Saturday, November 9, 2013

In An Octopus's Garden With You

"No, no NaGaDeMon, I haven't given up already. No, I am just...working out the details of my Unfinished Business idea before I post them.

Hold on, I have another call."

"Hello...What? No Unfinished Business, I'm not avoiding you. Someone else? Just because I've been discussing The Twilight Zone doesn't mean I'm not interested in you. The Twilight Zone and I are just old friends..."

Whew. What a predicament!

Truth is this has been a crazy busy week and I haven't found it easy to focus on my NaGaDeMon project. I keep getting distracted by real life, other ideas and my regular ongoing games.

Now there's this...

12 Questions from the Octopi Lord:

Not another one of these things! These silly questions about...hmmm...these actually seem fun. No! Must focus. Can't be distracted.

Well...OK. Answering a few won't hurt.

I am going to answer these based on my D&D-But-Not setting of Aerth and the Chronicles of The Winghorn GuardTM campaigns. Otherwise, this would go all over the place.

What is your favorite villain you ever challenged players with?

Probably Shadowhaunt.

It would take a very long post to explain all the elements that made him 'him' but suffice to say he was ruthless, vicious, intelligent, well prepared, well organized, made things personal and in the end, revealed to be doing all his villainy to save the lives of his people, perhaps hundreds of now extinct Pale Elves, who had already long since died.

In his final moments he helped the heroes defeat an Ancient Green Dragon who had doubled crossed him and was about to destroy a good deal of the mortal world.

What is your favorite organization behind wrong-doing in your setting?

There are so many. My favorite isn't really a villainous organization either. There is a group called The Circle of The Shattered Rainbow. Basically, they represent an as yet unknown entity or set of entities dedicated to preserving the balance of Good and Evil by assisting whichever side seems likely to be overwhelmed by the other.

Since my setting has a very powerful and well organized heroic organization, The Circle aids the villains more often than not. In a bit of dialog from one adventure, a Circle member indicates that by aiding the villains he is not only maintaining some existential 'balance' but actually giving the heroes' lives purpose. "What would you do without us? Who would you be?"

Another is the 'Burning Scream', an Assassin and Thieves Guild lead by an Eye of Fear and Flame. Many of it's members are undead. "Constable! Come quickly! Bjornrick of Briar Town just made off with the money for the orphanage!" "Impossible! Bjornrick is dead. He has been dead three seasons now. I ran him through with my longsword myself, I did."

What is the most interesting location you ever staged a battle in?

I am all about location. Location, location, location. To choose one is very difficult. Maybe...

Mount Oblivion, a mile high column of obsidian rock over a lake of lava?

The Earth Wound, a sword shaped gouge in the world over 300 feet deep, filled with various demonic creatures, it's floor a gate to Hell itself?

The Sky City of The Wind Dukes of Aaqa (inspired by Advanced D&D)?

The Bridges of Grief! A monumental wall extending from the Southern tip of one continent and going across the sea to another. It is the only safe way to cross the gap by day and sea monsters and strange beasts dwell in the straits. By night it is haunted and only by showing respect to the ancient warriors buried there can you passed across it unharmed.

Darn. I only have 50 more off the top of my head.

What is the most interesting chase scene you ever had in a game?

One PC and several NPC allies are on his (the PC's) caravel ship, chasing an enemy pirate ship off the coast of a nation similar to medieval Hungary. In the air above them, two of the pirates are returning to their vessel on the backs of Kargas (Hippogriff-like creatures combining the parts of a Stag and a Hawk). Each Kargas is also carrying a PC, who is grappling with the pirate trying to get back to his ship. Oh, did I mention the waters are being churned up by an precocious sea demoness who was summoned by the pirates but is not completely under control? 'Cause there was that.

What is the most evocative scenic location you have used in a game?

See question three.

What is the most interesting one-of-a-kind unique monster in your games?

Again, I have sooo many. In my setting a large number of creatures are unique, unlike in D&D but very much like folklore and myth. The Tarrasque, the Alicorn, Saint Abigail's Griffon, the Beast of Knokkernoffen...ah...the Beast of Knokkernoffen.

The Beast of Knokkernoffen (a small mining town in the hills of my homebrew setting's Germanic region) is based on several medieval hybrid and heraldic monsters I saw in a book as a kid. As I got older I added elements of the Questing Beast of Arthurian Legend and a bit of the chaos creatures you'd see in Warhammer Fantasy.

It's body is the size of a large bull but shaped like a stag. It has a stag's legs and hooves as well. It's neck is long, with an oddly serpentine, animal head at the end of it. The head has glowing green-yellow eyes, goat-like horns and fangs. There are two black feathered wings, like those of a crow, growing from it's sides, just below it's back. It's tail is of medium length and serpent-like. The entire body is covered with matted and flea-bitten gray fur (similar to a goat's) which is lighter on the underside and has dark spots on the dorsal.

The creature breathes a stench so foul, it can knock all but the stoutest constitutions unconscious in moments. It's teeth, horns and hooves are razor sharp and the beast is heavy and very strong. It's wings are incapable of carrying it aloft, as it is no doubt weighed down by it's bulk and the sin it's misdeeds. It can leap very high, hang in the air for a few moments and raise itself a few feet of the ground by beating its wing furiously, though this tires the creature.

The sound of its call has been described as the playing of a fiddle, a flute and harp at their worst and all at once.

What is the most tantalizing artifact, relic or tech you have ever used in game?

Tantalizing? Not idea. Coolest? There is a lot of cool stuff on Aerth.

Possibly 'The Golems of Rae-Uhn', two 65 ft. tall, metallic statues, one painted red, the other blue, that walk back and forth around the city and to everyone's knowledge, always have. They do not veer from their rounds, respond to outside stimuli, and they have only ever stopped moving twice.

Once, they stopped to watch a falling star crash to Earth many miles from the city of Rae-Uhn. The second time they stood still and than turned to defend the city at the approach of The Machine of Lum The Mad, the Apparatus of Kwalish and The Mighty Servant of Leuk-O.

What is the most world shattering thing a player has ever got up to in your settings?

A very high level, essentially immortal demi-god PC (who'd been played for many, many years of real time) landed a blow on the head of Tarrasque using a Hammer of Thunderbolts, Gauntlets of Ogre Power, Girdle of Giant Strength combination (lent to him by another PC) after being air-dropped from a flying ship. It made the Tarrasque stop walking, wait a moment, stunned (that anyone tried something so nuts I'm assuming), and then it left by sinking beneath the ocean.

Of course there were other world shattering events. So many in fact...

What is the strangest death of a character in game you have run?

Strangest death? Hmmm. One villain was crystallized by repeated flame, heat and fire spells being used in conjunction with spells of intense cold, ice and snow. The bad guy was then shattered by a third character using a lightning bolt from her magic sword.

That can't be the strangest one though. I've got to think about this one.

What is the most intriguing challenge, trap, or non combat obstacle in your games?

Conversation. You can undo a villain's plan with a word before any conflict event begins.

What is most interesting ability or character option you have added to your game?

Magic. Magic in my D&D doesn't suck.

What is the strangest mash up or weirdest system hack you have made in gaming?

Not sure...or at least I can not answer this easily in the context of the rest of the questions. I do odd system mash-up constantly. The Muppets is a cross between RISUS, the One-Roll Engine and stuff I developed after playing Toon, TFOS and a number of other games.

Now that I think about it...the rules for my D&D-But-Not game are not any one edition of D&D but rather an unholy mish-mash of Advanced D&D 1st Edition, D&D 3rd Edition and a Talent System not completely dissimilar to the Superpower rules from some of the simpler, more rules-light Superhero RPGs.

Well, that was kinda fun. Now where was I...Oops! NaGaDeMon. Heh.

Barking Alien


  1. Very cool stuff in your world. The locations and the misterious golems are really interesting!

  2. Why thank you Martim. And thanks for coming by!