Secret Santicore: The Lich Who Saved Christmas

Made by yours truly

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land
Not a creature was stirring, and fate was at hand;
Trees of pine, bushes juniper, and tall pillars of oak
Occluded all vision as a near-dead-man awoke;
My children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of bereavement danced in my head;
And I in the snow-banks, their cold downy drifts,
In the forest hounded by bandits and robbed of my gifts,
When out on the horizon a motion was made,
I sprang from the dune, braced for a second raid.
Away from sight I dove in a flash,
huddled by a tree, face covered in sash.
The moon on the breast of the old-treaded snow
Gave a ghastly light to objects below,
When, what to my worrying eyes should appear,
But a gaunt figure astride and was quickly near,
His face was split by the gash of his teeth,
Nothing else was shown through his hair, nor beneath;
He had a sunken face, and withered black nails,
and he drug quite a path with his long coattails.
In the grip of his claws, he held fast a small toy,
the very same stuffed bear I'd picked out for my boy;
A widening of craw and a crane of his head,
Soon gave me to know I was as good as dead;
He spoke not a word, but gestured straight for my home,
And filled me with longing; A fool I was to roam,
now prone shivering at the feet of this beast,
this last gift I knew would survive me at least;
The creature's dread grin faded, slowly melting adieu,
And his crimson robe bled through the solid white view;
But I heard him cackle, ere he moved out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!


Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Pelznickel. He is truly named Zinigol of Immortal Sorcery, The Two Right Handed. In times immemorial, Zinigol undertook the ancient rites and became a Lich; a being of eternal life and rotting form. Centuries past by from his Hyperborean birth, and Christmas arrived. It was beginning to peter out (relatively) soon after its creation when Zinigol took notice.
In the jolly, red-clad figurehead of the holiday, Zinigol found an opportunity for cover. If he were to relocate to the North Pole, spend a year or two delivering gifts, and turned away any investigators with illusory spells, he could pass as Santa Claus and have a base of operations that no wily adventurers would seek out. It was foolproof!

Sadly for Zinigol, he was too careful in his work. Time's passage is harder to perceive when one reaches as advanced an age as he, and immortality distorts the view even further. Years of gift-giving quickly became decades, and decades became centuries, and on and on. A millennia later and Zinigol's withering old mind was bent out of shape.
He is Santa Claus, now. Except more like the Futurama S.C, where he'll kill you dead if he ever lays eye on you. His standards were already made up, now they're completely distorted. Gifts and baubles are devilish. No treats, only tortures. Christmas was saved, and ruined, by the same man.


LotFP: Armor 18, Movement 200', 9th level Magic-User, 100 hp, gnarled claws 1d10+paralysis(as ghoul) or magic, Morale 16.
DCC RPG: Init +4; Atk claw +7 melee (1d12+3) or magic; AC 18; HD 12d12; MV walk 50'; Act 2d20; SP un-dead traits, paralysis(as ghoul), phylactery, spells as 9th level wizard; SV Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +2; AL C.

By this point in his un-life, Santa Claus' phylactery has become something new.. something different. Most are physical vessels for soulstuff that direct the reassembly of matter into a new form for the Lich. Santa's phylactery has shifted over his loooonnnggg life to be the very Spirit of Christmas itself. So long as children and childish persons believe in him, he will reform at his base of operation; a ruined Soviet drifting station in the Arctic Ocean. Its machinery has been refitted to churn out diabolic devices of torture and mayhem painted in a thin veneer of childish glee.

(Merry Crustmas, TLN! I hope this satisfies what you imagined when you thought of the Lich who Saved Christmas. Thanks so much for all the wonderful posts and inspiration since I found your blog! This monster man was a lot of fun to think around. I'd love to run a modern-day fantasy thing someday. This would certainly be that world's Santa Claus!)

Offering Thanks to the Stars

From down here in my little knothole, the stars have always seemed awfully bright. I'm glad to have seen them up close, now. - Halath, deerman sage

Starting this blog recently, after discovering the OSR and meandering around the blogosphere for a while, has been a wonderful experience.

I'm thankful for the community of creators and cool people that encourage me to make, and to play, and to continue with whatever I'm doing here.
I'm thankful for the group of players I've known for years now, always willing to try whatever shit I've crocked up, and I'm thankful for all the new players I've begun to meet in school.
I'm thankful for the family that supports me as I find my footing in the world.
I'm thankful for the friends and people that have entered my life, and grace me everyday with their continued presence. Its truly a joy to know you all.
I'm thankful that I have enough time to keep playing and creating, and that I'm not strung out with no time to unwind anywhere in between school and work and play.
I'm thankful for such an awesome school to be able to attend, and all the education and insight I've gotten even this early.
I'm thankful for my greatest pillars, those select few people who are always with me. The players on my team, as we're cheered on from the bleachers. You know who you are.
I'm thankful for all the superstars (to me) in the OSR and DIY scenes that have inspired me to write, and have even encouraged me personally to continue! Its amazing to be in a community that is so down to earth. I never expect to just have a conversation with some of the people I've been reading, and yet, here I am! Starry eyes and all.

And I'm thankful for all of you. Anybody who reads this blog, you are the reason I do this. Its satisfying to see my notes on a webpage, but being able to make someone's game better or to give them just a few minutes' enjoyment reading is miraculous.

So, thank you to all the people who make my life as amazing as it is. All the love and encouragement and support a man could ever ask for.

Thank you.

And now, lets all retire to our beds on the Eve of Thanksgiving. None of the horrible colonialism and murder and such.

That's for tomorrow.

P.S. Come and join the OSR Discord from Chris Mcdowall! Its a great place

Inktober 2018

I popped my Inktober cherry this year, and (no surprise, this is like my only hobby) I drew fantasy characters. I generated some random characters, and set out. Here's what came out of that.

Dwarf Druid


Triton Sorcerer and Dragonborn Rogue

Aarakocra Warlock and A portrait of a friend (Bonus!)

Air Genasi Sorcerer and Human Druid

Changeling Druid and Orc Rogue

Aasimar Cleric and Dragonborn Monk


Warforged Wizard


Aasimar Fighter


High Elf Druid and Wood Elf Cleric


Tiefling Rogue and Human Ranger


Tiefling Paladin and Changeling Ranger


Half-Elf Monk and Half-Orc Monk


Gnome Paladin (Special thanks to TheLawfulNeutral for the inspiration)


Dark Elf Paladin and Goblin Barbaian


Half-Orc Sorcerer and Gnome Rogue


Dwarf Fighter and Firbolg Druid


Dwarf Monk and Halfling Bard


Gnome Barbarian and Triton Fighter

OSR Guide for the Perplexed Questionaire

To all those who are new to my blog, and to the OSR. Though we have been driven from our homelands of Google+, may we find comfort in camaraderie!

1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me:

Oh man, its a toss up between the Principia Apocrypha (is that an article? Eh) and Chris McDowall's A Player's Handbook.

2. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark:

Prep situations, not plots.

3. Best OSR module/supplement:

Best supplement has to go to Veins of the Earth. I have never seen so many inspiring ideas in one book about a part of the hobby’s history I was so uninterested in.

Best module is Skerples’ Tomb of the Serpent Kings, no doubt. Such a good OSR tutorial, and with my players I’ll need it.

4. My favorite house rule (by someone else):

Claytonian JP’s Chase is super fun! Even if the first time I deployed it my players curb stomped the shit out of who they were chasing in no time, they had fun! So that's a success.

5. How I found out about the OSR:

It was a combination of spectating an online Stars Without Number game, playing an AD&D 2e one shot a friend’s dad ran, and hearing about the OSR from WebDM that pushed me to look into it.

6. My favorite OSR online resource/toy:

I am for sure gonna overuse this Table Generator from Spwack!

7. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers:

This Discord!

8. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games:

Well, apart from the Discord above (and feel free to add me at wr3cking8a11#7745) I love to talk people’s ears off IRL. So if you happen to bump into me, give me a shout!

9. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough:

Death doesn’t matter as much as the threat of death. Honestly, if your players are afraid it doesn’t make a difference whether they live or die because they believe they could.

10. My favorite non-OSR RPG:

I’m a big fan of 5e! The whole super-powered fantasy deal is pretty fun when you sign up for it.

11. Why I like OSR stuff:

I love simulation. Ever since I was young, watching my dad play The Elder Scrolls games, I’ve marveled at a game’s capacity to really place me into a world. That’s what attracted me to Roleplaying Games in the first place! But I happened to join in during an era of plot-driven games (no hate!), and so until I found the OSR I didn’t have that.

Well, that's what the OSR has given me! And I don’t mean simulationist in a really strictly literal way, I mean that my actions have consequences. My actions are the driving force! And on the other side of the screen, the world is gonna go in ways I could never have predicted!

12. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven’t named yet:

I’m really digging the Tome of Adventure Design from Frog God Games. Its got an enormous amount of inspiring tables, and its just fucking fun to roll that many dice.

The Goblin Laws of Gaming (the GLOG) are probably my favorite OSR rulesets, and I say rulesets because it has so many different iterations and versions in the blogosphere. Start with Goblin Punch, Arnold K’s blog. What a gem that is, apart from his system.

13. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be:

Coins and Scrolls, for sure. It was my first OSR blog, and by God it’ll be my last. Whatever that means..

14. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is:

Well, there are some blog posts in the oven I’m pretty excited for, but I really love my Wordsmith Wizards!

15. I'm currently running/playing:

Nothing! I was running a 5e Spelljammer game, but thats on indefinite hiatus until I get into a good rhythm with college.

16. I don't care whether you use ascending or descending AC because:

Into the Odd’s decisive combat has me really intrigued.

17. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice:

A piece from the upcoming Marvels and Malisons 2nd Edition I found in my phone.

Wordsmith Wizards: Practitioners of Paronym Follow-up

Recently, I've become very taken with the OSR (and +Arnold K's GLOG in particular) and I started to compile some homebrew rules and classes and whatnot for my future use.

My table took a look at the doc I was working on, and found +Type1 Ninja's Cleric rendition to be very fun! The very first spell they made was Annihilate Baby, so of course they fucking liked it.

They desperately wanted an equivalently random school for the wizard, and so I obliged.

(Thanks so much to +Martin O and his Paronym wizard order, which I shamelessly riffed off of, my players for their feedback, and to +Ben Milton for his fantastic magic tables in Maze Rats that I happily stole.)

Wordsmith Wizard

Status: Chartered

The world was spoken into being, many say. The Wordsmiths are obsessed with language, and seek to unravel its secrets to reshape reality. The current state of affairs is.. grim, but the pursuit goes on.

Perk: You remember everything you read exactly as it is written. Gain the Law skill.

Drawback: To cast spells, you must be able to speak and hear yourself clearly. The words don’t come out right otherwise.

Cantrips

1. You can touch paper and some form of pigmented fluid, instantly creating a full page’s worth of words from your thoughts OR editing words on the paper.

2. You can burn a Magic Die to change, remove, or add a letter to one word of a spell you cast.

3. You can create enough ink to fill a teacup once a day.

Spells






Effect
Element
Form
Ethereal
Unobservable Forces
High Concepts & Metaphysics
Intangible Manifestations
Physical
Observable Forces
Classical Elements & Flora/Fauna
Tangible Reality


For this wizard’s spell list, you will pick any two categories below and roll to generate each spell.

Generally, any two of the categories explained above will produce sensible spells. (Excluding Form and Form, because Loop of Trap doesn't exactly seem cool, but you do you. Although, Loop of TrapS sounds kinda awesome...)

When rolling, use 2d6; one for the individual block and one for the numbered entry therein.

EX: I get a 3 and a 5 for my Physical Effects roll, so I get Illuminating.





1. Physical Effects
1.Animating
2.Attracting
3.Binding
4.Blossoming
5.Consuming
6.Creeping
1.Crushing
2.Diminishing
3.Dividing
4.Duplicating
5.Enveloping
6.Expanding
1.Fusing
2.Grasping
3.Hastening
4.Hindering
5.Illuminating
6.Imprisoning
1.Levitating
2.Opening
3.Petrifying
4.Phasing
5.Piercing
6.Pursuing
1.Reflecting
2.Regenerating
3.Rending
4.Repelling
5.Resurrecting
6.Screaming
1.Sealing
2.Shapeshifting
3.Shielding
4.Spawning
5.Transmuting
6.Transporting


2. Physical Elements
1.Acid
2.Amber
3.Bark
4.Blood
5.Bone
6.Brine
1.Clay
2.Crow
3.Crystal
4.Ember
5 Flesh
6.Fungus
1.Glass
2.Honey
3.Ice
4.Insect
5.Iron
6.Lava
1.Moss
2.Obsidian
3.Oil
4.Poison
5.Rat
6.Salt
1.Sand
2.Sap
3.Serpent
4.Slime
5.Stone
6.Tar
1.Thorn
2.Vine
3.Water
4.Wine
5.Wood
6.Worm


3. Physical Forms
1.Altar
2.Armor
3.Arrow
4.Beast
5.Blade
6.Cauldron
1.Chain
2.Chariot
3.Claw
4.Cloak
5.Colossus
6.Crown
1.Elemental
2.Eye
3.Fountain
4.Gate
5.Golem
6.Hammer
1.Horn
2.Key
3.Mask
4.Monolith
5.Pit
6.Prison
1.Sentinel
2.Servant
3.Shield
4.Spear
5.Stead
6.Swarm
1.Tentacle
2.Throne
3.Torch
4.Trap
5.Wall
6.Web




4. Ethereal Effects
1.Avenging
2.Banishing
3.Bewildering
4.Blinding
5.Charming
6.Communicating
1.Compelling
2.Concealing
3.Deafening
4.Deceiving
5.Deciphering
6.Disguising
1.Dispelling
2.Emboldening
3.Encoding
4.Energizing
5.Enlightening
6.Enraging
1.Excruciating
2.Foreseeing
3.Intoxicating
4.Maddening
5.Mesmerizing
6.Mindreading
1.Nullifying
2.Paralyzing
3.Revealing
4.Revolting
5.Scrying
6.Silencing
1.Soothing
2.Summoning
3.Terrifying
4.Warding
5.Wearying
6.Withering


5. Ethereal Elements
1.Ash
2.Chaos
3.Distortion
4.Dream
5.Dust
6.Echo
1.Ectoplasm
2.Fire
3.Fog
4.Ghost
5.Harmony
6.Heat
1.Law
2.Lightning
3.Memory
4.Mind
5.Mutation
6.Negation
1.Plague
2.Plasma
3.Probability
4.Rain
5.Rot
6.Shadow
1.Smoke
2.Snow
3.Soul
4.Star
5.Stasis
6.Steam
1.Thunder
2.Time
3.Void
4.Warp
5.Whisper
6.Wind


6. Ethereal Forms
1.Aura
2.Beacon
3.Beam
4.Blast
5.Blob
6.Bolt
1.Bubble
2.Call
3.Cascade
4.Circle
5.Cloud
6.Coil
1.Cone
2.Cube
3.Dance
4.Disk
5.Field
6.Form
1.Gaze
2.Loop
3.Moment
4.Nexus
5.Portal
6.Pulse
1.Pyramid
2.Ray
3.Shard
4.Sphere
5.Spray
6.Storm
1.Swarm
2.Torrent
3.Touch
4.Vortex
5.Wave
6.Word

Emblem Spells
11. Paronym
You speak amendments unto reality’s laws with authority. You can take any two words from the spells on your list and smush those into a new spell upon casting. For each MD invested, the effect is strengthened (whatever that means) and you may change 1 letter in either word. The exact effects are debated upon by you and the GM.
12. Tongues
R: touch T: [dice] creatures D: [sum] days
Eyes turn a worn beige, and whatever words are read or heard scroll over them in inky print. The affected are able to interpret any attempt at communication with utter accuracy. Improvised hand gestures, symbology in dying blood, and the Language of Gods are all fair game.

Mishaps
1. MD only return to your pool on a 1-2 for 24 hours
2. Take 1d6 damage.
3. Random mutation for 1d6 rounds, then Save. Permanent if you fail.
4. Blinded for 1d6 rounds.
5. Spell targets you (if harmful) or enemy (if beneficial) or fizzles (if neutral)
6. Deafened for 1d6 rounds.

Dooms
1. You are unable to understand written or nonverbal communication for 1 day, and must save or misunderstand spoken communication for the duration.
2. You are unable to understand any language or form of communication for 3 days. Words actively flee from you.
3. You lose the gift of communication permanently, locked inside of your mind and body without escape or reprieve. The quiet will likely drive you insane immediately.

This doom can be avoided by seamlessly assimilating two different cultures (with different languages) into one, or by inventing a complete language from the ground up.

Design Notes

This school's cantrips and dooms are my primary attempt to deliver the flavor of this class. I imagine them, in my world at least, to be the most anal-retentive of all the schools. They have all the skills necessary to create incredibly rich and decisive treatises on the world, and their biggest power and temptation is to alter the world through their words. (Not unlike the Sorcerer from Skerples.) I hope that comes across in this class.

That's my first blog post, everybody. There it is. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.