Thursday, May 28, 2020

DISNEY & DRAGONS: D&D in Fantasyland

Many times, in recent years I have encountered would-be players of Dungeons and Dragons whose sole experience with the fantasy genre has been Disney animation and themes. They did not read “The Lord of the Rings,” “The Sword of Shannara” or “The Magicians Nephew” as children, and don’t know what you are talking about when mentioning Orcs, Lolth or Elminster. And so, I feel that a series of articles to address this issue was in order.
So, here I will begin with the first installment of a series detailing a Dungeons and Dragons campaign through the lens of Classic Disney animated films, shows, comics and related media. This is meant as a love letter to those old films and to honor the vision of Walt Disney. I am titling this series:
In this series I will be covering the Fantasy Races, Classes, Magic, Monsters and other features for a campaign set in the realm of Fantasyland. This will also include Maps, Regional Details, and sample adventures. For starters, I am sticking to the movies and shows produced up to the death of Walt Disney (1966), as I feel this material best reflect the spirit of D&D style fantasy-adventure. I will dip into later works such as The Black Cauldron, the Adventures of the Gummi Bears and other works as we go, so this is not a hard rule. 
So, stay tuned, we have a great deal of terrain to cover.
Note: It is my intention that this material be a tribute to Disney media in relation to adventure fantasy games. It is NOT meant as a copyright infringement of any kind. I will do my best to be respectful of this material and will link to Disney sources as I go along. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

MECHANOIDS: A Robotic Origin for the Heroic Age

“Whether we are based on carbon or on silicon makes no fundamental difference; we should each be treated with appropriate respect.” ― Arthur C. Clarke, 2010: Odyssey Two
Mechanoids, also known as synthetics, androids or —"artificial persons" (AP), are biomechanical humanoids. They are essentially robots that emulate Humans in both appearance and actions.
The modern Mechanoid is a highly complex machine: stronger, faster and better coordinated than an average human. The basic chassis is a carbon fiber skeleton and artificial musculature. The muscles themselves are vat-grown silicon colloids powered either by pumped micro-hydraulics or electrical stimulation. In the Heroic Age setting, Mechanoids are the product of Inspired Technology (Super Science). Though initially created as laborers, soldiers and companions, they have the option of “buying” themselves from their manufacturers. Now they are a growing minority of non-human beings found in a wide range of jobs, Roles and Allegiances. The vast majority of Mechanoids live and work in “Science Cities” such as Atom City, Empire City, and Lunar City. Mechanoid characters are “humanoid” in shape, with a decidedly “robotic” appearance. They are hairless, mechanical persons with duraplastic and ceramic “skin” and other puppet or machine features. Mechanoids with a high appearance (4+) can elect to have a more organic look using specially made skin and even “hair”, or they might be proudly robotic, but designed to gleam and shine.
Example Connections: Hacktivist friend, Pilots, Super Scientists, Technicians (Aeon, Cerebex, etc)
Origin Skills: Aim, Enigmas, Pilot, Technology
Edges: Direction Sense (•), Photographic Memory (•••), Lightning Calculator (••), Speed Reading (•).
Special (bonus): Self Sufficiency, Fragile Machine

  • Self Sufficiency: Mechanoids are durable by design, as they are built to work in harsh conditions. Your character is completely immune to suffocation, vacuum, poisonous gases, and more severe extremes of heat or cold (typically −80° to 100° C). Mechanoids do not eat, drink or breathe, though they do have need of maintenance that costs an equivalent amount of money and time.
  • Fragile Machine: While the skeletal structure of a mechanoid is sturdy, the electronics and musculature are extremely vulnerable to hydrostatic shock and explosive effects. When a mechanoid takes any damage from electricity or weapons with the explosive enhancement (pp 124), mark a second Health box as well. If this attack is a critical strike, mark four Health boxes instead of two.

These “synthetic persons” are a small but growing minority in the world of the Heroic Age. Though initially seen as a “wonderful innovation”, Mechanoids were quickly viewed as a means to steal jobs and diminish the importance of human workers. After a few highly publicized incidents involving berserk robots and android minions of would-be world conquerors, Mechanoids are not as popular as they once were. Still, these synthetic persons are highly valued in high-risk jobs, and are even known to be heroes of renown in the Heroic Age.
CEREBEX INC: The largest manufacturer of Mechanoids in the world is the tech giant Cerebex Inc. This huge corporation is a leading tech giant of the world, beginning as a computer hardware and software company and quickly entering the fields of technology, industrial manufacturing, robotics and aerospace technology. The head offices and manufacturing facilities in Empire City is hope to a great many Mechanoids, with large numbers working in the cities industries, infrastructure (subway, NYPAFR, etc) and police force.
USAF Space Command: Also known as Solar Warden, the US-AFSC is a major employer of Mechanoids, as these “artificial persons” are ideal candidates for space operations. Mechanoid pilots, laborers, soldiers and super scientists are all highly regarded in the US-AFSC. 

This material is intended for use with the Trinity Continuum Rulebook by Onyx Path Publishing. If you would like to see more of this setting, including maps, creatures, NPCs and other tidbits, swing over to my Patreon. Follow, join, comment and contribute, and I will churn out material in greater amounts. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

MANGANI: Ape Folk of the Heroic Age

The Mangani (aka Alma, Squatch) are a species of higher apes that can be found around the world where they are traditionally associated with “Hairy Men” in local traditions. These creatures greatly resemble gorillas, but are completely bipedal and are as intelligent as a human. Mangani have a very physical society, appreciating muscle and endurance over intellectual pursuits. This has led them to jobs in which they can use their great strength, such as laborers, construction, soldiering, law enforcement and (unfortunately) crime.
The largest populations of Mangani live in the Congo and several “Lost World” regions, but a significant number can be found in British Columbia, New Shambhala and in Empire City. A few Mangani have moved to Caspak City on Caprona Island to act as scouts and translators for the US among the ape-like inhabitants of the Hollow Earth. Mangani are well represented in the Hero and Villain community, using their great physical power to great effect. Mangani surnames are their tribal names, and are a big deal to most Mangani. Some widespread tribal names are; Kerchak (the most numerous), Dzuteh, Malgash, Molak, Toyat, Kangamdi, Ungo, Miche, and Zutho.
Mangani is the name of a fictional species of great apes in the Tarzan novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and of the invented language used by these apes. In the invented language, Mangani (meaning "great-ape") is the apes' word for their own kind, although the term is also applied (with modifications) to humans. The Mangani are represented as the apes who foster and raise Tarzan (a real historic person in the setting).
Example Connections: Bouncers, Park Rangers, Street Gangs, Family Connections
Origin Skills: Athletics, Close Combat, Enigmas, Survival
Edges: Endurance (•••), Hardy (• to •••), Keen Smell (•), Superior Might (••), Tough Cookie (••)
Special (bonus): Brutish, Going Ape

  • Brutish: Although you are the size of a bulky human, you are treated as a Scale 2 being. This allows you to automatically succeed on all rolls to lift, throw, or move objects or characters of Size 1 or smaller. 
  • Going Ape. Whenever you are angry, surprised or otherwise excited you tend to grunt and hoot loudly, beating your chest and snarling. This draws attention and frightens people. You can resist the urge to act this way for one Scene on a successful Resolve roll.


This material is intended for use with the Trinity Continuum Rulebook by Onyx Path Publishing. If you would like to see more of this setting, including maps, creatures, NPCs and other tidbits, swing over to my Patreon. Follow, join, comment and contribute, and I will churn out material in greater amounts. 

EMPIRE CITY: A City Of Adventure for the Heroic Age

Empire City is a booming super-city that combines New York (including the five boroughs) Jersey City and then some. The different cities have been ravaged and rebuilt so often that they all merged into an immense Urban Sprawl. A rich industrial town, Empire City is a polluted and overcrowded mess that always seems to be dark and gloomy. Mafia-style organized crime is very powerful as are corrupt businessmen and politicians. Enormous skyscrapers dominate the skyline with Art-Deco style. The super-rich often dwell here in opulent condos with suspended rail-cars connecting the huge buildings. Overall, Empire City is a larger than life world. Huge skyscrapers, vast industrial yards and deep, deep corruption. A great place for a Heroic Age game.
Super Science plays a very large part in the success of Empire City. A large number of Science Heroes live in the city and have pooled their genius to make Empire City into a veritable futurist's paradise. Several fusion power plants supply the power needs of the greater city, suspension railways connect the vast skyline, deep subway lines, and flying cars and robots for the wealthy are just a few of the high-tech innovations made possible through the power of science!
NOTE: This setting is intended for use with the Trinity Continuum Rulebook by Onyx Path Publishing. If you would like to see more of this setting, including maps, creatures, NPCs and other tidbits, swing over to my Patreon. Follow, join, comment and contribute, and I will churn out material in greater amounts. 

The center of it all, Empire Island is a bustling center and home to much of the elite of Empire City.
Aeon Society- The Aeon Society is quite active in Empire City, and maintains a large clubhouse on Empire Island. Many members of the society are employed by one of several corporations found in the city such as Captain Aero of Reade Iron Works, and Don Wright of The Daily Bulletin.
Branch 9, Empire City- Branch 9 has several offices in Empire City, with its central offices located on Empire Island. There are a great many weird things happening in the city, and Branch 9 often works with local police to deal with the stranger incidents.
Waite National Bank- A major financial institute located on Empire Island. This huge bank is an ancient gothic structure resembles a fortress. The science hero known as Magno the Magnetic Man is known to be in the employ of the Bank, whose exploits as a bounty hunter are highly publicized.

The most densely populated borough of Empire City, the ultra-modern Kingsburg is covered in huge skyscrapers, housing developments and high-tech industry. The can-do attitude and innovation of Empire City can really be felt here, as industry and home neighborhoods blend seamlessly into an impressive whole.
Cerebex Inc. (Home of the Super Brain)- Cerebex is a leading tech giant of the world, beginning as a computer hardware and software company and quickly entering the fields of technology, industrial manufacturing, robotics and aerospace technology. Dr. William R, Jackson founder, CEO, and chief engineer/designer of the company is a reclusive super scientist and polymath.  Cerebex Inc also maintains manufacturing facilities in Iron City and on South Island.
New York Power Authority Fusion Reactor- This massive tokamak nuclear fusion reactor came on lime five years ago and is quickly taking over the power requirements of the city. The mutants that occasionally turn up in the city sewers are mere coincidence.

Queensburg is the largest borough geographically and is adjacent to the borough of Kingsburg at the western end of Long Island. Queensburg also shares water borders with the boroughs of Empire Island and the East End. Queensburg is densely populated but considered more “homey” than other boroughs.
Danner Industrial Technology (DIT)- A biotech corporation that specializes in super-crops and medical tech. This facility has a massive hydroponics plant that supplies much of the city’s food supply. DIT also maintains a huge botanical garden in East Side which is the highest ranked botanical garden in the US.
Dinosaur Circus (Zoo)- This massive zoo and science facility hosts living displays of numerous dinosaur species taken from several Lost World locales and from the Hollow World. The structure housing the dinosaurs is state of the art and capable of housing many more dinosaur species.
Global Cartography Initiative, Empire City Branch- The Global Cartography Initiative has large offices in Queensburg in cooperation with the Dinosaur Circus. The facility has a large database and small museum dedicated to exploration and mapping of the wider world and its marvels.

East Side is a borough of Empire City. It is a bustling place full of entertainment facilities, cultural centers and a vibrant arts scene. 
East Side Botanical Gardens- These huge botanical gardens house plants from around the world and beyond, including Lost World, Hollow Earth and even some from Mars and Venus.
Marstown (Alien Ghetto)- A neighborhood and home to Alien asylum seekers of several species and origins. They keep mostly to themselves and are generally considered to be far less interesting than people thought they would be.
Yankee Megaplex- This huge facility is a veritable city in its own right. A huge stadium, shops, restaurants, high end hotel and permanent housing for the elite.

West side is a borough of Empire City and home for a larger portion of the cities shipping and manufacturing. It is a proud, blue collar town and full of the tough can-do attitude that Empire City is widely known for.
Lonely Street- A rough and tumble street in the West Side. Lonely street is home to an energetic criminal culture.
Underbridge- Large underground housing located under the old West End Bridge and connecting with several major Subway lines. Underbridge has fallen into disrepair and is now under the control of gangs and the homeless.
Zombie Outbreak Response Association (ZORA)- The zombie issue of many back-street areas of Empire City is a problem that almost nobody wants to deal with. Though this issue can be found in many sewer and waterfront areas, the West Side has the most energetic presence of the Zombie Outbreak Response Association in Empire City. ZORA is particularly active fighting zombie outbreaks in Iron City, Orange City and Queensburg.

A borough of Empire City built around the industrial manufacturing plants of Reade Iron Works. The borough is home to many low rent apartment buildings.
Borden Industries- A massive industrial transport and shipping corporation in Readesburg. Owned by the brilliant and ferocious Ann Borden who is known to socialize with costumed heroes.
Reade Iron Works- A vehicle and technology manufacturing company founded by Frank Reade in the late 19th century.

Iron Town is a manufacturing town, and home to many semi-skilled and skilled laborers.
Cerebex Manufacturing- Cerebex Inc has a large factory here. Robotic manufacturing is the norm, but there is a need for human technicians to keep the robots running well.
Farr Military Academy- Elite military academy that trains agents in the use of NexGen technology.

Orange City is a well to do town with a manufacturing beginning.
New Samarkand- A large number of people from the nation of Samarkand has a neighborhood here. Their links to Moon Girl and the Lunar society are considerable.
Triton Foundation, Empire City- The charity branch of the Aeon Society has a large facility in Orange City. The Triton Foundation building is connected to many hospitals, soup kitchens and churches and other groups across Empire City.

South Island is a largely residential borough of Empire City. Many who live here work in Kingsburg and Empire Island.
Demon Ministry Headquarters- The Demon Ministry is a branch of the government tasked with keeping humans safe from demons by either killing them or putting them under protection as informants.

HEROIC AGE: Modern Pulp Adventure in the Trinity Continuum

The Trinity Continuum roleplaying game by Onyx Path Publishing is excellent for creating pulpy, proto-superhero type characters. I love such extraordinary but relatable characters over super-powered ones, focusing on Action, Science and Guile Heroes fells more substantial to me. That said I like the thought of a world shaped by mad science and full of all of the weirdness of the pulps and strange fiction.
Though I will be using elements of the Aeon Continuum of games, I will be focusing a on Talents. Psiads, Psions, Novas and Aberrants will be replaced Anomalies. Aliens, mutants, urban legends and eldritch abominations. Psychics in this setting will be cold readers, hypnotists and users of weird gadgets and drugs. But don’t worry, things will get pretty weird as is.
If you would like to see more of this setting, including maps, creatures, NPCs and other tidbits, swing over to my Patreon. Follow, join, comment and contribute, and I will churn out material in greater amounts. 

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 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), SCP Foundation, Two Fisted Tales, The Goon, The Onion, The Weekly World News, Hellboy and Tom Strong. Podcasts of relatable content are the Drabblecast, Coast to Coast AM, The Weird Tales Podcast, and the Stranger Than Fiction Podcast.

As a general rule of the Heroic Age, a great many pulpy 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 and vampire films in health class. 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).


NEXT! Locations of Note. Origins. Factions. Anomalies and More!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019


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!

Friday, December 21, 2018


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 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
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)
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.

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
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 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
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)


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.

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 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
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)
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.

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.

“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.

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


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.

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.


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,

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


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.

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.

DISNEY & DRAGONS: D&D in Fantasyland

Many times, in recent years I have encountered would-be players of Dungeons and Dragons whose sole experience with the fantasy genre h...