Crackling some lotus petals, or something

Having finished up some other projects (and gotten some work- and family-related nonsense dealt with, at least for now), my thoughts are drifting back to my plan to do a new version of the Blue Lotus Hack using the Merry Mushmen’s CRACK! as a base.

(I’ll be changing the title when/if I get it done.)

Leaving aside questions like “but why not stick with The Black Hack as a base?” (answer: 1) CRACK! looks fun and I want to use it, 2) Lotus is using TBH 1e and if I’m tweaking at all, might as well go on, 3) CC feels more comfortable to use than OGL right now, 4) CRACK! looks fun and I want to use it), there’s some things I need to contend with, but that’s okie.

– The Lotus classes are front-loaded and most of them also get more ability picks as they level, which I wrote one-half because I like it (still do) and one-half because Lotus was written as much as an exercise in distraction from a miserable work situation as anything else and more stuff = more to write = more distraction.

Contrariwise, CRACK! jobs are pretty compact, which I also like. Also, if I don’t make super-elaborate jobs, then dropping in any other jobs that look cool from other sources will be easier for anyone who happens to pick up and poke at Lotus mkII.

So, how to reconcile? I could make beefier jobs — and I suspect I by and large already do, if the handful I wrote and posted up here already are any indication — but then the compact little job blocks get lost, and I like them. So what I’m probably going to do is split some up and pull out abilities and make even more jobs.

Might even use one or two of those blog ones besides.

Jobs jobs jobs.

Yeesssss.

– Related to the above: BLH has kinds, humans + three others, which amounted to a smallish bonus to one thing. CRACK! as-is uses heritage-as-job. I would definitely miss having Puss-In-Boots-but-a-wizard, though, so atm I’m thinking of working up new small traits or adapting the ones I have (and may also include optional kind-as-jobs, in case someone wants them).

– I am absolutely ripping out levels for magic spells and psionic gifts moohahahahahahaha

– The systems for the above I have no decisions on whatsoever yet and it’s not impossible I just brazenly adapt what I use in pocketrpg, lol

– There are some things that aren’t in Lotus as it stands that I am really tempted to use this opportunity to get off my arse and add in; hirelings-and-henchmen rules, frex, or (related) how to recruit in a dungeon or whatever (probably borrowing from my navel-gazing on incorporating that into pocketrpg sheerly for the lols of using it with Lost Emblem Saga).

And of course the whole general tearing out of a rules set and putting in a new one, etc etc.

In a perfect world, I’ll also be adding more critters/spells/gifts/trinkets, because I’m me. I am absolutely looking forward to writing up little starting equipment kits for each territory in Varas let me tell you (I love writing little equipment kits the last few years and now I have an excuse for Lotus ahahahahaha).


Do I have any idea when I’ll get this done? Nope. I am not putting even an estimate on, because that way lies screaming and black brain spirals and terribleness, and also every time I turn around something Stupid[tm] happens in my life and derails my plans so I’m erring on the side of “this is a personal project anyway so”.

But I want to do it.

So I’m bloody well going to try.

Dicember 2021 – blade

Beneath a canopy that sparkles like the night sky — a cunning work of midnight-purple velvet, golden threads and silver beads — a large and fluffy white cat paces to and fro on hindpaws across the length of a raised wooden platform, adjusting racks of exotic textiles, setting out baskets of tiny wonders and tweaking the displays in the worn blackoak booth-front.

Suddenly the cat’s attention is squarely on you, golden eyes like inquisitive twin moons. Snowy white paws cradle a weapon that surely, surely no cat should wield so easily.

A purr.

“Perhaps this humble merchant may have something that catches your eye?”


The ghost cat’s armoury

01. Paired ivory-hilted daggers, etched with silvered prayers to the Saint Of Iris
02. Pyre Tyrant’s Needle, a rapier of frosted steel hilt and basket and blade of crimson flame
03. A sabre polished to mirror brightness, mounted in brass and blackened steel fittings
04. Regret, a longsword consecrated to be the bane of spirits, rosewood-hilted and perpetually damp with blessed tears
05. A belt-knife of bone split and polished from a wyvern’s sting, grip wrapped with tawny silks
06. A perfectly plain-looking shortsword, yet it is sheathed in shadepanther pelt and crystal droplets
07. The Moon Calls Me, a silver-trimmed crystal blade that cycles from dagger to shortsword to hunting sword to greatsword and back
08. An ancient broad-bladed sword of greenish bronze, sporting black gold hunting figures that glow faintly
09. Mistine, the white steel bastard sword trimmed in sapphire and white enamel which ballads claim was the oath-blade of Teitaia, Warqueen of fallen Oakhaunt
10. A slim rapier, basket-guard of twisted ivy and gilded, stained with the blood of a vampire prince
11. Aaite, a curved sickle-like blade of deep red horn, said to be carved from a fragment of an angel’s talon
12. Matched set of broadsword, hanger and three daggers, all smoky steel mounted in bronze and ivory and engraved with the same motto — “Endure” — flanked with tiny inset garnets

[BLHack] Multiclassing

Multiclassing isn’t built into the Blue Lotus Hack as-is, but all things being equal I don’t see any reason not to have it on the table as an option.  The more variety the merrier, says I, and this is one way to handle it.

Something maybe like this:

  • first and foremost: since there is no XP, when you gain a level you just decide which class you’re adding the level to
    • but remember, this is a 10-level system and you will lose options quickly; you will never “max out” a class if you multiclass
  • when you first take a level in a new class you gain:
    • hit points according to a roll of that class’s Hit Die
    • access to that class’s weapon and armour permissions
    • the attack damage of that class, if better than your initial class
    • the basic abilities of the class
  • choose which class you’re gaining a level in whenever the opportunity comes up; you do not need to abandon your initial class (unless this is a game houserule)
  • you do not get to stack hp rolls, or bonuses to attribute checks when leveling up
    • use whatever Hit Die or check bonus is appropriate to the gained you just leveled
  • only non-caster levels count towards gaining a new ability; only caster levels count towards gaining new gift/spell slots
  • if a level is lost due to level drain or similar, start with the most recently gained class; if you can’t remember the order after that, alternate them
    • or: drop the highest class level until they match, then alternate

[BLHack] Familiars and Animal Companions

Something left out of the BLH was the idea of a sorcerer’s familiar/bonded animal companion/etc, mainly because I didn’t want to put as many extras onto the sorcerer as I did the other classes.

So why not make the idea available to everyone? For a price, that is.

Try this on for size —

Any normal (or even not so normal) beast can be trained with time, effort and care, but to forge a deeper link between a PC and an animal takes sacrifice. The ritual to forge that link eats into the vital essence, but many consider the results worth it.

A PC with a bonded beast loses hit points from their total HP equal to twice the Hit Dice of the creature. In return, the following features are gained:

– The beast is unfailingly loyal, barring extreme abuse
– The bonded and their beast can communicate without words, heedless of distance
– The beast is more intelligent than the usual for their kind and can follow instructions at least as well as a child can
– When the beast is Close, the bonded gains AP equal to the beast’s HD, minimum of 1 AP
– A sorcerer can use their bonded beast as a conduit for their spells, up to Far-Away

Lowering one’s maximum hit points is a dangerous proposition, particularly for sorcerers, but the ability to gain a spell conduit outweighs the danger for many.

The Blue Lotus Hack

Well, here we are.

In 2018, I (after several years of tinkering and talking myself into it) released the Blue Lotus Hack on Drivethrurpg under the name Vai Earthflame, a level of separation that I needed to turn the thing loose at all.

Once I started nosing around the scene again (on Twitter), I alluded to the thing, and then eventually named it, but still did nothing else with it. But I still have some things I’d like to do — some more critters, some more bits and snips and shiny objects — and I can’t readily do that here on the blog without the thing, while adding the things to the Fanged Moon blog would be even more awkward than it initially felt at the time.

So here’s the Blue Lotus Hack, another iteration on the first edition of The Black Hack, with a pile of critters and some treasures and a mini-gazetteer of the setting of Varas. It’s Pay What You Want, because my layout skills are just as non-existent now as they were then; it’s not fancy, it doesn’t have nice art, but it’s (I hope!) readable and does that job well enough.

But it does feel nice to have this actually on my name.

The Blue Lotus Hack — itch.io

The Blue Lotus Hack — Drivethrurpg