Monday, 13 November 2017

Geological Time

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another prompt:

Time flows out from the core. It collects in deep minerals. It can be mined

The evil had won , the land was under the shadow.
Then they found the device
And went back
and changed everything
so the evil lost

But a denied future does not disappear, the new future lands atop and folds it away.

Length, width and breadth collapsed into nothing , (the cube), but the times (the sticky out bits) were crushed down into physicality (the cube).

So now in the deep earth heart of the new future,  there is time to be found.

Many kinds of time.

Our perception of time doesn't change, we just perceive different times.

Groon: Time before a disaster. Can do everything fast but move,  nauseating,  hyper focus on weird details 

Sull : time experienced when wandering lost. Stutters between very fast and lurching slow. Can discontinuous move distances, things forgotten re-appear  . All Sull time seems the same time.

Vis: Happy moments that last forever and then are gone. Exist without consequence , while it lasts.

Blist: Grief's fugues. Time moves slowly but in giant mass, like a molasses cold flood. Numbness and , despite everything, healing.

Ghuu: Time where one is too busy to be horrified or despair. Moves quick , with ugly pauses. Tasks done with methodicalness, no feelings yet. 

Lurcha: A sudden wretch of different time, a reversal of experience . Like a sudden accident in drunken night that sobers and chills. 

Friday, 3 November 2017

A Timeline is A Dungeonmap part 2

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Instead of Frankensteins A Very Large Toddler:

Farm animals found maimed but (currently) uneaten->
by a  toddler , a very large toddler. ( option :normal size eyes )
-> a group of bandits finds and befriends toddler
-> They get the toddler to break down the walls of a fortified monastery
->  they slaughter most of the occupants and set up camp
->survivors make it to other populated areas and tell about this
-> a sinister warlock/surgeon hears of this from a survivor and goes to try and buy the toddler off the bandits
-> also a small regiment is sent out to put down these bandits
 /> if the sinister warlock/surgeon gets there well ahead of the regiment , the toddler is purchased and is gone before the regiment arrive and most likely defeat the bandits, but at loss as the bandits are all supercharged on  gorilla adrenaline glands
/>if the sinister warlock/surgeon gets there just before the regiment , then they will join forces will the bandits , defeat  the regiment, and in subsequent months make the child completely under their control and also continue to grow in size and the warlock+bandits will start kidnapping more kids to experiment on with the aim of having more slave-brutes
/>if the sinister warlock/surgeon gets there after the regiment, then the toddler will dead and he'll make do with raising the toddler as a undead servant.


The TImeline Is Your Dungeon Map

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source below

Instead of werewolves people turning in giant hands that crush people into goo

A baker announces he never leaves out the customary loaves for the good-folk  in a tavern, and is warned by crotchety old woman about the cuuurse-> a hand climbs down his throat in the night, send by woman->the following nights a human sized hand climbs out of his mouth taking all his mass and leaving a bag of skin>on the first night they murder a dog->the second night a child -> the 3rd night a man -> the 4th night a horse -> the 5th night they trigger an avalanche killing a pilgrimage-> then the baker finally confesses and is executed and the killings stop  .

Actually the Women wanted to kill the pilgrimage all along , as she is in process of usurping the pilgrimage site to the old ways, but wanted to deflect attention.

If the baker is stopped or found early , she will find someone else that is has plausible pissed off old powers and send a hand after them to put the curse on them.  She has only 3 hands (2 after the baker)

If the pilgrimage makes it the site she will murder them there, and try and plant the blame on outsiders .

Giant hand photo from here

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Artifact , II

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That post was too brief , here is more MORE

The Heartworm

A thing mostly like an arrow. Hold gently in your hand , say someone's name (the first name their mother gave them) , and it will fly away, faster than a thought and as unstoppable and traceless as a rumour. It will arrive in the heart of the named.

The Egg

If passed through the pelvis of a creature (regardless if it's alive, dead, skeletal, ash, or fossil) it will quicken and hatch in 2 nights as that creature. An exceptional sculpture can also work, even if it represents nothing that has lived before.

The 7th descendent of this creature will lay The Egg back into the world.

The Hammer

When held breaks anything it hits. After breaking something it begins to vibrate , and after 3 rounds will release a destructive pulse for a kilometre around, pulverizing anything as strong or weaker than what it just broke. It will continue to vibrate and release pulverisation waves until it makes contact with something harder than what it broke to trigger it.


Low Hanging Fruit:
Radically Out of Genre, Anachronistic , Alive and Fleshy and Toothsome, Hyperreal (like at the end of Promethea or the Lego movie mcguffin) , Something physically in the room as the players, Origins in mythology otherwise not used in setting like having Excalibur or The Holy Grail

Remaining Fruit:
Jack Kirby style magic technology

Artifact-shaped Nothing , like a hole in space that your eye slides across but sword shaped or something

New Impossible Colours. Grudgingly , "Sunless Sea" was cool with the Neathbow if you want some inspiration

Everytime Artifact Is Used a Star Goes Out

Messages To Players Written On Artifact

Still Living Body Parts From Creator or Prometheus Type

Superdense Material that means artifact ways 100 times more than it should and causes time distortions around

Reshaped Intelligent Beings otherwise not in setting like Draculas , The Middle Class , or Whales

Impossible Machines Of Rutting Cog

Protruding Sex Organ of Extra Spatial being .  Appearance gives no doubt of this.

Miniature Cities Frozen at the moment of horrible disasters 

Out of Scale objects ; like a urticating hair  2 metres long, or a solar system held in the palm of your hand

Thursday, 5 October 2017


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"Pick an artifact from the old DMG 1e Gygax thing.  Rewrite it - make it good."

Artifacts are almost an "artifact" themselves by now, i.e something that's still there because it was there at the start.

The nature of the label of them suggests a categorization and standardisation somehow of magical items that is annoying.

The original dungeon master guide had this bizarreness with each artifact having its entry listing it's powers as 1 of I , 3 of II 10 of III.
Each letter referred to a list of powers , and then the d.m would make their selection and write it in the space provided in their entry.
This was so players couldn't ever know what the artifact exactly did , without stealing the d.m's copy of the dmg.
It meant that none of the artifacts had much in the way of themed powers and was overall pretty goofy.

Am I going to rewrite one? No, I don't like any of them enough.

For artifact to be a useful categorical distinction from magic items then we need to think about how magic items work first.

If magical items are common , then the world needs to super weird to make that interesting, and the magical items more weird. Like everyone have rings of flying is bad, but everyone have pig-balloons is good and inflatable pig technology being part of the setting.

So what would make an artifact in that setting? It would need to be powered by something super rare and the rarity be part of the setting. The last works of the gods, alien leakage, the unravelling of the space itself etc.

If magical items are rare , then they would benefit greatly from having the lore of the artifacts anyway, This is the Sword of the Great Betrayer, These are Teeth of The Moon Eater etc.
So  would artifacts risk just being the upper scale of magic items, which is fine, but artifact then is a looser term?

I'm losing my point here .

New point:

Make artifacts do one thing that seems like a complete cheat, the rules of the game are broken or atleast warped greatly. 


it's apparently a retina from some kind of early beings, of great size. It's used by replacing the top of your skull with it , it's about that size . 
Once this is done the possesser can cast anyone elses spells, depleting them from their reserves. Anyone they can see or are otherwise reasonably sure of their position can be used in this way.
Unfortunately the possesser can no longer undertake any task which would require a roll to succeed. They must use magic or automatically fail it.


You assign all targets of attacks (within normal range of the attacks) . However any attacks that are directed at you (and not assigned else where) automatically hit .

At the start of a round,  estimate how many rolls will be needed, then roll those dice at the start of a round and assign them . If you overestimate you lose this ability next round.

However must always accept a fair wager

no longer suffer damage, don't have hitpoints anymore.
but can't change at all. Always the same mood, can't get exp or lose levels, don't get more or less hungry or thirsty, no long term memory. 

don’t roll to hit anymore , just hit them , but must keep fighting until all participants in a combat  are slain

Friday, 29 September 2017

Gristly Skeleton Table Setting

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Picture unrelated

"Minimalism as it applies to RPGs is like Maze Rats, where the setting is a set of words in random tables or a plotline is a rough flowchart of names, objects, and locations. 

Giving yourself room to improvise while giving yourself enough structure to be stable."

Another prompt that I'm responding to RIGHT NOW:


Foundation Of Economy Is:
1.Shark Teeth (cutting, jewelry/art objects, trade object)
2.Sewage Methane (fuel , balloons)
3.Coca leaves (stimulant (mild and completely not mild), medicine , memorial(?), rituals) 
4.Lobotomized Gnomes (labour, food, books, batterys)
5.Condescend Darkness (sun protection, hiding from gods, sleep aid)
6.Rice (food, ethanol , paper)
7.Tea (mild stimulant , status object, ancestor appeasement) 
8.Opium (medicine, drug, astral ablative armour)
9.Uranium (ghost  spirit magic protection, heat, armour + supernatural defense penetrating weapons)
10.Gelatine (glues, sealant , protection against environmental diseases)
11.Guano (for fertilizer + gunpower)
12.Silks, various (clothing , rope, sails, dreamcatchers)

Threat that shapes everyone's lives
1. Hungry Soils
2. Evil stars 
3.Social Structure Dominated by Scattered Feuding Warlords
4.Player Races not native , difficult to get enough protein and nutrition from flora and fauna
5.Barely Contained "cold-war" between 2 massive empires
6.ongoing Colonisation by distinctly advantaged Others
7.Fundamental Forces Essential To Life are weakened e.g the sun , fertility, water
8.Fauna getting steadily more monstrous and hostile
9.Munitions and weapons from ancient war  keep going off or being found and causing upheavals
10. Climate change (either Warming or Cooling)
11.Kaiju Eggs From Space
12.Dangerous Discoveries In Magic or Technology or Brain Powers

Significant Historical Event Which Shaped Quite A Bit I Can Tell You
1.Super Big War
2. Mountains All Started Floating
3. Seas drained to vast underground caves with underworld people
5.Gods all killed each other
6.Alien race started using this world as their transitionary afterlife
7.A better version of fire discovered
9.Universal language discovered, extends to mineral and vegetable kingdom as well as all animals
10.Previous Ancient and Establish Ruling Wizard Class overthrown
11.Doomsday happened but it was mild
12.Seas Rose but super buoyant gas discovered 

Immediately Noticeable
1. Warrior Caste Very Important  but Tattoos as armour and class war
2. All domestic animals some form of worm
3. 7 colours of rain with different properties 
4. Puppet based technologys
5. Sky Rivers and Lakes
6. All plants quite animated and semi-motile
7. Intensive Vertical Architecture 
8. No violence in cities, even waring armys will eat with each other
9.Extremely large anthropods
10.Big Chucks of Death things lying around
11. Bridges To Moons
12. Everyone smokes and lights incense to keep imps, batmites,midges and ghosts away

Underlying Thing:
2.Crazed Optimism 
3. Mystery , Deception
4.Age of Exploration/Exploitation
5. Corruption of Ideal
6. Total War
7. Heroic War Improving Opportunity 
8. Nude Surival
9.Weird Shit All The Time
10.Sacrifice To Maintain Stuff that isn't that great but no-one has better idea  
11.What Cost Is Power
12.Moral Relativism 

Apex Predator:
1.Giant Severed Hands
2.Cog Squid
3.Poison Lion
4. Corpse Python 
5. Sin Dragon
6. Angels
7. Walking Cruelty Tower
8. Starhound
9. Tyrannosaurus Rex 
10. Skinbear
11. Broiling Wheel
12. Trains

Main Adventure Locale:
1. Rotting Palaces and Pleasure domes
2. Crashed WarShips
3. The Fronteir
4. Gristling Skycaves
5. The Past
6. Ice/bone/wart/timebergs
7.the underworld that's actually underground
8.the underworld that's only accessible from weird places and doesn't really geographically make sense
9.scavenging prisons
10.Trash mounds
11. Islands
12. Dense biomes like jungles or grave forests

Picture unrelated, it's from Joan fontcuberta's Stranger than fiction

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

My Attempt To Explain The Art

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Now I will attempt to explain why I think those pictures are so good.
(all pictures are from here, kudos and gratitude)

Less as individual art works but more how they embody an idea about game material I'm trying to articulate here.

Which ; There is blazing-holy and great window of brilliance flickering in the spectrum of goofiness.

Something which risks being goofy is also standing-out from expectations , and humour is always* surprising; as by definition people have noticed something surprising.

So that works for game content.

The next element of it is for it to not be collapsible into pure humour and/or fail to stoke the emotional energy the players are enjoying.

Generally for this to happen it has then bring something else other than goofiness, something exactly opposite what immediate appeared as goofy.

Doing a weird high pitched voice for a warlord is goofy. Playing him completely serious and making him a serious danger goes against the precedent of the voice, and thus has the potential of being brilliant.

 Has the "potential" though, it's an extreme nebulous window , and it can collapse easily.

"Worm Apocalypse"

The arms are floppy and failing and the idea of walking worms is silly. The feet appear too large like clown shoes. How they stand looks uncomfortable, suggesting a grotesque gait. However the eyes are stretched and narrow , unlike anything in nature , with the head appearing stiff and geometric, unlike a worm or anything. The head's stillness frames the violent energy of the arms by its contrast.

That also suggests intention and purposefulness, ditto with the low stance. They are firmly planted and fixed on flailing. The arms don't appear to have obvious danger to them, except the speed they are moving (the blur and the dynamic perspective gives this) and the still malignancy of  face.

The face looks like it wants to do bad things, and its entire body is focused on whipping these arms at you.

The floppiness of the arms suggests a surplus of destructive energy and crazed unpredictable, again which are potentially goofy, but with the cold regard of the face, are not possible to discount as harmless.

The slightly-odd pauldrons mean a civilisation or at least an intelligence behind them (and possibly solved an art problem where the artist couldn't find a way of joining the arm to the body in way that satisfied them) 

Most Yu gi oh cards have exaggerated perspectives, the small size of the cards benefits from the greater sense of depth , and  here it serves to make the arms flailing pushed at you.

The other aspect here is there's more than one worm , the title of card suggesting an apocalypse of them. This is another thing which acts against it being merely funny. 
One worm warrior would be a weird anomaly , this is too many worm warriors , they are here , there is a lot of them, they stand like clowns taking a painful standing shit, their arms whip through the air like a snapped cable , very little about them appears understandable to you except they deliberately mean you harm and they are here right now

Everliving Underworld Cannon
Less to say about this, but notable: the skull takes up a lot of room which being undetailed giving off the moment of sensory overwhelming of a cannon blast.

Skulls have that goofy smile which is seems inappropriate for a thing of death.

The Chains suggestion a solution to the cannons recoil but also a solution to the cannon possible wanting to wander off like a poorly behavioured aggressive dog.
The artfulness of the skull placement but also sense of jury-rigging and make-do is goo.The title is a great example of the poetic run-on sentences of these cards . The way its an "everliving" rather than an "undying" or "undead" cannon suggests a defiant surplus of life and uncontrollability. They can't kill it or control it they can just point at things as it blasts off chucks of laughingly destructive soul matter at people.

Ritual Raven:
What works here as the more you look at it the more you realise how bad it is as a bird.
The feet grow out of the wings and more akin to frogs than anything avian. It has tiny , unnecessary, child or doll arms. 
The things seen as masks then as eyes then as both are an example of the "surprising twist" which seems to a common element in this kind of brilliance.

However what takes it up a notch is it doesn't stop there, in fact it seems to actively work against this core idea with how shit it is a bird.
There's an uncomfortable of scale here , it looks small but looking at the those arms makes you consider what if those arms were human sized and this thing was fucking massive. Then the smoothness of its surface becomes uncanny, as detail is used to suggest size.

The beak has a weird expression. It's just a peak but it has a almost bureaucratic resignedment to it.

The mask are horrible and the careful white teeth are an apt grossness. An conventionally predatory mouth or a gaping void wouldn't work here as well as these nasty little smirks do.

The contrast between that and the beak is potent. The beak is purely administrative , the smirking cruelty is obviously a necessary element to whatever this thing does. Assholedom as a modular battery.

Statue of Anguish Pattern:

this is a good name. Most of my choice to include this is that name. It has that weird beat to it , sTaTue of AnGuish PaTtern.
Anguish is such a weird word choice, despair or fear or terror would be obvious and external.
Anguish is internal, an anguish pattern suggestive of a forced empathy with something, or an internal summoning of personal pain. 5 stars.
The shape , dunno, hexapod is so-so , the weird flared feet suggestion weight ,conflict with the narrows of the join with the body and plasticity of the bend.
It's not quite magic but its uncomfortable. The sphere that is seemingly turned to look at us But gives no clear vindication for our anthropomorphization (e.g a clear eye or other face feature).

This lack of vindication means we** search for something else , maybe we are mistaken and there is a Clear and Definite Head and Face to be found?
There is a circle behind the sphere, is that an eye, is a blowing a stone bubble?
There is no clear resolve, it is stone being plastic, stone animate with no obvious purpose to it yet it moves.

Door of Destiny
That is a dumb title, the only thing okay about it is looks completely hostile yet it has the usually neutral word "destiny" used.

I think I like this because the purple and yellow work and the chaining suggests the door itself , not what is beyond it , is a problem needing containing.
There is nice depth to the doors surface, a in between state of flatness and relief, suggesting an artisan's craft or its about it resolve itself as 3 dimensional from a flat state (the chains holding it back).
Maybe it only can function as a "destiny door" if it itself is forced to never resolve itself as flattened or fleshed? Opening the door is like opening the quantum box, collapsing you possible paths into just one.

There's some nice grots around the place.

Or sometimes you got appreciate a big old purple demon door

Bite Shoes

The bottom of them is like a exaggerated curve of a snarl or smile , yet the main teeth are above it .
That's good.
The blackness inside the mouth is great suggesting it can keep eating and never be full.

The little teeth thorns below it, I can't explain what they are doing , yet if you imagine them gone, it's not as a good of picture.

This is an evil shoe. However, it's not a shoe to help you do evil ; it's gonna bite the foot off anyone that puts it on.
And yet; it's not a trap shoe. It does not look innocuous . Maybe it started out that way, but something about suggests it's always been a bad shoe.
So this shoe.. what , hops it your face trying to bite it off? hops around on the ground attacking your feet ? This thing is fucked , it knows its fucked and it looks extremely happy about it.
The body of it smiles even as the top is an unfeeling hunger.

Bazzo The Soul Eater.

Okay so the title really pushes this one into next level .
It's  fucked up that something so brutish like this mandrill thug is a soul eater.

Usually a "soul eater" is a term used for something insidious or grandiose.

Not a roided up purple ape.

There's something about its expression that seems like its foremost bestial yet a degeneration into bestialness.

Its bulk and fatness , yet the fatness seems like it doesn't translate into immobility but power.
The delicate texture of the hair , it looks soft , and sweet smelling.

The weird bone growths.. maybe they could go and improve it , but they do add something, a hint of cancerousiness to this thing.

The teeth are incisors , that's great because I get a visceral uncomfortabliness to imaging myself biting down hard with my own on something extremely hard.

Alternatively the teeth will slice through the soul like a soft fruit .

Incisors are for eating passive things and a lot of them. Fruit, leaves , things to be snipped.
That these are for souls is a horror.

Parasitic Ticky. The lack of a face, the equipment carried, the legs like tight clad legs poking out of costume.

All make it not easily resolvable as an obvious thing. It does not seem (though it still could) be a warrior , more of hunter gatherer .

You can see the beak as a blind head, or the chest as a head with the beak as a mouth and then suggesting legs in place of the eyes socket.

Should we think of it as distortion or a naturalness ? The awkwardness of the human calves and knees suggest the first , yet the casualness of its going and presentation suggests the later.

"Gimmick Puppet Egg Head" a example of a run on tile which does not have the magic of Statue Of Anguish Pattern.

The Wig and Expression and the Arms coming out of Ears are the most significant factor its brilliance.

Subtler things are the lines across it, the blood red sclera of the ey,  and the colour of it the facebody.

Also how its carrying its weight is weird. The legs aren't loaded enough , suggestive of a puppets strings (yet the tilt of the head makes it hard to pinpoint where the line of thread would be , indicating  the delicacy of the puppeteers hand and/or an uncanniness).

The wig is silly, puppets are silly, an egg man is silly. Yet it seems charged with a dangerous energy (the colours), that's the twist.

The obvious twist to an evil puppet is contrasting child friendly imagery with obvious evil imagery.

This instead has detached stately-ness to it expression. It is potent and purposeful.

Desertapir. Apparently the pun is better in Japanese. And maybe I'm just overly influenced by the cuteness here.
Yet, how fucking passive and simple these things look (also potentially huge) in a context of war , techno-armour, dragons and superbeasts.

Their ability to be asleep right now (also asleep in a lethal context of a near-noon desert with no shade) suggests an ability for indifference that is absurdly cosmic.

Bubble Breeder.
The title, bubbles being fragile, breeding being base and meat bound, already starts making this interesting.
Is it breeding bubbles inside itself? Can it breed bubbles in you?
The glow is ominous , the asymmetricality alien.

If the view angle was looking down on it  (suggesting it small), the ratio of body parts would merely be part of the lightness smallness would give it.
However this angle suggests person size , so its top heavy-ness is suggestive of the dense shoulder mass of strength .

Alternatively a barely contained strong upward motion , that it has purposefully pulled down .

The contained but considerable movement of either interpretation is suggests if it wants to do things, it definitely has the resources to do them  .

Yet the title is "bubble", not water, or ice , or slime.  Bubbles are temporary and fragile, yet this thing is here and looks like it can definitely do things .
If it were Slime or water or ice , there would be no contrast, slime water and ice do things, they effect change. Bubbles do not.
Because its nature is against it, it comes across as even more potent that we can see its potency immediately.

But what does potent to do ? What is its purpose? It breeds.

A Fortress Whale. It's a whale with a lot of guns. This is good.
There's some fun with the castle to suggest size but then the guns completely over sizing the castle , The anachronistic  clash is good too .
The weird baleen grin (though the head is like a pilot or a sperm whale) seemingly means it likes being a gun castle, it's not a beast of burden.

The castle elements seem to not be signs of occupation , almost like a sarcastic touch by the whale. Look how fucking big I am , I mock the most potent of your houses. I am large and mobile, I am not contained the limits of your securities , even as I out-do their strengths.

Yes the best bit is definitely the whale looking like an active (even maybe the sole origin) participate here. It loves what it does.

Other points of note, a few scars or scratches on its head helping give sense of size and resilience and the horn being ludicrously big as if for destroying things big as or bigger than the whale.
To use such a horn effectively , the whale would need to be highly mobile, and it smugness suggests it confident on having far more than just size to rely on.
The horn also keeps the dynamism of the whale going forward , off the edge of the card.  It's both irresistible force and unassailable object .

Giant Flea.
I mean this shouldn't be a good picture to me, it doesn't sell the flea as particular large (except as fleas go) , it doesn't have a horrible flea mouth knife, yet the colours and the greenness of its eyes give it an overwhelming charm.
There's just something about it resembling a video game playable sprite, one which you find yourself jumping constantly, just because jumping feels really good with it.

* Maybe there is humour that is not surprisingly like when you laugh when someone does something so obviously them that it is funny. Then you could argue the humour is because we are surprised about seeing an expectation that we didn't expect to happen , happened?  whatever, what I can say is "surprise is often a element of humour" and that's fairly objective.

**(as in the critics "we" , as in "I" but doing a possible unreasonable assumption and assuming an objective response)