Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Racial Class: Kitsune

This blog isn't pink and gay enough, right?


To-Hit and Hit Dice: As Rogue
Save: As Elf
XP per Level: As Elf
Prime Requisite: Charisma 13

Background:
The kitsune probably need no introduction; they are Yokai from Japanese mythology; tricksters, fox-spirits, shapeshifters, with many tails. And everyone does them wrong. Literally everyone. I hate it.

Kitsune live forever, and have a tail for every one hundred years of life, gaining their final ninth tail when they are 900 years old. It is possible for a kitsune to gain tails early for major promotions of gaining great magical power. For gaming purposes, Kitsune PCs are exceptional enough that their magical growth gives them a new tail every two character levels, just like a wizard gets access to new spell levels due to obvious implications.

To elaborate on kitsune tails, the number of tails a kitsune has is about equal to their power. For simplicity, the number of tails a kitsune has is equal to the level of spells they can cast. A nine-tailed kitsune is able to bang out 9th-level spells. This also increases their needs when they magically drain; A kitsune cannot regain spell slots simply through rest like a mortal wizard; perhaps they could if they were mere spirits, in the spirit world, only affecting other spirits. But in the material world, they must drain to fuel their magic and their existence.

Chinese and Japanese mysticism broke the world into different elemental affinities than the familiar four Greek elements, and of particular interest was the existence of thirteen lower elements, which almost all yokai spirits fell under. These elements were Wind, Earth, Fire, Rivers, Heaven, Thunder, Mountains, Void, Spirit, Time, Forest, Ocean, and Music. Heaven could be understood to be the sky and celestial forces, the Void to be darkness and emptiness, Music to encapsulate all 'good sound', and Spirit to be the invisible forces of magic, spiritual influences, and invisible beings.

In the case of kitsune, they had powers influenced by their element. A Fire Kitsune would be immune to fire damage, and have greater aptitude at fire magic, etcetera. We'll elaborate more on this later.

Additionally, kitsune were divided into something similar to Seelie and Unseelie Courts; kitsune are meant to serve Inari, God of Rice (and thus the patron god of all human life in Japan), and were not unlike his/her angels. These 'Myobu' kitsune were meant to refrain from manifesting directly in the world without permission to satisfy some task, and were cut off from the pleasures of the world (for good reason, as we'll discuss later). Wild foxes, or 'nogitsune', were willful, independent, pleasure-seeking foxes with wanderlust, and are thus what a PC is assumed to be. A Myobu kitsune is always Lawful, and a Nogitsune is always Chaotic.

The kitsune is a spirit, and physical existence is not natural for them. A kitsune can appear directly in the physical world, but this is disruptive of nature, and as kitsune are nature spirits, there are consequences. When a kitsune manifests, it drains energy of its respective element from the environment. A fire kitsune kills flames and drains heat; a music kitsune kills sound, drains the beauty out of voices and music, and turns song into wretched noise. More on this below.

A kitsune can avoid this issue by possessing a person, instead. This is done by invading a subject's dreams and draining their willpower. A possessed person is not aware of their possession state, and remembers none of it. Possession is not usually long-term, as in this state a kitsune can be banished by Turn Undead and any other exorcism effects, and in addition their shapeshifting is limited (see below).

A third option is to possess an unborn child, and to effective reincarnate as a human. We'll call this the avatar method. An avatar cannot be banished or exorcised, but while they retain their long-life, they must eat, drink, sleep, and suffer the ravages of disease like any other living being. A physically manifested kitsune is also totally susceptible to vice; a kitsune is totally vulnerable to all pleasures and indulgences, such that they need to make a saving throw to not indulge in any slight temptation.

Kitsune are, fundamentally, a sort of vampire or succubus-like creature, and this must be kept in mind. When they physically manifest directly, they must feed on their element or, more daringly, on actual people and their souls. The amount of energy to manifest physically is extreme. A kitsune possessing a host still needs to feed for their magic, and must drain the host or another human to maintain the possession, but an avatar needs to drain only for the use of their magic. For all intents and purposes, they are part of the physical world as long as their avatar lives.

If a kitsune wishes to feed off of a person's soul, they must first touch them. This is only for the first time; after that, a link is maintained. A soul only gives energy if the subject is willing; for a willing subject, the experience is pleasant, and so many kitsune disguise and establish their feeding via sexual intercourse. The more a subject willingly gives, the more pleasure they feel, and the less severe the drain on their body. Essentially, treat this as a succubus' Energy Drain, except that in the case of genuine love, this drain is purely temporary.

As a general rule, a kitsune has to drain one level per HD to exist physically/maintain a possession, AND one level per spell-level to regain those spells. To clarify, to recharge your 9th level spells, you need to drain 9 levels to charge all of your spells of that level, not 9 levels per 9th level spell slot.

Or, actually, if you want to do it that way, be my guest, that's metal as hell. Tamamo-no-Mae, one of the most famous and wicked nine-tailed foxes, literally had to drain a thousand people to death to enter our world.

Either way, translating this into elemental feeding is trickier. How many HD does a river have, or a song? The point is that a kitsune is an environmental, elemental blight that causes major suffering, disparity, and ugliness in the world. A GM has to account accordingly and really sell this in the story. The effects of a drain should never be anything that can be turned to a boon, like a Sound Kitsune letting their friends be silently sneaky; attempting to drain the sounds of a thief makes them cacophonously loud and disruptive, in a way that pleases no one's ears.

On the matter of kitsune reproduction, since kitsune have a lot of sexual intercourse; a kitsune only conceives a child when it consciously wishes for it; the child can be a fox or human regardless of the form the kitsune is currently in, but in any case the child is actually a kitsune with its own avatar by default. If a kitsune is possessing a human, they cannot control their fertility and their children are not kitsune, but their children often have innate magical powers like a third edition Sorcerer. A kitsune can choose to do this on purpose instead of having avatared kitsune kits, as well.

Elemental Properties:
Wind - Feeding from the wind would leave stale, unhealthy air. This would be hard to breath, and would be sort of a 'pocket', remaining in an area until a stronger, fresh wind could dissipate it. Think of more of a 'dead zone' in the spirit world, that needed to be swept away. This would tie in well with the legend of Tamamo-no-Mae, where when she transformed into a stone, anything that approached her died or withered.

Earth - Feeding from the earth would allow kitsune to draw from the stones, and from the soil. This would more than likely kill most crops, as the land becomes cracked and blighted.
Fire - Feeding from fire would snuff the flames. Note that most kitsune create foxfire, so this most likely would be a common form of feeding.

Ocean - The kitsune could draw nourishment from the oceans, the waves, and from the sea creatures found there. This would leave behind still, flat water, with no wind or sea life to be found in the vicinity.
River - The river kitsune would feed from the riverside and brook, leaving tainted water, dead fish, and possibly a dry riverbed at the most extreme.
Forest - These kitsune would wither trees, feeding from the wood and the plants around them. Animals in the vicinity would weaken.
Time - Time kitsune would feed on the lifespan of the things around them, aging them at an unnatural rate. Time might seem to slow around them as they feed, making tasks seem longer and harder than expected.
Void - These kitsune could feed from the marshes and swamps, leaving stagnant, poisoned waters and dead creatures. They could also feed from the shadows around them, stealing the shadow of people, or making the darkness seem more bleak.
Heaven - These kitsune feed from the essence of magic and the heavens. This includes drawing from sorcerers if they can, or ley lines. They would also feed from knowledge, like books or from stories told. This would make the books harder to read or remove the words, or could cause a person to forget what had been said, or what they were saying. (And this does seem to be a trick some kitsune do..) These kitsune would also feed from starlight, or if bold enough, from the warmth of the sun.

Mountain - These kitsune can feed from rocks and stones and precious metals and gems. Such things would crumble or become fragile after. The mountain ranges and hills the kitsune fed from could transform into barren wastelands and jagged rocks.
Thunder - These kitsune feed from the storms and harsh weather around them. This quells the storm eventually, after producing a stale, lifeless rain.

Spirit - These kitsune feed on other spirits, hunting them and devouring them. They would leave weak, lifeless spirits in their wake, if anything at all. These are also the ones most likely to harm people they fed from.
Music - The kitsune can feed from music, poetry, and the feelings connected to this. It can leave a musician without inspiration or skill, or leave the music lifeless and dull.

Abilities & Weaknesses:

Kitsune have a number of weaknesses. As explained before, kitsune are vulnerable to spiritual wards, exorcisms, Turn Undead, etc. when in spiritual or possessing forms; but the Men of the Cloth are their bane in general. Someone who has genuine faith (Clerics, Druids, Paladins, extremely, notably religious NPCs, etc) are practically toxic to a kitsune. They cannot see a kitsune's illusions whatsoever, and automatically dispel them when touched; they are also capable of breaking a kitsune's connections to a feeding victim with an opposed saving throw, and roll with Advantage to see through a kitsune's shapeshifting. Finally, they cannot be drained, themselves.

Kitsune have a large number of abilities. They cast spells as illusionists of their level (If your game has no Illusionist spell list, just restrict them to the illusion and mind control spells of the Magic User), with the exception that for a kitsune, their illusions are reality. When a Kitsune disguises themselves as a human, they ARE human and can even sire human children. If a kitsune disguises a staff as a snake, that snake can move, bite, and kill. If a kitsune disguises the sky with night, vampires may walk even if it's afternoon teatime. If a kitsune makes a wall invisible, they can walk through it. You get the picture. However, as established before, people of faith cannot see their illusions, and automatically dispel them on contact. The psychic shock of this always drives a kitsune into temporary insanity, as their sense of reality is broken and needs to rebuild itself. Illusions based on that kitsune's element are slightly more real, and everyone rolls with Disadvantage on their saving throws for those effects.

In fact, their ability to fool reality is so powerful that at name level, a kitsune is capable of producing a functional pocket dimension, capable of even controlling its planar traits and time dilation.

Kitsune can shapeshift, outside of their spellcasting. All kitsune, save for possessors (they must use illusions), can shift between fox, human, and anthropomorphic forms. They can also shift into anything else that could be encountered in the natural world, including other people. They do not gain the abilities or powers implied by these forms, though if the form is related to their elemental affinity, people roll with Disadvantage on saves or checks to notice the deception. This is because when a kitsune shapeshifts, their tails are always visible, EXCEPT in their Avatar form, or in a form related to their element.

A kitsune can also produce foxfire, ghostly white balls of flame created by rubbing their tails together. These free floating, heatless orbs radiate a pale and clear light, and move as a kitsune mentally directs. They are lanterns and toys, as if they were an at-will Dancing Lights, but they can also be thrown as simple, burning weapons. This is not Magic Missile, and thus still be aimed, but a Foxfire ball can be thrown for 1d4 damage.

A kitsune in a possessed or avatar state has a white ball called a Kitsune Ball. It looks like a simple toy ball, to all respects, is one. It doesn't even produce a magical aura. However, when manifested in a proper body (either theirs or otherwise), a kitsune must store the majority of their power in a kitsune ball. It is, effectively, their soul. If stolen from them, a kitsune can be trivially bound by the right spirit-binding magics, and they are unable to use any of their kitsune powers except for vampiric draining. Even a simple peasant can magically bind a kitsune to perform three services in exchange for their ball. You should probably make sure one of them is "Don't kill me and everyone I've ever loved."

Kitsune, depending on how they have manifested, can be harmed in different ways. A physically manifest kitsune cannot be harmed by normal weaponry, only blessed and magical ones. However, even when they are, they have prodigious regeneration, capable of healing damage through their vampiric draining. If a kitsune is harmed, they can drain a level from the environment or a person to effectively cast Cure Light Wounds on themselves. Possessing or Avataring Kitsune do not have this ability.

However, a Possessing kitsune is safe; what happens to their host does not matter to them, as they will just escape into their spirit forms. An Avatar Kitsune suffers damage like any other mortal, but has no special spirit-based weaknesses.

As a reminder, a kitsune does not have access to the memories, knowledge, or special powers of a subject they possess either.

When a kitsune is killed, they are banished back to the spirit world. It is here they must be defeated to be permanently slain. Unless in the case of a possessing kitsune, their powers are effectively stripped of them; a kitsune in this state cannot cast spells or use any of their abilities save for their vampiric draining, and all their existing links to mortal souls are broken. Regaining their abilities requires them to drain levels equal to their Hit Dice, every day for a year and a day. This can be hastened by ritualistic offerings, which shave off a week for every day they are performed. The kitsune must still drain during these times. If these ritual offerings involve human sacrifices, they shave off a week per HD/level of the sacrifice, in addition to the normal benefit.

Finally, a kitsune can sacrifice one of its own tails to immediately revive itself when it is killed, effectively burning off its own levels to fuel its own resurrection. Due to all the above, it's no surprise that the most powerful kitsune are generally all horrible monsters.

As a final note, any Magic-User spells that can be associated with a kitsune's element should be added to their spell list. These are not illusions, and are genuine changes to the world. A Time Kitsune can cast Time Stop and Haste; a Music Kitsune can create genuine sounds and Power Words.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Burn My Dread and Break In, Break Out To the Truth


Persona. Awesome video game series. It involves kids who do traumatic things to summon that trauma out of their heads to fight demons, and it's awesome. How is that not OSR-ified already? Or you can use this class to do Jojo's Bizarre Adventure stands, or like any other thing where someone summons a Fuck Off Monster out of themselves. Because honestly, that shit is dope.

Hit Dice and To-Hit: As Cleric
Saving Throws and Experience: As Wizard
Proficiencies: As Rogue

 Awakening: A Persona User's power comes from the ability to turn their ego and inner strength into physical form. Choose a monster with HD equal to no more than your level+1; your Persona may have any appearance you wish, usually one symbolic of your ego identity in some way, but otherwise its appearance and stats are defined by this monster-form. Every time you level up, you may evolve your Persona into a different monster, completely replacing it. A GM may also decide that you've experienced enough character growth in a single adventure that you may change the form of your Persona; however, these are the only times you may change your Persona's nature, and the HD cap always applies.

Evoking: Personas do not have a persistent physical presence like a familiar; they are indeed merely a facet of your mind, and have no agency or reality beyond that. To make use of his power, a Persona User requires some sort of physical totem that they can use to manifest their Persona, such as shooting themselves with a fake gun, putting on a mask, fondling a favorite childhood toy, or some other symbolic item and gesture. Without your Evoker totem, you cannot summon your Persona. Summoning a Persona is a full-round action, and it manifests within 10 feet of you. It can explore farther away than this, but your Persona must remain within your sphere of perception. If you can't see, hear, or otherwise notice it with your own senses, it will vanish. This range is considered a 360' sphere, so simply walking behind its master doesn't negate it; knowing where it is is fine.

Your Persona is an extension of yourself, and shares your initiative and actions. While your Persona can move with you, having your Persona take actions requires using your own action to command it to do so. This command is telepathic.

Damage taken by a Persona is suffered by its master as psychological trauma; any damage your Persona takes also inflicts half its amount in non-lethal damage to the character. If a Persona is reduced to 0 HP, its manifestation is destroyed and the Persona User is dazed and can take no actions for one round. After this, they can conjure their Persona at full HP, but their own trauma remains.

If your Persona need make any Saving Throws, they are keyed to your Wisdom if they weren't already.

A Persona is considered a psionic construct, if you use those rules in your game. Thus, a Persona User should optionally be considered a Wild Talent and should roll psionic points and abilities appropriately.

Strength of Heart: Your Persona is more than just your inner strength; it's also the self your ego puts forward to protect itself. Whatever damage reductions, immunities, spell resistances, fast healings, and the like your Persona has are shared by your actual body.

I Am The Shadow, the True Self: Persona Users are ones who gain power through looking at their innermost selves, and accepting them with no comforting lies. They roll with Advantage to all saving throws involving illusions, mind control, enchantment, possession, and the like, since they're not exactly alone in their own mind. If they critically succeed on this saving throw, their Persona can make a free attack at any mental intruder.

However, if they critically fail (meaning both dice come up as 1), their Persona goes berserk and becomes a Shadow, evoking itself independently of its master, and wearing their form as if they were a product of a Mirror of Opposition. The Shadow psychologically torments its former master by airing out their innermost thoughts in ways they can't cope with; the Shadow knows exactly how to break you, as it is the part of you that you have repressed. The Shadow is capable of freely switching between monstrous and human forms, its monster form symbolically evocative of whatever angst the User is vulnerable to, and has appropriate abilities, the HD cap temporarily raised to twice the Persona User's level.

In addition to being unable to Evoke a Persona during this nightmare, the Persona User also suffers a -2 to all mental ability checks due to the stress. Defeating the Shadow restores the Persona User to normal, and gives him a chance to reshape his Persona.

 On the bright side, whatever effect they were saving against is negated and replaced by the berserk Shadow. Sorry, Mindflayers, too distracted by my own mind calling me a bitch-ass in front of my friends to care about your brainwashing.

Bonds of People are the True Power: At Name Level, you no longer require an Evoker in order to summon your Persona; mere mental effort is enough; nor do you suffer the dazing, or need to concentrate for an entire round. In addition, you begin attracting 1d6 level 1 Persona Users who will call you Senpai (and one of them is absolutely the Chosen One for some big dumb anime plot to save the world) If you receive four or more apprentices in this way, one of them is guaranteed to be something that isn't a standard human or demihuman, like a dog, robot, space alien, or benevolent Shadow.

Additionally, you are now officially recognized by a shadow government and are financed as an official school club. Your classmates might be a bit intimidated by the new Extracurricular Execution Squad that walks around with red armbands and realistic-looking guns, but listen, don't even worry about it.

OR, if you prefer a less shitpost-y Domain Play entry, you instead gain access to an extradimensional realm in your trances and dreams which resembles a really posh parlor or some other symbolic resting place that evokes imagery of your personal quest or narrative arc. Only you have access to this place, and you gain the service of multiple non-human beings that offer their services as scholars, informants, and so forth, if you can pay them properly. In addition, you are now able to switch the form of your Persona every time you go to sleep.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

There's enough Candy monsters for an Elemental Plane, so...


Djellos, the genies of the Elemental Plane of Candy.

Easily recognized by their comically large pompadours, frequent smiles and sunglasses, Djellos don't maintain closed comunities like other genies, but rather live entirely in the present. Going from place to place, they are extremelly fond of cold fizzy drinks; soda is like a catnip for them, and they speak odd words such as "groovy" and "Radical!" They are often employed as heralds or diplomats while being paid in soda and ice alone. They are the peacekeepers among geniekind; loved by even the most stone-hearted due to being such genuine coolguy partybros.

All djellos are "noble" genies, because honestly the distinction never made sense to me.

A Djello is a Chaotic Good, 10-HD genie. They count as oozes for all possible bonuses, and have immunity to blinding effects and gaze attacks due to their cool eyewear. If struck by slashing or piercing damage, they split into two smaller Djellos like an ooze. They are immune to Candy-elemental damage, and diabetes.

A Djello is capable of flight, Creating Candy and Soda, protection from Cavities, shooting jelly webs, Charm Monster, Prismatic Patterns, Heros Feast (except it's all candy), Orb of Acid, and most notably, Gelatinous Wish.

Three times a day, a Djello can grant a non-genie a Gelatinous Wish. A Gelatinous Wish function exactly like the Wish spell, except anything created by the magic is made out of sugar (jelly, baked goods, candy, chocolate, etc). These candy creations are fully functional as the real deal, including raising a dead friend as a candy golem, and this magical candy is impervious to natural rot and decay, because that's totally whack, yo.

Djellos are extremely proud of this ability, and consider it superior to a normal Wish. After all, it does everything a Wish would grant you, PLUS gives you candy with an indefinite shelf-life. They'd tell you to suck it, losers, but that's totally bad vibes, bruh. They think Efreeti are totally tubular even if their Wishes are inferior and they act like haters to everybody.

--

Seriously, has anyone made an Elemental Plane of Candy yet? Let's get that Adventure Time shit going.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Racial Class: Vagairy



To put it simply, Vagairies are like elves or fey, if they were also Missingno.

They are the psychic run-off of humanity; living dreams that could have perhaps been gods if they were more coherent, more convincing of the lie that they are real. Instead, they are the stillborn failures of mankind's dreams and wishes. They command great spiritual power and wisdom, but are simply unable to properly use it as they should. They're the autistic savant children of Divine.

Imagine if you will a spirit born out of the world, made of entirely random, unrelated concepts of Men's Dreaming. An empty suit of armor with a stocky, masculine form stands, a floating cyberpunk mohawk crowning the hollow space above the chestplace. It speaks in a helium-like young child's voice, and it refuses to budge, demanding water and that it has enough sun. A warrior-a-rebel-a-child-a-plant; scrambled and assorted madly. Perhaps it doesn't have the concept of self-preservation; many of their kind were such, entire generations of their ilk merely stood and allowed themselves to be slaughtered.

For they are persecuted by the Church. The Church. That Church. Your Church. Any Church. They are parasite embryo gods that siphon off faith merely by interacting with mortals, sustaining themselves as a prolonged dream and distracting them from full-hearted devotion. And no god wants to see these things rise up to their level. It's not that Vagairies are particularly more wicked or dangerous than other creatures, but that their ascension undermines faith in the Gods themselves.

Because Vagairies are less than even humans. Their souls are nubs and karnels. Sparks of ash compared to the burning candles. All of them lack of a core, fundamental aspect of what it means to be human in their psyche. A Vagairy that does not love is not one that simply does not fall in love but in fact literally cannot feel it. A Vagairy with no sense of self might mistake the rumors he hears as his own thoughts and opinions, and never be able to vocalize an original statement of belief or intent.

In exchange for these handicaps, they command great power. While they will not be loved by gods, they have a psychic insight greater than any other kind of creature; they were born from the sea of the unconscious, after all. And beyond that, they were born directly of the womb of the Earth, and may command the world. The samurai-plant-child above, for instance, might always have the sun, because they defined themselves as always having enough. Perhaps it is always daylight within their line of sight. At any hour of the day, or when hidden from the sky. Perhaps our rumormonger who cannot tell his thoughts from hearsay can hear every rumor in the world, and knows all secrets that have been shared with another.

And there are those that can actually pass for human. The ones that can hide their natures, conceal their flaws, and pass themselves off as children of gods.

There is nothing that will not be more cursed by Heaven and all under its dominion than such a child, no matter how sincerely innocent.

Below is the generalities of playing a Vagairy, but do note that exceptions to every rule exist, by design.

Advance: As Elves
Saves, HD, To-Hit, etc: As Pseudo-Class
Ability Scores: Vagairies are especially in tune with the world, but have weak egos. If you use Ability Score Racial Modifiers, give +2 Wisdom and -2 Charisma; if you use Requirements, they should have a Wisdom of atleast 13 and a Charisma of no more than 12.

Vagairies can advance in a single class of their choice in a similar way to how Elves emulate Fighters and Magic-Users. They cannot be Clerics, or any other class that functions due to being in the good graces of a god (rarely, a god may accept a Vagairy, though they usually encourage their natural gifts instead of giving them divine empowerment). This is an attempt at the Vagairy to fill the missing part of themselves, as Vagairies are not, and cannot ever be, true people. Pick a major portion of human experiences; the Vagairy can never experience or comprehend it. Examples could be never knowing love or being loved, being incapable of forming long-term memory, having no self-preservation instinct, or even no concept of being an individual separate from what they observe. They might even lack major 'flaws', like being incapable of hatred. This list is not exhaustive, and it should be sufficiently debilitating in their impersonation of people.

Vagairies have no souls, and thus cast no shadows and are immune to anything that requires it, including Raise Dead; they are like Elves in this way, except they even lack their lower spirits. In exchange, they each have a type of limited instrusive telepathic insight into the people around them. Perhaps they can smell relationships and thus know who's associated with who, or perhaps they know every rumor about a person (without knowing truth from lies). Perhaps they can quote the last thing your mother ever said to you, or sing your favorite song from your memory. It should always be mono-focused in this way, and played to eerie effect; Vagairies have this ability because they do not understand the walls between people; they come from the soul-sea underneath the people-islands in the collective consciousness.

At 2nd level, and every level thereafter until Name Level, a Vagairy gains another Power, but gains another Ban. Powers can replicate spell-effects, or be more esoteric. Good examples include things like a cat-form that can return from the dead nine times in exchange for her memories, or the ability to command a single type of monster in exchange for taking their weaknesses from them. Bans are rules that a Vagairy can never deny or break, such as never being able to handle man-made items, enter homes or churches, or be above ground during a sunset or sunrise. If a Ban is broken, the Vagairy loses access to its corresponding Power for atleast as long as it broke the Ban, plus a day per level.

At Name Level, a Vagairy has stepped closer into the realm of humans. They may choose to cast a shadow and repress their bans and powers, and gain the half-souls of elves. They can start gathering followers as a member of their Pseudo-class, but they must repress their true nature to them unless they are a fanatically loyal follower. They also gain a quasi-immortality, such as being unable to die under the light of the moon, or always returning to life three days after their death if mourned for by a virgin that loved them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Deck of Manly Things

Yea I know this is stupid, shut up. We got too much pretty girly stuff on this blog.

The Fool: You become capable of riding any four-legged beast. They instantly recognize you as alpha and obey standard horsemanship commands, even if they shouldn't.

The Magician: If you are a woman, you become a man. If you are a feeble man or a wimp, you become brawny and strong. If you are hairless, you become hirsute. If you're already all these things, you become so masculine that it's kinda toxic. You become emotionally insensitive, unconsciously bigoted, and you become unable to tolerate doing unManly things.

The High Priestess: You are now an inexhaustible lover. She never gets pregnant and you never get crabs or diseases. You're great at sex and everyone in town seems to know.

The Empress: You are embued with a magical 'MOM' tattoo on your upper arm. It alerts you if she is in trouble and reminds you to get her something nice on her birthday. She appreciates your visits, but understands that you're busy saving the world. If your mom isn't alive, you will never love, cry, or smile again.

The Emperor: Your entire wardrobe is replaced with manly versions. Everything you wear is incredibly cool, made of leather, and provides at least +4 AC. Your existing armor, if any is modified with sculpted abs and pecs. You invent Aviator shades.

The Hierophant: You know the law, and can argue it rationally and eloquently. If you were chaotic, you become neutral. If neutral, you become lawful. If the local law enforcement are overwhelmed (aren't they always), they put a badge on you before you leave the tavern, mutating you closer to the stereotype of a scary, tough cop.

The Lovers: Everywhere you go, unimaginably beautiful young women throw themselves at you shamelessly. You may indulge in their attention as much as you want, but you never become attached to any one female.

The Chariot: At any body of water you need to cross, you grapple a shark, who swims you to the other side. You subtly become more like a pirate.

The Justice: You become a master at arm wrestling. No one can beat you.

The Hermit: You grow a massive, manly beard. Even Dwarves will envy your beard. It has an AC of 15, is hard hard to break as diamond, and can lift 300 lbs.

The Wheel of Fortune: In every man's life, there comes a time when he has to make a decision. You choose BACON. You can now cast Grease at-will, due to having eaten so much bacon without washing your hands.

The Fortitude: You become capable of skinning and cooking anything you kill. You have an infinite supply of barbeque sauce. You can drink any volume of alcohol with no negative consequences. Your diet consists solely of meat and ale.

The Hanged Man: You become significantly well-endowed. Yes, just that one anatomical part. You will need a new codpiece for your armor, and probably looser-fitting pants. You have a third equipment slot for magic rings.

The Death: It takes enough arrows to darken the sky, or a moon crashing on you, or a similarly insane amount of awesomeness to kill you. You are immune to disease, papercuts, gangrene and old age.

The Temperance: What? There's no temperance in being manly. You rip up the card, eat it, and knock out an opponent by spitting it at them. Someone yells "Blackjack" and you win 100 gold.

The Devil: You encounter an Owlbear, and you wrestle it to the ground bare-handed. You may choose to slay the Owlbear and wear its coat (which makes monstrous humanoids afraid of you forever), or it will follow you as its new pack leader (which makes humanoids afraid of you forever).

The Tower: You become impervious to fall damage. Regardless of height, you land on your feet, or crouched with your fist to the ground. You leave craters in dirt, and crack stone.

The Star: Forever more, after you have defeated an enemy, something behind you explodes!

The Moon: You become immune to fear. You stand brave in front of Ancient Wyrms and Liches alike. While it doesn't make you invincible, you think that you are.

The Sun: You become immune to fire, even magical. You can walk across coals, strike a match on your knee, and start a fire with just two sticks.

The Judgement: You can spot an unmanly man, regardless of magic or disguise. You immediately intimidate any man lesser than yourself, and can spend a Downtime/Haven turn making such a man half as manly as you are.

The World: Your lifting and carry limit skyrocket. You can carry up to 30 times your own body weight without difficulty or encumbrance.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Catch You, Catch Me



Cardcaptors are people who aren't competent at normal spellcasting, necessarily, but discovered the workaround of befriending spells instead of creating and casting them. A Cardcaptor not only needs to be everything else expected of a magician or adventurer, but they must also be an empathetic and kind person if they want to go far. Their spells, their cards, are all full individuals with personalities, wills, temperments, and desires. Should they be sensitive to them and believe in the heart of the cards, they have potential to be one of the strongest spellcasters in the realms.

Hit Die: d6
To-hit progression: As Cleric
Saves: As Cleric (using Charisma instead of Wisdom where applicable)
Weapons and armor: Simple Armor, Shortswords, Staves, and other simple, wand-shaped weapons.
XP per level: As Wizard

SEALING WAND: A Cardcaptor's first willworking is the creation of their Sealing Wand. It has the hidden form of a simple key, trinket, pendant, pen, or some other such thing, and the Cardcaptor can transmute a Wand into the revealed Sealing form assigned at its creation; a staff, a sword, or some other appropriate implement. A Cardcaptor can only have one Sealing Wand at a time, though using the same rules for spellbooks, they can create a new one if destroyed, or abandon their old one and bind a new one. It's possible to bind a pre-existing valid object as a Sealing Wand, such as a +1 staff or magical sword or what have you. This provides no benefits to Cardcasting, but hey, it sure is nice to have a better weapon if you need to use your Wand as a blunt instrument. A Cardcaptor cannot perform Cardcasting without their Sealing Wand. This final restriction is removed at level 20.

CARDCASTING (CON/CHA): Cardcaptors do their magic by conjuring spell-spirits from their cards. Cards created by a Cardcaptor are generally part of a deck named after the creator, such as "The Clow Cards" or "The Sakura Cards." When a loose Card (see below) is encountered and then defeated, a Cardcaptor is capable of using their Sealing Wand to bind it back into a Card form; this is done only when the encounter is resolved with the Card's defeat or subjugation.

A Card without a living Creator has finite magic; they can hibernate indefinitely, but otherwise have an active magical lifespan of a year and a day; if exhausted, the card will cease to exist. Additionally, using someone else's card can possibly draw on their own magic (see below), and thus, it's often in the best interests of a creator to sever a card if they can't retrieve it. A Card with no valid master can be Converted, reincarnating it into a member of its new master's deck. This follows the same rules as copying a scroll into a spellbook, using Charisma.

Creating a Card is similar to Converting one; if a Cardcaptor gets their hands on a a spell scroll, they can destroy it to reincarnate (one of) its spells into a sentient, free-willed living spell entity with a heart and mind of its own, which is then bound into a Card. A Wand, Staff, Potion, or other temporary magic item can also be destroyed in this way, for this purpose. Mechanically, treat it as copying a scroll into a spellbook each time, same as Converting a card.

To actually use a card, the Cardcaptor need only use their Sealing Wand, and spend the appropriate Card Points. A Cardcaptor has Card Points equal to their level plus their Constitution modifier, and casting a Card requires the card's spell level in Card Points. Yes, this means a Cardcaptor could hypothetically blow their entire spells-per-day to cast Time Stop once at level 6 if they have 18 Constitution. Why the fuck did you give them a Time Stop scroll, though? Idiot. You're stupid.

When a Card is cast, it transforms into its more elemental, personified living form. This entity should be treated as an elemental, fey, or spirit with its spell level in HD if you need to reference stats, though honestly they're just a spell with a roleplaying personality, so it shouldn't come up much. Cards remain summoned theoretically indefinitely, and can use their powers freely. Except they have free will. So your Cardcaptor needs to actually roleplay befriending them, and make Charisma checks (with a level bonus) to convince a card to act if it goes against their themes, nature, or general personality to do so. Even then, they usually only stat out for the Cardcaptor's level in rounds; a Reaction check can push them beyond this if you make it every round, but even with a success you'll need to make a major concession to the card in some way to compensate. As a general rule, however, the cards aren't dicks; if you ask a Feather Fall card to get someone to the ground safely, it will do so no matter how long it takes.

Stronger cards generally have more arrogant and unruly personalities, and cards you created yourself are naturally inclined to obey and like you. Converted cards also prefer you to a lesser extent, since you're feeding them mana to exist. Foreign-deck Cards have no level bonus, but should still at least not get a penalty to most requests, since you're an honorable Cardcaptor that did acquire them legitimately (....right?).

SIDEBAR: Cardcasting for Everyone Else

Other people besides you can use your Cards. If they do, they technically draw on your mana. This doesn't use your Card Points, technically, but it does fuck with your general magical feng shui. It's likely you have psychic dreams about the missing card and what it's been up to, and the fitful sleep prevents you from recovering Card Points with rest, or something. In fact, yea, that's cool, let's do that. Card Points are usually required with rest but if a card is being abused in this way, the only way you can recover Card Points is by passing a saving thow after each night.

To use a Card, you must have some sort of magical potential. Someone capable of reading scrolls, and/or has spell-like abilities can use a Card as a 1/day scroll, making a Reaction Check with no level bonus. On a failure, after a single use the card shoots off and becomes a Loose Card, adopting their personified form to act freely. A normal spellcaster (or psion, or whatever the fuck) can do this, or they can also bind the Card to a spell slot of appropriate level, allowing them to use it as a prepared spell. They still need to make Reaction checks with no level-bonus, but as long as they cast it from a spell slot, there's no risk of the card flying off on a failure. Only going apeshit and defiant, like for a Cardcaptor. Oh well. That said, a Spellcaster cannot unbind it from a spell slot without making the Reaction Check that might send them off flying. A Card is only truly loyal to a Cardcaptor, in the end.

FORTUNE TELLING (WIS):
The Cards have a non-trivial resemblance to Tarot cards, and this is intentional. If a Cardcaptor has at least nine cards, they can do a reading with them. various spreads and draws you can do, but for those without, just make a table and roll nine random cards from your list. You may perform the effects of the Contact Other Plane spell, save that you can only ask questions regarding the themes of the drawn cards. For instance, if your cards include a Fireball card and a Cure Wounds card, you can ask questions regarding fire and healing.

A secret reaction roll determines the honesty of the cards, though they will always be 100% honest on the Full Moon, and will allow twice the number of questions. This reading can be done whenever, but takes an hour of meditation to perform.

TWIN GUARDIANS: A Cardcaptor automatically creates two familiars, which are similar to a wizard's for all intents and purposes, save for the differences listed here. They're free to define the form of both familiars, and can even make them appear to be ordinary 0-level humans, so long as they are 1-HD creatures. They must be associated with opposite elemental affinities,such as Sun/Moon, Light/Dark, Ying/Yang, Fire/Water, etc., and once determined this cannot be changed. Like Cards, they are dependent on their Master to continue existing, and follow the same rules for what they must do if they lose their Master.

When a Card is created or bound to your service, it must also be assigned to one of your two Guardians. You cannot bind a card of opposing themes to a Guardian (no water cards to the Fire guardian), and you must keep the cards roughly evenly distibuted between the Guardians. Failure to do so can cause the cards to revolt from a magical feng shui imbalance. Cards treat the

Guardian they're bound to as extensions of you, for all purposes of reaction checks. A guardian has a 'true', alternate form. It has to resemble their hidden form in some way (like a kitten becoming a giant celestial lion), and the true form has an extra HD for every three cards bound to it; a Guardian with 30 cards to its name thus has a 10 HD alternate form. When a True form is reduced to 0 HP, they remain conscious, but are forced back to their hidden, simple form. Despite being conscious, any further damage can kill them according to the rules of your game.

If a Guardian dies, the cards under their name will revolt and be uncooperative. You will need to create a replacement Guardian, with the same mechanics, affinity, and basic nature, and is created using the same rules as casting Find Familiar. However, this is not actually the original Guardian revived, but a new individual.

Even though you create and sustain them, the Guardians are free-willed creatures. They're naturally inclined to like and serve you, but if you haven't noticed this whole class is basically being a spellcaster using Follower/Henchman mechanics. So, yea.

TRUE FEELINGS: At 20th level, a miracle happens. The Cardcaptor's heart is so full from their relationships with their Cards, and their magical power so refined, that they can create a single card ex niliho. This card can have any spell effect, including one entirely custom and unique of the Cardcaptor's design, and can be of any spell level. They need never make a reaction check for this card's loyalty and cooperation, though it can only be used once a day (but doesn't cost Card Points). This card is bound to neither Guardian, but is directly bound to the Cardcaptor's heart. No one else can ever use it, under any circumstances, unless the card's master gives it to someone else after they die. Finally, if the Master is ever about to die (or suffer an event they consider worse than death, like the death of their true love or some other sort of intolerable suffering), the card can permanently sacrifice itself to negate the event as a Wish-level miracle.

Monday, February 5, 2018

My Stupid and Unnecessary D&D Cosmology

So, cosmology. It's very rare in most campaigns for the planes, theology, and origins of the multiverse to be at all relevant beyond what mortals THINK is true, but in my games this stuff comes up all the time. That, and the typical OSR fashion is to simplify things and cut the fat, and I figured, fuck that, why not go against the grain and go so stupid-cosmic that Planescape has to get on my level? So, without further adieu: Aura's Stupid and Unnecessary D&D Cosmology.

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In the beginning, and perhaps after the end, there were the Far Realms, maybe. Their nature will be discussed later, but for now, Sages believe it to be a sort of alternate multiverse or primordial chaos of infinite possibility, bubbling and dissolving. There was one such bubble of ethereal protomatter, still and quiescent, free of change, causality, and time. Or so the theory goes.

Perhaps a passing Elder Thing or Outer God stuck in an appendage and swirled it before moving on, as some sort of incidental Prime Mover. And the swirling Ether eventually coalesced into the Planes of Positive and Negative energy. They spun about, endless founts of Creation and Destruction, constantly energizing and polarizing forces around them, until the planes of Fire, Water, Earth, and Air stabilzed around them. From then on, intersectional Elemental Planes of all possible interactions were born. Mud, Salt, Vacuum, Steam, Radiance, Smoke....eventually, Phosphorous, Uranium, Gold, Sodium, etcetera, with the Positive and Negative Energy Planes intersect to create Temporal Energy.

All Positive Energy eventually transitions and converts to the Negative Energy Plane, and in however many kalpas, eventually it is all that will remain. This is Entropy, and the Temporal Energy Plane measures this, and all possible transitions of time. The timeline(s).

Eventually, all the possible extant Elemental Planes intersected to create the Prime Material Plane, though parts of it were too bright and dark to stabilize, creating the mirror worlds of Feywild and Shadowfell. More on these two, later. There are infinite worlds in the Prime Material, as Temporal Energy made every possible outcome of causality extant in its own timeline. Indeed, even if you root down to the First Cause, there are infinite worlds for every POSSIBLE first cause. The Feywild and Shadowfell mirror every possible Prime Material World, and intersect with every possible Elemental plane, save for the Energy Planes. Positive/Temporal/Negative already map to Feywild/Prime/Shadowfell.

The Feywild is the plane where things are more alive, more manic. Everything can talk and bargain here. Everything lives. Every passion is given drive. This plane can change you, and make you a more manic, impulsive, inconsistent person. The Shadowfell is a more dead world. Illusions persist here, forms without substance and substance without form. It is a more mutable plane but its people are more static. The moroseness and depression makes you more resistant to change, drive, and passion. You're reduced, made less.

The Ethereal Plane has near and far shores; the Near Ethereal is less a plane and more a phase-shift to the Material. The state of being intangible. The Ethereal Plane connects all the elemental and material worlds; Demiplanes can exist out here, and you can reach other Prime Material planes save for ones based on your own direct timeline. From Oerth to Krynn, as opposed to Alternate Oerth.

There is also the Astral Plane, the plane born of thought and memory, which connects to and contains the Outer Planes, as in Planescape. The world of Beliefs and Ethos made manifest. The Ethereal and Astral planes intersect to create the Dream Plane, the world where Thought Appears To Have Form. The Dream Plane intersects with the Outer Planes to create the Questing Grounds, the Plane of Narrative, where Thoughts and Symbols Appear to Have Meaning. Archetypes, stories, and narrative causality rule here. Here, travel is only made by progressing stories, and distance is measured by how long a story is told.

The Inner and Outer Planes intersect to create the Ordial Plane, where Belief has Substance. The Plane of Proof. It is the Akashic Records. Anything can be learned and proved here, but this is a perilous place, because ANYTHING can be PROVED here, even if it's not true.
Many who search the Ordial Plane for Truth end up being lost in their truth, and are trapped in a fantasy world of confirmation bias.

The Intersection between Ordial and Narrative is the Meta-World, which intersects with the Multiverse and the Real World. It's the plane of the 4th Wall, where PCs can become aware of the actual truth of their world, and transcend what they are. This plane leads to other campaign worlds and RPG systems. PCs can talk directly to their players and the GM here, and in a text-based game can actually read the text. Portals here lead not to planes, but to stories; different campaigns in the same world, or a movie and its sequel, would all be separate portals.

There is the Mirror Plane; the world behind every mirror. It connects all possible Prime Worlds, essentially where Temporal Energy meets Dream; Alice could tell you all about it, honestly.

The Dungeon Plane is one of the only planes that touches all others, and one of the planes where Demiplanes can be created (the others being Ethereal, Astral, Dream, and Meta). It is alive, and cancerous. An infinite, ever-evolving Megadungeon. It is sentient but perhaps not intelligent. It grows and burrows into the other planes, connecting to places that could be defined as 'dungeon' and expanding them into true Dungeons. These dungeons are like split personalities or perhaps offspring, separate mindshards that can grow into their own. It is the Mythic Underworld, but not the place of the dreaming dead. Every dungeon contains a secret exit into the Dungeon Plane, and thus from Dungeon you can reach all possible places, save for perhaps a place of true peace.

Good luck finding one of those.

The Far Realms are...'not'. There is nothing outside the Outer Planes. Nothing inside the Inner Planes. Nothing before or after the end of time. Nothing on the other side of Dream where no one observes.
But if you go to these places, you find the Madness.

The Far Realms are the Minus World, basically; it's a mindrape zone created phenomelogically when you try to perceive Something where there is Nothing. Perhaps the Far Realm is not truly an alternate cosmology; perhaps it's the Abyss. Not the familiar abyss of chaos and evil... but the Abyss of Choronzon.

The things you encounter there are Not-Things. Hallucinations and shapes in the void moving with agency and half-life because of your perception. If your mind can survive this ego-death, and traverse to the other side of the Far Realms.... you would find a truly empty space, defined by none but you.
You are God.

God.

Maker Anew, of a place that can never be where you were before; purified of every mental and spiritual flaw with no regard to the safety or well-being of your mortal ego-identity.

This is where multiverses come from.