Now that my home group has left the area in which they are liable to encounter a wendigo, I figured I would post the monster here in case anyone is looking to use it for their own NGR game.
So the first thing to note is what I consider a wendigo. In my case it is an air elemental that borders on being a wind demon. It certainly practices black magic.
In its physical form it is a mass of blowing snow around a ragged corpse, but its real power is the control over the winter winds. It can hear anything that is spoken into the wind for several miles around its location, as well as anything around its "children" (more on that later). It also has the ability to inspire madness into those who hear the whistling of the wind between trees or through drafts in lonely cabins. Anyone who is staring into the wilderness during such a wind suffers a social conflict appeal every few hours (for game purposes, once during each watch as that is the most likely time it will happen). Staring into a fire renders one immune to the effect unless they are physically in the path of the wind (ie outside) in which case they are merely granted a re-roll on their resistance. This appeal will fill the targets head with thoughts of despair and panic over the unending snow, leading to flesh eating madness and possession by the Wendigo. It will drive its puppet to kill and consume its fellows to transform them into husks.
Wendigo reside in regions that have certain characteristics of natural magic . In these regions, eating a meal containing the flesh of your own kind has a chance of turning you into a cannibal husk under the control of the first wendigo to call upon you (automatically succeeding in any appeal). If this occurs because you are already under the sway of wendigo, all the better. This is how a wendigo "breeds". Each time a husk eats human flesh it takes a d6 points of mutation as its body and soul loses heat and begins to freeze from the inside out. A husk can gain nourishment from nothing other than human flesh (or whatever species it is I guess) When the mutation takes over the ice inside the husk takes over and a new wendigo is "born", acting as an extension of the original wendigo's sensory powers. If the husk is somehow not under the control of a wendigo at this point, it simply dies.
In proper 80's movie format, killing a wendigo will also kill all of its children, and free any husks from their control. The now freed husk will convert all of its mutation points to both damage and poison (1 point of mutation becomes 1 point of poison and 1 point of damage) and so will probably still die.
Wendigo also have several forms of innate magic that an enterprising wizard could pry out of their corpses, but that could still come up in my game so I'll leave that part a secret.
They are peaceful and innocent. They are creatures from the plane of positive energy, beings who replenish the life energy of those who hear their laughter.
They aren't on the elemental plane of light any longer, they were stolen by greedy wizards who feared the approach of death almost as much as the cold, eternal apathy of lichdom. When the cabal of wizards were overthrown by the kings of men, they retreated into the goblin infested ruins of the dwarven golden age. Despite their powers they succumbed the ravening hordes of goblins, and the children were trapped in the bowels of the earth.
Occasionally an adventurous sort will find one of these lost souls. Pudgy cherubic figures who waddle lost and confused in the twisting corridors of the undercity. They have radiant yellow skin and are ecstatic at the thought of being rescued. Those in the immediate vicinity of the children age in reverse and heal ten times as fast. Healing spells have double the normal effectiveness. These powers are fueled by absorbing light and heat. All light sources are expended at quadruple the normal rate (both magical and mundane), only the sun has the power to quench them without drain. The children will hover as near to a light source as possible.
Despite the decades underground, the children have been unable to escape to the surface. When there is no light, they are thought to transform into unthinking flesh rending beasts. No one has ever seen what they appear as in this form, the sound is that of a great writhing mass of worms, but others say the tracks appear as a great clawed beast. Perhaps each child is different.
The legend of the Grue is often thought to refer to the same creature by the monks of the celestial temples. It is also said that to kill a child of the light is a great crime against the entire plane, the culprit becoming immune to healing spells and any attempts to reverse life draining effects.
For those of you looking for a physical copy but who weren't sure about one of the magnificent hard covers, you can now sate your plebeian palette with a P.o.D offering from RPGNow of satisfactory quality.
Just in case there are a few folks who read the blog but don't follow me on G+, I have a limited run of hardcover printings for NGR available, still 2 or 3 left so drop me a line if you are interested.
There will also be a softcover PoD available soon, so this isn't your only chance to get a hard copy, just a hard cover.
I had hoped to have this extra content out for the greatest national holiday in the world. I missed that deadline by three days. As a little bonus content for people with a copy of Scenic Dunnsmouth, here is a generator to add some more feuds between the towns inhabitants. The idea being to ensure that no new rolls of the dice or drawn cards need to occur. You can even retroactively add these conditions to a Dunnsmouth you've already generated if you wanted to. While finger pointing and fires are already the norm once players get involved, this can get the town even more riled up for the PC's arrival.
Wheel of Shenanigans
wheel works as follows. Any time a result specifies a “friendly”
family, it is the family counter-clockwise on the wheel. Any time it
lists a “rival” family it is clockwise. They are indifferent to
the family opposite. If there is no “rival” family, use the
“indifferent” family. If there is still no match, ignore it. If
there is no “friendly” family use the same family. If there is
still no match, ignore it.
Dunlops dislike the Duncasters for being hillbillies but pretending
they are equals, but respect the quiet dignity of the Van Kaus. They
dislike the Samsons as hillbillies, but accept that the Samsons at
least “know their place”.
Duncasters dislike the Samsons for being assholes, but like the
generally wholesome Dunlops (if a bit snooty). They find the Van
Kaus cold and aloof and don't really know what to make of them.
Samsons hate the Van Kaus for being foreigners, but generally trust
the Duncasters as being authentic and the most (after themselves)
grounded family. They know the Dunlops are also local but don't
really give two shits because they still act snooty.
Van Kaus fear the Dunlops as the Dunlops have money, and thus
potentially power. They consider the Samsons as posing the least
threat. They are not sure how to react to the Duncasters, who on the
one hand are as disorganized as the Samsons, but also hold the
potential to become morally outraged and dangerous.
comes the shenanigans. For every home with a result of 1 or 6 (do
not count Magda or Uncle Ivanovik), it has a matching shenanigan
(change chart to taste)
This household has a petty feud over an imagined slight with the
highest ranking rival family.
This household owes a debt of honour (or equivalent) to the nearest
There was a past (secret) romantic entanglement between a member of
this household and the rival household with a card value closest to a
Queen (ties go to the closest)
This household is owed the Dunnsmouth Die Total in copper pieces from
the lowest card household of a rival family.
This household is responsible for breaking a boat from the furthest
away household of the same family. Tensions are high about replacing
The oldest member of this household is enraged at the youngest member
of the furthest away friendly household for suspected vandalism. If
the the friendly household's die result is even then the vandalism
was their fault.
This household and the nearest indifferent household are at odds over
a piece of treasure they found in a swamp. If this household has an
even die result, the treasure is currently in their possession. It
is a large carved stone idol of a pig, standing on its hind legs and
staring on the sky. It is worth 140 silver pieces to a collector,
but is actually from an old Roman ale house and is not a religious
idol. The two household's will attempt to keep stealing it back.
This household borrowed a teapot from the nearest friendly household
and has not returned it despite being asked like forty different
times. This household is now holding onto it out of spite because
they don't like the tone of the nearest friendly household.
There is a reluctant friendship between the youngest member of this
household and the youngest member of the rival household nearest in
card value (ties to the closest)
The three nearest households are not on speaking terms with this
household after someone in this household got drunk a couple months
ago and shouted into the swamp what they thought about their
A member of this household and a member of the rival household
furthest away recently got into a fist fight over a chicken they
found in the swamp at the same time. The chicken got away and both
sides threatened murder.
The oldest member of this household wants to kill the oldest member
of the rival household nearest in card value to a 3.
The furthest away household of the same family is owed 40 copper by
There is an Edsel sunk into the mud nearby. It is 90% rust at this
point. This may not seem like a shenanigan, but this is still all
Happy Birthday to the greatest country I currently live in! Today also marks the release of the second of my promised "Fat" books, full of all the in game content I use to run games. The previous was "Rampaging Monsters" , this endeavour is for easier generation of wizards. NGR uses a spell template system to make quickly generating a spell easy, but assigning a lump of them to an NPC wizard still took more time than I would like (i.e. greater than 30 seconds). Hark! A Wizard! is a generator to give a series of grimoires to a wizard to quickly give her a selection of thematically appropriate spells. It also makes player generated adventures that much easier to run by giving a list of mystical tomes a player can set about trying to hunt down (as well as what type of people are liable to have the tome).
The work features art and layout by the very talented Alex Mayo.
Honestly, the name alone sold me on it. Much for the same reason I bought tickets to go see "Shoot 'Em Up" and "Snakes on a Plane" in theatre. Honesty about what is in the tin works wonders on me. I also know that doesn't work the same for everyone. So I figured I would take the time to promote this gem for those who require a little more information.
This is my favourite adventure I have read all year. It is a pair of two main adventures/schemes that are in conflict with a couple interesting red herrings and a couple of "side quests" that are in fact byproducts of one of the main adventures. Very sandboxy, but there are timelines and schemes that progress if the players decide to do nothing.
My favourite aspect is that all of the weird goings on boil down to choices and game decisions. There is a haunted house with a terrible item. The item gives you macabre benefits, with drawbacks if you don't appease it. The players can throw it away at any point, but it is a pure monkey's trap. Most wont (at least for some time).
The titular "Evil Wizards in a Cave" have a scheme going on that involved them thieving a relic from a monastery. The monastery has its own goings on that that theft has interrupted. There are rampaging monsters going about that are destroying the countryside. Stopping the monsters will lead you back to the previous schemes.
All of the hooks are then tied to all the other hooks in a nice web, the outcome of player involvement is based on what priorities the players have.
I interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to let you folks that Neoclassical Geek Revival's 5th edition has been released. As always it tidies up confusing rules a bit, smooths out some bumpy areas, and has marginally better layout.
But this year is a little bit different. I will also plan to be putting out several different versions of NGR 5th edition. Rule wise they will all be the same, but you will hopefully have some variety in art and layout. A physical print run is in the cards, though it will probably be smaller this year as I will almost certainly cave and have a version available as POD for you plebeians who want a book they can coat in cola and pizza grease without feeling bad.
So the promotional test for "Under the Waterless Sea" is half-over, which seems an appropriate time to showcase some of the maps which have been updated by Simon Forster, who you may recall is one of the winners of the Dunnsmouth Mapping Challenge.
Here is one of his unkeyed maps:
Expect to see the PDF on RPGNow updated within the next day or two.
So as I've mentioned I'd been working
on a Polynesian adventure for Neoclassical Geek Revival, dual statted
for use with most OSR games. Ideally I would like to get it some
nice well polished layout and art, similar to “A Thousand Dead
Babies”, “The Gnomes of Levnec”, and “Scourge of the
Tikbalang”. I briefly considered a crowdfunding campaign, but
those bring with them a whole raft of problems, obligations, and
expectations that I didn't want to deal with. Instead I am going to
test a program I am going to satirically call “Buystarter”.
I am going to put my incredibly rough
looking but fully playable adventure up for sale for a reasonably low
price. This low price will last for one month, then I am going to
raise the price as if the work had professional art and layout. If
will then set about using those funds to hire someone for layout,
cartography, and art in that order. Once the work has been
completed, I will update the adventure for everyone who has purchased
No matter what you have a fully
playable adventure for a low price. If you spread the word and get
others to buy in, you get a slick looking adventure for a low price.
It will be interesting to see how this pans out as a concept.
I have been quite terrible in regular content posting, but as it is May two four weekend I figured I'd post a brief primer on what I've been up to:
Upcoming Soon (probably under 6 weeks unless fires occur)
The 2014 edition of Neoclassical Geek Revival
Thulian Echoes is nearing its release with LotFP
Written but still in the art and layout-y phases (probably under 3 months)
An upcoming polynesian adventure/setting
An adventure about a terrifying faerie queen
The second of the "fat" books for NGR (after rampaging monsters), this one is about wizards
In the "still being fleshed out" skeletal stage where I can use the content but it needs polishing etc (probably within a year)
An adventure starting location book
Hall of the Mountain Kings - its dwarves and an underground adventure
Blackthorne - My dark ages British setting
Lost and Left to Die: A third fat book of seed tables for the wilderness
If you've any specific interest about any particular bit let me know
So awhile back James Raggi made a comment on Google+ questioning how terrible an adventure it would be to just have a T-Rex show up.
I do stuff like that all the time. Sometimes having a monster trash a few villages is great fun. This document is a toolkit to quickly generate a monster rampage in NGR. How to stat out a monster you saw and through looked cool, why the monster is destroying hamlets, what rewards are offered, and how to generate a few rinky-dink little hamlets on the fly for the monster to destroy.
As the 2014 Edition of NGR gets closer, I wanted to create a few different books of pure fatty goodness for using NGR in a practical sense. This is the first (and who knows, if I get bored maybe the last) of these booklets.
It features some nifty art by the talented Alex Mayo who also worked on Scourge of the Tikbalang.
Now that Scenic Dunnsmouth has had a couple weeks to arrive in people's hot little hands and let them read through it, I'd like to see what towns people come up with.
For those unaware, Dunnsmouth contains the rules to generate your own unique version of the adventure every time you play it. You can read the adventure cover to cover and still be surprised when you play it and never be certain what horrors you'll face.
Part of generating your version of Dunnsmouth is making a map. That is what I want to see. Here is one of my maps from a couple years ago when I started this thing. I'd like to see if you can make a better map (and honestly it shouldn't be too hard).
So I am running a contest, with prizes!
Send me a picture of your map, and you could potentially win one of three hard-copy sets of A Thousand Dead Babies , The Gnomes of Levnec, and Scourge of the Tikbalang I custom printed for this purpose.
1 set will go to the best map by the important criteria of my petty whims (I choose one) 1 set will go to the best map as decided by plebeian consensus (a vote) 1 set will go to the best map as decided by the whims of the universe (a random entrant)
email me your contributions, post them on your blog and link it in the comments, or tag me in Google+ and I'll post it here for one month. At the end of the month (April 18th), the winners will be chosen.
So, just to give people a bit of a heads up on what I am working on:
1.) Helping with a project being done by two insanely talented people
2.) Slowly working on a Polynesia themed adventure
3.) Working on another small adventure I hope to pitch to LotFP
4.) Eagerly awaiting the release of Thulian Echoes
5.) And of course working on the 2014 release of NGR, the 5th edition. I am hoping this one will blow the socks off of previous releases.
Hopefully I'll also be able to post some more things, and perhaps work up a few booklets full of "fat" content for running NGR, content generators and guides and whatnot.
Scenic Dunnsmouth is a re-playable adventure set in a time forgotten swamp filled with secretive, backwoods xenophobes with a dark secret. Or maybe they don't have a dark secret and it is all in your paranoid imagination. Or maybe there is a serial killer on the loose who simple THINKS there is a dark secret. Or maybe there is serial killer and a dark secret. There also might be a witch, and maybe a mausoleum. There might be a lot of things, but what is the deal with the cube?
Scenic Dunnsmouth is an adventure that is randomly generated before play using dice and a deck of cards. It naturally builds its own intertwining elements and hooks. This is an adventure you can slap into every campaign you run, even with the same groups of players. If anything it gets more hilarious and more tense the more the same group plays it.
So go get a copy now to see some of the gorgeous art Jez Gordon has filled this sucker with.
"I had a tremendous amount of fun during my ill-fated sojourn to Scenic Dunnsmouth. It's a cunning bait-and-switch of an adventure and fellow travelers should heed my warning: Whatever you think is going on, you're wrong."
Evan from the blog "In Places Deep" (or as he prefers it to be called as often as you can In Deep Places) had the following to say: "It has [Spoilers!]"
The first time I was genuinely frightened in a RPG session. It was the first time that I actually thought that the best thing I could do for my character was to just high-tail it out of there and not look back (I mean this as a compliment, BTW)
Still not satisfied? How about some quotes from people you don't know and probably never will?
Totally didn't give one player nightmares - Ryan I wanted to rinse my uterus with bleach pretty much immediately - Mel A good time that will haunt your nightmares - Josh Surreal, creepy, disturbing - Gerry
Wow? Look at those comments from people who are barely above anonymous!
Well oiled warriors wandering about half clothed in land of filth caked feudal dung merchants straight from the fevered mind of a British comedian experiencing the malaise of the seventies may seem out of place. But that is because you don't understand what Barbarians truly are.
No one questions why these physically perfect specimens walk around the lands, seemingly out of place. It is painful to do so. That is not a metaphor, thinking too much about where these beings come from and why no one seems to consider them out of place can kill you. Blood will drain from your eyes and ears in a steadily increasing torrent.
Barbarians are beings of pure chaos who appear to be physically perfect specimens that hail from some region beyond the horizon you can't place on any map. Think about that, but not for too long. Who does that remind you of? Elves. Barbarians are actually a type of elf.
They come from "Barbaria", a land of icy glaciers, or perhaps a steamy jungle, or perhaps even an ash littered volcanic hellscape. It always changes, and no one can think too long upon it. They are from the other world, like all faerie kind.
Their magic hides their origins, it grants them supernatural strength when they need it most. But like all faerie kind they have a weakness. Their magic is diminished by covering their skin. It is their appearance and pride that fuels their magics.
But you may think to yourself (which you should stop doing), Barbarians hate wizards! Oh this is true. Like all elves, their innate spells can be discerned by the prying eyes of sages and wizards willing to dissect their corpses (or vivisect their living bodies). As a matter of protection, barbarians must be aggressive in rooting out the prying eyes of wizards. To tell you they hate magic is only to keep their secrets safe.
Do not question where barbarians come from. Do not think on why no one sees through their glamour or how they perform such feats of strength. But keep your cold iron handy...
Scourge of the Tikbalang was originally written as part of the OSR Cares Package, and as promised I have had it redone with professional art and layout by Alex Mayo. Also as promised,anyone who bought a copy of the OSR cares package can reach out to me and I'll ensure they get a complimentary copy of this in its current updated form.
And in case it needs to be said I will warn people that like many things I write this has a horror element and is full of horrible things that can be unsettling.
NGR already scales very well for starship combat, but this is about making a very specific type of genre. There would be no fighter craft for instance. It would be two starships (or more) blasting each other to bits with beam weapons and torpedos.
So we'd start by establishing a ship scale versus human scale, we'll say something massive like 200. That is one point of damage to a ship is 200 to a person. Then everything just shrinks to this new normal (size mod).
So each ship has stats like a living combatant.
They have a (hull) strength
They have a (systems) health score
They have an agility (maneuverability) score
They have an awareness (sensors) score
and if they have a ships compu-tor they have an intelligence score (and probably spirit if it comes up)
The ship doesn't have a luck score, but the captain does.
They also then have inventory (with a maximum based on the (hull) strength, just like a person)
This could include armour, but also weapons, engines, cargo bays (treat like a backpack) and the like.
The most important items are power generation (and then a backup and maybe even emergency power if the ship is well stocked). These power generators provide the equivalent of a "mana pool" for any scientician on board. That is especially important as "shields" would be variants the "Bubble of Protection" spell (aka a scientific principle). That is important because if someone knows the exact variant used with a ship's shields they can "reverse polarity" and take down the shields (the trope of knowing the shield frequency).
Other things are important as well: Weapons allow for attacking, engines allow for faster movement, tractor beams (a type of weapon) would allow for a ship to make "grapple" attacks. A deflector dish would be an essential component for "scienticians" as it would be a ship scale "science box".
Games involves groups of people though, and if there is only one ship involved (unlike say a fighter squadron) then there needs to be something for everyone to do. As such there would be several positions in the ship, all of whom have different choices and responsibilities round to round.
1.) The Captain
The captain has the least to actually do, but that is offset by having everyone else refer to the player as "Captain". The captain is the only one who can use their luck points for the ship as a whole. If they have leadership, the ability will transfer even to PC's.
2.) The Helm
The helm makes the decisions (ultimately, even if disobeying orders) about movement and defending the ship. They also make any stealth checks to keep the ship hidden. An important note is that if the Helm makes the ship "Defend itself" every station on the ship must use an action to "defend itself" (much like riding a horse). Probably one of the most active roles. Parkour and Guard would both be useful skills.
The Comm officer controls scanners (making spot checks) as well as ship to ship communications (appeals) and possibly hacking (scientician power). Most bard and rogue powers are useful as well.
The Weapons officer makes the attack rolls and picks which weapon or weapons to fire. Pretty obvious role, and while somewhat limited also possibly one of the most sought after (who doesn't like exploding things?) An important note is that "disarming" can still happen in ship to ship combat, that is how you would take enemy ship components/inventory offline. Most warrior powers are great, but so are some scientician powers.
The Engineering post is responsible for using SCIENCE! and for repairing damaged/disarmed components of the ship. Scientician and Rogue powers are really useful.
Anyone else (like a doctor) would be interacting with the crew more than the ship itself.
As you are potentially aware, I use NGR for science fiction and it works pretty well. You just lose the "magic classes" and its smooth sailing. But I've been watching classic Star Trek, The Forbidden Planet, and similar media lately due to other reasons and that implementation of Sci-Fi NGR falls a bit flat (even if it does fighter combat amazingly). The gap is the "Science Wizard" like Mr.Spock. So, to fill in that void the following class can replace the wizard and priest classes (being a super science themed amalgam of both).
In the far retro-future, generic scientific equipment and fancy sounding technobabble allow gifted individuals to seemingly break the laws of physics in ways that require you to trust their assurances that they are in fact not wizards. Be you Spock or the Doctor, you have a trusty "science box" that lets you pull off seeming magic.
Scienticians improve SCIENCE! Modified by Intelligence
1.) Research (Based on Sage)
This works much like Sage for wizards. The scientician may disassemble a device or specimen to learn the "scientific principle" behind it. If they simply examine it they may learn what is affecting the device or specimen. Use the Sage power from wizards. "Interesting, it appears this device uses gammatron radiation to render its wearer invisible to scanners"
2.) Polarity Reversal (Based on Anti-Magic).
This is a SCIENCE! version of counterspells, dispelling, or making wards (in this case temporary devices, such as an anti-position pill), except for "scientific principles" instead of spells. Requires a "science box" and power. "We've been hit by their tractor beams, our only hope is to reverse the polarity on our shields and trigger a tachyon pulse collapse"
3.) Hacking (Based on Exorcism)
The scientician can use comm systems to attack an enemy ship or mechanical device (overloading fuses and power sources). This is an appeal that deals damage. While manning the comms, a scientician with hacking adds their own SCIENCE! modifier to rolls to prevent hacking. "They've breached our firewalls with polymorphic worms based on a neural net. We've got to set off all of our logic bombs now if we want a hope in hell to purge the system"
4.) Vulnerability Exploit (based on Fervour)
The Scientician deals bonus damage to high science devices and creatures (such as ships) by analyzing weak points and targeting them with modified beams or similar buzzwords. For every cumulative point of SCIENCE! the scientician gains a damage bonus. "Their positron matrix is hidden behind their heat vents, modulate your beam frequencies and we'll bypass their defenses"
5.) Rational Mind (Based on a minor merge of Dogma and True Belief)
The scientician is not easily fooled by charlatans and has a steely intellect that prevents panic. The scientician suffers -2 influence/stress on any appeal and adds their SCIENCE! modifier to their awesomeness score. "Illogical, you are simply pretending to be the devil using a cloaked ship" Personal Item: The Science Box (based on Talisman)
Every time a new "Scientific Principle" is learned the scientician may attempt to improve their "Science Box" by rolling connectors on the 2d6. For every benefit level on the Science Box the scientician may reduce the power cost of "applied science" (ie spells) that are created through it. It works like a talisman basically.
How does SCIENCE! work?
Wizard spells are renamed "Scientific Principles" and work much the same (except they are not weaker the more people know them, but they are vulnerable to "Polarity Reversal" if others know them). So instead of a spell called "Rihalto's Mystic Bolt" you might have a "scientific principle" called "The Rihalto Paradox" that acts much the same. Spell components become "exotic materials" and the mechanics are the same.
The major difference is "Cost", instead of a mana pool the science requires generic sci-fi "power", usually from a ship, or from a "Science Box". A "Science Box" is a requirement for a scientifican to use most of their powers. On a ship it could be a deflector dish, while on an individual level it might be a sonic screwdriver or a tricorder. Finally instead of a grimoire, a scientician will have a "databank" that may be built into the same device as the "science box". Losing your databank is a big deal.