Monday, March 30, 2020

Plagues and Poxes

Content warning: This is a list of fantasy diseases. If you're stressed about the current real-life (decidedly un-fantastic) epidemic sweeping the earth, it might be best to skip this one. Take care of yourself.
My friend has maladies, rickets, and allergies
That she dates back to the 17th century
Somehow she manages, in her misery...

Some people have been posting diseases lately, so I decided to join in.

Anyway, here's wonderwallthe list of diseases (and one deadly poison) for the fantasy game i'm writing

Disease and Poison

Disease and poison are an ever-present threat on the wild shores of the Mountain, and in truth even in the civilized world. Unliving things such as undead, constructs, and immortals are immune to poison and disease.

Poisons and Venoms

Poison deals damage and/or a secondary effect. When a character is first exposed to the poison they roll Strength. If they fail, the poison has entered their system and they take its damage or effects, then repeat the roll the next round or take it again—repeating each round until they succeed.

A typical poison is Grandmother’s Tongue, a black, viscous liquid that can be processed out of the teeth of humanoids that have devoured their children. It can be delivered through ingestion or injury, deals 3d6 damage per round, and costs 3,000 sp per dose.

Diseases and Maladies

When a character is first exposed to a disease or malady they roll a stat according to the disease. On a failure, they have contracted the disease in its incubation stage, and reroll the next day or suffer the effects. Any hit point or ability score damage caused by a disease cannot be healed until the disease is cured.

Stages of Disease

  • Incubation/Remission. When a disease is in its incubation or remission stage its effects on a character are lessened, but they still do not recover from any damage caused by it and roll against the disease each day. On a success, the character fights off the disease and is cured. On a failure, the disease progresses/returns to the advanced stage and applies its effects to the character again.
  • Advanced. When a disease is in its advanced stage the character rolls against the disease every day or suffers its effects. On a success, the disease goes into remission and does not affect the character that day—though any lasting effects and damage persist.

Disease and Malady List

Brewer’s Buboes
Save: Strength
Effects: 1d3 Wisdom damage. Your flesh is slowly eaten away by yeast, processing the sugars in your blood directly into alcohol. Swollen buboes on the soft parts of your body produce strong, clear liquor when pierced. Drinking the liquor causes brewer’s buboes.

Caver’s Curse
Save: Wisdom
Effects: Reverses the effects of gravity on you and anything you’re personally carrying. Can be contracted by surviving at least 10d6 falling damage.

Save: Strength
Effects: Your eyes turn into burning coals, causing you to go blind. Anything you look at takes 1d6 natural fire damage per round as it curls and blackens, burning without flame. Your eyelids burn off immediately. It’s real hard to look at stuff when you’re blind—you can roll Wisdom opposed by AC to hit a specific thing, but only if you have some other way of knowing where it is. Alternatively, someone else could just aim your head like a cannon with a DEX Attack roll. This can be contracted from inhaling the ashes of an unconsecrated fire, and is deeply stigmatized as a sign that one handles natural flame.

Save: Strength
Effects: Blood, blood, you have too much blood. You have to let the blood out by taking at least 6 points of hit point damage per day from sources that cause bleeding (points and edges) or take 1 Strength damage as your blood is diluted and your organs are overwhelmed. On the upside, you can’t bleed out and can roll twice on the death & dismemberment table and take the most fortuitous result. You can catch this by ingesting the blood of dogs or dogmen.

Fish Cysts
Save: Strength
Effects: White, pink, orange, or green-black cyst-eggs form all across your skin. They rapidly mature and hatch, spawning horrible toothed fish like leaping piranhas. Whenever you start your turn within 5 feet of another creature, one fish spawns for each creature within 5 feet of you and launches itself at them, making a ranged attack with DEX Attack 11 and dealing 1 damage plus attaching itself if it hits. You take 1 damage for every fish-cyst that spawns a fish.
Attached fish deal 1 damage each round at the end of the creature they’re attached to’s turn. A fish can be pulled off and crushed with an attack action, or can be attacked. Attached fish have 1 hit point and 0 AC. A “missed” attack roll against the fish still kills it, but also deals damage to the creature it was attached to.

Save: Dexterity
Effects: Tiny invisible creatures are ruining your life. Nobody else can see them, but they dog your every move, getting in the way and fucking up everything you try to do. Whenever you roll a natural 20, it counts as a natural 1—meaning you not only can’t critically succeed at anything, you critically fail twice as often. These can be contracted by looking at someone who has them while you’re able to see invisible creatures—they see you back and run at you, the Dexterity roll is to dodge them or shake them off.

The Leaks
Save: Strength
Effects: Your stomach turns, and thin, corrosive goo leaks out of your mouth, eyes, ears, nose, and every other orifice. The goo deals 1 acid damage to anything it touches and carries the leaks, but your body chemistry is altered enough to prevent 1 point of acid damage from every source or attack. Whenever you take a full-round or attack action in combat, you must roll an additional save against the disease or puke up a load of acidic phlegm, interrupting your action and covering one adjacent target of your choice in corrosive mucus.
This is a common ailment in the wet season, much like a flu. It is traditionally treated by stripping the patient naked and burying them in dirt in the middle of a field or village commons, feeding them plenty of thin broth and tea until they recover. Once the patient is cured, the dirt mound is burned.

Save: Strength
Effects: 1d4 Strength damage, and reduces natural AC by 1 each day to a minimum of 0. Your flesh turns soft and spongy, like loamy soil, and smells of rotting wood and decay like a forest floor. Flowers, mushrooms, and moss sprout from your skin. Heals you 1d8 hit points per day and produces enough vegetation to keep three medium-sized creatures well fed as long as you drink enough water. The food carries loamflesh.

Milk Heart
Save: Strength
Effects: 1d4 Dexterity damage, and gain +1 Strength to a maximum of 18. You grow fat, swollen and pale, your muscles hypertrophying even as you lose mobility. You can contract this by becoming used to a life of luxury, then leaving it cold turkey.

Moon Rash
Save: Wisdom
Effects: 1d6 Wisdom damage, but you only suffer the effects of this damage while in moonlight. Your skin becomes covered with an itchy red rash that only appears under the light of the moon. If you are reduced to 0 or lower Wisdom in this manner, you melt into a silver shadow and flow upwards into the moon like a river of airborne milk. You can see as well in moonlight as you can at noon on a clear day.

Phantom Limb
Save: Wisdom
Effects: 1d2 Strength damage. A ghost limb or other extremity, created when a part of a creature is amputated and the creature dies before that part, has attached itself to your soul. Can be immediately cured by abjuration effects or being captured in a ghost-bottle. If you drop to 0 or lower Strength while so afflicted, whichever extremity is a mirror of the phantom limb fully withers away and is permanently replaced by the ghost, which exists only partially on the material plane and won’t always listen to you. This “cures” the malady and allows the ability damage to begin healing.

Purple Delusion
Save: Wisdom
Effects: 1d3 Wisdom damage. You become absolutely egotistical and self-enamoured, plagued by visions of grandeur, and become able to see ghosts and other invisible creatures. Your soul is condemned to hell, and ghosts will tell you this. You can catch this by drinking ghosts that were afflicted with it.

Save: Strength
Effects: Must roll Wisdom to not kill people for their shinies or food, if there’s a likelihood that you could get away with it. Take 1 difficulty to all actions in bright light, but can see just as well in dim light as most people can during the day. Your eyes turn black and beady, and you hyperfocus on precious metals and gems.

Salt Shakes
Save: Wisdom
Effects: 1d4 Strength damage, and you need to eat and drink twice as much as normal to gain the same effects. You become dehydrated and weakened, but the salt consumes other diseases and maladies, magical or otherwise—each day, roll randomly to determine a random other disease or malady that is cured by the salt shakes. Named because of the incidental shaking and twitching that patients get due to dehydration. Can be contracted by putting salt on your wounds while afflicted with any other disease or malady of a magical nature, which is most of them.

Save: Wisdom
Effects: Whenever affected by magic, you are stunned for 1 round. This can trigger only once per magical effect. You get a tickle in your nose and throat, and are afflicted by fits of sneezing and dry coughs, like a bad case of hay fever. It’s pronounced like and rhymes with “noose”. You can catch this though overexposure to magic.

Save: Strength
Effects: Touching iron, steel, or other ferrous metals deals you 1 point of damage per round. Deep indigo shows around your mouth and eyes like bruises, traces your surface veins, might appear in blotches on other parts of your skin. Only actually causes you to spit sparks if you have metal tooth fillings. You can catch this by doing too much moth dust. Moth elves are immune.

Save: Wisdom
Effects: 1 Strength damage. Dark, perfectly circular spots with faded edges show on your skin, slowly growing with exposure to sunlight. Your bones are burned away from the inside, slowly turning them brittle and hollow. You can catch this by letting sunlight touch your exposed bones.

Sword Sickness
Save: Strength
Effects: Iron and steel rot away at your touch, gaining 1 notch or taking 1d6 damage for every round you are in contact with them. Taking damage from a weapon isn’t enough contact to rot it. You can catch this by taking damage from a sword that was used to kill its own creator. If you have sword sickness, swords won’t talk to you.

Toothsome Hunger
Save: Wisdom
Effects: You develop an uncontrollable urge to consume teeth. Any teeth. All teeth. Your teeth are going to fall out, so you need to store up more of them inside you so that you don’t run out. You need them. Whenever there are teeth around that you could eat—in a corpse, on the ground, in the mouth of a living thing that it seems likely you could take them from without severe consequences—roll Wisdom or ignore everything else until you have taken and eaten the teeth. Add 5 difficulty if there is no immediate threat to your person that could prevent you from eating the teeth. You can get this by suffering from poor dental hygiene for an extended period, losing teeth, or eating teeth.

Save: Strength
Effects: Take 1 hit point damage whenever you move more than 30 feet in a single round. Your skin forms miniature, razor-sharp crystalling growths that refract light like tiny prisms and chafe horribly when you move in any fashion other than very slowly and carefully. Creatures in a grapple with you take 1 damage for every grapple check that they make. This is a common childhood illness, like chicken pox.

Witching Plague
Save: Strength
Effects: 1d6 Strength damage. You develop swollen buboes that leak black pus, and rapidly succumb to fever, weakness, and death. Commonly spread by fleas and infected vermin, witching plague has been a constant threat throughout most of history in the civilized world and folk remedies for it abound. Eating a large quantity of raw garlic actually has some efficacy (roll Strength twice, take highest result) in treating the disease. It’s not actually related to witches in the slightest.

Save: Dexterity
Effects: Add 2 difficulty to social interaction rolls, and when you roll an odd number for initiative you are stunned for the first round of combat. You’re afflicted by twitches, spasm, microseizures, and brain zaps. Whenever you take electricity damage, you can roll Dexterity to cause any target adjacent to you to also take damage as if targeted by the same effect. You can catch this from being struck by lightning, or taking a great deal (more than 10) of magical electricity damage.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Post-Apocalyptic Generator Dump

Hi yes hello

over the last nearly-a-decade i have run several campaigns set in a post-apocalyptic greater vancouver area (lower mainland, BC, pacific northwest, canada, etc)

i also made a lot of random generators using the engine at

here they are, collected for your perusal, but first, some preamble


Everything gets worse forever. At every junction of history (starting from when i started writing this, so the early 2010s) everything that could go wrong, did. Imagine the current surrealist hellscape we live in, if nobody even pretended like things were going to work out. This resulted in nuclear war breaking out in mid-2028, initially limited to China and the USA but quickly expanding to include, well, most of the world. Vancouver BC (the setting for the game) escaped direct damage, but quickly devolved into apocalyptic chaos regardless. The mood is very gonzo, sort of like a more-cyberpunk Fallout with the Wild Wasteland perk jammed on. Fallout wasn't a main inspiration though, at least not directly - a specific dead MOO was, which itself was heavily inspired by Fallout among other things.

The game was set around the year 2070, approximately forty years after the apocalypse that ended the world, but the setting included plenty of sci-fi stuff that doesn't really make sense to have existed in 2028, and also a dash of STALKER-esque radiation-horror-magic, because that's fun. I think it was later retconned to have been at least partially a result of time/dimension travel, but that's not really present in the mechanics-as-lore, more of a background thing as an easter egg for my friends because one of them ran a game where we were time and dimensional travelers and it neatly explained all the anachronisms and fucked up shit in my apocalypse setting.


the game was run using a hacked-together system based (somewhat loosely) on d20 Modern and/or D&D 3.5. it diverged from those more significantly as time went on, but i think the first campaign actually did use the d20 Modern Strong/Fast/Tough/Smart/Wise/Charismatic hero classes - later ones were classless. i also wrote a gigantic table of firearm damage by specific real-world caliber, which is fun if your gaming group has gun nerds in it. maybe i'll post that later

anyway, this stuff should all be directly compatible with d20 (D&D 3.5-esque) systems, and compatible without much too much effort with other editions of D&D and systems derived from or inspired by them

notable differences from the basic d20 system:
- Wisdom bonus applies to AC and initiative, i liked this because it made it a lot more valuable and made Dex slightly less obviously the best statistic (it still was though)
- Armor has HP as well as an AC bonus, in practice this was fiddly as hell and I recommend ignoring it - or ignoring the AC bonus and just using the HP, if you like the flavor of pulling your shattered plate carrier off after taking a round to the chest
- max level was 6
- by the end at least, there were no classes
- also by the end (i.e. some of the generators may not reflect this) ability scores were replaced entirely with their (d20 system) modifiers, meaning for ex. the average strength for a human was "+0", not "10". you can probably convert this in your head but i thought i'd mention it, also of note because it means that stuff with stat effects should most likely be doubled if you use this in a d20 system game (i.e. something that gives "+1 STR" is meant to give a +1 bonus to strength modifier)

if you plan to use this stuff with OSR-type games then probably just cut weapon damage waaaaay down, like maybe in half or something, and probably scale skill modifiers down as well (and interpret them to fit your system ofc)

CONTENT WARNING: some of these (notably the Tattoo generator, and the Jerk and Dog ones by proxy along with any others that include it) contain some problematic shit, because the setting is a hellworld steeped in 2010s-2020s internet culture with zero social context. there shouldn't be any slurs, but a jerk might have some nazi tattoos or something because they're a jerk.

okay on to the generators


these are the best/most useful/funniest. a lot of them import stuff from other ones, because that's a thing you can do. i heartily recommend bookmarking these if you plan to do anything wacky and/or post-apocalyptic

Random Jerk Generator
- this is it. this is the best one. combines nearly all the others to give you a random NPC.

Random Weapon Generator - includes the above (somewhat rarely) and also melee weapons etc
- creates some truly ridiculous shit, much funnier if you know anything about guns and how bad of an idea it would be to build.. pretty much anything that this spits out
- of note: 
"jury-rigged" firearms would crit fail on rolls of 1-3 and then you rolled for them to explode (low chance), break (high chance), or jam (about even with break)
"average quality" would crit fail on rolls of 1-2 and then explode (very low chance), break (medium chance), or jam (most of the time)
"professionally made" would only crit fail on rolls of 1 and never explode, rarely break

- either this one or the gun one was the first one i made
- funnier if you know anything about cars

Random Name Generator - content warning: capable of some problematic combinations. no slurs but there are a lot of words in there.
Random "Cocktail" Generator - includes the random name generator, because they're just as good as names for cocktails
- people consider some truly desperate shit to be a "cocktail" in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, hence the scare quotes

Random Outfit Generator
Random Food Generator - notable for the 2028-era "snack foods", which i keep meaning to split into their own separate generator for this one to include but never got around to
Random Loot Generator - includes both of the above, but single clothing items rather than outfits, also includes a couple other generators (rarely) like the weapon one, the armor one, the implant one, maybe the car one i forget

Random Armor Generator
- includes some heavy clothing with no armor value as well, generates full "outerwear" outfits... by apocalypse standards, anyway


these are mostly useful if you need a specific class of object, or as things that the other ones include

Random Bag Generator
- pretty much the same as the Loot generator from the "best ones" section, but in a bag

Random Monster Generator - mutant animals
Random Dog Generator - good dogs, often with tattoos, collars with names, mutations, implants, disabilities, or other things

Random Haircut Generator
Random Tattoo Generator - content warning: contains some nazi shit, because i wanted a shitty world where people would have tattoos of random pop culture stuff from the 2020s that they had absolutely zero context for
- built to include in the Jerk generator, the tattoos ended up in the Dog generator as well. nightmarish.

Random Implant Generator
Random Mutation Generator
Random Disability Generator - content warning: no r-slur or anything but it's a fraught topic.
- built these all to include in the Jerk generator at the top (and also the Dog generator)

Random Settlement Generator
- does what it says on the tin. useful for background when the party stumbled upon a building I decided should be occupied but didn't have anything in mind

Random Weather Generator
- built for the Encounter generator, but i think i actually ended up using it more on its own

Random Encounter Generator - includes the Jerk, Dog, Monster generators among others
- sets the scene for an encounter. in practice i didn't use this much, usually just picked stuff myself

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Red Air

This Is Just To Say 
I have written
the bad communist tabletop role-playing game 
that was echoing within 
the empty chambers of my skull

and which 
you were probably hoping  
would remain safely contained  

Forgive me
you can fly a space plane
and it would not let me rest
until I had released it upon the world
- William Carlos Williams, probably

Specifically I wrote this in like 2018 and just did the last 10% right now and have been persuaded—against my better judgement and thanks to the nefarious denizens of the OSR discord—to start a blog and it seemed like a good first post.

You can get it here on Google Drive.

I have run exactly one abortive play-testing campaign using this game and it was fun as hell.

EDIT: If you've come here looking for fun things to steal, it has:
  • Communism!
  • A two-axis alignment system with mechanical effects!
  • Classes that auto-succeed at things as their only ability!
  • Vehicle rules!
  • A simple system for managing aerial dogfighting!
  • A system to create stats for pre-jet aircraft with just the input available from wikipedia!