Monday, November 25, 2013

Tayxis: Damnation

Like The Louvin Brothers said, "Satan Is Real" and nowhere is that more true than deep in the heart of Tayxis.

Although I've been using AD&D 2e for system specific stuff (that may change in the near future when I start going back and collating all of this stuff, but for now....), I'm adding another "stat" - Damnation.

You can't tell a horror story in America - especially in a setting based on Texas - without the disposition of the soul coming into play at some point.

So my thinking is that the Damnation Stat replaces Alignment, and that some characters start off with more than others.  It should serve a dual purpose - it should inform your gameplay, sort of a measure of your altruistic intent (or lack thereof), and also serve some sort of mechanical purpose, say the higher you go, the greater the likelihood that you'll wake up one morning smelling like burnt toast, or perhaps you grow little nubbins for horns.  Not sure yet, but that's the gist of the idea.  Or maybe it just acts as a modifier to reaction rolls - the Damned Know Their Own sort of thing.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tayxis Art: Gustav Dore

What a hipster
A French Illustrator in the mid-1800s, Gustav Dore has been a huge influence on my work on Tayxis. His illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy, Lord Byron's works, Milton's Paradise Lost and the Bible, among many others, were years ahead their time.  The level of detail and intricacy is astounding, even today. 

So rather than write something today, I'm just going to show you some of my favorite works by Dore.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cthulhu Country

An inversion of the what you expect from a Cthulhu tale, Cthulhu Country is Lovecraft reimagined in the Jim Crow Era Deep South.  Rather than coming from the sea, the threats in this mythos come from the unfathomable depths of the coal mine, from the whispers carried along the breeze in the piney woods, from white robed cultists, and strange creatures that call in the night.  You are one of the few, who have stumbled upon these ancient secrets, and must do your best to keep your sanity, while preventing the uncaring darkness from swallowing the world whole.

The Times, They Are A Changin':
It's a time of turmoil, of chaos.  Although the Civil War was fought and lost almost a hundred years prior, the specter of slavery looms large over the Southern United States.  While the Federal Government is becoming less and less willing to allow the South to wallow in its past, there are those that have lived for generations in a certain way, and refuse to acknowledge their new reality.  They shrink back from it, screaming in abject horror as the future is revealed to them.

All the while, deep within the mountains and the woods, there are those who refuse to give up the Old Ways.  While they know that it's only a matter of time before they are uncovered, they know nothing else, so they suck the sizzling fat from their fingertips, pack up their stills and move deeper into the darkness.

They clutch tightly to their Family Bibles and their shotguns and their Old Ways, and woe to the outsider who stumbles upon their clannish encampments.

Cultists: ...but their dead bodies had told their secrets in dreams to the first men, who formed a cult which had never died. This was that cult, and the prisoners said it had always existed and always would exist, hidden in distant wastes and dark places all over the world until the time when the great priest Cthulhu, from his dark house in the mighty city of R'lyeh under the waters, should rise and bring the earth again beneath his sway. Some day he would call, when the stars were ready, and the secret cult would always be waiting to liberate him. ~The Call of Cthulhu

Shub-Niggurath:  One squat, black temple of Tsathoggua was encountered, but it had been turned into a shrine of Shub-Niggurath, the All-Mother and wife of the the Not-to-Be-Named-One. This deity was a kind of sophisticated Astarte, and her worship struck the pious Catholic as supremely obnoxious. ~ The Mound

Deep Ones: They were mostly shiny and slippery... with prodigious bulging eyes that never closed. At the sides of their necks were palpitating gills... They hopped irregularly, sometimes on two legs and sometimes on four. I was somehow glad that they had no more than four limbs. Their croaking, baying voices, clearly used for articulate speech, held all the dark shades of expression which their staring faces lacked.  ~ The Shadow Over Innsmouth

The Crawling Chaos: And under a ghastly moon there gleamed sights I can never describe, sights I can never forget; deserts of corpse-like clay and jungles of ruin and decadence where once stretched the populous plains and villages of my native land...Around the northern pole steamed a morass of noisome growths and miasmal vapours... From the new-flooded lands it flowed again, uncovering death and decay; and from its ancient and immemorial bed it trickled loathsomely, uncovering nighted secrets of the years when Time was young and the gods unborn. ~The Crawling Chaos

Night Gaunts: Shocking and uncouth black things with smooth, oily, whale-like surfaces, unpleasant horns that curved inward toward each other, bat wings whose beating made no sound, ugly prehensile paws, and barbed tails that lashed needlessly and disquietingly.  All they ever did was clutch and fly and tickle; that was the way of night-gaunts. ~Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath

Out of what crypt they crawl, I cannot tell, But every night I see the rubbery things, Black, horned, and slender, with membraneous wings, And tails that bear the bifid barb of hell. ~ The Fungi of Yuggoth

It was a colossal and nameless blasphemy with glaring red eyes, and it held in bony claws a thing that had been a man, gnawing at the head as a child nibbles at a stick of candy. Its position was a kind of crouch, and as one looked one felt that at any moment it might drop its present prey and seek a juicier morsel. But damn it all, it wasn’t even the fiendish subject that made it such an immortal fountain-head of all panic—not that, nor the dog face with its pointed ears, bloodshot eyes, flat nose, and drooling lips. It wasn’t the scaly claws nor the mould-caked body nor the half-hooved feet—none of these, though any one of them might well have driven an excitable man to madness. ~ Pickman's Model

Mi-Go: They were pinkish things about five feet long; with crustaceous bodies bearing vast pairs of dorsal fins or membraneous wings and several sets of articulated limbs, and with a sort of convoluted ellipsoid, covered with multitudes of very short antennae, where a head would ordinarily be. ~ The Whisperer in Darkness


Coal Mine, Distillery, Trailer Park, Meat Packing Plant, Cabin in the Woods

Source Material: 

  • Deliverance
  • Two Thousand Maniacs
  • Winter's Bone
  • In the Heat of the Night
  • Lawless
  • Mississippi Burning
  • North 40
  • "Off Season" and "Offspring", by Jack Ketchum
  • The Dillards
  • John Prine
  • Sons of Perdition
  • Merle Haggard
  • Those Poor Bastards

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tayxis: Hell's Honky-Tonk

Not this one
Note: many of the pictures included in this post have been taken from the excellent blog, City of Dust.  It's awesome, and you should check it out.

Ages ago, there was a town.  Nobody remembers the name of the town anymore, but one thing is certain - it was a Gawd-fearing town.  Every Sunday morning, every single inhabitant would gather together in a small church downtown and sing their praises to Gawd.  

It was a happy town.

Then oil was discovered in the area, and outsiders began to show up.  Offers were made to the landowners to buy the rights to the oil beneath their land, but the people of the town were happy with things as they were, content with their land and neighbors and faith.

Evil men were not content with these answers, and one Sunday, with the entire population packed into their little church, a fire broke out, and the building burned to the ground, killing all within.  As he burned, the pastor cursed the town, promising that none would ever profit from their deaths.

It didn't take long for the Big Oil Men to move in, and they rebuilt the downtown area that had been damaged by the fire.  Rough men came to the town to begin drilling.  On the site of the church, a bar was built, to entertain the men on their off hours.  Whores were trucked in, and a brothel set up on the second floor.  A neon sign was planted at the top of the building, a hot pink stake through the heart of the town.  

The oil field continued to expand, as did the town, and the bar got bigger, swallowing up surrounding buildings and adding their square footage to its own.  Word got around, and some of the greatest country-western and blues acts began to appear at the bar.  

Less than a year after the church burned, there came a fateful Saturday evening.  The bar was packed, the
bordello was sold out with reservations for hours.  One of the great forgotten Tayxin Outlaw Singers held the stage, and it was midway through his second set that the fire started.  Nobody knows for sure how many people were inside that bar, but stories range from hundreds to thousands.  Supposedly the doors had been built to swing inwards, and when the panic struck, the bodies pressed against the doors, sealing the crowd inside, where they burned alive.  The fire spread, and somehow got into the oil below the town, and for days, the entire area was a singular inferno.

When the fires finally died down, every living thing within a mile of the town was dead.  An acrid black smoke hung above the ruins, and only  a single building remained - the church that became a bar. No matter what they offered, Big Oil Men were unable to find anyone to go back to the town to work the oil fields, and the town was deserted.

The twin tragedies attracted the notice of the demonic Powers, and now, those who practice evilconverge upon this scar upon the face of Tayxis to relax, drink a cold beer and listen to the best damned music ever.

By day, the bar juts out of the center of a vast swath of pitch black, burnt earth.  If seen by the light of day, it appears to be the ruins of an old church.  Debris is scattered throughout the building, and if anything is disturbed without care, there is a 1 in 10 chance that a part of the ceiling will collapse, doing 1d6 points of damage to anyone who fails a Dexterity check.

When the sun goes down, the building undergoes a horrific transformation.  Flames erupt from the foundation, burning away the illusion of the church, and revealing the demonic reality - pitch black walls, with bright orange veins running throughout.  The building stabs the sky, seeming to loom above any who stand before it.  Windows on the above ground floors are thrown open, and the screams of the damned erupt outwards as succubi lean outwards, flaunting their wares.

In order to gain entrance, they must get past Gressil, the bouncer.  Gressil is a lout - he looks intimidating, but is too lazy to be a real threat, unless someone directly challenges him.  Massively overweight, he leans heavily on a giant club and by and large, he will simply pass along anyone who approaches.  If roused to combat, however, he can be a formidable foe.

Geryon (Demon)AC 2; MV 6; HP 55; Dmg 1d12 (Giant Club); Str 16 Con 12 Dex 8 Int 8 Wis 6 Cha 8; Alignment Neutral Evil; THAC0 11; Earthshaker: Geryon brings his club down on the ground, and everyone within 10' must make a Dexterity check or fall to the ground and spend a full round regaining their feet.

Once inside the walls, there is only one rule - no killing allowed.  Of course, there is also the corollary to that rule - if you do kill, don't get caught.  Bouncer demons wander the saloon to ensure that no-one - demonic, human or otherwise - is molested during their stay.  They can't be everywhere, though, and any violence that erupts will continue for 1d4 rounds before they arrive to break it up.  

Bouncers (Demons): No. Appearing: 2d4; AC 5; MV 12; HP 22; Dmg 1d6 (Sap); Str 16 Con 14 Dex 12 Int 18 Wis 8 Cha 3; Alignment Lawful Evil; THAC0 14; 

Upon entering, visitors find themselves in a large vestibule with a door on the right and the left, with a sweeping staircase leading up.  To the right lies the Watering Hole, to the left the Main Stage, and up to the Bordello.  

The Watering Hole - Saloon doors are all that bars you from a night of drunken debauchery at the best Diabolic Dive you'll ever find.  Stepping into the bar is like diving into a whirlpool.  Bodies press against bodies, the noise is deafening, and it reeks of sweat, vomit, stale beer and brimstone.  For every turn spent in the Watering Hole, there is a cumulative 5% chance of a fight breaking out within the characters' general vicinity.  This chance resets once the fight occurs.                                                                    
Generic Bar Patron: No. Appearing: 2d4 AC 6; MV 12; HP 12; Dmg 1d4; Str 11 Con 11 Dex 11 Int 11 Wis 11 Cha 11; Alignment Neutral Evil; THAC0 18; 

Once inside, the characters learn that this truly is the Bar From Hell: there are never any tables available, and while you see wait staff moving through the crowd, they never acknowledge the characters, nor can the the characters tell who they are serving.  Access to the bar is impossible due to the crowd pressing up against its length.  However, a successful Strength check will allow them to muscle their way through the crowd.  Even if they make it, however, they will find themselves ignored by the bartender without a successful Charisma check.  Nothing but the strongest spirits and beer are sold, and a Constitution check must be passed after each drink to avoid vomiting.  Anyone who fails three checks passes out, and awakes the next morning with a horrific hangover (-2 to all attributes for 24 hours)

Incidentally, this would be an excellent place to make use of Jeff Rients' Carousing Rules.

The Bordello: Upon rounding flight of stairs, they find themselves in a waiting room.   Lush furniture, overstuffed and luridly colored, packs every inch of the room.  The walls are painted a shocking red that seems to undulate if someone stares too long at them, and everything seems to be encrusted with precious metals and gems.  

Gaudy would be one word for it, ostentatious would be another. 

Upon the couches, love seats and chaise lounges lie consorts of every type imaginable.  Every perversion imaginable is not only catered to, but encouraged.  Once a consort is arranged, a room is selected, and the "fun" begins.  Any talk of payment is waived off as something to be "discussed later". 

Courtesans (Demonic): No. Appearing: 2d4; AC 9; MV 12; HP 6; Dmg 1d4 (Dagger), Sleep; Str 8 Con 8 Dex 14 Int 11 Wis 8 Cha 16; Alignment Neutral; THAC0 18; Sleep: These demonic concubines can cause their victims to enter a magical sleep from which they will not awaken for 1d4 rounds if the victim does not pass a Wisdom check at a -2 penalty.  During the period of unconsciousness, the Courtesan feeds on the victim, draining them of their vital fluids.  For each round uncounscious, the Courtesan will drain 1d3 hit points, which will be added to their own total.  This can exceed their maximum hit points as listed above.  In addition, those who succumb awaken from their slumber with only the vaguest memories of a night of intense pleasure, but a Constitution check will be required to avoid contracting a wasting disease.  This disease drains the character of 1 point of Strength, Dexterity and Constitution per week until one hits zero, at which point the character dies.  Further, any who succumbs to the Sleep spell suffers a -1 penalty to subsequent exposures.  This penalty is cumulative.

The Bordello is managed by a demon known as Lillith.  Whether she is the actual Lillith or just a pretender is unknown, and the heads of those who have inquired are rumored to adorn the walls of her office.  Appearing as a middle aged woman of exceptional physical qualities, she wears conservative clothing that still manage to hide very little.  She avoids combat whenever possible, preferring to converse and seduce.  If a fight breaks out in the Bordello, she will be aware within 1d6 rounds, at which point she will summon the bouncers, as above.

Lillith (Demon)AC 2; MV 6; HP 55; Dmg 1d4 (Giant Club), Special; Str 11 Con 12 Dex 16 Int 14 Wis 11 Cha 18; Alignment Neutral Evil; THAC0 14; Poisoned nails: Lillith strikes with her nails, attempting to scratch the face of any who attack her.  Any thus struck must pass a Constitution check at a -2 or be wracked with debilitating pain, taking an additional 1d6 points of damage per round for the next 3d4 rounds.  Charm Person: Lillith can attempt to charm one person every 10 rounds, simply by making eye contact.  A successful Wisdom check will prevent the charm.  

The Main Stage: Imagine Janis Joplin singing a duet with Buddy Holly.  Johnny Winter strumming while Townes Van Zandt sings the blues.  Stevie Ray Vaughan and Lightnin' Hopkins trading licks.  

That's a Monday night at the Main Stage.  

Impossible though it may seem, the Main Stage is even more crowded than the Watering Hole.  There are seats, but they are stood upon rather than sat in.  As a result, there's no such thing as a good place to see.  No matter where the characters stand, something obstructs their view.  The sound is always too loud and the crowd is always rowdy.

Rules from the Watering Hole apply here as well, but fights are twice as likely to break out, and the bouncers take twice as long to break it up.  Further, there is a 10% chance that a passing crowd surfer will kick a character in the head, which can be checked at the GM's discretion.  Attempting to go to any place in particular requires a Strength for every 5'.  Any failure means they are pushed 10' in another direction (roll 1d12 and assume the result corresponds to the number on a clock, and use that as the direction.  If the direction rolled is the direction intended, reroll).  While there is a small bar located inside the venue, no amount of pushing, pleading or cajoling will get the characters anywhere near the bartender.

Anyone looking can see a balcony which appears to be empty, but no amount of searching can reveal a way to get there.  In the center of the music hall stands the sound booth, where the owner of the entire establishment can typically be found - Amdusias.  He has the body of a man, the claws of a lion and the head of a unicorn.  He carries a trumpet with him at all times, and sometimes jumps up on stage to perform an impromptu accompaniment. If confronted by characters, he will be pleasant and conversational, remarking upon the outstanding talent of whoever happens to be playing that night.  He will defend himself if attacked, but given the choice, he'd rather sit back and watch the show.

Amdusias (Demon)AC 2; MV 12; HP 55; Dmg 1d6/1d6 (Claws), 1d8 (Horn), Special; Str 14 Con 10 Dex 13 Int 11 Wis 10 Cha 16; Alignment Neutral Evil; THAC0 12; Trumpet: Amdusius can blow his trumpet once every 10 rounds, with explosive force.  Any caught within the 10' cone are knocked off their feet unless they pass a Constitution check at -2.  The next round will be spent incapacitated, and a second round will be required to regain their feet.  This will also affect others at the concert, who will turn on the characters upon regaining their feet.  Call - Amdusias can mentally call the bouncers, and will do so immediately upon being attacked.

Generic Concert-Goer: No. Appearing: 2d4 AC 6; MV 12; HP 12; Dmg 1d4; Str 11 Con 11 Dex 11 Int 11 Wis 11 Cha 11; Alignment Neutral Evil; THAC0 18; 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Tayxis Encounter: The Devil's Herd

Their faces gaunt, their eyes was blurred, their shirts was soaked with sweat 
They're ridin' hard to catch that herd, but they ain't caught 'em yet 
'Cause they've got to ride forever on that range up in the sky 
On horses snorting fire 
As they ride on hear their cry 

                                             ~Lyrics by Stan Jones

This is an encounter that takes place out on the Prairies and Plains of Tayxis, always at night.  

The night air is cool and crisp, and the winds make starting a campfire difficult, but not impossible.  As you settle in for your evening meal, you hear the sounds of spurred footsteps approaching from the darkness.  A the weathered form of a cowboy slowly takes shape in the flickering firelight, his hand resting on his holstered pistol. 

"Easy there, pardners, easy - jest lookin' to rest ma boots fer a minute", he drawls, edging forward, his hand still on his pistol.

Should the party attack, he will defend himself and back away, disappearing after 3 rounds, ending the encounter.

Jim Murphy (Undead): AC 5; MV 14; HP 22; Dmg 1d6; Str 11 Con 14 Dex 18 Int 12 Wis 6 Cha 10; Alignment Neutral Evil; THAC0 14; Fast Draw - Jim Murphy automatically wins initiative when firing his pistol, and fires a second time when a 19-20 is rolled.
Description: A member of Sam Bass' gang, he betrayed the group after the Governor put a bounty on their heads.  When surviving members of the gang threatened to "kill him, cut off his head and carry it away in a gunny sack", he fled to the local jail for protection, where he eventually killed himself.  Damned for his betrayal and suicide, he is now condemned to chase the Devil's Herd.

Should the party allow him to sit, they notice that his flesh is transparent at first, but seems to get firmer as he warms up.  He spins a tale, telling his story from a more sympathetic perspective - he was persecuted by a group of people he chose not to work with any longer, was hounded from one end of Tayxis to the other, until he was given a choice between horrible death or painless suicide.  Ever since his death, he, along with other damned souls, have been forced to chase the Devil's Herd.  While he is short on details, the upshot of his story is that he's managed to slip away from the chase for a bit, but it won't be long before someone comes looking for him.

Of course, he neglects to mention that that "someone" is Forcas, Master of Saytin's Stables.  Murphy's plan is to convince the group to help him capture one of the Devil's Cattle, and trade it back to Forcas in exchange for release from his torment.  While the cattle can not be caught by the damned, he reasons that the living might stand a chance.

Murphy is familiar with the path that the Herd takes, and hopes to set an ambush, with the characters' assistance, and suggests that the Guadalupe Pass might be a perfect place for an ambush. Not far from El Paso al Inferno, it's a narrow stretch of road between two peaks in the Guadalupe Mountains.  The Herd passes through this Pass between 2 and 2:15 in the morning every third day.

This information relayed, he begs the characters for assistance one last time before looking fearfully over his shoulder and saying that he has to go, that they will find him soon.  He will answer one final question, and then leaves.

Shortly thereafter, a mountain man carrying a spear and riding a nag approaches the party, asking about a runaway fugitive.  A Preacher, Ranger, or other character able to sense evil will immediately realize that this man is no man at all, but a demon.  He will not attack the party, as he is more concerned with retrieving his wayward soul.  However, if attacked, he will defend himself, and use Invisibility as a last resort if the tide turns against him.
Forcas (Demon): AC:-2 MV 24; HP 55; Dmg 1d8/1d8 (spear); Special; Str 18 Con 18 Dex 6 Int 16 Wis 10 Cha 6; Alignment Lawful Evil; THAC0 8; Invisibility: Forcas can become Invisible for 4d4 rounds, once per day. Demonic Steed: Forcas' steed is of a demonic origin, and will attack at the command of its master.   Every third round, the Steed will rear up and strike with its hooves any within reach.  These should be treated as two "bonus" attacks for Forcas, using his THAC0, and doing the same damage as his spear. Description: A squat blunt-faced man with a tremendous beard, he rides a withered nag and carries a vicious barbed spear.  He is the master of Saytin's Stables, and takes pride in keeping the horses and cattle in the finest shape possible.  A coward and a bully at heart, Forcas will only prey upon those weaker than himself.  If the battle turns against him, he will invoke his Invisibility and attempt to escape.

Guadalupe Pass: Located just south of the Guadalupe Mountain Range, this pass is a twisting path with
low visibility and high winds.  Anyone who fails an attack by more than 10 must make a Dexterity check or lose their balance.

At 2:15am every third day, the Herd rounds the bend and comes through the Guadalupe Pass, crosses the Guadalupe River, and makes the next turn by 2:30.  The eastern walls of the mountains that lie against the River are high and blind, and cannot be seen until after the Herd has passed into the river valley.  The party has a small window of opportunity to grab a single Head of Cattle as they pass.  Someone experienced wtih a lasso can rope a steer and divert them from the herd without Forcas, who rides at the front, noticing.  Even if a member of the Damned see, they will not say anything, and Jim Murphy will offer the party a wink and a tip of the hat as he passes.  If they fail at the attempt, the Herd continues on, and the characters must fight Forcas and the Damned.  If they survive the battle, however, the Herd will return in 3 days time, and allow them another shot at it.  

The Devil's Herd: No. Appearing: 2d12 AC: 6 MV 24; HP 20; Dmg 1d8 (charge) 1d6x2 (hooves); Special; Str 16 Con 16 Dex 13 Int 6 Wis 6 Cha 6; Alignment Neutral Evil; THAC0 14; Trample - Anyone struck by the Charge must make a Dexterity check or be knocked from their feet.  They are automatically struck by both hoof attacks from the Cattle that knocked them over, and must make Dexterity checks for each head of Cattle that has not yet gone that round, or suffer twin hoof strikes from them as well.  Note that the soul of anyone killed by the Devil's Herd is pressed into service by Forcas, and must spend the rest of eternity chasing them.  Description: These unholy cattle are the pride of Saytin's Stables, Forcas takes runs them on a drive every third day to keep them lean and mean.  Their time in the Pits has given the a vicious streak, and they have come to relish goring unfortunate passers-by with their steel-tipped horns.  

The Damned: No. Appearing: 1d6 AC 4 MV 16; HP 22; Dmg 1d6; Str 11 Con 14 Dex 15 Int 11 Wis 7 Cha 3; Alignment Neutral Evil; THAC0 12.  Description: The spirits of the damned, hand picked by Forcas himself to aid in driving the Devil's Herd.  Only the meanest, foulest of souls are considered.  

Aftermath: Should the party succesfully steal the bull, the next night that they make camp, the sound of chains and hoofbeats will wake them from their slumber.  Jim Murphy's ghostly body is tossed into the campfire, looking surprisingly alive.  The party hears Forcas' voice growl from the shadows, demanding the return of the Bull, and revealing that the camp is surrounded by his Damned Souls.  He promises to leave the party unscathed, should they surrender the Bull, and is telling the truth.  Should the party attack and drive away the force, they can keep the bull and sell it for 10,000 Dolars.  

Either way, Jim Murphy has been freed, and his form assumes corporeality.  He will offer his services to the party in return for his freedom.  Should the party be foolis enough to take him up on this, he will betray them at the first opportunity, take everything they own, sell it, and attempt to start a new life somewhere.

After all, once a traitor...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tayxis: Cadáver de Christo

Long ago, along a deserted stretch of the Endless Sea, a fisherman watched a body wash ashore.  This body was special.  Although it was quite dead, it showed no signs of rot, nor was it bloated, as most bodies swept ashore were.  The body was possessed of a great beauty, and even as it gently came to rest on the white sandy beach, the fisherman was struck by the gently pursed lips, the cheeks which still held a flush, even in death.  Most of all, he was struck by the delicate features which loomed above him, for this body was that of a giant.

Time has passed, but the corpse of the Nephilim still sits on the beach of southwest Tayxis.  Much of the body has sunk into the sand, but the head still juts above, and life has taken root upon the remains.  Even though the spirit has left the body of the Nephilim, the flesh remains, and has provided for those that have made it their home.  Over the years, Cadáver de Christo has developed into a marvel of the endurance of life - initially a squatter's heaven, a true city has built up on and around the Nephilim's skull.  First named Christo as an affectionate nickname for the corpse itself, the city has since taken the name for its own.

With the unfortunate, however, comes those willing to exploit them, and it didn't take long for Cadáver to be added to the name.  Nowadays, Cadáver de Christo is a slum.  Most houses were initially built from shoddy materials, and the body of the Nephilim is slowly sinking into the earth, occasionally taking homes and people with it.  Conservative estimates suggest that the body will be completely lost within 20 years.

In the meantime, however, there is a nigh infinite supply of food, as the body does not rot, and regenerates any damage done to it.  Thus, the economy of the slum-town is based around the harvesting of the Nephilim's flesh, which is exported all around Tayxis.

Pro Tip: if eating Nephilim flesh makes you uncomfortable, don't order the brisket.  Ever.

While there are several legitimate companies which operate in Cadáver de Christo, there are also rumors that the Cartel has secured access to the interior of the body, and is extracting tissue samples from various internal organs using drug-enslaved press gangs to do the heavy lifting.

Life for the workers in the "legitimate" factories are little better.  With no oversight or regulation, worker fatalities are high, and more than one has been mixed into the "brisket".

Pro-er Tip: Even if you're cool with eating Nephilim flesh, if eating human flesh disturbs you, don't order the brisket.  Ever.

Visitors to Cadáver de Christo are struck first by the fact that the city is largely crooked.  As the body has sank, the houses that were initially upright have begun to lean backwards, and are mostly held up by large planks and logs, shipped in by the factory owners from the Piney Woods.  Gangs of children mob any who appear to have two coins to rub together, and adults are almost invariably dirty and exhausted from the struggle of day-to-day life.  The wealthy build extensions on their houses relative to the shifting of the body, so many have taken on a curved shape as they struggle to remain upright.

Some believe that the wealthy of Cadáver de Christo have exploited the poor for too long.  Recently, there
has been a spate of acts of sabotage, vandalism and some might even say terrorism, led by an organization calling itself Libertad.  They are known by their luchador masks, although whether they are actually members of the popular Liga de los Luchadores Libres is, at present, unknown.

Only two things can be said definitively about the group - they use the poster pictured here to announce actions they perpetrate, or at least approve, of, and they are led by a masked man who goes by the name of El Santo.

Recent acts of disobedience included rerouting a waste pipe from one of the meat packing plants to the home of its owner, organizing a strike at another plant, and calling for a "Day of Disobedience", where workers would all stay home.

While the movement is still small, it is gaining support.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tayxis - Cosmology

Some say there used to be a land beyond Tayxis.

Maybe so, but nobody alive remembers it anymore, and folks have enough to worry about just getting by day by day to spend much time thinking about it.  The reality of things is that Tayxis is bordered by the Endless Sea to the south, and the Outer Darkness hugging every other border.

Heaven lies across the Endless Sea.  This is known because every once in awhile, a waterlogged angel washes ashore, their wings waterlogged, their memories hazy.  They remember a bright, white light that enfolded them, and they remember losing that light, and they remember the water.  These lost angels can be found throughout Tayxis, although they try and hide their identities, for two reasons.  First, there are folk remedies that use angel feathers and wing bones, and second, they mostly just want to forget, because remembering is too painful.  More often than not, they will be found in the bars, hashish parlors and opium dens of Tayxis, doing their best to forget the memory of their lost perfection. 

The Outer Darkness is divided into sections, although those sections have more to do with the land they intersect with than any real difference between them.  The Darkness is porous - any can enter, but once you leave the light behind, return is impossible

Some say the Darkness is simply a passageway, Purgatory perhaps, but all know that somewhere, out in the Darkness, lies Hell.  They know, because the demons that spill forth from the Darkness love to talk about it to any that will listen.  The Rangers patrol the Tayxis borders regularly, but there is simply too much land to keep them all out.  Some slip through, seeking refuge and a better life than what they've known, while others come to undermine Tayxin society and pave the way for the return of their master, Saytin.  Almost every city has a demonic ghetto, where anything can be purchased for the right price.  Life is cheap in these areas, and even the Pigs steer clear unless something particularly shocking demands their attention.  Those that are able to pass for human can be found doing manual labor on the cheap, doing what they can to get by.

Lost Angel: No. Appearing: 1 AC 0; MV 12; HP 35; Dmg 1d4/1d4 (fists) 1d6 (wing buffet) and/or by weapon; Special; Str 14 Con 15 Dex 12 Int 12 Wis 14 Cha 16; Alignment Any Good; THAC0 10
Description: Most Angels will go out of their way to avoid combat, more interested in self reflection and loathing.  If pressed, however, they are capable enough and will not hesitate to defend themselves.  Once per day, a Lost Angel can project a beam of light that will inflict 2d6 points of damage upon any Evil-aligned creature.  This ability has a range of 50 meters.

Demon: No. Appearing: 2d4 AC 2; MV 12; HP 25; Dmg 1d6 (claw);1d6 (claw) 1d4 (bite); Special; Str 16 Con 12 Dex 10 Int 8 Wis 10 Cha 16; Alignment Any Evil or Neutral; THAC0 12 
Description:  Demons found within Tayxis typically stick together, and when encountered will almost always be encountered in a group.  Once per day, a demon can cast a Charm spell upon a victim, who must pass a Wisdom check or become enthralled for 1d4 rounds.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tayxis: Ranger

Were you expecting someone else?
Your mission is to hunt down law breakers and devil worshipers wherever you find them, and you'll chase them from the Endless Sea into the Northern Darkness, if that's what it takes to catch them.  You know right from wrong, good from evil, and it's your job to protect the good folk of Tayxis that just want to get by, from those that would do them harm.

You're an agent of the only true force for law and order in Tayxis - the Mother Church.  Devout and god-fearing, your job is to take the fight to the evil-doers, and do your best to save their souls, or pass righteous judgement upon their sorry carcasses.

As a great man once said, "Gawd will know His own."

Class: Ranger
Ability Requirements: Dex 14, Wis 14
Alignment Restriction: Lawful Good
Prime Requisite: Wisdom
Advances As: Paladin

Being a Tayxis Ranger is a calling, not a job.  They are typically recruited from the ranks of the Mother Church's novitiates and trained by the Warrior-Monks of Mission San José de los Nazonis, a walled compound in the heart of Osteen.  A series of trials mark their progression, with the final test being a descent into the Inner Space Cavern in Georgetown.  The Ranger-Elect, as they are known, must survive the dread caves, with only the clothes on their backs, their Holy Shotgun and a single communion wafer.  Those who emerge have the star of the Tayxis Ranger branded upon their chest.  Those who fail wait below, cursed to wander the depths for eternity.


Alethiology - A Tayxis Ranger can look a man in the eyes and know whether they lie or not.  At will, with a successful Wisdom roll, they can determine the truth or falsehood of a statement.  Note that this is a judgement of the intent of the speaker, not their words.  Until they reach Level 5, the Ranger takes a -2 Penalty on this roll.  From level 6-10, the penalty is reduced to -1.  From Level 11 onwards, there is no penalty.

Holy Shotgun - Each Tayxis ranger is presented early on in their training with their Holy Shotgun.  A bond is forged between the Ranger and his gun, and it can be summoned to his hand instantly if within 50 feet.  This weapon does double damage vs. Evil, and can shed a soft white glow on command, equivalent to a torch.

Protection From Evil, 10' Radius - Once per day, by describing a circle using holy water or, in its absence their own blood, a Tayxis Ranger may create a safe zone that makes it difficult for Corrupted creatures to function.  If a corrupted or demonic creature attempts to enter the circle, the GM should roll a d20.  On an odd numbered result, they enter, if the result is even they do not.  Even if they do enter, they will suffer a -2 penalty to any actions carried out within the circle.

In the eyes of a ranger, the unsuspected stranger had better know the truth of wrong from right, 'cause the eyes of a ranger are upon you.  Any wrong you do he's gonna see, when you're in Texas look behind you, 'cause that's where the rangers are gonna be. - Walker, Texas Ranger

When they remember us rangers... let them remember us not as men of vengence... but as men of law... and justice. - Leander McNelly, Texas Rangers (2001)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tayxis - The Antipostles

Squatting between Osteen and Dee Eff Dubya lies The Temple, the head of the spiritual hydra known as the Antipostles.

Corrupted by Saytin's sibilant promises of power and wealth, these degenerates have traded their souls willingly and now exist only to indulge their most basest instincts and foulest whims. A proselytistic order, they can be found among groups of people of any size, but the greater the number of potential converts, the greater the number of Antipostles to be found.

They are the bane of civilization, and all but the most powerful Antipostles hide their true allegiance when in public.  Instead, they tempt their victims first by glorifying their sins, then offering more, then a final choice - damnation or death.  Their ways are sophisticated, and their numbers grow on a daily basis - while the Temple was once a road-side attraction, it has swelled into a massive city.

They operate in extreme secrecy  - even at the Temple, they disguise their faces so that when they go out into the world, they cannot disclose their identity.  Only the Bishops and the Anti-Pope are powerful enough  to operate openly.


The Laity - These are the converted and near converted.  They practice their faith without actively recruiting others.
Deacon - This person has taken the first step.  Upon corrupting their first soul, a Lay Person is granted the honorific of Deacon and given a Priest to report to.
Priest - This person coordinates the efforts of their group of Deacons to turn the hearts of mortals.  They typically operate at a local level.
Bishop - A Bishop is a regional leader, responsible for the corruption of a large area.  They work with their Priests to turn a village, a town, even a city.  While they operate openly, they travel only in large groups, to protect themselves.
The Anti-Pope - A Singular being, legend has it that they ingest a piece of the Devil's own Flesh, and are subsumed by His Will.  Literally Saytin's agent in Tayxis, he directs the actions of Antipostles from the Piney Woods to the Prairie.

They are divided into seven Orders, each charged with promulgating one of their Seven Unholy Virtues.

Ordinem Vitulum Saginatum (Swine) - Recognizable by their girth and stature, the Swine are typically morbidly obese giants.  They can be found in the beer halls, honk-tonks and rib shacks at Tayxis.  Friendly enough, they are always willing to buy another round or share their plate, and never one to talk about cost, seemingly happy enough just to share their meal.  Bit by bit, they ease the way to damnation with chicken grease and liquor.

Ordinem Aurea Palma (Bean Counters) - Nobody has it as easy as they do, the OAP says.  After all, who doesn't want more?  More money, more power, more women, more more more.  And all the Bean Counters have to do is give it to them, because if there's anything true in this world, it's that the more you have, the more you want.  If there's a card game, dog fight or numbers racket anywhere, chances are if you follow the money far enough, you'll find the OAP.

Ordinem Oculus Remissas (Slavers) - Why do something yourself when you can get someone else to do it for you?  The Slavers' duty is to promote Sloth, and they've found that slavery is a particularly delicious way to go about it.  Officially, slavery is outlawed in Tayxis.  Unofficially, it is alive and well, and not restricted to those of any race, creed or color.  Amonst themselves, members of the OOR will hold competitions to see who most creatively replace self-motivation with slave assistance.

Ordo Phialam Fractum (Psychos) - You'll find the psychos in the barroom brawl, or at the political rally.  You'll find them mouthing off to a group of drunken cowboys or shoving someone in the street.  They know just how to get under your skin, and give them half a chance and you'll be flying off the handle along with them.  After all, they say, you have to let the anger out, and it's fun to be angry.

Ordinem Abyssi (Provokers) - The Provokers are just that - they inspire Envy in others by finding their way into the thoughts and desires of their victims, and then tormenting them by their possession of those very things.  You want a pool?  They will buy the house next to yours and put in a water slide.  Single and lonely?  They'll introduce you to the most beautiful woman in the world, and then reveal that she's married - to them.  Seemingly unaware, they will drive someone mad with desire for the things that they do not possess.

Ordo Autem Sol Meridie (Egoists) - The opposite of the Provokers, the Egoists will puff up those that already possess, inviting them to exclusive clubs with hulking bouncers that reject anyone who doesn't meet a certain standard, and then lifting the velvet rope for them.  Just when they have everything, the Egoists will take it away, and most will do anything to have it back.

Ordo Gnomone Coxae (Whores) - While the Bean Counters say they have it easiest, most agree that the Whores' job is a walk in the park.  They are able to seduce their way to almost anyone they set their bedroom eyes upon.  Give them ten minutes alone with someone, and their darkest fantasies will lay revealed.  Given a second ten minutes, that person will have signed their soul away for a third ten minutes together.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Tayxis: Soundtrack

Taking a page from +Jack Shear 's playbook, I've created a soundtrack for Tayxis.  You may think you know Tayxin music, but you don't.  Is there some country in here?  Sure, but this ain't no Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks poppy bullshit.  This music is one part rotgut, two parts rattlesnake venom.  It's, in the words of Waylon Jennings, lonesome, on'ry and mean.  So break out your whiskey, kick off your boots, roll yourself a cigarillo and enjoy.

Here is the soundtrack.

Also, because it's on 8tracks, and they're weird about playlists, I'm posting it here.  I'm also providing links to their websites, in case you're interested in hearing more.

This Is Desperation - Those Poor Bastards
Anhelo - Sons of Perdition
The Man Comes Around - Johnny Cash
The Day the End Finally Came - William Elliott Whitmore
Snake Song - Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
Hero - Federale
Big Iron - Marty Robbins
Fire on Peshtigo - O'Death
Fireworks Factory - Hellwood
Dark In My Heart - The Coffinshakers
After Dark - Tito & Tarantula
The Ride - David Allen Coe
Theme for Ennio Morricone - Murder By Death
Paris, Texas - Ry Cooder
Sandstorm - Francesco Angelo Lavagnino
The Trail - Christian Williams
I'm a Ramblin' Man - Waylon Jennings
The Bottle Let Me Down - Merle Haggard
Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie - Johnny Cash
This Land is Cursed - Sons of Perdition

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tayxis: A Map of Tayxis

I'm starting to put together my map of Tayxis.  It's still a bit bare, and I'll have to fill more in as I go along, but I've got the basic gist of it, I think.  More to come on this.