A Cat of Tindalos

A Cat of Tindalos

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Monster-of-the-Week Item:"Christian Book of the Dead"

Christian Book of the Dead

An exceedingly rare and powerful arcane text or grimore the "Christian Book of the Dead" is a collection of translated older, medieval magical rituals centered on the “heretical” practice of Christian Necromancy by the Cathars (sometimes referred to as the Albigensians) a gnostic sect centered in Southern France brutally eliminated by the Inquisition.  The original text is in Church Latin of the late 13th century by a William of Baskerville but an abridged modern translation was produced in 1920s by a Professor M.R. James for the Red Dragon Press.

The book describes magic spells centered on focusing the will, identification with the dead person and speaking the “true name” of the Angel of Death to achieve the desired results. Magic circles of salt or sacrificial blood are often required to keep the caster safe from harm and any defect in the magic ritual may prove disastrous to the necromancer. The book describes rituals that allow one to conjure spirits of the dead and speak with them as well as raise suicides from the dead to become zombies under the control of the necromancer.

The book also details the rituals necessary to create a "Hand of Glory".

Famously the original but not the abridged text also includes a ritual that allows for the manufacture of an item called Gabriel’s Horn, a musical instrument when sounded that can transform four zombies created by the book’s ritual into the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and bring about the end of the world.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Monster-of-the-Week Monster: Star Wars Rathtar

Star Wars Rathtar

Description: A terrifying alien predator
Type: Beast
Power: Tentacles, teeth, relentless and ravenous
Weakness: Sunlight, Chocolate is Highly Toxic
Attack: Grapple and Bite (See Custom Rules)  
Harm Capacity: 10, Armor: 2

Finn:"You're not hauling rathtars?"
Han Solo:"I'm hauling rathtars."

These alien predators originated long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Rathtars are large, octopus-like creatures that slither on land. They are very dangerous creatures known for hunting in packs on their home world. On Earth they  find Earth’s sunlight damaging and will also expire suddenly if fed even relatively small amounts of chocolate. Otherwise they are relentless, ravenous and often unstoppable.

If you are grappled by a Ravenous Rathtar; roll +Tough.
•On a 10+ you break free and avoid damage
•On a 7-9 you break free and suffer 1 Harm
•On 6 or less it grapples and bite you for 4 Harm

Friday, March 18, 2016

Monster-of-the-Week Mystery Starter:Late Show

I redesigned my first Monster of the Week mystery as a "Mystery Starter". Feedback?


Monster-of-the-Week Monster: Star Trek Salt Vampire

Star Trek Salt Vampire

Description: A terrible shape shifting alien vampire
Type: Devourer
Power: Shape shifting and Salt Draining bite
Weakness: Attacker must roll versus illusions to harm
Attack: 1 Harm Strike with Fists/Bite or Salt Drain Grip  
Harm Capacity: 7

The Salt Vampire, or M-113 creature, is the unofficial nickname given to a sapient species which once inhabited planet M-113. This creature is notable for requiring extremely large quantities of salt, specifically sodium chloride, to live. It can remove salt directly through the skin of other beings using the sucker-like structures on its fingers, a process which usually results in the death of the victim. Also noteworthy are the creature's illusory shape shifting abilities. Although it cannot physically change its appearance, it can use telepathy to project an illusion into the minds of those around it, making it appear like any person it wants.

The Salt Vampire is a humanoid being about 1.5 meters tall. It has brownish skin and long white and purple fur covering its whole body, except for its face and hands. Its yellowed eyes and the deep folds on its face give it a distinctly sad appearance. It also has a tubular mouth equipped with sharp, needle-like teeth. The creature uses this mouth for consuming salt and probably other food sources as well. However, it also has three long fingers on each hand, each finger sporting three suckers similar to those found on the tentacles of Earth's cephalopods. These suckers are used by the creature to extract salt directly through the skin of a living victim, which is usually killed in the process.

In spite of its beast-like appearance and behavior, the Salt Vampire is actually a sapient and highly intelligent being. Its home planet, M-113, is currently a desolate desert world filled with ruins of an ancient civilization.

When you attack a Salt Vampire; roll +Weird;                                                                                        • On a 10+, you resist the Salt Vampire’s illusions. You may attack as normal.                                        
• On a 7-9, you resist the Salt Vampire’s illusions but are confused and must take a -1 on all moves directed against the Salt Vampire.
 • On a miss, you are confused by the Salt Vampire’s illusions and may not make any hostile move toward it.

When a character is being drained by a Salt Vampire; roll +Tough;
• On a 10+, you resist the Salt Vampire’s grip. No further rolls are necessary. You are free!
• On a 7-9, you continue to resist but remain in the vampire’s grip and you move one level down the Salt Drain Countdown.
• On a miss, you move two levels down the Countdown.

Salt Drain Grip Countdown:
Day: The Salt Vampire takes hold of the hunter and the he or she is immobilized by pain
Shadows: The player screams horribly.
Dusk: The hunter receives 1 Harm.The player screams horribly.
Sunset: The hunter receives 3 Harm.The player screams horribly.
Nightfall: The hunter can no longer scream and is unconscious.
Midnight: The character is killed and drained of all salt by the Salt Vampire.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Monster-of-the-Week Monster: X-Files Fluke-man

X-Files Fluke-Man (For Chris “HyveMynd” Stone-Bush)

Description: A terrible sewer mutant
Type: Parasite
Power: Infecting Bite, Regeneration, and Aquatic
Weakness: Monster will regenerate slowly unless killed by fire, magic or acid
Attack: Infecting Bite 1-harm, Intimate, Ignore Armor  
Harm Capacity: 7       

The Fluke-man transmitted its larvae, a form of flatworm, through its bite. The being searched for hosts, in order to multiply and also sometimes attacked because its victims' bodies provided generative nourishment.

Typically, a survivor of a bite by the Fluke-man would be infected with a flatworm which the victim would fatally cough up, at a later point. The wound pattern from the Fluke-man’s bite looks similar to scolex attachment but is much larger.

There is evidence to suggest a bite by the Fluke-man might result in a survivor subsequently experiencing a peculiar, unfavorable taste in their mouth that would be difficult to remove, although not be accompanied by a difficulty with swallowing.

Like other fluke or flatworms, the Fluke-man had no sex organs and was genderless but was, even though technically human, capable of spontaneous regeneration.The Fluke-man – a form of quasi-vertebrate human – was an example of reproductive and physiological cross-traiting due to radiation, abnormal cell fusion and/or the suppression of natural genetic processes; essentially, the creature was a result of human science rather than nature. Its vestigial features seemed parasitic but it also had primate physiology.

Fun Fact: Scully once told Mulder that, except for the Fluke-man case, she wouldn't change a day of the past four years in which they had been working together.

When a character who has been bitten at the start of each scene, roll +Tough.
• On a 10+, you resist the infestation. No further rolls are necessary. You are cured!
• On a 7-9, you continue to resist but remain infected and you move one level down the Infestation Countdown.
• On a miss, you move two levels down the Infestation Countdown.

Infestation Countdown:
Day: The hunter is infected.
Shadows: The hunter develops a foul taste in his or her mouth.
Dusk: The Keeper gets to suggest a soft move. If the hunter takes it they can mark an experience.
Sunset: The Keeper gets to suggest a hard move. If the hunter takes it they can mark an experience.
Nightfall: The hunter is immobilized by pain.
Midnight: The character is killed by a coughing up a Fluke-man flatworm larva.

Keeper Notes: The best method to save the character is to cure by any magical means, which will kill the infestation.

Dungeon World Dungeon Starter: Inherited Castle

Creepy Castle Ruins? Who you gonna call? 


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Monster-of-the-Week Item: Hand of Glory

Hand of Glory

The Hand of Glory is the dried and pickled hand of a man who has been hanged, often specified as being the left (Latin: sinister) hand, or, if the man were hanged for murder, the hand that "did the deed."

Old European beliefs attribute great powers to a Hand of Glory combined with a candle made from fat from the corpse of the same malefactor who died on the gallows.

When the fingers of the Hand close around the proper candle (see above) and the candle is lit, the Hand has the following move:

When you walk into a building while holding a lit hand of glory, Roll + Weird;

10+ choose two
7-9 choose one

• Any normally locked door, gate, portal, safe, etc. in the candle light unlocks itself. 

• Any hostile person you encounter will be paralyzed as long as they gaze directly into the candle’s light. A paralyzed player may spend a luck point to escape the effect.

• The candle flares up blue in the presence of secret doors, buried treasure, etc. and its light reveals any invisible creature or item.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Monster-of-the-Week Items: Spell Tattoos

Twenty Palace Spell Tattoos

The Twenty Palaces is a novel series blending fantasy and mystery and written by Seattle author Harry Connolly. Ray Lilly, the series' first person narrator, and protagonist recounts his adventures working for the Twenty Palace Society. Their aim appears to be using any means necessary to keep magic out of the hands of anyone other than their own members. Their primary concern is with spell books, which are the source of magic, and with preventing magic users from summoning creatures known as predators from an otherworldly dimension known as the Empty Places.

Spells are commonly placed by spell casters on their servants or followers by means of spells inscribed on them by tattoos and are generally meant to last but can be inscribed in henna for temporary effectiveness.

• Closed Way: Provides impenetrability on the covered area, and is one of the more common spell tattoos - However, for spell casters who are weaker than primaries, the tattoo becomes visible (allowing knowledgeable individuals to target exposed areas), and the area becomes less and less sensitive, until it becomes completely numb (Ray has often looked down to realize he's been shot but didn't feel anything because the tattoo blocked it). However, the tattoo isn't an absolute protection; "Tattoo," an infamous enemy of the society, was almost completely covered in them, but was ultimately wounded by the blast from a backfire of his pistol, allowing Ray to finish him off magically. In practice I would assign a 1 or 2 armor bonus to a player with this type of tattoo.

• The Twisted Path: Appearing as a tattoo on an individual, this spell allows many beneficial effects for a criminal or outlaw. One "on the twisted path" leaves no accurate forensic evidence. Fingerprints won't match, DNA won't come back to you, and witnesses may even identify someone else in a lineup. The spell tattoo is apparently powerful enough to subvert digital photography or any form of electronic surveillance. 

• Golem Flesh: Golem Flesh provides an added degree of protection from damage; however, more importantly, it also provides a healing factor that allows for the bearer of the spell to regenerate damage rapidly, provided that they take in fresh meat. However, as a trade-off, the spell requires the consumption of red meat daily, and it is best if the meat is fresh and uncooked, which is disgusting to new recipients of the spell, and takes time to get used to. Until such damage is healed, however, the body of a golem flesh recipient is able to survive long periods of time with horrific injuries - Human flesh works well. In addition, should one consume meat properly on a regular basis, the spell can artificially extend one's natural lifetime - the traditional expectation is often put at "five hundred years," but no one knows exactly how long it would last. I would allow a bonus the same as the Slayer’s Resilience ability. (Slayer Resilience: You heal faster than normal people. Any time your harm gets healed, heal an extra point. Additionally, your wounds count as 1-harm less for the purpose of the Keeper’s harm moves.) For Slayers with the ability resilience I would increase the ability with tattoo to allow 2 point extra heals a day and your wounds count and a 2-harm less reduction for the purpose of the Keeper’s harm moves.

• The Iron Gate: Protects one from mental influence both from spells and predators. The spell throbs or even screams with unbearable agony depending upon the severity of the invasion, providing both a warning and something to focus upon to resist the intrusion. This tattoo prevents mental control or scans of the bearer at the price of making the subject paralyzed with pain while such abilities are focused on the player with the tattoo.