Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I'd Be Late To My Own Funeral

I just realized that I made my first post on this blog two years and two days ago.

I definitely have not been a prolific poster of late, having only averaged six posts a month this year, but I feel like I'm getting back in stride after a rough beginning of the year.  I've collected a good amount of art for From the Ashes, and although I'm struggling to fit the last few pieces of the puzzle into place, it should be coming soonish.

Yeah, I know, heard that before, so in the time-honored tradition of deadline-challenged creative types, I'll just say that it'll be done when it's done.

In the meantime, when I get stuck, I've been having a blast working up stuff for Tayxis, and my brain seems to be responding.  Instead of detracting from my work on FtA, it seems to be supplementing, even augmenting it.  I may end up going back and redoing all the stat work and setting it in another system, but in the meantime, 2e is comfortable to me, and I don't want to break my flow to go and see what I should be doing according to a ruleset.  Time for that later.

In case any of you aren't aware, Pulp Mill Press will be releasing an anthology of short stories entitled Libram Mysterium with a, you guessed it, pulp fantasy theme.  I submitted a story I'd been kicking around for awhile, and was lucky enough to make the cut.  Based on what I've seen of other submissions, I'll be in good company.  So keep an eye out, they're shooting for a winter-ish release date.  You should get a copy, because if there's enough interest, they intend to do more.

Anyhow, here's to another, hopefully more productive, year!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tayxis: Bestiary

Some of the beasts that haunt the wilds of Tayxis:

Barbed Wire Golem: No. Appearing: 1d6 AC 2; MV 14; HP 30; Dmg 1d6; Special; Str 14 Con 13 Dex 16 Int 3 Wis 3 Cha 3; Alignment Neutral; THAC0 14; Entangle - Anyone struck successfully by a Barbed Wire Golem will take 1d6 points of automatic damage each round until a successful Dexterity check is passed.
Description: Called into being by dark arts, these unnatural creatures typically serve as servants or guards.  Unintelligent, they serve only the whims of their masters.

Harmadillo: No. Appearing: 2d4 AC 2; MV 12; HP 10; Dmg 1d6 (claw);1d6 (claw) 1d4 (bite); Special; Str 10 Con 15 Dex 12 Int 8 Wis 3 Cha 3; Alignment Neutral; THAC0 14; Disease - Anyone struck by a Harmadillo must pass a Constitution check or contract a wasting disease.  Unless treated, the victim will lose one physical stat point per month (Roll 1d6 - 1,2 - Str 3,4 - Con 5,6 - Dex)
Description: Extremely belligerent and highly territorial, many a Tayxin has perished after stumbling into a Harmadillo den.  Their tough shells make them highly resistant to damage, and their propensity for infecting humans with disease are cause enough for most to steer well clear.

Terrorantula: No. Appearing: 1 AC 3; MV 24; HP 65; Dmg 1d8(x8); 1d4(x2)+ special; Str 18 Con 16 Dex 6 Int 6 Wis 5 Cha 3; Alignment Neutral; THAC0 13; Poison - Anyone struck by the mandibles of the Terrorantula must pass a Constitution check or they are poisoned, suffering 1d6 hp the first round, 1d4 the second, 1d3 the third, and 1 hp the fourth.  A successful Con check at any time halts the poison's progress.
Description: Tayxins are extremely thankful that these beasts are as rare as they are.  None can say where they come from, they simply emerge from the desert.  Massive in size, they lay waste to entire towns and leave devastation in their wake.

Spider Wolf (Mother): No. Appearing: 1 AC 5; MV 8; HP 25; Dmg 1d6(x2); 1d3+Special; Str 11 Con 13 Dex 15 Int 8 Wis 4 Cha 3; Alignment Neutral; THAC0 16; Poison - Anyone struck by the bite of the Spider Wolf must make a Constitution check at a -2 or be paralyzed for 1d8 rounds.  Note that if this occurs, the Spider Wolf will attempt to abandon combat and drag the prey off into a nearby hole.  See below for details.
Spider Wolf (Babies): No Appearing: 3d20 AC 9; MV 16; HP 3; Dmg 1; Str 6 Con 6 Dex 6 Int 3 Wis 3 Cha 3; Alignment Neutral; THAC0 19
Description: Few creatures are as despised and feared as the Spider Wolf.  An evolved cousin of the Wolf Spider, the Spider Wolf's reproductive habits justify that fear.  Their poison is a paralytic, and they will use it on unsuspecting humans as they enter their fertility cycle.  After laying several thousand eggs in the still-living body, the Spider Wolf will web the unfortunate to its back, and carry it around until they hatch.  Obviously, the victim does not survive this process.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tayxis Mini Adventure: The Alamo

Deep in the heart of San Antone lies the Ruins of the Alamo.  It was the site of the battle between a group of beleaguered Tayxin patriots and the savage hordes of Contra-Santa Anna.  Some say the blood rituals performed within the Alamo's walls upon the desecrated corpses of Jim Bowie, Davey Crockett and the rest of the Martyrs were what drew Saytin to Tayxis to begin with.

Ever since the massacre, Tayxins have avoided the Ruins of the Alamo, which squat in the center of the city like a black, diseased heart that drains the life from all around it.  Strange sounds can be heard coming from within after dark, and an overwhelming sense of dread washes over any who view it, increasing the closer they come.  Planes divert around its airspace, and not even insects seem to stir in its vicinity.

While nothing can go in, the residents of San Antone can only wish that nothing would come out.  The Immortal 32, a group of rangers originally from the nearby town of Gonzalez, were the only group to make it to the Alamo before the massacre.  Unfortunately, they approached under cover of darkness, and were fired upon by the Tayxin defenders.  As they died, they cursed those within the walls, swearing that they would have their revenge.

Now, on every full moon, the Immortal 32 rise from their graves and swarm outwards into the city, looking to turn back the Mexican invaders.  Unfortunately, ravens plucked the eyes from their corpses, so they simply slaughter any they come across.  Superstition has it that the sound of ravens are the only thing that can drive them away, and almost every house in San Antone keeps a caged raven outside its front door.

Recently, a map of the Alamo as it existed at the time of the massacre was uncovered, and the call has gone out for professionals to enter the tomb and free San Antone of its curse.

Immortal 32: Undead, AC 2; MV 12; HP 45; Dmg by weapon; Str 15 Con 12 Int 8 Wis 6 Cha 3; Alignment Lawful Evil; THAC0 10; Enchanted Rifle+1 - These rifles always have a round in the chamber, and can fire once per round.

If the Alamo is entered while the Immortal 32 are on their rampage, they will turn back and rush to defend its walls, but will find themselves prevented from reentering until sunrise.  They will beat against the invisible barrier, furious that once more, they are too late.

Map of the Alamo:
Original, in larger size here - http://theaspiringhorseplayer.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/alamomap.jpg

Approximately 200 Tayxins died at the Alamo, and all of their corpses still wander the area.  Many stand aimlessly in the Plaza, while others crouch within the barracks, pantomiming the same menial tasks they performed in life.

Tayxin Dead: Undead, AC 9; MV 9; HP 6; Dmg 1d4 or by weapon; Str 12 Con 14 Int 3 Wis 3 Cha 3; Alignment Neutral Evil; THAC0 18; Sense Living - The Tayxin Dead have a 1 in 6 chance of sensing any living being within 10 yards, regardless of any obstructions or attempts to hide.  Once they have sensed the living, they will attack until destroyed.  If a Tayxin Dead is attacking a living being, the chance for other Tayxin Dead in the area to Sense Living increases to 1 in 4.

The Old Chapel: In the Southeast corner of the compound sits the Old Chapel.  It was here that Contra-Santa Anna performed his diabolical rituals, using the bodies of the fallen as fuel to summon his lord and master to Tayxis.  Upon entering the Chapel, any living being must pass a Con check or be overwhelmed by a fetid odor which permeates the building.  Any who fail spend 1d4 rounds retching.  Time spent in the Chapel subjects visitors to horrifying visions of the massacre, superimposed over the Chapel as it currently exists.  This has a disorienting effect on those who remain for more than 6 rounds.  On the 7th round, they must pass a Wisdom check or suffer a +1 penalty to their AC and THAC0 as they struggle to discern reality from horrific fantasy.  

Whatever perversions Contra-Santa Anna performed were foul enough to leave a permanent imprint of his soul stained upon the grounds of the Chapel.  This shade floats around the altar, repeating the abhorrent words of its forgotten ritual in a loathsome, sibilant tongue. At the center of the altar is a hemisphere which glows sullenly with a shifting reddish light.  Varying from a thin, wan pink to the color of clotted blood, it casts the chapel in a horrific, mottled luminescence.  There are 2d6 Tayxin Dead in the Chapel at all times, and all will immediately make a Sense Living check when anyone enters, but the shade of Contra-Santa Anna will remain oblivious to intruders, unless the Hemisphere is disturbed in any way.

At that point, the shade will turn and howl, its ghostly face stretching unnaturally, then attack.  The howl will summon more Tayxin Dead, who will arrive at the rate of 1d4 per round.  No Sense Living check is needed for those who arrive in this fashion.

Shade of Contra-Santa Anna: Undead, AC 0; MV 12; HP 75; Dmg 1d6 (claw);1d6 (claw); Special; Str 16 Con 15 Int 14 Wis 11 Cha 6; Alignment Chaotic Evil; THAC0 8; Spectral Howl - The sound made by this howl has such force that it splits the air it passes through, causing concussive damage to any caught in its path.  Any within 10 feet take 3d6 points of damage, with damage halved for every 10 feet beyond.  A successful Constitution check further halves the damage.  This attack can be performed every third round.

Antipathetic Hemisphere: This Hemisphere is the cause of the sense of doom which permeates the area surrounding the Alamo.  A great magic can be sensed by any who care to look, and while it does not seem to possess any powers beyond the ability to drive the living away from it, a Preacher of sufficient power can sense that it is an embryo of some sort, that something within is in the process of becoming.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tayxis: Preacher

You're a hard drinkin', harder prayin' man of the cloth, going out into the wilderness with the Good Book in one hand and a revolver full of blessed bullets in the other.  You don't tell Saytin to get behind you, you tell him to get the f&¢k off your lawn, and put two in his backside as he goes.

You're on your holy pilgrimage, walkin' the earth and you're gonna save some souls, whether they like it or not.  Yeah, sure, sometimes you see things - visions, you reckon.  Sometimes they pan out, sometimes they don't.  Near as you can tell, the dust is so thick out here on the plains, even Gawd can't see straight all the time.  Some folks think you're crazy, but you?  You know you've been touched, and you don't give two squirts of piss what other people think about it.

You're out there, doin' what's right and if Gawd can't see that, then to hell with him.

Class: Preacher
Ability Requirements: Wis 12
Alignment Restriction: Any Good or Neutral
Prime Requisite: Wisdom
Advances as: Cleric

A preacher is a man of Gawd, but prefers to do his preaching out among his flock, rather than from behind a pulpit.  He ventures out, righting wrongs and fighting Saytin wherever he can be found.  The life he lives is a difficult one, and often they find themselves subject to fits of what some would call insanity, others divine inspiration.  Many struggle with their condition, and turn to alcohol, opium or other addictions to get them through the day.

Revelation - The Preacher's greatest weapon in his war against Saytin.  Once per session, the Preacher may succumb to a Vision.  The GM should roll a d20, and modify the roll by the Character's Wisdom bonus - on a 15 or higher, the vision is truly prophetic, and offers guidance or insight into some problem that he is facing.  If the roll is between 11 and 15, the vision is one of torment, resulting in a -1 to all checks for the rest of the day.  On a roll of less than 10, the visions reveal a false prophecy, offering only lies.  Also note that regardless of the outcome, the Preacher is incapacitated for 1d4 turns.

Virtuous Vice - Every Preacher has their vice - for many it's alcohol, but for some it's drugs, for others its women.  When creating the character, the player should choose the Preacher's vice.  Once per day, the Preacher can indulge their vice, and gain a +1 to rolls tied to a single attribute for an hour following.   Each vice should have a negative effect, however - a Preacher whose vice is alcohol may have a +1 to Dexterity rolls, but they are still piss drunk, for instance.

Praise Gawd and Pass the Ammunition - A Preacher can bless any weapon, using purified water and his holy symbol.  This blessing will cause the weapon to do double damage against evil or demonic beings the next time it strikes.

One look at their faces, and I could tell the Good Lord was using my prayers to wipe his ass. - Jesse Custer, Preacher (1995)

God has mercy - I don't! - Padre Benicio Del Toro, Machete (2010)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Tayxis: G-Man

"You're not from around here, are ya son?"

If you had a dolar for every time you heard that, you'd have a whole lot of dolars.  Everything about you screams, "OTHER".  Maybe it's the way you don't perspire in the scorching Tayxin heat, maybe it's how even the bugs seem to steer clear of you.

Regardless, you're here on a mission, and nobody but nobody is going to prevent you from getting it done.

That is all.

Class: G-Man
Ability Requirements: Con 13, Wis 15, Str 12
Alignment Restriction: Lawful Neutral, True Neutral
Prime Requisite: Wisdom
Advances as: Fighter

You're a man of few words, preferring to let your actions speak for themselves.  You have an impeccable sense of duty, and once set to a task, not even Gawd himself can dissuade you.  There is literally nothing that you won't do to complete a mission.  You are impeccably dressed at all times, and can chase someone for an hour and still have perfectly quaffed hair.  While you would prefer to keep things quiet and finish your mission with as few complications as possible, you're not adverse to causing a ruckus when a ruckus is needed.

Unstoppable: With a successful Constitution check, a G-Man can continue to function with less than zero hit points.  At the beginning of each combat round that the G-Man has less than zero hit points, before any action is taken, they must pass the Constitution check, with a -1 penalty imposed for each round after the first.  If they fail the check, they die, and may not be resurrected.

Pull a File: G-Men have sources which provide them information on practically everyone.  Once per day, a G-Man can make a Wisdom check to determine whether they know something about a person.  This information can be as general or specific as they like, but must be something that could have been learned had the person been under surveillance.

Nothing to See: A G-Man is the master of the cover-up.  Once per day, a G-Man can force up to 1d8 people per level to forget the events of the last 1d4 hours per level.

We're willing to wipe the slate clean, give you a fresh start. All that we're asking in return is your cooperation in bringing a known terrorist to justice. - Agent Smith, The Matrix (1999)

You're gonna tell me what I want to know, it's just a question of how much you want it to hurt. - Jack Bauer, 24 Day 5: 8am-9am

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

FtA: Art Update

Another +Jez Gordon masterpiece, channeling a little Jack Kirby as he depicts the God Iss up in Hevyn and his Angels, as previously discussed here...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tayxis: Blonde Bombshell

You may have come from dirt, but you'll be damned if you'll go back without a fight!  Your momma always told you that your looks would take you places, and oh lordy if she could see you now!  People say you take advantage of them, but really, you just help them admit to themselves what it is that they really want.  Tayxis is a dangerous place, and everybody's gotta do what they can to get by, right?  Some people kill with a gun, others with a kiss.  Guess which victims will die with smiles on their faces?

Class: Blonde Bombshell
Ability Requirements: Cha 15
Alignment Restriction: None
Prime Requisite: Charisma
Advances as: Thief/Rogue

The Blonde Bombshell is the Tayxin Femme Fatale.  She is the sultry seductress, the con artist, the lady who knows what she wants, and will do what it takes to get it.  They are almost always found in the company of those with power, but are typically themselves the power behind the power, directing things from behind the scenes.  They loathe direct combat, preferring a silent blade or a few drops of poison.

Gun In the Garter: Blonde Bombshells can conceal any Small size weapon upon their person.  This weapon will not be discovered by anything short of a strip search.

Sleight of Hand: A Blonde Bombshell can perform an act of legerdemain that will go unnoticed by anyone who does not pass a Wisdom check.  Men suffer a -3 penalty to this check.

Bedroom Eyes: Once per day, a Blonde Bombshell can Charm another person who fails a Wisdom check.  Men suffer a -3 penalty to this check.  At 5th level, this can happen twice per day, and at 10th level, this occurs three times per day.

I've been kicked around all my life, and from now on, I'm gonna start kicking back. 
-Peggy Cummins in Gun Crazy AKA Deadly is the Female (1950) 

I don't go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons. 
-Jan Sterling in Ace in the Hole (1951)