Thursday 30 October 2014

D&D 5: Accepting All Races

Thinking about trying out D&D 5 as-is (i.e. without succumbing to the urge to massively house rule it before I've even played it once!), but I can't stomach the generic modern fantasy vibe. Here are some explanations which I find more palatable for all those races.

Dwarves: men from the Iron Planet who descend to Earth to trade metals.
Dragonborn: slaves spawned in the vats of wizards. All are male.
Tieflings: victims of the shadow plague, their appearance becomes more inhuman as the disease progresses. Eventually disappear into shadow and smoke.
Halflings: gibbering semi-sentients which stalk the wastes in search of living prey to sacrifice to their idols. Among nobles of the City, it is the height of fashion to rear a captive halfling as a pet, teaching it to mimic civilised, human behaviours.
Gnomes: space pirates from the asteroid belt. Sometimes fall to Earth in meteor storms.
Elves: the construction of homunculi was once the prime mode of magical endeavour in the City. Elves are homunculi gone rogue, evolved into beings of human stature over centuries spent lurking in the shadows.
Half-elves: elves can only reproduce with descendents of their creator. Who would mate with such a being?
Half-orcs: men whose souls have been consumed by the ravenous spirits of the wastelands (known as orcs). Their bodies warped and bestial, their minds torn between humanity and depravity.

Saturday 25 October 2014

Vivimantic Sale at RPGNow!

"Why let necromancers have all the fun?" -- indeed, especially at Halloween. Tis the season to get the vats brewing, splice up some genes, and warp some innocent flesh.

Thus: a sale on The Complete Vivimancer at RPGNow!

Sale prices
PDF: $3.99
Print: $6.99
Print + PDF: $9.99

Get it while it lasts!

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Wizardzine #1: Unleashed

Sorcerers, warlocks, witches, savants, and seers of all persuasions -- rejoice!

The tome known as Wizardzine #1 is upon us!


The theme of this inaugural issue is the magic of the vast, landless oceans and the abyssal depths of the seas.
Perfect spice for anyone interested in running campaigns featuring subaquatic adventures, seafaring, island hopping, piracy, smuggling, or other forms of nautical derring-do.
  • 30 new spells
  • 12 magical tomes
  • 5 new magic items
  • 3 new monsters
  • Detailed information on Ephenedrine the Sirene, oceanic sorceress
  • Appendices with tables for aquatic summoning and a complete sea wizard spell list.
Note: a print-on-demand version will be coming shortly, in a convenient A5 format.

Sunday 5 October 2014

Project Updates: Wizards, Vats, Elementalists, Dolmenwood

A quick progress update on the major projects which I have in the works.

I've just finalised the text for the first issue of Wizardzine. In the end, I made the decision to cut back the amount of content somewhat, in order to get this thing out of the door. I think I made the mistake, early on, of getting too carried away with reams of ideas and thinking that I should elaborate them all in a single issue. This isn't necessary -- there will be future issues and I already have about 40 pages of content, which is, I think, more than enough for an issue of a zine!

As for From the Vats, it's been lingering for quite some months but I'm pleased to say that I've started with the layout now. Shouldn't be too much longer! Thanks again, everyone, for your submissions.

With both of those things looking like they'll be leaving home soon to make their own way in the world, my list of ongoing projects is getting back down to more manageable levels. The Complete Elementalist remains bubbling away on the back burner -- I'm just adding ideas to it as and when they come, taking things slowly. I must say, though, I'm really pleased with what I have so far. My intention was always to create an elementalist class with its own special vibe (which I fail to find words to describe really, but which has always been clear in my imagination), avoiding the kind of "fifty different ways to kill people with fire" cliche. (See here for some of the new spells I have lined up for the book so far.)

Finally, the Dolmenwood project with Greg Gorgonmilk continues apace. As Greg mentioned recently, we're currently working on an initial publication which will contain player-oriented content for use with the setting (or, for that matter, in any other campaign where root vegetables are a viable sentient race and druid types have a penchant for human sacrifice). You can expect in the region of 6 to 10 classes, reams of background tables, plus loads of weird spells.

So, I think that's all of the main writing / publishing projects I have underway... Apart, naturally, from the dozens of seeds of things which may someday blossom.

Fight on!

Saturday 4 October 2014

Ix: Metamorphs (D&D 5)

Here were scant details on the metamorphs of the city of Hul Nostra on the borderlands first revealed.

Now, apropos nothing in particular, here are some game-stat elucidations on these beings for use with the 5th edition of D&D.

The Metamorphs of Hul Nostra
A human character of Hul Nostran origin may choose the following trait packages in place of the standard human Ability Score Increase:

Ability Score Increase
You may increase four of your ability scores by 1.

Sexual Morphism
Your sex changes on a periodic cycle, usually over the course of a year. The cycle progresses as follows (you may start play at a point of your choosing): male to hermaphrodite to female to sexless to male (cycle restarts). If you become pregnant during your hermaphrodite or female phases, the sexual cycle pauses until the child is born.

Ability Score Increase
You may increase four of your ability scores by 1.

Form Adaptation
Your body -- including height, weight, hair, eye, and skin colour -- adapts to match that of those around you. After spending a week in someone's company, you begin to take on their characteristics. If living in mixed company, you attain a kind of in-between or average state of the features of those around you. When solely in the company of a single individual, you come to exactly mimic their form, over a period of three weeks.

Ability Score Increase
You may increase two of your ability scores by 1.

Dual Form
You have two distinct forms -- both of the same sex -- and are able to voluntarily shift between them whenever you take a long rest. Powerful drugs (with dangerous side-effects) exist which can accelerate the transformation to occur within the space of a short rest.

Ability Score Increase
Your Constitution score increases by 2.

Form Consumption
By genetic absorption, you take on the appearance and characteristics of the beings that you consume. Phagomorphs typically die young, as they develop non-human physiology which is unable to support their bodies. You were, however, carefully nourished on an almost exclusively carnivorous diet by knowledgeable parents or caretakers and have developed a stable biology.

When eating a normal diet consisting of multiple different types of beast, you take on some characteristics of the creatures you consume, such as a pig-like nose and tusks or a covering of fine fur or feathers. In order to attain a purely human appearance, you would have to primarily eat human flesh.

You are also able to undertake a special process of genetic absorption by consuming the body of a creature in its entirety, whereby your physiology changes as the genetic makeup of your prey is integrated with your own. This process takes four days. Once the genetic absorption is complete, your appearance is half-human, half-beast. In this state, you may use the attack forms of the consumed creature, replacing the specified attack and damage bonuses with your own. This half-beast state lasts for two weeks, at which point you must either perform the process again or lose the benefits.

At 1st level you may absorb the form of creatures of up to Challenge Rating 1/2. From 5th level you may absorb the form of creatures of up to Challenge Rating 1.

True Metamorph
Ability Score Increase
Your Constitution score increases by 1.

You are able to change your physical form at will, over the course of a short rest:
  • At 1st level you may alter your skin colour, eye colour, and facial features.
  • At 3rd level you may alter the length and colouration of your hair, as well as your height, weight, and apparent age (to within the range of human norms).
  • At 5th level you may change your sex or take on unusual traits of other races.
A genetic side-effect of your rare biology is that you are unable to reproduce.

Friday 3 October 2014

Ix: Caravans Part 1

Some thoughts on equipment and beasts for overland travel (expanding some of what I wrote here before about domesticated animals).

For reference, here are the coins used on Ix:
100 ceramic pieces (cp) = 10 obsidian pieces (op) = 1 bronze piece (bp) = 10 silver pieces (sp) = 100 gold pieces (gp)

Water Consumption
  • In the scorching heat of Ix, humans need to consume one gallon (8 pints) of water per day.
  • Brutes and halflings require 12 pints and 6 pints of water, respectively, due to their size.
  • The water consumption of mounts and beasts of burden is listed in their description.
  • Characters wearing ring mail or plate mail must consume double their normal requirement of water.
  • Travelling at night reduces water consumption by 50%.

Cost of Water

All prices are listed for city or oasis / town / village.

Per pint: 1cp / 2cp / 4cp
Per day (human or mool): 8cp / 16cp / 32cp
Per day (halfling): 6cp / 12cp / 24cp
Per day (brute): 12cp / 24cp / 48cp

Travelling Gear

Animal feed per day: 1op (note that some mounts require multiple "portions" of feed each day)

Barding for moiks or orks:
Bone, ceramic, or chitin: 150bp, AC 6
Bronze: 800bp, AC 5
Steel: 4,000bp, AC 3


Vehicles are listed with the number of beasts required to pull it. Larger beasts are able to pull greater loads, as listed in their descriptions.

Carriage (bears 2 people): Cost 75bp, Load 2.
Cart (bears 4 people): Cost 100bp, Load 4.
Wagon (bears 8 people): Cost 200bp, Load 8.
Small caravan (bears 15 people): Cost 400bp, Load 15.
Small caravan, fortified (bears 12 people): Cost 600bp, Load 15.
Large caravan (bears 40 people):  Cost 1,000bp, Load 40.
Large caravan, fortified (bears 30 people):  Cost 1,500bp, Load 40.
Great caravan (bears 150 people): Cost 5,000bp, Load 150.
Great caravan, fortified (bears 120 people): Cost 7,000bp, Load 150.


These 9' tall lizards are bred for their running speed and endurance. They stand on two legs, with small clawed fore-limbs. Their necks are long and flexible, with a sleek head.

HD 2, AC 8,  Mv 24, Int 3, Att 1 (bite or rake), Dmg 1d6, Sv F2, Ml 7
Cost: 75bp
Feed: 2 per day
Water: 12 pints per day (12cp / 24cp / 48cp)
Load: 1

Battle-trained moiks cost 150bp and have a morale of 9 and 2+1 Hit Dice.


Domesticated from a species of predatory flightless desert bird, these creatures are used as mounts. They are renowned for their running speed and their resilience to dehydration. Orks have a heavy, horny beak which can inflict vicious wounds. They are aggressive by nature, and have to be well trained in order to be safely used by humans.

HD 2+1, AC 8,  Mv 24, Int 3, Att 1 (bite), Dmg 2d4, Sv F2, Ml 8
Special: +2 bonus to saves vs dehydration
Cost: 150bp
Feed: 2 per day
Water: 10 pints per day (10cp / 20cp / 40cp)

Load: 1

Battle-trained orks cost 200bp and have a morale of 9 and 2+2 Hit Dice.

Beasts of Burden

Teams of Moiks and Orks are commonly used, in cities, to pull small carts and carriages. Merchant caravans typically employ the following, specialised beasts of burden.

Gargantuan 25' long tortoise-like reptiles bred for their might and stubbornness. Ixilots are commonly found at the head of large caravans, as they can pull tremendous loads. Their shells are ringed with barbed tusks, and they bear two curved horns on their foreheads -- Ixilots are a formidable force in battle, despite their slowness.

Ixilots are a purely domesticated animal, without any extant wild relatives. The downside of the use of Ixilots as beasts of burden is their appetite for huge quantities of plant matter and water -- caravans using them have to be well stocked.

Like other animals of the tortoise family, Ixilots have the unusual capacity to enter a deep hibernation sleep. If placed in cool and complete darkness they enter this dormant state after several days, and can thence remain asleep for a span of some years without food or water.

HD 14, AC 2 / 6 (belly), Mv 18, Int 2, Att 2 (horns / shell-tusks), Dmg 2d12 / 2d6, Sv F14, Ml9
Special: Any medium (or smaller) creatures in melee with an ixilot must save versus paralysis per round or suffer 1d10 damage from trampling.
Cost: 2,000bp
Feed: 15 per day
Water: 80 pints per day (8op / 16op / 32op)
Load: 40

Giant burrowing beetles 20' long with iridescent black shells, these insects are sometimes used for pulling caravans. They are almost as strong as ixilots, and require less food and water, but are more difficult to train, being especially unintelligent and single-minded. The only way to control scarabs is by the use of certain special scents.

The raising of scarabs is a specialised and complicated art, as their maggot form is so large and voracious, and requires darkness and large quantities of dung and ash to gestate in.

HD 12, AC 4, Mv 18, Int 1, Att 1 (bite), Dmg 3d8, Sv F12, Ml 7
Special: Any medium (or smaller) creatures in melee with a scarab must save versus paralysis per round or suffer 1d8 damage from trampling.
Cost: 1,800bpFeed: 10 per day
Water: 60 pints per day (6op / 12op / 24op)Load: 30

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Dolmenwood: Seeking An Artist Collaborator

Draw ye beasts and boogies with glee? Then see ye here.

Thee respective Lords of Vivimancers and Gorgonmilking seek drawings to illustrate the monster haunted forest known as Dolmenwood.