Gadabouts & Gawkers

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I have returned again! This time with a system for running a game in my homebrewed version of Magical Industrial Revolution. (Which, if you haven't bought, you should go and buy! Its a wonderful book!.)

This is a melding of Into the Odd and The GLOG, hands down two of my favorite systems. I didn't really invent much of this, but I've included the document I pulled it from in the references page. Please enjoy! If you end up using any of this, please let me know!

EDIT: I've added a character generator (enabled by the wonderful spwack of Slight Adjustments, with tables taken from the awesome Maze Rats)

Mazes and Monsters

 Hello all! It's been quite a while. Frankly, I've not had the time, discipline not to get obsessed and sink all my time into blogging and RPGs, or inspiration to blog in a long time. But here I am!

I made this


Mazes and Monsters


Well, I is a strong word. Its essentially a pastiche of Into the Odd and Die Trying, two of my favorite systems. I'm probably gonna be introducing some new players to the Adventure Game tradition, so I wanted something that captured the spirit without a lot to learn. This is nothing new for anyone who has somehow seen my blog, as you've likely also seen the infinitely better content made by my inspirations. This is mostly just so I can put it up somewhere.

Anyway, its nice to be back! Maybe I'll be blogging more often now, but we shall see.

EDIT: Forgot to mention the "Who is my Character?" tables are ripped from Knave, they're some of my go-to for players who have never touched a die before and need some juice.

Secret Santicorn 2019: An Adventuring Economy

"It's time for the best part of Santicorn - making things!
Diaghilev requests the following gift:
Adventuring/tomb-robbing is a cash-rich, high-turnover profession. Those tend to spawn secondary industries. What are some interesting secondary industries that might spring up around a known hub for rich tomb-robbers? Aside from the obvious sorts of armorers and provisioners."

(Happy Santicorn! Be sure to check out who did my request, at Numbers Aren't Real!)

Ah, after eating an entire loaf of garlic bread and stewing in indie folk-pop, I have finally been struck by inspiration, Master Diaghilev. After doing some research into real life Secondary Industries, I find the through-line to be using the Primary Industry's produce as the base of the Secondary Industry. So, what is the main production of tomb robbing? Money is the obvious one, but it also doesn't push me in any particular creative direction, so fuck it. There is also a wealth of historical and academic material being exhumed (assumedly), so something Big Brain and smort could be an option. There's your average adventuring party needs, which would become more common as adventurers became a fixture of the economy. Hirelings, specialty tools, maybe a very specific form of healthcare?

I think that gives us the spark we need! And so, we begin.

The Adventuring Game

Thanks Pinterest

When a grave-robber who is dirt-caked and bleeding from the flank decides to settle with their loot in town, that town will one day become a city. Collecting adventurers like snow in a ball, as the wealth accumulates and builds this community, lots of people come to take some sliver of the pie. Here are just a few.

Hireling Guilds


Originally the term was derogatory, but somewhere along the line people just adopted it. The line of adventuring demands many lives and well-beings be sacrificed in the name of deeper levels. The most common structure is a rank system, based on the missions returned from, your reviews from actual minted adventurers, and your general aptitude for tasks. Higher ranks receive higher portions of the profits after the Guild's cut. Its a supremely competitive field, and hirelings die just as often to each other as to dungeons. Eugenics are practiced, if the society knows what that is. Think the No More Heroes assassin ranking system mixed with intern/mentorship programs.


d12Hireling QuirkGimmickDemeanorRank
1.Never makes eye contact.Hide in shadows, literally.Anxious.I
2.Constantly baring teeth.Acts like an animal, buck naked.Wild.II
3.Smug at all times.Faux gold and gems, finery.Bombastic.III
4.Disgustingly obese.Operates via telekinesis.Condescending.IV
5.Pulsating blood vessels.Voice carries for a mile.ANGRY.V
6.Too clingy.Can become a thought-form.Affectionate.VI
7.Doesn't speak the lingua franca.Can appear as any human.Confused.VII
8.Freezing cold.Undead costume, carries rotting meat.Morose.VIII
9.Does not emote.Artificial, save for heart and brain.Calculated.IX
10.Glittering smile.Can avoid sure death, once.Optimistic.X
11.Way younger than any other member.Strength of a Greek hero, but no combat prowess.Naive.XI
12.Sunglasses, whether era appropriate or not.Best sword-fighter in the guild.Overly Confident.XII

Identify, Archaeology and You


As mystical artifacts and remnants of bygone civilizations piled up, somebody realized there was more money to be made here than just the material worth showed. Now there are stalls all over that are just as talented at Academic Research and Library Use as they are at Barter. It's kind of odd not to try and up-sell to the bigger brained customers, with just a little bit of a tale. Of course, after all this time, people are wary of false history. IDs, qualifications and true honest-to-gods knowledge are standard affair. Most vendors will be a fine source of very specialized research. Imagine the salesman at the beginning of Disney's Aladdin combined with your glasses-wearing anime stereotype.


d6At this stall, you find...
1.Endless Marvel - A lithe, quiet cat person. Specializes in interpersonal histories and genealogy, favors trinkets and baubles with dramatic stories. Comes alive when reciting an item's tale.
2.Marosk - Wrinkly dwarf, like a Shar Pei. More of a physicist than a historian, has a mighty weapons collection. Currently working on the perfect siege engine.
3.Phineas Addington - Collector of the Ancient Empire. Specializes in that culture, but has a soft spot for architectural features. Fountains especially.
4.Florian - An artist, running a museum/auction house. Willing to put forth bizarre amounts of money up for authentic and undamaged pieces, but has equally bizarre standards.
5.Zander - Warm and kindly. Researching ancient lifestyles to improve conditions back home. Will happily take any practical artifacts like cutlery or furniture.
6.<3 - A masked figure completely concealed in cloth. Deals only in barter, and will not accept currency. Has a knack for magical objects.

Funerary Opulence


This maybe isn't so unusual, but when you have a wealth of people dying in their work, you gotta make good arrangements for their bodies. Depending on traditions, services cover many bases, and there is legal coverage for most obscure requests. Scattering ashes in otherwise private property, stringing the body up on a spire, hiding body parts in cabinets. Making light of death is one of many ways this society has coped with constant loss.

Extravagant Coffins are common, preservation of the corpse through magic slightly less so, and there are plenty of middlemen that scrape what cash they can get away with from the next-of-kin. Money is good.

With death so pervasive, you'll hear about some pretty bizarre cases. These are going on right now, if your players are interested in investigating.

Vandals, Necromancers, or Stranger?

Modest adventurer from a small housing district has recently passed away, and in their will requested their body be coated in iron and made into a gargoyle over the center of their home.

One week has passed, and the body is nowhere to be found. Due to the festival held in their honor, the locals have no idea whether the body was installed at all. The adventurer's survivors have placed a mighty bounty on the corpse-statue.

I Stab At Thee

A talented wizard was recently removed from their position at the university. This wizard put their life into one last working, and cursed the headmasters of their former work. Their days are numbered.

Wizard favors are supremely rare, and this may be the only opportunity you get to meet these headmasters without years of study. Alternatively, there will be quite a power vacuum to be filled...

Your Own Medicine

A nasty string of tomb-robberies went down in the Dead District, all valuables stripped. Obviously, no one with any sense would sell relics back to the people who made and owned them, so the culprits will likely be in hiding before fleeing for distant lands.

Will you bring them to justice for one of the highest crimes in this place, join with the robbers for a share of the profits, or simply watch as history changes hands?

A Brace of Bards: Steely Dan and Currents

Two more Bard genres for Lexi's Bard! These have languished in my drafts for over half a year now, and now I can finally evangelize some of my favorite music to all of you!

 šŸŽµšŸ”«
(This also happily overlaps with Tame Impala announcing their fourth LP, mostly! Yay!! Thanks to my dad, the OSR Discord, and my friends for helping fill some songs out.)

Steely Dan

To quote a small exchange with my dad;
Me: "Yeah, she and I were just hanging out and listening to Steely Dan vinyls."
Dad: "Oh gotcha, and you did Cocaine too, right?"

Perk
You're especially resistant to addiction. If you roll to become addicted to a substance, you can ignore the first failure. This is on a per drug basis. If your system does it different, you can blunt the negative penalties of substances. You always detect the presence of drugs in food and drink.

Songs
1. Reelin' In The Years: You can age something up to 15 years over the course of this song. The effects last (Ints 1: until the song ends, Ints 2: 1 minute after the song ends, Ints 3: 1 hour after the song ends, Ints 4: Permanently.) Once you reach an Intensity, even if it would be decreased, that becomes the duration of the effects.
2. Do It Again: While playing this song, you can see other potential outcomes of an action you took today. If you are able to reach [Ints] 4 while playing this song, you are able to choose another outcome for said event than the one that has actually occurred.
3. Dirty Work: While this song is played, the listeners must Save each round or perform a task that you assign to them. One successful save makes them immune to this rendition of the song. This task cannot be changed once assigned. The task can be, at most, (Ints 1: Menial, Ints 2: Standard Labor, Ints 3: Risky, Ints 4: Life Threatening.)
4. Rikki Don't Lose That Number: A small version of your head appears on the back of each listener, and lasts for [Ints] days after the song ends. Once you reach an Intensity, even if it would be decreased, that becomes the duration of the effects. You can communicate with each person psychically while this lasts, and can perceive through each head.
5. Hey Nineteen: You conjure forth a younger version of yourself and any willing party members. They'll try to listen to your suggestions, but you don't see eye to eye at all. You summon (Ints 1: you from a week ago, Ints 2: you from a year ago, Inst 3: You from 10 years ago, Ints 4: you as a child.)
6. Any Major Dude Will Tell You: While this song plays, dice results are inverted. Successes are failures, opposite positions on a table are selected, etc. This applies to (Ints 1: attack/defense rolls, Ints 2: all physical actions, Ints 3: all actions, Ints 4: literally any dice rolled at all.) 
7. Turn That Heartbeat Over Again: Every person in earshot of this song that you choose is under the effects of a drug you have consumed before at [Ints] doses.
8. Babylon Sisters: An ephemeral woman forms from the displaced air of this song, and will walk around the audience charmingly. Each round, she will whisper into your mind [Ints] secrets from the audience. This can be divided among any number of listeners, or drawn from the collective consciousness of the audience. (Their guild, city, religion, etc.)
9. Peg: You can select someone to make the audience of this song infatuated with, as though they were a major celebrity. They will do the types of things die-hard kpop fans would do, including all the worst bits, for (Ints 1: the duration of this song, Ints 2: 1 hour after the song, Ints 3: 1 day after the song, Ints 4: for one week.)
10. My Old School: The (Ints 1: local law enforcement, Ints 2: country's military, Ints 3: largest power in the world, Ints 4: supernatural authority.) appears and investigates the audience for something illegal that you determine. Drug possession, murder, dissenting thoughts, etc.


Currents

Maybe this is a little self indulgent, but its my favorite album from my favorite band soshutup.

Perk
You gain a bonus to seduction/persuasion equal to your Bard Level. You can expend Music Dice to gain a [sum] bonus to the roll, in addition to your Level.

Songs
1. Let It Happen: The audience of this song has difficulty resisting actions taken against them. This applies to (Ints 1: being persuaded, Ints 2: being persuaded and moved, Ints 3: being persuaded, moved, and hurt, Ints: being affected by anything.) They take a penalty to their resistance equal to your bard level.
2. Nangs: You can project your soul out of your body out to a certain range. Your body goes completely catatonic (except for continuing the song) as your soul walks about. You are treated as a ghost, if that's ever relevant. If your soul dies, your body is liable to become possessed. Your soul can travel (Ints 1: In the immediate area, Ints 2: In the country, Ints 3: On the planet, Ints 4: Into an adjacent dimension.)
3. The Moment: Anything you choose in earshot is stricken with waves of intense anxiety. This increases their fumble range by 2, and may prompt a morale check. This song can affect up to (Ints 1: 5 beings, Ints 2: 10 beings, Ints 3: 50 beings, Ints 4: 200 beings.)
4. Yes I'm Changing: You can prompt a reroll of the listeners Reaction/Morale. You can affect [Ints] listeners, with a bonus to the roll equal to your Bard level.
5. Eventually: As the Slow spell, at [Dice] = [Ints]. The duration is however long the song lasts for. If sum needs to come up for the Slow spell you use, each [Ints] is 2.
6. Gossip: As Nangs, except this only affects people apart from you. This can be used offensively, and the target gets a penalty to Save equal to [Ints.]
7. The Less I Know the Better: You can delete a memory from a person's mind, which will evaporate into smoke in the following minutes. This takes all of the memory's effects with it (if Memory Slots or Sanity are in use.) You can affect up to [Ints] persons, and unwilling people get a Save.
8. Past Life: You call forth the spirit of an ancestor, previous life, or genetic predecessor. They can gift you and up to bard level others (Ints 1: advice, Ints 2: a skillset, Ints 3: a minor trait of theirs, Ints 4: all previous entries while physically manifesting to assist.)
9. Disciples: You summon [Ints] tamed impala antelopes, and they will follow your commands to the T. (as well as antelopes can be expected to.) These antelopes revive if they die while this song is played.
10. Cause I'm a Man: Each round, you deal [Ints]d4 Psychic damage to a target of your choice. These d4s become d8s if the target felt proud about themselves when you began this song. This damage is not lethal. They gibber to themselves about their insecurities while taking damage from this song.
11. Reality in Motion: While this song is played, you can mentally control the environment around you, causing hills to appear, walls to distort, stuff like that. This applies only to what is non-living environment. The effect extends (Ints 1: 20 feet, Ints 2: 50 feet, Ints 3: 100 feet, Ints 4: earshot.) around you.
12. Love/Paranoia: Everyone in earshot no longer has any emotional feeling or attachment to (Ints 1: their closest love, Ints 2: their family, Ints 3: their friends, Ints 4: everyone they know.)
13. New Person, Same Old Mistakes: You can select one person in earshot to grant another Class Template in a class of your choice. This can become a 5th if they already have 4. At the end of the song, the target must Save or fall unconscious for 3 days at an [Ints] penalty.
14. List of People (To Try and Forget About): The audience of this song has no recollection or memory of [Ints] entities that you determine.
15. Powerlines: For the duration of the song, as many people as you like in earshot get [Ints] Magic Dice to spend as they like. These do not return once spent, no matter the sum, and if the listener has no spells, they can channel the MD into a rough and amorphous effect, which is very likely to backfire in any way the GM likes.
16. Taxi's Here: While this song is playing, time stops. You and your party are able to (Ints 1: talk to each other, Ints 2: move around, Ints 3: interact with non-living objects, Ints 4: affect anything.), the effects of which will be felt after the song ends. Think The World from JoJo

The Biocon: Parasite Race-as-Class

A purple humanoid from Warspace, covered nearly entirely in his Biocon.

Be sure to check out Oblidisideryptch, Micah, Type1Ninja, James Young, Coalfiber, Lexi, Isaak Hill, Ambnz, Chuffer, Martin O,and Wizards' interpretations of the idea of a "Parasite Race-as-class"!

In space, there are effectively infinite forms of life if you look long and far enough. Herbivores, Carnivores, Psychevores, and of course, Parasites.

The parasite form we will be discussing today is the Biocon, which is to say a Biological Conjoint Organism. Much debate has been had over whether they're more accurately referred to as a sleeve, suit, or other synonym for a piece of clothing OR as a disease, affliction, or condition that creatures suffer from. At the end of the day, everyone recognizes them as an organism.

Biocons are a species of parasite that was recently discovered in the core of a dead star on the outer reaches of the Colonized Systems. After a frightening first encounter, the crew of fuel miners credited with the discovery had become Joined, as it is called. Biocons are capable of sapient thought, and are very committed to the survival of themselves and their host. This doesn't extend to describing the host's new lifespan, however. They are capable shapeshifters, and can produce any biological or thaumaturgical effect their host can describe to them.

Very little formal research has been conducted on the effects of Joining, for a couple of reasons:

1. The superhuman feats capable when Joined make it unlikely for most folks to willingly lay down and be studied. If you could suddenly leap tall buildings in a single bound, would you want to get studied in invasive, possibly lethal ways, for the benefit of science?

2. At the end of its currently perceivable lifespan, Biocons kill their host. Resurrection of the original Joined soul is presently impossible. Research in this vector is underway.

There are no known cases of a Joined lifeform surviving longer than 2 years, and that person had an extremely sedentary lifestyle. The many cases of.. enterprising Joined lead much shorter lives. Adventurers certainly won't make it longer than a little while.

Biocon

Biocon 1. Joined, Manifestation, Fatal Maturation
Biocon 2. +1 Manifestation, + 1 HD
Biocon 3. +1 Manifestation, + 1 HD
Biocon 4. The Brightest Candle, +1 Manifestation, + 1 HD

Starting Equipment: Biocon Manifestation ([level]*2 slots), dagger
Skills (d3): 1. Mining, 2. Diplomacy, 3. Wanderer

Hit Die: d8

A blood elf woman, admiring her newly progressed Biocon.

Joined: You share your body with a parasitic lifeform known as a Biocon. It's something like dolphin flesh with a thin layer of chitin over the top, sans the hairs. It feeds on your biological processes, and on the very essence of your soul. In turn, it grants you many abilities.
It is a sapient, living creature, and you can communicate with it telepathically. Its personality, goals, and other details are at the GM's discretion. Roll mental stats for the Biocon, and record them separately from your own. Effects that would normally target you are allowed to choose between you and the Biocon. When you gain this level, you can reroll an ability score of your choice and take the higher, as the Biocon naturally shores up your weaknesses.

Manifestation: Your Biocon is malleable, and dedicated to assisting your combined survival. Choose one monster's ability, such as an attack, movement, special ability, size, or other feature. GM has final say. The Biocon can produce this effect at will. It may need to make morale checks, to avoid being stressed out and activating this Manifestation on its own.
Onlookers will certainly need to make morale checks if you do something horrible, like manifest an Illithid's brain eating or a Mind Flayer's eye beam. You suffer a [level] penalty to reaction rolls.

Fatal Maturation: The GM will roll 1d12 secretly. This is your maximum lifespan in months, and unless you find a way to separate the Biocon from you, you will die. You cannot be brought back from this death in any known ways. You may be able to convince your Biocon to divulge this info, but it makes a concentrated effort to encourage you to live your best life. They often see this as information that will be a problem for you.

The Brightest Candle: You are at the end of your rope. Your Biocon has reached maturity, and you are now considered one entity for the purposes of targeting and such. At your whim, you can set the other end of the candle alight. You turn over the last shreds of your control to your Biocon. Your ability scores become 20, and you reduce all damage taken by 5. Your HP also increases to 50. You lose 1 HP each minute, and cannot restore it. When it reaches 0, you die. Irrevocably.
Your body and soul have been burnt up by the Biocon, and it... disappears. Where to? Who knows.

A birdfolk, possessed by a Biocon that makes them much faster.


Commentary

I was going for something like Baoh, Infamous, and other kinds of dangerously powerful parasites. I liked the idea of being able to do cool transformations (and visually, I drew on my favorite pokemon Deoxys' transformations) but didn't want the implementation to be clunky. So, I tossed around the idea of "schools" like wizards, with Manifestation Dice. But, ultimately, I think just stealing stuff from monsters is a lot simpler. But if someone does something like manifestation dice, please tell me. I think that'd be awesome.