Dicember 2021 – food

Oh what a wonderful day! Your latest exploits have gone well, you’ve licked your wounds, you’ve got freshly-acquired coin burning a hole in your stash, and you’ve just come across a whole new tavern. New to you and yours, anyway.

In fact, it looks like the place might have a few specialties on the menu alongside the usual wholemeal loaves, eternal stew, cheese wheels, seasonal veggies and the local poultry. Why, they might even have more than just water and four different kinds of ale on tap!

So, what does this wondrous find have on offer?

1d4 rolls per table for extra fun!


Drinks

01. winterbite perry
02. dandelion wine
03. drakesbreath wine
04. duskberry cordial
05. fern broth
06. lemonbalm tea
07. moonmead
08. angelsblood
09. hail ale
10. six-saint cider
11. mint-and-violet tea
12. silver smallbeer


Small Eats

01. treerabbit skewers
02. roasted garlic with peppergrass
03. bloodrose fritters
04. pan-fried nightquail
05. marrowbones with salt-dust
06. grilled muskmelon
07. mixed candied locusts
08. bacon tartlets
09. golden boar trotters
10. poached peaches
11. blue moon cheese and oatcakes
12. herb-stuffed mushrooms


Big Eats

01. blood pudding and parsnip chunks
02. venison pie with broth and ryebread
03. grilled whole mooncarp on greens
04. drakewing soup with doughboys
05. dark-spiced beef roast with baked pudding
06. jeweled-lentil soup with walnut bread
07. hand-pulled noodles and greens in mushroom broth
08. pearltrout and pin-mussel chowder
09. mincemeat pie and roasted apples
10. glazed golden boar ribs over floral rice
11. rosemary and garlic-seared chicken with diced potato
12. softshell emerald crab with butter biscuits


Trail Eats

01. ash-pickled eggs
02. vegetable medley pasties
03. maple-salted jerky
04. vinegared blood
05. roasted hazelnut-currant mix
06. smoked eel braids
07. poppyseed honeycakes
08. pumpkin seed bars
09. herb-salted golden boar fatback
10. pepper pork dumplings
11. cherry rice cakes
12. smoked mussel packets

six tables of unusual kit

Or, what happens when I’m hauled to work four hours early with a likelihood of working 60+ hours in a week if complete catastrophe’s finally landed *coughs*

So I found six table headers with no tables in an otherwise full-up notebook. And I may have gone a little ham, or something, lol. In any case here’s some options to roll or choose for your fighty things, for your magicky things, and what fancy healing (it’s healing, right? you sure?) enchantments you’re sticking in your system — none of this is written to have fancy mechanical effects attached (that weird thing still stabs like a sword, or an arrow, or whatever), but feel free to extrapolate whatever you like.

d12Edged Weapons
01.ancient jawbone lined with razor teeth, gripped wrapped with reddened silks
02.solid-light prismatic-plane array; winged blade-saint
03.alabaster sabre that regenerates chips, cracks and splinters
04.a shard of the moon; pale, creamy, glowing softly
05.gnarled twist of organic iron, black and sporting staring blue carbuncles
06.angel’s feather, bright as dawn and sharp as betrayal
07.hovering porcelain talons, hooked and vicious, that follow your hands
08.fused kaleidoscape of wickedly sharpened glass from a dead sanctuary
09.spiraling horn snapped from one of the Ten Great Beasts
10.a frozen flame, blue-golden and ragged
11.fae-circuited folding fan of rainbow shards, thin as a breath
12.the ghost of a blade, a colourless hollow limned with pale burning
as: swords, daggers, axes, knives, etc etc
d12Non-edged Weapons
01.orbiting sphere, glowing like bright glass, the size of two fists
02.an eternally-flowering branch of blood cherry
03.a stiffened silversteel limb, shedding clockwork dust, claw clutching a brass disc
04.fingerless demonhide gloves lined with bloodiron plates engraved with hymns
05.coiled lash of braided crystal filaments retractable to a heavy donut-shaped wristlet
06.ectoplasmic beast that screams and charges then dissipates until called again
07.fluttering red and gold ribbons that waft weightlessly in the breeze but strike like lead
08.a dead star core encaged by the claws of a bluesteel chain
09.a slab of black basalt, holes for gripping roughly hacked out
10.a calcified plume of phoenix’s breath
11.a perfectly calibrated steel orb of the skies, in a golden frame and grip
12.piston-driven arcanosteam impactor, gleaming moonsteel and glowing crystal
as: maces, hammers, picks, etc etc
d12Distance Weapons
01.bioenamel implant on limb that exudes sharp, detachable and aerodynamic scales
02.deep blue teardrop on golden thread that quivers in light and casts darts of colourless flame
03.folding crossbow like great wings, of intricate ivory and gold clockwork
04.flickering lightning chain that flashes away and returns in an eyeblink
05.razored butterfly wings, as broad as one’s forearm is long
06.a dragon’s gleaming whisker stringing a bow carved from its spur
07.battle halo that launches bolts of scintillant light
08.a swarm of copper-and-emerald clockwork dragonflies
09.thorned diadem that calls translucent hell-ivy from the earth
10.delicate golden technotiara that burns like the sun when thrown and returns with a thought
11.blue ice flute whose music becomes notes of shimmering solid sound
12.necrotech sangrecaster, ghostly icicle of crystal formed around blood-droplets core
as: bows of all kinds, crossbow, throwing knives, hatchets, etc etc
d12Protective Gear
01.articulated bone carapace that surfaces when a threat arises
02.delicate gossamer robe woven from angel’s ichor
03.array of whirring, flying sapphire orbs that intercept blows
04.network of runic circuitry inlaid into the skin
05.carpet of ever-shifting, ever-moving emerald ants
06.ruby carbuncles embedded at all pulse points, absorbing misfortune
07.ivory plates linked with golden hair, carved from an idol’s flesh
08.maille carved of martyr’s bone and prayer-amber
09.four hovering, glowing, rotating phantasmic shields
10.a watchful ghost-guardian; plasm and foxfire eyeshine
11.whirling, whispered ashen secrets of a fallen faith
12.black iron and tears forged into an elaborate technowork carapace
armour is as armour does, but …
d12Spell Repositories
01.shards of cranial vault engraved with blood-red ochre
02.sealed crystal ampoules of strange fluids in jewel-bright colours
03.greenstone plaques embossed with notation in gold and silver
04.waterfalling strings of tiny beads of all material, making tactile patterns
05.hard-light glyphs weaving in slow orbits unless contained
06.tissue-thin scarves soft as moth wings and rippled with watermarks
07.organic jewels in burning colours that adhere to the pineal eye
08.patterns in the fur of moon-eyed cats
09.congealed prayer-jewels stolen from a holy font
10.an infinitely-unfurling rose blossom
11.miniscule glass idols embedded into the skin
12.thumbnail mirrors polished from pearlshell and sewn to bright linens
spells? on paper?
d12“Potions”
01.indigo oyster
02.runic marrowbone
03.blood pastille
04.iridescent extract-pebble
05.softly glowing dust
06.honeyed earthgrub
07.jewel-urchin gonads
08.crystal ampoule injection (do not confuse with spell repository or vice versa)
09.viscous mirror-silver eyedrop
10.crushed pearl (take with wine)
11.skystag musk-paint
12.hundred-year fruitcake
you sure you want to dose yourself with that?

d100 treasures and trinkets

Here we go again with another list of shiny things to sprinkle around a dungeon or put in a character’s possession, and this time it’s a long one. (I don’t guarantee another one this long for a while, lol, although I do have some other bits simmering.)

No values attached, because those rightfully vary by campaign —

d100
01rope of semiprecious beads, jasper and agate and carnelian, carved in the shape of leaves
02pair of soft russet-red leather gloves, stitched with golden sigils on the backs of the palms
03brass spittoon embossed with scenes of plowing fields and reaping giant ears of wheat
04boar’s-tusk phial, capped with an oval nugget of amber set in silver
05worn blue linen pouch containing a dozen tumbled fire agates
06veil of delicate black iron maille suspended from a black silken cord
07ivory locket the size of a thumb’s first joint, carved in the shape of a rosebud and containing a sliver of bone
08antler-beam sickle, polished with generations of use, edged with greenstone bladelets
09dozen willow-wood arrows, fletched with swan feathers, tipped with crystal heads, and wrapped in rough woolen homespun
10conch-shell trumpet, polished to glassy pink inside and out, with mouthpiece and mountings of gold
11hoard of two pounds of hacksilver and three grand cloak-pins of bronze and bright red enamel, sealed with wax into a terracotta amphora
12delicate silver necklace with ten crystal teardrops suspended from it, like glistening rain
13stamp-seal carved from carnelian in the shape of a leaping fish; the stamp pattern is of running spirals around ancient glyphs
14knee-length tunic of white, softened linen; neckline, lower hem and cuffs all sport inch-wide bands of polychrome embroidery
15slim silver circlet sporting a crescent-shaped sliver of garnet in its exact centre
16bleached birchwood case containing two dragonbone dip-pens and a glass vial of dark crimson ink
17paired tortoiseshell combs carved in the shape of grape leaves with gilded details
18copper statuette of a wolf-headed figure wrapped in a shroud, its eyes inlaid with moonstones
19palm-sized silver disc mirror, engraved with lilies and serpents on the rear surface, with a loop for suspension
20five perfectly matched cabochons of topaz tucked in a screw of crimson silk
21burnished human skull completely covered with etched runic spirals tinted with indigo and cinnabar
22heavy golden ring decorated with golden grains, inlaid black iron, and a cabochon of dark ruby the size of a thumbnail
23set of diviner’s sticks, rowanwood, worn from use and stored in a dappled salt-grass basket
24wooden fox toy, stained with ochre; pull a string and its tail wags
25forest-green cloak of thick felted wool, lined and trimmed with black wolf fur
26lantern of black iron frame and windows of pale amber horn
27alabaster candle-lamp of stemmed bowl shape; if the wick in the bowl is lit, the sides of the bowl glow with paintings of birds and butterflies
28flat coffer of ebony the length of a forearm containing, on a cushion of white velvet, a silver dagger still stained with blood
29palm-sized puzzlebox of red and yellow cedar containing a tiny abalone-shell carving of a falcon
30thin parchment folio bearing four pressed starlilies between its pages
31small box of tawny lacquer, carved with spirals of stylized leaves and lined with white felt
32feline half-mask of white velvet, with mirrored glass in the eye-holes, and trimmed with silver thread
33pocket-box made from a pair of polished oyster-shells trimmed, hinged and clasped with delicate steel
34worn, stained parchments containing an arcane tower’s blueprints
35teardrop-shaped pendant of amber the size of a robin’s egg that flickers like flames
36girdle-book bound in soft brown leather, each of its darkly crimson pages a meditation on the blood
37black iron axe of broad blade, both faces inlaid with silver crescent moon and trailing stars, hafted in oak and bronze
38circlet of intertwining golden wires spangled with tiny flowers made from seed pearls
39sturdy, square wooden chest containing several dozen ceramic tiles glazed in bright polychromy with flower-and-blade patterns
40twin bracelets in the shape of dragons biting their own tails, bronze with turquoise eyes
41life-sized violet, carved of amethyst and jade, tucked in a tiny whiteoak box
42courier’s satchel scorched by flame, containing a long-lost royal pardon
43six teacups, each molded from a single golden dragon scale
44three strings of glistening azure cowrie shells, a hundred shells per string
45cedar reliquary-box lined with unbleached wool on which rests a unicorn’s carbuncle-stone
46glass paperweight in the shape of a frog with a sunburst etched on its back
47ten pale wax candles shakily engraved with holy sigils, tied up in a bundle with golden ribbons
48three throwing blades of amber-pink glass as hard as steel
49a sooty black woolen greatcoat lined with hidden pockets; one contains a tiny scrawled street map
50stylized death mask in painted plaster whose eyes have been inlaid with blank, blood-red glass inserts
51shawl of crimson and rust, trimmed with tassels, woven from a dragon’s mane
52ragdoll with blue button eyes, long sooty woolen hair, and a forest-green dress, sporting a wooden sword picked out with gold paint
53two dozen grey squirrel pelts sewn into a burlap package
54tin box embossed with entwined ivy and skeletons, containing a dozen blocks of earth, unidentifiable incense
55black waistcoat picked out with curlicues of mother-of-pearl buttons
56ornamental shortsword mounted in a hilt of brightly enameled silver, the blade inscribed to the one soul who gave honour for love
57polished drinking-horn engraved with battle sagas, sporting silver fittings and a hinged lid engraved with a sunburst
58folding fan of cherry-wood, the webbing of pure white silk, the fan ribs tipped with glittering facets of pale pink glass
59courtier’s handwritten diary of two generations back, bound in lambskin and sealed with silver-infused wax and orange ribbons
60oval, steel locket, inlaid with carnelian-chip phoenix design, holding a tiny phial of dry, red-black blood
61immense bed coverlet of grey sheepskins faced with quilted green velvet stitched with gold
62string of freshwater pearls with pink coral spacers, meant to be double-looped around the neck
63wax-sealed amber juglet of myrrh oil
64hand-sized ebony statuette of a rearing heraldic leopard
65matching finger-rings, thin electrum bands inlaid with turquoise and carnelian lilies
66white wolfskin mantle, its jaws the clasp, edged with woolen tassels
67wax tablet with red cedar frame, a lost noble’s crest burned onto the back
68earrings of golden hoop-and-wire supporting dangling falls of dozens of iridescent blue beetle elytra
69cloak-pin of copper gold mounted with a carving of a rosebud in pink coral
70drinking cup of translucent bright green jade in the shape of a stylized leaf
71archer’s ceremonial thumb-ring, carved all of massive emerald crystal mounted with enamel and gold filigreed floral ornaments
72necklace of round beads of ivory interspersed with amber claws
73dozen unstrung cobalt blue eye beads tucked in a rough leather packet
74storage casket of red cedar, its panels completely covered in fine herringbone marquetry of ivory and ebony slivers
75flute made from a crane’s wing-bone, tucked in a foxfur sleeve
76astrologian’s starcharts; folding codices sandwiched between blackthorn covers and heavily annotated in coppery green
77scroll of black-dyed vellum scribed with a masterpiece of song in silver and gold notation
78traveler’s cutlery set in polished steel, enameled with green leaved and stored in a small lacquered box the colour of rust
79thumb-sized jasper carving of a deer-headed man in a sleek gown
80breastplate of silver-etched steel and russet leather straps, with a prayer for protection and victory inscribed on the inner surface
81six delicate glass bangles, ruby and emerald, edged with gilt
82fist-sized puzzlebox of goldenoak in the shape of a sleeping stag
83hollow bone tube, capped with ivory finials, filled with shimmering dawn-coloured butterfly scales
84perfectly polished lace-agate egg the size of a hen’s egg
85bolt of cloth-of-gold woven from byssus, carefully wrapped in an outer layer of linen
86five pearlescent prisms, each a hand long, snug in a grey wool pouch
87mahogany box with tight-fitting lid, 1′ square, lined with wax and filled to the brim with rose conserves
88brass lantern in the shape of a plump, ribbed squash, with green and blue glass panes
89necklace of garnet beads shaped like pomegranate pips
90nine white rose petals, eerily preserved, each with a short prayer bloodily brushed onto it
91sabre of plain oak-and-brass hilt whose blade appears to be of razor sharp, translucently white stone
92golden finger-ring sporting a brilliant jacinth engraved with a tiny hellglyph
93shield of blackoak overlain with white and black oxhide reinforced with bronze edging and bosses
94tiny, hollowed sphere of red coral filled with with ambrosia and stoppered with bone, hung on a hair-thin golden chain
95shallow box covered with scuffed burgundy leather containing a dozen brittle love letters exchanged between two sages
96wolf’s jaw, engraved with tiny, gilded whorls of prayer and polished by years of handling
97parade tack for a horse, of russet leather and mirror-bright steel trimmed with golden tassels and seed pearls, with leopard-pelt saddle and feather-patterned, multicoloured caparison
98folded parchment, repaired by careful blue-thread darning of holes in the hide; a devoted follower’s elegy to a fallen ruler
99round electrum brooch inlaid with amber and cairngorm depicting the sun being eclipsed by the moon
00coiled braid of silver hair, tied with lapis blue ribbons and strings of amber beads
– something for everyone –

friends and foes: another d66 factions and orgs

I just couldn’t help myself, I needed to write up another pile of odd folks for PCs to join, NPCs to represent, and plot hooks to fall off of.

And then I took ages to actually get to writing them because that’s how I roll, alas. Lol.

Just like the last time around, each faction/organization/guild/whatever has a name, a slogan/quote, a line or two explaining them a bit more, faction colours and symbol, and a list of five bits of gear. Also like the last time around, don’t limit a PC’s starting stuff to just the kibble listed here; this is for flavour. Give them half (or all, why not?) beginning funds, or “rations+bedroll+backpack+clothes+1 weapon if desired+2d10 [currency]”, or a starting character package, whichever you’re using — having a few more gribbles won’t break anything.

d66Faction NameFaction Details
11Glass Tears“Life, like glass, is both fragile and wounding, beautiful and wrought from common stuff. As our craft, so goes the world.”
Lampworkers and glassblowers, dedicated to perfecting their craft and using it as an allegory for improving themselves and the world
– coal black and orange; phial
– handful of glass billets, several glass bottles and baubles, blowpipe, shard collection, heavy leather apron
12Icemeisters“The cold soothes well, delights well, preserves well, hides well.”
Tenders of ice-houses and hidden freezes, caterers of frozen confections and whispered repositories of other, more concerning objects needing kept on ice
– silver and pale blue; icicle
– winter cloak, ice-knife, sweet syrups, logbook of requests, coded lists and map of hidden ice-houses
13The Lion’s Paw“Be mighty. Be proud, not prideful. Most of all, be aware of those who look to you when you roar.”
Hedge-knights and self-proclaimed heroes happy to step up for a flower as much as for riches and glory
– gold and brown; lion’s pawprint
– tawny mantle, flashy outfit, letter of recommendation from high or noble house, signet or seal, token of favour
14The Flicker“The shortest moment, the tiniest crumb can be of the utmost importance. Don’t blink.”
Gatherers of secrets and connectors of dots, organized into loose cells with connections in the wildest of places
– white and orange; candle-flame outline
– pouches of small trinkets and bits, scrollcases of scribbled notes, deadletter drop-box, vial of lemon-ink, glass lens
15Absolution“May darkness be cleansed, may the spirit be lifted on milky clouds heavenward.”
Confessors and confidantes who offer listening ears without judgement and a release from secrets and emotional turmoil
– amber and milk; loose spiral
– brazier, charcoal, paper twist of myrrh, pouch of amber nodules, chapbook of blessings, exorcisms and wardings
16Coiling Path“Whisper and tend, carry prayers and curses, and leave no tether behind you as you move on.”
Wandering tenders and menders of consecrated locales in out of the way places, ever ready to replace stones, touch up paint, or murmur a re-dedication
– grey and green; shrine-rune
– node-map of shrines and holy sites (work in progress), skin of pure water, carpenter’s or mason’s tools, carved bowl, holy oil
21Crucible“Disparate parts, and peoples, are ever stronger when combined.”
Sweet-tongued courtiers and middlemen, dedicated to fostering links between individuals, groups and communities — and ever ready to remind others of existing links
– bronze and blue; crucible
– bronze brooch, folio of observations, invitation to society function, copy of historical treaty, puzzlebox
22Greentouch“Not to worry, I’m sure I have something for what ails you.”
Herbalists, with all that that can imply; one man’s meat is another man’s poison, after all. Sometimes literally.
– pale green and dark green; sprout
– paper-twists of seeds and dry herbs, sleepmint, silvered snips, kettle, toxic blossoms
23Farwander“There’s always more to see.”
Sometimes people just want to travel to the horizon and beyond just to make the trip and tell about it. These are those people.
– brown and violet; footprint
– sturdy footwear, well-patched shoulderbag, several packets of letters, cairnstone, coloured cords
24The Letterflies“Everything opens up with the written word, so spread it — secretly if necessary.”
Staunch believers in literacy and what it unlocks, happy to teach letters, draft texts, carve typefaces, and create all manner of small, useful, and sometimes contraband documents to do it
– dark green and white; butterfly
– satchel of pamphlets and lesson sheets, slate and chalk, writing kit, portable press, current ciphers
25Wardens of Years“The march of time must never be forgotten.”
Keepers of history’s events and the passing of days, dedicated — some might say obsessed — with the passing of time
– sand and silver; timepiece
– annals logbook, personal diary, hourglass or hour-candles, year-staff, tally cords
26Knights of the Brine“There’s nothing like the quest for the perfect pickle.”
Pickle enthusiasts united in sharing samples, locations of excellent fruits and vegetables or salts and spices, and iterating on endless recipes while caching crocks across the countryside
– yellow and green; crock
– pickling crock, pouches of salt and bran, bottle of vinegar, pickle samples (extra rations), twists of spices
31Fireheart“In the flame, find yourself.”
Adherents of a meditative philosophy centred around silent self-contemplation while gazing into a single flame, believing it to soothe emotion and reveal one’s future
– orange and red; tongue of flame
– lamp and oil, brazier, personal notes, small pouch of ashes, charcoal
32The Queen’s Hands“Look to the bee, and know grace and gratitude.”
Beekeepers and harvesters of wild honey who wax lyrical about the virtues of the bee and its produce at the drop of a pin; often distributors of both hive produce and new colonies
– gold and golden-brown; bee
– logbook of wild hives, bee skep, satchel of beeswax blocks, crock of honeycomb, dozen beeswax candles
33The Last Dance“Save the last dance for me.”
These are dancers, yes, and sometimes singers and sometimes musicians, united in the goal of bringing liveliness and entertainment (and maybe a pointed tale or two) to any who offer a coin or a wish, whether in taverns, high halls or the open road
– medley of any colours; ring
– bright outfit, musical instrument or dancer’s rings, weighted shawl or scarf, hidden knife, shoulderbag with secret pocket
34Scrapsnipes“There’s nothing that can’t be repaired, reused, or repurposed.”
Scavengers of discards and maestros of rusted metal who don’t turn up their noses at any object, no matter how broken or battered; if it can’t be reused, it can be remade. And they often think the same about living beings.
– rust and black; broken nail
– sack of metal bits, tiny anvil, mallet, sewing kit, crock of lacquer, patchwork cloak
35The Scarlet Bough“The days grow short and we must all prepare for what’s coming next. in order to see the days grow long again.”
Harvesters and preservers who descend on a crop to help with the reaping and butchering one day, string up drying fruits and meats the next, and know reliable ways to prepare and preserve nearly anything edible
– scarlet and orange; treebranch
– smoked joint, sickle, knowledge and access to several storage caches, sack of seedcorn, portable quern
36The Silver Key“Swift, and proper, application of all law is the only just application of law.”
Whether barristers or archivists, self-informed sages or those who learned in the trenches, all members agree on one thing; that the law of a land must be just, and it must apply to all equally, or it is no law at all.
– silver and white; key
– law codes for several cities and kingdoms, packet of letters, set of skeleton keys, cipher book, carrier pigeon
41Openers of the Way“There are worlds beyond this one, and it’s just a matter of finding where intersections are.”
Tracers of essence-lines and mappers of weak barriers between existences, whether for curiosity, wariness, power, or simple verification
– colour spectrum; rainbow
– homemade map of lines and nodes, pendulum, glass bell, iron wand, silver-tipped wand
42Heartweave“Have you heard the latest from the Grey Wind? Or received a copy of their writings? What did you think?”
A network of poets and storytellers committed to spreading their works by written copy and formal gatherings both
– cream and lavender; eight-petaled flower
– hand-bound collection of poems, seal engraved with pseudonym, letter of introduction, packet of fancy papers, writing gear
43Heaven’s Blood“I’ll do what you cannot.”
Sin-eaters, pursuers of vengeance, and upholders of the most visceral of oaths
– crimson and gold; droplet
– sealed contract, consecrated balm, black razor, crimson veil, sinner’s chalice
44Daysend“At the border between day and night lie revelations.”
Mystics and muses fascinated with the flow of colours and light in the twilight hours and the inspiration — the tingle of spirit, some day — that those hours grant the fervent
– pink and orange; disc
– sitting-cushion, prism, dew-collecting cloth, twilight-dyed sash or scarf, scroll of personal revelations
45Walkers at Midnight“None who prey on heart’s blood will be suffered to exist. I swear it.”
Dedicated hunters, these, targeting the worst of the blood-drinkers, soul-eaters and others of their ilk. Those who feed lightly and with care are spared … usually
– black and moon-yellow; dagger
– silvered resin, rowanwood stakes, holy water or oil, warding charm, wineskin
46The Winding River“Tell me who someone is, and I will tell you where they hail from.”
Tracers of genealogies of all sorts — bloodlines of people, of beasts, even of crops — and ever dedicated to noting every side-branch, secret and dead-end
– grey and blue; water braid
– salvaged letters, work ledger, illuminator’s gear, maps to several catacombs, copy of chosen genealogy
51Wyrmstouch“We claim the great beasts’ mark as our own.”
Dragon hunters of a different stripe, linked to the wyrms — and, for some, to each other — through being anointed with, or consuming, dragon’s blood
– dark red and midnight blue; flame
– dragon scale, wax-lined drinking horn, packet of soothing herbs, tally-notched torc, map to dragon’s lair
52Garden Eternal“Somewhere out there lies the source of eternal life; waiting to be plucked, perhaps even in plain sight.”
The fruit of eternal life grants immortality, these folks believe — but which fruit, and consumed in what manner? And where will it be found? The quest continues —
– rose and emerald; stylized fruit tree
– lidded basket, several kinds of fruit (fresh and preserved), scraps of pomery manuscripts, cutting from fruit tree, scrawled recipe notes
53Eyes of the Cat“Where the cat leads, we follow; what we discover, the cat must know.”
Not quite cat worshipers but not far from it, being staunch believers in feline wisdom — and feline bestowing of secrets and curses
– bronze and black; cat’s eye
– cat companion, riding satchel (for cat), pouch of smoked fish, tiger’s eye amulet, libation dish
54Bonescribes“The departed live again through the new voices we give them.”
A tightly-knit organization of copyists, scribes and illuminators who create their works with bone black pigments and pens carved from bone, all obtained from those who were lost
– ivory and black; skeletal hand
– pouch of bone black cakes, inkstone and water well, case of bone pens and styli, sheaf of parchment, femoral scrollcase
55Canticle“Inspiration, composition, at any cost.”
These poets, songsmiths and authors chase after dreams and visions, throwing themselves into the pursuit of new enlightenments with which to feed their ravenous muse
– teal and gold; teardrop
– draft of current work, skin of spirits or poppy, pilgrimage badge, instrument or manuscript, diary of revelations
56Black Heralds“None so mighty once they’ve been laid low in mud and blood.”
Battlefield scavengers who bring rough mercy and mercenary gain in equal measure, trading trophies and mementos as readily as they ransom their catches to the high folk
– black and grey; raven
– sturdy carry-pack, chopping dagger, bloodstained noble’s blazon, collection of battlefield oddments, pennant
61The Verdurance“Bring the entire world into the comforting embrace of all green things.”
Planters of seeds, couriers of sprouts, grafters of limbs; if a plant can be encouraged to grow wherever they pass, these dedicated souls will place at least one before moving on
– leaf green and brown; sprout
– seed pouches; sheaf of cuttings; small shears; folding trowel; logbook of plantings
62The Stone Egg“We find what sleeps within the stone.”
Carvers of alabaster and greenstone, chert and serpentine, who divine deeper meaning in the forms that their work creates
– dark gray and white; egg
– small chisels, mallet, grease-stick, satchel of stone nodules, finished statuette
63Roaring Mice“Everything ends, but only if we allow it. Fight back.”
Doesn’t matter if it’s crumbling structures, corrupted infrastructures, or the forces of entropy itself; these would-be rebels push against the notion that there’s nothing that can stop the fall
– violet and flame; mouse
– bead-code, chirurgeon’s satchel, purloined document, shining-knife, crafter’s toolkit
64Tomorrow’s Rose“Lessen pain by sharing it, redirecting it.”
Artisans of roses, yes, and every rose symbolizing a scar that’s been shared, accepted, and assimilated; for them people, like roses, continue long past being cut down
– burgundy and dark green; rose
– skin of rosewater, vial of attar, rose petal preserves, briar torc, bundle of rose seedlings
65Imperishable“The heavens hear those who give their hopes and dreams to eternity.”
Instead of searching for fates amongst the stars, these dreamcrafters choose to chart their own chosen destinies and hang them on the jewels of the night sky
– royal blue and silver; scatter of stars
– star charts, miniature orrery, collection of notes, paper twist of starcrystal, dream scrolls
36The Final Light“We will lead them home.”
Psychopomps bearing a soft glow and a quiet wish through the dark — whether true or metaphorical — to grant wandering spirits their final rest.
– pale gold and dark grey; pumpkin
– lantern staff, shroud-shawl, foxfire candles, chalice, pouch of consecrated ashes
as before, none of these groups are archetype-locked.
combine them with whatever class (or whatever) you wish, it’s cool that way

to drive back the dark: emberlight

The world has known destruction.
The world has known war, and want, and withering.
The world is cold and crumbling.

But you.
You have a morsel of warmth, a tiny beacon of hope.
It glimmers in your hands like warm, rippling glass, like tears of joy.
Look how it glows.
Look at its colours.
It calls ever so softly to your heart.

Perhaps …
Perhaps if you can kindle this tiny beacon …

Perhaps the world will live once more.

Will you take up that burden?
Will you share your tiny hope?

Will you try to mend a broken world?


Once, the world was brighter. All the grandames’ stories and minstrel’s tales say the same, at their roots; that, in the time of their grandfather’s grandfathers, there was no need to scratch at crumbling soil ceaselessly in a wish for just enough corn to survive. That watercourses did not wither and dry with no warning. That the bleak skies above were not crowded out by clouds the colour of lead and the clawing limbs of blackened forests. That illness and injury was not, so often, a maiming or a death sentence without recourse.

That the days were not filled with the threat of banditry and strange beasts and growing, mad ritual.

That the nights were not filled with the tread of insectile, bird-clawed nightmares wrought from cold metal and stolen dreams, broken bones and the blood of the very earth.

What the Silent Emperor wrought in madness and pain — what was called from a wild, grieving heart and fed with the life of the land itself — ended the War, but at great and terrible cost. The world survived the War Of Twin Fires, the grandames and minstrels say, only to die thread by thread with each passing year. No mercy, this. The wind is capcrious, the summers scorch while winters freeze their pound of flesh, and the earth beneath one’s feet dries and drifts on the wind. Those who were left — who are left — huddle in villages and broken keeps, behind tumbled stone and blackthorn, and their worlds are very small indeed. The land has fragmented into a hundred hundred tiny, warring fiefdoms, all squabbling over what remains.

But.

As the world withered and faded, there were those who did not give up. Who offered what they had, little though it might be; shared what they could; fought off marauders and malaise. Many of them, most of them, gave their lives in the process. Some grew disillusioned, even as others struggled to pick up their banner.

And now, as time has marched on, and in the face of darkness and travail, those hopes have kindled and caught. Now dead morion’s smoky depths may cradle an ember of hope — a soft glow of hearthflame, those fragile hopes made manifest — and with it, a fighting chance to heal, to renew, to feel the warmth from the promise of a better life.

It’s a chance to push back against the nightmarish talon that ravage the world. And it’s going to take sacrifices big and small. But even a little victory is a victory.


He’d never been much for children. ignored them at best, actively avoided them when possible, though to his credit not once had he ever lifted a hand in anger. No call for that, ever.

But this was different. This was children — a village’s children, all that were left — laid low by want and privation brought on by pitiless warring lordlings. He suspected, at that, his own guilt in the matter. After all, hadn’t he been part of the iron-shoed bands that attached themselves to one petty knight or another?

But no more of that. He’d had enough of iron in the flesh, ashes in the gullet; enough of feeble crops under the torch and blooded boots and children whimpering for what their parents could no longer give them.

He clutched the sliver of warmth close; he felt the pull. The comfort it promised. He’d never knitted up so fast. Maybe it could help the kids, the villagers. Maybe he could find another.

He would bring life back to this village, at least.

It was the least, the very least, that he owed.


Hearthflame

It’s said that the first to find themselves in possession of an ember of renewed hope was the leader of a roving band of scavengers and would-be road protectors; that she fought off one of the Silent Knights, or a pair of bone nightmares, and in her hand a chipped knife of morion-stone became, that evening, a soothing beacon of the hope she refused to let die.

Others say these are lies, and the first shards were found in the ashes of a hearth-fire kept fed twig by twig through a long and bitter night to keep warm the survivors of a village that lost everything.

It doesn’t matter, really, who was the first.

What matters is that they exist. That they can be found. That they can be given freely away, if desired; they are not bound to one and only one. Even, new tales say, they might be pooled together, though the means are never said.

What matters is that the hearthflame’s ember can soothe, can calm, can warm. Its presence allows for healing without drawn-out agonies, and rest that is true, and more besides. It drives the nightmare back.

Hope for the future, life for the world; like all things, it can be hoarded, or shared, or gifted to another.

Remember, though, that like the fire, hope may also be smothered.

– how did you come by your ember? –

01. woke from a dizzying whirl of dreams with it in hand
02. plucked it from a pile of mouldering bones
03. was bequeathed it from someone’s unexpected largesse
04. found it embedded in the heartwood of an ancient tree
05. saw it dropped from the sky by a dying blightraven
06. found it, as morion, in a hoarder’s unclaimed cache under some fieldstones
07. it was lying mysteriously in the middle of a barren field
08. a frantic stranger pressed it into your hands, then fled
09. it was amongst your payment for services made
10. it appeared in a shrine as you prayed (or cursed, or begged)

Some whispers say that if one searches long enough, if the need is great enough — if the hope and the will is true enough — one might find a hallowed place where an ember of hearthflame, or several, might even awaken a mass of morion into a hearth-heart and rejuvenate all the land around it … Is it possible that such a thing could exist? Could vitality be brought back beyond that gifted, traded, sacrificed from hand to hand, pooled together against the dark?

Perhaps. Perhaps.

If it did, it might be seen as:

01. a translucent statue long overgrown by moss
02. a shimmering pillar in a hidden stony chamber
03. a fissuring passage that opens up into a softly beating geode
04. a standing-stone, worn smooth in parts by the touch of a thousand thousand hands
05. a swelling outcrop of smooth chert half-hidden in a cliffside
06. a dusty altar, hidden by years of ornaments and pleas
07. an ancient tree-bole, its heartwood not quite wood at all
08. a massive teardrop of shimmering facets floating in the midst of an abandoned High Hall
09. crushed and under pressure in the core of a decrepit war-cathedral
10. circling in slow gyres around a mountain peak like a luminous, half-solid cloud

Kith and Kind

Maybe you don’t want to play a human character today. Or you want to give this NPC something more than “this human duder”. But the game you’re playing or running doesn’t offer non-human options, or you don’t want to deal with “race-as-class”, or you just want some flavour, etc etc etc …

That’s where these two tables come in.

The first table offers a selection of other species — kiths, if you will — with a few suggestions for appearance and two traits or quirks, positive and negative. The second table instead presents variants, whether from environment or accident or intervention or what have you — the “kinds” of the kiths — and this table works similarly to the first.

You can, of course, only roll on the second table to find out what kind of human your character is.

The positive and negative traits have been left vague; you can probably assume most that are a do-a-thing type (like making or destroying something) can require some kind of test or check for success, if you like.

KithAppearance?PositiveNegative
01. Sidhetapered ears, slender bonesperfect recallget lost in memories
02. Saurosscales, tail, fanged muzzlesurprise actioncold vulnerability
03. Mafdetbipedal felinenightsightdistractable
04. Damadigitigrade, hooved, plumed tailspeedyfragile
05. Dvergrshort, burly, shaggy-hairedsense flawstreasure-tempted
06. Boggart1/2-human-size, gnarledirongutsredcap’s retaliation
07. Asterionbroad, tall, bull’s horns and taildirection sensegeased
08. Gruagach1/2-human-size, pointed earsstealthyoverlooked
09. Wilderlarge furred ears, tail or fangsjury-riggermagic vulnerability
10. Gigastowering, sculpted, tusks or hornscrusherslow reaction
11. Seshenenfolding “blossom” on backblossom hibernationflame vulnerability
12. Talking Beastanimal with odd mark or colourmagic resistno hands
interpret traits, or add concrete definitions, as required
KindPossible Apperance?PositiveNegative
01. Ceruleanblue spiral-and-line markingsspirit sightpoison vulnerability
02. Sanguinesharper features, fangssustained on bloodblood need
03. Damnedhoof(s), lopsided horns, scaled tail evil eyeblessed object bane
04. Hallowedaureola, stigmata, bright plumesbestow tranquilitydefiled object bane
05. Aquaticsmooth flesh, gill slits, webbingbreathe waterrequire immersion
06. Lunarwhite/silver hair, pale/luminous eyesmagic resisteasily influenced
07. Umbralcoiling shadow wisps, blacked eyeslight extinguishingsun aversion
08. Nuadanparts replaced by metal/porcelaininbuilt weapon/toolelemental vulnerable
09. Gravedeathly looks, cauled eyesillness immune halve healing
10. Verdantgreen tint, tiny plant growthshalf food requiredneed sunlight
11. Warp“cracks” in flesh glowcall object to handmagic may fail
12. Wyrmscales, horns, odd exhalationsvenom breathtreasure-tempted
13. Espriorganic jewel in fleshmindspeechfrail-bodied
14. Celestianstarfield eyes, star-markingssense fatedestined death
15. Abyssianretractile tentaclesomnidextrousincreased hunger
16. Faeodd colours, mismatched eyes, long earsluckyiron bane
17. God-kindivine aura, golden flesh, holy markdivine instrumentgeased
18. Runicmarked with runes/glyphs/sigilsspell storagefickle fate
19. Luminousbioluminescent markings, soft glowcandlelightdarkness poison
20. Skinwalkersilvery mark, pelt of other shapeshapechangelose pelt, lose gift
as above so below: interpret or codify as needed

a little variety in your ration options

Ever wonder what’s sitting in your ration sack? Or if you even have a “ration sack”?

Here’s a few tables to spice up your character’s meal options ~

First RationSecond RationThird Ration
01. Mincemeat hand-pies01. Biscuit01. Waxed cheese rounds
02. Smoked salmon slivers02. Apple rings02. Oatcakes
03. Yoghurt grains03. Vegetable pickles03. Parched corn
04. Beef jerky04. Cracked wheat04. Raisins
05. Pounded rice cakes05. Dried persimmons05. Mixed lentils
06. Salted locusts06. Hardtack06. Peach leather
07. Salt pork backfat07. Peppered sausages07. Cornmeal
08. pemmican with berries08. Candied melon08. Milk balls
09. Smoked ham09. Dried figs09. Hazelnut meal
10. Meat jelly10. Potato hand-pies10. Dried cranberries
11. Blood sausages11. Oat groats11. Algae cakes
12. Jerked duck12. Dried dates12. Fish pickle
a lot of these assume access to water; but if you don’t have water you’re kind of screwed anyway
What’s your grub in?Condition?
01. Hollowed horn01. Bit salty(ier)
02. Leather sack02. Average grub
03. Rawhide satchel03. Little stale
04. Willow basket04. A bit past prime
05. Waxed cloth wrap05. Fresh as it gets
06. Burlap sack06. Average grub
07. Tin box07. Tasty!
08. Bark box08. Oddly sweet(er)
09. Grass basket09. Definitely past prime
10. Cloth bundle (stick optional)10. Average grub
11. Wooden box11. Rancid …
12. Dried gourd12. Grub of the gods
it’s all a question of how you keep it, and how it was kept, really. maybe.

a plethora of potion possibilities

You’re stocking treasure and lo, a potion result! Well that’s nifty. You add an extra, just because; potions are convenient little one-shot wonders and there’s generally a nice variety to choose from, stumble over, and accidentally mix.

Then the group starts asking all kinds of questions about the things that aren’t just “what does it do” and your neurons freeze up like you licked an icebox. Augh! Details! Why!

heeeellllppppp —

So here are some tables to spruce up your potions (or anything else that might come in a small vaguely bottle-like container), inside and out ~

Container: ShapeContainer: Material IContainer: Material IIContainer: Colour
01. tubular01. blown glass01. celadon01. cobalt
02. spherical02. oxbone02. jade02. amber
03. ovoid03. cedar03. agate03. ginger
04. mawed skull04. cockleshell04. flower petals04. leaf green
05. heart05. horn05. lacquer05. milk
06. prism06. crystal06. steel06. charcoal
07. jewel07. silver07. coral07. rose
08. pyramidal08. leather08. oak08. cinnabar
09. rectangular09. human bone09. bronze09. smoke
10. human skull10. amber10. porcelain10. sandy
11. teardrop11. tortoiseshell11. dragonscale11. golden
12. talon12. feathers12. angel bone12. iridescent
yes combining these things gives some grand results ahaha

Contents: AppearanceContents: ColourContents: Scent Contents: TasteContents: Texture
01. murky01. carmine01. mint01. acidic01. bubbling
02. glittering02. heliotrope02. citrus02. sweet02. gritty
03. opaque03. sable03. blood03. bitter 03. syrupy
04. transparent04. verdigris 04. marrow04. metallic04. gelatinous
05. cloudy 05. bronze05. ash05. earthy05. batter-like
06. prismatic06. ochre06. honey06. unctuous06. watery
07. shifting07. amethyst07. bacon07. salty07. effervescent
08. layered08. silvery08. roses08. flat08. clumping
09. quivering09. ivory08. musk09. putrid09. chunky
10. slushy10. mirror10. ocean10. bready10. pasty
11. drying11. golden11. grass11. flesh11. smooth
12. solid12. pearl12. myrrh12. electric12. sandy
oh boy what are we trying to swallow this time

Some mini magical schools

Shamelessly inspired by having been digging at a venerable jrpg for months upon months at this point (lol), here are ten wee schools of magic, eight spells each.

There was some tweaking involved in setting these out, which was no surprise; magic doesn’t need as much “utility” in a jrpg. Or, I suppose, tabletop could use slightly more variety than “how to smite critters faster while making sure they they don’t smite you”, ha. Nonetheless, I think I kept the categories intact and adapted some key spells along the way.

Spells are all short and to the point, meant for for pocketrpg / The Black Hack / Knave / Cairn / similar such games, but with a detail or three could be added elsewhere without too much fuss, I imagine —

Opposing Schools: Eight of the ten have opposing schools, as follows:

Wind <-> Earth

Flame <-> Water

Light <-> Darkness

Mirage <-> Sorcery

Spirit and Wickedness do not oppose, despite being a “leftover pair”, and can be freely combined.

Air

01. Windrazor: Focused blast of air does 1d6 damage.
02. Windcalling: Summons an air elemental [Average] to act on behalf of the summoner. 10 min. + 10 min./Essence spent.
03. Unseen Wings: Target gains ability to fly. 1d4 hrs.
04. Barrier Breeze: Enveloping cocoon of winds blocks 4 airborne attacks. 10 min.
05. Windwhisper: Message up to 5 min. long travels to chosen recipient on a tiny whispering breeze.
06. Tempest: 2d4 targets are struck by lightning and stormwinds for 1d4 damage.
07. Sparktouch: Imbues weapon with lightning; +1 damage, counts as lightning/wind damage. 5 turns.
08. Storm Frenzy: Speed of the storm grants two actions/turn. 2d6 turns. 1 Ess.

Earth

01. Weight of Stone: Target acts every second turn, moves at 1/2 speed. 2d4 minutes.
02. Calcify: Target turns to stone. 2 Essence.
03. Crystal Carapace: Increase Armour Points by 2. 1 hr.
04. Earthcalling: Summons an earth elemental [Average] to act on behalf of the summoner. 10 min. + 10 min./Essence spent.
05. Draw From The Earth: Regenerate 1 Essence/hr for 8 hrs; “phantom” Essence is lost from injury first, cannot fuel magic, and is lost when duration ends.
06. Diamond Edge: Next physical attack does max damage. 1 Essence.
07. Earthhome: Raises earth and stone shelter for up to 6 individuals. 8 hrs.
08. Bounty: Conjures basic foodstuffs for one meal. (stops working for individual after 1d4 days unless they get mundane food.)

Flame

01. Flamegout: Ribbon of flame does 1d6+1 damage.
02. Hearthfires: Subject is immune to cold damage for 1 hr, or ambient warmth is created in Nearby radius. 2d4 hrs.
03. Firetouch: Imbues weapon with fire energy; +1 damage, counts as flame damage. 10 min.
04. Coronal Coronet: Flame aura deals 1d3 fire damage to next 2 sources of injury. 1 hr or until triggered.
05. Flamecalling: Summons a fire elemental [Average] to act on behalf of summoner. 10 min. + 10 min./Essence spent.
06. Immolation: 1d6 fire damage to all within Nearby range. 1 Essence.
07. Memory of Ashes: Instantly incinerate a target. 2 Essence.
08. Burnfever: Heals subject of illness, mundane or magical.

Water

01. Torrent: Blast of water does 1d6 damage.
02. Wavecalling: Summons a water elemental [Average] to act on behalf of summoner. 10 min. + 10 min./Essence spent.
03. Mire: Waterlogs area up to Nearby range, slowing physical actions to every other turn. 2d8 turns. 1 Essence.
04. Purifying Font: Cleanses one subject of poison, or renders tainted supplies edible/drinkable.
05. Glacial: Ice shards inflict 1d6 damage to all in Nearby range. 1 Essence.
06. Frostmantle: Subject is immune to heat damage for 1 hr, or ambient coolness is created in Nearby radius. 2d4 hrs.
07. Vital Rain: Conjures healing waters, 1d4 Essence.
08. Underwave: Breathe water, swim as easily as walking. 4 hrs.

Light

01. Heartlight: Remove mental or emotional duress and debuffs from target, or grant +1 to Psyche to resist next such influence.
02. Day’s Truth: Sense deliberate lies or obfuscations. 10 min.
03. Lantern: Create light (of chosen colour) as strong as a lantern, either stationary or following target. 6 hrs.
04. Suntouched: Heal 1d4+1 Essence.
05. Starburst: Deal 1d4+1 light damage.
06. Moonblade: Summon weapon of pale glittering light; Advantage on attacks, 1d8+1 damage, lasts 4 turns. 2 Essence.
07. Revelation: Cures subject of blindness, paralysis, and similar restrictions.
08. Clarity: Waves of blinding light deal 1d6 damage to 2d8 targets. 1 Essence.

Darkness

01. Shadowbind: Paralyzes target with shadowy coils. 2d4 turns.
02. Afraid Of The Dark: 1d4 subjects are struck with terror and try to flee.
03. Black Curtain: Cloaks Nearby area in darkness. 6 hrs.
04. Deny The Light: Target is blinded. 2d4 hrs, or until dispelled/treated if 1 Essence spent.
05. Darkblade: Summon weapon of utter darkness; Advantage on attacks, 1d8+1 damage, lasts 4 turns. 2 Essence.
06. Despair: Inflicts Disadvantage on target’s next test.
07. Shadowpuppet: Turn target’s shadow against them; will attack target as [Average] antagonist, dealing 1d4 damage if defeated. 6 turns.
08. Shadowalk: Step into darkness, come out in another shadow or darkness up to Far Away range. 1 Essence.

Mirage

01. Unseen Passage: Subject turns invisible. 2d8 min.
02. Dreamtime: Send 2d4 targets to sleep. 1 hr or until woken up.
03. Misdirection: Subject will choose wrong target for own actions, believing choice correct, for next 3 actions.
04. Phantasm: Create illusionary object or location, up to size of large chamber. 4 hrs.
05. Masque: Change outward appearance or create intangible copy of subject. 2 hrs. or until masque is touched.
06. Daze: Target is confused and wanders aimlessly. 5 min.
07. Piercing Unreality: Dispel illusions, enchantments, magical barriers.
08. Labyrinth: Target is convinced they are trapped in a maze, left in fugue state. 1 Essence.

Sorcery

01. Mystic Bolt: Bolt of energy deals 1d3 damage, no save.
02. Sorcerer’s Shawl: Subject is cloaked in magic field that absorbs 8 Essence of damage before dissipating.
03. Powerfont: Boost damage from an ally’s next spell by half again, or double the duration of their non-battle spell. 1 Essence.
04. Reading The Past: Touch an object, discover last purposes and owner.
05. Counterspell: Shuts down next incoming magic; can undo magic just cast (current or previous turn) for 1 Essence.
06. Energy Storm: Deals 1d3 damage to all in Nearby range, no save.
07. Baneward: Create magic trap that does 1d4 damage when triggered. 24 hrs.
08. Sorcerer’s Sight: Choose to sense magic, illusions, or spirits. 10 min.

Spirit

01. A Burden Shared: Take on some or all of another’s injuries.
02. Insight: Grants Advantage on next test.
03. Weight Of A Soul: Immobilize 1d6+1 targets. 1d4 turns.
04. Castigate: Target becomes non-hostile (unless Psyche test is successful; then are probably enraged).
05. Warding: Declare area up to Nearby range impassable by specific entity or creature type. 1 Essence. 8 hrs.
06. Soulflame: 1d10 damage to target up to Far Away, no save. 2 Essence.
07. Heartreading: Discern subject’s intentions in a general sense (friendly, suspicious, etc).
08. Crucible: Halve incoming damage. 1 Essence. 4 turns.

Wickedness

01. Dead Walking: Animate corpse or skeleton; uses deceased’s attibutes.
02. Crawling Blight: Poisons target, 1d4 damage/turn. 1 Essence. 6 turns.
03. Curse of Spite: Halves target’s attributes. 1 hr. (2 Essence: until dispelled)
04. Soul Siphon: Inflict 1d6 damage on target, gaining damage dealt as Essence.
05. Wracking: Stun 2d6 targets for one turn.
06. Blackened Wounds: Next attack on subject will continue to bleed, 1 Essence/turn, until treated.
07. Bleak Marionette: Target comes under caster’s control; takes 1 damage/min. until out of Essence or control is lifted/broken.
08. Nadir: All non-Wickedness magic Nearby requires +1 Essence surcharge. 2 Essence. 1 day.

Bolt-on mecha (and random tables)

I like mecha. I like mecha a lot, from personal power armours to towering colossi, sci-fi to fantasy and everything in between; Gundam to Escaflowne, Tekkaman to Xenogears. So of course I get the itch to add mecha to my games, settings and most everything else.

That itch meandered its way back and forth across my hindbrain and eventually stumbled over a small passage I wrote for my still-unfinished spacehack concerning fantasy spaceships and fighting them — and so here we are, because I also don’t feel like bolting a massive new system onto anything to get my death machines going, lol.

Back-of-napkin Mecha Rules

To add mecha to an existing rpg, rules-wise (how you add them into a setting/story is entirely up to you and well~ outside the scope of this little project, lol), try this:

  • Mecha use the exact same sort of stats as other potential antagonists.  So, monster statblocks with Hit Dice in many many games, the antagonist rankings in my pocketrpg, shorthand NPC statblocks from Shadowrun, etc etc.  Reskin as desired.  

What’s the notable difference?  The following:

  • Mecha deal damage to other mecha (or mecha-equivalents) normally.
    • They will obliterate a squishy target such as your average adventurer outright; a person is not surviving getting even broadsided by the backwash of a beam sabre. Or being stepped on. Depending on the situation a save or test to get the hell out of the way might be allowable though.
  • Under most circumstances, the average living body with typical weaponry is not going to damage a mecha.

But!  All is not lost, because adventurers gotta adventure and also Sabin Figaro and Master Asia exist.  So to the above, if desired, add the concept of [antimech] — renamed appropriately for setting and campaign, if it has a name at all — which is a fancy way of saying “deals normal damage to mecha targets”.

Some ways to make antimech abilities available:

  • Make it an intrinsic trait of some character (types); say, all Fighters can damage mecha, for example
  • Make it an acquirable trait, whether replacing an existing ability or as a purchaseable trait in games that use those
  • Some spells, psychic abilities, or magic/tech/special items may have the ability to damage mecha
  • You could also assign broad damage types as antimech; biomecha might be vulnerable to flames or to poison or necromantic energies, for example.

Please note that being able to damage a mecha doesn’t mean it won’t still turn Ixion Iron-Thewed into a bloody smear if he gets stepped on by it.  Gauge risk and rewards accordingly, lol.  Some special equipment/magic/etc might mitigate some or all damage from mecha attacks, though!

Some further considerations and ruminations:

  • Hit Dice/challenge tiers/etc correspond to a given mecha unit’s capabilities but not necessarily its size, any more than they do in “mundane” encounters.  That relatively shrimpy machine might be a top of the line prototype bristling with pain-dealing weapons and unusual systems!
    • “Power Armour”: Similarly, if you want a power armour-like unit that is basically a fancy suit for a person but conceivably can be damaged by a person, just go the [antimech] route — the machine can be damaged by routine sources, but its own attacks damage mecha (and may or may not instant-splatter other targets, depending on the suit’s power).
  • A mecha isn’t a perfectly impenetrable barrier just because it’s a death machine.  If something can still specifically target the pilot — mindprobes, curses, and so on — it’s going to still work.
  • Repair rates are largely going to be up to individual tables as well as the base system being used; maybe something along the lines of using base “healing” rules, doubled if swarmed by techs or using hyper-mending abilities of some sort, halved if no one familiar with maintenance is available or if supplies are poor, etc.  Healing magic isn’t going to work (unless the mecha is biological, perhaps ~).
  • It’s best to establish a baseline for mecha in a setting, especially if making specific mecha traits purchaseable or assignable to a unit.  Do typical machines have open cockpits/are they ridden, like FFVI Magitek Armours, or enclosed cockpits, like a Gundam?  Is flying standard or is it a special feature?  How about aquatic capabilities, or sealed cockpits/internal environments?
    • If average mecha have open cockpits, then an enclosed one (with its added protection) is worth making a special feature to acquire, especially if its capable of being a sealed environment.  Flight is a big thing, if mecha are normally ground-based.  And so on and so forth.
    • Of course an absolute free-for-all is also on the table if you want it ~
  • Themes are also good.  Are mecha in your world entirely mechanical?  Are they metal, or crystal, or biological?  Plant or meat?  Solidified light?  Solid thought?  Animated bone?  Uncountable porcelain petals held together by blood ritual channeled through amber focus-studs?  Does it vary by culture?

And now random tables, because random tables

Need some quick inspiration to help reskin that statblock or conjure up a new one? Here’s some ideas to get the ol’ creative mecha juices no, not Protoculture flowing —

Composition IComposition IIAesthetics IAesthetics II
01. Common metal01. Exotic alloy01. Sleek01. Asymmetrical
02. Bone02. Ivory02. Ponderous02. Jagged
03. Ceramic03. Stone03. Attenuated03. Angular
04. Chitin04. Shell04. Bulky04. Bulbous
05. Crystal05. Soulstuff05. Crude05. Corded
06. Mundane wood06. Plasm06. Delicate06. Chiseled
07. Precious metal07. Glass07. Jury-rigged07. Squamous
08. Living flesh08. Dead flesh08. Militaristic08. Organic
09. Hard light09. Petals09. Minimalist09. Bladed
10. Concrete10. Solid thought10. Baroque10. Halo’d
11. Pearl11. Plasteel11. Predatory11. Inscribed
12. Marble 12. Rare wood12. Mass-produced12. Banner’d
mix and match for best and most hilarious results; some more suitable for fantasy than others, lol.
using a roll on both Aesthetics tables gives nice shorthand descriptions.
FormPower SourceControlsWake it up with …
01. Humanoid01. Biojelly01. Reins & spurs01. Bond-brand
02. Piscine02. Fighting Spirit02. Ship’s wheel02. Skinprint
03. Bipedal walker03. Lightning shards03. Paired joysticks03. Circuit medallion
04. Quadruped04. Harvested souls04. Steering yoke04. Soul scanner
05. Avian05. Reactor core05. Thoughtgem05. Eye reader
06. Centaurine06. Radiant prism06. Empathetic skinsuit06. Blood sampling
07. Serpentine 07. Manastones07. Pulse-point pearls07. Sung command
08. Arthropod08. Refined fuels08. Enclosing shell08. Tuned chime
09. Amorphous09. Energy cells09. Body harness09. Answered riddle
10. Cephalopod10. Solar generator10. Gradient keyboard10. Inscribed code
11. Vehicular11. Steamworks11. Thinking cap11. Button sequence
12. Hybrid (roll twice)12. Heartjewel12. Uplink jack(s)12. Inserted prism
yes, yes, “vehicular”, because Dairugger XV exists damnit and also the Guntank is hilarious
Features IFeatures IIWeapons AWeapons B
01. Extra armour01. Long-distance flight01. Beam02. Shot
02. Generates nutrition02. Amphibious02. Razor02. Pulser
03. Life-supporting cockpit03. Barrier-generator03. Monoline 03. Blade
04. Weapon supercharger04. Network transmission node04. Banishing04. Wing
05. Magic channeler05. Cockpit sub-mecha05. Frost (Cryonic)05. Sabre
06. Psychic channeler06. Linked drone(s)06. Flame (Pyretic)06. Fang
07. Self-regeneration07. Weapon absorption07. Souleating07. Bolter
08. Flight08. Damage immunity08. Plasma08. Whip
09. Bits/dragoons/weapon drones09. Burrower09. Repeating09. Cannon
10. Transformation10. Soul-storage of pilot10. Corrosive10. Claw
11. Mana/psychic/comms jammer11. Cloaked11. Thunder11. Disrupter
12. Unusual sensor suite12. Holographic projector12. Hardlight12. Hammer
do please use both Weapons tables simultaneously! “Thunder Pulser”, anyone?