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The Bakemono of Kaosunoie

Are you familiar with the art of Domenico Neziti? If your answer is “No”, you owe it to yourself to check out his on-line portfolio. If Spes Magna Games had an art budget, I’d love to commission Domenico to do a cover and some interior art.

Domenico’s art has a definite voice that sets it apart. His character studies are evocative and stylized in a way that reminds me of Tony DiTerlizzi‘s Planescape work. Domenico’s monsters are usually scary, but some are adorable. His action pieces are dynamic and vivid.

Domenico has graciously permitted me to feature two of his pieces on site for this post. If you click on either piece, it will embiggen for greater clarity.

And now, some game content for Fate Accelerated Edition.

Sitting adjacent to a narrow, shallow canal that angles its way between barley fields, Kaosunoie appears as little more than a smallish, sturdy stone building. Its single entrance is blocked by nothing more than a silk curtain. Its small round windows hold nothing within their panes, presenting no real obstacle to sun, wind, or rain. The nearby well offers fresh, crisp water, and the dai-dōrō next to the winding path leading up to Kaosunoie hints that the structure is some sort of shrine.

Only the most aged locals remember a time when Kaosunoie was not there, and in the decades following the buildings mysterious appearance after a thickly fogged, windless night, everyone in the nearby farming village has made their peace with the strange structure. At the appointed times, they offer sacrifices of barley, rice, and braided hair, leaving these offerings around the dai-dōrō. In return, the bakemono that live within Kaosunoie avoid destructive mischief and even defend the village against threats.

Kaosunoie’s interior exists within two overlapping realities. In the mundane reality that the village also occupies, the building houses a single room with a dirt floor and unadorned walls. For those who, like the bakemono, can cross over into the spirit realm, Kaosunoie’s interior is a bewildering maze of corridors, ladders, chambers, and courtyards open to a starless, cloudless sky locked in eternal twilight. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of bakemono live in Kaosunoie, and the spaces harder to reach are home to more dangerous creatures, including at least one oni.

Stats for gangs of bakemono:

Bakemono Gang
Shapeshifter
Skilled (+2) at: Ganging up, pranks
Bad (-2) at: Staying focused, maintaining current form
Stress: [] [] [] (6 bakemono)

Stats for a bakemono character:

O-Tomiki
High Concept: Bakemono Shaman of the Void
Trouble: No Such Thing As Too Much Sake
Other Aspects: My Shapeshifting Powers Are Strong, Look! Over There!, I Can Smell Your Weakness

Approaches: Careful Mediocre (+0), Clever Average (+1), Flashy Fair (+2), Forceful Average (+1), Quick Good (+3), Sneaky Fair (+2)

Stunts
Like the Wind: Because my form is fluid, I gain a +2 to Quickly create an advantage or overcome an obstacle by changing my shape.

Refresh: 3

June 19th, 2015  in RPG No Comments »

Vodyanoi & Rusalki

From the waist up, a vodyanoy appears as a naked old man, but its frog-like face, tangled greenish hair, and covering of algae and muck over fish scales surely prevents anyone from mistaking this creature for human. What’s more, it has not hands but instead webbed paws, and in place of its legs extends a powerful fish’s tail. A vodyanoy’s eyes burn like red-hot coals.

When not swimming, it usually rides along its river on a half-sunken log, making loud splashes. When angered, a vodyanoy breaks dams, destroys water mills, and drowns both people and animals alike. Consequently, those who live along the banks of a vodyanoy’s river make sacrifices to appease the monster. Vodyanoi also drag down people to their underwater dwellings to serve as slaves.

For Barbarians of Lemuria

Attributes: Strength 4, Agility 0, Mind 1

Combat Abilities: 2 claws +1, damage d6-1; Defence 1; Protection d3-1 (scales); Lifeblood 10

Special: Vodyanoi breathe water as well as air. Against man-made structures, vodyanoi can exert enormous destructive power, comparable in many ways to the effects of a catapult.

For Dungeon World

Group, Hoarder, Intelligent
Claws (d8+2 damage, forceful)
6 HP
2 Armor
Close
Special Qualities: Amphibious
Instinct: To dominate its territory

* Destroy a man-made structure
* Drag victim to the bottom
* Swim silently and swiftly

For Swords & Wizardry

HD 4+1; AC 5 (14); Atks 2 claws (1d6); SV 13; Special breathe water, destroy man-made structure; MV 6 (Swim 12); AL C; CL/XP 5/240

The rusalka, an unquiet undead monster, was in life a young woman who either committed suicide by drowning due to an unhappy marriage or who was murdered by drowning, especially after becoming pregnant with an unwanted child. A rusalka must suffer its tortured existence in or near the body of water in which it both died and was reborn.

This undead creature is not invariably malevolent, for it may die in peace if its death is avenged. Nevertheless, a rusalka’s main activity is far from benign. It seduces by either by looks or by voice young men, who the monster then leads into the depths of its waterway. Therein, the rusalka entangles its victim with her long red hair and submerges, dragging the would-be lover to his death.

For Barbarians of Lemuria

Attributes: Strength 2, Agility 2, Mind 2

Combat Abilities: grappling hair +2, damage d3; Defence 2; Protection d4-1 (lacks any vulnerable organs); Lifeblood 10

Special: Rusalki appear as beautiful, red-haired maidens to mask their true, more horrific appearance. If engaged in seductive efforts against a male hero, the hero must attempt a Hard Mind action to avoid being charmed by the monster.

For Dungeon World

Devious, Group, Intelligent
Entangling hair (d4 damage)
10 HP
0 Armor
Close, Reach
Special Qualities: Undead
Instinct: To kill young men

* Appear beautiful
* Ensare in its entangling hair
* Inflame the passions

For Swords & Wizardry

HD 8; AC 3 (16); Atks Entangling hair (1d3 then constrict); SV 8; Special appear human, charm male, constrict (1d6), undead; MV 9 (Swim 9); AL C; CL/XP 11/1,700

June 3rd, 2015  in RPG 2 Comments »

The Mouth of Truth

Nota Bene: The accompanying photograph was taken by Dnalor_01 and is released under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

For Dungeon World

Carved from marble, cracked and worn after centuries of use and misuse, the Mouth of Truth currently rests against a wall in the portico of the sea god in a bustling, nearly lawless coastal trade center. The fog of history and legend obscures the Mouth’s true origins, but it’s powers are well and widely known.

If someone tells a lie while their hand the rests in the sculpture’s mouth, the marble aperture slams shut, almost certainly crushing muscle and bone to pulp. Those about to embark on a voyage may also propitiate the Mouth and ask for an oracle about the journey.

When you propitiate the Mouth of Truth, spend 100 coins and roll +1 for every extra 100 coins spent. ✴On a 10+, choose 2. ✴On a 7–9, choose 1.

* The voyage will likely be less perilous. Take +1 forward when you undertake a perilous journey.
* You will meet a significant person during your journey.
* A beneficial opportunity will be encountered while traveling.
* An unexpected benefit waits at the journey’s end.

June 1st, 2015  in RPG No Comments »

Bosch-Inspired Monsters

Yndspeers appear as a bizarre avian-like humanoid roughly the size of a dwarf. A yndspeer is devoid of feathers except for a crest on its head and a tuft growing downward from its abdomen. Rather than wings, a yndspeer has stubby arms and hands. Males also sport wickedly sharp, upward curving barbs on their legs half way between the knee and ankle. These creatures cannot fly, but move rapidly along with a herky-jerky gait. Despite their somewhat comical appears, yndspeers are mischievous and cruel.

HD 1+1; AC 7 (12); Atks barbed spear (1d6); SV 18; Special spears lodge in victim (save negates); MV 12; AL C; CL/XP 2/30

The lyuwvis — a bizarre hybrid of frog, lion, and fish — hunts coastal marshlands. In the water, it swims sluggishly; on land, it hops about on its legs or else scoots through muck and mud on its belly. What the lyuwvis lacks in grace, it makes up for in strength and tenacity. This monster grows to the size of a large hound, and its powerful jaws inflict terrible wounds. The lyuwvis spits a noxious mixture of mud, saliva, and mucous before it attacks. Those struck by this foul substance find their reflexes impeded (as a Slow spell; save negates).

HD 3+2; AC 5 (14); Atks bite (1d6+2); SV 14; Special noxious spit; MV 6 (Swim 6); AL N; CL/XP 4/120

May 31st, 2015  in RPG No Comments »

Memorial Day

“Some things in life are too beautiful to be forgotten. These things may be what men do in this world; they may even be their manner of passing from it. For example, almost every country has instituted a memorial day to recall the supreme sacrifice its patriots have made in defense of country and civilization. Because life was the most precious thing they could give, the living cannot forget their gift. They themselves could not ask for any such memorial, nor could they institute it; that was left to their survivors.” — Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

May 25th, 2015  in RPG No Comments »