Sunday, October 29, 2017

Gathox Process: The Cover Art . . . also, updates!

Today I'd like to feature a step-by-step of my construction of the Gathox cover art, which follows below. But first, I'd like to make a few brief updates as to all things going on over here at the official Gathox Home Base Headquarters Neighborhood Friendship Society (TM) (R).

Update 1: Gathox Print Edition

You can get your digital copy of Gathox Vertical Slum HERE!!!!!

Mike and I had to make some changes and modifications to the original print files we sent to OBS. Those changes are complete (we hope!!!) and a final test print is on its way to Mike's hands as we speak. If it looks good, we will be turning that live on all of the OBS sites (DriveThruRPG.com, et. al.). Anyone who bought a .pdf will be getting an email with a discount off the print copy equal to the value of what they paid for their digital copy (in this case, $10). I'm super excited!

Update 2: GVS2: Quake Alley Mayhem!

Over the last year and a half I have playtested and drafted an awesome tournament-style module for Gathox, called GVS2: Quake Alley Mayhem! It features a 'Get The McGuffin' style mission full of traps and deadly consequences, and runs on a unique timer with escalating deadliness. The manuscript for GVS2 is complete and ready for edits, and the art is almost done as well. Ideally, I'd like to have this PC-killer ready for folks by Christmas time; cross your fingers, no guarantees! Also, the custom Gathox Character Sheet is almost ready for upload to DTRPG, and will be totally free for download.

Update 3: Life Stuff

I've been fairly quiet on the blog front as well as on G+ and Fb, and for good reason. I figure that I owe you a brief explanation as to why.

First, the committed relationship I was in for the last 4+ years ended, necessitating a move to a different part of the state. I now live in a remote part of Montana with my dog, and the internet here is essentially held together with chicken bones and hope :) The upside is that I recently was able to acquire an 18' Roadrunner camp trailer (for a song, no less) which I'm converting into a full-time home and off-grid mobile art studio - and I'm super pumped!

Second, shortly after I moved, I suffered a series of illnesses which kept me from working as much as I normally do. I've since healed up and am back up to par. The uptick is that my immune system is that much stronger, and I likely won't get ill again for some time to come (knock on wood).

Third, I've been given the opportunity to write and illustrate a book for Lamentations of the Flame Princess!!!!!!!!! The book is tentatively titled, "The Goddess Who Sleeps in Bile," and features a procedurally generated hex crawl, nightmare inputs from the players, and lots of level-agnostic deadliness. The research and drafting of the book eats up lots of my time, in the best possible way.

That's it for the updates; now on to a discussion about making the cover for Gathox!!!

Gathox Process: The Cover Art

I employed a mixture of physical and digital processes to make the GVS cover come to life. My goal was to make it look as natural and physical as possible, so I simply started with pencils on a standard 11"x17" sheet of Bristol board (100 lbs., lined for comics).


As you can see, I went for a unified, single-point perspective that would let me emphasize the verticality of the city environment. I set the horizon line far enough up from the bottom of the page so that I could detail a full street battle, but not so far that I couldn't communicate the steepness of the surrounding buildings. Also, the giant head belongs to Jackie Zhao, the gear-vomiting recluse featured in the chapter fiction written by Josh Wagner. There's a tiny gear on his tongue, but I like to think it could be mistaken for a tab of acid ;)


I chose gangs and characters that featured prominently in the year-long first campaign I ran for Gathox. On the left you see early and eager versions of The Firestarters (the PCs' gang), and on the right I've begun to illustrate a one-eyed hypercapitalist Kermen warrior getting punched out.


Here, I've continued to add in more Firestarters and Kermen, as well as some mangled hirelings and a Gongwarped Fisherman (the players had a hell of a time with the Fishermen in the first campaign, and I figured they deserved a spot on the cover as well).


Here I've added to the cluster of bodies on the page with some additional FPA gangsters and a laser-shooting Zhezhn known as a Pyramid Eye (which falls squarely under the heading of "Things in Gathox Inspired by Conspiracy Culture.") It's almost ready for ink . . .


I decided to start the inking process by blacking in the border of the image. I used permanent black ink and a flat, angled brush from a pack of kids' paint brushes (like $2 at Target). Blocking in the black border helps me see everything I'm doing better and gives me some leeway when I am working close to the edges of the image - I don't have to gauge where to terminate a line and can more easily avoid tangents along the sides of the illustration.


Like a lot of my friends and colleagues, I tend to ink from top to bottom. Because I'm left-handed, I also tend to ink from right to left. This keeps my hands out of the wet stuff. As an old crew boss of mine used to say, "Keep you hands, feet, and other objects outta the shit!"


Occasionally I'll switch over to working from the outside of the image toward the middle. Sometimes this is to frame up everything outside of the subjects, sometimes it's to work in line weight variation, and sometimes I do it just to switch things up.


After I finish inking my lines, I go through and add my spot blacks, beef up line weight as needed, hatch or texture parts that scream for more detail, and find ways to clarify an image with ink. I prefer to use ink washes on most of my black and white ink drawings, but decided against that technique for the cover. First and most important, I knew I wanted to colorize this piece with as much active color as I could, and washes would dull that out. Second, and really only a minor consideration, I knew that I had to scan this drawing in four different pieces (because I have a tiny scanner), and stitching the image together with washes was going to be labor-intensive with no guarantee that it would look good.

After everything was ready to go in terms of line art, I turned my attention to color.


I cut four sheets of cold-press watercolor paper in half and applied some paint in an abstract fashion. I used kid's neon tempura paint to get those super bright colors you see above, as well as some runny washes of gouache paint. I let gravity do some of the work, taping the paper at odd angles to my tilted drafting table to dry before applying another layer. I allowed the paints to mix a bit, working sufficiently wet that my dry time was slow and the pigments could interact.


Finally, I used acrylics to paint a large abstract background. I first covered my 16"x20" canvas with Open Acrylic additive, applied thinly with a palette knife, which slows the drying time and allows me to mix colors on the canvas, wet-on-wet, like oils. I knew I wanted a light source at the top with pooled darkness below, and the patchy mix above is what I ended up with. I dig this canvas on its own and might do more of these in the future for their own sake.


The next step took a while, but I was very pleased with the results. I used the canvas painting as my background, and began cutting selections from the scans of the watercolor paper and pasting them underneath different figures in the line art. I took inspiration from the old, brightly colored plastic toy action figures you could buy in bulk at the dollar store, and did my best to make the figures brighter than the background. Finally, I took several passes at shading and highlighting all the figures and surfaces digitally, paying attention to whether or not I was obliterating too much of the natural texture and detail from the color scans.


To finish the cover off, I got the print specs from Mike, built a template in Inkscape, imported my artwork, and built the graphics. I had made font choices for the book long before I finished the cover, so it was more a matter of toying with the fonts and box elements to get everything looking nice. I decided I didn't want to cover any of the art up with text, and given that Gathox is, well, vertical, I figured that a vertical title bar would fit nicely with everything else. Oh, and also neon green, because neon fucking green, that's why.

Cheers!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Tools of the Trade: Things I use to write, draw, and play Gathox

I thought I'd take a slightly different tack and walk folks through all of the various tools I use to do Gathox things. I'll break it down into writing tools, art tools, and gaming tools, but keep in mind that all those things feed into one another. I'd also love to hear about what you use to make your game world, run your game, or participate in another's game. Hit me up in the comments or on G+!

Writing for Gathox


I use a few different tools for writing. I've met many die-hards who proclaim that one word processing program is all you need, and futzing around with anything else is just a distraction. Honestly, if you believe that, then that's great! You've found what works for you! Generally, I like to switch things up depending on what phase I'm working through in terms of process.

The Master Notebook

That's right, a ton of my initial bits of writing happen in my master game book, which is basically just a classic composition notebook filled with square-gridded paper. Dungeon designs feed into writing which feeds into tables and so forth, and the graph paper makes this process just seamless. I tape little flaps onto sections of the book to separate my ideas and maps, and also happens to be an organic way to organize stuff after it's created. I really believe no GM should run a game without it.



The Distraction-Free Text Editor

You know how the Game of Thrones guy is famous for writing his books in old school DOS? He does that to keep distractions down to a minimum and focus on content generation. DOS is whatever, I have fond memories of it from my youth (writing Basic-A programs to generate characters and monsters, etc.), but I don't touch Microsoft stuff unless I have no other options. I use Linux exclusively, but these options are cross-platform to the best of my knowledge.

Focuswriter is a distraction-free text editor which hides it's interface unless you mouse over it, drops in a pretty background across your entire screen, and lets you just write. You can do word count, spellcheck, export to a decent selection of formats, and customize how it looks. A lot of folks swear by it, and I've clocked plenty of productive hours in it.



PyRoom is another distraction-free text editor that I've spent hours writing in. It looks like a Matrix terminal, can shoot typewriter sounds at you if you're into that sort of thing, and basically does everything Focuswriter does - namely, block out the nonsense and let you just simply write.



My favorite distraction-free text editor, though, is the blindingly fast, tiny overhead, amazing terminal word processor called Wordgrinder. This thing has all the features you'd expect and it runs straight in a terminal, which means you could use it on a computer from the 80's and it would still be Johnny On The Spot. There's just something sexy about doing creative work in the terminal, and honestly I don't see myself ever giving up on this tool. You can use it on OSX's terminal, and in Windows you can use it in Putty or whatever sort of terminal with bash implementation they have in Win 10 (I heard they have something new there, but that's none of my concern).



The Big Office Program for Edits and Formatting

I use LibreOffice, which is a fork of OpenOffice. Unless you're dropping cash to Microsoft on a regular basis to use Microsoft Word, you've likely used one of these two programs. LibreOffice is a bit newer, with a larger group of folks working on the codebase, and it does every single thing you need an office suite to do. Edits and suggestions carry over nicely from Google Docs and from MS Word edits, and document versioning is easy to control. It can handle hordes of different document types and extensions. It isn't exactly a small program though, and if you needed a lighter substitute for an aging machine or you just don't want to waste the RAM overhead because of heavy multitasking, I would suggest AbiWord. AbiWord also looks pretty, so there's that.






The Big Layout Program

Hey, if you're sold and set on the Adobe office suite, I'm not here to dissuade you. But, having worked with Pagemaker, In-Design, Corel Ventura, and Quark Express over the years on various platforms, I have to say that Scribus has all the tools I personally need to get layout done. Now, I really don't like doing layout and when possible I will offer someone else money to do it, but sometimes you gotta layout a bunch of pages on your own and get the job done. Scribus handles all the things you would expect it to and even handles postscript stuff pretty solidly (with ghostscript).Also, if you're publishing through any of the OBS sites, they've got tutorials for doing it with Scribus.


Art-making for Gathox

 

The Basics

There's nothing that beats a pencil and some blank paper - if you're not starting there with your art career, you're selling yourself short. And quite frankly, there are a number of illustrations in Gathox Vertical Slum that are nothing more than fully-rendered pencil drawings that I scanned in and cleaned up. I suggest using some 0.9mm mechanical pencils with #2 lead and some typing paper. Computer paper? Whatever. For finished pieces I use cold press watercolor paper or bristol board, but basic reams of white paper will get the job done. Use a soft white eraser or a gummy eraser - the pink ones are paper-tearing garbage and should be treated as such.

I'll ink pencil work, usually with a crow quill and/or a thin rigger brush for more expressive lines and fills. Once in a while I'll switch to a set of Microns if I'm going deep in on hatching or contour lines, or if I need to draw a lot of architectural stuff - the Microns excel at not bleeding everything to shit when drawing hard lines with a ruler.

I often mix up a wash with my permanent ink and some water if I want some tonal fills or more natural looking shadows. Many people are better at this than I am, but I keep at it and am steadily making progress.

For color painting, I'll use either gouache (for quick color studies or brief finished pieces) or acrylic. With acrylics, I often use open acrylics to keep my canvas able to do lots of wet-on-wet technique. I personally do not mess with oils; if I need that oil painted look, I'll either get my acrylics close to that look through a combination of wet-on-wet and glazes, or I'll do it digitally. I know that someone reading this is screaming inside, but I just don't need the literal and figurative headache of oils right now. Maybe someday . . . 

Photo Clean-up

Hands down I choose the GIMP as my raster graphics program to clean up my scans, beef up my black line work, and stitch together a large piece from multiple smaller scans. Unless you're already dropping hundreds or thousands on Adobe products, there's no reason to live without this tool. A lot of people make great art in it as well, but for digital drawing I have other, more specific tools.



Digital Drawing and Painting

Krita. Krita Krita Krita . . . Krita. This thing is a powerhouse! Krita has 13 brush engines which can be combined into multibrushes and do multi-layer multibrush painting. It can emulate natural media or do weird, digital-specific kinds of rendering. It handles all the layer effects you'd expect from PS or anything else, it can handle animation, some vector stuff, and has tons of perspective and layout tools. Also, it's got a subsystem for setting up comic books, which is pretty cool. I cannot suggest this enough, it has literally made me tens of thousands of dollars over the last 5 + years. Also, it can share files with GIMP and Mypaint through a special filetype called .ora (open raster archive).



Mypaint

If you want an infinite canvas, a nice selection of easily-accessible brushes, or you just really want to do some digital artwork but don't have a beefy computer to handle Krita, I would suggest Mypaint. You can get really nice, layered illustrations done without a lot of RAM overhead. You may need to trim your pieces in another editor like GIMP, but Mypaint really is a useful tool. I have it installed on my 900mhz, 1 GB RAM, 8.9" wide Asus eeepc netbook, and manage to get sketches done on that piece of super-underpowered hardware with Mypaint and a little $80 Wacom tablet.



Vector Graphics

Inkscape is my go-to for vector editing, whether it's putting together a poster for a con event, tracing a bitmap to vectorize a drawing for a logo, or building dungeon maps that look nice. If you don't know what vector art is, it's basically art that maintains resolution at any size because it is rendered with points and calculus instead of colored pixels. Not great for everything, but indispensable for design problems.


Running Gathox


In putting together a campaign setting and actually running countless hours of Gathox, I've come to rely pretty heavily on some traditional tools. Others are just things that help with GMing in general.

The Master Notebook

I had to mention it twice - if I lost my master notebook, the one with the graph paper and dungeon notation taped to it and my homemade tabs, I would be lost. Most sessions I can just flip this thing open and run a dungeon or ten. Given that GMs pretty quickly establish their own shorthand and notational conceits, information becomes super densely packed in the master notebook. Something that looks like a simple dungeon level and some brief numbered lines might actually constitute dozens of hours of gaming and just as many pages when fully-written. If you don't have a master notebook (preferably filled with graph paper), you might just try it.




The Big Burly Binder

This is sort of a slush pile of things, from extra character sheets, hireling cards, maps, and player aids to an archive of dead characters, rules revisions, design notes, sketches, and player feedback. Every so often I go through and flush it out, moving things out of the binder and into long term files, but I keep adding new bits. And really, I can't think of a GM who couldn't or doesn't find use in a Big Burly Binder, or something very much like it.



The Session Tracker

I keep many copies of this sheet handy, because this is really where the rubber hits the road. It gives me a handy Death and Dismemberment table, allows me to track all of the ailments of the PCs, do marching order, keep track of time, and make notes on player needs and campaign changes. I've come to rely on it so much that the last time I had to run game without it, I manually rewrote the entire thing on paper beforehand. I hope you find it useful!



The Whiteboard/ Really Big Paper

Having a giant pad of paper for the entire table to see is amazing in helping to quickly visualize battles, spatial relationships, allow for player planning, and to track marching order or anything else. Also, sometimes you have to draw large genitalia at game to keep the . . . juices flowing. Also, you can use it to do the math to figure out who's buying beer this time.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

People are making gaming goodies for Gathox!!!

Gathox has been out for just over two weeks now, and I couldn't be happier! We've already made copper bestseller on drivethrurpg.com and the print version isn't even out yet. People are posting reviews and talking about the setting. And most importantly, which seems to indicate to me that I've made something worth playing and using, is that people are making things for Gathox already. I wanted to take the opportunity to show off a few things that folks have made thus far and brought to my attention.

First up, Karl Stjernberg has posted some things on G+, including a character he rolled up and illustrated:



"Name: Dukk
STR: 11
DEX: 13
CON: 11
INT: 11
WIS: 7
CHA: 12 (Diseased skin)

Mutations: Fur & Scaled skin (+1 AC), Nible Tail (3rd limb), Tentacle Arm, Diseased Skin (-1 CHA)
Psychic Power: Bleeding Heart
Wheelhouses: The Underworld, Slum Acrobat

Armed with: Polearm, Morningstar, 2 x Throwing Hammers
Armor: Shin guards, shoulder pads, elbow and kneepads

I picture it dressed in rags, some kind of hoodie and wrapped in bandages to cover its disease ridden skin."

Karl has also recently posted some very Gathoxan die drop tables - one for random NPCs:




. . . and another for random post-apocalyptic gear:


 These just tickle me shitless - they look great, they're in the spirit of Gathox as Karl sees it, and he's making awesome, usable stuff.

Another individual who has taken off running with Gathox is Dan D. He runs a gaming blog called Throne of Salt. He's a world builder in his own right, and runs a wonderful blog. The most recent thing I've seen is his OSR module map - which is basically a hex map where he's placed a bunch of his favorite OSR modules together on a continent (Gathox is bottom left near Hubris).



You can find an expandable version of the map as well as a more detailed discussion of it here on his blog.

Another person making stuff for Gathox, and quite a bit at that, is Michael Fraker.

One thing Michael made was a set of house rules for Gathox, which are particularly useful if you're adapting it to B/X or other OD&D-like systems with a bit a statistical inflation. For those who don't know, Gathox uses the "All d6's" and single Saving Throw from Swords & Wizardry White Box Edition, so if you like a bit more variation, crunch, and statistical inflation then this document, entitled Apocrypha Gathoxian, has got you covered. He's even compiled the Cleric and Magic User spells into a single master list for Mentalists, and provided sample characters and drop-in gangs.

Oh, and holy shit, Michael added an instant random Gathox Gang Generator to Abulafia! Fuck me running!

If you need some plot hooks, ones that possibly intertwine, to start off your new Gathox campaign, here's some hooks that Michael designed:

"Plot/Adventure Idea:

The Warriors: a very zoomed in point crawl across The Kettle.

Hook 1: The PC gang crashed a party of west side gang conglomerate coming together. The organizer was killed and the PCs got blamed. The PCs must get out of the area and back to the east side where the west side gangs will back off. They don't want to look like they are an army invading. PCs get RP points for the reputation of having killed the organizer and also enemies!

Hook 2:
The Great Gang Race is happening. Alleycat gangs are competing for money/sponsorship from a large settled gang (and RP for the PCs). It's a deadly flight across the Kettle and the first gang to reach the 3rd floor in Tanner Tower on the east side wins.

- There is a time element. For Hook 1, each time they delay there is a chance that gang members from their chief nemesis (or the whole gang!) shows up. For Hook 2, each time the party rests or delays, increment how far along their chief competitor is. Also, when delaying, there is a chance another competing gang encounters them.

- Each point is about 10 minutes apart

- Other gangs/organizations do what they can to stop the PC gang either because of the assassination or because its part of the trial by fire for the competing gangs.

- Plot out 3 or 4 "lateral" lines to cross the City from west to east. The lateral lines have 6 points in them and several locations let players connect between the lines.

- Need random chart for what happens when the players go off the grid (could use one given in Mudlings Mansion adventure)."

Here's Michael's possible tie-ins between Gathox and the City of Bastion from Chris Mcdowall's wonderful Into The Odd game and setting.


*"And on the 7th day, Gathox rested."*

"I keep trying to imagine that Bastion from Into the Odd is the same city as Gathox, but for some reason it stopped walking and sat down never to get up again. It didn't stop growing and feeding off of the psyches of its inhabitants though.

d6 Rumors and half-truths on the relationship between Gathox and Bastion:


1. It transported to (the now named) Bastionland ages ago and discovered the Underground. Gathox is able to create or open micro-cosminsions in the Underground and feed off of them. Perhaps it is possible to get to the essence of Gathox through the Underground.

2. Gathox is still alive, but just barely. Somehow it has been trapped or bound to the ground and no longer possesses the material strength to move. Most construction now a days is from conventional imported materials, but the occasional mysteriously generated structure or disappeared burrough is all Gathox. Who will be Gathox's savior?

3. Originally Bastion was actually Gathox's other half cleaved from it at the separation of High from Low at the beginning of the Time of Halves. Gathox's travels were in search of its half. Now they are joined and travelling is not necessay. Who will speak with the Restored Sojourner and learn its oddesy?

4. Gathox is sleeping and dreaming after millenia of walking and travelling. Some of what we think is real may not be. Who can tell what will happen when Gathox wakes from it's slumber (with strange eons and all) and who can rouse it?

5. Bastion is a spawn or spore from Gathox. Gathox moved on centuries ago. Soon, when enough psychic energy has been fed to the spores by the psche-antibodies, they will sprout their own multitudes of legs and Bastion will be ripped apart as the clutch of little Gathi take off or transport away. Who can find the Gothax spore pods and destroy them before this apacolypse, and what would their destruction mean for Bastion?

6. It's actually the other way around: Bastion spawned Gathox. It escaped from the Underground below the city during a team of explorer's expedition and is possessed of the Underground's sentient quirkiness."

I provided my own 6a) subheading, because I just had to join in on the fun:

"6a) Gathox and Bastion can both be controlled like giant mecha. Which is the parent, which is the child? Only a battle to the death will sort this out!!!"

As more people make stuff, I'll continue to post it here and boost the signal. Speaking of which, have you made something for Gathox? Wanna share it with as many folks as possible? I'd be happy to write about your creations here. Just hit me up in the comments or on G+. RADNESS.


Friday, September 1, 2017

The City That Walks And Is A God Has Arrived!

It has finally landed!

The first Gathox book (GVS1) is done, and I am completely pumped. This is a complete setting for Swords & Wizardry White Box, with tons of monsters, NPCs, new classes, rules for domain-level play starting at level 1, a starter adventure, maps galore, and more. This is muh baby, and it exists now, in the real world!

You can buy it here or you can click the link in the sidebar to the right.

I first dreamed up Gathox shortly after I released Grandpappy Cromdar's Whizbang Zoo!, while I was living with my friend and comics illustrator Tony Gregori in a crappy apartment in Missoula, MT. We had a big whiteboard where we'd draw dicks, tape up notes, track jobs, and so forth - it was like a real studio, ya see? Anyhow, I started writing ideas on the board every few days about a setting that I'd like to run. Slowly but surely, I started writing house rules for the game and putting out feelers for local friends who might want to play, and eventually it led to this book.

I'd like to say thank you to a lot of folks! My partner Ally Guldborg has spent countless hours playing, reading, editing, and encouraging this whole Gathox thing, and she's the best person ever. Her fingerprints are all over Gathox. I'd like to thank Mike Evans for putting in the elbow grease to help get this book across the finish line and for believing in the project. I'd like to thank Josh Wagner for letting Gathox be his first and for writing all of the amazing, intertwined chapter fiction in the book. I'd like to thank Robert Parker and Trey Causey for their intitial, crucial, game-changing edits on Gathox, and I'd like to thank Humza Kazmi, Chris Kutalik, Jason Sholtis, and all the dudes at Hydra for their initial interest and encouragement to pursue the book to it's end. I'd like to thank all the players from the home game and from one-off Gathox tournaments I've run.

VITAL STATS

Number of Seasons: 1 season of 50 sessions, 1 current season of 20+ sessions; various one-shots

Rounds of Rules Revisions: 6

Number of Dead PCs: 19 that I can find in my files

Number of Dead Hirelings: 42 that I can find in my files

Number of Hours Played: 290 +

The home game folks: Ally Guldborg, Tony Gregori, Spencer Bryant, William Saylor, Josh Wagner, Alexsa Prince, Paul Stephens, Greg Ransons, Erika Fredrickson, Evan Guldborg, Jenn Johnson, David Melvin, and Alyssa Calabrese.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Bevy of Hirelings That Have Already Died Once

I'd like to take a slightly different tack today and offer up as many of the old hirelings from previous campaigns of Gathox as I was able to muster out of the old files. Feel free to deploy these in your home game as you see fit - I mean, you could just go use a generator on donjon or abulafia, but why not use some hirelings with a bit of original flair? Additionally, all the hirelings listed here are adventure tested by previous players and have died wonderful, hilarious, and useful deaths before. Make them live again!

Porters

Pavel Flipperhand - porter/alcoholic newsie kid with a mutated penguin flipper - HP 3/3, To-Hit 20, AC 8 [11]; Karate Headband, Girdle, backpack, 1 burlap sack. Wages: Booze and housing.

Duncan "Coconut" Green - tropical tourist and enthusiastic porter - HP 6/6, To-Hit 20, AC 9 [10]; rope, pole, 4 large sacks. Wages: 3gp/week.

"Vulzari Joe" - reticent and spiteful Vulzari chickenman porter - HP 1/1, To-Hit 20, AC 7[12]; arm pouches, leg pouches, ossified shell doubling as a backpack. Wages: 10gp/month.

Vaclav - the archetypal, nondescript porter - HP 3/3, To-Hit 20, AC 9[10]; backpack, 10 ft, rope, newsie cap, stogie. Wages: 6gp/month.

Helga Mega-Olga - cherubic, ebullient Teutonic porter - HP 4/4, To-Hit 20, AC 8[11]; backpack, 2 large sacks, alpine cap, knee-high socks, grappling hook, 50' rope. Wages: 15gp/month.

Sick Boy - weak and allergic dying porter - HP 2/2, To-Hit 20, AC 9[10]; backpack, limb pouches, dust mask. Wages:8gp/month.

Link-folk

M-Pops - prim and proper linklass - HP 3/3, To-Hit 20, AC9[10]; 3 torches, lantern, 2 oils, wirebrush. Wages:10gp/month.

Muchimbal - flame-kissed arson enthusiast linkboy - HP 3/3, To-Hit 20, AC9[10]; 10 oils, flint and steel, crumpled paper, crumpled leaves, 1 torch. Must be allowed to commit arson once per day or leaves party. Wages: 3gp/month.

Zolo - linklass extraordinaire - HP 4/4, To-Hit 20, AC 8[11]; fire resistant gloves, tinderbox, flint and steel, pole torch, 3 oils, fire extinguisher. Wages: 20gp/month.

Jonesy - guy off the street with a torch - HP 1/1, To-Hit 20, AC 9[10]; 2 rations, torch, bic lighter. Wages: 5 gp/month.

Folk-At-Arms

Mister Tee - bodybuilding golfer-at-arms - HP 5/5, To-Hit 20, AC 7[12]; 9-iron (as club), fancy shield, reinforced knee breeches, gold bling, mohawk. Wages:20gp/month.

Wilhelmina Screamo - brooding and stylish woman-at-arms - HP 6/6, To-Hit 19, AC 5[14]; bondage armor, elbow pads, horned helm, guisaxeflamberd (polearm), megaphone. Wages: 25gp/month.

The Thin Green Duke - gaunt and ostentatious man-at-arms - HP 5/5, To-Hit 20, AC 5[14]; glittery shoulderpads, rhinestone girdle, reinforced green spandex jumpsuit, armored makeup, glamorous battle axe, polearm. Wages: 30gp/month.

T-Bone and Rex - dog man with two heads/watchdog-at-arms - HP 9/9, To-Hit 18, AC 7[12]; hatchet, shortbow (20 shots), thick hide, nose for trouble. Wages:40gp/month.

Terence Yancy/DJ T - plattermaster-at-arms - HP 5/5, To-Hit 20, AC 6[13]; morning star, dagger, elbow pads, knee pads, rockin' shades, eight 7" singles. Wages:20gp/month.

Hektor the Booty Inspektor - assistant-to-the-plattermaster - HP 4/4, To-Hit 20, AC 6[13]; morningstar, dagger, elbow&kneepads, rockin' shades, magnifying glass, air horn. Wages: 20gp/month.

Rad Rhonda - neon street-preacher-at-arms - HP 7/7, To-Hit 19, AC 3[16]; hot pink karate headband, neon green punching shield, electric blue chestplate, sunshine yellow kneepads, magenta elbowpads, laser pistol (9 charges), blackjack, megaphone. Wages:50gp/month.












Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I came fer the dyin': Healing, Death and Reincarnation in Gathox

Because the hit point economy is significantly altered in Gathox by the lack of clerics and the presence of quasi-modern medicine, and also because of the deadliness of numbers deflation in Gathox, I devised my own set of rules about death and reincarnation. These rules, accompanied by a description of the healing system, are just below the illustration of a common Gathoxan demise, Death by Zhezhn:

Health, Healing and Hospitalization


There are no clerics in Gathox, and magical healing is a rarity. Thus, the ‘healing economy’ of Gathox operates somewhat differently than in other game settings.

A freshly generated character is allowed to start with the maximum possible hit points according to their class and ability scores. Each level acquired afterward requires the character to roll their normal hit dice, keeping a running total for hit points. This gives starting characters a slight but important advantage in terms of survivability.

In combat, tightly focused exploration, or other situations where time is measured in rounds and turns, the party may choose to rest for 1 turn per hour, allowing each character to recuperate 1 lost hit point on a successful 3d6 vs. CON check. Additionally, a character may choose to rest for an entire hour, healing 1d3+1 hit points with a successful 3d6 vs. CON check. In either of these cases, the opportunity to heal only applies to characters that have not reached zero or fewer hit points.

Med kits may also be applied to injured characters once per day for the purposes of healing; a successful 3d6 vs. WIS check by a character with a med kit to an injured party members allows for the healing of 1d3+1 hp. A med kit may be used three times before it must be replaced. Spells, abilities, and various sundry and magical supplies may allow for additional healing. Finally, a 6 hour shift of sleep allows for the full recovery of hit points. PCs who reach zero or fewer hit points immediately fall unconscious, and bleed out 1 hp/round until healed, medkitted, or they reach ½ CON in negative hit points and die.

If a PC is reduced to zero or fewer hit points, they will require a week of hospitalization at the rate of 50 gp/level. The cost increases with level because higher level PCs have more Hit Dice and tend to suffer more grievous and complicated wounds. The players may need to cut that hospital time short or save cash, which plays out as follows:

    1) For each day less than 7 that a PC leaves the hospital early, they incur a 10% chance of infection. Infection consequences are left to GM fiat, with a nod toward creative results.

    2) For every 10 gp less that a character pays for hospitalization, they suffer a 1 point penalty to all attack rolls and Saving Throws for the following week.

    3) If a player wants to pay top dollar for intense restorative services and make it out of the hospital in a day, they can pay 100 gp/ level for the luxury of personalized care.

If players need on-the-spot healing while in the city but have not reached zero hit points, they have a 50% chance of finding someone to perform the service within a three block radius, and each character must spend 10 gp/ hp healed.

Character Death


If a PC should perish in the course of adventuring, the following protocols may ensue:

1) Surviving party members split the character’s gear as they see fit, and the player rolls up a new character at level 1. Party members cannot confer the dead character’s possessions to the newly rolled character.

2) The player of the deceased character may choose to instead play as the deceased’s hireling, if such a character exists. This 0-level character need only accrue 500XP to reach level 1, at which time the player may choose an appropriate class and reroll HP. The hireling may inherit some of the deceased character’s gear at the party’s discretion. Leveled hirelings or henchmen may be substituted.
3) The deceased may opt to Reincarnate if the party follows the following procedure:
    A) Bring the body and possessions of the deceased to one of the dozens of funeral pyres installed at the Catwalk of Private Vicissitudes.
    B) Douse the body and possessions on the pyre with Dew-on-Iron alcohol (100 gp worth).
    C) Light the pyre and watch it burn completely.

If the procedure is followed precisely, within 1d4 hours the reincarnated body of the deceased character will erupt from the ground wherever the party stands, naked and covered in mud, ready for action. A reincarnated character will have the following properties:
    A) Same age and different gender.
    B) A name that rhymes with the name of the deceased.
    C) Will remember living life in a parallel, utopian version of Gathox; an Ur-Gathox, if you will.
    D) Will have one ability score the same as the deceased, at the player’s pleasure.
    E) Will possess 1 negative mutation, rolled randomly.
    F) Will possess 1/2 the experience points of the deceased.
    G) Will be of a class of the player’s choosing after ability scores have been rolled.
    H) Will find a chicken skin pouch of coins in their left hand worth 1d6x10 gp.
    I) May possess a hireling who appears, also naked and covered in mud, 10% cumulative chance per level of the deceased.

A character may reincarnate twice; the negative mutations of previous reincarnations carry over, so that a re-reincarnated character will have two negative mutations. After a third death, the character may be interred in the walls of the Tunnel of Punctuated Peace, splitting 5% of the experience points of the deceased between each of the remaining party members as well as a freshly generated character.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Gathoxan Monsters: Zhezhn, Greater - Fear of Falling

Today I'd like to highlight a monster/trap known as the Fear of Falling.

Greater – Fear Of Falling
Armor Class: 2[17]
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: special
Special: falling
Move: 10
HDE/XP: 8/800

As Big As: Two 10' floor traps spaced 10' apart.
Smells Like: A dash of ozone, a whiff of chlorine.
Sounds Like: Nothing.
Favorite Pastime: Perpetually dropping creatures to harvest their fear.
Turnoffs: Unknown.

The Fear Of Falling is a particularly nasty Zhezhn whose sole purpose is to inflict perpetual falling on a creature, harvesting their fear as they go. The Zhezhn consists of two 10' square pits, each of which acts as a portal to the other, which allows the Zhezhen to cause a creature to fall between itself for an indefinite period of time. The Zhezhn will remain stationary until someone approachesit, at which time it will quickly surprise (1-3 on a 1d6) its victim and move directly under it. Once the victim has fallen the equivalent of 100', the Zhezhn will spit them back out where they entered, incurring 10d6 falling damage. The Fear Of Falling can be detected with magic, psychic abilities, and blacklights, and can only be harmed by magic, psychic powers, or lasers.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Gathoxan Monster: Surdite, Lesser - Cryptkeeper


Lesser – Cryptkeeper
Armor Class: 6[13]
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 1
Special: Hidden escapes
Move: 12
HDE/XP: 4/120

As Big As: A skinny dead janitor.
Smells Like: Windex, rot.
Sounds Like: A carnival caller.
Favorite Pastime: Why, cleaning, of course!
Turnoffs: Messy corpses.

Cryptkeepers are the official janitors of the underbelly of Gathox, cleaning out the dead from dungeon corridors. Many a sunken ruin features a hidden room with 1d4 Cryptkeepers, who play their shoddy instruments through the wee hours and feast upon the dead. They aren't necessarily inimical to the living, and are animated by a curious and intrepid tapeworm. They instinctively know where hidden doors are, and use them to quickly move through dungeons or escape danger.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Gathox Alien Race: The X'Xul

Today I'd like to showcase the insipid alien race known as the X'Xul, including some stats, base information, and a couple of NPCs.


The X’Xul (“ZICK-sool”) are a species of bipedal locust wizards who stumbled into Gathox from their home world a thousand years ago. They have built a considerable slave empire in the city while they wait for Gathox to return to their home world. 

The X’Xul are a tight clade of phenotypically plastic, bipedal locust wizards from a planet called Tchk’Lektk (‘Chick LECK-tick-uh’), which Gathox has crossed only once. Stranded in the city after a brief visit, the X’Xul began the hard work of building an empire for themselves. While they trust one another due to their instinct-level psychic bonds, the X’Xul have no qualms with deceiving and destroying any sentient beings with endoskeletons.

While they might be most known among commoners for the miraculous magical tchotchke they manufacture, their reputation among The Craw is very different. First, they maintain great vats of mutagenic, semi-sentient flesh, which they use to disguise themselves as humans when in public and occasionally sell to individuals interested in extensive body modification or controlled mutation. Second, the X’Xul are responsible for the extensive slavery found throughout Gathox, due in no small part to their implementation of press gangs, which they call “Dedicated Volunteerism.”

Cerulean Municipal Conference Hall - This magnificent blue marble palace, built upon the wreckage of a fascist theatre complex, houses the majority of the X’Xul population in Gathox. The Cerulean Municipal Conference Hall features lush bamboo garden dormitories, ritual summoning chambers lined with the husks of powerful dead X’Xul wizards, and a stellar observatory, along with the usual bevy of functionary chambers. From here the locusts plot their machinations for the city, pursue arcane tangents, and greet those Gathoxans who might serve their ends. Few humans have seen the X’Xul unmasked, and those who do generally receive an invitation to the Conference Hall, never to be seen again.


K’x’rizxsa – (Spiritualist 11, X’Xul Overlord)

Cues: Often only dons the upper half of his human skinsuit, spits black bug juice when entertained, leaves a trail of bamboo shoots wherever he goes.

Imperious to a fault, K’x’rizxsa ("KICKS-uh-risks-uh") believes his position as Overlord of the X’Xul to be utterly secure. After all, who else could manage the Mokrons and Gorgontulas while maintaining a slave army and manufacturing the finest magical toys in the town? Certainly not his predecessor, who sat idle as the Dedicated Volunteers revolted and devoted his long mating cycles to the study of human morality. No, K’x’rizxsa is unique among his people in that he is completely incapable of interspecies empathy, which makes him the perfect defender of his race. Furthermore, the rest of the X’Xul know it.

K’x’rizxsa fears the day when humans come to fully understand who and what his people are, and would rather be the singular face of monstrosity when needed than have his entire clade face the prospect of genocide. He also believes himself perfectly competent to handle the issue, although recent Dohjak spy reports indicate that the Overlord’s mind has begun to slip ever so slightly.


Ch’laut’tk - (Cosmic Doctor 4, X’Xul Rebel)

Cues: Human skin wrinkles and bunches excessively, rapid speech filled with clicks, kicks the ground when nervous.

Ch’laut’tk ("Chuh-LOUT-tick") was born with a shrunken gland in his nervous system that kept him from psychic attachment to the rest of his X’Xul clade, resulting in his ability to understand and absorb the moral frameworks of other sentient beings. At an early age he exhibited a disturbing lack of cruelty, resulting, as it so often does, in exile.

These days Ch’laut’tk splits his time between haunting the Chemok Mine, searching for escaped slaves in hopes of leading them against their masters, and exploring the ruins beneath the Spire, often pairing up with other prospectors in the area to maximize his take. Ch’laut’tk currently owns and religiously studies a book called “Liberation Thaumaturgy And The Inner You,” and is quick to share his views on the modern self-improvement movement.


X'Xul
Armor Class: 0[19]
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: 2 claws or spell
Special: Psychic link
Move: 18
HDE/XP: 8/800

As Big As: A horse-sized grasshopper.
Smells Like: Bug juice and grape soda.
Sounds Like: The clacking of chitin, the whir of a thousand gossamer wings.
Favorite Pastime: Genetic experimentation, slaving.
Turnoffs: Fleshbags, meatsacks, carnivals.

The X'xul are transdimensional wizards who've become trapped on Gathox. They deploy slaves to work Gathoxan mines, and are capable of reading the obscure signs of Gathox's movements. They often use human skinsuits, grown in vats deep within the Cerulean Municipal Conference Hall, to interact with other sentient species in public. Few in Gathox are aware of the true nature of the X'xul. Most operate alone or in pairs, although all X'xul within a one-mile radius share a basic psychic link with one another. X'xul prefer to use slave labor to fight for them when possible. They cast spells as a Mentalist of equivalent HD, and there are ancient X'xul who've shed their exoskeleton so many times that they've grown to 20 HD.












Thursday, June 22, 2017

Gathox Neighborhoods: The Kettle

Previously we took a look at the map for Berchan Favela, the oldest neighborhood in Gathox, but today I'd like to share with you the largest - a festering pit called The Kettle.

The Kettle


Much of the action and bustle of Gathox reveals itself in the daily thrum of the Kettle. Visitors enter through the low-lying Gate of Exploding Benevolence, first ascending a metal ramp supported by ten thousand muscular human legs grafted to the underside and then passing through the quintuple-arches of the Gate itself. Locals may pass into and out of Gathox through the Kettle by using the Tunnel of Punctuated Peace to the west or the Catwalk of Private Vicissitudes to the northeast.

Once inside, visitors are treated to a dizzying array of sights and spectacles in the central bazaar, The Dregs. In the mornings, the squealing of livestock in mid-slaughter mixes with the raspy calls of town criers as the scent of egg blood soup and Dew-on-Iron fill the air. Dead hangovers and the quiet aftermath of misbegotten nights render this the most peaceful time of day.

By mid-day, the streets clog with marketeers, sly-men, pickpockets, dancehall crashers, and representatives of Neighborhood Friendship Societies. The sewer gases heat and rise, mingling with the aroma of fresh fried meats and body odor. Supplicants of Sha-Benyu, resplendent in their neon pink robes and body paint, preach and beg for the glory of the God That Grows and Grows.

In the evenings, scummers smoke the narcotic huckleberry-like paste of the bakra root in recessed doorways while street barbecues rage into the wee hours. Green neon fumes tepidly billow out of dance halls, and the light of a thousand precariously stacked lilliputian apartments spills out into the streets and delicately illuminates the misty spires of Gathox’s dizzying heights.

Who Rules


Four Neighborhood Friendship Societies maintain a relatively stable balance of power in the Kettle: the highly successful Dohjaks, the conservative Huttimer, alien beings who call themselves Kermen, and fresh upstarts known as The Free Peoples Advancement. Each faction controls roughly a quarter of the Kettle, and all have agreed to settle territorial disputes through public ritual. While the occasional spat of gangland warfare may erupt, these well-established factions agree that, “Peace equals profits.”

The Dohjaks - The Dohjaks (“DOY-ox”) are an ethnically homogenous gang heralding from a distant homeworld long-forgotten by all but the most wizened and historically steeped members of their community. They have thoroughly entrenched themselves in the politics of the Kettle, and while their numbers are dwindling, they nonetheless wield considerable influence and economic might.

Dohjaks distinguish themselves visually with red and purple togas, silver close-toed sandals, and golden touques on their heads. Their speech is generally rapid and overly friendly, often to the point of inspiring discomfort. Their skin tones range from light brown to coal, and their eyes are generally golden.

The Huttimer - The Huttimer people are a conservative, insular group of religious sectarians who follow the pronouncements and instructions of the Gorman clan, whose progenitors wrote the (un)holy Gormanian Edicts.

They fashion their surroundings in a sturdy and plain manner, eschewing graven images. On the legitimate end they sell beer, butter, furniture, and sturdy working tools. Beneath this veneer of honesty and hard work lies a heavy truth: these are sacrificial sex cultists who readily trade the boons of their black rituals for steep piles of hard coin.

The Huttimer wear plain leather clothing punctuated with paisley patterns on cotton. The men wear their hair short with muttonchops or chin beards, while the women wear their hair pinned up in beehives. Their leader, always the eldest male Gorman, is called a Purveyor, and his wife is called The Unburdened.

The Kermen - Kermen business leaders have a saying: “A noble bid for freedom always begins with the loosening of purse strings.” These one-eyed, hyper-capitalist aliens cloak their base greed with a steady drumbeat of individualist poetry and sentiment. Despite their natural selfishness, they regularly fund some of the most ostentatious (if lacking in utility) public works and high-end designs in the Kettle.

Kermen fund themselves through venture capital, investment in factory production at the Temple of Toil manufacturing complex, and slave labor. They often contract hits on rival producers and will occasionally fund ‘grassroots’ mobs to bust up uncooperative marketplaces. They reward selfishness and greed, but always pay humans and mutants less than Kermen operatives. 9-piece suits and overly dramatic capes are the uniform of the elites; their CEO is often required to sport three capes atop a number of stacked blazers.

The Free Peoples Advancement - The FPA started as a labor movement of former factory slaves and outcast mutants, seeking mutual economic protection through solidarity. On the surface this still appears to be true - members speak the language of solidarity and wear the orange armband of the FPA over their working clothes. Beneath the surface, however, a triumvirate of elite families have taken over as silent owners, funding worker revolts in the Kettle to create easy market opportunities for wealthy interests from the Craw neighborhood.

FPA agents specialize in disguise and infiltration, often developing sleeper cells within other Neighborhood Friendship Societies. FPA members pay dues, which afford them a certain amount of protection as well as discounts among fellow FPA merchants. The X’xul, Mokron, and Gorgontula families (see p.xx) run the FPA from the Craw.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Gathox Monsters: Zhezhn, Lesser: Contrail Antenna

The last monster I highlighted on this blog was the Flat Earther. Now I present to you the psychic entity which creates Flat Earthers. Behold the Contrail Antenna:



Zhezhn, Lesser – Contrail Antenna
Armor Class: 3[16]
Hit Dice: 5+2
Attacks: 2 laser eyes
Special: Confusion
Move: 24
HDE/XP: 8/800

As Big As: A monolith.
Smells Like: Jet engines, burnt foil.
Sounds Like: A raving lunatic.
Favorite Pastime: Spreading conspiracy theories to increase psychic stress.
Turnoffs: Reason.

The Contrail Antenna is a Zhezhn specifically designed to feed off paranoia and distrust. It takes the form of a massive head, adorned with tin foil and a channeling antenna, propelled by two jet engines which leave thick, stinking, long-lasting contrails wherever it goes. It can shoot a laser from each eye every round, and perpetually spouts conspiracy theories about the individuals it attacks, directly relating the paranoid delusions to the private details of their lives. 3 rounds of listening to this drivel requires victims to make a 3d6 vs. WIS check, or succumb to Confusion, which causes the victim to wander aimlessly in a paranoid haze for 1d4 turns. Confusion can be broken by the destruction of the Zhezhn or by magical or medical means.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Gathox Neighborhoods: Berchan Favela

This week I wanted to share the oldest neighborhood in Gathox: the Berchan Favela.


Berchan Favela


Although The Kettle houses the largest population out of any of Gathox’s neighborhoods, it wasn’t the first. The oldest neighborhood, Berchan Favela, bears the marks of untold millennia of construction and dissolution. Ascending the 750 Steps of Reason from the east end of The Kettle, one finds that the steps change from finely hewn granite blocks to cobblestone to mud and rock. From The Craw in the west, one must cross the Great Arboretum at Saplander’s Crossing, an impossibly old and decrepit network of wooden bridges made of oiled branches which have partly petrified. The longest standing tradition in Gathox is the Assertion of Persistence, an annual ritual dedicated to maintaining Saplander’s Crossing and the trees of the Great Arboretum.

Upon entering Berchan, affectionately referred to by locals as ‘Jimtown,’ visitors are first struck by the colorful geometric patterns painted on the crooked buildings climbing the hillside. Next, they note the pervasive scent of pork and frying dough, followed by shock at the abundance of street performers ranging from cornerside puppetry to ad-hoc marching bands. Visitors also register the pervasive presence of men dressed as elves who call themselves ‘Elven Kings,’ augmented with ceramic or rubber pointed ears and half-starved to maintain appearances. As one travels across the modest breadth of the neighborhood from east to west, one will begin to enter and exit numerous tiny gardens, crossing bridges over diminutive streams whose contents range from seemingly fresh water to raw sewage and colorful, dubious chemical flows.

In the mornings, the Hermitsa Avenue Market erupts into bright flame with the striking of the Corner Fires, and callers begin to shout advertisements from their man baskets atop four story poles. Many citizens of Berchan will practice their yoga and other morning exercises in the tiny gardens scattering the neighborhood. In ritual fashion, butchers slaughter their pigs at the front doors of their shops for good luck, the blood running in streams down the hilly streets.

In the afternoons, hungover brigades of Elven Kings march the streets, gruffly making certain that residents and merchants alike erect their great street fans to block out most of the sunlight. A stink likened to fermented cabbage rises from the chimneys of shacks where indentured servants process the raw ingredients for the Sho-Maht drug available so cheaply in Berchan. The distant roar of crocodactyls taking flight occasionally pierces the air, the beasts bearing speculative merchants into the dangerous and seldom explored lands of strange worlds beyond the walls of the city.

Come nightfall, the street fans are lowered and mobile stages erected. Impoverished alley theater performances begin amidst roving drum competitions. The eldest race of Gathox, called The Bloody People by humans and mutants but Sluurgal by their own tongue, emerge from their ground holes to begin the endless process of repainting dilapidated buildings throughout the neighborhood. The flapping of boil bunny ears can be heard beating around the upper branches of the Jimmelune trees, where they feast on the ever-growing Jimmelune fruit which is used to create the cheap drink Jimmy wine. By midnight, the Corner Fires are extinguished and private parties begin behind closed shack doors.

Who Rules


As a smaller community than The Kettle, there are only three gangs in control of the Favela. Although they make gestures toward peace, their interactions are less stable than those of Kettle gangs. The Elven Kings arguably hold the most land and wealth, and certainly maintain the most visible presence in Berchan. In contrast to the Elven Kings, the Headlong Hurlers maintain a minimal profile, alternately policing and plundering the streets from their stories-high perch poles. The Bloody People maintain a quiet underground presence, emerging to maintain bits of the neighborhood in a centuries-old habit of fighting entropy.

The Elven Kings - The Elven Kings come from all walks of humanity, united in their obsessive worship of what they call “Fey Literature.” They grow their hair long and starve themselves in an attempt to appear more elf-like, often going so far as to adorn themselves with striated goldleaf jewelry and custom body modifications, like prosthetic ears. The most fanatic of The Elven Kings will seek out extensive cosmetic surgery, a life-threatening process under the best of circumstances in Gathox.

Elven Kings control most of the southern and central portions of Berchan, patrolling the streets armed with shotguns and lungblades. They control the production and sale of Sho-Maht, a deeply euphoric and hallucinogenic sedative popular amongst both the poor and the leisure class, and derive much of their power from this industry.

The HeadlongHurlers - Originally a skydiving cult dedicated to the worship of the Goddess Who Balances on Narrow Precipices, the Hurlers became an aggressive militant street gang after the arrival of their current leader, Sonandra Massone. Massone armed and organized the cult, emphasizing the shock potential of wingsuiting into the streets to seize whatever they want. Their subsequent successes have led to rapid growth in the Favela.

The Hurlers have taken control of the multi-story perch poles scattered across Berchan, using them as recon posts and launchpads to dive into the streets. They wear colorful, high-tech wingsuits and brandish two-handed swords, and their bravado matches their skill. They only allow women into their ranks and hope to become the dominant force in Berchan, harboring a deep hatred for the Elven Kings. Protection rackets and targeted raids feed their enterprise.

The Bloody People- The least gang-like of the Favela’s ruling social groups, the Bloody People are entirely organized around the fact that they’re a separate and ancient species, apart from the rest of the city. They call themselves Sluurgal and dwell below ground in colony apartments called Mujim. Other denizens of Gathox call them The Bloody People for their habit of bleeding on objects to claim them. A Sluurgal will go to great lengths to retrieve an item upon which they’ve bled.

The staying power and economic success of the Bloody People relies on a complex mixture of ritual marriage and reproduction, ritual thievery, and ritual infrastructure repair. Most citizens of Gathox consider them a tolerable necessity, and so the Bloody People maintain steady and quiet lives below ground. Their greatest desire, and the one least likely to be expressed in mixed company, is to rid the city of all other sentient species. Some say their colonies extend well beyond the confines of the Favela, although no one claims to have thoroughly explored them.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Gathox monsters: The Flat Earther


 


Flat Earther
Armor Class: 7[12]
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: Bodyslam
Special: Ground shake
Move: 6
HDE/XP: 4/120

As Big As: A wrecking ball on stilts.
Smells Like: Molding cheese, halitosis.
Sounds Like: Dullness given breath.
Favorite Pastime: Mashing things into puree.
Turnoffs: Elocution.

Flat Earthers are the farming experiment of a rogue Contrail Antenna (see pp.xx) long ago, which have since become their own self-perpetuating species. They can speak, although reasoning with them is notoriously difficult. They are generally solitary, but deep in the bowels of Gathox adventurers have reported bearing witness to large, slavering, orgiastic conventions of the creatures. They can swing their bodies from the pillars they carry, inflicting 1d6 damage with a 1 in 6 chance of requiring a save against being knocked unconscious for 1d4 rounds. Additionally, they can slam their pillars on the ground, requiring a 3d6 vs. DEX check or everyone in a 10' radius is knocked to the ground for a round.