Friday, April 24, 2015

Dreamlands: Headless Men

Blemmye (Acephali)
A Blemmyes village in the Cairn Hills
Medium Humanoid, Neutral (CN), Low Intelligence; Band (1d10)*
HD 1+1
AC 12 (natural)
Atk 1 weapon or 1 bite (1d4)
MV: 30ft
SV: F 13, R 15, W 15
XP 15 (CL 1)

"Especially was it unwise to rave of the living things that might haunt such a place; of creatures half of the jungle and half of the impiously aged city—fabulous creatures which even a Pliny might describe with scepticism;" -H.P. Lovecraft, Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family
Blemmyes (also called Acephali or Bhlemphroims) are a race of headless men and women who have their faces in their chests. They have eyes, mouths and noses in their chests, but are without ears and thus deaf. They live in small bands of 20 to 40 individuals, living by hunting and gathering. They are known to eat sentient humanoids, so one must take care when interacting with them.
The Blemmyes come from distant planet Cykranosh but now occupy a considerable region along the borders of Sydathria and Mnar, but can be found in any warm mountainous land. Blemmye slaves and mercenaries are a frequent sight in the Dreamlands, though they are not widely liked. The weird appearance and coarse manners of these headless folk disturb many city-dwellers, but they have some camaraderie amongst rough laborers and street toughs. All Blemmye are foodies, taking great interest and delight in the preparation and sampling of elaborate and varied foods. Because of this, Blemmye cooks are highly sought after though rumors of strange meat is always a concern.

Blemmyes modify their starting scores as follows: +1 Con, -1 Cha. They have a base land speed of 30ft and have a bite attack that deals 1d4 damage. Blemmye are deaf and so are immune to sonic attacks, but are surprised on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. Blemmye spellcasters suffer no spell failure risk due to deafness.
Blemmye have a natural AC of 12 due to their tough skin. Blemmyes cannot wear any armor, but can use shields. Blemmyes can speak Blemmye and Common. Bonus languages are typically Sarnathi, Ghoulish, and Khemite. Blemmyes can advance as Barbarians, Clerics, Fighters, Rangers, Sorcerers and Thieves. They can multi-class as barbarian/clerics, barbarian/sorcerers and sorcerer/thieves.
Grit and Vigor: Blemmyes can speak Blemmye and Standard Chinese. Bonus languages are typically Akkadian, English, and Martian. Blemmyes can advance as Fighting Men and Rogues.

The Blemmyes make for an excellent alien race. These creatures share ancestors with man, they have been bred into their present form through the efforts of an ancient alien race (possibly rogue Elderians) or possibly one or more of the various Great Old Ones such as Atlach-Nacha and Tsathoggua. Some cults dedicated to these Great Old Ones are still in existence amongst the lower castes, and are called Ydheems.
The Cruel Empire of Tsan-Chan officially recognizes the Blemmyes as sentient creatures and distant kin to humanity. However in practice, these creatures are treated as second-class citizens and delegated to the lowest types of jobs. Many Blemmyes work as grunt laborers, thugs and soldiers for corporations.

These rules are made for use with the Blood and Treasure RPG by John Stater. These creatures are also excellent for the up-and-coming Grit and Vigor RPG.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dreamlands: Ghoul Player Characters

GHOUL (Race)
Mr. Ombro Ghoul Thief
Ghouls are a species of undead living as their own society. Ghouls are white or green-skinned humanoid hairless creatures with sharp teeth, pointed ears, and claws. The feet of some "families" of ghouls have further mutated, almost becoming hooves. They inhabit networks of underground tunnels and crypts, and eat the corpses of dead humans. Despite their favored food and reclusive habits, Ghouls are usually not hostile creatures, and can even be decent in their own way.
Ghouls are medium-sized creatures with a base speed of 30 feet. They are rubbery-strong and agile, and so add one point to their starting strength and dexterity scores. Unfortunately, they are disturbing to look upon and have strange ways, and suffer a two point penalty to their starting charisma score. These modifications cannot put a score above 18 or below 3.
Ghouls have a claws that deal 1d4 damage. Opponents hit by their claws must pass a Fortitude saving throw or be be stunned for 1d6 rounds. This does not work on plants, constructs, undead or elementals.
Ghouls have a natural armor class of 12. They are immune to poison and disease and need not breathe or eat, though they can imbibe magical potions and receive the benefit of them.
Ghouls are immune to illusions and mind-affecting effects, poison, sleep effects, paralysis, disease, stunning attacks and death effects. They are also immune to ability damage and drain and to energy damage and drain, as well as fatigue. Ghouls are damaged by cure wounds spells and healed by inflict wounds spells, and are unaffected by raise dead and reincarnate spells. Ghouls do not breathe, eat (though they want to) or sleep.
Ghouls are subject to clerical turning, but player character ghouls may make a Will save to avoid this effect. A result of Destroy Undead inflicts 3d6 damage to the ghoul on a ghoul character. Similarly, control undead attempts act as the dominate monster spell
Ghouls speak Common and Ghoulish and might have picked up virtually any other language. They can advance as cleric/thieves, fighter/thieves or magic-user/thieves.

Ghoul Breeding
Despite being undead, ghouls still feel a need to raise more ghouls. This is managed by inducting humans and other humanoid species into their ranks. Such new ghouls are often drawn from the ranks of orphans and foundlings, raised on ghoulish milk (*gag!*) and food. Eventually these children transform into true undead upon reaching adulthood. Similarly, those slain by a ghouls bite (and not eaten) will rise as a ghoul.

Mordiggian "The Charnel God"
Mordiggian is a Great Old One and is worshipped by ghouls. Mordiggian does not appear to be especially malevolent and has been known to spare those who have not personally offended him or his followers (the ghouls). A different name for Mordiggian is Morddoth, mentioned as the dark god of the ghouls revered in the city of K’n-yan in the Vale of Pnath and remote villages in the land of Khem.
Mordiggian's cult consists exclusively of ghouls, though other races may offer up their dead to the Charnel God, but only as appeasement and not as actual worship. The ghoul priests of Mordiggian cover themselves in long hooded robes of funeral-purple and silver skull-like masks. A tome known as The Ghoul's Manuscript deals with Mordiggian and his cult.
Cleric Alignments: Any
Cleric Powers: Clerics of Mordiggian can use piercing and slashing weapons and are skilled in survival, but have no special power over undead.

These rules are made for use with the Blood and Treasure RPG by John Stater

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dreamlands: Thoughts on a Campaign Setting

The Big Map. More fine tuning and details to come.
When pondering possible campaign settings for the Blood and Treasure and Bloody Basic gaming systems, it struck me that I have yet to see a really good treatment of H.P. Lovecraft's Dream Cycle stories for use in an RPG. One used as a self-contained campaign world, and not just as a possible side-quest for Call of Cthulhu or similar. So I figured I would tinker around with this wonderful setting, and see where it takes us.
For those who don't know, the Dream Cycle stories were a fantasy series written by Lovecraft, that thought dark, was far more fanciful than grim as in his later works. The Dreamlands are a parallel dimension to ours, and is peopled with fanciful creatures and exotic extremes of Earthly peoples and societies. However it is fully a world in its own right and not an airy world lacking in peril. Both dreams and nightmares aplenty dwell here.
So I will be posting setting details, peoples, races and monsters. So stay tuned!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Mythos Clerics (The Elder Ones)

The Elder Ones
The Elder Sign
The Elder Ones are immortal entities in the Cthulhu Mythos. They are generally distinguished from the Outer Gods or Great Old Ones by being less unbearable to behold, and by being less generally inimical to humanity. Some Elder Ones are known to help human beings who have dabbled in the Mythos return to relative safety (though never to an untroubled psyche); it would however be a mistake to assume they are inevitably benevolent. At best, they are still vastly superior to humans and have minds and motivations beyond human understanding; their seeming friendliness may well be coincidental, or due to reasons humans cannot fathom.
Clerics of The Elder Ones follow a wide range of creeds and do not have a large united "church", rather they are allied in opposition to the Outer Gods and Great Old Ones. In fact, clerics of the Elder Ones can be of wildly opposing alignments, and often bicker or even out-and-out war with one another over doctrinal differences and personal disputes.
Cleric Alignments: Any
Clerical Powers: Clerics who revere the entire Elder pantheon have the power to turn or control undead creatures by channeling the power of their faith through their holy or unholy symbols. A cleric of Law (LG, CG, NG) can “turn” or destroy undead creatures. A cleric of Chaos (CE, LE, NE) instead rebukes or commands such creatures (see page 57 in the Blood and Treasure PHB). A cleric of Neutrality (N, CN, LN) must be a specialty priest (see below).

Specialty Priests
Clerics can choose to revere a specific deity to revere, losing the power to turn undead and instead gaining a Specialty Domain power based on the deity. An exhaustive list of Elder Ones would be enormous, however below are some notable members of the pantheon (and their respective alignments):

Hypnos (Chaotic Neutral): Also called Somnus, the god of sleep is often depicted as a winged youth. He appears most often as a strange mix of nightbird and man, some beautiful, some horrific. Clerics of Hypnos are often poets, musicians and magicians. His symbol is the poppy. Priests of Hypnos can use magic-user scrolls and wands as though they were magic-users equal to their cleric level.

Kib (Chaotic Good): This god is the Sender of Life and the creator of beasts. Kib is a wild trickster god who continually schemes to help life succeed in the universe, seeing it all as a grand game. He appears as a wandering entertainer and permanent sightseer. His symbol is a patchwork hat or coat. Priests of Kib are skilled at hiding, move silently and picking pockets.

Mung (Neutral Evil): Mung is the Lord of all Deaths, and thus is the master of undead spirits and places where the dead are buried. Mung appears as a skeletal human wearing an enormous black coak. His symbol is a skill or a skeletal hand (similar to a hand of glory). Priests of Mung may use a touch of death once per day. They must make a successful melee attack against an opponent and roll 1d6 per cleric level. If the roll is higher than the target’s current hit points, they die.

Nodens (Lawful Neutral): Also known as Lord of the Great Abyss or Nuada of the Silver Hand, Nodens appears as an elderly, human male with white hair—gray-bearded and hoary yet still vital and strong. As a hunter, he will chase down servants of the Great Old Ones or Nyarlathotep for sport. Priests of Nodens can use edged and piercing weapons and receive a +1 bonus to all attacks.

Orryx (Lawful Evil): Also called The Bright Flame, Orryx manifests as a giant pillar of blinding white and purple flames. It is a fearsome fire entity who rules over other Lawful fire beings, opposing Chaotic fire creatures. Its symbol is an open flame, of a golden representative of flame. Priests of Orryx can turn water elemental creatures and rebuke fire creatures instead of turning undead creatures.

Ulthar (Lawful Good): Also called Uldar or Ultharathotep is a deity sent to hold vigil over the Great Old Ones. This ancient god appears as a mighty Lamassu wearing a crown and adorned with jewels. Cats are sacred to Ulthar and may never be slain by members of his cult. Ulthar's symbol is the unblinking eye. Priests of Ulthar are skilled at decipher codes, find secret doors and tracking.

The Elder Ones are known of in occult circles across the stars and have numerous cults amongst the rich and poor alike. Clerics as understood by players of DnD or Blood and Treasure do not exist, and so the powers over undead and such are not known. However would-be priests of the Elder Ones must have the ability to cast Turn Undead and MUST be of Lawful alignment. Specialty priests (and domains) are unknown in Mythos Space, though most Magic Users may consider themselves as priests of a specific deity.

The Elder Ones are revered far and wide in the Dreamlands, though regional changes are widespread. There are no large religious centers in the Dreamlands, though local temples and high priests are common in cities and large settled regions.

These rules are made for use with the Blood and Treasure RPG by John Stater

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