Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Shroud

 

Veil that separates the material and immaterial. Some do believe that it’s composed of physical fabric, torn during the Mage War. They spend their entire lives looking for the tatters.

There are also other Mystical Fabrics - or the Indescribable Veils. They separate the Spheres - and separate the human minds from the sparks of thoughts about the Inner Mysteries of Ortix.

“The Shroud was made by the Great Abstraction - the most powerful Eternal Device ever created. It was weaving it for millennia, slowly shaping the boundaries of Ran-Gor. Separating the Ran from the Gor.”

“IT was hiding beyond the Shroud. The Primeval Insanity. The Well of Starlight. The Pillar of Darkness. Now its deathless pseudopodia slowly creeps into our reality, boring through the Spheres and sowing its toxic seeds. If there is a way to close the wounds of the Shroud, we must find it. If not, our fate is sealed.”

***

Yes, the stuff I will post in the nearest future will most likely refer to the first idea behind the creation of this blog. Of course, I will also post other stuff. Or not. Or I will disappear for the next few months, like many times before.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Ashen Void now also in print on DTRPG

 

It happened - Ashen Void is now available in POD on DriveThruRPG. It is in fact my first print book available there (paper versions of the previous ones can be grabbed on Lulu).

GRAB YOUR PRINT HERE

Monday, June 27, 2022

World of Ortix

When I started this blog (switching from the Terminal Space, back in the Golden Age of Blogging, damn I really miss those times), I did it mainly for posting stuff about my upcoming weird Sword&Planet / Science Fantasy / Gonzo Fantasy campaign setting that was slowly taking shape in my head. I was heavily inspired by Planet Algol (Blair, you need to come back) and my head was literally bursting with ideas.

And then over eleven years have passed.

Not much was done, at least not on topic of Ortix. Sure many ideas were written down but I cannibalized lots of them for the other projects. But the core remained intact and the last attempt to shape it into something more coherent was in 2019. And now I decided it may be a good moment to finally get it done.

Do not expect the end result within the next decade tho - since it started in 1997, it should take me next 25 years to complete it! More seriously - I don't even aim to complete the "Book of Ortix" or whatever it should be named. I treat it more as a thought experiment and way to keep myself occupied in the most creative way possible, while having fun at the same time. Of course I will post (or at least try to) the things I make, here on the blog.

So far I've compiled the loose list of one hundred ideas, both new and really old, that could be incorporated into the setting. Some of them are rather down to earth, while others (like four inner spheres of the planet) are outrageously gonzo. We shall see what will emerge from that mess.

With the Ashen Void I've experimented with full-color AI art and rather clear and "semi-pro" layout. This time I'll come back to the roots - World of Ortix will be ugly, convoluted and linguistically inferior, sprinkled with strange, hand drawn artwork.

But - as I said before - do not expect any coherent releases on this topic within the next twenty five years.


Ashen Void - first review!

 

Almighty Needles took his time to write a review (in fact, the very first review) for the Ashen Void. I really appreciate that - thank you very much!

OSR Review & Commentary On Ashen Void By Albert Rakowski From Underworld Kingdoms For Your Old School Fantasy or Science Fantasy Campaigns

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Probably the two most important sentences...

 ...from the AD&D 1e DMG. I bet that every one of us knows at least one person who clearly forgot (or never knew of) them!

Click to enlarge!


Thursday, June 23, 2022

I don't like classic abilities


Okay, I must admit that the title is abit clickbaity. I do not dislike the classic six D&D stats. They are only tools. And - in my opinion - some of them may be replaced and others repurposed to make (my) games more interesting and make all their mechanical aspects easier to resolve.

Constitution (CON) - this stat devours and incorporates the Strength and becomes the general description of one's physical strength and toughness.

Dexterity (DEX) - nothing to see here, move along. Or rather, in some games, DEX was used to determine the ranged attacks, while STR was used to hit an opponent in melee. I find it, well, stupid. So, in my games (non-OSR games, as within the Old School I always stuck to 0e) DEX always was used for melee (and dodge, and of course som other non-combat actions). This brings us to the next stat.

Perception (PER) - I always thought that lack of ability that clearly described one's senses was the biggest flaw of D&D (and WFRP as well, but that's another story). Thus, behold the Perception! Easy to use in ranged combat, easy to use for well, spotting things, hearing things and, uhh, tasting things? Okay, that may be a little too far.

Willpower (WLP) - you may view the Willpower just as the classical Wisdom. I just changed the name to make it more fitting its purpose.

And... that's all! Or maybe not, as I like stats. And I like stat-based games and resolution systems. That's why the second edition of Terminal Space will be based on Knave. To make it even faster and easier to use. So, here are some additional ideas for the statistics:

Tech Level - I used it in both Terminal Space and Bandits and Battlecruisers. Randomly determining one's technological prowess always led to some hilarious results. Also, it fitted the genre really well.

Charisma - extremely useful in most games and/or settings. So, you may ask, why I omitted it? Because in some settings. worlds and circumstances, it becomes quite obsolete. For example, robots aren't very sociable, so in settings devoid of humans (and elves, dwarves and so on) CHA isn't very helpful. That's why I got rid of it in Pain.

Faith - can be used to describe the character's closeness to a god (or gods). Perilous Ages had some other minor mechanical benefits relatable to Faith's level but in more magical settings I would use it to affect one's ability to cast clerical spells.

Sync - very open idea, created for use in Pain to outline one's attunement to the mystical powers of the City. Here (page 3) I've added some additional ideas how to use this stat in your games. Fueled by Pain is percentile ruleset but hey, it doesn't really matter in the matter of the character abilities.


Oh, and the last thing - you may ask - WHERE THE FUCK IS INTELLIGENCE? Well, nowhere. I dumped it. INT is absolutely and utterly pointless, maybe except the situations when you roll it really low, which forces you to roleplay an idiot. But aside of that, it doesn't have many good uses (at least in my opinion). Extracting some information from the GM isn't one of them. If you're stupid and your character isn't, it won't end up well. And I ran games for some, let's say, not very bright individuals (and - to be perfectly honest with you - I like both them and the memories of our games) so it's way easier to remove the PCs intelligence score, thus balancing it with the one of the player.

Sheesh, I think this post is quite gibberish. I sat down and wrote it on the fly, without any previous notes and similar stuff. So, if something is totally unreadable or unclear - let me know!

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Blog visual overhaul and some other news

 

As you can see, I've modified the looks of the blog. The last renovation took place in 2014 and I got quite bored by the mustard colors and wacky logo - so now it looks like a vomit, with even more wackiest logo!

In addition, I phased out of social media. Even MeWe gave me nothing good. I still do have an account but I do not plan to log in anytime soon. Too many toxic fucks there.

Soo, the Ashen Void has been released. And as I totally suck at promoting my shit, the sales are at all-time low! Which isn't good but I will still write new stuff. Because I love to.

What's next? I have no fucking clue. Maybe something based on the Knave (because why not?), maybe Terminal Space-related. Or maybe something entirely new. Or maybe Pain. Who knows - I don't!


Monday, June 20, 2022

Ashen Void is out now!

 

It's done - Ashen Void is now available both in PDF and print (DTRPG PDF should be available within the next few days). The game is 88 pages-long and presented in full color. HERE you can find more detailed info about its contents!

Grab a PDF from Lulu

Grab a print from Lulu

Grab a copy from DriveThruRPG

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Ashen Void - What Was Lost

 

It will be finished tomorrow. I think I will release it within the next few days...

Meanwhile - WHAT WAS LOST - and became embedded with the powers of the Wastes. This is only a half of one of the many random tables from the book.

  1. Wooden horse with antlers made of yellowed bones. Has the power to repel all quadrupedal herbivores.
  2. Porcelain spoon with its surface cracked from immense heat. Can turn small amounts of dense liquid into silver dust.
  3. Tarnished bronze sword without a handle. If thrown into the air, its position after falling on the ground will show the way home.
  4. Figurine made of glowing metal, depicting a beautiful woman. Its radiance can illuminate the Darkness, but dims during the night.
  5. Pendant made of a small ammonite shell. Grants the ability to breathe water, but only when it’s crystal-clear.
  6. Wooden plank with four nails made of blackened silver. The plank itself is quite useless, but a single nail is enough to banish a spirit haunting a grave.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Ashen Void - Stygian Polypore (example monster)

 

This is an example monster from my upcoming system-neutral campaign setting, called the Ashen Void. As you can see, it's all random tables. I love random tables. And you should love them too.

 

Shape and Size

  1. Lumbering monolith, as big as a building. Its surface is cracked and wrinkled
  2. Oval sphere, six feet in diameter, moving slowly on several fragile legs
  3. Thin and worm-like, several dozen feet in length, ended with a bright red cap
  4. Giant, gray sponge, covered with crater-like openings glowing with blue light
  5. Approximately human-sized, shaped like a grub, its surface covered with green spikes
  6. Three feet tall, lignified pyramid with a white surface covered with pulsating veins
  7. Seven feet tall, almost perfect cube with all surfaces dotted with large holes
  8. Vaguely resembling a humanoid with a black exterior and extremely twisted limbs that cannot hold the weight of the body


Spores

  1. Extremely hallucinogenic
  2. Time-stopping globules, exploding with Stasis Field if touched
  3. Addictive and pleasure-inducing; the Polypore is always followed by the ones dependent on it
  4. Exploding with Darkness, which can sometimes spew horrors of its own
  5. Razor-sharp and very brittle bolts with serrated edges
  6. Pink mist of very fine particles, inducing dizziness and allergic reactions


Magical Growths

  1. Able to heal all wounds caused by acid
  2. If consumed, allows one to see invisible things but also makes one unable to see anything else
  3. Will summon a dazed Angel if thrown into fire
  4. Will slowly crystallize into a fist-sized emerald. The crystallization process takes approximately 90 days
  5. Charged with static electricity. Cutting them open with metal tools is ill-advised
  6. The extremely stinky brown liquid inside them can turn an ordinary rock into a Floatstone


Emblems

  1. The Sickle of Regrowth
  2. “It’s hard to believe that they were once humans - powerful Fungal Wizards, consumed by the primal forces they couldn’t control.”
  3. “Be very careful with fire. The Polypores can explode if touched by flames.”
  4. Death Cap Helmet
  5. “The Fungi of the Caustic Maze can levitate somehow. Beware of the ones with long limbs, as they can use them to grab you. And they will never let go.”
  6. Bell of Fungicide

Friday, June 10, 2022

Ashen Void - what's inside?

 

 

Here you can find the full list of everything that will be included in the book. The page above is a screenshot from InDesign, depicting one of the monsters. As I said in the previous post, no stat blocks whatsoever - it's completely system-neutral.

THE WORDS - list of 50 rumors; treat them as the main description of the setting.

ORIGINS - short descriptions of the 14 different places/nations/social groups from which PCs can originate.

THIS CURSE IS YOUR BIRTHRIGHT -  if one or more of your starting stats is exactly 13, you are cursed.

HUMAN SETTLEMENTS - 6 random tables, containing info about traits of the cities and some random encounters.

THE RUINS - 4 random tables about... the ruins. Tomb Cities, ancient capital of the empire and something more.

PEOPLE OF THE WASTES - Tribes of the West, Hermits of the Mud Flats.

HIRELINGS AND MERCENARIES - self-explanatory. Two tables.

NIGHTMARES INCARNATED: 42 random tables about the monsters.

  • Effigy of Loss
  • Giant
  • Jewel Thief
  • Necrosphinx
  • Nihil Warlock
  • Orb of Dead Dreams
  • Shadow People
  • Stygian Polypore
  • Swamp Stalker
  • Toad

THE TRIALS - more info soon!

WHAT WAS LOST - twelve mundane items, lost and saturated with the powers of the Wastes.

THE ANGELS - info about the menace of the world.

MAGIC OF BONES AND ANTLERS - self-explanatory (or not!).

Random FOSSILS

Random IMPERIAL POISONS

CORPSE PLUNDERING

ADVENTURE HOOKS

 

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Introducing Ashen Void - a system-neutral campaign setting

 

I wrote a setting. I needed a break from Pain and Sci-Fi (and Sci-Fantasy) in general. So I sat down and wrote a game. Systemless and comprised almost entirely of random tables. The proofreading and editing is already done, all artwork is done (with use of an AI). Now I'm fighting with InDesign to make a proper PDF (better than my previous releases, made in... Word).

  • The world is arid and stagnant. The main region of the setting, simply known as the Wastes, is in fact an ancient seabed...
  • ...or not - as there's nothing that should be considered a fact. Everything is just a table (or a list) of possibilities.
  • Speaking of tables - there are seventy eight random tables in the book. And hardly anything else in terms of text. You can form your own version of the world by picking different results or rolling the dice. Or - what's most likely to happen - you can cannibalize some ideas to include them in your own ongoing campaign.
  • The game will be released under Creative Commons license. And the package will contain a text document, to make aforementioned cannibalizing even easier.
  • Ten monsters, without any stats or concrete form. Just strange ideas. 4 random tables per monster. And they are really weird.
  • The Trials will await the heroes. They must prove themselves to be worthy or be slaughtered by the ancient, timeless monsters: the Roach, the Goat, the Scorpion and the Guardian Angel.
  • I think, according to the current progress with the design, that the book will have about 80-100 pages. Full color. And will be available both in print and PDF, both on Lulu and DTRPG.

 More info soon.