
Witchlight Marauders are creatures that were bred by Orcish Mages during the Unhuman Ward to “counter ruthless elf aggression”, as one surviving orc scroll reads. In truth, the marauders were shock troops, organic first-strike weapons meant to devastate whole elven planets. Their efficiency as killing machines was matched only by their fast breeding.
Witchlight marauders are terrors that can lay waste to an entire planet, leaving nothing but barren rock and briny seas. Marauders can digest animal and vegetable matter, as well as metal and precious minerals—but not bare rock. They often strip the land down to bedrock before moving on. Marauders excrete a dark sludge that reeks of burning tar and supports no life. Their insatiable hunger can devour all life on a world in a few years’ time if left unchecked.
Cosmic Seas: In the Cosmic Seas setting, the Witchlight Marauders were a weapon gleaned from remnants of the Far Realm/Space Titan wars by Orcish Warlocks and Clerics. They are officially considered abominations by the Celestial Church, though clerics of the Tyrant secretly covet knowledge on these monsters. 


PRIMARY MARAUDER
Primary marauders are the largest of the terrestrial marauders. They are slug-like creatures that are over 100 feet in length and surrounded by a thin, sickly green cloud of gas. Primary marauders have many mouths all around their bodies that constantly tear and chew the surrounding terrain and anything that gets within their range. Everything in the marauder's path is food: plants, animals, cities, and mountains. All food—including metals and minerals—makes its way to their blast-furnace stomach to produce poison gas and to spawn more witchlight marauders.
Primary marauders are active in cycles. They mindlessly eat and spawn secondary marauders for 5-8 (1d4+4) weeks before they instinctively delve underground, literally eating the ground out from under themselves. Once they've burrowed to a sufficient depth (rarely less than 500 feet) they begin to spawn another primary marauder. This takes 1d6+1 days, during which time the primary marauder is unable to make full-round actions. At the end of this period, another primary marauder is born, and the two go their separate ways.
Gargantuan aberration, chaotic evil
Hit Points. 1,125 hp (50d20+600)
Speed. 30 ft. Burrow 20ft, Swim 20ft. 
Armor Class. 20
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
45 (+17)
6 (-2)
34 (+12)
3 (-4)
10 (+0)
3 (-4)
Damage Immunities. Cold, Disease, Poison, Psychic; Bludgeoning, Piercing, And Slashing from Non-magical Weapons.
Condition Immunities. Charmed, Exhaustion, Frightened, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned.
Damage Resistances. Acid, Fire, Lightning, Necrotic, Thunder.
Senses. Blindsight 120 Ft., passive Perception 10
Challenge. 30 (155,000)
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Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If the primary marauder fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.
Immutable Form. Witchlight Marauders are immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.
Regeneration. The marauder regains 20 hit points at the start of its turn. If the marauder takes radiant or lightning damage, this trait doesn't function at the start of the marauder’s next turn. The marauder dies only if it starts its turn with 0 hit points and doesn't regenerate.
Siege Monster. The primary marauder deals double damage to objects and structures.
Spawn Secondary Marauder. Once it starts feeding, a primary marauder will spawn 1d4+1 secondary marauders per day.
Toxic Cloud. The Primary Marauder is surrounded by a poisonous cloud. Any creature coming within 50 feet of the creature must make a Constitution saving throw. The creature takes 5d8 poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. Creatures are affected even if
they hold their breath or don't need to breathe.

ACTIONS
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Multiattack. The primary marauder can use its frightful presence or its toxic cloud and then make one bite or six claw attacks. 
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +26 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: (4d12+17) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it is grappled (escape DC 20). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the primary marauder can't bite another target.
Claws (Secondary Bites). Melee Weapon Attack: +17 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: (2d8+17) piercing damage.
Frightful Presence. Each creature within 120 feet of the primary marauder and aware of it must succeed on a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, with disadvantage if the primary marauder is within line of sight, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the primary marauder’s Frightful Presence for the next 24 hours.
Swallow. The primary marauder makes one bite Attack against a Large or smaller creature it is Grappled. If the Attack hits, the target takes the bite's damage, the target is swallowed, and the grapple ends. While swallowed, the creature is Blinded and Restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the primary marauder, and it takes 56 (16d6) acid damage at the start of each of the primary marauder’s turns.
If the primary marauder takes 60 damage or more on a single turn from a creature inside it, the primary marauder must succeed on a DC 20 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all swallowed creatures, which fall prone in a space within 10 feet of the primary marauder. If the primary marauder dies, a swallowed creature is no longer Restrained by it and can escape from the corpse by using 30 feet of Movement, exiting prone.

Legendary Actions
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Primary Marauders can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The Primary Marauder regains spent legendary actions at the start of their turn.
Attack. The primary marauder makes one bite attack or six claw attacks.
Move. The primary marauder moves up to half its speed.
Chomp (Costs 2 Actions). The primary marauder makes one bite attack or uses its Swallow.


SECONDARY MARAUDER
Secondary marauders are twenty-foot tall creatures with a vaguely humanoid shape. Its arms are tipped in long, metal talons; and its stump-like feet have many gripping toes. It has no head, only the mockery of a face on its chest. Secondary marauders eat just about anything in their path. Unlike primary marauders, secondaries will spread out in an erratic pattern to look for food. They often sunder the weapons and equipment of their foes. This isn't a battle tactic, but rather them attempting to rend whatever they come across in any way possible.
Huge aberration, chaotic evil
Hit Points. 187 (15d12+90)
Speed. 60 ft, Climb 20ft, Swim 10ft. 
Armor Class. 23
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
29 (+9)
10 (+0)
23 (+6)
3 (-4)
10 (+0)
3 (-4)
Damage Immunities. Disease, Poison, Psychic; Bludgeoning, Piercing, And Slashing from Non-magical Weapons.
Damage Resistances. Acid, Cold, Fire
Condition Immunities. Charmed, Exhaustion, Frightened, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned
Senses. Blindsight 120 Ft., passive Perception 10
Challenge. 11 (7,200)

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Immutable Form. Witchlight Marauders are immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.
Magic Resistance: The secondary marauder has advantage on Saving Throws against Spells and other magical effects.
Regeneration. The secondary marauder regains 5 hit points at the start of its turn. If the marauder takes radiant or lightning damage, this trait doesn't function at the start of the marauder’s next turn. The marauder dies only if it starts its turn with 0 hit points and doesn't regenerate.
Siege Monster. The secondary deals double damage to objects and structures.
Spawn Tertiary Marauder. Once it starts feeding, a secondary marauder will spawn 1d4 tertiary marauder every day.
Spider Climb. The secondary marauder can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.

Actions
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Multiattack. The secondary marauder can use its acid spray attack or make four attacks: two with its claws, one with its bite and one with its tail.
Acid Spray. The secondary spits acid in a line that is 30 feet long and 5 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw, taking 10 (3d6) acid damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 20 (2d10 + 9) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it is Grappled (escape DC 20). Until this grapple ends, the target is Restrained, and the secondary marauder can't bite another target.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d6 + 9) slashing damage, and the target must make a DC 20 Constitution saving throw, taking 10 (3d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 20 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (2d8 + 9) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 20 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.


TERTIARY MARAUDER
Tertiary Marauders are the least form of Marauder and serve as swarming skirmishers for the Secondary and Primary Marauders. The creatures are roughly humanoid in shape with dark rubbery flesh. Their arms end in crude sword blades that are constantly moving. The smallest of the marauders, standing less than 5 feet in height, tertiaries are vicious fighters. They lack a head but sprout a mass of weaving tentacle from their neck.
Medium aberration, chaotic evil
Hit points. 26 (4d8+8)
Speed. 40ft.
Armor class. 18
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
18 (+4)
17 (+3)
14 (+2)
3 (-4)
10 (+0)
3 (-4)
Damage Immunities. Disease, Poison, Psychic
Damage Resistances. Acid, Fire.
Condition Immunities. Charmed, Exhaustion, Frightened, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned
Senses. Blindsight 120 Ft., passive Perception 10
Challenge. 3 (700xp)
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Immutable Form. Witchlight Marauders are immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.

Keen Smell. The tertiary marauder has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
Reckless. At the start of its turn, the berserker can gain advantage on all melee weapon attack rolls during that turn, but attack rolls against it have advantage until the start of its next turn.

Actions
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Multiattack. The tertiary marauder makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: (2d6 + 4) piercing damage.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: (1d8 + 4) slashing damage.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

AGENTS OF MONARCH (Grit and Vigor)

As the winter proceeds to bury my home region, I start pondering campaign settings (usually set someplace warmer). As I am a huge Godzilla fan, I have been thinking on a campaign setting for the Grit and VigorRPG by John Stater, wherein the player characters are all agents of the Monarch Organization of the MonsterVerse franchise. As this is a worldwide organization, player characters of every sort are possible. With all player characters having the shared knowledge and experience that monsters are very real, and a growing threat to the world.
As well as existing in the MonsterVerse franchise, heavy inspiration and details will be taken from the following; Jurassic Park, Outer Limits, Penny Dreadful, Stephen King’s Multiverse, and assorted Urban Legends and science fiction monster films that feature mutant monsters.


MONARCH ORGANIZATION
“Millions of years older than mankind. From an age when the Earth was ten times more radioactive than today. This animals and others like it consumed this radiation as a food source. As the levels on the surface naturally subsided these creatures adapted to live deeper in the oceans. Furter underground. Absorbing radiation from the planet's core. The organization we work for, Monarch, was established in the wake of this discovery. A multinational coalition formed in secrecy to search for him. Study him. Learn everything we could.” – Dr. Vivienne Graham, Monarch Scientist
Monarch is a scientific organization founded in secrecy in 1946 as a joint coalition between several governments in order to hunt and study massive unidentified terrestrial organisms (MUTOs) or Titans. With a worldwide increase in monster sightings and “incidents” after The Battle of San Francisco in 2014, the Monarch organization is now publicly known and is working hard to stem the tide of strangeness.
Monarch has offices and research centers around the globe, with offices in San Francisco, New York City, Janjira Japan, McMurdo Station Antarctica and others. Large research bases in Isla Sorna (in cooperation with Masrani Global) and Isla de Mona (Puerto Rican archipelago) where it maintains a large holding center for MUTO’s and other creatures.
Notable members: Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, Dr. Vivienne Graham, Dr. Emma Russell, Houston Brooks (retired), San Lin, Dr. Elsie Chapman, Dr. Mendel Craven, James Conrad, Monique Dupre, Mason Weaver, Aaron Brooks, General Douglas MacArthur and Dr. Zamalek.

ROLE OF PLAYER CHARACTERS
Monarch agents pursue all leads relating to mutant creatures. This includes not only Kaiju (titans, MUTO's), but any dread creature. They are not the military, nor are they police. But they work with both as well as maintaining their own security. Overall agents are much like BPRD agents, hunting down weird monsters.
re drawn from all over the world and from all walks of life. Clever GMs and players can fit in any of the classes and the main Subclasses into a campaign. However Occultist and Vampire Hunter characters dont fit particularly well in the setting as-is. A case can be made for Psion characters, as monster movies often have Psychic characters.

Methods of operation
While most of how Monarch carries out their work is unknown, it is known that they prefer a non-lethal approach at best, as Aaron Brooks' recording to his father stated that the "Monarch Field Manual" says "If you must resort to weaponry, in all likelihood, you've already made a mistake."
However with the growing tide of genetic mutants, kaiju and other issues, a modern agent can expect to be dealing with violent scenarios. 

Monarch Timeline - 1915 - Present
This is a brief history of the Monarch Organization. 
1915 - Splitting the Atom: Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity ultimately leads to the splitting of the atom and the dawn of the Atomic Age. This epoch-defining stage in human evolution will act as a beacon that awakens ancient superspecies sustained by nuclear energy.
1943 – Lawton Incident: The U.S.S. Lawton is destroyed by the sea dragon like MOTU known as Manda.
1946 - Monarch Founded: In the aftermath and cover-up of the U.S.S. Lawton Incident, President Truman unofficially establishes "Monarch Unit", a small, off-book research team established to engage in the systematic study of "massive unidentified terrestrial organisms". Privately, many of Truman's allies question the validity of the group's theories and work to keep their existence a secret.
1952 - The Great Smog of London: Baffling meteorologists and defying atmospheric physicists, this unexplained phenomenon saw London's streets overwhelmed by huge clouds of air-polluting smoke. Monarch theorizes that the beating wings of a giant creature could have created an anticyclone that unleashed airborne pollutants across the city.
1954 - Monarch Goes Global: Monarch begins working with allied nations, the military and corporate assets in its efforts.
1954 – Giant Ant Outbreak: Atomic tests in New Mexico cause common ants to mutate into giant man-eating monsters that threaten civilization. Monarch agents in cooperation with the U.S. Army, F.B.I. and the Department of Agriculture hunt down most of the more aggressive nests.
1955 - The Mindanao Deep Monster: An octopus like MUTO attacks a US atomic submarine and proceeds to threaten Pacific shipping lanes. Cooperation between Monarch agents and the US Navy manages to kill the creature.
1957 - The Deadly Mantis: A 200-foot-long praying mantis flies into U.S. airspace and wreaks havoc until destroyed. The creature is found to be from a species also found on Skull island.
1959 - Siberian Mystery: At the height of the Cold War, aerial photography taken from a Russian spy plane reveals a huge containment facility established around an ice cap in Siberia. The Monarch symbol can be seen emblazoned across the canopy of the structure.
1973 - Mission Skull: Monarch surreptitiously partners with Landsat and the 1st aviation brigade, 3rd assault helicopter company to mount an expedition to the mythical "Skull Island" in an uncharted corner of the South Pacific. Encountering the god-like superspecies known as Kong, they soon discover that mankind does not belong here.
1980 - Arrowhead Project: The town of Bridgton, Maine is engulfed in a very thick supernatural fog and is assaulted by several kinds of otherworldly beasts. Government agents and Monarch operatives contained the situation only after significant loses and damaged psyches.
1986 – Brundlefly Incident: Dr. Seth Brundle, a brilliant but eccentric scientist accidentally merges his DNA with that of a fly. The catastrophic mutation that this creates results in further mutations.
1988 – Arbeville Blob Incident: The town of Arbeville, Colorado comes under the attack from an amorphous acidic amoeba-like organism that devours and dissolves anything in its path as it grows. The containment of this “Blob” is only managed through great effort. Viable specimens have been acquired.
1991 - Isla de Mona: A covert Monarch team establishes a quarantine zone around the island's dormant volcano, under the guise of "environmental research". Over the coming years, what began as a small scientific outpost will expand to become a full containment facility around the mouth of the volcano.
1993 – Isla Nublar Incident: The Bioengineering company InGen’s experiments in cloning dinosaur for use in its island facilities ended in disaster as the re-cloned dinosaurs ran wild and devoured personnel. The escape of Compsognathus and Deinonychus specimens to the mainland remain an issue.
1995 – Valerie 23 Incident: The Innobotics Corporation creates a prototype android companion that revolutionizes the field. Unforeseen difficulties puts the project on hold, but developments continue.  
1995 - Return to Skull Island: Monarch security officer Aaron Brooks defies his father, Houston Brooks, and leads an off-the-books mission to Skull Island, to not only determine what has become of Kong since the 1973 expedition, but also for assurance that Kong is on their side.
1996 – Paradise Murders: Monarch agent Dr. Christina Markham and Sheriff Grady Markham investigate a spate of strange incidents involving young and apparently healthy women suddenly growing old and dying. Black market biotech stolen from the BioSyn corporation is to blame.
1999 - Janjira Meltdown: The Janjira nuclear power plant was destroyed when the parasitic Hokmuto burrowed into the reactor and began to feed, causing the reactors to rupture, spewing out their radiation contaminated water. The plant then collapsed under the strain of the M.U.T.O. feeding, causing more casualties. The Hokmuto then cocooned to continue feeding on the radiation which was released, as Monarch took the plant and the city of Janjira under quarantine.
2002 – Prosperity Spider Mines Incident: An exotic spider farm in Prosperity, Arizona is exposed to mutagenic compounds resulting in the rapid growth and mutation of the spiders. The situation is barely contained with many lives lost.
2005 - A Mysterious Mercenary: Former British Army Colonel and MI-6 agent Jonah Alan is locked up in Pakistani prison after an encounter with Monarch agents. Alan and his band of mercenary accomplices were caught trying to breach the walls of a subterranean M.U.T.O. dig-site.
2009 - Temple of the Moth: Mythographic studies of Chinese temples leads Monarch to the high-altitude jungles of the Yunnan province. Dr. Emma Russell and her team follow a mysterious bio-acoustic signature to a previously undiscovered megalithic temple, within which lies a gigantic cocoon. A quickening heartbeat is detected inside.
2012 - Message in a Bottle: Days before retirement, Monarch veteran Houston Brooks receives an encrypted recorder bearing a message from his son. His unauthorized mission to Skull Island has resulted in the death of the whole crew (except himself) and revealed dramatic new information about Kong's origins, his role on the island and how Skull Island had evolved since his dad's "visit".
2014 - The Battle of San Francisco: The existence of giant superspecies is revealed to the world as Godzilla clashes with two M.U.T.O.s in the center of San Francisco, unleashing devastation upon the urban center. The world watches as Godzilla defends our world and restores balance to the natural order. The time has come for Monarch to step out of the shadows.
2015- Isla Nublar Incident II: With the creation of a hybrid dinosaur named the Indominus rex by the genetics company InGen for Masrani Global Corporation's theme park Jurassic World, the hybrid specimen breaks loose and proceeds to cause property damage and many deaths to both people and animals throughout the park.
2016 - Monster Zero: When Monarch discovers an extraordinary superspecies sealed beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, Dr. Vivienne Graham leads the effort to build a covert containment and research facility around the dormant creature. Her classified field notes contain a mysterious footnote: "The devil has three heads."

NOTE: I will be posting further details of a "Agents of MONARCH" campaign. So stay tuned!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

FANYA IN THE UNDERWORLD


In an Alaska owned by Tsarist Russia, steamtech is melded with spirit magic to create a mighty machine.  The elements are plentiful, but the Higher World crumbles and the local Inuit people are consumed.

When their father dies, the council denies Fanya her inheritance and sells her sister into slavery at the behest of the mysterious Zachary Finley. Fanya's quest to protect her sister and regain what's rightfully hers leads her from the Underworld of Stalgorod to the untamed wilds of greater Alaska.

It isn’t just Zachary Finley who wants Fanya to suffer.  Frost Witches and Sea Hags have a thirst for her, and Saints have decided she’s perfect to become their tool.
Fanya wanted her family, but it turns out magic flows through her, and it is ready for her to battle against industry for the fate of enslaved souls.


ABOUT THE BOOK
Fanya In the Underworld is a project that grew out of a discussion about the comparison between Steampunk and Fairy Tale tropes. While discussing this and the similarities between Russian folklore and North Pacific First Nations spiritual beliefs, this story started taking shape. As I knew Jordan personally, I brought my cobbled concepts to her and she and I set about making the story our own. The book is a great deal of fun, with action, adventure and monsters. I think you will enjoy it.

The book can be purchased HERE.


ABOUT THE CREATORS


Jordan Elizabeth isn’t confessing to being addicted to steampunk fashion and literature, but there’s a good chance she lives and breathes it.  FANYA IN THE UNDERWORLD is her thirteenth young adult novel.  She has compiled numerous anthologies and penned multiple short stories.  When not writing, she can be found in Upstate New York dancing to silly songs with her son.  You can contact her via her website, JordanElizabethBooks.com.

Aaron Siddall is an avid fan of folklore, mythology, religion, history, fantasy and science fiction. His work has appeared in many role-playing games and wargames. Role-Playing games are all fine and good, but ultimately restrictive towards the creative process (even moreso nowadays). As an artist he wants to tell stories, channeled through him and onto the page. For the deeper elements to be expressed through his labors and whims.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

COSMIC SEAS: MAGEWRIGHTS OF THE SPACELANES

In the Cosmic Seas setting, magic is a tool that’s incorporated into many jobs. There are entirely magical careers, such as Astrologer/Navigators. But much of the time, mundane skill and magic are combined. A lamplighter can work with mundane lanterns, but also learns to create and maintain ship and street lamps, running lights and radium bulbs that are so common on ships and at ports-of-call with a cantrip.
A magewright knows one to four cantrips or spells. Magewrights don’t use spell slots. Cantrips can be used casually, but their spells are usually cast as rituals—even if the spell doesn’t normally have the ritual tag. When converting a spell to a magewright ritual, it can have a casting time of up to one hour. It’s also common for a magewright’s ritual to have an additional component cost in Stardust Crystals, the fuel of the magical economy. A typical cost would be 25 gp for a 1st level ritual, 50 gp for a 2nd level ritual, doubled for each subsequent level; but this is only a basic guideline. The point is that the limitations on a magewright are time and money. A locksmith can cast more than one arcane lock in a day; but it costs an hour and 50 gp for each lock they want to create.
While the common spell list is a starting point for magewright spells, you can modify these spells
quite versatile. Prestidigitation can heat or chill an object, light or extinguish a flame. Both the lamplighter and the chef may know prestidigitation, but the chef’s version may only work on food, while the lamplighter can only light or extinguish flames. An actor may know a version of thaumaturgy that helps project their voice but doesn’t provide any of the other benefits. Artisans often know versions of guidance that only helps with their particular art.
In dealing with a magewright, think about the form that their magic takes. A locksmith can perform knock as a ritual. But they don’t just snap their fingers. They might use lengths of wire or iron rods, tracing patterns around the lock they are dealing with while murmuring incantations. The magewright performs magic as both a job and a science.

SAMPLE MAGEWRIGHTS
Here are some examples of magewrights common in the Cosmic Seas setting, and the services that they provide. Not every healer can cast lesser restoration, and not every astrologer can cast divination, these are general guidelines.
·         Astrologer/Navigator. Proficient in Arcana and with navigators’ tools. Augury (ritual 50go cost); divination (1-hour ritual, 200 gp).
·         Boatswain/Bosun. Mending, message, locate object (1-hour ritual, 50 gp component cost). Familiar with Carpenters tools
·         Chef. Prestidigitation (food only), purify food and drink (ritual), gentle repose (ritual, food only). Familiar with cook’s tools.
·         Healer. Proficient with Medicine and herbalism kits. Spare the dying, detect poison and disease (ritual), lesser restoration (1-hour ritual, 50 gp component cost).
·         Lamplighter. Light, continual flame (1-hour ritual, 50 gp component cost); uses tinker’s tools to create and repair lanterns.
·         Locksmith. Arcane lock (1-hour ritual, 50 gp component cost), knock (ritual, 50 gp component cost); proficient with thieves’ tools and tinker’s tools.
·         Mechanist. Mage hand, prestidigitation, protection from energy (1-hour ritual, 50 gp component cost), animate object (ritual 300 gp component cost). Familiar with Alchemists and Tinkerers tools.
The term magewright specifically refers to an arcane spellcaster. In religious communities’ adventurers may find divine casters performing these same functions. casters performing these same functions. Such a divine caster is called an Adept. Divine magic is a gift instead of a science, and adepts typically work on behalf of their faith rather than selling their services.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

ANTHRO D&D: BADGER FOLK (RACE)

This is the start of a series of Anthropomorphic, "furry" races for use with D&D 5th Edition. This and the following races can easily be placed in a D&D 5th Edition setting, joining or even replacing the standard races. In the Cosmic Seas setting, such anthro animals are common in ports of the Dragon Empire, and are the result of magical experiments through the ages. The artwork presented here is from the marvelous Larry MacDougall, a superb artist and friend. Check out his work.


BADGER FOLK (RACE)
“They had felt hungry before, but when they actually saw at last the supper that was spread for them, really it seemed only a question of what they should attack first where all was so attractive, and whether the other things would obligingly wait for them till they had time to give them attention. Conversation was impossible for a long time; and when it was slowly resumed, it was that regrettable sort of conversation that results from talking with your mouth full. The Badger did not mind that sort of thing at all, nor did he take any notice of elbows on the table, or everybody speaking at once. As he did not go into Society himself, he had got an idea that these things belonged to the things that didn't really matter.” -Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
Badger-folk are a species of Beastmen created from common badgers. They are a tough, loyal and deeply wise species that has made a society of their own. Badger-folk are wise and tough, with a great passion for building elaborate underground homes and towns, which they defend to the death. Often short-tempered and vengeful, badgers generally live solitary lives, emerging only occasionally from their burrows to hunt, wage war and seek mates. They are known for their strength, wisdom and loyalty.
Personality. Badger-folk are edgy and easily riled, though loyal to those who befriend them and, on rare occasions, even playful (especially toward children). They are most savage and feral when on the defensive, though they are still quite formidable on the attack.
Physical Description. Badger-folk are powerfully built black, white, brown and grey fur with a small head, a stocky body, small black eyes and short tail. All badgers have a broad white stripe of fur running from the bridge of the nose over the top of the head and down to the base of the skull. A badger’s arms are unnaturally large and well-muscled, and her fingers end in hard claws 2 to 3 inches long. Badger-folk constantly emit a fetid odor.
Badger Names. Badgers tend to choose thick sounding names that are easy to say. Male names- Achak, Brock, Dax, Tasso. Female names- Azcona, Brook, Griebel, Honani, Kitchi. 
Badger-Folk Traits
Badger-Folk share the following racial traits.
Ability Score Increase. +2 Constitution, +1 Wisdom.
Alignment. Most badger-folk are lawful, believing firmly in the benefits of a well-ordered society. They tend toward good as well, with a strong sense of fair play and a belief that everyone deserves to share in the benefits of a just order.
Size. Badgers stand between 4 and 5 feet tall and average about 150 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 ft. You have a burrow speed of 5 ft.
Bite and Claws. Badger-Folk are proficient with your unarmed strikes, which deal 1d6 piercing or slashing damage on a hit.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Keen Smell. You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
Savage Attacks. When you score a critical hit with a melee weapon attack, you can roll one of the weapon’s damage dice one additional time and add it to the extra damage of the critical hit.
Tenacious. When you take damage, you can use your reaction to roll a d12. Add your Constitution modifier to the number rolled and reduce the damage by that total. After you use this ability, you can't use it again until you complete a short or long rest.
Hybrid Nature. You have two creature types: humanoid and monstrosity. You can be affected by a game effect if it works on either of your creature types.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Badgerish. Badgerish is full of snarls and guttural sounds, and those characteristics spill over into whatever other language a badger might speak.


Friday, August 24, 2018

COSMIC SEAS: LOXO (RACE)


LOXO
"Oh man, listen," said the strange being. "I am foul and monstrous to you, am I not? Nay, do not answer; I know. But you would seem as strange to me, could I see you. There are many worlds besides this earth, and life takes many shapes. I am neither god nor demon, but flesh and blood like yourself, though the substance differ in part, and the form be cast in different mold.” - Yag-kosha. The Tower of the Elephant
Loxos are a race of elephantine humanoids who are widespread across the Dragon Empire. Their homeworld of Yag was destroyed centuries ago, and their race was forced into space. Now they are primarily found in massive Herdships (Citadels) and small fleets of smaller craft. Small clans and even individual Loxo can be found in most Cosmospolitan ports where they can easily find employment as laborers, craftsmen and warriors. The cluster world of Istra has a large colony of Loxo in residence aiding mightily in the never ending asteroid mining industry and in the manufacture of Citadel ships.

PHYSICAL APPEARANCE
A loxo appears to be a humanoid elephant. Its skin is bluish-gray, wrinkled, and covered with rough, sparse hair. It has thick, round limbs, flat feet, short, stubby fingers, and large ears. Its most striking feature is the pair of trunks that grow from its face, framed by large tusks. Each trunk is about 2 feet
long and has three fingerlike digits at the end. The typical loxo prefers simple clothing, particularly cut from cloth patterned with circles or diamonds.

SOCIETY
Loxo herdships are divided into clans, and all members of a clan wear the same pattern of clothing. Each herdship has a chief (called a lox-fithik, or herd-lieutenant), who is a fighter, and a tunnuk, who has at least two levels of wizard. The young of the loxo play a very important role in loxo society, and anyone daring to threaten a calf or its mother quickly becomes the enemy, and the normally peaceful loxo become very brutal. The loxo are very sociable creatures, and when out from their own kind enjoy markets and taverns in the ports they visit. They make friends easily, being rather amiable.

LOXO NAMES
A loxo’s name includes overtones of sound, produced in a loxo’s resonant nasal chambers, that indicate status, family connection, and community role. Since most members of other races can’t hear or distinguish these tones, let alone produce them, loxos often translate them into titles, such as Hierarch, Revered, Grandmother, Healer, or Saint.
Male Names: Bayul, Berov, Brooj, Chedumov, Dobrun, Droozh, Golomov, Heruj, Ilromov, Kel,
Nikoom, Ondros, Radomov, Svetel, Tamuj, Throom, Vasool
Female Names: Ajj, Boja, Dancu, Dooja, Elyuja, Fanoor, Irij, Jasoo, Katrun, Lyooda, Mayja,
Radu, Shuja, Soofya, Totoor, Verij, Vesmova, Yoolna, Zarij, Zoorja

Loxo Traits
Your loxo character has the following racial traits.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2, and your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Age. Loxo physically mature at the same rate as humans, but they live about 450 years. They highly value the weight of wisdom and experience and are considered young until they reach the age of 60.
Alignment. Most loxoths are lawful, believing in the value of a peaceful, ordered life. They also tend toward good.
Size. Loxo stand between 7 and 8 feet tall. Their massive bodies weigh between 300 and 400 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Powerful Build. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Loxo Bravery. You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
Natural Armor. You have thick, leathery skin. When you aren’t wearing armor, your AC is 13 + your Dexterity modifier. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield’s benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.
Mason’s Proficiency. You gain proficiency with mason’s tools.
Stonecunning. Whenever you make an Intelligence (History) check related to the origin of stonework, you are considered proficient in the History skill and add double your normal proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.
Keen Smell. Thanks to your sensitive trunks, you have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) and Intelligence (Investigation) checks that rely on smell.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

COSMIC SEAS: SPACE LEVIATHAN


SPACE LEVIATHAN
Wildspace is home to its own ecosystem. Tiny organisms float in the stellar currents, deriving all of their energy from it and serving as food for larger creatures. Leviathans (similar in form to enormous eels) filter these organisms out of the air as they swim through wildspace. However, space leviathans are perpetually hungry, and feed on Ichthyomorphs (space fish) and ships just as readily as they do on smaller creatures. Along with undead, leviathans are the primary reason that stardust-mining ships carry enormous harpoons.
Monstrous races such as the Neogi, Slaad and Xill often use Space Leviathans as living ships. They hook small structures—called howdahs—onto the creatures and ride along with them. It is unknown how these creatures control the leviathans. Space Leviathans often have air producing plants and mosses growing on their backs, providing a stable air envelope and minimal ecology.
Gargantuan beast, unaligned
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 247 (15d20 + 90)
Speed fly 120 ft. (hover)
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
28 (+9)
7 (–2)
22 (+6)
1 (–5)
8 (–1)
4 (–3)
Saving Throws Con +10, Wis +3
Damage Immunities cold, necrotic
Conditional Immunities exhaustion, suffocation
Senses passive Perception 9
Languages
Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)

Ethereal Jaunt. As a bonus action, the leviathan can magically shift from the Material Plane to the Ethereal Plane, or vice versa.

Void Dweller. Space Leviathans dwell in the empty expanse between the stars, and do not require air, drink, or sleep. When flying between stars the leviathan magically glides on solar winds, making the immense journey through the void in an impossibly short time.

Actions

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (3d8 + 9) piercing damage. If the target is a Large or smaller creature, it must succeed on a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw or be swallowed by the leviathan. A swallowed creature is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the leviathan, and it takes 21 (6d6) acid damage at the start of each of the leviathan’s turns.
If the leviathan takes 30 damage or more on a single turn from a creature inside it, the leviathan must succeed on a DC 21 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all swallowed creatures, which fall prone in a space within 10 feet of the leviathan. If the leviathan dies, a swallowed creature is no longer restrained by it and can escape from the corpse by using 20 feet of movement, exiting prone.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 20 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (2d8 + 9) bludgeoning damage.

MUTANT CRAWL CLASSICS

This past Christmas I received a copy of Mutant Crawl Classics , an OSR post-apocalyptic game, which is fully compatible with Goodman’s Dun...