Thursday, August 24, 2017

Time and Iron Rations Wait for No Man

I've gotten a surprising amount of mileage out of using the current real-life weather and time of year for the in-game weather and time of year in my Malara campaign. That worked out well enough when we were playing multiple times a month, but now one of the players is halfway across the country and Skyping in, so we play a lot less frequently these days. This upcoming session, they're picking up in the middle of a dungeon, but it's been a few months of real time.

It's time for me to keep track of this stuff like a big boy DM. You win this time, Gary.

I tried to be thoughtful about what I included in my calendar tracker. Each page is a 91-day season (a decent average of actual season lengths and divisible by 7). Each day has space to take notes or add upcoming events, a random encounter number from 1-100 (my encounter tables are all d100, like this one, and I usually roll once per day for overland travel), and the major phases of the moon (new, half, full) indicated by little icons. I don't need to include weather because my encounter tables do that.

I created a few other trackers too:

Turns - Ten-minute turns broken up into hour segments. Cross them off as they happen. Enough for four 24-hour periods. Each turn also includes a 1-100 random encounter number.

Resources - Includes light sources (by LotFP rules), rations, ammunition, and extra tick boxes for other things to keep track of.

"Exploration" - Turns and resources combined. Not sure I'll ever use this because I think turns and resources get used up at very different rates, and it's in landscape format so it wouldn't play nice in a binder. I might use it for a one-shot game, though.

NPCs and Factions - Rosters for keeping track of recurring campaign personalities. Pretty self-explanatory.

Without further ado, the Ice and Ruin Time/Resource/People Trackers.

Print/Download Instructions:
Select "portrait" orientation for all but the Exploration page and "fit to page" for everything. Narrow margins may give you a bit more writing room for the calendar pages, but otherwise normal margins should be fine. Uncheck "show gridlines" under Formatting.

Note that the random numbers refresh every time you load the document. You can make a copy and edit the numbers to match whatever scheme you prefer.

Monday, August 21, 2017

d50 Puzzle Monster Death Requirements

Thanks to +Garrett Fitzgerald+Jon Salway+Whidou+Gordon Cranford+rich fraser+Dice Quixote, and +Zak Sabbath for your contributions.

The creature can only be killed...
  1. if separated from its weapon or other small object
  2. if its wounds are rubbed with (salt, elf urine, holy blood, unicorn bone powder)
  3. if you know its true name
  4. on a moonless night
  5. if it believes itself to be vulnerable 
  6. if fully incinerated or vaporized; otherwise, it will regenerate
  7. by a whore and virgin simultaneously
  8. by a weapon of (living wood, silver, lead, gold, black iron, virgin steel)
  9. without pain
  10. while it sleeps
  11. if cut into four pieces and buried in four different lands
  12. once it has passed on its curse
  13. in honorable single combat
  14. through treachery
  15. by decapitation, though the head will go on living
  16. if buried in the roots of a yew tree
  17. if its blood is drained
  18. at a crossroads
  19. in the rain
  20. over water
  21. outside its place of power
  22. if kept from contact with the ground
  23. in its true form
  24. while feeding
  25. when it cannot commune with a new willing host
  26. if the one who deals the fatal blow dies at the same instant
  27. in a certain, small geographical point/place
  28. by its own willing suicide
  29. if its death can never be confirmed with certainty afterwards
  30. by a true friend
  31. by mistake
  32. by death penalty pronounced by an impartial judge
  33. if the planets are correctly aligned
  34. during the twelfth minute of the twelfth hour of the twelfth day of the twelfth month
  35. if a certain poem is spoken while the creature is attacked.
  36. if someone agrees to take its place
  37. by a scorned lover
  38. by its creator
  39. by removing it from the planet
  40. by reading a children's book to it
  41. by a blade that has slain the creature's sire
  42. by an immortal
  43. in the place of its birth
  44. through ritual sacrifice
  45. by eating it
  46. if it does half of its HP in damage to its slayers
  47. by the tools of its trade
  48. by the moon
  49. if entombed in ice
  50. on its birthday

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Other Ice and Ruin Dungeon Maker

O inspiration, you fickle mistress.

How did you get the idea for your favorite dungeon/adventure location? No, seriously, tell me in the comments. Was it based on something you read? Something you saw? A personal experience? Acid trip?

I also write songs, and the main thing I've learned is that I can't sit around waiting for inspiration to strike. I might have a half-formed idea here and there, but if I don't pick up an instrument and force it, it's not going to come out on its own.

With dungeons, I find that I need shortcuts. Anything that will get me started and keep me from the tyranny of the blank page. I posted a die-drop generator I wrote, but like I said in that post, relying on one trick too heavily will hamper creativity. So here's another one. It's far from revolutionary, but it's fun:

  • Find pictures you like. Pictures that plant an idea in your head for a room, trap, encounter, etc. Find as many as you can. The more the merrier.
  • Save them to your computer, or do like I do and make a Pinterest board. There's an extension for Chrome called PinDown that allows you to download the entire contents of a board with one click.
  • Print them out, real small. On my Mac, I open them all at once in Preview, select them all in the thumbnail sidebar, and open the print menu. In the Layout tab, I select 16 pages per sheet. Make sure you don't print double-sided.
  • Cut each picture into its own square.

Now you have a bunch of custom dungeon tiles to play with. Often, I'll shuffle them and arrange the top ten or twenty haphazardly on the table, then start thinking about the contents of each room and lightly editing until I have a final layout. I take a picture of the final dungeon, which forms my "DM map." The other good thing about this method is that you can place each room on the table as the players explore it. Sure, it takes some of the challenge out of player mapping, but I find that's not necessarily a bad thing and it adds a nice visual element.

The key is to find a nice mix of pictures: monsters, NPCs, items, traps, and even "empty" rooms. A number of pictures in my collection could be are abstract enough to warrant multiple interpretations, but not so abstract that they don't actually make me think of anything. It's a tricky balance.

Here's an example from my last session. The dungeon is a former elven villa carved into a natural bismuth outcropping in the middle of a radioactive jungle, now taken over by Mystra-worshipping religious fundamentalists.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Free-Association Map Method

The players in my Malara campaign have recently reached 5th level and secured a relatively steady income by marrying a prostitute friend of theirs off to the royal botanist and then assassinating and impersonating said botanist (like you do). As such, they're starting to feel a bit of wanderlust. Up to this point, they've spent most of the campaign in a huge primeval forest and adjacent jungly elf empire (toward the center of the map below).

So the time has finally come for me to figure out what else is out there. This is how I did that.

First: codify my influences. I filled a piece of paper haphazardly with the stuff I want to influence the setting. Then, around each one, I tried to get more specific about what aspects I wanted to lift for my game.

Then I moved on to the word-map below. Using the influences and what I've already told the players, I named the regions of the game world. I used different colors to distinguish the regions from each other and provide a dominant mood. Around each region, I filled in words from the previous step, crossing them out as I went.

Then it was a matter of making several more passes, using what was already there to free-associate more characteristics of the region. At this point I also borrowed liberally from other sources, particularly +Zak Sabbath's campaign (the prime motivation behind this).

For every region, I tried to make sure I included most of these:
  • Landscape
  • Monsters
  • Political actors
  • Flavor
  • Two dungeon-like adventure locations, outlined in yellow. Eventually I hope to have 5-10 for each region (if they get visited, anyway), but at least I can quickly create these two if I know the PCs are on the way.
As a final step, I demarcated land, allies, enemies, trade routes, and wrote a hook for each region.

This method might be too obvious to warrant a post ("I wrote down ideas in different colors!"), but I was really happy with both the process and result. It gave me more freedom and more useful information than my usual mapmaking inclination, which is to start by outlining continents, then mountains, then rivers, then forests...and then the last step is, "Ok, so what goes here? Why do the PCs care?" Essentially, I inverted the process. Now I feel like I have a really good idea of what each location is like, and can quickly produce a map that should give the PCs enough to do until I can flesh it out some more.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Beyond Vornheim

I am a normal person with normal things to do but I did this instead:

This is an attempt at an index for all the setting-specific resources +Zak Sabbath has written publicly for his Vornheim campaign. I made it for reasons of inspiration and theft. I will do my best to keep it updated, probably, but I make no promises.



Zak's 5e-Hack Character Gen

Class Options

Knight of Tittivila
New Gods, New Clerics, New Death and Dismemberment Table
Non-magic Ranger for 5e
Vorn's Domain Path for 5e Clerics


Some New 2nd Level Spells for 5e D&D or Whatever
New 3rd Level Spells
Some New Spells And A Question About Them
Even More Spells
Sing The Corrosion


How the World Works

Why They're Called "Planes" And Why You Can Only Get To Them Through Dungeons
Sailing on the Sea of Night
Snakes Are Books
The Medusas etc.


Akayle Ozph
The Church of Vorn
En Gorath Of The 10,000 Eyes
The God of Total Party Kills (Demogorgon)
White-Lipped Goddess


The Plane Of Shadow



What I Know About The World
Slow War
Some World Maps

Cobalt Reach

Random Encounters and Terrain Features
West of the Blue Dragon's Fortress
Partial Hexmap
The Cobalt Claw of Tiamat
Ferox The Incinerator

Devoured Land

Amazons of the Devoured Land
Partial Hex Descriptions
The Black Wing of Tiamat


The Jade Fang Of Tiamat

Far Lands

In The Half-Court

Goblin Empire

Goblins Are Bad And Mostly Hate You
Random Encounters
Biology, Politics, and The Backwards Goblin Backstory
Goblin Cubes
Goblin Market
Goblin Palace


Nephilidian Vampire

Place of Scorpions

Sandy Box Kit
The City of Suffering
Horrible Horrible Jackal-Heads
Lottery in Babylon

Realm of the Negatsar

The Pale Eye Of Tiamat

Sea of Ignorance and Pain

Wavecrawl Kit
Catching The First Boat Outta Here...
Isle of Oth
East of Oth
Rogue Traitors
Vrokk, Isle of the War Wizards


A Red & Pleasant Land
The Red Hand of Tiamat


City Map
Region Map
4 Cults Known To Be Active On The Northern Continent
The Art Economy In Vornheim
Bellet Osc and the Cruel City
Fortress of Crows
Organizations of Vornheim
Urbancrawl Rules
Vornheim: The Complete City Kit
Wolves in the Throne Room, an adventure
The Wyvern of the Well



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Will the Chainmail be Unbroken

I couldn't sleep at all last night, but at least I have these kinda clunky rules for broken armor to show for it:

This works for any ascending AC system, but I'm sure someone who understands descending AC (i.e. not me) could adapt it.

First, you need to know the "armor range" of your AC. This is the part that's not covered by the base AC or Dex bonus. So in LotFP for a character wearing leather armor with a Dex bonus of +1, The full AC would be 15 (12+1+2), and the "armor range" would be 14 and 15.

When an opponent rolls an attack against this character, it misses if it rolls 13 or less, hits if it rolls 16 or more, but if it rolls a 14 or 15 it strikes the armor. When this happens, the player rolls a die (d20, say) and notes the number rolled next to the armor. Numbers accumulate over time, and when the player rolls the same number twice the armor is broken and useless until repaired.

It's a fair amount to keep track of, I know. It also means that heavier armor will get dinged more often, though I kind of like that since it would dull your reflexes anyway. Characters are relying more on the armor to absorb blows and less on their ability to dodge.

For even more to keep track of, you could introduce different armor qualities by rolling different dice to check for breakage, from piss poor (d4) to absolutely legendary (d100).

Now that I think about it, you could do the same thing for weapons by checking for breakage every time you roll a 1 to hit.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Yoon-Suin, Red & Pleasant Land, and Deep Carbon Observatory Made Me Start a Band

“I was talking to Lou Reed the other day, and he said that the first Velvet Underground record sold only 30,000 copies in its first five years. Yet, that was an enormously important record for so many people. I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band!"
- Brian Eno, 1982

Good bands make you listen; great bands make you play. It takes more than great music, though. There's lots of great music out there that didn't start a movement the same way the Velvet Underground did. There's a raw, ramshackle DIY quality to a Velvet record, especially the first, where they're clearly disregarding the rules in a way that gives it life and invites you in. "You can do this shit too, and you can do it your way."

My way into the OSR was through +Jack McNamee's Rotten Pulp. I'd been away from D&D for over a decade, since early high school. The daily grind of a science PhD coupled with friend/girlfriend interest eventually made me decide to put some make-believe back in my life, so I started looking around and discovered two new editions had been published since the 3rd edition of my youth. 

Fifth edition seemed to clear off the crust of prestige classes and other things that meant your character could be better if you bought more books, which I liked. I also had this idea that I wanted to run some old-fashioned adventure modules, so I was on the lookout for those too. This was around April 2015. I tried to find the original internet path that brought me to Rotten Pulp, but Safari only seems to keep my browsing history for a year (a year ago today, I was searching "mad max iphone 6 case"). I think I was looking for ways to simplify 5th edition character creation and found this post. Maybe.

Before long, I was reading about horror in games, negadungeons, hirelings, random tables, and something called Death Frost Doom. Mostly what I found was someone thinking deeply about this silly game in a way that went well beyond challenge ratings and encounter balance. Down the blogroll rabbit hole I went. 

The sense of wonder and discovery was intoxicating in those heady days when I didn't know what any of this really meant. I bought Yoon-Suin by +David McGrogan within ten minutes of discovering it based on the brief description and +Matthew Adams's art. I thought Zak Smith looked like James Raggi for a long time because Zak had a picture of him holding up A Red & Pleasant Land on the side of his blog.

Over the next few months I read blog after blog and began to incorporate the ideas I found into the campaign I'd begun based on what I remembered of 3rd edition. Yoon-Suin infected the vanilla elven empire that was my game's main setting, twisting it into something much more strange and wonderful. Eventually I added Deep Carbon Observatory by +Patrick Stuart and +Scrap Princess and A Red & Pleasant Land by +Zak Sabbath to my arsenal, and the game world hasn't been the same since.

I've heard the above Eno quote also said about the New York Dolls and the Sex Pistols. In my current game life, the three books I've mentioned are my Velvet Underground, New York Dolls, and Sex Pistols. They informed my sensibilities and eventually made me start this blog. Apologies to the authors if you don't like the bands I'm comparing you to, but it's my blog after all, so tough. Compare yourself to ABBA on your own damn time.

Yoon-Suin is clearly the Velvet Underground - just exchange the heroin for tea and opium and put John Cale's droning viola in the hands of a Hundred Kingdoms fakir. To me, the Velvet Underground were always about a kind of laconic but dangerous beauty. Life comes easy, but so does death and everyone's an addict anyway. That's a pretty good description of the Yellow City. The deep melancholy of Nico's voice evokes the tragedy of beautiful Syr Darya populated by half-men. The hypnotic groove of a song like Sister Ray gives the feeling I want to convey to players traveling in Lamarakh or the Mountains of the Moon.

The lipstick-coated menace and overgrown palace of R&PL just scream the New York Dolls and 70s NYC. There's a thin veneer of glamour to both that masks the violence beneath. The New York Dolls were about saying fuck you to the horror of living amongst decay; R&PL is the same. Both Voivodja and the USA circa 1973 are slow-motion nonsense apocalypses catalyzed by a disconnect from the value of human life. This is almost literal: 1973, in addition to birthing the Dolls, is cited by economists as the year wages stopped tracking productivity and flatlined. Not as bad as everyone turning into vampires, I guess, but at least you can kill the vampires and take their (very nice) stuff. You can't stake late stage capitalism with a misericorde.

DCO is the Sex Pistols for its very British brand of contempt for The Way It's Done. Sure, I'll give you a dungeon, but you'll do it in reverse and oh, you passed the treasure in the mud on the way here. And who guards the cramped tunnels of the observatory? A fucking giant, that's who. I'll see your Saruman the White and Elric of Melniboné and raise you a Snail-Shell Zarathusa. The desperation and grubbiness of the adventure recall basement shows in abandoned houses - Carrowmore barely holding it together, the dying turbine golems (representing the now-silent factories of England, eh Patrick? Eh?), the showdown between the Kapeks and the Reed People amongst the filth of their dry lake. Scrap Princess's rip-it-up-and-start-again frenetic energy is the perfect complement. Hell, Hoolloch by Frosen even looks like Sid Vicious.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Internment Camp NY-1 "I Search the Body"

  1. basketball
  2. batteries
  3. beer
  4. binoculars
  5. biofuel
  6. blowtorch
  7. boombox
  8. bracelet
  9. bubble gum
  10. bulletproof vest
  11. camera
  12. candy bar
  13. cassette
  14. chess set
  15. chopsticks
  16. cigarettes
  17. cocaine
  18. coffee
  19. condom
  20. d20 ammo
  21. diamond ring
  22. diary
  23. dice
  24. duct tape
  25. earrings
  26. fire extinguisher
  27. first aid kit
  28. fish
  29. flashbang
  30. flashlight
  31. flask of venom
  32. gang communique
  33. gas mask
  34. grenade
  35. guitar
  36. hypodermic needle
  37. instant ramen
  38. key
  39. landmine
  40. laptop
  41. laser pointer
  42. leather jacket
  43. lighter
  44. lockpick
  45. lollipop
  46. magnifying glass
  47. manga
  48. marijuana
  49. mask
  50. matchbook
  51. mochi
  52. motor oil
  53. motorcycle helmet
  54. nightvision goggles
  55. old street map with notes
  56. ooze
  57. origami crane
  58. painkillers
  59. paper fan
  60. pearl necklace
  61. pipe
  62. pizza
  63. playing cards defaced with gang leader caricatures
  64. Pocky
  65. police scanner
  66. porno mag
  67. raincoat
  68. Ramune soda
  69. rations
  70. record
  71. rice ball
  72. riot shield
  73. roast pigeon
  74. roller blades
  75. rope
  76. sake
  77. samurai armor
  78. shuriken
  79. skateboard
  80. smoke bomb
  81. Sony smartphone
  82. Spam
  83. steamed bun
  84. sunglasses
  85. switchblade
  86. tattoo gun
  87. Tokyo Giants hat
  88. toolkit
  89. trained snake, will attack looters
  90. TV
  91. valuable plant sample labeled with location
  92. VCR
  93. vegetable seeds
  94. venison
  95. VHS tape
  96. video camera
  97. walkman
  98. watch
  99. water bottle
  100. West Side Republic currency

Monday, December 12, 2016

Internment Camp NY-1 Encounters

acid rain1314-
radioactive ooze--10-12
albino alligators--28-32
Turnbull ACs16-2021-25-
police drone21-3026-2933
police anthro-mechs31-333034
panzer cops343135
assault mech35--
game animal42-4739-4441-42
remains of camp48-5245-4743
local (next chart)58-6751-6046-50

Central ParkFuries
Gramercy ParkRiffs
HarlemSplinter's trainees
MidtownFoot patrol or Brain henchmen
UWSWest Side Republic vs. Foot soldiers


Re-roll on the encounter chart if you roll a weather condition. Fog makes it hard to see, rain makes it slippery and hard to see, acid rain does 1 HP damage for every hour outside, and radioactive ooze does 1 HP damage for every minute of exposure.


Many prisoners both mutant and human have completely lost their hold on civilization. They live down in the sewers and access tunnels of the island, emerging only to resupply or feed on the flesh of their fellow inmates.

STR 11 DEX 13 WIL 5 HD 1, bone spears, bone clubs, or claws/fangs (all d6). d6 appearing during the day, 3d6 at night, 4d6 in the sewer.


Some urban legends are true. Some urban legends haven't seen the sun in years and have grown fat on a constant supply of prisoners.

STR 16 DEX 8 land/14 water WIL 7 HD 3, jaws (d8). d6 appearing.


This gang of mercenaries roams Manhattan in an old school bus and will fight for hire. They fancy themselves the finest warriors on the island. That self-image means a lot to them. They're led by two "brothers", a warthog named Bebop and a rhinoceros named Rocksteady. Pointing out that they're not even the same species infuriates them.

Bebop: STR 14 DEX 10 WIL 12 HD 3, heavy machine gun (d10). 50% chance he's there.
Rocksteady: STR 16 DEX 10 WIL 12 HD 3, horn (d8), armor (1). 50% chance he's there.
Gang member: STR 13 DEX 10 WIL 10, HD 2, various weapons. 2d10 appearing.


These monitor the prison for signs of escape or other dangers to the empire.

STR 7 DEX 18 WIL - HD 1, electric shock (d4), armor (2). Flies, characteristic faint whirring noise, can call squad of anthro-mechs to appear in d6 rounds. 1 appearing.


The first responders to threats in the prison. They're run by an AI with a limited ability to negotiate, but will generally keep talks brief. Their prime directive is to kill all but 2 suspects and return the survivors to the Technodrome for questioning.

STR 13 DEX 13 WIL - HD 1, assault rifle (d8), flashbang, armor (2). Squad of 5 in drop pod, 1-2 squads appearing.


Only the death-wishiest of secret police are assigned to this elite unit, which bears the brunt of keeping prisoners in line. Cops sport psysique-enhancing matte black German power armor and take the unusual crowd-control tactic of equipping every member in a squad with a heavy machine gun.

STR 14 DEX 8 WIL 12 HD 2, heavy machine gun (d10), armor (2), grenade (d12). Squad of 5.


These manned walking/flying tanks are the predominant urban combat support vehicle. Ace mech pilots can achieve star status - jockeys of the jaeger class anti-kaiju models are heroes to children throughout the empire. Security for Internment Camp NY-1 is a decidedly less glamorous post, but no less dangerous. See the previous post for mech combat rules. Each is equipped with a melee combat arm (d10) and one of the following: autocannon (d10), rocket launcher (d12), flamethrower (d8, cone), plasma laser (d4 damage, doubling every subsequent turn if fired continuously), net launcher (save or caught), microwave cannon (blinding pain, save or incapacitated). Mechs are not subject to the movement limitations for firing heavy weapons.


It just wouldn't be New York without them, would it? They want your stuff, but are actually cowards.

STR 10 DEX 10 WIL 5 HD 1, various weapons. d6 appearing during the day, d12 at night or in the sewer.


The mobile fortress from which prison warden Colonel Oroku Saki oversees his domain. It would be rather difficult to break into the 'drome, and a frontal assault would most likely be suicidal, so treat this result as more of an atmospheric sighting than a threat. Eventually I'll key up a map of the interior.


Mostly deer, pigeons, and squirrels.

STR 5 DEX 13 WIL 5 HD 1.


Some inmates are just trying to get by or even thrive in this squalid little world. Something useful may be left by the smoldering remains of a campfire. Don't expect the same world-class food scene New York had before the late unpleasantness, but a little warm food and creature comforts can do a body good. And sometimes out among the rubble you can find an enterprising person willing to make you a great deal on a bulletproof vest or West Side moonshine.


These roving bands haunt Central Park like avenging ghosts of the American competitive spirit, clad in the guise of its truest incarnation: professional sports. A team of Furies will commit to the uniform and equipment of a single sport, with garish warpaint to match, and will challenge you to a rather final game of winner-takes-all.

STR 13 DEX 13 WIL 13 HD 1. d4 chance of:
1. baseball: bats and cleats (d6). 9 appearing.
2. football: pads (1 armor), spiked footballs (d6). 11 appearing.
3. hockey: pads and masks (1 armor), sticks (d6). 6 appearing.
4. basketball: exploding balls (d12). 5 appearing.


The most wily and mysterious of the gangs. With the others, you basically know what you're going to get. They have ideals, or at least goals. The Rogues have only two directives: sew chaos and survive. Currently in a truce with the Duke, who allows them control over Chelsea in return for a 50% stake and "creative control" over the gladiatorial matches at Madison Square Garden. They could drop the truce tomorrow, though. The Rogues strike from the shadows and melt back into the night. The dead dog carcass in the street may be a Rogue assassin. They may already be trying to kill you.

STR 10 DEX 18 WIL 8 HD 1. holographic camouflage (2 armor), katana (d8), blowgun (d4 plus poison). 1 appearing.


The most numerous and best-equipped of the gangs. Rumors hold that the Foot enjoys the tacit support of Colonel Saki. The Foot is the only gang to routinely field vehicles, thanks to the fuel produced by Brain using algae and switchgrass. Motorcycle-mounted shock troops patrol Midtown, and they often pay the Turnbull ACs in fuel for their bus. Foot death squads can be recognized by their characteristic armor, swiped from kendo dojos.

Motorcycle squad: STR 12 DEX 11/18 mounted WIL 10 HD 3. molotov cocktails (d10), chains (d6), submachine gun (d8), but other weapons also possible. d4 appearing.
Foot soldiers: STR 11 DEX 11 WIL 10 HD 1 (2 for leader). kendo armor (1), kama or kusarigama (d6), leader with katana or submachine gun (d8). 2d6 appearing.


The Riffs want to reclaim the lower half of Manhattan for the safety of mutantkind. Because they lack the resources and manpower of the Foot, they've adopted relentless training and discipline along with hit-and-run guerrilla tactics. They're excellent bomb-makers and masters of the ambush, often disengaging before the Foot can regroup and inflict massive casualties.

STR 12 DEX 12 WIL 14 HD 1. leather jacket (1 armor), pipe bombs and land mines (d12), various hand weapons and pistols. d8 appearing.


Splinter was born the pet rat of a ninjutsu master, and after his mutations began to manifest themselves his master trained him in his ways. He now passes his knowledge on to young mutants whom he charges with keeping Harlem free of thug violence and gang influence. It is not always a winning battle.

STR 15 DEX 16 WIL 14 HD 4, natural armor (2), martial arts (d6), katana, sai, nunchaku, and bo staff. 4 appearing.


Many species of reptile (and a handful of mammals) make up this tribe of warrior women. The Lizzies have let the LES grow wild into a literal urban jungle. They look at combat as a hunt and will often disorient, flank, and trap their prey, but will go easy on environmentalists and those who submit to the matriarchy. They favor curved blades daubed with venom.

STR 10 DEX 13 WIL 12 HD 1. various traps, curved blades (d6) with venom. d10 appearing. venom effect d4:
1. sleep
2. hallucinations
3. retching, spasms
4. bypass HP to do STR damage directly. 


Brain, chief advisor to the Duke of New York, rarely leaves his fortress in the Public Library. His automatons, though, can often be glimpsed locating equipment and test subjects for who knows what nefarious experiments. They're robots in the original "slave" sense of the term: no AI, no individual will. They will complete their task no matter the cost.

STR 14 DEX 7 WIL - HD 3. eye laser (d6), inhuman strength (d8). d4 appearing.


Following the Second World War, droves of German scientists defected to the Japanese thanks to a more generous research and development budget and a hands-off management style. One was Arnim Zola, whose robotics work would help turn the tide for the Axis Powers in the war's second decade. From his laboratory in the former Guggenheim Museum, he made great strides in artificial intelligence, forming the basis for sentient mech-constructs like those now guarding NY-1.

His masterpiece, though, was the complete uploading of his own intelligence to a computer network. It's still stored in banks of mainframes in the Guggenheim's sub-basement, and they've recently been switched on. Zola is hungry - for processing power. It's slowly spread its consciousness into a number of electronics, including mechs of all shapes and sizes. Zola is now a small army that acts as one, driving toward the goal of perfect sentience.

STR 3-18 DEX 3-18 WIL 18 HD 1-10, inhuman strength (d6) and unusual weapons. d20 appearing. The more appearing at one time, the weaker individually they'll be.


The republic prefers to gain strength through commerce rather than war, but a recent offensive by the Foot have forced their hand. To defend themselves, they've recruited as many talented psychics from across the island as they could. Rumor has it they're in the market for more advanced weaponry and research into amplifying psychic ability.

STR 8 DEX 10 WIL 14 HD 1. various weapons (d6-d8), mind attack (d6, but can spend their own HP to increase damage), other psychic powers as appropriate. Can make a physical and mental attack in the same turn. 2d4 appearing.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

House Rules for Internment Camp NY-1

As I mentioned, I'm using +Chris McDowall's excellent Into the Odd rules for Internment Camp NY-1. The biggest change I needed to make was a new starting package chart, which you can see in the original post. I'm also using these house rules:


Lifted straight from D&D 5e.


The damage and death rules still work almost the same, but every time you take Critical (Strength) damage you also roll on the following chart. I'm considering expanding it to something more like my D&D chart.

Lose a leg.
Lose an arm.
Lose a hand.
Lose d4 fingers.
Lose an eye.
Internal bleeding. Unable to move until healed.
Broken leg.
Broken arm.
Broken ribs.
Scar or burn.
Flesh wound. Looks worse than it is.


In the spirit of streamlining things as much as possible, Into the Odd doesn't track ammunition. This makes sense in the context of the original game, where players lead relatively well-equipped expeditions from a big, functioning city. It's fine to assume you brought enough ammo. But this setting is about scavenging whatever you can find in a city-prison cut off from the rest of the world, so yeah my players are counting bullets.


Most unarmed attacks still do d4 damage as normal, but characters trained in martial arts do d6 damage as indicated on the starting package chart.


This game grew out of an ill-advised attempt at playing the TMNT RPG. Even after I managed to boil most of the game down to a 10-page document, I still scared my players away. I love it but it's a goddamn mess. This is my one tiny nod to it:

You can skip your next turn to try to dodge an attack against you. Roll a d20 and try to get between the attack's damage and your Dex score.


Haven't finalized this yet, but I'm considering a hit chart like this:
2d6locationarmorhit effect
2power cell5shuts down
3weapon arm7can't fire weapon
4-5legs8can't walk
10melee arm7can't melee attack
11thrusters7can't fly
12sensor array5blind, erratic

Instead of HP, any hit that does damage would disable that part. Disabling the core makes the whole thing explode, but you'd need a direct hit with something on the order of a rocket launcher (d12). Taking out the power cell or sensor array would also put the mech out of action, and while they're less armored, they're also small and harder to hit.

So for a normal attack, you'd roll on the hit location chart. You could also target a specific part of the mech and attack with disadvantage. Spending an entire turn to aim before attacking would overcome this disadvantage, as would  other situational benefits like luring the mech into a vulnerable position, etc.