Wednesday 30 September 2020

Some Encounters In Sarkash Forest

Old, wizened, moss and algae growing on her skin.
Give her a bit of your humanity (say what, and reduce your max HP by 1) and she’ll answer any question. The gift lets her know the absolute truth, which she’ll probably share; she only lies if she really hates you. Donated humanity makes her basically immortal so long as she keeps answering questions every few years.
HP 6. Morale 9. Witch-knife for d4.
Can cast, as if by an Unclean Scroll, d2 times per encounter with her.
She can’t DIE. If reduced to 0HP, dissolves into moss and lichen to regenerate, recuperating at the next new moon.

A strange sort of vampire. Long, sharp, hollow fingernails allow feeding. Wants to stick his horrible fingers in you and drain you of blood, doesn’t care if you object.
HP 10, Morale 6, Crimson Armour -d4.
Hollow Fingers d4, attacks twice, heals by the amount of damage done.
A stake to the heart (DC 14 to hit) renders him helpless.

A long-armed, grasping-handed giant with sharp wooden stakes instead of claws and teeth. His voice sounds familiar. Players who hear it describe the last man to hurt their PC before she died; that’s who he sounds like.
HP 12, Morale 6, No armour
Grabbing Hands for d4. Or Impale for d12.
Grabbing Hands victims roll DC12 Agility to avoid being held.
Can only Impale after a successful grab.

Single-mindedly devoted to her garden, but talkative. If guests are polite, she will protect them while they remain with her.
HP7, Morale 8, No Armour
Gardening tools for d6.
Can spend a round putting herself back together, healing fully.
Can animate roses at will (d4 if used to attack).

CORPSE THINGS in large numbers:
Old, withered, senile, feral. The flesh of the Dead Girls still contains some lingering vitality, and they’re hungry for it. Won’t pursue you deeper into the forest; they’re loath to stray far from Graven-Tosk.
1 HP. Morale 10. No armour.
Teeth and Claws for d2.

SABLE KNIGHT of Graven-Tosk: 
Agent of the Shadow-King. Clad all in black armour, his shield blank. On a quest, although the details are vague. Thinks he’s better than you.
Thinks you’re escaped subjects of the Shadow-King. Will attempt to subdue you and return you to the graveyard.
HP 13, Morale 9, Blackened Plate Armour -d6.
Impaling Pike: d10 Damage.
On a roll of 1-3 for Defence, you’re impaled on the pike. Getting off it does another d10 damage and uses your action.
Alternatively, can bite and drain blood: d4, and heals by that much.
Cannot cross running water, cannot approach a crucifix, cannot enter a dwelling uninvited.

In the distance, getting closer, their howls circling around you before you see them.
Ragged fur draped over skeletal frames. Hollow eye-sockets. Lips receded, teeth prominent. Act very much like they did in life. Don’t realise they’re dead.
It may be possible to distract or even tame them with food they can’t eat.
HP 8, Morale 7, Thick fur -d2.
Bite d6.
Can track by scent.
DC 10 Toughness on hearing their howls for the first time, or be fear-struck and panicked, unable to act usefully until you see them or the howls end.

Looms beneath the boughs. Slinking and crawling towards you. Hungry.
A coward with a need to assert dominance through violence. Uses its sheer size to physically crush those it considers lesser. 
HP 25, Morale 3, No armour.
Fists for 2d4.
If it retreats, then rolling a second encounter with a troll will be the same troll, returned fully healed. It does d4 extra Damage and the amount healed is added to its HP.
Its words are venomous. If it speaks and you respond, DC 12 Toughness or the venom seeps into you, dealing 1 damage and causing you to bleed from the ears.

Originally from Kergüs, sent to find and claim individuals who might amuse his queen, Anthelia.
The Dead Girls are awfully amusing.
Taciturn, unhelpful, will resort to brutal violence at the drop of a (blood-soaked) hat. 
HP 13, Morale 9, Plate & Shield -d6+1.
Longsword d8.
Attacks once for each enemy up close to him.
Can regain all lost HP by defiling the body of one of the fallen instead of attacking.

A warlock drawing power from primal serpents. Wildly heretical, condemned by the basilisks. She claims a better world is possible, that doom can be averted if the basilisk Verhu prophecizing it is overthrown.
Filled with desperate, unreasonable hope.
HP 2. Morale 12. No armour.
Accompanied by 3 snakes (1hp).
Snake Bites d4, attacks once per snake.
If she’s hit, a surviving snake will sacrifice itself to negate the damage.
Once per snake, can cast a random power, as for Unclean Scrolls.

WANDERING PRINCE of the Shadow Palace:
An entitled little shit who thinks you can’t see through his disguise. Finds it diverting to torment his inferiors, whatever gets a rise out of you.
Has never faced any sort of consequences for his actions.
HP 1. Morale 8. No armour.
Rapier d8.
Slay him and the Shadow King’s gaze falls upon you. Every time you roll events, roll another d10; on a 1, a SABLE KNIGHT shows up, tasked with slaying you.

Ghostly, forlorn, traumatised by their untimely demise. Endlessly wander through the woods in which they died. Pale. Pretty, in a morbid sort of way.
Follow them, and they’ll lead you to a previously explored location. Probably somewhere safe or comforting.
HP 5, Morale 5, Unarmoured.
Wail, d4, resist with Presence not Agility.
Mostly intangible, DC 15 to hit.
Once you’ve met them, you have the option to join them when you become TORPID. You are no longer playable. Roll a new PC, who your former companions will meet, treating all ones rolled when creating the character as sixes.

Venturing into the forest in search of those who blaspheme against Varthu. (Being dead but still walking and talking probably counts). Take a cold cruel certainty in their work. Have many invasive and painful tests to ‘prove’ impurity.
Organised, efficient, and utterly unmoved by reason or emotion. Convinced of their own righteousness, prosecute on a whim. Bastards.
HP 8, Morale 9, Heavy Leathers -d2
Cutlasses or crossbows for d8.
Alternatively, can attempt to Restrain. Roll to avoid the attack as normal, taking -d2 Agility for the rest of the fight if you fail. If reduced to -4 or less, you’re rendered helpless: this probably bodes poorly for you.

Undead with broken necks and minds. Pitiful looking. Hate you for being beautiful or shameless or whatever positive qualities you might embody. Hate and lust and envy all mixed together. Wants to abuse your broken body, to degrade you.
HP 5, Morale 6, Tough Skin (d2 armour).
Strangling hands. D2 damage the first round they hit you. Then d4, d6, etc.

Thursday 24 September 2020

Dead Girls In Sarkash Forest - Layout Experiments

 Some layout stuff I've been fiddling with. 

Inspired by the Mork Borg core book, I've been doing things a little differently. Big high-impact layouts, making text bigger and only putting one (or a few) bits of information on a page rather than picking it in. Eclectic in look, with a mix of fonts, art styles, etc. Like making each page as a poster, almost.
All the art is by dead people.

Anyway, here's some of the spreads I'm more pleased with.

In other news, I was on Chris McDowell's (of Electric Bastionland fame) podcast, talking about narrative wargames. Maybe give it a listen.

Thursday 17 September 2020

Dead Girl Classes, for Mork Borg

 Six new classes for Mork Borg, all of them dead girls. A bit WiP. Come with seperate equipment tables, which aren't done yet. Some CWs for roofies.

The Exsanguinated Doll

You were drained of blood by some vampiric predator, the life stolen from you, and leſt for dead.
Now you rise, a pallid bloodless thing. And you’re so, so hungry.

D4 Omens, d10 + Toughness HP.
Roll 3d6-2 for Agility, you’re lethargic and pale. Roll 3d6+1 for Presence
and Strength, your bloodless body is supprisingly vital.
Start with d6x10S, roll a d2 for Armour and a d6 for Weapons.

You have a Bite attack that you can make instead of attacking normally.
When you do,
d4 damage. Roll a d4 for the additional effect your Bite always has:
1: roll DC 15 Presence. If you succeed, the victim obeys a hypnotic command you give.
2: you drain blood and other vital fluids. Heal by the amount of damage done.
3: Victim swoons helplessly for as many rounds as the bite’s damage.
4: Entrancing effect. +1 Presence against your victim, cumulative, forever.
You may spend an Omen to have your Bite do another of these things as well: pick which when you do.


The Sacrificial Waif
You were picked out from the teeming masses of humanity. Told you were special. Plied with fine wine and other intoxicants. Adorned with beautiful ceremonial clothes, anointed with oil and paint.
Then killed as an offering to something inhuman, your life snuffed out early.

D2 Omens, d4+Toughness HP.
You’re beautiful but frail. Roll Presence on 3d6+2, Toughness and Strength on 3d6-1.

Roll a d2 for armour, d6 for Weapons. Begin with 2d6x10 S.
Your skin is painted or tatood with holy markings.
Treat your skin as a random Sacred Scroll.

 Your blood carries the power of the various herbs and alchemies they plied you with. Daily, you can use your body as an undead alchemical crucible, distilling the drugs in your blood and syphoning some off.
You can produce
d4 doses each day. Roll a d8 twice for what you know how to make. As well as their listed effects, all the drugs you produce have a euphoric effect.
1: Nepenthe Oil. Ingested or by contact. Victim makes a DC 16 Toughness roll or falls asleep.
2: Purifying Balm. Restores health. Ends Infection, +1 Presence for an hour.
3: Elixir Imortalis. Removes all fear of death, brings it near. Double all damage dealt and taken for an hour. Immune to Morale.
4: Xhat. Heals d6. Removes all scars and blemishes.
5: Liquid Peace. Ingested. Anybody who puts it in their mouth and swallows dies, instantly, no save no second chance.
6: Thanazine. Revives a sleeping, unconcious, comatose or Torpid character instantly, they heal d4 HP and regain an Omen.
7: Blank Slate. Ingested. Victim becomes disoriented and suggestible.
8: Black Moon Powder. Rubbed into the skin, dealing d2 damage. User rolls to use scrolls at -4 difficulty.
When you improve, you roll another drug and learn how to make it. A duplicate result means you learn nothing.



The Pyre-borne Witch

You never hurt anybody. Far from it, your practices were - a far as you’re concerned - perfectly benevolent. They burned you for it anyway. You died on the pyre, trying to scream for mercy with flame-ruined lungs. Now you’re back, you’re far less inclined to pity.

D2 Omens, D6+Toughness HP. Roll weapons with a d4. D6x10 S. You’re burned and ruined. Roll Presence and Agility on 3d6-2. However, your carcass has an occult might to it, nearly unstoppable. Roll Strength on 3d6+2. You begin with a random Unclean Scroll, and roll to use Scrolls with Strength. The fire gave you gifts. Roll a pair of d8s for what. 1: You can spit bolts of flame. Roll to hit with presence as normal, each bolt does d4 damage, and d4 damage each r0und until they put the fire out. 2: You are immune to fire, and cannot be hurt by it. 3: You can cause yourself to combust, covering yourself in flickering flames. D2 damage to anybody you attack or who attacks you up close. 4: When you look into a campfire, the flames show you odd truths. DC10 Presence and an evening’s concentration; if you pass, you get to ask a single yes/no question and get a truthful answer. 5: Things you burn - with supernatural or mundane fire - are utterly destroyed and forgotten. Records of them vanish, all traces of their existence fade away. 6: Your fires - either supernatural or mundane - illuminate more than they should. In the area lit by them, it is impossible to hide, and invisible things are revealed. 7: If you set somebody on fire, they fall under your thrall. You may set them a task; the fire does no damage so long as they obey. Shirk, and the fire does d4 damage a round. 8: You can cause even slight flames to flare into dangerous fireballs. D12 damage to anybody caught in the blast. For everybody killed by the fireball, you heal 1 HP.



The Doomed Romantic

You had such plans. You were going run away, see the world, fall in love. Your life was going to be so beautiful. But when you set out, all that was waiting for you was a knife in the dark and a cold, shallow grave. 

D2 Omens, d8+Toughness HP. 

There’s something weirdly compelling about your delicate corpse. Roll Presence with 3d6+2, Strength and Toughness with 3d6-1.
You begin with d6x10 S. Roll weapons and armour normally. 

Name the person who hurt you most; you always know the rough direction and distance to him. 

You are almost inescapable. Roll a d8 for how.
1: You can walk up walls on your feet and fingertips like a lizard.
2: You cannot be grabbed, pinned, tied up, or otherwise restrained; you always break free effortlessly.
3: Once you’ve got somebody’s scent, you always know the rough direction and distance to them, forever.
4: You can walk through walls as if they weren’t there.
5: You can walk on water.
6: You blend into your surroundings. Regardless of the circumstances, you roll to Hide at DC 8.
7: You can transfix others with your gaze. To do so, roll Presence at DC 12, if you succeed your victim cannot willingly break eye-contact or move away from you.
8: When you scream or sob, the sound renders those who hear it helpless. Roll dc 16 Presence, if you pass listeners are paralysed for a round. 

The Assassinated Princess 

You had power, or influence, or status, or just an inhereted title lined up. The details hardly matter anymore. Whatever it was, you were in somebody’s way, and they had you discretely removed.
Now, stripped of your wealth, finery and titles, you’ve clawed your way out of your lonely grave, and you want what they took from you back.

D4 Omens, d6+Toughness HP.
Roll Armour on a d2. Roll 3d6x10 for starting cash.
Despite everything, you carry yourself well, with an air of command that belies your frail form. Roll Presence on 3d6+2, Strength an Toughness on 3d6-2. 

Name the monarch from whose blood you hail. You get +2 to all rolls against them, their bloodline, and beings in their service. 

You’ve managed to retain something at least. Some token of your former life went into that grave with you: fine clothes (worth another d6x10 S if you stoop to selling them) and roll a d6 for what else.
1) A diplomat’s guide to translation. All rolls to translate, understand, or communicate in other languages are DC 8. Always sounds a little posh.
2) A rod of correction. A weapon that does d4 damage, or d12 to any target that has ever disobeyed an order you gave them.
3) A radient coronet, that can - at your command - create or suppress light, to even to blinding levels. When you have it active, your difficulty for attacks is 16 and for defence is 8.
4) A gourmet’s ring that makes you immune to toxins, poisons etc. Presumably, they killed you some other way.
5) A pen of office. Contracts written with it are supernaturally enforced; if a signatory breaks their side of the bargain, you instantly know and can punish them from a distance, dealing d2 damage each round you torment them.
6) A protective veil. Those who strike you with violent force find their bodies wracked with matching sympathetic injuries (taking half the damage you did). Doesn’t protect you from those related by blood, as you discovered. 


Well, you had oppinions. Bold and unpopular ones you were outspoken about. It didn’t work out so well for you. When you refused to recant, it turns out society has ways to shut people like you up for goood.

D4 Omens. d6+Toughness HP.
D6x10 S. Roll Weapons with a d6.

 You are a natural survivor. Roll Toughness on 3d6+1.
Your ruined face makes you less than compelling. Roll Presence on 3d6-2.

You’re a stubborn bitch. +4 to rolls to resist or shake off mind control, emotional manipulation,  pain, coercion, etc.

You came back from the grave different. Strangely altered by supernatural forces that took an interest in you. Roll a d8 for how.

1:    Once per day you can make a Prophecy. State something significant, interesting or weird that you believe will happen:  when it does, regain all your Omens.

2:    Can talk to carrion-feeders and scavenging animals - crows, hyenas, maggots - in their own tongue, and understand their words. +3 to Presence rolls to pursuade or understand them.

3:    You can spit teeth. Each does d6 damage, and rolls to hit with Strength. You have 32-d4 teeth in total. You can spit multiple at once.

4:    Your kiss is venom. D12 damage to anyody who meets your lips, with no roll to avoid it.

5:    Your blood rusts what it touches. Any metal weapon that damages you is corroded, doing half damage the first time, and useless the second.

6:    You can read people’s fortunes. When you do, pick a dice size (IE d6, d20, etc) and roll it, noting down the result. Wen she would roll a dice of the same size or have a dice of that size rolled against her, she can substitute in the noted result instead of rolling, using it up. Somebody can only have one predicted fortune at once.

7:    You see glimpses of your doom coming down upon you. Whenever you would go Torpid, before you do you get to make a Prophecy (see option 1) or read a Fortune (see option 6).

8:    Once per victim, you can predict their eventual demise. Your prediction must be specific and unexpected. +7 to all rolls (including damage rolls) that would bring that partiular demise closer.

When you first improve, roll a second such ability. The second time you improve, and thereafter, you may re-roll one or both abilities.

Friday 11 September 2020

Dead Girls In Sarkash Forest - a Mork Borg Project

 Here's a project I'm working on. It's a lil' adventure for Mork Borg. 

The hook is this. You are all dead girls. You've woken up at the edge of the Graven-Tosk cemetary, and would quite like to not be here, please. But to go anywhere else - home, perhaps - you'll need to get through the Sarkash forest that surrounds the cemetary.

The book essentially has two parts. One is an adventure, a depthcrawl where you explore the forest. Similar to Ynn, but simplified some. Depth, Locations, Events etc. If you get a high enough result (24+) you reach the other side of the forest, so if you just keep pushing through you'll find the other edge of the forest eventually.

The other half is a set of new character options. Some modifications to the normal rules for if you're playing a dead girl, and a set of six classes for dead girls. Each class is a specific way you died - the exsanguinated doll, the sacrificial waif, the pyre-borne witch, the doomed lover, the assassinated princess and the silenced one - or if you want to have died of something else, you can play a default, classless PC.

Being dead, they take damage differently; rather than broken at 0 and dead at -1 or less, they go Torpid if they hit 0 or less HP. Fall inert for a while, lose a memory or bit of their humanity (and 1 maximum HP) and then awaken and continue. So they've got a bit of undead resilience to 'em. However, they also regain Omen's differently (being dead, fate has lost interest in them) and only get them back when they fall Torpid.

I'm taking things in a slightly more storygamey direction to core Mork Borg. Memories are a big theme. You ruminate on the memories of your life, or they slip away. When either happens, its up to the player to describe it, meaning that your dead girl's tragic backstory gets filled in incrimentally as you go - what's in doubt is how much she'll still be herself when she reaches the other side of the forest. 

My intent is that its a bit modular. You can use Dead Girl PCs in a normal Mork Borg game, or run a party of alive PCs through Sarkash. But the two are designed to complement each other.

I'm working to keep the mechanics and such more minimalistic than normal. Locations are a single paragraph, a few at most. Things are sparce. It's an interesting shift in writing style compared to my normally florid prose.

Anyway, here are some location previews. It's still early in the writing process, but I think it's working alright.

20: A little cave, barely more than a hollow in the bank of a creek. Writing scrawled at the back of the cave; a prophecy mentions you by name. Ask the players what it foretells. Reading it for the first time refreshes your Omens.

21: A hollow, the ground swampy. Lilies and violets grow here. Rest immersed in the bog, and you dream of romance. Describe a romantic memory while you do, and you heal 2 more HP.

2:    A brook blocks your path. Touching the water causes amnesia, -1 Presence. Drinking it, -d3. Tell the player what you forgot.

3:    Corpses strung from trees. Roll for LOOT for what’s in their pockets. Reanimate as STRANGLEMEN when interfered with.

12: A Unicorn Graveyard. Scattered with bleached-white unicorn bones. Aura of tragedy. Healing is doubly effective here. Violence done here carries greater weight; you feel the unicorns judging you. Every time you deal damage, reduce a random attribute by 1 until you leave the graveyard.

13: A stone table, split in two. Engraved with foul text, covered with old black bloodstains. Read the text, and you can perform sorcery. The table is like an Unclean Scroll, but harder to carry with you.

10: A clearing, at the centre an eternally-burning bonfire. Anything you put in the flames is destroyed. Anything. You can put fears, curses, trauma, or fates in the fire. DC 8 Agility when you do to avoid putting an important bit of yourself (a finger, memories of your first kiss, sense of smell, that sort of thing - decide what) in the fire too, reducing your HP by 1 permanently.


I'm poor, so the art is gonna be mostly public domain stuff, sometimes hacked up and photoshopped to work better. Here's something I'm probably gonna use, by way of an example: