Thursday 10 September 2009


The question mark is there because I'm not sure how much of a hiatus it is. Basically, I'm getting married next week (for the third time, but to the same woman; long story). And with all the concomitant skylarking and derring-do that's involved in planning and carrying out a wedding, I just don't know how much time I'll have for blogging.

I might get some entries done but I might not. This is just by way of explanation should any of you think "that noisms fellow is getting fucking lazy and/or running out of ideas". (In any case, as you should know, I've always been lazy, and I have too many ideas for my own good.) Things should pick up again come October.

I know there's likely to be much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the prospect of this blog being quiet for a few weeks. Try to get along without me. I know it will be very, very hard.

Monday 7 September 2009

Grasshoppermen of Lower Druk Yul

Druk Yul is known as a realm of huge mountains, some of them 10,000 or more metres high. But the land is divided into two geographically distinct areas: Upper Druk Yul, where the bulk of the mountains are concentrated, and Lower Druk Yul, which is a vast semi-tropical area of hilly grassland. It is a wild borderland without any form of centralised authority; the crystal dragons of Upper Druk Yul care little for conquest and the traders of Lamarakh are ill at ease away from the riverland. Otherwise it is sometimes crossed by merchants and messengers moving between the mountains and the lowlands, but that is all.

A race of humanoid grasshoppers inhabit the area. They have so little contact with other peoples that they are barely known outside of Druk Yul; in the languages of Lamarakh and the lowlands they are called only by names meaning "Grasshoppermen". They live a simple hunter-gatherer lifestyle, feeding mainly off giant cicadas and locusts, roaming about in bands consisting of around 20 adults and 30 juveniles. They are aggressive and territorial, and tend to attack any intelligent being which enters what they deem to be their land. But they can sometimes be bartered with or placated with gifts, if a method can be devised for communication.

Grasshoppermen are powerful fighters, usually attacking by leaping on a foe and wrestling them to the ground to be devoured. Though they do not wear armour or use weapons, they have tough exoskeletons and massive jaws which can crunch through steel. They grow to be 8 or 9 feet tall and can fly for short distances. They are most commonly encountered in scouting or hunting parties of up to a dozen or so adult males.

Grasshoppermen of Lower Druk Yul

Armour Class: 4
Hit Dice: 4+2*
Move: 120'(40')
Flying: 150'(50')
Attacks: 1 bite / 2 claws / special (see below)
Damage: 1d8/1d4/1d4
No. Appearing: 2d6
Save As: F5
Morale: 8
Treasure Type:
Intelligence: 9
Alignment: Neutral
XP: 200

Special Attacks / Defenses: Grasshoppermen can sacrifice all their attacks in one turn to make a leap of up to 150' in any direction during the movement phase.

If both a Grasshopperman's claws hit in one round, he can wrestle his opponent to the ground. The victim cannot move or attack when wrestled, and the Grasshopperman's bite attacks automatically hit him each round until he can escape. Grasshoppermen are much stronger than other humanoid peoples and the only way to free a wrestled victim is for his comrades to reduce the attacker to 50% of his remaining hit points (calculated from the moment of the wrestling attack).

Sunday 6 September 2009

Brazilian-Japanese Gaming

Attending the Brazilian-Japanese Festival 2009 in Yoyogi yesterday = noisms has a crushing hangover today. (I do at least retain some memories of the "Miss Brazilian-Japanese 2009" competition, thankfully.)

The link between Brazil and Japan is one of those odd footnotes of world history; you don't get two countries that are as different as the one is from the other, and yet they have a close relationship stemming back 100 years. The biggest population of Japanese people (1.4 million) outside of Japan can be found in Brazil, and there are perhaps 300,000 Brazilians of Japanese descent living in Japan. The mingling of Japanese and Portuguese ethnicities has created a unique lusaphone culture all of its own.

Here are some Brazilian-Japanese games I'd like to run:
  • Call of Cthulu. The first Japanese immigrants arrived in Brazil in 1908, where they found work on coffee plantations around Sao Paulo. This game would involve a group of these immigrants and their encounters with sinister and mysterious Entities in the Brazilian countryside.
  • GURPS. Many Nazis fled to South America after WWII, and it wouldn't surprise me if there were Japanese war criminals who did the same. This game would involve a group of investigators trying to track down such people in 1950s Sao Paulo. A little bit of Munich, a little bit of The Boys from Brazil, and a touch of The Dark Ocean Society.
  • Dogs in the Vineyard, set in a kind of fantasy Southern Brazil, where the players are religious elders in the Japanese community, enforcing the will of the Gods.

I'll never run those games because let's face it, I don't have the time. But a man can dream.

Thursday 3 September 2009

The Ghost Children of Kevelish Vo

Kevelish Vo was infamous even when it was at its zenith - a saying in the foothills at the time had it that "There is blood on the knives of Kevelish Vo from the moment they are forged." Nowadays its streets lie empty and in ruins, haunted by bandits, murderers, cannibals and ghosts. No knives are forged there these days, though blood is still plentiful.

The nadir of the civilisation that the men of Kevelish Vo founded was the Autumn Plague, when sickness descended on the foothills and emptied them of human life. The city's masters ordered the slaughter of all of the female children under the age of 9 to appease their gods (whose names are now forgotten); it did not save them, and all the people of the city died.

The ghosts of those girls remain in the ruined city, however, driven insane by the manner of their deaths and the eons that have passed. On certain nights they run through the city streets like packs of wild dogs, venting their incoherent rage on whoever or whatever they come across.

The Ghost Children of Kevelish Vo

These female ghosts roam the streets only on one night every month (randomly determined - roll a d30 on the first day of each month). Appearing as naked human females from the ages of 2 to 9, they generally seek to kill any living thing they come across. Clerics, however, can sometimes communicate with them for a time; though their blasted minds summon little in the way of meaning, they know all of Kevelish Vo's geography intimately. Of course, they always require payment - usually a living sacrifice.

Armour Class: 5
Hit Dice: 3**
Move: 120' (40')
Attackss: 1 bite / 2 fists
Damage: 1d3 /1d3/1d3 + special
No. Appearing: 3d6
Save As: F3
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: Nil
Intelligence: 9
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 65

The attacks of a Ghost Child cause paralysis. They are immune to normal weapons.

Ghost Children can be turned, as wights.

Wednesday 2 September 2009

A Short Post About Pendragon

There's been some good stuff on therpgsite recently. This thread, for example - on alternative uses for Pendragon. Through it I discovered Genpei - A Roleplaying Game of Early Feudal Japan, which was written by one of the board's members and based on the Pendragon system.

If I were ever to run a game set in feudal Japan, I'm pretty sure this would be it.

Another alternative use for Pendragon which springs to mind is for running games set in the feudal universe of Dune.

Tuesday 1 September 2009

If only real life were that good...

Joe the Lawyer has put up an interesting thread at therpgsite: If you could play D&D with anyone, real or imaginary, from any time in history, who?

My answer was JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Johnathan Swift and Roald Dahl. On reflection I'd also like to include Jorge Luis Borges. Our games would take place in a Member's club, complete with leather seats, tobbaco pipes, and plentiful bitter served by buxom wenches. We'd have a rotating DM-ship, meeting up every Sunday evening. CS Lewis would grumble about Tolkien's insistence on correct pronunciation of Elvish names ("Not another bloody elf..."); Borges would rile Tolkien with his anti-clerical barbs; Roald Dahl would amuse everybody with his comic creations; and Swift would confound with his unusual 18th Century phrasing.

When China Mieville, M. John Harrison, Richard K. Morgan and Michael Moorcock came in to the club for their weekly game of Dogs in the Vineyard, it would be like the Sharks vs. the Jets. Dice-downs with fistfuls of d12s flying. Bruised lips, bloody noses and black eyes. Finally everybody would settle down and it would be Tolkien's turn to get the drinks in.

BECMI Zephyr Hounds [Part V]

[The last zephyr hound entry.]

Cold Hound

Frigid temperatures betray the coming of these beasts. Their presence turns water vapour to frost and withers plant-life; their bodies are pale blue, their eyes icy white.

Their breath weapon is a cone of ice shards and pure cold, like a winter storm in miniature. (3d6 damage, saving throw for half. Ice hound breath extinguishes all fires.)

Armour Class: 5
Hit Dice: 4+4*
Move: 180'(60')
Attacks: 1 bite/2 claws
Damage: 1d8/1d4/1d4
Breathcone: 30'x10'
No. Appearing: 2d8
Save As: F4
Morale: 7
Treasure: Nil
Intelligence: 3
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 200

Nexus Hound

Composed of swirling magenta-coloured mists which somehow never stray beyond the lines and contours of their hound-like shape, nexus hounds are agents of mutation, corruption and entropy.

Their breath weapon is a ball of nexus, which eats at the very fabric of reality, causing it to dissolve and fray. (6d6 damage. Victims permanently lose d3 points from d3 stats, randomly chosen. Successful saving throw negates this and halves damage. Stat loss can only be restored by a wish or cureall spell.)

Armour Class: 3
Hit Dice: 8+8*
Move: 150'(50')
Attackss: 1 bite/2 claws
Damage: 2d4/1d4/1d4
Breathcloud: 30'x30'x30'
No. Appearing: 2d8
Save As: F6
Morale: 8
Treasure: Nil
Intelligence: 6
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 1,400

Aether Hound

Aether Hounds are the most powerful and dangerous of all zephyr hounds - they are embodiments of all the elements combined, demigods in canine form, who only the most powerful of archmages can hope to summon and control. Superior to their cousins in all respects, they are truly formidable beings, in numbers more powerful than even the most ancient of dragons.

Aether hounds may use any of the breath weapons and any of the abilities of all of the other zephyr hounds.

Armour Class: 0
Hit Dice: 15+15**
Move: 180'(60')
Attacks: 1 bite/2 claws
Damage: 2d8/2d4/2d4
Breathcone: Any/all (see above)
No. Appearing: 2d6
Save As: F12
Morale: 10
Treasure: Nil
Intelligence: 9
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 4,050