Monday, June 27, 2016

Mythos Space: The World of Skarl

Planet Name: Skarl
Planet Type: Garbage Planet
Sector: Bai Hu
System: Kaiwan (Aldebaran)
Atmosphere: Standard
Gravity: Imperial Standard (though slightly lower).
Day Length: 85 hours
Year Length: 4,499 days
Population: (30% human, 20% mutant, 20% ab-human, 20% android, 10% other)
Government: Plutocracy
Tech Level: Industrial (Hyperspace in Trigon City)

Skarl is one of many moons of the gas giant Khora, and the only life-bearing planet in the Kaiwan (aka Aldebaran) system. Skarl has a breathable atmosphere and is a rocky desert of spare parts, rusting ship hulls and other waste products. This system is a major trade hub for this sector and a favored jumping off point for ships heading out to Bullseye and Wu Ju. It is also a favorite spot for ships coming in to the Empire with trade goods or for needed repairs (or to hide out). 
Outside of the city itself, Skarl is a harsh, wilderness of jagged mountains, sharp rock, and enormous piles of scrap and waste. Tribes of wandering scavengers, ragged settlements and monsters are all that dwells in the wilderness of Skarl. Dangers in the wilderness on Skarl include cliffs, cold, starvation and thirst, vermin and wear and tear. Animal life here is mostly dogs, rats, flies and roaches. Monsters here include ghouls, black puddings, toves, pnathian deathworms, mandroids and Ibogo beetles (see below). For alien encounters, MiGo and Grey are occasional visitors to the hills of Skarl as well as Trigon City, as are occasional mad cults to one or more Old Ones.

PLACES OF NOTE


Trigon City: Trigon is a large spaceport/city that is overgrown and renowned as a fleshpot and decadent pleasure port. Orbital repair facilities and the sale of refurbished starships are major industries here. The city spreads out over a full third of the planet and swallows up lakes mountains and rivers. It burrows underground, level upon level and is home to teeming millions. As a vast metropolic, Trigon City has a vibrant criminal underworld. 
POD-ROB HQ: The Police Robots enforce the law in Trigon City, and are centered in this large building, most of which is underground. POD-ROB has millions of robots under its command. Lawbreakers will find the police-bots to be single-minded foes who will try their best to bring criminals in to be imprisoned before trial.
Smogtown: The Industrial factories of Trigon City, staffed by living and machine alike. The air in smogtown is always at least somewhat toxic. This section churns out finished products of every description, from minor tools to starships.
Temple of Roon (Hyperspace Cult): This massive pyramid is to be found next to the spaceport. The structure is a self-contained city in its own right, and is home to a large number of acolytes dedicated to Roon, the god of going. The temple acts as a hyperspace beacon, allowing stable transiting into and out of hyperspace. Those seeking travel blessings or the services of a technomage can be found on the lower levels.
Trade Towns: These ramshackle towns can be found here and there in the wastelands, and are full of every sort of outcast such as aliens, ghouls and robo-droids. All of these towns are walled, and are usually protected by ferocious militias. 
Temple of Jabim: A lonely temple dedicated to Jabim, Lord of Broken Things can be found in the wastelands. The temple itself is constructed of a crashed starship, and has many modifications.  The temple attracts all sorts of broken people and creatures, such as mutants and mandroidsThe priests of this temple (Mechanics, Psions and Occultists) can be found anywhere on the planet, working as junk merchants and repairmen.


Ibogo Beetle Swarm (Pseudo Roach)
Type: Vermin
Size: Tiny (5-10” long)
Intelligence: Non- (0)
Hit Dice: 5
Movement: 15/150 (Climb 15)
Armor Class: 14
Attacks: Swarm (2d4)
Saving Throws: F14, R13, W13
Special: Immunities (poison, disease, radiation)
Environment: Any 
No. Appearing: 1d4
XP Value: 250 (CL 5)
Ibogo Beeltes are a vicious species of red, eyeless insectoid that appears out of Hyperspace much like Toves and Raths, and are a favorite prey of Toves. Individually a Ibogo beetle is not dangerous, but in swarms they can be deadly, able to strip the flesh off of a human in under a minute (i.e. six rounds), leaving only a ragged skeleton. Thankfully they are afraid of light, and can be fended off by a flashlight or campfire. Anyone travelling across the wastes of Skarl will encounter these things, and are advised to keep to well lit areas or otherwise carry a powerful light source. 


Note: These rules are made for use with the Grit and Vigor Tabletop RPG. Its a fun game that hearkens back to older versions of role-playing games, but are easier to learn and to play. Check it out!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Mythos Space: Planets of The Cosmos


In the universe of Mythos Space, mankind has been settling known space for almost three hundred years, Grit and Vigor RPG for a backdrop. and with abducted Earth hominids, human-like aliens, and Quantum Time Distortion, some of the far flung colonies out there have been out there for quite a long time. These rules use the

MYTHOS SPACE PLANET KEY
Below are the basic rules I will be using in regards to planets in the Mythos Space campaign setting. I am using terms and concepts taken from Planet Adventure stories from the 1920's to the 1970's.
Planet Name: The worlds name. Usually decided by the settlers and/or their corporate backers.
Planet Type: Planets in Mythos Space and Pulp Age fall into broad classifications, as follows:
City Planet (Ecumenopolis): Urban sprawl has taken over the entire surface of a world. Often has a population in the trillions, though not always. Usually has a Garbage Planet in the same system or even in its lower levels. Terrain Types on such worlds include cliffs, hunger, thirst, vermin and wear and tear (see Grit and Vigor pages 83-85). Life-forms on such worlds are usually only in the underworld/sewers.
Cloud Planet: These worlds are entirely made of gas, much like Jupiter or Saturn. If something or someone lives here, either it can float or fly, or there are hover-cities. Either way, watch that first step. Terrain Types on such worlds include cold, poison, falling and getting lost (see Grit and Vigor pages 83-85). Life on such worlds must be capable of flight (and usually huge), like Sawsnarks.
Dark Planet: Like the Desert, but owe their lack of plant life to perpetual night; usually due to constant opaque cloud cover or spooky ominous fog. If inhabited, this might be the product of industrialization run amok, with the clouds being clouds of pollution. Terrain Types on such worlds include cold, thirst, poison, wear and tear and the dangers of getting lost in the dark (see Grit and Vigor pages 83-85).
Death World: Not a biome in and of itself, but can be any of the aforementioned types. This is a world where Everything Is Trying to Kill You, but you still have compelling reasons to go there. Terrain Types on such worlds include all dangers (see Grit and Vigor pages 83-85). These worlds can have any and every sort of monster.
Desert Planet: These look like the cheaper parts of California, and are thus very common. If it can sustain life, a desert planet will have aliens that act like Bedouin or Touareg, and a thriving black market on water. Terrain Types on such worlds include Cold (at night), dry heat, thirst, wear and tear and exposure to radiation (see Grit and Vigor pages 83-85).
Forest Planet: A planet whose land surface is mostly or entirely covered by temperate to sub-tropical forest. Earth several million years ago could be considered a Forest Planet, since the warmer atmosphere and higher atmospheric humidity levels meant much more of the planet was covered in lush forest. Terrain Types on such worlds include cold and ice in the winter, starvation and thirst, storms, vermin and wear and tear (see Grit and Vigor pages 83-85). bbbbb
Garbage Planet
Garbage Planet: The entire planet is being used as a dumping ground for useless waste. Likely to act as home for scavengers looking to make a quick buck, treasure hunters seeking some long-lost treasure, and large numbers of mercenaries and criminals. Terrain Types on such worlds include cliffs, disease, poison, thirst, vermin, wear and tear (see Grit and Vigor pg 83-85).
Ice Planet: Planets whose entire surfaces look like Greenland glaciers. Somewhat justified, as there actually are frozen-over planets and moons (for example, several moons of Jupiter and Saturn). Really cold Ocean Planets can become an Ice Planet. Terrain Types on such worlds include cold, ice, starvation and thirst, storms and wear and tear (see Grit and Vigor pages 83-85). Animals common to the Ice Planets include prehistoric mammal analogs, burrowing monsters and Yetis.
Jungle Planet: Mind the bugs, they are positively enormous. Expect most things that crop up in Hungry Jungle stories. Terrain Types on such worlds include humid heat, starvation and thirst, vermin and wear and tear (see Grit and Vigor pages 83-85). The dangerous animals most associated with jungle planets are insects, giant apes, and reptiles, even dinosaurs.
Ocean Planet: These tend to have just a few, if any, mountains tall enough to breach the surface and make islands; if there are, they're prime beachfront vacation spots. Terrain Types on such worlds include cold, thirst, storms, wear and tear and the possibility of drowning (see Grit and Vigor pages 83-85).
Mountain World: These planets are all or nearly all hills and mountains, with most life (if any) living in nooks and crannys between the peaks or underground. Terrain Types on such worlds include cliffs, cold and ice, dry or humid heat, starvation and thirst, storms, vermin and wear and tear (see Grit and Vigor pages 83-85).
Swamp Planet: Like the Jungle, but easier to lose your shoe. (Or your ship). Terrain Types on such worlds include humid heat, starvation and thirst, vermin and wear and tear (see Grit and Vigor pages 83-85). The dangerous animals most associated with swamp worlds are insect swarms, plant monsters and reptiles, even dinosaurs.
Twilight world (Tidally Locked Planets): While not truly single-biome, they traditionally have only about three: blazing hot desert on the day side, temperate zone of perpetual twilight at the day/night terminator, and sub-freezing wasteland on the night side. Terrain Types on such worlds include cold, heat, thirst, storms, wear and tear and getting lost in the dark (see Grit and Vigor pages 83-85).
Volcano Planet: Defined by earthquakes, smoke, rivers of lava, and lots and lots of unchained mountains you don't want to climb. Terrain Types on such worlds include cliffs, dry heat, poisonous fumes, fire, wear and tear (see Grit and Vigor pages 83-85) and the danger of lava.
Sector: In stellar cartography, a sector, which s referred to as a star sector or space sector, is a region within the Milky Way Galaxy. Sectors are composed of an area and volume encompassing several light years and typically contain several star systems. Some examples are Bai Hu Sector, Crab Nebula, Pleiades Sector, and Sector 8023.
System: The planets Star System or the name of the planets Sun(s).
Atmosphere: The planets atmosphere, if any. The standard classifications are as follows:
None: No atmosphere to speak of. Instantly lethal to anyone without a spacesuit.
Terran Standard: Air suitable for earth life.
Thin: Like high altitudes, such places may require an oxygen tank. Otherwise characters must make a Fortitude save each round of activity, or be fatigued.
Toxic: Character must make a Fortitude save each round or suffer the effects of poison (roll 1d4 for poison intensity, see Grit and Vigor page 62).
Gravity:  A planets gravity is an important factor. Though greater extremes exist, these are the basics:
High Gravity: Item weights doubled, weapon ranges halved, attack rolls at -2 for non-natives, falling damage is doubled.
Low Gravity: Item weights halved, weapon ranges doubled, attack rolls at -2 for non‐natives, falling damage halved.
Standard Gravity (Earth-Like): No changes.
Day Length: In 60 minute hours.
Year Length: In 24 hour days.
Population: Both the numbers (and a percentile breakdown of the planets races).
Government: A planet can have any sort of government, but the following are the most common:
Autocracy: A government under the control of a single leader. Usually a monarch or dictator.
Bureaucracy: A society ruled by rules and paperwork. Its like having the DMV running a planet.
Democracy: A society ruled by the majority of its citizens.
Plutocracy: A society ruled by the rich. Usually has medieval style ranks such as Duke, Earl etc.
Republic: A society ruled by elected officials.
Technocracy: A society ruled by experts such as scientists and engineers.
Theocracy: A society ruled by religious or spiritual institutions.
Tech Level: The level of technological equipment available to the citizens of the planet. Common types are:
Stone-Age: Stone, bone and wood implements or the equivalent.
Pre-Industrial: Everything from Ancient Egyptian to Renaissance level.
Industrial: Industrial Revolution up to WW2 era technology.
Space-faring: Capable of interplanetary travel and space-borne industry.
Hyperspace: Access to hyperspace and its weird energies. Some magic-like powers.
Transcendent/Singularity: Beyond human understanding.

So for example, here is a writeup for our very own Mars in the 51st Century:

Planet Name: Mars
Planet Type: Desert Planet.
Sector: Imperial Space.
System: Sol System. 
Atmosphere: Thin 
Gravity: Imperial Standard (though slightly lower).
Day Length: 23 hours 56 minutes.
Year Length: 687 days.
Population: 8m (20% Human, 30% Mutant, 10% Serpentmen, 25% Android, 10% Aihais, 5% Other)
Government: Autocracy (Duke Guan Yu VIII)
Tech Level: Hyperspace.
Mars is a major world in the Sol System, and the site of a large factory and Imperial Ship-works. Though terraforming has been underway for centuries, the world is still dry, cold and harsh. For Eons the world has been in sharp decline, and the original inhabitants were forced to live underground in the planets abundant lava tubes as well as artificial caverns and tunnels. Since the coming of Earth settlers, several surface towns have been re-settled. Overall Mars has the feel of being bot new and lively and old and tired at the same time. Several places of note are:
Ignarh: The Commercial Metropolis of Mars and seat of the Imperial representative Duke Guan-Yu VIII. It is a bustling city that is mostly underground, but has numerous domes poking up to the surface. Law and order here is brutal and efficient in the rich quarters, but crime and graft are rife in the rest of the city. Gangs of mutants and aliens and the worst sorts of crimes like organlegging, slavery and worse are common. 
Lakkdarol: One of many trade towns on Mars, but one with its own small spaceport. The town is rough-hewn, jumbles slum, though it has a lively market and a number of interesting old temples. Located near the ancient Cydonian ruins, Lakkdarol is especially liked by smugglers, pirates, runaway slaves, exiled Space Patrol officers and more than a few adventurers. 
Ravormos: This is an underground city still ruled primarily by the Martians, and the site of the great Temple of  Sleep, where the Great Old One Vulthoon (Gsarthotegga) sleeps. This temple houses many strange arcane technologies and alien plants, and houses deep arcane knowledge. Imperial forces leave this town mostly to itself, though efforts by the Undying and other mystic societies to establish better relations are underway.

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Next: Setting details on several planetary Systems, More Starships, and Rogues Gallery characters. And much MUCH more! So stay tuned.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Ape Apocalypse: Campaign Setting

Ape Apocalypse is a campaign setting for use with the Grit and Vigor Tabletop RPG. It embraces the wild and wonderful genre of the Post Apocalypse. I will be drawing from some of my favorite apocalyptic books, comics, TV shows, comics and cartoons for inspiration. Most of these sources will be drawn from the many wonderful publications from the 50's through to the late 70's, as I find that books on the subject from that time were particularly clever.
How, when or why the world as we know it came to an end is not something that I am going to focus on. Rather the player characters will have grown up hearing all kinds of stories about how THE END came about. As a general backdrop, it will be a mix of Global Pandemics, Nuclear, Chemical and Biological weapons and Environmental Disasters (floods, fires, earthquakes etc) that did it. Now, after the end of the old world, the world has returned to a primeval state.

The World (North America)

A lot has changed since THE END. The seas have risen with melting ice caps, making global temperatures higher by over 42.86°F (6°C). Jungle and dense forest cover formerly temperate zones, while coastal areas are frequently battered by storm surges, category 6 hurricanes and other freak weather events. The heat and past over-farming and unwise hybrid crops has turned the former breadbasket states into harsh desert and scrub-land. Animals roam the once busy streets and highways and make homes in human houses. Cats, dogs, rats, flies, and parasites are the most widespread life. Pigs are a real menace, dwelling in ruins and wilderness. Gene-spliced species are all over the place, but are unstable and often diseased. Aberrations, Undead (ghouls and zombies in particular) and Mutant Beasts haunt ancient cities and poisoned swamps.
So the Earth is a wild, wild place. Haunted by monsters, radiation, toxins and mutated creatures. But life goes on.
CIVILIZATION: With the collapse of the old world and a large die-back of mankind, civilization if very different, not not too unfamiliar. The vast majority of people live in small petty kingdoms, towns and in nomadic bands that can be found thruought the wilderness. Many of these small communities keep mostly to themselves much like the feudal kingdoms of old, but usually with more of a Wild West feel. Hereditary leaders and leading families are the norm, with the top man or woman usually called Sherrif, Mayor, or Governor rather than Baron, Duke or King, but the difference is hard to tell. Several large city-states exist, and are ruled by either a Lord-Mayor, or a Governor supported by a City Council, Sherrifs, and Police. These city-states retain what large industry still exists on Earth, with most having one or more specialties.
The Ape Republic (see below) mostly keep to their sole city-state of Ape City or to plantations owned by wealthy ape landholders. These apes are notorious slavers, keeping humans and humanoids as slaves on their plantations and even in their homes. Technologically the apes are at a early 1800's level of technology, but can use higher levels of technology.
TECHNOLOGY: The settings technology will be a combination of scavenger world tech and steampunk, mostly due to the lack of the many industries needed to maintain gas production. Most engines are powered by coal, ethanol or liquid methane. Some sources of electrical power still exist, but are usually regional or at least too clunky to keep going. General technology will be mid to late 1800s (Wild West) with up to 1920's in the city-states. Anything more than that is up to individual workings of plucky inventors.


RACES
Rather than a host of weird mutant races, the world of Ape Apocalypse has Humans, Humanoids and Apes. The really weird sorts of mutants can be created with the Psion Class, Psychic powers and assorted monsters. Really weird and/or gross mutants are considered enemies by ape and man.


HUMANS
Humanity came very close to extinction via the events that brought about THE END, and may yet be doomed. Regardless of the humans origins, all humans are created as standard characters as outlined in Grit and Vigor. However there are many factions and tribes of humankind, and so some thought is called for. Several broad groupings are:
Regular Joes (Humans): These are the regular people created as standard in Grit and Vigor. These are identical to modern humans in every way, though rougher and tougher on average. Human morality of the time is much like that of 1800's America, especially concerning the Industrial Revolution and Wild West elements. The presence of slave-taking apes (and humans) and the many monstrous beasts of the wastelands breed some tough, no-nonsense folks.
Humanoids (New Neanderthals): Barbaric human-kin that have degenerated to their present state since THE END. They now comprise the majority of humans outside of the city-states. Humanoids look like hairy, primitive humans with thick limbs and rough features. They modify their starting ability scores as follows: Str +1, Con +1, Int -1. Humanoids have a knack for survival. Humanoids speak their own unique clan language and might also speak Ape, Creole, English, Mexican or Spanglish. They may dual-class as humans.


APES

Apes or Ape-men are the descendants of genetic experiments carried out on apes during the years prior to the apocalypse. They are a hybrid of humans and apes, with the keen intellect of humans but the strength of apes. Ape civilization is roughly that of 1890's, but they lack creativity and innovation, basing their technology off of old human designs.

Gorillas (Abanu, Gorilloid)
Art by Mentor Huebner
"You know as well as I that the wild humans have raided our farms. That, combined with the crop downturns, will cause starvation. We must invade and take those lands. What could be worse than famine, Doctor?" -General Ursus
Gorillas are the warriors of the apes; burly and brash and easily annoyed. Gorillas are often treated like the "big dumb cousins" of ape society, but many of them are in fact quite intelligent and can be quite gentle towards close friends and family.
Gorillas have a tendency towards "black and white" views on things, and tend to have lifelong prejudices. No gorilla is comfortable under the command of humans, as they see this as unnatural, they will work for pay from humans however. Many gorillas can be found in the ape-military or working as mercenaries in the city-states where they are in high demand.
GORILLA CHARACTER CREATION
Gorillas add +6 to their starting strength (max. 24). They modify their starting constitution by +1 and reduce their starting intelligence by 1 (max. 18, min. 3). When not using a weapon, a gorilla can make a claw or bite attack each round, scoring 1d4 points of damage. They are capable of launching into a menacing display of power that forces creatures with 0 HD or less than half the gorilla's hit dice to pass a Will saving throw or be frightened for 1d4 rounds. Gorillas speak Ape Common and might also speak Creole, English, Mexican or Spanglish.
Gorillas are limited to 7th level, except as fighters, at which they can advance to 9th level. They may not dual-class.

Chimpanzees (Chuman, Humanzee)
Art by Mentor Huebner
"Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death." -Cornelius
The chimps are the adventurers and risk-takers of the ape people, always curious and often chattering. They are all curious and interested in learning and exploring, and so are the most likely to communicate with humanity than are other apes. Most Chimps are considered "cute" by other apes and many humans, and so can often get away with indiscretions more readily. Even cross-ape and cross species relationships are not unheard of, though they are still taboo.
Chimpanzees are emotional and intersted in experiencing life, and so many take to the life of the explorer and wanderer. Many can be found in the city-states working in a wide range of positions.
CHARACTER CREATION
Chimps add +2 to their starting strength (max. 20). They modify their starting intelligence by +1 and reduce their starting wisdom by 1 (max. 18, min. 3). Chimps have a knack for climbing sheer surfaces. In place of a weapon attack, a chimp can make a claw or bite attack that deals 1d3 points of damage. Chimps speak Ape Common and might also speak Creole, English, Mexican or Spanglish.
Chimps are limited to 9th level, except as daredevils, at which they can advance to 11th level. They may not dual-class.

Orangutans (Hutan, Pongo)
Art by Mentor Huebner
"You are right, I have always known about man. From the evidence, I believe his wisdom must walk hand and hand with his idiocy. His emotions must rule his brain. He must be a warlike creature who gives battle to everything around him, even himself." -Dr. Zaius
Orangutans are the "wise old men" of the ape community, bureaucrats, clergy and leaders. Almost as strong as gorillas and deeply spiritual, Orangutans make excellent teachers, scientists and leaders. They are often found leading the Ape Republic, and settle matters via Democratic means.
Orangutans usually keep to Ape City or other Ape settlements, preferring not to mingle with mankind. Still, a few have made their way to the city-states and mingle with humans. Most however distrust mankind deeply.
CHARACTER CREATION
Orangutans add +4 to their starting strength (max. 22). They modify their starting wisdom by +1 and reduce their starting charisma by 1 (max. 18, min. 3) due their stodginess and superior attitudes. Orangutans have a knack for climbing sheer surfaces. In place of a weapon attack, an orangutan can make a claw or bite attack that deals 1d4 points of damage. Orangutans
speak Ape Common and might also speak Creole, English, Mexican or Spanglish.
They are limited to 8th level, except as scholars, at which they can advance to 10th level. They may not dual-class.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Mythos Space: Moon Beast Mecha

Lengite Trooper (L), Moon-Beast and Slave Walker (R)
Moon-Beast Slave Walker
Class: Light
Size: Large
Hit Dice: 20 (105 hp)
Armor Class: 18 (Steel 2)
Speed: 4 mph (35’)
Targeting: +3
Maneuver: +2
Weapons: 1x drill-whip (3d8), 2x light laser, 2x stun rifle (see advanced weapons), 1x psychic emitter (Mind Blast, Ego Whip, Dominate).
The dreaded moon-beasts are notorious slavers, and wicked merchants in the universe of Mythos Space. The moon-beasts are traders, exchanging Sharga Gems and weird technology for gold and slaves in their great black starships. They use the Lengites as their go-betweens and as foot soldiers, a role the Lengites happily take part in though they are slaves. The Moon beasts are happy to trade with those they cannot conquer, and can be found in the lower wards of many planetary slums. They are officially despised by the Empire and legitimate governments, but the arcane technology and forbidden pleasures that they sell are a source of great profit for many. Space Patrol has a particular loathing for Moon Beasts and Lengites.
The Slave Walkers are built for the taking of slaves for the Moon Beast merchant empire, and for waging war. These tripod walkers are a terror to encounter. The moon beast pilot is in clear view, but protected by a powerful force-field that grants full armor and renders the pilot and walker immune to lasers, fire or electricity. Pilots of these mecha can survive for 2d4 days within the vehicles without replenishment.

This Mecha make use of the Grit and Vigor RPG. Stats for Moon Beasts, Lengites, basics on Mythos Space and Mecha call all be found in NOD #29. Check it out!

I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
-- Henry Vaughan