On 101 uses for a 10' pole

101 uses for a 10' pole

  1. You can use it to sweep the ground in front of you for tripwires and pressure plates. 
  2. You can use it to assist you in mapping by measuring the walls.
  3. You can use it to remotely open or prod chests or levers.
  4. You can probe liquids and slimes.
  5. You can use it to jam between to walls closing in on you.
  6. You can use it to place across a pit or ledge to walk across.
  7. You can strike it against the ground to make a noise to help determine the size of rooms or announce your presence.
  8. You can tie a prisoner to it to assist in carrying them.
  9. Helmet on a stick.
  10. You can use it to vault over dangers.
  11. It can be sharpened and turned into a makeshift spear.
  12. It can replace the haft of a broken weapon.
  13. In a pinch, it can be converted into a makeshift ladder.
  14. The cleric can decide that it's the holy symbol of his god.
  15. You can use it to prod or whack other party members who annoy you.
  16. You can use it to push climbers who are halfway up a wall.
  17. You can interpose it between yourself and dangerous monsters.
  18. You can dangle it down into pits to help people get out of traps.
  19. You can string a line around the end and use it to fish.
  20. It can be used to increase your carrying capacity by tying balanced bags on either end and carting them on your shoulders. 
  21. You can open unlocked doors from a distance.
  22. You can use it to check dead bodies to make sure they aren't zombies.
  23. In an emergency it can be used to stake a vampire.
  24. You can also shove it up someones ass. Sideways if you really don't like them.
  25. You can also use it to poke dead monsters and wizards in the eye to make sure they are dead.
  26. You can use it as a lever to lift more weight than normally possible, helping you topple statues.
  27. You can use it to stir a cauldron or big pot.
  28. You can slice it into small discs and paint them gold or turn them into metal.
  29. You can break it in half to beat an unruly henchmen or hireling.
  30. You can agitate a pond or lake and see what comes to investigate.
  31. It can be thrown like a javelin to hit a switch or something out of reach.
  32. You can use it like a cane in the darkness to help you navigate.
  33. You can paint it dark grey or make it invisible and jam it across the conveniently 10' wide halls when being pursued by monsters. 
  34. You can use it to pole a craft across a lake or river.
  35. You can use it to determine the length or depth of crevices, niches, ponds, fountains, etc.
  36. You can tie a light party member to the end and use it to lift him up or across something.
  37. Better yet, it's where you can keep your chickens. Tied to the end of the pole. 
  38. It can be used as a locking bar to bar a door shut.
  39. You can cast a light spell or tie a lantern on the end of the pole to extend the distance of your vision.
  40. You can knock on doors and windows from a very safe distance.
  41. You can tie a mirror to the end to safely see over the tops of walls and ledges.
  42. You can use it to prod floors, ceilings, chests, and cloaks to test for trappers, mimics, and cloakers.
  43. You can thread the end and have a spade or hammer attachment, to avoid having to carry the extra tools
  44. You can have a collapsible or segmented pole for that extra 1' of length if you need it.
  45. You can jam it between the walls and swing on it to add force to a kick.
  46. You can use it to trip opponents in melee with fighters.
  47. You can use it to disrupt a light source or knock something off a ledge on a wall.
  48. You can set the end on fire. For fun.
  49. You can mark it with notches to keep track of directions, intersections, kills, or the number of times the wizard has insulted the fighter without him noticing. 
  50. You can use it to roast your opponents once you kill them, over a nice warm fire. There's no better feeling than turning your enemies into poop and ideas.
  51. You can in extreme instances use it to test for unusual heat or cold or gravitational fluctuations.
  52. If a door opens out into a vacuum or tries to suck you through, you can use the pole across the door to keep from getting pulled away.
  53. A 10' pole can double as a base for a shelter in the wilderness, as the center of a lean to.
  54. A collection of 10' poles can be used to roll large statues or other valuable items.
  55. 10' poles can serve as replacement levers or spokes for machines you might run into in the dungeon.
  56. Breaking clay pots to look for rupees.
  57. Clearing out cobwebs and spider webs without setting them on fire. 
  58. You can strap two ten foot poles to your feet and be 16 feet tall.
  59. Writing down a 10' pole on your character sheet gives you options outside of skill checks.
  60. It can be used to balance while walking a tightrope or other high narrow ledge.
  61. You can use it to start a fire if there's no wood.
  62. Nothing says the pole can't be made from metal.
  63. A metal pole can be used as a lightning rod.
  64. A hollow metal pole can be used as an air-tube while underwater.
  65. You can tie all the parties livestock to the pole to keep them from running off.
  66. You can tie a flag to the end and use it to communicate over long distances or perform a really sick flag routine.
  67. Kender control. By the judicious application of bruises. 
  68. You can offer it to a giant as a toothpick.
  69. Gives all those beautiful women you rescue from the dungeon a pole to assist with their dance routines. 
  70. A 10' pole allows you to easily interact with and test for illusions. 
  71. You can tie a rope to it and use it braced against something to descend safely.
  72. If you have to turn over all your weapons, it's unlikely they will try to take your walking stick.
  73. You can use it to play games with children or monsters, like limbo or stickball.
  74. It can be jammed in an arrow slit to block the archer's ability to fire. 
  75. You can use it to give you leverage to bend bars or lift gates.
  76. Two of them can be used as a makeshift stretcher.
  77. A cloth can be draped across it as a privacy screen.
  78. You can knock over anthills and break open hives with it.
  79. Tie meat to the end to feed hungry wild animals while staying out of melee range.
  80. Convince the wizard to enchant it so that it won't break and it will give you a bonus on your saves.
  81. Put a funny horses head on it and pretend you are riding a horse to entertain a bored prince.
  82. Use it to lift up kilts and skirts from a distance.
  83. Use it to beat the sexist a--hole who's looking up kilts and skirts from a distance.
  84. Tie a cloth and wire to the end to use it as a makeshift umbrella.
  85. Start a bar fight between to patrons at a safe distance.
  86. Tie a sprinkler on the end to disperse various toxic and alchemical substances. 
  87. Tie strings to it while camping and attack a bell for a rudimentary alarm system.
  88. Three words: Improvised Whirlwind Attack. At least as useful as the feat.
  89. Use the pole to disrupt the integrity of magic circles. 
  90. Yell "I'm not touching you" when you poke someone with the pole to turn them hostile.
  91. It can be hollowed out and used as a musical instrument.
  92. Impromptu ballastie ammo.
  93. It's really the first step to designing your very own polearm.
  94. Use it to play fetch with dire wolves.
  95. The best solution for carrying 100 gold pieces of hemp rope.
  96. It can be used as a legal option for a very non-lethal duel.
  97. Long-range defenestration.
  98. Good for collecting giant ants out of a giant anthill
  99. Better to use a pole to dig through trash and refuse than your hands.
  100. Give it to the wizard so he can better estimate exactly how far 20 feet is, and finally. . .
  101. You can lean against it when your dogs are tired.

If you like posts like this, along with other surprises coming soon, support me on Patreon!

On the End of Just So Stories


What happened? Where did I go? (tw: abuse, language, mental illness; long)

I suffer from Schizotypal Personality Disorder. This is a type of schizophrenia, but you'd be surprised by the number of people without a master's degree who take the time out to gatekeep schizophrenia. 

I'd like to talk about what this means. You can find the full list of symptoms here. I have 8 of those to a degree that required hospitalization and radically affect my life.

I have ideas of reference. This is like when someone believes the TV is sending them secret messages. Now, that isn't how mine presents. It's more. . .disruptive. I want to be clear that although I'm explaining this, the manifestation of it is horrible. It sounds interesting, but this isn't some story where I have a special power. 

I'm driven by a pattern underneath the fabric of the universe. When I'm in public, I'm assaulted with the sensation that I'm in a river. I see (hallucinate) other possibilities and branches of the future constantly. The larger variety of outcomes, the more overwhelming it is. Before medication (which helps) this was so overwhelming, the stress of it caused me to have a blood clot. 

What this literally means, is I think I can feel the outcome of actions and possibilities. I, if subjected to a double blind scientific study, can't of course. That's what makes it a hallucination. The universe is giving me information, and I can feel it pulling me. It tells me about the secret hearts of people. It shows me all the ways I could die, constantly. 

It is, in a word, a nightmare—one that makes me never want to leave the house. The blood clot occurred because I thought it was normal, and I could just 'tough it out'. The reality is that every time I leave my house I was wound tightly enough for psychosis to occur. After years of being untreated,  the spring broke, and I found myself hospitalized as parts of my body died from the literal stress of it.

How does this happen? Mental illness runs in my family. In the fall of 1980, my mother shoved me down a flight of stairs. All types of reported childhood trauma were significantly associated with SPD, in a linear fashion. This, the beatings, the verbal abuse, it's not a single incident. 

I could have been different. 

She's around. I've confronted her about this, along with therapy. She's even a professional on the internet. But there's no way she'll ever see this, because she's a narcissist. The reason my bi-polar mother shoved me down the stairs is that she was getting ready for visitors and she was mad at me because I had ruined her life and career by being born. 

As an adult who spent years doing groups and providing therapy, I see her being overwhelmed, in crisis, and having her ability to control her impulses impaired in light of her misery. It was easier, in the depths of the lack of her self-esteem, to lash out at me when manic and suffering from her narcissism. She saw her flaws in me, and as every good narcissist knows, you have to hide your flaws right? You can't accept them. You can't love them.

This is not fresh trauma. I dealt with this years ago,  (i.e. she chose to have me, and I'm not responsible for her unhappiness) and the lack of disfunction in my adult life is wonderful. Realizing that I've never raised my voice to my daughter, compared to my childhood where yelling, abuse, disfunction, and violence being the order of the day, it's blissful.

But I did not escape unscathed.

The Banality of the Human Animal

Think of the unquantified rage at all those people so upset when some schizophrenic on the internet doesn't do what they want.

When I was a child, which apparently is a long fucking time ago; the state propaganda pushed out by PBS told me that everyone was the same. I took it literally, as in "People are like me" instead of "each person is a unique individual of value worthy of unconditional regard" which is what it means.

It's not surprising, the shrunken areas of my brain due to abuse make me incapable of understanding nuance or sarcasm naturally. It's also why my writing is so concrete. (clinically, I naturally parse and discuss items literally and miss both verbal and written information 'between the lines', see "Odd thought and speech (eg, that is vague, metaphorical, excessively elaborate, or stereotyped)" from the diagnosis list) Thankfully due to my obsessive paranoia, I can usually work through to the subtext I'm missing.

The bottom line, is I'm not like you at all. In real concrete ways.

I only think things that don't fit into any sort of group or position. I do not experience loneliness. I desire acceptance, yet in order to have connections with people, I have to overcome a crawling revulsion of disgust of a web that lies beneath my skin. 

The number of people willing to spew bile, lies, and threats at people suffering from mental illness while simultaneously presenting themselves of allies is eye-opening. You know what an ally of the downtrodden has? UNCONDITIONAL POSTITIVE REGARD FOR ALL HUMAN FUCKING BEINGS. The number of people who don't understand that, and propagate the violence that was done to them because they haven't processed their own damage is higher than I could have ever conceived, and written all over their timelines. The number of people willing to experience the presentation of my disease and remain in my life is even smaller. 

Why did my blog go away? I was tired of reading (ostensibly 'woke') peoples rape and murder fantasies in my comments. 

I'm still available, via discord, patreon, email, and on other social media, but I don't do social work any more. It's no longer my job, like it was for twenty long years, to deal with the trauma of the abused and help them work through it. If people are going to type out fantasies about hurting me and my daughter on the comment section on my blog, I'll gladly remove that avenue for people to abuse me. 

I'm making a living from being a writer and illustrator. I don't need blog comments or blog posts to do that.

Everything thinks.

All life on earth is earth life. If you take a bee out and feed it, the other bees will watch the dance that guides the bees to where the food is. In the case that the bee is taken to an unlikely place to eat (e.g the middle of the lake) even though the food given in the middle of the lake was sugar rich and highly exciting to the bees, they don't go get the food. 

It's because they know there's no food available in the middle of the lake. They don't believe him because they have a mind and understand the world. This has been the work of ethologists and behavioral scientists over the last 20 years.

What is science? Nothing more than a simple process by which we figure out what is actually happening in the universe. It's not an agenda. It's what's there regardless of you. And it's beyond your and my ability to understand. Consider expertise in the realm of chess.

If an chess playing adult were to play a game of chess with a five year old child, they would win 100% of the games. If a person ranked 1600 Elo, a semi-professional chess player who plays regularly and has a deep understanding of the game, were to play an untrained adult who knew how to play they would win 100% of the games. A grand-master would win 100% of their games against a person ranked 1600. Ignorance, understanding, expertise, and mastery. 

We already know about Dunning-Kruger, and how your ego works to protect you from accepting that you are incompetent or lack knowledge. Your access to the internet and information does not give you expertise. In fact, if you haven't spent a few decades working with something, whatever thoughts and opinions you have about it appear as those of a five-year old child, demanding that their authority be recognized in a realm they don't even fully understand.

And as more of the universe becomes revealed, your beliefs are going to be challenged more and more. You can already see the inability to cope in public by our lead-addled elders, attempting to prosocute someone for looking at an html page source.

You are an expert at internet use, with thousands of hours and understanding, and his comment makes him look like a ignorant 5-year old child.

The same way people look at you when you have opinions and thoughts about things that experts hold, like perhaps gender, politics, economics, or 'science'.

This tide of anti-intellectualism is not new, it is constant . From prison, martyred theologian Dietrich Bonhoffer writes: 

Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed. . .  – and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. . . The impression one gains is not so much that stupidity is a congenital defect, but that, under certain circumstances, people are made stupid or that they allow this to happen to them. . . Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or of a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity. . . The power of the one needs the stupidity of the other. The process at work here is not that particular human capacities, for instance, the intellect, suddenly atrophy or fail. Instead, it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence, and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances. The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with a person, but with slogans, catchwords and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. -1943

One of the great things about the OSR, and the release of 4th and 5th edition D&D, and the popularity of D&D on twitch is that they allowed us to answer several enduring discussions that have been floating about since the beginning of Gygax's role-playing game reformation (as if people hadn't been role-playing—excuse me, having rigid and free kriegspiel—for the previous two centuries.)

And yet, some remain evergreen.

Like bigotry:

RPGA (Role Playing Game Association, the ancestor of organized play) would continue to sponsor events in other companies’ games, but the . . . scenarios would have to be . . approved by the publishing company, and (as always) they had to conform to TSR’s official guidelines.  The guidelines include the following:

“Profanity, obscenities, and vulgarity are not acceptable. Lust and sexual perversion should not be portrayed or implied in submissions.”

It was this clause that was cited when Richard Donnelly, then-president of a gaming group (and official RPGA club) dedicated to gays, lesbians and bisexuals called The Order of the Triangle, tried to get RPGA approval for a GURPS adventure which included gay characters. The RPGA refused, saying, “It is our policy that games and seminars involving sexual themes of any type are not permitted . . .” It’s important to note that Donnelly’s adventure did not include any actual depictions of or references to sexual activity of any kind; it’s just that several of the characters were described as gay. This was enough, in the RPGA’s eyes, to invoke their policy. -Pyramid #5, Industry News, 1994 (27 years ago)

There's no point in confronting these people who have opinions, yet no expertise. They will react like a five-year old, and throw a tantrum filled with certainty and petulance. I am certain of little, but I have been gaming since the early 1980's, I average about 3 games a week, and have had several books published by publishers about gaming, my work is well-reviewed, and my income comes from creating role-playing games. 

This level of expertise—the 1600 level chess player—make Dungeons and Dragons a realm where I have a degree of confidence and expertise. 

So I can tell you the thing that makes them angry.*

D&D's dominance is the most frustrating thing about the tabletop gaming scene- 2021 (this year)

D&D is a mechanical and writing dinosaur, whose dominance is honestly among the worst things ever to happen to the industry #ttrpg #gamedesign #fail -2019 (two years past)

the larger problem is that D&D kinda sucks but everyone keeps playing it anyway -2017 (four years past)

[D&D's] game system is antiquated, using many clumsy mechanics and carrying with it all the flaws of the original, never having changed ANY of the basic system in all its history -1998 (Twenty-three years past)

The state of the art for RPGs has moved on, and for myself personally, [D&D] doesn't cut it. -1995 (Twenty-six years past)

In general [D&D] has huge holes in the core rules. As a DM you either fix them, ignore them, or move on to a "better" system. -1993 (Twenty-eight years past)

And the pièce de résistance:

[P]rotagonism was so badly injured during the history of role-playing (1970-ish through the present, with the height of the effect being the early 1990s), that participants in that hobby are perhaps the very last people on earth who could be expected to produce *all* the components of a functional story. . .[The most damaged participants are too horrible even to look upon, much less to describe. This has nothing to do with geekery. When I say "brain damage," I mean it literally. Their minds have been *harmed.*] All that is the foundation for my point: that the routine human capacity for understanding, enjoying, and creating stories is damaged in this fashion by repeated "storytelling role-playing" as promulgated through many role-playing games of a specific type. -2006, Ron Edwards saying D&D and vampire players have literal brain damage. (15 years past)

Thirty years of market data would indicate fucking not. 

D&D is a good game, and when it moves away from what makes it a good game (railroaded 'story focused' modules and a focus on large sprawling settings as in 2nd edition, or dissociating mechanics from the reality of the game world as in 4th edition) it stops being the market leader.

Can you explain this to people? Obviously not, at least in the last thirty years. There are very specific reasons why it's a good game. It keeps score via gold/xp/levels, gives players clearly defined roles, emulates the hero's journey, crossing the threshold and retrieving knowledge to strengthen one tribe, has a structure that's easy to manage (i.e. dungeons are literal flowcharts) while facilitating a group, and all these structures being manageable and clear and ritualistic allow players to consistently share a common journey, made real by the group witnessing it.

People who are invested in justifying their own failure aren't interested in hearing it.

Their argument is, and always has been, that D&D is bad and somehow millions and millions of people playing it more than any other role-playing game for over thirty years is because. . . well, it's illuminating, but not about D&D. 

The Point

As the knowing happens, and we get closer to the point where everything is known, and all mysteries: The Voynich manuscript, the Antikythera mechanism, Fermet's last theory, eventually disappear as they are discovered (all of which were unknown and unsolved mysteries when I was 10, now all completely solved), we will remain as immortal gods, knowing all, in a virtually endless future within a limitless void.

Robert Sapolsky, a neuroendocrinology researcher and professor of Biology, neurology, and neurological sciences makes it clear. There's a lot of data that we have no control over our actions. Maybe free will exists. But to date, there's no mechanism, theory, or evidence for it, and daily more evidence is accumulating that there are mechanisms and evidence that it doesn't exist. We don't make decisions consciously, they are made and our brains tell us a Just So story about why we did. You don't have any control over your DNA.

You are on a ride as a passenger, with no way to steer the cart. 

Most people deny this the same way one denies that a machine can outperform you in every field to the degree that you can outperform an ant. John Henry was a steel driving man. There is nothing special about man. Your ego demands it.

But can we afford to create a society that address this? One that removes responsibility from man, and instead places it on what factors that determined the behavior?

This is not a philosophical question. We will speak with thinking living machines. We will eliminate the need for labor. We will conquer aging. Not in a geological age, not in some future era, not in far off centuries, but in mere decades. We are already genetically engineering humans to be stronger, smarter, better. 

They physical nature of the brain, the hallucinations and psychosis drugs and therapy manage, the endless insecurity and irrational beliefs of the human animal, all sitting underneath a shining sun of reason and knowledge, burning away all the ignorance, leaves the human ego where? 

Reality is that which remains. 

Coda

English Common Law holds adults responsible for their actions. What will happen if science proves they are not? 

This inability to align with any in-group has dictated the path of the future. This post is not content and I do not desire to create content. Anger has been expressed, because I refuse to take action based on the desires of any group, because I've removed parts of my public persona from view, because I've worked with people other people wish I had not, because I'm making a living at writing and illustrating instead of being enslaved to someone else, because I hold beliefs and thoughts that threaten, confuse, and anger people, because I've taken down posts due to harassment, because I've 'gone commercial' and make things and ask for money, and because I take action of my own initiative regardless of the desires of other people.

Empathy is possessed, for I felt the same way when certain writers stopped interacting with the gaming scene, in the space of four decades, I've seen it happen dozens of times. And now as a person who went from someone who's in the scene, to someone who creates for it, I can understand why. I possessed as many complex emotions over luminaries such as Michael Curtis, Monte Cook, and others withdrew from public interaction and just produced works. But now I understand it much better.

The real question is: What is it I should do? Do I produce popular "content" and get one of those ridiculous patrons that makes thousands a month? Do I just continue to produce blog "content", regurgitating the same ideas and giving everyone something entertaining to look at every day? Do I spend all my time reworking other crappy stuff written by other people on a deadline making it useful? Do I farm outrage by pandering to the needs and wants of extremists? Do I create parasocial relationships and put myself online at the risk of feeding my ego?

In part, my reach exceeds my grasp. I've been producing evergreen gaming products that I feel move the industry forward. Megadungeon's display format, maps that provide more information than a grid, templates for what an open high-level adventure that challenges players without eliminating what makes them powerful, books full of ideas for children (and the child inside all of us), a reimagining of one of the oldest artifacts in gaming.

But I want more. I want to illustrate stories, and make movies, and music, and cartoons, and write books, and, and, and; but I'm discovering the ingroup necessity to "Stay in your lane" as well as the fact that it takes time, skill, and mastery to produce quality in different fields, makes this a difficult task. I may have achieved adult levels of understanding in many of these fields, but not expertise (much less mastery)

What's more, is I'd like to do what people want to see, which is harder than it sounds, because often times people lack insight into what they actually want, and what's more, when I take action that upsets or disappoints someone, the response isn't to tell me, but rather understandably, to turn their limited attention elsewhere. 

We are going to be exploring some of these options, soon. Over the coming weeks. With three major book releases this year I have time to take a breath, and look forward. If you'd like to participate in these discussions, join the discord. It is not a daily discord, nor is it quite busy. It is a way to interact with me directly. 

If not, just watch this space. We have some amazing stuff coming soon. 

Oh, and if you want to pick up a hard copy of In a Deadly Fashion you should hurry before it's sold out. Only about 350 copies left at the time of me writing this. Some copies will be sent to the U.S. store eventually (which will help with shipping) but there's already a line forming for those.

* I linked these posts as proof. There are more on fallen forums, like story-games, and the forge. Do not contact or bother the people who made these posts. 

If you like posts like this, along with other surprises coming soon, support me on Patreon!

On 10 Ways To Open A Chest

"But assuming it was a treasure hunting expedition (and the lower floors of the tower were reasonably cleared, with a path of escape blocked only by wandering monster rolls) what would a party need to do in one of your games to safely open a chest?"

Here are 10 ways to open a chest safely!

10. Pour acid in the lock.
9. Use a pick and chisel to break apart the lock mechanism.
8. Use a crowbar and specialized tools to pry the lock out of the chest.
7. Saws!
6. Carry the chest back to town and pay the thieves guild to open it.
5. Hammers!
4. Knock!
3. Unscrew the lid hinges.
2. Pry off the back of the lid!

And the number one way to open a chest safely?

1. Have the thief open it, there's always more where they came from!

Why don't they just do these things by default? They are time consuming, loud, or require heavy encumbrance penalties.

On the Ecology of the Lammasu and Lamia



"The offer she makes you seems like a good idea, but so does the worm on the hook to a fish" - Aldervile, Neo-Imperian Speaker

Nomenclature: Lammasu, Lamia, Manticores, Nagas, Sphinx, Shedu, Lilith, Empusa

Description: Creatures that have the head of a human and the body of a lion, goat, deer or snake, said to eat children

Things that are known:

  • Human are their prey
  • They are intelligent and have powers of illusion
  • They like to live in arid desolate places
  • They have the heads and/or torso's of humans, with animal lower bodies
  • They can see in darkness
  • They bait and trap men, using them for sex, sport, and supper


Rumors and other whispers in the dark:



  • They aren't evil monsters, just superior beings who view our children as a delicious source of tender veal
  • Their morality is complex, beyond human understanding. Amashotep's seminal works, Beyond Good and Evil, Also Sprach Lammathustra, Ecce Lammia, and Antilamia address the vast subject
  • It is a well kept secret that there is no separate species as lamia, it is the curse of all human females one night a month to become one
  • They are fond of associating with various other half-breeds, such as harpies and centaur. Whether this is due to distant relations or some other reason is unknown
  • They aren't any special - lions are just super horny and have no problem mating with human females. Lucky to survive, this rape is rarely mentioned. Lots of half-lion monsters though
  • The gods dream secrets, and these secrets slip into the world. They find a feline form, because those receive and transmit secrets. The forcefulness and power of the secret can sometimes mutate and warp the feline. 
  • Were a mortal to unravel the secrets of the leonine dreams, then immortality, even godhood, may be within reach. Two gods in the pantheon ascended in this way, and a secret order of questers pursues this murderous quest.
  • They are actually Zensunni post-buddhists, explaining their preference for arid, dune-filled environments
Art Adams
  • They keep dustworms as pets, from which they harvest mysture, a substance used to make lions and snakes grow human-like faces and intellects.
  • All lions are inherently evil. They lust after human flesh, and when they consume enough, they become a monster. Manticores come from the flesh of old men, young women produce lamias. Kings produce Sphinxes. 
  • They are a species that breeds true, and they suffer no defects from incest. The meaning of this is uncertain 
  • Demons don't just tempt men, sometimes noble lions fall prey, and the demonic corruption causes this horrific change
  • The Lamia-kind are neither good, nor evil, being beyond such matters. Some follow chaos and others law. Mortals try to ascribe morality to their actions, but they are simply angelic messengers of the balance, disinterested in the fate of men
  • A lamassotto is an underdark version of a lammassu
  • That Which Prowls stalks the trade routes, and celebrates melding the creatures of the wasteland and the humans who trespass into it. Some of the survivors swear loyalty to That Which Prowls and assist in playing out the long, incomprehensible, sadistic game of cat and mouse with humanity that may end in the elevation or destruction of the world.
  • They are truly vegetarians and child-like playful beasts. Guarding wastelands and other desolate places, however, poses them as a threat to the Lords of Law. The end result is that they are portrayed as a vicious, bloodthirsty, childnibbling beast.
  • A male Lamia is called a Lamio. Rare creatures with silvery hides and prodigious. . . manes. The lammassu is a protector of Lamia
  • The Goddess of Trees was struck ill, and barely managed to escape the battle of the gods, stumbling into civilization. There, she was cared for by the awed and ignorant human savages. She saw their lives up close; the way they turned to meat and away from the energy of the sun and the plants. She saw how they kept cats to eat meat that threatened what they wanted to protect. And, as we all know, the war of the gods caught up to the village and the terrified villagers betrayed the Goddess of Trees to the Master of Forges. Her dying curse was that humanity would become the mice, and their hunters would bear the cruelty of their faces.
  • They are not half-lion, all of these creatures are simply torsos on swarms of countless insects, each representing the soul of a living creature
  • Simply another form of an aberration of chaos, like satyrs, centaurs, minotaurs and platypi
  • The spectacular orgies of the Arch Magus Wyvaria tended to focus on reptiles. Lilariasha tended to use shape changing (mercifully) or just gear (best not to think about it) for coupling with spiders. But Vashtoor... he had a thing for lions. There's a reason we've killed all the wizards we could catch.
  • The Kingdom of Farragut does a spectacular trade in lamia sized slippers. They are fascinated by wearing soft, woolen booties while at home
  • Their internal organs are suffused with magic - their guts can be used to make magical bowstrings +2 of distance and deceit
  • They are not actually lion-headed creatures. They are Penanggalan, which many people believe are vampires but are actually a type of sky demon. If they feast on the flesh of men, a body eventually grows to support them. This body if feline. If they feast on other creatures, they become other creatures. Horses and steeds become centaur, felines and cats become Manticores, etc.
  • Lamias have no digestive systems, in fact their bodies are purely mechanical support systems for their heads. Their heads are the last remnants of an ancient empire that depended on machinery for survival. They were cursed by the gods for the misuse of their physical bodies and now suffer, eternally 
  • Lamias and Lammasu can remove their own eyes. When they do so, they loudly utter prophecies. No one knows the accuracy of these prophecies, it's hard to listen after you've just seen something rip out its own eyes
  • They are difficult to perceive and viewing such creatures is difficult on the mind, draining sanity or wisdom
  • No matter their form, they detest combat. Much better through spell, word, or deed to have lower forms do their fighting for them
  • Each is violent and aggressive because when they tear themselves into existence a dark shadow is created at the same time. This shadow form hunts them to destruction
  • Each is a different manifestation of a pure emotionally ideal, Lammasu's are intelligence, Lamia's jealousy, Manticores are anger, etc.
  • All of these are in fact guardians of thresholds, doorways, and portals. It is impossible to cross one without being within their vision. This is the root of their knowledge and power.
  • They are all just different lineages of Rakasta bloodlines
  • It is the name for a female vampire. Their powers of mentalism are so strong, that the only memories are those of a beautiful woman crossed with a deadly predator
  • They are actually enlightened ascetic beings who have chosen to remain behind in earthly form
  • House cats were ordered to play nice with humans so that they could serve as a spy network, funneling truth about humans and witness of their deeds to the dark judges that await them. When enough intelligence about humans reaches them, these strange leonines transform in a more human direction, shaped by the nature of the insights the cats send them about what humans really are.
  • The leonines are assigned by the cosmic to shepherd the human race, but they chose servants of the wrong temperament. They were unable to agree on how best to handle humanity. Those that insisted on control, pushing, and goading humanity to achieve its destiny became male. Those who preferred seduction, trickery, and thinning the herd became female. Their task is a failure and the dissapointment of the cosmic is palpable.
  • Leonines once ruled the world. Humans could only ascend by wielding chaos magic, and crushing human frailties into the animal perfection of the world's rulers. By forcing human flaw and personality in to permanently shatter the balance of these once-regal beasts, they destroyed their ability to work together.
  • At the end, the heroes faced Gozer, who insisted they choose the form of their destruction. All Rae could think about was Mr. Mittens, his innocent and wise house cat. Since then, the leonine form of the destroyer has gained in power and aggression in the corners of the world, as a millennial-long agenda of destruction unfolds.
  • The foundation of the world is not stone, but secrets. The leonine guardians of the world are tasked with protecting it. However, their society is matriarchal. The men dislike their servitude and the discrimination against them. Some slipped out of their enclaves (a man's place is at the hearth) and try to support and encourage the seekers of secrets, the faster to erode the world's underpinnings so they can transcend to the next world. Meanwhile, the ladies seek out the races that are addicted to riddles and puzzles, and finish them off as cruelly as they can--still, they cannot quench the thirst for mystery that humans stole from the cats long, long ago.
  • The priests of the Rakasta are gifted by their feline goddess with more and more leonine features as they are infused with more and more cosmic and divine energy, eventually becoming immortal. Therefore, when slain, they must contextualize and motivate their existence as they re-exist. They go insane a little, but the better they manage their obsessions, the more lucid they remain.
The ecology series is a crowdsourced series of articles, and contributors can be found on google+ under the hashtag #crowdecology. They are limited posts, but following me on G+ will allow you to see them. All artwork is credited where the artist could be found. Classic ecology articles from Dragon magazine are used both for reference and inspiration; the whole impetus of the idea was to create 'classic' ecology articles that are actually useful. Let's Read the Monster Manual by Noisms is also a source of inspiration.  

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On Megadungeon #6

Hello friends!


Megadungeon #6 is out!

It's 3.99 and contains the Dagon, party fish people. A collection of diseases one can pick up in filthy places like a megadungeon. Articles on megadungeon as sport and in campaign play. It talks about hera, the cow-eyed queen of heights, and more!

If you're curious about all the hype, issue 3 is still currently PWYW! The preview for issue 6 covers all the pages!

Come take a look at the hottest place to take your players, the STONE HEAD OF BALDUR.

A giant stone face in a megadungeon, half flooded with ancient water. Explore this eerie and supernatural environment in megadungeon, or transplant it to your own games and megadungeons. 

Don't miss out!

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On Reduced Price, Free Advertising, and Megadungeon!

Hello!

Work proceeds apace with Bestial Ecosystems Caused by Monstrous Inhabitation, but that's not what this post is about.

Can you believe it's been two years since On Downtime & Demesnes was funded? Because of it's success, I'm now a full time creator, with books published by Frog God Games and one from Lamentations of the Flame Princess at the publisher right now.

Long enough that it's time to drop the price a bit. On Downtime & Demesnes is now 9.99 for PDF, 19.99 for softcover, and 24.99 for hardcover. So if you've been waiting. Now's the time. It's available on Amazon.com and DriveThruRPG.  I've also set Artifices, Deceptions & Dilemmas on sale for the next two weeks on DriveThruRPG to celebrate their success. 

Celebrating the success of Megadungeon, I've also temporarily made Issue #3 free. If you're curious and you'd like to check it out, grab it quick.


I've been working on the next issue of Megadungeon, and it's nearing completion. Check out the little teaser to the right. That means, also, it's time to solicit advertisers. There's a catch though, if you don't have the money or are a hobbyist, advertisements for your products are free. I'll just need a 600 dpi. Black and White half or full page A5 advertisement. It's 20$ for a half page and 40$ for a full page, but again, only if you have the money. Otherwise feel free to send me your projects advertisements for inclusion. Megadungeon has an average circulation of 300+ paying customers and growing, with a long tail. Contact me via e-mail at campbell at oook dot cz or on discord with links to the tiff/png/jpg files. If you have some assets, I can even lay them out for you if you need it. The whole point is just to get word out about projects. If you've got one, get it to me.


If you support me on Patreon, you already get digital copies of all this stuff free, so what are you waiting for?

On the Ecology of Elementals

"The earth itself stood against us. Fire walked. What can we do against such enormity?" -Cadrene Sergeant Allanso Illon, shortly before his execution.

Nomenclature: Elementals, Mephits, Primordials, Weirds, Furies, atronaches, Daedra, Genie, Reactionals, Eternals

Description: Raw motive elemental energy

Things that are known:

  • They are made entirely of their elemental material
  • Except when they are not
  • When summoned they may turn on their creators
  • They are immune to their own element and resistant to all but enchanted weapons
  • They may be kept at bay using magical circles of protections
  • They do not eat, sleep, or breath; or not at least as we understand it

Rumors and other whispers in the dark:

  • There are core planes. They are Wood, Water, Fire, Metal, and Earth. The para-elemental planes are Flowers, Mirrors, Liquor, and Paper.
  • That isn't true. The core planes are obviously Earth, Water, Air, Fire, with para-elemental planes of Mud, Dust, Smoke, and Magma, and the quasi-elemental planes of Lightning, Steam, Radiance, Mineral, Vacuum, Salts, Ash, and Dust
  • The elemental realms are far-off and inhospitable places in the material world
  • Elementals come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and types, from animal forms to alien dukes, princes and kings.
  • Elemental spirits can be summoned to bring the elements in question to motive life. They are bound by ancient pacts they long to be free from
  • Elementals can control the substance of their element. Fire can be cool or many different colors, or it can be solid. Earth can be transparent or liquid. 
  • The elements are suits that extra-dimensional spirits wear
  • Elements are before us, and remember themselves from that time. It is matter that is enlightened and understands itself
  • All elementals come from a single contiguous source that touches our plane in different places, but it all comes to our realm from the same place
  • Fire and Earth are allied. Earth shelters fire and fire allows earth to move
  • Water and air are allied, creating weather. They only allied in response to the alliance between air and earth
  • Gnomes are actually the element of earth that has decided to live, walking the earth as wizened stooped things
  • Salamanders are the form fire takes when it wishes to live
  • Sylphs are the spirits of wind and Undines are the spirits of water
  • Air and water were stymied, unable to take form due to how fluid they were. Until they stole dust from the earth and heat from fire and together crafted flesh
  •  Elementals affect your humors, making you sanguine (Air or Blood), choleric (Fire or Yellow Bile), melancholic (Earth, or Black Bile) or phlegmatic (Water or Phlegm)
  • The 4 planes are integrated in some byzantine complex cycle of renewal linking them all together. Although incomprehensible, it does mean that each elemental plane is not purely made up of only its element
  • Earthquakes, volcanoes  tornadoes and tsunamis are actually powerful elemental creatures that come to the material plane to retrieve what they need to reproduce.
  • They are aliens from another planet known as elementron. They have visited our planet and taken the form of the elements that they found. Now they battle for an esoteric energy source known as elementergon that only they can understand and use. They only desire to collect it, return to elementron and continue the only thing they care about, their endless war
  • Aliens from elementron are sometimes known as deceptimentals and autorocks.
  • Planes overlap. Under certain circumstances, you might find yourself shifted between them
  • The elements create certain feelings in people. Fire generates all consuming hunger; Water is fatigue, exhaustion and a wearing away; Earth feels like growth, tingling crystalline growth; Air feels like a chaotic place of sound and motion
  • The elementals personify those characteristics
  • They are alien and their motivations are impossible to parse
  • Elemental planes don't exist. Magical energy is invisible and casters clothe them in an elemental to provide functionality. Like a prisim splits light, they take the energy of magic and split out an element
  • Djinn and efreet are adventurers from elemental planes exploring ours
  • The planes are the divine cosmic energy, split from the world by the gods. They were expelled in all directions, if the world were healed the prime would again be whole
  • The elementals are "hired" out to spellcasters, because each elemental on the prime material plane serves as an anchor. If enough of a certain type of elementals existed on the prime, perhaps a single elemental realm could remerge
  • A single elemental realm re-merging would be a disaster of incalculable proportions
  • Elementals are actually animus spirits that inhabit all objects
  • The gods before were slain by trickster demons. The current gods are quite vigilant against their return. To avoid their pogom, the trickster demons split themselves among many small shards at a time, placing a tiny sliver inside an elemental. Every time an elemental is summoned or used a small piece is left behind. The tricksters are smuggling their way into the prime, one small shard at a time
  • The elementals are physical manifestation of the unraveling in the world
  • Elementals are the ghosts of dragons
  • Elementals are the pure creative divine energy of a dead god
  • Upon death, your soul diffuses into the world. Casters strip out slips of your soul and animate them ahead of schedule
  • Proto-creatures unable to wait until the world was finished entered it too early. Spell-casters attempt to snatch them up and re-purpose them until the lazy gods finish the leftovers. This may damage the overall pattern.
  • Elements vary on local culture, based on what people believe the world consists of. They are made of various conflicting groups. 
    • Mutare (Change/Birth/Rebirth)
    • Continuitas (Tradition/Unlife/Death)
    • Mentem (Dark/Mind/Knowledge)
    • Puera (Feminine/Cunning/Beauty)
    • Lumen (Light/Joy/Physicality)
    • Vir (Masculine/Directness/Utility)
  • Elementals are the spirits of men who have died from those elements, suffocation, burning, drowning or being buried
  • Real elementals take a shape and stick to it, Hellhounds, Djinn, Mephits. Those elementals that wizards summon are just unformed raw material known as hipster elementals, who were raw material before it was cool.
  • Mages thin the boundary. Firmament, raw creation, enters our realm and lives. This creates both elementals and undead
  • Elementals are from certain types more frequently because pure sources are easier to draw magic from
  • Weak mages who thin the boundary indiscriminately create trash, sewer, or blade elementals. Rural sorcerers might conjure ents or shambling mounds.
  • Necromancers do this intentionally to raise the dead, however few are as skilled as they believe. They downplay the numbers slain by uncontrolled undead.
  • Strange elementals formed from the space between what is and could-be are sometimes formed, being smarter and more unique then their siblings
  • Dragons will kill all those who weaken boundaries between worlds
  • Elementals are the organs of dead gods. Air comes from lungs, stone comes from bone, water comes from blood and fire comes from nerves
  • Elementals that retain their form eventually grow in sentience
  • Elemental planes are actually just demi-planes created by creative pseudo-mortal gods who were masters of wizardry  What you summon may not be what you expect, a horned snake with bark scales with eyes that beam moonlight or an organic mechanical hybrid that shudders in its movements and bleeds oily black ichor
  • They have no souls, its soul and body form one singular unit
  • There are also elemental planes of good and evil, meaning that demons and angles are nothing more then elementals of those planes
  • This means that there are no fewer than 16 different combinations, good and evil interacting with each plane. (Fire, earth, air, and water; cold, mud, magma and dust; barren, pain, darkness and endings; light, pleasure, fertility and beginnings
  • Elemental planes are just like material planes but rich in material and magic
  • Elementals are the foundations of the universe, the building blocks of reality itself
  • Elementals only exist for what states matter can take. Earth is solid, water liquid, air gas, and fire plasma
  • Elementals are the constraints on infinity itself. Without elementals home planes belonging to the inner, infinity becomes troublesome, loses definition and you find yourself simply one among uncountable billions of billions
  • Known alignments are not the only kinds. There are elemental alignments, held by animals and raw elementals
    • Air alignments travel, leaving when things no longer suit. Herd animals are examples
    • Earth alignments wait, patiently out-waiting whatever trial assults them. Hibernating animals and animals that trap or ambush their prey are examples
    • Fire alignments consume, devouring and using all they can reach. Lions and wolves are examples. They are also prone to anger and rage
    • Water alignments hoard and steal. Rats, crows, and small monkeys are examples of creatures with a water alignment
  • They have a hankering for currency, but not of the material sort. . .
  • The plane of air is said to be filled with a Djinn Sultinate, huge airships, and piracy among the floating isles
  • The plane of earth is filled with slaves who endlessly toil in mines for their masters. These factions are in constant, endless war. In these lawless lands, coin is to be made among old mining towns, forgotten cathedrals, or lawless freeholds
  • An endless desert filled with sultanates of brass, fire, sand and steel, the plane of fire is a realm filled with obsidian planes, silt seas, and the deadly forces of the sultanate
  • The undersea city of glass is a mecca in which all that matters in the plane of water transpires. Guilds, factions, whole cities and betrayals lie within its walls
  • There are archomentals, known as the princes of evil
  • Extremely powerful wizards can summon swarms of elementals
  • Some elementals are amalgamates, mixtures of two types a burning tornado, or a freezing earthen beast
  • In fact, the basic types are only the basic ones in the broadest types. There are actually thousands of different types.
    • Air: Blizzard, zephyr, storm, south wind, pestilence, fog, howling, gust
    • Earth: Plains, dirt, desert, mud, graveyard, dungeon, sand, mountain, crystal, metal
    • Fire: cinder, lava, forge, pyre, tinder, hearth, flare
    • Water: ice, bog, river, sweetwater, blood, whirlpool, sewer, geyser, bile
    • Wood: thorn, forest, fungal, rose, gallows, moss, vine, rot
  • There are four classes of elementals
    • Lesser (Summoned by Staff): 8HD, AC 2, 1d8 damage
    • Greater (Summoned by Devices): 12 HD, AC 0, 2d8 damage
    • True (Summoned by Spells): 16 HD, AC -2, 3d8 damage
    • Legendary (Summoned by Ritual): 20 HD, AC -4, 4d8 damage

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