Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Phantasmagoricon, Volume 1

Monster list for Volume 1
Acuser Daemon, Angel's Crown, Ashen Rooter, Barret Snail, Beggering Imp, Binferet, Black Gallus, Bleeding Fault, Bludnik, Boneape, Bramblecorpse, Brunki, Caldru, Callowpest, Capacu, Capleresta, Cave Children, Cavesnapper, Cherub, Chokeblossom, Choking Ard, Clipper, Corpse Spider, Corpseweed, Corrector, Creeping Corpse, Crimson Sehkt, Dark Magistrate, Devil Flea, Divap, Dolomic, Dopplganger, Draon-o-chains, Driver Rat, Eelhead Bloom, Erdkung, False Man, Fanged Toad, Fire Skunk, Flame Beetle, Flayed Gink, Fullisant, Galloping Beetle, Gambrel Beetle, Gator Tree, Ghost Cett, Glass Serpent, Glowskull, Goblin, Godling, Gorging Worm, Gracklette, Grave Serpent, Gulper Rat, Hammerhand, Hands of Uldor, Harbingad, Hatemonger, Hob, Hooded Incinerator, Infinite Teeth, Invisible Lacerator, Iron Wraith, Jellymob, Jub Jub Bird, Jumping Cave Spider, Kiyohun, Kobani Hydra, Kobold, Leaf Sucker, Lost Angel, Luminous Jelly, Maniywe, Mantipede, Many-toothed Angel, Masked Defiler, Melarch, Needlehead, Null Value, Panic , Parson’s Beetle, Pheralt, Plague Bat, Quaifenril, Quillflower, Raeth Vine, Red Hunter, Root Chewers, Root Tenders, Rooter, Rotting Wolf, Schraderaft, Shadeflower, Shambler, Shell Horror, Shingleback, Shinkap, Shovelhead, Sick Jack, Sigminfaul, Similoedan, Skitterling, Soviet Spider, Spearhaft Spider, Spelunker, Sphyraena , Spined Lizard, Tebarian, Temple Cat, Thallu Vapor, Trollock, Trow, Ubrica, Unholy Martyr, Vermillion Sehkt, Verminous Tracker, Vesk, Vexdol, Vulper, Whiphawk, White-coated Fools, Wire Ghost, Zombie Gink

123 Monsters ... a few more than initially planned but it is workable. 1 entry per page, and some entries might have a variation or two. Not everything is written up yet so I don't have a full count yet. I'm going with a AD&D 2e vibe for the presentation - more on that once I've got a few of the bugs worked out. OK -back to my actual job now.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Sorrow Revised Edition Update

Stay on Target
The initial editing is done - less than 2 weeks off target schedule, which is pretty good! This doesn't include the appendixes which I've been writing up, but they are of lesser concern at the moment and I don't count them as part of the main text.

I'll be printing out a few copies and giving them a quick binding (staples and ribbon - high tech stuff) for my local crew to dig into. 

In Brief
It was also suggested that I'm pretty verbose ... which isn't wrong. It got me wondering how long a "Quick-Start" set of rules would be, so I'm working on that as well - almost like a reference booklet. I'll put that up as a side project for now - maybe it I'll post it as a free .pdf somewhere.

Point of Order
One thing I have noticed is that the order of things could be improved. This writing was pretty organic, and the organization could use some improvement. I'm thinking specifically about the crew ranking being analogous to the character leveling, REP and XP, Advances and Improvements. There are a few other things like that ... and a section or two upon re-reading that I don't like as much as I did when I wrote it (things that haven't been play-tested yet). 

The Road Ahead
More than anything, we need to dig in and play; test the new and revised rules, make sure things feel right, find ways to simplify and consolidate, and generally move from "review draft 1" (where we are now) to "proof final" (right before we start making actual books). 

Getting to this point is going to be a bit more complicated as I want to play in person - it is easier than remote for conversations about rules. I can see more easily if people are struggling, they can point to character sheets and underline sections of rules, and it is easier to have a multi-person conversation than on any of the remote meeting applications.

Up Next ... Monster Time
One of the major ideas behind Sorrow was that the world should be mysterious and unknown. Monsters are always the first thing to get cataloged and become less mysterious. Everyone KNOWS so many of the monsters from D&D - their stats and abilities, how dangerous they are and how to take them down. It becomes a list of challenges rather than an experience. Then "trick" monsters show up - it LOOKS like a skeleton but is ACTUALLY a plant monster.or whatever. This is also not fun for the players as one type of knowledge is defeated by basically lying to the players.

So instead I've got all new monsters. Sure I'll include goblins and skeletons, but the majority of things are not things that players know about. Some common monsters are being listed in one of the appendixes - creatures that everyone has just heard about. Then the Monster Lore Advances (talked about those here) allow players to gain more knowledge in-character. The best, though, is actually encountering things. Observing and interacting with monsters is still the best way to learn about them.

There are 306 Monsters to get things started. Some are fleshed out, some are just notes and stats. As monsters are grouped into 5 sets (A - E) based on what depth of dungeon level they are most common on, I think I'll organize them into 3 volumes:
  • Phantasmagoricon Volume 1: Set A & B (78 monsters)
  • Phantasmagoricon Volume 1: Set C & D (119 monsters)
  • Phantasmagoricon Volume 1: Set E & Process (64 monsters)
That 3rd volume will contain some basic monster stats by size and threat as well as the full encounter tables. I'll eventually write up monsters that are specific to the dungeon Sorrow itself, likely volumes by Region which have their own monsters plus the dungeon levels themselves which also have their own monsters.

I'm even thinking, once these are fleshed out (sans artwork, of course) creating a super-duper all-in-one encounter table that is exclusively based on the threat of monsters so folks can use whatever they like wherever they like. 

Then, of course, non-dungeon monsters. Sorrow is almost entirely based in Haven and the dungeons of Haven ... so wilderness encounters aren't on the near-term agenda. This doesn't mean I haven't thought about them.

Speaking of Monsters...
A few nasty critters from the Machine Core

Wire Ghost
Threat 1 [Machine Core A] Small Neutral Monstrosity (Low Intelligence); Demeanor: Polite; Ferocity: Docile
Encounter 1d6 wandering, 2d6 stocked; 10% chance in lair (x4 multiplier)
 Init: +3    Attack: +0    Speed: 10     Damage: 1d8    Wrap and squeeze 
 Defense:+2   DR: 0    KO: 0    END: 3    VIT: 3   
Description: A living mass of veins and wires - a trail of slime and tubes drag messily behind. While disgusting, they are rarely hostile and even flee from combat if a single member of a pack is injured. If attacked with magic, however, they become aggressive for a 1d4 rounds, wrapping themselves around victims and literally squeezing the life out of them.

Threat 2 [Machine Core A] Medium Neutral Scions (Human Intelligence); Demeanor: Rude; Ferocity: Cautious
Encounter 1d10 wandering, 2d8 stocked; 10% chance in lair (x4 multiplier)
 Init: +3    Attack: +1    Speed: 9     Damage: 1d4+1    Wrap and squeeze 
 Defense:+3   DR: 0    KO: 1    END: 7    VIT: 8   
Description: This serpentine metallic creature slithers about with a dozens of thin articulated arms, the ends feather-like manipulators. Anything it comes into contact with it attempts to "Correct" using some ancient and likely corrupt code. They attempt to rewire technomancy, tighten door hinges, and move body parts they feel are not appropriately placed. These freakish robots drape themselves in the skins and parts of flesh creatures they have "corrected".

Driver Rat
Threat 5 [Machine Core B] Medium Neutral Beast (Animal Intelligence); Demeanor: Creepy; Ferocity: Panicky
Encounter 1d4 wandering, 1d6 stocked; 20% chance in lair (x3 multiplier)
 Init: +3 Attack: +3    Speed: 9     Damage: 2d4    Rusty Tools 
 Defense:+3   DR:2    KO: 5    END: 15    VIT: 14   
Description: Rats the size of dogs with prominent bone-plated head. The over-sized teeth on these things are jagged, yellow and stained. The driver rats instinctively charge at any threats, bashing enemies with their bony heads. Any attack where the damage roll is doubles the rat also bites for an additional 1d8 (adding to the total damage). Inscribed on the rear edge of every driver rat's head plate a 14-digit number is inscribed with a high level of precision.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Black Lives Matter

Nothing clever to say, no inspiring stories, no amazing links to more clever people ... just a tiny blip of solidarity here in the backwaters of the internet.