Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Ancient Prophecies.

Two warring factions have different translations and interpretations of The Ancient Prophecies. Both interpretations of the Prophecies are occurring, in a spectacular and "biblical plague" fashion, as we approach the ultimate final conflict. Both versions are increasingly vague about the resolution of the prophecy.

Plot points could include, determining how the literary time keeping devises of the The Ancient Prophecies match up with these real life events, war profiteering by mercenaries thanks to widely known accurate predictions of the future, new cults erupting, new magics being discovered now that current events are functioning as a Rosetta-stone to old knowledge, etc. etc.

(Mostly plagiarized from BSG.)


In 1991, before I had punk, I listened to Sun-60 ad nauseum, crushing on the lead singer some serious. On that year's album they had songs titled, Kiss the Train and Runaway Jane. Just now, reading some hilarious nonsense my buddy had written making reference to Soul Asylum's Run-Away Train, I mashed up the references in my head. I thought, "John is making Sun-60 jokes? who's that even funny to?" (aside from me.) Then I sorted it out, and was sad. Sad like the time I got the Dark Sun box-set for Christmas from my Mom*, and as it turned out no one wanted to play post-apocalyptic D&D 'cause, "why not just play Rifts?" So I made up my own party who just sat in the box and never saw play. I named the Half-Giant Psionicist Joan Jones, and drew pictures of her with long blond hair covering one eye.

*Oh man, I didn't. I got a bolo tie from her which she said made me look handsome, I was crushed. Dark Sun was all I wanted. Luckily, my late Grandmother having 33 grandchildren just gave us all 20 bucks. Problem solved.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dangerous Border Crossing and Santa Muerte

This part is all true: So, US immigration has put up fences all over hell and creation between the US//Mexico border. Sewer systems between the two halves of border towns are, of course, unguarded and unsealed for all the obvious reasons. Poor boarder patrol officers have to muck threw the sewers looking for illegal border crossers. A Catholic Death cult, Santa Muerte, worshiping the White Sister, Death, has also popped up all over border towns. Low level members of drug cartels are the primary members, and there have even been rallies to permit drug dealing by death cult members on grounds of religious freedom. Gay Mexicans, drag queens in particular, have joined these cults having been excluded from traditional churches. They have found that the cults are much less judgmental (i.e. not at all,) and thereby the only place they are welcome to express their faith and sexuality at once. The queens mule meth and coke from time to time as well.

This part is and fake and maybe irreverent: If this isn't a playground for a vampire game, I don't know what is. Nosferatu find immigrants and police invading their domain, the death cults could be anything, but I vote for La Raza anarchs.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

100 Dusks, 100 Deaths: the Egg, Poison Incarnate.

The old arts tell of an occult process of fermenting a cockatrice egg in basilisk dung for 100 nights. The poison in the artifact is perfect in its fatal potential (if thrown on a living target roll fortitude [DC 30] or die, success causes 5d10. Repeat for 1d4 rounds.)
The Egg is as fragile as a mundane egg, and smells of dead river clay.
The purpose of the egg is not as a weapon however, and was original meant as a focus for forgotten ritual spells (remnants of which may remain, or have been meaningless fragments without the Egg for reference). It modifies the effect of traditional spell casting in its vicinity. Healing spells may cause disease (15%) within 50 yards of Poison Incarnate. Curses have the same chance to be permanent. Investigation may find other peculiarities. Anything wet or damp within 10 miles of the Egg will spontaneously generate files, mosquitoes, frogs, snakes, and spiders. Each will be the deadliest mundane variety. Brown recluse spiders, odd emerald green arrow poison frogs, black mambas, the smaller insects carry malaria and other disease and are eaten by the frogs, which concentrate and intensify the harmful substances over time, wicking it out of their skin.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Men and Woman of Action

Our Cast:
Men and Woman of Action
The Foreign Empire
Rebel Republic
The XXth Legion
The Protecter Elect
The Former Advisor
The Old Stones
Secret Cult of Disaffected Wealthy Youth
The Young Spiritualists

[numbers correspond to the creative method, noted at the bottom.]

The players, Men and Woman of Action, are all former freedom fighters who opposed the rule of a Foreign Empire. They rose among the ranks of the opposition Rebel Republic throughout a guerrilla military campaign against occupying forces. They are and are well respected by the leadership of the Rebel Republic as well as the general public, being some of the only people in the region held in such favor. The occupation has become prohibitively expensive for the Empire, and they have recently submitted to a peace treaty. They are withdrawing their forces, the XXth Legion. The Men and Woman of Action have found themselves within the power structure of the new capital city during the transition of power. As soldiers, not politicians, they deal with the more sensitive situations that arise in the city. Specifically, conflict and violence demands their particular skills. Recently a wave of serial killings has been looming secretly behind the more pressing political situation. [1]

The investigation quickly reveals that it is entirely possible that the serial killings are cover for a politically motivated assassination, targeting the democratically elected Protecter of the new rebel republic… Unless, of course, it is targeted at his wife. The various clues that will be uncovered can be interpreted either way, and would direct the motive, and investigation, in very different directions: Calculated political subversion, or sexually obsessed madman. [2]

The only person who seems to be able to interpret the various clues correctly is imprisoned in the cities Garrison Penitentiary. He is the Former Advisor to the Legions command. This was until it was exposed in that he practiced illegal death magics, and used the helpless and wretched of the capital city’s poor as subjects and fuel for his practices. Often entrapping young men for sacrifice without any magic manipulation. He would exchange payment of family debts or paying commissions for the victim’s kin for their willful sacrifice. (A critical necessity for the magics he practiced. Lacking a congregation of believers who would offer themselves up for his divine arts, he turned to duress.) When this was exposed, it turned public opinion against the occupying forces. Among inside circles it was considered the single most important factor in changing the image of the Rebel Republicans from anarchists to liberators despite all the propaganda efforts of the Foreign Empire. The Former Advisor may have an inside understanding of the killings, but he is not revealed his hand. He is paranormally intelligent. [1, cont] The Garrison Penitentiary was passed over to Republican forces months ago as part of Transition.

The foreign powers withdrawal is scheduled and their XXth legion is currently preparing for its departure. The XXth Legion has occupied the capital city for nearly 200 years. They were the primary police and military force in the region. Being primarily guerrilla forces, the Rebel Republic’s peace keeping forces are unseasoned and untrained in the day-to-day maintenance of a large city-state. [3]

The capital city has been occupied for over 200 years. Unknown to anyone still living, the XXth legions war machines that have been in place for the entire duration carry powerful suppressive magics. Some of these war machines have already been drawn down and transported home. The old totems and statues of the ancient order are in fact stone golems in the form of composite human and animal beasts. They have come to be know as The Old Stones. As the XXth legions withdraw, the Men and Woman of Action will find that the Old Stones reawaken. They’re not necessarily hostile but they are extremely powerful and utterly disoriented because of their 200 year hibernation. The first thing they will do is begin to think. This will affect spiritually attuned individuals. One of the Old Stones is near the Garrison Penitentiary. The Former Advisor becomes aware of it’s awakening. Reports will surface of the Stones changing position slightly. Children may see them move. Many will write this off as extraneous anxiety bubbling up from a overwhelmed public. [4]

The Former Adviser, his crimes being against the people of the Rebel Republic, is being turned over to the new Republican courts upon the XXth Legions departure. In preparation, the new courts have already scheduled his execution. It is assumed that this will be their first order of business upon assuming power.

There is a Secret Cult of Disaffected Wealthy Youth occupying the wealthy sections of the capital city. They are the children of the wealthy members of the rebel republic, many of whom profited by the presence of the foreign empire. There is unease among the wealthy about what their treatment will be when the XXth Legion departs. The branch of magic that the Former Advisor represents fascinates these Youth. While not necessarily idealizing him or her to his people they are drawn to his charisma and the strange powers he commanded. It is unknown to even the cult what they will do regarding his scheduled execution. It is not outside the realm of possibility that upon finding out about these youth (it begins with him ignorant of them, it could be kept from him) the Former Advisor might make an attempt to groom one of them for participation in his arts. [5]

Contrasting the Secret Cult of Disaffected Wealthy Youth are the Young Spiritualists among the Republican Rebels. Initiate Spiritualists have been necessary and critical in the struggle. Many of them were entrenched with Republican forces. (Indeed one of the Men and Woman of Action may be one of them.) The XXth Legion targeted Elder Spiritualists who were sympathetic to the Republican Rebels with black mail, imprisonment, and execution. Spiritualists who capitulated to the legions pressure are now considered collaborators, and hold little sway with the public. The Young Spiritualists have distanced themselves from their elders. Not only socially and politically, but theologically as well. With the ease of conflict and combat, they have been coming out of hiding and returning to spiritual studies. They have been rediscovering the old ways. Since the military draw down, the Old Stones have been speaking to the Young Spiritualists' souls in the ancient tongues. They have been learning it unknowingly. This long suppressed alchemy of the word is meaningless to modern-day magic users. The Young Spiritualists speak it with the awkwardness of small children, yet it still commands forgotten arts. [6]

One of the tasks the PCs have been charged with during the transition has been providing an ear to the wealthy and nervous aristocrats of the Rebel Republic. The Primary Liaison is a fat hedonistic and utterly bombastic man. He is however possessed of machiavellian cunning, as well as powerful sway among the aristocrats. [7]

The public distrusts the accord that was negotiated with the Foreign Empire, and look to the Men and Woman of Action as representatives of the people interest. The capital city and indeed this whole new nation is a potential tinderbox, superstition prevents speaking of it, but many fear civil war will be the coronation of this sovereign state, the wailing of mothers and widows fated to be its only anthem. [8]

I used Zac Sabbath's One True Table to make this. 4 cups of tea, and one morning were harmed in the making of this adventure.

One-True-Table results:

[1] Where's the basic plot of this thing coming from?
Silence of the Lambs (#15)

[2] With a side of what?
London Fields (#14)

[3] Where am I going to get an idea for the big, crazy fight?
Viriconium. (#37) [I went with the roman city, not Vance.]

[4] And the totally incongruous element?
Composite Beast (#94)

[5] The multivalent trick the PCs can fuck with and turn against the adventure?
Jedi (prison break, showy execution goes wrong, 3-front assault, #19)

[6] And the new monster?
Apparent gibberish isn't (#92)

[7] Dumb prop/DM gimmick?
Larry Flint/Baron Harkonnen (#61)

[8] Nondeath situation-altering punishment a PC might face?
The Civil War (not the Marvel comics one, the actual one #29 [I went with Ireland’s])

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Plains of Regeneration: One Shot or new Campaign Intro

The PC's all wake up in an empty field. The weather is mild. The setting is pastoral. None of them have ever met. They have vague memories about their pasts. Details to specific to explain much, and broad ideas. "I was educated very well in a time honored institution..." where, what was it called, what did you study? "Umm... magic I guess..."
"My mother Had a ornate bluebird pin with cut glass eyes, and enamel paint. she always wore a black wool shall. she said it kept her safe..." Where did you grow up, who was your father, were you well to do? "...no idea..." a stranger approaches and hands them this:
then he is gone.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Eat the Sun

The clerical members of the sun cult, Sol'solis Mors'mortis, in the south eastern desert islands of the witches teeth survive in the most inhospitable of conditions. A simple incantation unique to the order binds them to the sun for their nourishment. This rite, preformed at morning sustains the sister or brother completely during the day, without any need for food or drink. It also prevents burns of any kind caused by the sun's rays.