Wednesday, December 21, 2016

PRIME CUTS: The Black Arion

One of these bastards gave me nightmares when I picked one up thinking it a seedpod a few years back. 

Colours range from Ivory, Ochre to Black according to latitude.
As big and heavy as a severed thumb. Mature at 2.5cm, Grown at 15cm. Fifteen. 
They eat meat (esp. carrion and feces) but also fungi lichen and decaying matter. 
They exhibit significantly more bacteria and enzymes in their stomachs than other slugs.
Nocturnal by choice but out on overcast days.
Their mantle looks like a dead rat dipped in tar. 
They have a fucking mantle. Like John Snow.
They do not run or hide, they rear up and arch their shoulders like a bear and try to intimidate you. This is unique in the Arionidae family.
They produce three types of mucous one of which is described as "vile" to ward off predators.
They have calciferous granules in their mantle that acts as armor or "a resilient protective structure"
.They have been found to crossbreed with northern European slugs and to have gained frost resistance. Roll for fear.
Hermaphroditic, but can self-fertilise.
Lays eggs, 5mm diameter in moss and topsoil. 
Four clutches of eggs a year in up to one hundred and fifty egg batches.
They have a genital Ligula (*see cuts) suggesting copulation is a stimulating act for them.
The "genital pore" is below the "right upper tentacle" on the head. Asymmetry.. 
They find and track mucous trails to find a mate.
Motherfuck they were first found as an invasive species in Australia, 2001. We are done for. 
The Swedish traditionally used Arion Ater as grease to lubricate wooden axles since the 18th C.

The gut microbiome of the Arion, especially the extra enzymes used to digest cellulose are being studied in bio-fuel research.

If I ever saw a pile of these shoggoth-ing towards me... i shudder to think.
According to this video footage further below they can possibly move in swarming masses oh god get me off this planet.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Fungi, God and Me. PRIME CUTS inc.

Oboy have I been reading about Fungi and the Bible over at " Answers in Genesis" and did you know that "The Curse" is the reason disease and evolution exist? 

I just wanted to see if there were mushrooms in the Bible, honest.
There's a bit where an apostle cries about a chicken and everything.

Get ready for more Capitalisations than Usual.

So when Adam got all sassy around the time of The Fall, God simply let creation off the leash to show that newly mortal sap what happens when divinity does not guide the way of nature. Corruption ensues!

Perfectly harmless nutrient recycling mechanisms like fungi and virus' got all corrupt and started eating our faces off and bible-acceptable Evolution started ruining shit for errbody all the time since that point. (6000 years mind you!) .

Apparently God bound nature (Circa Creation thru. Fall Of Man) can murder itself horribly all day because it has no immortal soul, but by heck humans are above that kind of degradation. That is until the Curse of Evolution corrupted their defined roles and all that replication got a bit wonky and oh god thats ebola what the hell dog!

By the way fossil strata merely represents the specific order in which The Deluge murdered things, one smack-down at a time as sediment, not the plodding layers of deep geological time.


Think about that. What took brutal nature billions of years to kill, God KO'ed in 40days/150days/about-a-year (depending on your interpretation, which I guess is the crux of this post). Not only that but he presumably phoned them one era at a time and gave them the old "I will find you and I will kill you" speech because he killed individual ecosystems world-over on different layers, almost like they were epochs or something. Like, if he had reaped them East to West or continent by continent there would be a layer of fossil (or... oil? not a geologist!) everywhere but like alphabet soup fossils from Alpha to Omega all jumbled.

EDIT: for the purposes of this blog I do not seek to be anti-religion or pro-evolution but simply "is it badass RPG fodder" and by the gods yes it is. Not to say I ain't heavily biased, but that's pretty obvious.

Lifeforms that don't evolve are called Baramin (Bara-Created Min-Kind) and everything else is just ruined garbage like sinful humans which I think is cool.

Lichen is Baramin, perfection in perpetuity, probably crocodiles too, but its an article about fungi.

Any natural thing that does not respect the manifest primacy of humans has had the sass to evolve (Read: Corruption) and therefore is not Baramin. Then again, it IS a Curse, so like, we deserve it.

All these creationist articles are like science fiction written by wizards. I keep forgetting that biblical language inspired fantasy and not the other way around. 

PRIME CUTS: Fungi from the Biblical Perspective Design and Purpose in the Original Creation. Ira Loucks, 2009

"In the biblical creation worldview, fungi were created by God during the Creation Week approximately 6,000 years ago as a variety of different reproductively isolated kinds or baramin (bara = created, min = kind; Marsh 1941). The Bible does not describe precisely when these organisms were created, but we can logically deduce when they were likely created based on the reasoning that each created system at the end of each day was complete or “good” (Genesis 1; Gillen 2008)). In this way, we can deduce that the mycorrhizal, endophytic, and land-dwelling, saprophytic fungi were likely created on Day 3 along with plants, while other fungi (that is, animal-associated Candida spp. and the aquatic Chytridiomycetes) were created on Days 5 and 6. Alternatively, all of the fungi may have been created on Day 3 with the other “plants,” given the traditional Hebrew inclusion of fungi and bacteria in the plant kingdom (Gillen 2008; Kennard 2008). Irrespective of their day(s) of creation, discerning the individual baramin of fungi may be possible based on their mode(s) of reproduction and physical characteristics.."

"...It is possible that the loss of mycorrhizal associations by these plants is part of the original Curse (Genesis 3:17–18), and may be part of the reason these weed species devolved from their original created state.."

"..Heat tolerance was conferred on tomatoes upon infection with the virus-containing endophyte, demonstrating the broadness of these higher-order interactions and suggesting that this kind of interaction was likely present during Creation Week. Indeed, these symbioses appear to have been designed to enable re-colonization of the varied soil types found in the post-Flood world..."

"..Presumably, these insects were originally designed to use leaf litter as compost for growing fungi, with recent corruption of this purpose resulting in the destruction of living plant tissue (Mueller and Rabeling 2008). The beetle-fungus and wood wasp mutualisms seem to have been created for a different purpose. These mutualisms take advantage of dead or damaged trees and may have been originally created to exploit nutrient recycling in completing their life cycles. These symbioses have also been corrupted since the Fall, resulting in damage to living trees and causing significant economic loss (Anonymous 2006, 2009)..."

"...These interactions are testaments to design. The relatively small number of pathogenic interactions compared to the total number of fungi allude to the original created order. Experimental evidence showing the effects of gene mutation in numerous systems demonstrate the ease by which these complex interactions can be corrupted. Future research in plant pathology and medical mycology may further illuminate the impact of the Curse on fungal mutualistic processes, and may help us better understand how different the current world is from the original, perfect creation..."


Perdition RPG Review: how to make friends and influence people

I wanted to do a setting writeup as there is very little explanation online and the book pitch does little to convey the awesome scale of the setting and its implications.
I am a Player Character, so not having read the actual rule-book forgive me many confabulations, wrong assumptions, slanderous lies. These are my impressions so far.

So my good friend and RPG Monster over at Renfield's Cat is running Perdition the RPG by HackSlash, a game set in what appears to me to be the fallen earth, a baroque medieval fantasy setting invaded and overrun by literal demons who now happily preside on earth doing demon things and stuff.
Perdition means something like "complete ruin" I believe.

There are remnants of the old world and the wars they lost- towns and artifacts, base humans trying to live on as base humans do. There are bastard races such as the Hobgoblins who served well in the war and reap their rewards as wealthy citizens, there are corpses of the Titans and old gods who were slain, a scarce few Paladins survive in the badlands, free agents hardened by defeat.

Demons operate in a pleasingly feudal way, it seems they are Machiavellian vicious and fallible as any human Laird. It is simply that they hold demonic power and can tear a giant in two that distinguishes them from the previous landed gentry, curse their blasted corpses.
They fear only the Vile Conclave, enforcers of demon law and etiquette, for the branching pathways cruelty and violence are so old in this culture that they have become ritualised and what good is a system if it cannot be taxed.

For an adventurer this changes almost nothing.

There are multiple currencies, ceramic shells, souls, gold and silver. Souls have been devalued to the point where they can barely be traded for anything except the being they were taken from, what use is another soul when you own the world it lives in. Still, they have their uses.
Fuck knows what shells are for, I assume they are fossilised and found in shale? Things dead and ancient hold some power here. I rolled so much gold I was generated as encumbered and had to go find a Platinum dealer.

As a party of three to five depending on the day we have a spectrum of comedic players, chaotic nihilists, Shakespearean demons and muscle bros  all of whom seem to be quite happy with the place they find themselves. We also have number crunchers and newbies- Minmaxers find the unusual rules alluring and disconcerting and newbies enjoy the theatrics and don't realise the rules are weird, after a little help at character creation combat and skill checks are simple.
Can't wait for an arraignment at the Vile Conclave though! Daemon Bureaucracy, devilish decorum what could possibly go wrong.

Classes are heavily modified variations aligning to Wizards (about 7 variants.), Paladin, Fighters (about 4 variants), Cleric, Thief, Ranger.
Gods and summons are incredible- just imagine what a DEMON would summon when it wanted something bizarre and evil.
Races are batshit crazy and will break you if you bring prior knowledge. Trolls are cored out servitor golems, Hobgoblins are the new money bourgeois of Perdition, there are gentle forest yeti and giants suck at being giant.

Evil is an interesting concept in this game, many players have assumed it to be an evil campaign because y'know "deamons". I feel however that demons in power are too petty and selfish to be serious about capital e Evil and in a world owned by demons its kind of a "does a fish feel wet" question.
The fact is that shit need doing and that base people are boring and pragmatic. Most powerful entities are obsessed with a single facet of evil in a sort of autistic fashion of course but that simply means they probably forget to pay proper homage to other sins.

I am playing a sort of apathetic destructive nihilism spawned from an fungal hate and the god of mathematical entropy (ok... its a sentient comet made from history, maths and the desire to smash the planet) which probably makes me pretty bad for everything around me.
Most of our party enjoys the freedom that "Evil-land" allows for in terms of general assholery but are unconsciously saving each-other, building fortunes and being team players in a way that undermines any true Evil so far. Which is fine, conscienceless selfish mercenary is a popular and productive role in RPGs everywhere.

The only other thing I want to mention is the Stress stat. As you get more stress points from KO's encounters & fatigue you get strung out and twitchy (initiative and combat bonus.) but also run the risk of snapping under pressure (straight up nervous breakdown in the form of formidable psy damage, probably other things I don't have the rule-book).
This is cool as you space your rest and rations according to your confidence, need for bonuses and gamble against death, not the normal factors of HP. Its nice to see rations do something useful too I hate those bastards.

Great game! God I missed terrible magic.

(Red Troll Inheritor read: regenerating golem + mutant cleric,
Example of my Char Sheet from 5th ed OGL, modified to Perdition by Mr Renfields Cat- that guy sure can Roll20)

Igads, a heavy slow oxen of a man torn from his family for service the house of Naazluth Heralds of the Light during the height of the Devil Wars.
He was forged in the roaring hellfires of that house, soul and memories stripped from him, boiling pink blood forced through in his veins. Hardy, regenerative, sullen, obedient, a soulless flame.
A tool. A chimera, Cockatrice head crudely sewn upon his shoulders, jawbones fused to the jagged  and ossified beak, a brutal joke and a symbol of the House.
Igads is not a man, Igads is a Red Troll. Igads is a red troll for decades uncounted.

And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.
Matthew 26:75

When Naazluth Heralds of the Light fell to the Crimson Baron Sailor of the Ocean of Blood in a masterful display of treachery and deceit all of the Red Trolls fell to his whims. Spoils of war but also spoiled of image- the Cockatrice motif being of stark aesthetic contrast to the pink-weeping eunuch Trolls of House Sailor of the Ocean of Blood.

The flock were sent to the Black Swamps, told by their terrible new owner to walk west and eat dirt in perpetuity, pecking the muck like so many cowed cockerels.
Igads is not a Red Troll, Igads is a broken Cog, nothing, and not nearly sentient enough to realise it.

Somewhere deep in the swamp the unthinking Cog met the unthinking Scarbinger, fungal god, The End of Sentience, devouring the gargantuan corpse of the last titan.
Obeying his directive Igads fed on the god of change, the god of nihilism.
His empty body the tool, filled with spores and muck and pallid fungi intelligence. Intelligence well pleased by the corruption of meat-sentience it found therein, a thing changed and changed again, stripped of animal desires and commanded only to eat filth and grow. A rare meat-thinker with which it could commune.
Scarbringer gave the Cog life of a sort, this Red Troll is a drifting spore of Sarbringer End of Sentience floating through the turbulent world of Thinking Meat.

Igads scarred and burned husk of a meat brain, sparked to brief life at this rebirth screamed out decades of unremitting torture, toil and bloodboil in the single beat of a heart, a psychic gong heard clearly by those borne of hate, and driven by the unstoppable unraveling of the universe, motivated by the desire to pull and tear at those thrashing threads.
Igads the Plougman, last of his line flared one brief and monstrous prayer in an instant of lucidity and died hating.

As the Rot Queen gave a Cog life, Grandfather the Apocalypse Star, the ticking clock of entropic mathematics, reaches across space and time and gives Igads a gift. In an unspeakably rare act of creation he gifts the burden of Purpose, knowing that in this taboo creation lies the mathematical certainty of destruction, desecration and the end of things old and beautiful. A null sum at worst, a catastrophic ender of days and best.
Grandfather Count-the-days rests. He counts the days and watches the world he must sunder as it drifts closer through space with the pleasing certainty of physics in motion.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A medieval medicine setting, ft. The Crusades, Gods-Brother and the disturbing loss of magic.

It is important to realise that body-horror conditions we like to use in media and fiction like festering pustules, boils and most other diseases we see as horrific today were just everyday stuff throught most of history.
A horror that you dont understand. It is well documented that even the wealthy, those with physicians and warmth and food suffered a huge range of gnarly ailments. I still like to feel smug about toilets and soap, for all their wealth Cesar had no shitter and Cleopatra had to rub oils &etc all over her because who even showers?
Now think about travellers, pesants and doctors. Germ theory was not even a whisper of a thought.

In cities and towns water was an unwholesome alternative to ale and wine, both of terrible quality but at least sort of sterile. Offering a guest water was socially rude because of fun things like cholera, and diahreea that could in all likelyhood kill you. Hygine consisted of a protective crust of dirt, and clothes were basically rusted on all winter. Poops happened. Everywhere.
Kate Beaton is a fucking boss history nerd and I ALWAYS think of her Pesant series when I get medieval.
Also shoutout to those on Burgs and Bailiffs for the raddest ever quasi historical medical knowhow and also charts.


Show your players a different paradigm of medicine- Humours (blood, phlegm, black and yellow bile), Miasmas (lit. 'Bad air') were the prevalent mode for most of medieval times, along with a little mystical alchemy and the practical approach of animal doctors+bonesaws.
Im thinking a world on the cusp of medicine haunted by the spectre of illness and widespread plague, that is your everpresent, your setting is a miasma of illnes: spurring religion, influenceing politics, killing friends.

Barber Surgeons, this is not a joke, only barbers had the tools and would treat a commoner.
Some farmers and butchers had knowlege of animal ailments and anatomy but no such tools.
Salves and poltuces are pulped plant and fat.
Clysters are medidical enemas, live animal enemas were a thing cos why the fuck not. Release the tadpoles.
Leeches and blood drainings (doctors used sanguination as an anaesthetic cos if they are too wacked to scream they are technically fine. Oterwise its hemlock is good- a deadly poison.)

Diorhea lets out black bile, vomit is yellow. These are all linked to elements eath fire water ether.
Throwback to the Skeleton Podcast- bones are clearly made of compacted semen and they are cold so like obviously earth, read it and weep suckas.

Sometimes you just pump in some cow urine or feces or whatever to balance out the element ratio in that ol patient. He lost a lot of blood.

Thats a dungeon I want- Early medicine in a world of fading magic. A quack charlatan sends you on miasmatic quests, you may never learn his alignment or intent.
Bro I kno that red cross means a lot to you, but it sure looks like a target.
Lucky you just invented the concept of fixing the wounded instead of mercy-killing them!

Forgotten Hospitallier vaults containing long lost plague cures must be opened with offerings of Bile Yellow and Black, Blood and Phlegm.
Yes you must indeed shit in the stone bowl while your paladin retches yellow bile into the Chalice. Now we find a phlegmatic pilgrim for snot and blood and praise-be-lord-saviour the portal shall open!

Stimulants and surgery do strange and unexpected things, no matter what the intent of the surgeon... The quack accidentally nicks the wrong nerve trying to paralyse your facial muscles (its all a complex scam you see) and dulls your pain nerves instead, the goodly Spirit healer Hospitaller removes the pike but leaves your intestines knotted and plugged with a thick "healing" salve of rendered fat and opiates, a recipe recently arrived from the eastern Yarusalem Holy City and a dodgy translation at best.
The good news is that you are bodily strong, and the plug will provide sustenance, pain dulling, sleep quelling miasmas for three days before your inability to eat starts to sap your strength. And your breath smells like rotting and sweet eastern spices.. The doctors last orders, whispered in shame and darkness- whatever you do, do not sneeze or commune with woman.

Quacks offer free trepanning to fix the mentally unstable, but only if they can keep the circle of curved bone he will bore out of your skull. He is hired, only to immobilise you with heavy bloodletting, produce a frogs liver from the hole via slight of hand, declare you fixed and then leave with your money before you recover from your lobotimised torpor enough to cry foul.
You CAN hear god better now though.. and you can FEEL that circle of bone over the west horizon. This must stop.

Barber Veterinarians are the plumbers of the body, there is a lower risk of mystical Humorous (pun intended) side effects (good or bad) but less actual healing. The rough, pragmatic scarring is a badge of honour and integrity to the lower classes.

The Barber is the only man with sharp, fine tools and via livestock, a blood smeared knowledge of an animal's insides and where they should reside. To bear those scars and survive is a rejection of the cloisters and towers of academia where the pesant patients are chewed up and spat out, sometimes healed, but always, always changed. Those scars bear a different pattern, baroque and haunting and not all visible.

The Court Physicians and Kept Alchemists spurn them, the butcher-menders they cannot even afford a decent plague mask. Superior alchemy and the application of Kabbalisthtic scarring, Mussleman chaemical salts and Vadic rhyming polemics provide superior healing.
Proper re-routing of the bile ducts and application of alchemic false-humors can stir even the old magics.
Magics thought lost to the world with the unholy evisceration of GodsMartyr and the Crusade to bury the taint of Gods-Brother.

Why, the last patient even turned wine to blood!
The thoracic shunt delivered sacramental red directly to the spleen, and behold he urinates fresh blood.
Martyr bless my work, as I write it clots before my eyes: too pure for the ether of the open air.
We know there could be no native blood, for the patient was properly exsanguinated previous to sanctification, and thus the spleen, holy engine of transmutation has clearly been induced to miracles bless out Father I shall have this specimen duly arrayed before the reliquary.


I'm thinking the Crusades in a world where the death of Christ brought magic and the taken-for-granted magic healing to an end, throwing society into disarray.
Pestilence hangs over centres of civilisation, as in history. War is bloody and life is cheap.
We do not know whether God died with the Martyr-vassal and his epoch of magic. We know not to debase ourselves for forgiveness, curse magic or claw it back, earn forgiveness through self reliance, penetance or glory? Unified western faith is fractured into dozens of sharp edged splinters. There are rumours that there is a Second Messiah, one overlooked, an antivassal? Perhaps an angel, one thought to be also the devil, a two sided coin is still worth the same is it not. Rumors also he is here to save us, destroy us or reform us, all that is consistent is that he too is made in Gods image, and also in ours.

The scramble to revivify the faded arts of medicine, alchemy and other knowledge lost in the shadow of "wizards did it" reliance of magic has compressed our history- we have Holy Wars, Religious Reform, Alchemy, Foerign Mytsticism, Occultism, Witchhunts, Empire building, Plague and Politics all going on at once.

Gods-brother is a Lucifer figure, think Mr Morningstar of Neil Gaimans Lucifer comic (really good, don't watch the TV show). Far more complex and ambiguous than the christian devil.
In a twisted way he is Gods favourite angel, as he was given both autonomy (pride, expulsion, self determination) and a kingdom, unlike anyone else in heaven.
He is said to have abandoned his kingdom to walk this earth in human guise after the GodsMartyr was killed and magic fled.
More of a suave trickster and courtesan than a tailed violent redman.

Gods-Brother (stole the name from Peter F Hamilton) worshippers range from basic Chaos and/or Satan devotees to those of Second Coming who think HE is the Second Messiah, (not the dead GodMartyr), who is currently being tested and ultimately groomed to replace God in heaven- functioning both as nemesis and heir. Note: Not necessarily evil!
(kinda like how Muslims rejected Christ as messiah and kept on keeping on.)

The church of course demonises him and he is the number one wicked devil Satan in their eyes, but thats propaganda for you.
The reality is up to  you. If you want a destroyer standin there is Abaddon who is THE great destroyer but actually works for God cos sometimes shit just needs destroying. Dont forget you fucked up the Christ arc and pissed God off so the danger is real..

Anyway religion aside, the vacuum left by the magical arts is being filled with mad science, tricksters, politics and ADVENTURERS.
Charlatans have a plethora of opportunities, fanatics, true believers, thieves, scholars also.
I forgot engineering..

I mentioned previously that medical and technical knowledge is faded, but not new.
Like how europeans leveraged themselves out of the Dark Ages with a little help from eastern Golden Age mathematics and so on. Civilisations rise and fall, and magic caused science to fall a long time ago.
That means there are lost vaults, unsullied libraries, mothballed research projects and secret societies to plunder. There are other civilisations out there too, an exotic Jerusalem analog, asia maybe. False gods etc. never even had magic perhaps. That means diplomats, saboteurs, exiles and spies in the mix too.

Your employers are insane alchemists, wealthy collectors, market speculators, monarchs, politicians and priestly scholar sects, whose budget just went from "pfft not even a wizard" to "help me Obi Wan Kanobi you're my only hope".

You are not the only party of adventurers, and not everyone was caught unprepared by the loss of magic. The pragmatic and hardheaded, the unions, the poor, many people lived without magic and some doomsday prophets even prepared for life without it.

Many town gates and village trees are hung with High Magisters and others who lost their powers at inconvenient times. Others are penitent flaggelators. Others were probably stage magicians all along. Some made sure that their status was cemented with state secrets, politics or other indispensable roles and struggle to maintain their more earthly power.

To make medicine and alchemy pack more punch I would say the more arcane it is the more it stirs the remanants of deep magic left behind. Players can favour the Barber for a crude but reliable patchup, or go to the far side for a risky treatment- leading to side effects, I would probably do a Gamma World 2e style mutation table with a wide range of positive and negative effects ranging from myopia to full spells or positive mutations.

Check out Gammaworld 2e mutation charts, Burgs & Baliffs superb medical charts, or any number of great blogs featuring magical and wyrd ailments.

Im feeling my love of Pillars of Eternity coming through a lot here too, especially the is-god-dead angst. check out their art.                  

Gamma World favours Pure players with stronger, heartier base stats (Crusader Paladin, Steady Pilgrim, Second Messiah Soldier, Quack Doctor)

While mutant/magic tainted ones get random unerthly powers and taints and less physical attributes unless their subsequent mutations happen to negate that. (Chaocite Godkiller, Warmended, an Alchemists Grist, Reconstituted Leper-Monk, Psychopomp Trepanee)

Pics relevant but with heaps more Templar and Crusader Knight shit going down.
Yup there he is
I cant decide if i want to go for desert and palms climate or central europe wet and grey, I would probably start with heists in Wetgrey and later send them behind the crusaders towards Desertpalms over a few sessions to get into some more exotic lost libraries and relics and some religio-political danger.

Death by Raving- rabies, seizures, madness of all kinds.
Wandering sickness- Likely dementia syphillis etc
Wasting- cholera, worms, basically everything etc
Broken Heart/ Grief- severe depression, torpitude, parasites, cancer etc

I would be more than happy to hear your comments, but refuse to reference my historical/hysterical claims (its all a made-up consensus fanfic anyway rite? hehe)

Seriously though I havent thought about the crusades since high school I dont know what happened here.
Comments and corrections super welcome :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Renfield's Cast #8, Premiering on itunes!

Our newest cast featuring Robin at his Illest,

In other news we are now on itunes which will catapult us into the search queries of unsuspecting podcatchers world over.

Please oh please drop us a review as apparently that is how Apple measures your castliness and worth, and we occasionally have anxiety attacks about the size of our fanbase ho ho.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


After scrolling through my backlog of rambling unedited, unformatted, unlinked long-format posts I decided that some things I have cued don't particularly need disassembling, they just need a big glowing neon hand pointing at them and y'alls can just ruin them yourselves with your own bad brains.

Mostly these are "reality worse than fiction" cases so a wiki just lays it all out for you.


Gnarly toenails, lice. Have nothing, will travel.
Pay a creep (read: poor person) to live like a dirty, insane hermit inside your tailored garden estate. Mock both nature and basic humanity, for the lols.
Never let him out, or break character even though he knows that soap and taverns exist.
Extra points if he is a blood relative. or if he looks like yoda.
This is why garden gnomes exist. Horror. Horror. Horror.

Fuck you doors.
What says "i'm richer than god, exquisitely cultured and deeply committed to madness" like building a palace or fortress as a monument to Palaces and Fortresses everywhere that does not function as either a place nor a fortress? (or, like, anything?).
TRICK QUESTION! the answer is "Victorian social welfare", didn't see that coming huh?
A 'Folly' is an extravagant architectural endevour that is designed to showcase wealth and taste at the cost of logic and or utility. Usually impossible Disney inspiring castles and towering monuments, they do sometimes appear as faux ruins or rustic shrines, all tailored for visual appreciation (on top of sheer mountains, rolling fields etc) with no regard for interior architecture and other inane nonsense of that ilk.
Before you curse their affluent bones, it should be noted that often these were raised as a mechanism to provide jobs and purpose during famines &etc especially the Potatoless Irish and their protestant work ethic. They didn't want to take practical workmen off their USEFUL jobs however, so they just took untrained farmers and overqualified (unemployed) architects and poured money on it until the pitchforks went away! Presumably while sitting alone in their chambers thinking "oh god when will they invent RPG's with which to vent off my fantastical delusions and wads of money."

Pictured: not even nearly as cool as a flaming war pig.
Not only a great Black Sabbath song, but a great way to win a war and make terrible bacon.
I went a bit long on the whole Follies thing so lets keep this simple:
1. Pigs or equivalent
2. War
3. *?
4. Profit
*fire, straw + tar, warpaint, siege elephants, pots + pans,
The wiki is short and does not mention the passages in S.Tzu's  groundbreaking exposé "art of war" in which they really get into tarring pigs, rolling them in hay, applying demonic red warpaint and driving them, on fire, with pots and pans into the enemy camp at 3AM.
Imagine waking up, tent on fire, hells bells clanging, screams, and a freaking literal flaming demon boar comes at you. Pink pork piggies are a very modern invention if you are interested, we got rid of the matted fur, hard muscle and tusks.
I'm more of a goat man myself, imagine the vertical space a wave of 12 to 18 flaming enraged goats would fill in a long winding dungeon passage. imagine.

Imagine trying to holster that badboy.
Love the stunners. the first stun weapon in Scifi only appeared in 1941... that took a while!
Later..."Ms. Bujold points out a drawback to stunners: if that is all you are armed with, you can be killed by an unarmed mob. The mob will figure that the worst you can do is put them to sleep. So they will swarm you and eventually stomp you into the dirt. The mob would be more hesitant if you were' armed with something lethal."

A Congealer just fries a a few blobs of blood and lets you stroke out a few hours later when they clog up your brain.
I have something like this in Gamma World, but it just jellies up your blood a little causing initiative loss, some stat negatives and some damage as you cough up blood and your heard freaks out.
That and a defoliator which is basically a sandblaster laser that strips half a mill of everything- like most of your skin and you bleed out for a few rounds. Extra comedic on feathers and fur!

There are a few rail-gun type things but nothing as cool as my patented Gamma Gauss Blunderbuss which is just a 'dirty' railgun that you can stuff with any old metal garbage and point at something you want metal garbage embedded all over. Gauss can elicit magnetic fields even in non ferrous metals which is cool. Also its a freakin space blunderbuss that shoots anything metal!
In all honesty I found this site trying to locate a tract on a Ringworld by Larry Niven concerning a sliver gun. His world had a lot of hi tech multi use, sustainable "survival" gear like a flashlight that you could keep focusing through torchlight, sunburn, blister etc until it was a straight up laser.
My favorite, a flechette gun, just shaved and propelled slivers of whatever old garbage you threw in it which seemed practical and also hack-able (shoot wood- nonleathal, durasteel- lethal, bananna skins- hilarious.).
Also an addictive orgasm gun used to subdue violents and subjugate the masses!

Speaking of survival, there is a nice section on primitive scifi weapons such as blow-darts (Innocuous weapon with a silent strike. Couple this with hitech chemicals, piano wire darts, flachettes etc. possible compressed gas upgrades, must i go on...)
Again leveraging chemical weapons is the vortex cannon which fires directed smoke rings. This can be bought as a childrens toy today and requires nothing more than a diaphragm, a container with a hinged end and a very toxic gas to put in it. That and no wind, but this is space station territory.
Props to this site!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Vonnegut's Thanasphere and its implications. (Jammed into your current RPG)

One of Vonneguts lesser known stories, Thanasphere is a short story of cold-war era space race madness.
It is so creepy I could really see telling this around a campfire as a ghost story (then watching for sattelittes! woooOOoooOO )

Here is an abridged version followed by what I would do to it if it was an RPG.
**scroll to bottom for actual content**


One of the first cosmonauts to spend appreciable time in space is reporting weather patterns over enemy territory for the military, a pilot flight if you excuse the pun.

His capsule passes over local airspace periodically, every 6 hours or something limiting radio contact to minuites long bursts.

First round he seems fine, a little hesitant and carefully phrased. He is selected from thousands for his emotional and logical stability. The weather is indeed reported.
When pressed he admits to hearing what sounded like a crying child and an old man. Suddenly he declares they are getting louder, none of these are carrying through the transmitter and the radio window ends the conversation abruptly.

As the second envelope of time approaches, Dr Groszinger mulls over the fact that this human error, insanity has ruined a promising military mission. 
Contrary to expectations the next contact starts wit a coherent weather report. He continues that the voices are now clearer than those on the radio. He attempts to call one voices bluff, asking Groszinger to confirm the death of an Andrew Tobin of Evansville, Indiana on February 17, 1927 a voice claiming that his brother had murdered him.
Dr G is sure this is a joke and falls asleep.

Upon waking, leading into the next window, Dr G. is still furious but is told that some of the voices have been confirmed. 
The weather report is delivered, but the cosmonaut is preoccupied with asking weather the facts had been confirmed. Cruelly Dr G. holds out until connection is severed.

Next window, the cosmonaut reports an old womans voice calling in German the name Grosziner, he repeats verbatim the german he is hearing from her, Dr G's mothers favourite Goethe quote in a language the 'prankster' did not understand.

At this point it diverts from ghost story to apocalyptic cold war comedy-horror shenannigans as Vonnegut is want to do.
Dr G. is a believer but is told that his government cannot admit its spycraft or technological advances to the world. It is also stated that secret studies would not be supported by the Airforce or military as space ghosts are not tactical options.

Tuning into the chanel once more they are shocked to hear the unfamiliar voices, however it turns out the frequency has merely been discovered by radio ametures who are chatting idly.
The Cosmonaut interrupts, reports hearing only a womans voice calling his name. In a panic Dr G. jams the signal to protect the state secrets.

The next days newspaper features a man heard rambling about hearing voices and a last will and testament on a high frequency band, persumably from radio operaters in a slightly different envelope of sky. It is not clear if this is Cosmonauts last testament or that of a space ghost that died too soon.
Regardless, the frequencey is out. G is having serious moral issues.
Meanwhile his companion the radio operator has discovered the voice is the cosmonauts dead wife. The General visits and tries to shut it all down and jam the frequency, but is called away for a moment.
Operator admits that the cosmonaut wants to join the ghosts and will probably burn the shuttle rather than land, and they unjam the signal for a moment- he is euphorically describing shimmering lights around him and his ghostly wife. 
The General returns and they jam the signal again.

The shuttle crashes into the sea killing the Cosmonaut, Dr G. is confronted by the media regarding the mysterious flying object but claims it was a metor. 
When asked about the space above the stratosphere he claims it is merely "Dead space" or a Thanasphere, from the greek Thanatos: death.


Thats right, these are not simple spoopy ghosts, but the sad ghosts of lost opportunies, or maybe the hopeful grandsires of the past observing their creation?
Probably just boring ol Space Oddessy "we wish you to evolve and join us as a spacetime fetus" type ghosts.

Remember this is set and written before spaceflight, or the moonlanding.
Its all sputnik era low earth orbit, unmanned.

Imagine the public's pent up apprehension during the burgeoning space-race, and its implications both existential and spiritual.

There are some interesting articles about the writing and conceptualisation 2001: Space Odyssey, which inhabited a similar time and space- a space movie predicting space faring humanity and its technological, social and spiritual future. No hindsight there!

What effect does a one-world space graveyard have on the development of the Cold War, sattelite communication technology, ICBMissiles and religion?

Here you have the stored knowlege of millions, but it is not searchable and is definately hung up on wishy washy emotions, this is nicely summed up by the storyline in which the epic ramifications are ignored in favour of national security and fucking with the Ruskis.

The ghosts can seek you out with great accuracy. Or is it only that he was the only spark of life? Could the Cold War spread to the heavens as nations vie for the attentions of dead genius', commanders and philosophers. Space is definately paywalled, and spiritual emanations do not pick up on microphones apparently.

Religion is either super wrong, or really specific about heaven. Correct about souls though? Its gonna get heated thats for sure.

So are these spirits 'revenents' with business to attend to or is all of space packed with detatched souls?
Is it a timed purgatory for closure purposes? Watch your legacy for a generation or two, then fade away?

Imagine the funding NASA could get for manned space flights if you could visit your dead wife?
Whats on the moon then? Dead ancient alien ghosts?

Heaven is a place on earth?! as above so below?? is the molten planetary core a gravity well for angry souls? Is that what rock oil is?

Is this pacman? More existential dread here

Alien blockade, a sham? In Marvels comic universe the Gaurdians of the Galaxy (and 'dead' Nick Fury I think) are basically there to quarantine the pre-cosmic Earth from the Cosmic community.
This is because our island home has a baffling but unbroken history of KO'ing every sun eating, civilisation destroying culture or super-being that goes anywhere near them.
The Cosmic govt is scared of that track record and the Gaurdians dont want people to keep trying to eat Earth, so they hide and protect the planet... for now. I dont think anyone but Iron Man really knows about Cosmic level stuff, and GoG make fun of his tech.
This would have been a pretty horrific smokescreen if you are trying to keep Earthfolk grounded!

DCC Anonamous Subsurface Environments and Crawling Under A Broken Moon uses space god sattelites that are accessable only at certain time envelopes in their orbit, which I really like. I could see this being similar.
Maybe communications sattelites get mobbed or influenced by space ghosts. 
Maybe necromancers (there is nanite space magic AND eldrich lovecraftian horror magic!) throw ghosts at sattelites?

Any game that allowed for space flight or travel would get wierd fast in this setting, a bit o Spelljammers or Stars Without Number? Wrecked on a coral reef of ghooooooooosts.

Gamma World has a cool airport setting that ends up accidentally transporting you to a doomed infested space station that you have very little chance to escape from... unless you have a spirit guide maybe. 
Mayhaps the Warden of Barrier Peaks crashed because in a realm full of Dungeons and also Dragons such spirits in space probably DO exist and who knows how your average Autopilot would deal with that.

Its fairly Lovecraftian wot with the eldrich space horrors, Call of Cthulu is set in pre space-mad era so you could get some astronomy/astrology or ungodly device to reveal this dark truth to players. I dont see why you couldnt do a cold war CoC setting, like Indianna Jones and the Arc in WW2.

Sidenote: Mormans invented a religion after astronomy was pretty mapped out so they had to put their god on a planet instead of falling back to Heavin us UP and Hell is DOWN. Here is the mad cool scifi that follows!! Oh and some more. Wonder what kinda ghosts pilgrimage to hang arount Kolob?

Mostly, I think, I like the idea of throwing world breaking minor details into a game so players get the sudden epiphany that they are not in Kansas anymore, you can't assume the world is round and the oceans have bottoms and tectonics work the same way. 

In one game (Carbon Observatory ) we found some abandoned artefacts, amongst them evidence of entire strata in the crust of the world made from bent and compacted swords. Also there was crystal hearts of vampires, suspicious Aboleth shaped things, arcane devices &etc. 
Basically bla bla wierd fantasy loot but the whole sediment-of-swords really threw me because it proved we were not on Earth in another time, there is no way to make that many swords to compress them ... there is no way to have that thing exist, and then to have it forgotten, absorbed by milennia and just there now as a haphazard sidenote. 
That gave my existential angst, I couldnt even confirm I was on a planet. I wanted my character to become a divine polymath asking the DM if the horizon curved, if trees had growth rings, if Pi existed yet and how many decimal places it had and can demons still climb through the phasespace of complex equations when compressed rendering algorithms mentally visualised?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Renfield's Cast #4 Shout out

Stuff I done stole from Discworld and made horrible.

I mourned for weeks over Terry Pratchett's passing, seriously, scattered moments of black oh-god and what-is-the-future-without-more-*that*, he was and is a hero to me.
The only celebrity death that ever came close to affecting me that emotionally was Douglas Adams' passing.

Anyway, Pratchett is a renowned comedy author and funny man, but as Neil Gaiman has publicly attested to he was deadly sharp, a serious and a driven man. Which is terrifying!

I decided to take a few of his more broken technologies and consider them as wierdRPG items or Gammaworld artifacts.

There really is a line of dark and bitter humour to Discworld, but he steers clear of following the implied catastrophes in favour of a continued universe to write in. I have no such ambitions.

Capital T, The Gonne.
Discworld has ONE human usable firearm. It was invented by Mr Gonne. It is sentient and has a One-Ring effect on people (its meant as an ironic riff off the whole "Guns dont kill people, people kill people") so you end up with homicidal gollums with a blunderbuss being encouraged to shoot up schools etc.
Sentient swords are a trope, but guns can really reach out and touch things.
In-game I would secret message players during combat and offer them i-choose a target, you-choose a target type deals with massive stat boosts (hoping they forget they owe you one at the end of the battle for catastrophic use later mwahahaha)

In a classic fuck-you-i'm-Pratchett-get-on-my -level fashion I just discovered that even the Gonne thing was not only a pun but a historical reference to "A hand cannon or gonne (also spelled handgonne to distinguish the device from modern handguns)" -here  which is defined as such because you could spark the firing mechanism by hand and also move it by the judicious application of four or five sets of hands.
Yeah, its a cart mounted artillary cannon, the Hand Gonne, obviously.

Then there is Detritus' crossbow, Piecemaker: a turbocharged ballista that doesn't fire a log sized arrow (aaaaawww...) but flings a log sized arrow at such rapid acceleration that it splinters into a thousand flaming arrow sized arrows (YESSSSSSS!!) for a cone shaped shotgun style effect that apparently will leave buildings standing but kill people real good.

The Sonky is the Discworld condom. The head of the watch considered the inventor a saint as it curtailed housing problems and lowered the population of idiots and criminals in his city.
Tell that to a religion who's priests can fling righteous fireballs AND educational pamphlets.
Introducing non blood magic contraception to Baldurs gate?  have fun!
Pre rubber condoms did exist, I have had the dubious pleasure of making intestinal-sheath-soaked-in-milk condoms but honestly they did not look like much fun to use.
These politicks and social bombs seem like great and perilous treasure for the right band of adventurers. Its like looting paintings, they are useless until brought to the correct venue, and then they are even stranger as you get paid but you also have to live in the world you made with the consequences it entails. When was the last time trouble followed you out of the dungeon and moved in with your family?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

PRIME CUTS: GAMMA WORLD D20 Machines And Mutants (6th ED.)

PRIME CUTS: GAMMA WORLD D20 Machines And Mutants (6th ED.)

6th ed. is known for being Nano-tech focused, of which I am not a huge fan but here are the things I liked skimming through.
(loosely quoted from skim reading and adding my own quirks to suit.. sorry.)

SLEMBAITH: The aforementioned Nano-Ooze. It references one of my favorite tropes that in less affluent times fat was awesome and a sign of wealth and leisure.
A Gamma resident would be horrified by the measures used to slim down in ancient times.
In this book it is a 5000 pound behemoth that eats entire towns (the blob..) and was created as a slimming nano treatment before it was corrupted.
Attacks if survived leave massive bruising and gauntness that takes weeks to heal (con points lost)

MIRACLE GOO: is the answer to Grey Goo the dissemblers, it increases complexity! A concrete wall will be reshaped into a fractal, bubbled multicoloured plane. A broken spear will be mended, but the filler material may be taken from the hand holding it.
If poured onto a a disassembled computer it may make a computing device but its interface will be alien and its complexity unnecessary.
It hates and attacks Grey Goo.
It detects life as being structurally coherent and complex enough to be left alone, however if wounded or recently deceased it my "fix" it or create chimeras.

CLOUD EATERS, sky drifters continue to eat polluted smog and manufacture sundry items, without harvester drones this results in sudden rains of simple tools, snowdrifts of sustenance-packs, dust-storms of mineral salts followed by bricks of super-ceramics and steel bearings. Tribes spring up to follow these cornucopias.

NEWFLESH: A viral AI biotech weapon that grows inside a human mind and slowly overtakes it. Using its superior control of the biomass it converts flesh into bioware, demanding more processing time in exchange as the host needs more bio-work to keep up with the enhanced metabolism, it is a calculated spiral ending in a strong and complete Newflesh AI, raised and taught by a human in a strong body. They blend in, preferring parasitism to their own company. They do not hate humans and are usually benevolent or friendly, they did not ask to be born and yet they are. They often respect their dead host as a mother or father figure. Hosts are typically dependent and addicted to bio so are happy right up until their consciousness is erased. They can live for years as an internal voice with no bodily control.
New-flesh infoseed is transferred via bodily fluids, many Newflesh try not to bleed on people or engage in intercourse.

TURING PALADINS: Hardened AI created to prevent rogue AI from becoming "weakly godlike" as Charles Stross puts it. They had legions of EMP robot troops slaved to them and were the first to fall in the Final War, some AI survived downloaded into scattered troops and now wander as Paladins seeking redemption  be destroying rogue and insane machines. They are designed as robot slayers and many of their weapons are purposefully inadequate against flesh.