Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Misremembered Men

In The Destruction of the Philosophers Al-Ghazali teaches us that all things in the material universe exist only as information in the mind of God, much as all things in a video game exist only as information in the mind of a computer. He was not quite right. In fact all things exist only as information in the mind of Yaldabaoth, the corrupt and rebellious entity who created the material universe against the express will of the Ineffable Monad, who wished to remain forever in eternal contemplative unbeing. Yaldabaoth does his best to keep track of everything, but his brain is slowly rotting with age and he was never a particularly diligent student of philosophy in the first place. Sometimes he forgets things, and those things simply blink out of existence. Other times he gets the details wrong. In the book of his memory all things are written in the divine language Enochian, and even a single misremembered letter can have dramatic consequences.

These are the Misremembered Men, the Flawkind or Glitchenkin. They were not always like this. Some have memories of their former lives. They have the stats of a normal human, but they
  1. Have one random stat set to 99.
  2. Have one random skill set to 999.
  3. Have no HP variable and therefore cannot be killed. Blood and viscera gush from their wounds but they take no actual damage.
  4. Do not register as a valid target for an attack roll. You can't attack them, though you can still damage them in other ways.
  5. Can glide through solid objects, ragdolling frantically and spraying polygons everywhere. Will grab you and pull you into the negative space under the floor.
  6. Can swim through air as if it were water and walk through water as if it were air. 
  7. Can, whenever you leave a room they're in, spawn a duplicate of themselves in the next room you enter.
  8. Can interact with anything they can see as if it were in melee range.
  9. Are slowly growing larger at all times. Reset to default size whenever they roll a 1.
  10. Are ten times as fast when walking backwards.
  11. Are invisible so long as their hit points are an odd number.
  12. Turn anyone they deal combat damage to into a level 5 elven wizard named Risparillion.
and they
  1. Have no inventory and therefore cannot hold, wear or possess objects.
  2. Have a memory that resets every time you initiate conversation with it.
  3. Can't turn left.
  4. Can't go through doors.
  5. Can't make sound, directly or indirectly.
  6. Can only speak in mangled, distorted word fragments and write in broken spidery symbols that crawl across the page.
  7. Are completely passive - can't instigate action, though they can respond to stuff done to them.
  8. Are constantly, rapidly aging. When they turn 100 they roll over into a baby again.
  9. Will instantly teleport back to a particular spot if they move more than a hundred feet from it.
  10. Freeze up whenever they roll a 1 and can't do anything until they are manually returned to where they were at the beginning of the day.
  11. Looks like a mundane object - broom, dog, teakettle, etc. Still can do anything a human can do.
  12. Looks like whoever's standing closest to them. But all glitched out, obviously.
Some Misremembered Men just want to lead normal lives. Others take revenge on a world that hates and fears them, or act out of motivations comprehensible only to themselves. The Syntagmatic Order wants to find Yaldabaoth, said to lurk shamefully in a cave beneath the world, and force him to remember than again. They do other chivalric stuff as well, and are often found waiting by bridges to challenge those who cross. Their horses are nervous.

Misremembered Men grant corrupted XP. If you level up in a session where you kill one, you get a corrupted level. This probably needs to handled on a case-by-case basis, but you could get bonuses to the wrong stats or spells from the wrong class. They also sometimes drop treasure.
  1. Perfectly neutral and generic object. Has no properties. Valuable as a curiosity to a certain type of collector.
  2. Fishing rod with the data of a broadsword. Can be used to do anything a broadsword can do. Cannot be used to fish with.
  3. Boots that let you walk through the air, but only along a flat plane located at exactly sea level.
  4. Infected coin. Lettering distorted, face of monarch warped. Slowly dissolves into pixelated rainbow dust, but not before it's infected 2d6 other coins in the inventory of whoever's holding it.
  5. Displaced horse. The rider sits in the air ten feet behind it.
  6. Bow with infinite range. Arrow gets bigger the longer it travels. Can be used to destroy the sun. Don't do that though.
  7. Spellbook full of corrupted spells. If you memorise them they can't be cast but also can't be forgotten, and just sit in your head taking up spell slots forever.
  8. Sword of plus. Not plus anything, just plus.
  9. Rations that make you feel full but don't provide nutrition.
  10. Cuirass that takes up a head slot instead of a torso slot. Wear it as a hat along with a normal cuirass.
  11. Whistle that, when blown inside a room, makes all the doors in that room lead to the Minus World. The Minus World is constructed out of bits and pieces of all the other settings in your campaign, copied and pasted in incoherent order. It is said Sophia, Yaldabaoth's mother, dwells therein, imprisoned by order of the Ineffable Monad in the sinful universe she helped her son to create.
  12. A fuzzy mass of pixels. If ingested, causes one random item in your inventory to duplicate itself 99 times. Stolen from here.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Metal Dragons

Inspired by a Scrap Princess G+ post about how forgettable the metallic dragons are. There's now one dragon for each of the alchemical metals, with a personality based on the associated planet.

Suryamandra, the Golden Wyrm. Rightful empress of all creation. Threw the gods off their sacred mountain at the world's hub, moved in to their eternal city. Paladins of the outcast gods try to fight her and always fail. Breath is all-consuming sunlight that liberates noble souls from their corrupt fleshly bodies and leaves behind only smoking skeletons. Souls then bound to serve her for eternity. Heart is the philosopher's stone. Will know if even a single coin from her immense treasury is stolen and will dispatch a battalion of heroic ghosts to track down and slay whoever's wound up holding it. Shopkeepers in vicinity of sacred mountain all know about this and will not accept payment in gold under any circumstances.

Chandraluna, the Dragon Argent. Comes down on nights when the moon is full to play tricks on lone travellers who won't be believed. Can shapeshift into a hot person, command night creatures, induce petty misfortunes, turn straight roads into winding ones and winding roads into labyrinths. Breath is luminous mist that takes the shape of your nightmares and attacks you. Lives in a moon castle full of secret passages, doors to nowhere, libraries of lies and whimsical items taken from children's dreams. Any madman who enters the castle becomes sane, but only so long as they stay there. They also live forever. Advised by beautiful trauma victims and exiled monarchs from long-forgotten kingdoms. Deliberately drives people mad so they have to stay with her and be her friend.

Vormangala, the Iron Serpent. Flightless. Lives in a tunneled-through magnetic monolith in the heart of a barren red desert. The monolith's black sides are encrusted with weapons and the corpses of soldiers who couldn't get out of their armour in time. Breathes a torrent of red rust that corrodes all metal instantly and infects you with the desire to beat each other to death with your bare hands. Has the same effect on anything he touches, but slower. Jealously hoards enough enchanted blades to equip a small army. Loves chess but plays far too aggressively. Has a long-distance game with a prominent general who's secretly analysing every move for clues to his psychology and weaknesses.

Aphrasukra, the Wyrm Verdigris. Breathes a cloud of colourful spores that makes you fall in love with all living things, including the dragon. Lives in an enchanted rainforest full of tropical birds, carnivorous plants, butterflies, tigers and blissed-out romance cultists who live off fruit and the intoxicating nectar of the flowers. Attracts poets and painters, who scrape the verdigris off her flanks and use it as a pigment. Rewards her favourites by eating them. The rainforest is hostile to anyone who comes with less than pure intent and a haven for people fleeing arranged marriages. More than one kingdom has been cast into brutal war when a peace treaty and diplomatic betrothal was scuppered by a runaway husband.

Jovanguru, the Dragon Pewter. Conspiracy theorist. Covets Suryamandra's power and is obsessed with unveiling the secret systems by which the gold dragon controls everything that happens in the world. Sly, duplicitous and paranoid. Likes to think he's outwitted you. Sees everything not in her direct sphere of influence as a threat that must be controlled. Has made a fortune on the stock market through various proxies and invests it all in plots against those who would destroy him, including the other dragons, gods, kings, merchant houses and ordinary people who just happened to move in a suspicious way. Breathes lightning and lives in a thunderhead. Sees everything that's visible under the sky. His enemies wear wide-brimmed hats.

Kronoshanti, the Leaden Wyrm. Sleeps among the columns of a ruined city, dreaming of the day when it was whole. By crawling into the dragon's ear you can become a character in its dream, someone who lived in the city back when it was inhabited and prosperous. The temples of the dream-city hold priceless knowledge, including the recipe for liquid fire and a map to lost Hyperborea. If you stay in the dream too long, however, the memories of your dream-life will overwhelm you and cause you to forget the waking world. The dragon inhabits its own dream as a small black dog somewhere in the city's slums. Killing it will throw you out of the dream and wake her up, although maybe only briefly. Breathes a tide of darkness which inflicts rapid aging and melancholy. Armoured everywhere except for her belly, which she sleeps on. Heavy as fuck.

Hermastunga, the Dragon Mercury. Lives in a glass bottle-palace under the sea. Aggressively cheerful and hyperactive. Can change size and does so constantly. Wants to collect all the knowledge in the world. Memory like a goldfish. Has developed an ingenious new way of storing information in liquid form but can't remember how to read it. Kidnaps people and makes them tell her everything they know from the beginning as fast as possible. Then forgets that she's done it and makes them do it again. Then gets frustrated and eats them. Served by amnesiac djinn who will lose count of how many wishes they've granted you and forget what the wish is before they make it come true. Breathes poisonous fumes that cause itching, tremors, paralysis, hair loss, irritability, light sensitivity and the feeling of bugs crawling under the skin.

Lesser dragons include antimony, arsenic, bismuth, borax, magnesium, phosphorus, platinum, potassium, sulphur and zinc. Aeneolus, the Dragon Bronze, is Aphrasukra's daughter with Jovanguru. Orichalcos, the Dragon Brass, is her son with the wyvern zinc. They hate each other.