Thursday, January 18, 2018

Dawnstar Registration


Saturdays, 9PM Eastern US to roughly 11PM Eastern US, and we can go later some nights depending on whether I work or not. This will be weekly and if I know I won't be able to make it I will try to get a fill-in Referee.

You do not have to know how to play Feng Shui/Feng Shui 2, or have read the articles I've put up about it. Just know the following before the first session:


  • This is basically Studio Ghibli Wacky Races with some other cartoons and Japanese shit and 80s cartoons and (being FS) action movie stuff thrown in. Sometimes it will be mainstream, sometimes more fantastic or sci-fi, sometimes whole sessions will focus on the more pastoral aspects of these characters' lives. Don't take everything very seriously but don't roll up with Johnny Fart and the Dildo 5000...try to keep the basic gist of this in mind.
  • You only need a few D6.
  • You need to know what kind of guy you want to play. This might mean that you look at one of these documents and pick a Type you want to play, or maybe you could read the Background for the campaign or check out the individual entries under the tag. Or just...have a guy in mind and I'll pick something close enough to play for your first session.
  • That said, after the first session or two be prepared to play more than one character. If you've played certain types of RPG you're used to filling out the cast in certain situations, this will be one of those.


Our first couple sessions will be a little stripped down because I'm still getting all my video/call streaming stuff re-worked out on my computer. So have a lot of patience with me on that and I'll have a lot of patience with you regarding everything else.

Now I'm open to as many people as want to play but know that I'm not going to run with more than 6 in a week (cross talk becomes too much a problem online). If a week shows where I can't get 3 together to run then I do a shorter little session with whoever showed up and go do something else.

Additionally I would prefer to start the campaign knowing for certain that at least 3 players will more or less be able to make it every week. Things come up, people go out of town, get sick, I get that, but I want a few people on board for whom this is their Saturday night thing, not a backup. I know that can be a big ask because it is Saturday night but, well.....that's when I can do this.

Any questions just ask them here or on G+ and I'll answer. Depending on response I can start as early as this weekend but otherwise I'm going to begin 10 February 2018 at 9PM Eastern US. Otherwise, sign up below or on the G+ thread.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Wizard

Magic is not real.

Not everyone knows that. Some insist they can cast spells and are actually quite convincing but anything they can do you can do.

HD/Saves/Attack/Advance as Thief/Specialist.

You are well read and well practiced in your many talents and that's it.

When you encounter a problem - a monster, a locked pyramid, a riddling illusion, a crystalline barrier, an uncooperative sheriff - you can roll 1d100. If your result is equal to or less than your Intelligence plus your level then this is something you know about or know how to do. Your Int+Lvl is called your Theory.

You can use this for languages but a positive result doesn't imply fluency, it just means you know how to convey the specific message you want to say or decode this specific cave pictogram.

At any point you may add any number of Experience Points you've earned to your Theory as a one-time bonus before rolling d100 to determine your success. You level up more slowly but learn quickly.

If you ever want to deduce how to duplicate the effects of a spell or seemingly supernatural effect you've witnessed then you must roll against your Theory but may not add any XP to boost your chances. You get 1 chance for each spell/effect until you get another chance to observe it.

If you want to actually put your knowledge to use you have to make another roll to see if you can actually walk the walk or if you're just full of book smarts, not ready for the real world. This is a d100 roll against #x2, where # is the relevant Ability Score. #x2 is called your Practice. You may not add XP or your level to Practice but you get a +1 bonus to Practice cumulative the longer you try to grasp this new technique.

Once per level you can take some trick that you've successfully Practiced and turn it into a Technique. Techniques are a flat d20 roll equal or under Intelligence.

You have to pay to learn how to do stuff, you have to work to actually get good at doing stuff, and after that it becomes routine and memory.

The big control on this is that pulling off a lot of Techniques requires a lot of preparation or a lot of materials. A good Wizard has a whole lot of junk and tools on them at all times in order to better improvise but sometimes actually trying their Practice roll or executing a Technique will be just impossible without a trip to the store or some rare resource being involved.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Checking In on Hunger City

To-Do:

1) Layout tables once I finish writing them
2) Folding "dm notes" into main document and trimming excess BS, cutting the document down to size
3) Come up with a better name
4) Placeholder art for the players until I'm sure everything is in final phase
5) Print it out and absolutely fuck it right up with bad drawings and worse poetry

Final play phase will involve getting at least 1 other DM to run 6 sessions of this game. My hit list for this is all women but I could be swayed. Phase won't initiate in my current employment situation I bet...if that means this goes to print without a final "proof-playing" then so be it, this is meant to be a sort of punk exercise/learning experience not a fucking Pelegrane product.

The idea as mentioned elsewhere was to release this as basically a hard to find "zine" that I don't actually distribute or sell. I'll just give some to Scrap, some to Patrick, some to Ram, etc. and have them sell them next time they're somewhere worth selling something and pocket the cash for their effort. Budgeting that whole run as a wipe. If that builds enough interest I might do another print run or might just stick to PDF.... There won't be many of the initial print and they will be done at either kinkos or my house unless I find somewhere even cheaper with even shittier paper. It's important to me that the final product be shitty physically, and very disposable.

As I go I've also got a list of follow-up support "zines" of other material. These will have a few other updates and features as I go but will focus on expanding specific aspects of the game.


  • Additional transformations
  • Specific ruined city sourcebook (I have 3 in mind...)
  • Additional spells and artifacts
  • Other apocalypses
  • Codified enemies
  • Boss rush
  • I have an idea for a sort of dice/card building way to play this, if I figure it out then that might be one...
  • Maybe some new not-quite-classes-and-races
  • I want to make every other release a small adventure zine because nobody makes enough actual adventures for their apocalypse
Even if any of these happen they won't all happen, and even if I made as many as the ideal case presents some will end up folded into each other.

I had hoped to be done by now but shit happened. As is I have a few months of work ahead of me...Probably a lot less if I could stop getting jerked around with my schedule enough to run this more and regain my old Sweeny Todd arm for design software. This might be a 2018 release, it might even get to be several 2018 releases. We'll see.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Strangleparts - A "One Day" Forest Crawl For Two Systems

Image result for kids in creepy forest
If you are an adventurer from out in the wider world, Corrindi or some other Delt people or from beyond the red mountains, perhaps, then you may well adventure into the Strangle using the rules of D&D 5th Edition, hereafter VDND. That makes sense. You are wandering heroes, perhaps basing your operations from one of the nearby towns of kingdoms. Maybe you venture into the Strangle in search of strange game, or fantastic treasures, or because some lord or god commanded it be so. You may be someone dedicated to preserving the Idle. You may even be one of the strange creatures who there dwell, such as a Wolder or Mag. That makes sense. All that seems right and good. You can use these rules here in order to do so.

But that's only one side of the coin. What about the denizens of the Idle Lands? The towns and villages and farms cut off from the wider world by the god-forest? There are no Idle adventurers, that's surely some kind of moron if not an oxy one. These people have grown up in the shadow of things stranger than deaths. None venture in cavalierly. Those who have grown up here are all old enough to know better. But you're not grown up yet.

Strangleparts is an attempt to fulfill the literalization of +Pearce Shea's Monsterhearts game, stripping it of much of its novelty and invention in order to make its "attributeless D&D" something more like something on the back of a DM screen. The idea here is to end up in less of a Pennywise place and more of a Gingerbread House place. If it helps you to think of this as "perma-death Disney" or "Clive Barker's A Wizard of Earthsea" then do so.

If you want to play a campaign heading from within the Idle Lands into the dark and menacing Strangle (or through the same, trying to get out to the nations beyond) then you can use the rules on Pearce's website or buy In The Woods and get the straight dope. To summarize as succinctly as possible as not to bite Pearce's traffic or sales:

8 Simple Rules For Playing My Green Age Daughter

  1. All characters are around 11.
  2. You are each either a Toughie, a Smartie, or a Baddie. Baddies have experienced some strange secret of the Strangle and become somewhat changed by the experience. 
  3. Every Secret you know reduces your max EP. Every round you spend in the presence of a monster or some unspeakable weirdness reduces your EP. Any attempt to convince someone of a Secret prompts an immediate wandering monster check whether you succeed or fail, and, likewise, lowers the NPC's EP.
  4. Every character has a sack with a day and a half worth of spartan rations, a good knife, their Talisman against the unknown and a Nickname to protect from the known. Smarties can read and make maps, and so they begin with a map.
  5. When you're out of EP you are helpless. The Strangle claims you or something weirder happens. Toughies have the most EP.
  6. Toughies are the best at hurting creatures.
  7. Baddies are the best at hiding and sneaking.
  8. Smarties are the best at searching or puzzling.
Additionally all your characters have 2 other items in their sacks, roll here to determine..

1. A roll of canvas to use for shelter
2. Sleeping bag
3. Good luck charm
4. Small offering to the gods
5. Rope
6. A pot
7. Flint and steel
8. Shears
9. Mask
10. Fishing line and hook
11. Net
12. Torch or Lantern
13. Chalk and charcoal
14. Paper and paints
15. Yellow thread
16. Hooded cloak
17. Climbing cleats
18. Grandparent's diary
19. Magnifying lens
20. 3x food

The purpose here is to get two different game experiences in the same setting even if your table is made up of the same people, each campaign happening simultaneously and maybe bumping into one another but being very much their own thing. These aren't meant to dovetail. In fact, the VDND party may seem very much like a kind of enemy or strange secret to many of the Monsterparts kids. You can map out the track around the Ryvern and get vastly different games depending on which direction you're traveling, even if both parties hit all the same beats. They'll occur in a different order and have vastly different impacts.

I don't know. Just something I want to do if I get the chance.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Going To


All we ever really have is the sound of the weather. Patatap pat tap snowfall a muffled little shuffle out of step, unregimented. Great driving sheets in the rain wish, wishhhh, invisible arms gathering up a thousand misty splashes into one chunky splosh. Scratching and strange phonics from the cold embrace of dancing leaves using countless voices to speak a strange new song. Without these sounds we are fish or flowers.

Color races me every day to change the world, usually winning long before I wake. So far.

I am on a blue hill with cheering grasses, where clouds form to either side and drift off, showing me how they shade the world a little bit at a time. The sky is so quick here. Everything distant is slow. I am nearest, and still.

People music plays at the base of smoky trees. Nervous cooking, the squeak of polish, murmurs from a stupid baby who won't be either for long. Everyone is hungry or will be soon. Only a few moments appear like ghosts in the day where any of the tableaus break out into fireworks and spectacle but there are spaces out of time and twixt footfalls when a glance gesture or expression inflection or word unsaid screams like a burning meteor WATCH: LISTEN.

The tides take and shape us and if we are worn away then we are both the grit and the glass, the sand and the pearl, never only destroyed but also beautified. We take shape slowly, suddenly, and color the world.

I am a stride cross the lake. Two old men have the same argument, and the identical argument, and neither knows how to play their own game. They are not passing time. They are not past their glories. This is how light is made. Forces blow beneath the skin of the world but are mysteries to us. If there are gods they're not our business. We watch for the currents. Ours is the sound of the weather.

I know myself when every other place loses track of me. It isn't a keepsake. It's the recoursing of waterways. Those blisters leave you aliver than when you started. More of a thing. It may not be a thing you have known in the past, or a thing you can see. But we hear.

There's still so much daylight left. There's so much more before you sleep. Rivers change as they become deep. Walk barefoot down and feel the pulling welcoming sink of each step. How far can a vista in new colors be? My umbrella's still on the hill. Help yourself.