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**

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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.


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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 renownd comedy author and funny man, but as Neil Gaiman has publicly attested too he was deadly sharp, 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.











Lypo-Ooze a nanotech nightmare!

Today I got to loose my Lypo-Ooze on the party.
I read it in passing over at Headinjurytheatre, and it stuck. I think it may be from 6th ed Gamma World.

pics from GammaWorld 6th ed.

Oozes, like skeletons are a d&d trope that are under analysed, problematic and quite boring usually. (actually, find Patrick Stuart's ooze powered interface in the Deep Carbon Observatory...)

Trudging along a leafy suburb of Pitz Burg we see a shopfront displaying a burned and shredded display of hot-bods.

Out of the holes ooze five silvery Oozes, they open with the Allure mutation convincing anyone who fails a hard-INT check that they are generally a good idea to be around.
Mental damage attacks will fail although you can sense a cold ghost of intelligence if not sentience.

They move in suspiciously precise unison (they surrounded my characters and remained exactly evenly spaced, they move too efficiently).
When one unit is dealt a heavy hit they will falter in unison implying their linked stats.

They leave a faint yellow snail-trail and weep murky yellow fluid when concussed. Energy or diffuse attacks provoke a ripple of blue static sparks as nanites die off.

You may notice 'preserved' desiccated bodies around the place, well preserved but shrunken. Around the bodies lie scavenger animals, likewise. They have been leeched of only fat and since dried out.

Inspecting the sign a literate scholar my descipher "Lyp'O'S-" or "New Nan--Tec--Ly--suc---"

While attacking they will pin a character to the ground, but once tasting (ie: any damaging hit) a low-fat character they will lose interest. This includes insectoids, robots, jellies, plants etc.
Lipids are their panacea.


Their weaknesses include electricity and magnetism, solvents and things like washing liquids that dissolve fats.
They can be stabbed, concussed and mental attacks that do other damage types will effect them (ours were killed by sonic blasts.)
They are easily distracted by snacks and may stop attacking a character to chase an easy fat meal like a doughnut or butter.
They may absorb lasers, depending on the parties level.



These guys really messed up my party, they were horrified when their lasers AND mental stabs were ineffective.
They loosed a lot of primitive bullets and did very minor damage before I pulled out the lifeleech which again horrified them and bumped back to full health.
The pin dissuaded escape and flying and their fat-sense meant the healthier low-fat characters could not distract them when the meatsticks were getting dismantled.
They figured out the shared health pool very fast.

I dropped the hot bods, silvery appearance and yellowy substrate and had them take a mid battle int test to drop the "-suction" label on sign as well as having them doggedly chase the meaty characters and hurting them by burrowing in and extracting something from under their skin.
Sound attacks led to a visual display of blue static shimmers trying to convey the electrical nature of the beasts.

I feel like mentioning a caduceus on the store would have helped or Fat/Thin before-and-afters or something.
I miss having a perception stat a bit, GW only has INT and it makes observations and mid-battle clues quite janky.

Once they realised Doritos were distracting and clicked on the "-suction" thing they saw they were robots and shut them down almost instantly with .
No-one on that night had standard magnetic, electrical or solvent attacks so they didn't find the critical weaknesses.

There were questions about the multiplicity aspect- lifeleech hit them all but leeched it back to themselves, so that worked out ok as a tactic.
HOWEVER enemy Area-of-effect damage is five-troupled (?) if you can hit, making 100hp a minor effort.
Luckily the laser and mental defense forced them to use primitive weapons, and the share-a-space engulf attacks sheltered them from AOE pretty well.

I statted it out as Horl Choo plants, adding the machine weaknesses, pin attack and group health of 100hp.
Mutations were Lifeleech and Dissolving juices (did not use..). Normal attacks were a minor 1d6.
They definitely had the party of four on the ropes although they were a little battered from a Zeethh and Obb encounter.

Creepy real articles!
http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/i24/Liposuction-Goes-Nano.html
http://gizmodo.com/gold-nanoparticles-are-coming-to-melt-your-fat-for-lipo-1592723371

EDIT: I found the origin in 6th ed.

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 and that a Gamma resident would be horrified by the measures used to slim down in ancient times.
In this book it is a 5000 pound bohemoth 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 (temporary con points lost)


Inspiration:
http://www.headinjurytheater.com/gammaworld.htm


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Good RPG and Adventure games roundup

An absurdly long list of CRPG or D&D themed videogames that came up in last weeks Renfields Cat Podcast.

Add your own!

Planescape Torment
Elder Scrolls
Icewind Dale
Neverwinter
Baldurs Gate
Arcanum
Temple of Elemental Evil
Fallout
Dark Messiah

The Nameless Mod for Deus Ex
Deus Ex
E.Y.E Divine Cybermancy
Gemini Rue
Beneath a Steel Sky
Another World
Sysetem Shock
HeXen

Zeno Clash
Amnesia: a machine for pigs
Bioshock
Dungeons of Dredmor
S.T.A.L.K.E.R

Wizardry 8
Little Big Adventure
Loom
Ultima
Myst and The Witness
Sanatorium
Inqisitor
Avernum
Odyssey series as in Abe
Overgrowth + Lugaru


Renfield's Cat Podcast Shoutout

I forgot to mention, I do a podcast with Robin Zink over at Renfieldscat.blogger.com.au,
Episode 3 just out find it here!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Zeno Clash 2, at it again part II




The gauntlet pings when aligned with the moon so while fighting at night you can place an enemy between you and the moon and it focus' the moonlight into a beam that will hurt enemies. a very weird fps mechanic. The game has a pretty day night cycle.


Instead of enemies being frustratingly invincible while they stand up from a ragdoll hit you are encouraged to "tactically" kick them while they are down. it has its own contextual animations.

There is a Minotaur wearing manskin as a cloak with a ring in its nose. This is important to me.


Ok jawbone crowns are definitely IN!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Zeno Clash II, at it again.

Every few months I drop back into one of the Zeno Clash games to see if i can get anything done.

 

I never can because it requires Mortal Kombat style combos to really progress and the SETTING IS TOO DAMN DISTRACTING.

Zeno Clash is a hand to hand first person combat game in an open world that lies somewhere between Heironomous Bosch, Planescape Torment, and that terrible 90s Sandman tv show.

Yes there are guns that fire teeth, yes all grenades are skull molotovs wearing jawbone crowns.

Yes you are rescuing the BabaYag-esque andgrogonous  FatherMother who was your creator and nemesis in the first title from laser space Golems.

A roundup of this latest hour long session:


-Leashed blackbirds serve as line of sight markers to map travel-points

-An outrigger raft made by lashing the bloated corpses of half a dozen walrus' together with wood and furs.

-A 12 foot predatory flamingo beast

-A 4 foot flea/crustacean with eyes floating in a transparent face-ballsack
-A man with a palette grafted in place of a jawbone who desires large moths to grind into pigment for his artworks. In constant fear of not being able to create.

-The entire city is home to small packs of baby pigs, the only clean and naturally proportioned creatures in this universe..


Friday, August 12, 2016

Prime Cuts: Horsebastards




PRIME CUTS FROM /wiki/Mares_of_Diomedes

Dbs Jonathan Hunt Bestiary 26 Xanthus 800
This was Heracles Eighth labor.


The Mares of Diomedes (GreekΔιομήδους ἵπποι), also called the Mares of Thrace, were four man-eating horses in Greek mythology. Magnificent, wild, and uncontrollable, they belonged to the giant Diomedes
 ...
Heracles was not aware that the horses, called Podargos (the swift), Lampon (the shining), Xanthos (the yellow) and Deinos (the terrible),[1] were kept tethered to a bronze manger because they were wild; their madness being attributed to an unnatural diet of human flesh.[2] Some versions say that they expelled fire when they breathed.
ZEUS u dog:


Eurystheus ordered the horses taken to Olympus to be sacrificed to Zeus, but Zeus refused them, and sent wolves, lions, and bears to kill them.

/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-


PRIME CUTS FROM PubMed.gov


Hippomania is the word for both horse madness AND madness in horses!



Anthropophagic horses have been described in classical mythology. From a current perspective, two such instances are worth mentioning and describing: Glaucus of Potniae, King of Efyra, and Diomedes, King of Thrace, who were both devoured by their horses. In both cases, the horses' extreme aggression and their subsequent anthropophagic behaviour were attributed to their madness (hippomania) induced by the custom of feeding them with flesh. The current problem of 'mad cow' disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) is apparently related to a similar feed pattern. Aggressive behaviour in horses can be triggered by both biological and psychological factors. In the cases cited here, it is rather unlikely that the former were the cause. On the other hand, the multiple abuses imposed on the horses, coupled with people's fantasies and largely unconscious fears (hippophobia), may possibly explain these mythological descriptions of 'horse-monsters'

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Gift Horse

Nightmare the Gifthorse:


Players encounter a two dead bandits and a wandering horse, the men have been savaged, as if by animals. Blood still fresh.
Obviously the horse is the lone survivor of a bloody scuffle between two bandits, perhaps rivals, a bad debt or a drunk taunt too many. Easy pickings!

The horse is impressively large, a dark beast that is easily co-opted as a mount or beast of burden.
It is in the battered saddle and harness of the red raiders.
If players do not adopt the beast it will clop after them in a desultory fashion (if completely left behind will taunt telepathically with dreams and madness for three nights and attack when appropriate)

If the players look a gift horse in the mouth they will find razor sharp conical teeth like those of the killer whale, black clotted ichor serves as saliva. The horse will attack.

If the players offer the horse with food by hand it will obligingly eat, roll a check to see if they notice the stench of blood/get black ichor on them(defend against insanity, don't say why unless pass)/see a white flash of tooth.
If left at a food-trough it will stare at the hay balefully and never be seen to eat.
In a field of clover it will stand still and watch the party until moved. It never defecates.
Perhaps it grows thinner over the course of three days.

The horse is digesting fresh picked bandit when you happen upon it, it is sated, gorged, apathetic.

In three days it will again hunger, in the interim it will gain your trust and companionship.
To relieve the monotony it will occasionally cast fear or insanity either on the party in the open road (chance to flee, attack closest party member once in a rage. PCs may assume harrying from the roadside brush or parasites or treachery. encourage.) or on enemies during battle (secret rolls, it will not reveal its-self willingly).
The Dark Horse is placid and disinterested during even the bloodiest battle, unless it has a rider to whom it will mockingly carry.

The horse will wait out stays in towns and villages, starving and frustrated. Maybe tavern rumors speak of missing children or black smeared, gnawed dog skulls that induce madness.

The horse is wily and intelligent enough for forward planning.
It knows when the game is up, it knows what you can do with those cleavers and shooters, but it knows it is hungry. And it chose you, it has been enjoying your company, adventurers do the darnedest things. You are the equivalent of kobe beef-  riddled with fear and adrenaline and taut muscle. Marbled inside with hate and murder and implacable drive.

It will wait for a nice hinterland setting, you camp, set a watch and a fire. whittle and eat and sleep.
You are woken by madness (ambush, automatic hit roll to save),  the stallion is rearing over the fire. Your sentry was facing the wrong way.

Black stag horns erupt from its forhead, it smiles a wide, wide white smile, clotted ichor like congealed motor oil drips between the teeth (killer whale, shark, needlelike, carnivorous or just way too human.)

The perceptive among you can see raised humps on its back, veins standing out as blood is forced to the additional brain, the dark one, the hungry one that whispers of bellies full of teeth, the choking pleasure of blood matted scalp sticking in the gullet, the pop of eyeballs.

The stallion is nothing but an apex predator, there is no loot, no blood gods or ethereal nightmare spirits. Just one more genetic joke, too cruel for this world. Its life was long and successful.

Its blood is potent, madness inducing if used within the week. it will etch glass and corrode metal, mind that it is spent or decanted before the week is out or the black will ooze through your pack and your bile will rise and so will your fists.

Who carries your baggage now, anyway?


I threw out the stat card i used, but it had approximately:

-Dual brain to allow many mental abilities AND double mental attacks (brain talent?),
-Beguiling (Attackers save or forced to use least leathal attack.. nerfs strongbads :) )
-Area effect Fear(run or pass out),
-Smaller area effect Confusion effect that forced you to attack the closest entity OR the caster (FUN!)
-Something that cloaked it from Empathy(senses intentions! although it may give off a false reading of benevolence while it is sated as it truly sees you as an amusing pastime..)
-Telepathy
-Horns was a physical mutation, i had a few vanilla physical attacks like charge, gore, bite(madness via poison chart). The bite/ichor thing could be the poison phys mutation.
-maybe mental control that i didn't get to use.

These were all flavored standard Gamma2E mutations or from this site (http://mutant-future.wikia.com/wiki/Mental_Mutations)



Bear in mind this thing has to take on 3 to 6 badasses solo so the ambush+beguile+confusion really helps to tie up characters while you play with them.

Also the old movie convention of "never kill a dog or a horse onscreen" works great here as its less of an Ol Yeller mercy kill and more of a premeditated malevolent betrayal followed by brütal session of nightmarish cry-murdering and dismemberment.

Remember its dark, the low fire is kicked all over and you wake up to see your friends stabbing EACHOTHER while a horn-ed daemon that used to be your trusty companion sows discord and madness amongst you.

I used this in a Gamma World 2e campaign and it worked O.K!
They spent alot of time in civilisation so the horse was ravenous. Originally they did not loot the horse, so it ingratiated its-self as a carthorse. I should have spent more effort on making him a character as noone has really become attached to their mounts.
Attacked them out of the blue with confusion multiple times and they happily stabbed each-other and went about their business as if it was a sneeze. One battle it helped them and got fear reflected back by an enemy mutant. Did not tell them why but the enemies fled for a while and the horse ran off with their cart which they rode to safety.
Dismay and horror during ambush, grief and rage as they hacked it down.
They harvested the gore and drove an alchemist mad trying to sell it

Please read and buy Equoid by Charles Stross for great devil horsery, released for free on TOR here:
http://www.tor.com/2013/09/24/equoid/

Its short, and his unicorns are horrific sexual angler-fish formed when a lovecraftian space crustacean grafts its conical mass to the brain of a horse &etc, you know, the usual.


12/08/16 unedited go nuts. out.



Playing a lot of Tabletop RPGs at the moment, blogspot seems to be the home of impenetrable RPG blogs so here I am.

This should be a receptacle for content and musings about games I am involved in.
It may be terse and ill explained at times. We shall see.

Currently I GM a Gammaworld 2nd ed game and muddle through a Shadowrun campaign as a shark on roller skates.