Monday, April 29, 2019

Tunnels & Trolls: The SoftMax Hack + cheatsheet + general impressions

I've recently started a campaign in my Aquarian Dawn setting using Tunnels & Trolls. I may post a session report (or more likely a partial-module of my GM notes) at some point, but probably not until one or two more game sessions from now.

I'm running the most recent edition of T&T and the translation of the Japanese quickstarter rules, mostly as-is, with a few mechanics streamlined and a few homebrew mechanics. On the whole I'm enjoying the system, and I'll discuss why at the bottom of this post, but I also think there are certain ways in which it feels antiquated or anachronistic. I think it could use some OSR-ifying, and I've got some ideas for a revised version of T&T that I think will make it feel more modern and accessible, and I hope people will be influenced to check T&T out as a result.

This version, the SoftMax Hack (a joke that hopefully a few of you will get), is mostly just a cheatsheet for the rules that won't make a lot of sense unless you're at least a little familiar with the game (which is why I feel comfortable posting it), with a few houserules. I may change this as I go, but after one session of my campaign so far, this is what I'm thinking.

At some point I'll do the true Max Hack, which I imagine as being similar in philosophy to how many OSR systems attempt to streamline old-school D&D.

At the bottom of this cheatsheet + house rules are some of my thoughts on the system. I would be interested to know what other people think if they've played T&T, or if this makes anyone interested in checking it out.


Character Creation 
  • HOUSERULE: 3d6 for each stat, roll two extra 3d6 and drop lowest two dice. A 3d6 of all the same value (e.g. 3,3,3) allows you to roll again and take the sum, until not triples. Rearrange stats as desired. 
  • HOUSERULE: Start with 2 talents rather than one 
  • HOUSERULE: 250 gold rather than random roll for gold (for simplicity) 
  • HOUSERULE: Start with 3 AP 
  • HOUSERULE (for Aquarian Dawn): Take an esper power (such as one of my 100 superpowers)

Advancement
  • HOUSERULE: Separating XP and AP
  • HOUSERULE: Milestone XP Given at end of session (generally ~100) 
  • Increasing a stat costs stat * 10 (e.g. increasing a stat from 7 to 8 is 7*10 = 70 XP)
  • Once per level you can spend 300 AP to gain a new talent
  • HOUSERULE: Wizards gain 3 new spells per level of spell level equal to character level or lower (e.g. level 3 wizard can learn 3 level 3 or level 2 spells). Rogues only gain 1. This is in addition to being able to buy spells with gold (1000 * spell level gold, this is from the book) or XP (cost tbd, this would also be a house rule)

Types
  • Warrior
    • +1d6 dice per level for combat rolls (unarmed or melee weapon) 
    • Can double the damage reduction of armor but increase chance of it breaking 
    • No magic 
  • Rogue 
    • Start with one level 1 spell and can learn more spells 
    • Gain one extra talent at start of game 
  • Wizard 
    • Start with all first-level spells 
    • Spells cost Character Level – Spell Level less WIZ to cast (e.g. for a level 2 wizard casting a level 1 spell, the spell costs 2-1=1 less WIZ) 
    • Casting with a focus (staff, wand, amulet, etc.) subtract level from WIZ cost (e.g. a level 2 wizard with a focus spends 2 fewer WIZ to cast a spell) 
    • No personal adds for weapons with > 2d6 damage dice 
    • HOUSE RULE: Dropping DEX requirement for spellcasting

Equipment 
  • HOUSE RULE: No encumbrance, just common sense. If you’re over-loading, there may be a GM intrusion… 
  • HOUSE RULE: No STR or DEX requirement for equipment, just common sense. As above, if you're wielding or wearing something a bit too big for you, there may be a GM intrusion...
  • HOUSE RULE: Since I’m dropping DEX requirement for spellcasting, instead the DEX reduction on armor counts towards an increased WIZ cost for spellcasting

Combat 
  • Weapon dice + weapon adds + personal adds (+1 for each point over 12 for STR, LK, DEX, SPD), take difference between player (or party if doing simultaneous combat) and opposition 
  • Spite Damage: Any roll of 6 gives 1 spite damage, guaranteed damage even if you lose the opposed combat dice roll 
  • Missile weapons roll DEX SR (generally lvl 2, 4, 6, etc. against a medium sized creature at point-blank, close, medium range. Smaller targets increase by 2, larger decrease by 2). Success means guaranteed damage even if failed opposed combat dice roll. Failure means roll opposed combat dice as normal 
  • Armor Durability: If using the warrior ability to increase damage reduction, or as a GM intrusion, roll SR for luck. On failure, the armor can take 1 less hit (one wear point). For each wear point, the SR difficulty increases by 1.

Saving Rolls 
  • Roll 2d6 against SR level – stat (e.g. a SR1LK roll would require you to roll 20 – your luck stat) 
  • If you have a relevant talent subtract 3 from the difficulty 
  • Rolling a 1 and a 2 is a critical failure 
  • If you roll two of the same value, roll again and take the sum, repeat until not the same

Adventure Points (HOUSE RULE) 
  • Can only have 3 + level total AP at one time 
  • Can spend 1 AP to reroll a single die 
  • Can spend 1 AP to add +3 to SR or combat roll (prior to rolling dice)
  • Can spend 1 AP to add a d6 to a combat roll (prior to rolling dice)
  • Can spend AP to do extra-special stuff such as esper powers, cost determined by GM
  • Can spend 1 AP to reject a GM intrusion
  • AP NOT the same as XP!
  • Gain AP for doing cool roleplaying
  • Gain AP for accepting a GM or player-suggested intrusion
  • Intrusions: Complications to a given scenario

Dice Trade (HOUSE RULE)
  • Players can swap dice to an equivalent distribution, reflecting cautiousness vs. risk-taking
    • For instance, rather than rolling 2d6 for a saving roll, the player can roll a 1d12
    • In this case, there is no doubles-roll-over, but also no critical fail. The range is technically different (2:12 vs. 1:12), but the big difference is that the probability distribution is uniform rather than normal. For a very difficult task where an average 2d6 would likely fail anyway, you may be better off rolling 1d12 than 2d6.
    • For combat, you could substitute any number of d6's, such as 1d12 for 2d6, 1d20 for 3d6, etc. Just be mindful of what effects this has on the distribution.
  • I may flesh this out more in the future...

Impressions / Mini-Review

I've only played one session of my new campaign with this system so far and there was no combat and only a few saving rolls (basically skill checks), so this is really more my impressions than a thorough review.

Likes:

  • Opposed rolls for combat: While this significantly complicates the outcome probabilities, making it less intuitive how encounters will play out, I've always been intrigued by this mechanic. Maybe I'll end up disliking it, but for now it's a like just given that it's something I've wanted to try.

  • Simultaneous combat: The core book suggests that by default all players should roll against all opponents simultaneously and everything should be resolved altogether. I don't know if I'd like to do that as the default, but it would make combat faster. More than that, I think it could be a cool tactical option for dealing with larger or more powerful enemies, or swarms of smaller enemies. A monster that would be insurmountable may be defeated if the players work together, or in the reverse, enough small goblins targeting a single player may be a significant threat. The players could all team up to defend against the goblins targeting the one player, but then they can't team up against the big ogre until the goblins are no longer a threat...

  • Personal adds: I really like how you receive combat dice modifiers based on a contribution of stats. I think this is a flexible way to allow for different kinds of builds to be combat viable in a way that often feels counter-intuitive or over-complicated in D&D.

  • Types: I haven't played long enough to get a sense of balance, but I like how the types (basically classes) work. Warriors get major bonuses to combat but no magic. Wizards have limits on how much combat damage they can do, but with ranged weapons they always have a chance of at least doing some damage. Rogues are inbetweeners. You could GLOG-ify this I'm sure, but as a core game these seem nice.

  • Magic: I've never been a fan of Vancian magic. I much prefer a mana-based system. The way that spells can be powered up, and the ways that wizard spell costs decrease as they level, to me seems more flexible, fun, and intuitive than D&D-style magic.

  • Saving Rolls: This stat-based skill-check system reminds me of the kinds of rolls I would make players do in Cypher System, which is always a plus. It's a simple number, lvl. 1 difficulty is 20, then +5 for each additional level of difficulty, with modifiers from the relevant stat. For a more OSR-style game, you could keep these to a minimum and not be any worse off for it.

  • Monster Levels: I don't talk about it on this cheat sheet, but monsters can be reduced to a single number, which determines HP, number of combat dice, and any adds. Again, the simplicity and flexibility of it reminds me of Cypher, which is always a positive.

  • Advancement: I generally prefer incremental advancement to monumental levels, so this point-buy system for increasing stats, learning new talents and spells, etc., with a few larger benefits for level, is a nice balance (once again, similar to Cypher). I also like how the cost for increasing stats increases as the stat gets bigger, so a player that rolls poorly during character creation may be able to "catch up".

Dislikes:

  • Too many stats: Many of these stats feel redundant, or at least the book doesn't do a good job of explaining where specific stats would be important. I think this game could be streamlined to maybe 3 or 4 stats and be better off for it. Any stat may be used for an appropriate saving roll, but otherwise SPD isn't really doing anything that can't be covered by DEX besides contributing to adds. Do we really need a LK stat? CON is mostly just HP and WIZ mostly just MP, I'd rather just make those their own thing and not consider them a core stat. CHA could seemingly be taken out entirely, or maybe given some added value by allowing a character to use CHA in place of INT for spell requirements as sort of a "Sorcerer vs. Wizard" distinction. Anyway I think I'm over-sharing my ideas for the full Max Hack...

  • Spell names: Many of the spells have long and cutesy names that give the trollworld setting personality, but are kind of cumbersome and annoying to keep track of.

  • Stat Requirements: DEX as a prereq for spellcasting seems weird. I get the logic of waving hands around for spellcasting, but it seems like just a way to keep wizards from wearing heavy armor (given that heavy armor imposes DEX reduction). I think my houserule (or some version of it) is better. I also don't like that every weapon has a STR and DEX requirement. For now I've just reduced the requirements a bit with my houserules, but I might get rid of it altogether. Warriors already get bonuses with melee weapons and wizards already get disadvantages with weapons (partially mitigated by the missile rules), so having additional requirements seems unnecessary.

  • Some fiddly mechanics: The way that kindreds work (basically races) seems to involve a multiplier of stats, in some cases by numbers like 0.66 or 0.33. It's just kinda messy and I'm ignoring it. Encumbrance sucks too, but I hate encumbrance in any system so that's a personal preference. There are some weird bonus types like specialist and commoner that I don't see the point of. Old-school D&D is full of these kinds of mechanics as well, and I've gotten decent at figuring out quickly which ones are interesting to me and which aren't, and how to get around them.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Weird Sheep & Wonderful Sorcerers: Sheep and Sorcery Appreciation

This is an appreciation post for Michael Kennedy at Sheep and Sorcery. Mike is an old G+ friend, and I believe one of the first and also the longest-running member of my Phantasmos discord game group. He played in my LotFP SHIELDBREAKER campaign, my FASERIP superhero crossover one-shot, and was also a co-player in z_bill's Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells campaign and Dan's Danscape campaign. He also has several really awesome settings, discussion posts, and other cool features on his blog, and this post is going to grab bits and pieces and hopefully make something cool out of it.

********************

We begin within a ship frozen in time. The generation ship was on a voyage Into the Weird Blue Yonder, when it was assaulted by none other than the Spectacular Space Kraken. Fearing the demise of their entire civilization, the Arch-Pope Father Fyodor Karamazov encoded a spell into the numerological ship computer, sending a tachyonic temporal force missile backwards in time, the velocity of the missile pulling the ship against time itself, such that while time operates normally within the ship, it appears frozen outside the ship. Karamazov has cybernetically integrated himself into the ship and taken on the title of God Emperor, and has maintained this ship stuck in time for countless generations. The general entropy and dynamical shifts of languages and cultures over time, along with the occasional inter-dimensional portal opened by the God Emperor himself, has led to all sorts of new developments of monsters and inhumans throughout the ship, such as the F-Men, The Red Sons, and the Martian Vampires.

In his inter-dimensional, multiversal travels, the God Emperor has made few friends, and many enemies, against which the peoples of the ship must contend. One such enemy is an ascendant wizard, an incorporeal lich borne from the nightmares of a slumbering frost wyrm. His minions from across the multiverse assault the ship every 100 years, attempting to harness the God Emperor's powers to perform a ritual to separate the wizard's essence from the frost wyrm's dream before it awakens (which incidentally is projected to occur just after the next assault...).

Most of the old gods were long ago forgotten, even Father Fyodor Karamazov himself condemned the old gods when he declared himself God Emperor. There is only one other faith that rivals the faith of the God Emperor, The Church of the Smiling God.

There are two members of the Court of the Smiling God who are best positioned to become the next Hungry Avatar. The first is Princess Porcina, a small but perfect girl. For her overall size, she is perfectly proportioned and in every way is the most beautiful woman that any man has ever laid eyes upon. She is, however, fragile as glass and rides about in an egg of transparent gemstone and golden wire supported and moved by four animated golden lion legs. She is guarded by a Unicorn in adamantium armor laced with platinum whose horn shimmers with the light of day. Autumn leaves appear in its wake and falsehoods cannot be spoken in its presence.

The second is Duchess Lioness. Her hair is layers of crimson feathers and she has horns which curl upwards from her head. Her canines are sharp and she has talons on her hands and feet. She is followed by her zoo of horrifically hybridized people. Half her manservant's face is that of a glaring chimp as is one of his arms. Her ladies in waiting are ladies with swan necks and bodies with human legs. Many children run to the Zoo with the promise of freedom, only to find themselves in such forms. They are happier this way. Everyone knows what it means when a chimp smiles, after all...

As is often the case, the two most prominent candidates for the holiest role of this happy church, are not themselves true believers. In fact, both of them profit handsomely off of the church, and their businesses are at odds with each other. They are not above sabotage, which has made the political machinations of the church a perilous game.

Despite their differences, they have made a temporary truce, in a bid to overthrow the God Emperor, even as the final invasion of the Ascendant Wizard nears...

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Aquarian Dawn: Aquarians

This is an expanded version of my brief description of the Aquarians from the Aquarian Dawn setting primer.

Aquarians are androgynous humanoids, slightly smaller on average than humans, mesomorphic but with strong core and oblique muscles, and a thin layer of dense, fat-like cells just under (or less commonly, over) their skin. They have varying skin colors and patterns, generally tropical blues and greens with gold or red spots or stripes. Their heads are topped with a semi-translucent whitish filament, which they can also sprout from other regions of their body to form silk clothing-like protection. The filament can be injected with digestive enzymes or reproductive materials. 
Aquarians utilize photosynthesis, but in most climates require nearly as much food relative to their size as humans. They are omnivores but lean towards vegetarianism. They can reproduce both sexually and parthenogenically. Their brains consist of three highly redundant lobes, each taking on a slightly different personality, and the lobes sample information and generate neural activation patterns competitively, to bootstrap learning. While biological sex exists in a manner similar to humans, they have little sexual dimorphism. On the other hand, gender is continuous and triangular, based on the average contribution of each lobe to that individual's behavior, but these distinctions are often too subtle for non-aquarians, and generally not important to aquarian society.
Procedural and semantic memories are passed during reproduction. Episodic memories are also passed, but are generally scrambled and dream-like, except in cases of parthenogenesis where the offspring is a full clone. Offspring reach full physical/sexual maturity within 2 years and given the way memory is passed, can survive independently from that point on. However, they require large quantities of food and remain child-like in personality up to around 7 years old. They have short lifespans, averaging around 50 years under ideal circumstances. Except when necessary, most only reproduce once or twice in their lives, often once in mid-life and once towards the end of their life, with a preference towards parthenogenesis, generally only engaging in sexual reproduction once every few generations.
Aquarians are egalitarian and socialist, lacking an innate sense of or desire for hierarchy and power. They fall naturally into suitable roles, take a functional detachment towards interpersonal conflict, and even in cases where executive leadership is necessary or efficient, these roles are seen as necessary burdens rather than privileges.
Aquarian biology is inefficient, and aquarian society interdependent. They struggle in isolation or under conditions of extreme physiological adversity. However, as a society they are far greater than the sum of their parts, and the individual aquarian benefits from their society in a way that makes them often seem superior to their human counterparts. Humans and the other intelligent species find them threatening, not just because they are the only species that seems to be thriving, but also because their society and psychology is seen as a threat to the powers that be, and because they have no qualms with stating these facts plainly. They are not arrogant or malicious, and can engage in social politics, politeness, or other niceties when necessary, but generally don't see the value in doing so, arguing, perhaps rightly, that the other species would be better off doing likewise.

Friday, April 19, 2019

30 Day Challenge: Day 30! "Traditional Fantasy", But...

Last 5 minute challenge! I'm glad I saw this all the way through. I've got several more Aquarian Dawn posts lined up for a game that will hopefully be happening this weekend or next weekend at the latest, another appreciation post in the works, and then I'm going to make a list of all the 30 day challenge posts I want to build on and see how far I can take that. Maybe one day I'll do another table too (remember when I was complaining about how all I ever post are tables...).

So this 5 minute challenge, in-line with Aquarian Dawn, is going to be about traditional fantasy settings with a twist.

  • There are no humans
  • The humans are actually part of a gritty, near-future sci-fi exploration / colonization team
  • The humans are actually part of a utopian, future starfleet that believes in peace, stranded on the world indefinitely
  • Orcs, the bio-engineered or bred race of warrior elves, have been accepted back into elven society. Inequality and social tensions still exist, but progress is being made.
  • Some (but not all) monsters and magic-users actually have the X-gene
  • A race of technologically advanced aliens have begun to colonize the world
  • Xenomorphs or a similar species have landed on the world and are breeding rapidly

Dang, this was harder than I anticipated (a lot of these are recycled ideas :( ). Not a terrible list, but I think there are a lot more interesting things I could have done. Anyway this has clearly been on my mind lately, so I'll keep thinking about it. Also, am I imagining this, or did I already do one like this? I didn't go back to check, but now I'm thinking maybe I did...

So that's it for the 30 Day Challenge! I'll try to post once or twice a week again with normal posts, or work on larger-scale, more ambitious projects again like tables and stuff. This was a fun way to get me thinking creatively again, but I do think it hampered my ability to do more ambitious things a bit, so I'm ready to scale up.

On an unrelated note, I finally started playing around with textgenrnn again, one of the neural networks that Janelle uses, so if anyone has or knows of a large dataset related to tabletop that I could do some fun stuff with (besides the ones she already has on her github), let me know! I don't reddit much anymore but I think I saw some people doing a neural network bestiary, would love to do something like that but I don't know what their dataset is and haven't had a chance to find one.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

30 Day Challenge: Day 29 Superhero Fantasy Species

I know I've already done one like this, but this one is a little more specific. For this one, I'll take superheroes and outline a fantasy species with roughly their appearance, powers, or other features.


  • Grimmlins: Brash and boisterous rock-men who came from the stars
  • Spiderlings: Humanoid spider-men known for their poor humor, poor luck, and sense of responsibility
  • Changelings: Green men with psionic and shape-shifting abilities, with an unfortunate aversion to fire
  • Collosi: Large humanoids with metallic skin, known primarily for being simple and good-natured
  • Blue-Beasts: Humanoids with vaguely ape-like and feline-like features, and blue (or sometimes gray) fur. In addition to their physical prowess, they are also incredibly bright. However, while generally pleasant and well-meaning, they sometimes lack social grace
  • Cyclopses: Surprisingly slim for their size, at least until adulthood. They are most recognizable for their ruby-quartz eyes which can project force beams

This is another one I'd like to come back to (when this series is done I'm gonna have to go back and mark all the ones I want to come back to...). It would be easy to make a large table of all of these and I could see it being a good setting randomizer.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

30 Day Challenge: Day 28 Community Building

I recently started reading Numenera Destiny, and so far I'm impressed. It's probably not surprising that I like the Numenera setting, I've said many times before how much I like Cypher System, and I know MCG has taken a lot of heat (deserved or not) for Invisible Suns, but I think Destiny is one of the most interesting tabletop books I've read in a long time outside of OSR.

The purpose of the book is to add lore, advice, and mechanics for community building. It's one of those ideas that seems so simple and obvious that I was surprised I hadn't seen much like it and that it's not more of a thing in tabletop. I don't have much experience with Dwarf Fortress, but I think something like a cross between Numenera Destiny and Dwarf Fortress would crush it in the OSR scene.

Anyway, I haven't actually played it, but even having just read it, I can tell there are certain mechanics that I'm not 100% on board with- it seems like something that would need some revising down the line, but on the whole it's a decent framework. The main features are that it adds a resource that gets used exclusively for building "magical" structures, adds some mechanics for dealing with communities and community actions, and adds special abilities that relate to the new resource, community mechanics, crafting, etc.

I've already played a fair bit of Numenera, so as intrigued as I am, I probably won't get around to this for some time, but I'm considering adding a stripped-down version of this into my upcoming Aquarian Dawn game (more on that in a separate post soon). So for my five minute challenge today, I'm going to spitball some ideas for community building campaigns.


  • A short campaign where the players know they are on the verge of a major invasion. Over the course of some finite amount of time, they must build defenses, organize the community (seven samurai style), and scout the environment. Additionally, they have reason to believe there's a traitor among them...
  • The party overthrew an evil lord, but now someone must manage the fiefdom. The lord was cruel and short-sighted, but the land is rich and tactically well-suited. The cruel lord was a cog in a larger, corrupt kingdom, with all the same problems at a larger scale. Under competent leadership, this fiefdom could take control of the whole kingdom...
  • An eccentric architect has undecipherable schematics for a new world wonder. The architect has undeniably proven their skills, but this wonder requires certain resources money can't buy. The whole project is a long-shot, but he claims it will change the world. He can't afford to pay, he's fully invested in the wonder, but if he succeeds, those who helped him will go down in history...

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

30 Day Challenge: Day 27 Dungeons

I'm going to try doing some quick concepts for dungeons. I'm not sure how much inspiration I have for this, I generally prefer objects and creatures over locations and spaces, but we'll see what I can come up with.

The dungeon is...

  • a mimic
  • a virtual reality / astral dreamscape
  • made of candy; gingerbread, candycanes, gumdrops, frosting, etc.
  • bigger on the inside
  • bigger on the outside
  • made of panels that break after you step off of them. There are only so many valid routes to the exit, hope you don't make a mistake...
  • composed of circular hallways, or rings, ordered by danger and theme (that build off of each other, like the levels of hell, or some other thematic system).
  • on the back of a massive beast, and so the positioning and environment are all relative to the beast itself. (alternatively, strung between several massive beasts).

Ok, actually I think that turned out pretty good!

Monday, April 15, 2019

30 Day Challenge: Day 25-26 Potions

Was too tired yesterday, so two today! I'm glad that this 30-day challenge has kept me creating (almost) every day, even if just a little bit, but I am glad it's wrapping up so I don't feel beholden to this format. Hopefully these challenges will give me a lot of material to work with for the future.

First I'm going to do potions. I'm going to try doing it in a bit more of a semiurge format, but with only 5 minutes we'll see how far I get:

NOTE: Rather than do a separate list for day 26, I decided to spend 5 more minutes on this one

The color of the potion is:

  • red
  • green
  • blue
  • indigo
  • violet
  • white
  • black
  • translucent
  • pink
  • brown


and:

  • metallic
  • cloudy
  • crisp
  • sparkling
  • bubbling
  • glowing 
  • dirty


It smells like:

  • a nostalgic memory
  • a toxic spill
  • regret
  • a memory you wanted to forget
  • something you've always wanted
  • something you didn't know you wanted
  • something you didn't know you never wanted


When you drink it:

  • You experience time as a narrow window (~6 seconds or less) rather than as a moment
  • You gain hyper-proprioception and the ability to consciously control autonomic processes
  • Another version of yourself from the multiverse goes into toxic shock as you gain their strength
  • You go into toxic shock and another version of yourself from the multiverse gains your strength
  • Your gut becomes a wormhole to the Macromicrobiome dimension, like the astral plane for gut microbiomes. Your gut is directly connected to everyone else who has drank this potion, and you gain gut-related "psychic" powers.
  • Your molecules disperse throughout the multiverse (or just universe) but still operate cohesively
  • Your mind dissolves into super-heavy cosmic sludge, like a dense ooze, that falls until it collapses against something sufficiently heavy, or is contained in an adamantine, orichalcum, or some other sufficiently strong frame.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

30 Day Challenge: Day 24 Hybrid Species

Going to try to break my streak of failing to do this on the weekend and actually do this today. Starting to adjust to scaling back on caffeine. Had a tea in the afternoon yesterday but that was it, today a cafe du monde in the morning and maybe I'll have a tea later but that's it. So I was watching an episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine last night and it was a Jadzia Dax-focused episode, and I was thinking about the Parasite challenge that went around a while back, and the Lattimors from Numenera which I've always thought were cool, so this'll be an attempt at some species that are a merger of other species.


  • Everyone knows that spells are alive, and sometimes become conscious. What is less well known is that sometimes a conscious spell merges with the spellcaster, weaving its magical essence into the physical body and metaphysical mind. The final being is no longer the spellcaster nor the spell.
  • On rare occasions, an undead will accidentally regrow a soul. Maybe the soul hadn't fully died off upon undeath, or maybe it's a soul cancer. In any case, it can happen. Sometimes too, a soul finds its way back to its undead body. Sometimes, an old soul and a new soul meet. Usually this leads to violent astralogical conflict that leads to the collapse of both souls. On extremely rare occasions, the two souls reconcile, and the being is returned to life, but now as an entirely new soul.

Well, I only came up with two, but I think they're pretty good. The latter is a concept I've played with on this blog before, but I think the former is new for me, and I think could be expanded in some cool ways.

Friday, April 12, 2019

30 Day Challenge: Day 22-23 Pain Demons and Things With Weird Faces

Meant to do a 5 minute challenge yesterday in addition to the Aquarian Dawn post, but then I made the mistake of only having one coffee yesterday and went through a surprisingly rough caffeine withdrawal that I am still feeling even as I finally consume another cup of coffee (it's cafe du monde though, so not 100% coffee, trying to cut back...).

Anyway, so that will either make these two surprisingly good, or barren, as I struggle to work past the searing pain and mental fog.

Pain Demons
  • A foggy cloud of energy that enshrouds you and shocks you. The shocks are not superficial, they target nerve tracks and send unique pain signal cascades along your whole body
  • A fiery, humanoid salamander with a phlogisten whip. Each lick of the whip induces searing, white-hot burns. Somehow, it preserves nerves and keeps the brain from going into shock. Each burn on the same location hurts worse than the last
  • A frost hag who makes the environment frigid cold. Her warm, inviting cabin is always just over the horizon, always seemingly the closest and most desirable place. It walks on long bird-legs, obscured by objects or distance, moving in-track with her prey.

Things With Weird Faces
  • A human with the face of a shark
  • A fish with the face of a human
  • A human with an upside-down face
  • A human with a perfectly smooth face
  • A human with cartilage for eye sockets, the eyes bob and roll in place
  • A dog with a bird-like beak
  • A goblin with an extendable jaw like a goblin shark
  • A cat with an unhingeable jaw like a snake
  • A human whose face is sideways
  • A human face stretched across a rectangular surface
  • A mask of a perfectly preserved human face
  • A face where the skin strains tightly against the skull

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Aquarian Dawn: Setting Primer

Before I get into it, I just want to note that this is officially post 100! Granted, there were a few small "update" posts, and at this point nearly a third of my posts are just 5 Minute Challenge posts (which I'll follow up with shortly). Still, I wanted my 100th post to be a bigger one, so here's a setting primer for Aquarian Dawn, which will be the setting for my local game which will hopefully be starting in the very near future!

A little Nausicaa for flavor because I can't escape science fantasy even in my "gritty" fantasy setting


What is Aquarian Dawn?

Aquarian Dawn is a gritty fantasy setting, taking place several hundred years after a high-fantasy (or maybe even science-fantasy, who can say?) utopic era, the High Age, that gradually declined. The age of man appears to be coming to an end with the rise of the Aquarians, and humanity as a whole must contemplate its mortality, and everything that comes with it.
Arcane and divine magics have mostly been lost, and knowledge of alchemy is mostly in the minds of the fey. Likewise, most of the magical creatures have been killed or died off. Only recently, as the High Age has degraded so thoroughly, have the magical creatures begun to resurface, and these ones have become hard and mean as a result of their treatment by humanity towards the end of the High Age. 
Then there are the espers (less affectionately referred to as mutants). They are humans, or less commonly members of one of the other intelligent species, able to intuitively channel magics or perform feats like the heroic warriors of old. Sometimes they even have unique abilities of their own, and inhuman appearances. It is believed that during the peak of the High Age, espers were ubiquitous, and that they were to usher the High Age civilization into godhood. As the High Age declined, so too did the espers. 
The espers are not "hated and feared", per se. Most villages tacitly accept and even embrace espers for their abilities, and the services they provide as monster hunters and problem solvers. Even so, they are a constant reminder of what civilization once was and what it has lost. Communities and individuals quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) resent them, and as a result they often feel isolated, and driven to adventure. Nonetheless, some still believe that the age of humanity has not come to an end, and that any hope in humanity lies in the espers. 
In regards to the other species, the remaining elves live in the forest and sea and have become more like animals than humans. Dwarves have gone to the caves, mountains, tundra, and other inhospitable places and have adapted in strange and alienating ways. Halflings lost their civilization and exist as nomads and refugees, and are stereotyped as thieves, assassins, saboteurs, and con-men.
The fey creatures; goblins, leprechauns, hobs, and the like, are all doing fairly well, all things considered. They have the largest number of artifacts from the High Age, and have retained the most knowledge from that time. If the fey of old were like the spirits of nature, these fey are like the spirits of science and engineering. Their knowledge and practices are not always correct, but seem to be effective just by virtue of the world believing in them. That being said, the fey are only as successful as the Age allows, and this Age is still young.

Who are the Aquarians?

The aquarians are a semi-photosynthetic, tropical-colored, humanoid coral species. They wear clothing made from their own filaments, which grow from their head or can be produced from the rest of their body, like a strong, silky web, or an externalized digestion system. Their society is true communism, and it works. They reproduce mostly through parthenogenesis. They have a three-lobed brain with semi-competitive / semi-collaborative personalities, and a continuous gender identity based on the contribution of the three lobes to their overall cognition. They pass their memories to their offspring as a dream-like form of cognitive immortality.
A more detailed description of the aquarians will be in a separate post.

Themes

Sometimes the themes of a setting or a campaign come out organically, but here are some of the intended themes for this setting. I'm sure many more themes will emerge as I bring this setting to the table, and probably not all of these themes will be realized at my table, but these are the things that inspired me to create this setting.

  •  Many fantasy settings, such as Lord of the Rings, focus on the burgeoning Age of Man, with the Elves being of a prior age. I wanted to do a spiritual succession of that narrative. What does a fantasy world look like in the next age?

  • Along those lines, I wanted to examine why civilizations at their peak degrade. I want to avoid being too directly allegorical to real world politics, but in an era where we are so reliant on science and technology, and yet so few people understand it and so many people spurn it; where we make so much cultural and intellectual progress and yet so many reject it and regress, I wanted to explore that in a fantasy setting.

  • I've always loved X-men and Marvel's mutants in general, but with the espers, I wanted to tweak that narrative a little bit. Hate and xenophobia are real enough in our world, here I wanted to take the idea of "the other" but explore it in a way that demands more nuance. Espers aren't necessarily hated, and the feelings others have towards them aren't just because they're different. It's a deeper, internal, existential resentment, that subtly affects how they interact with espers even if they hold no conscious ill-will towards them. The espers make people feel lesser about themselves, not even for what they are, but for what they represent.

  • I also attempt to address ideological differences, and specifically ideological differences between generations. The High Age of humanity was built upon espers, individuals with unique and powerful abilities. The aquarians, on the other hand, are true communists, and also have a more fluid and dynamic concept of self and gender. They think and operate totally differently from humanity, and it seems to be working better for them. I want to avoid a strictly capitalist vs. communist or America vs. China type narrative, it's more about generational differences and happens to lean into American issues of socioeconomic values and identity politics.

  • There is also the more personal and existential issue of mortality and legacy. With human civilization seemingly coming to an end, how do people live their lives? How do you have children when you know you're leaving behind less for them than what you had? Do you lean hard into denial? Do you double-down, trying to carve out a legacy in the face adversity? Do you become nihilist or absurdist, or turn to religion or passion? 

Anyway, I've got a few more posts for this setting lined up, and intend to write more as my game progresses. Hopefully people get where I'm going with this and find it maybe a bit more graspable than some of my other settings, which I acknowledge can get a little wild. I love high-concept gonzo science fantasy, but Phantasmos this is not!

Also, if you want to read more about Aquarian Dawn now, you can read my Intro Prose, which is most in line with this primer, or read about the Death Metal Crow for another facet of this setting that's a little less heavy but I think still consistent with the intended themes and tone of this setting.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

30 Day Challenge: Day 21 Lovecraft/Fantasy Crossover Ideas

Following up on yesterday's crossover, this will be a quick attempt at mapping Lovecraftian concepts to traditional fantasy. I'm doing trad fantasy specifically and not Tolkien because I've forgotten a lot of the particulars of the Tolkien lore over the years. This is one of the challenges I'd like to do in a more fleshed-out manner eventually.


  • Elves as Shoggoths: They were created long ago by the Elder Things deep under the ocean. They rebelled and rose up to make a civilization of their own. Due to horizontal gene transfer (I got this idea off a Lovecraftian science blog post), they are the progenitors of most life on the planet and many of the intelligent species in the world teleologically converge into a humanoid form like their own. Their original shoggoth biology also makes them easily adaptable to different environments (explanation for why there are so many variant kinds of elves). Due to difficulties with reproduction (and possibly other factors) they are less prevalent than they once were.
  • Dragons as Shantaks: Large, bird-like flying reptiles from the dreamlands. May be gryphons instead of dragons.
  • Demons and ghosts as Nightgaunts
  • Dwarves or halflings as Voormi: Small shaggy humanoids who worship a lazy, slimy, frog-like god Tsathoggua.
  • Vampires as humanoids infected by Yog-Sothoth: It is the gate, interfacing with physical reality like a virus. Those infected attempt to drain life and energy in order to open the gate.

Admittedly some of these I've given varying degrees of prior thought to, or have been explroed before by others. Anyway, I've already got some ideas for a more developed version, but I think this isn't a bad start.



Tuesday, April 9, 2019

30 Day Challenge Day 19-20 Druids and Crossovers

A bit of an update before I jump in. I think I'm finally getting back into tabletop! I'm on the verge of getting a local group together, and I'm also hoping to do some stuff with my old discord group (if you're at all interested and aren't in my discord group, feel free to ask me about it!).

Life is still stressful and uncertain, my fellowship is basically wrapped up, and I'm in the job hunting phase (if you're in NYC and your company happens to be hiring for Data Engineering, Data Science, or Machine Learning Engineering...). I have a bit more free time and flexibility now but that may change quickly once I land a job. Alternatively, maybe once I have a job and by extension a work/life balance and less stress, maybe I'll start posting more.

At the end of this 30 day challenge, I'm going to try to do a two post a week schedule, where at least one post will be expanding on one or more of my ideas from the challenge, and another post may or may not be more of that (I have at least one more appreciation post part-way prepared). I'm hoping that just by virtue of prepping for my games I'll have other stuff to put on the blog as well.


So "Day 19" will be Druids:


  • Dragon Druid: They are naturally attuned to dragons
  • Urban Druid: They see the nature, the system, of a city as a distributed organism
  • Zygotic Druid: Fungi, and specifically yeast. They are attuned to things that ferment. They "breathe" sugar rather than oxygen
  • Star Druid: They are attuned to the nature of an alien world
  • Necro Druid: They are attuned to death, not life. Desert, tundra, the vacuum of space. Absence. Null. Unbeing
  • Anthro Druid: They see the nature in people. They are the Platonic Prototype of their species.
  • Arcane Druid: Not a wizard. They are attuned to the origin, the nature, of arcane magic.
  • Divine Druid: Not a cleric. They do not pray to a god or gods, they are more like an avatar of the concept of divinity. A Neil Gaiman druid, if you will


Ok ya, pretty happy with this. The urban druid is basically my anti-cancer druid concept from waaay back in the day that I don't think I explained well and I'm not sure people are into but I'm going to keep pushing it. I guess I've done zygomancers before. Still, mostly relatively original stuff.

"Day  20" is going to be crossovers. I really enjoyed my Marvel/DC/MHA/OPM/Valiant FASERIP one-shot. I think there's something fun about a very deliberate crossover- not some "our universes collide" lazy crossover, but a "how do these parts fit together into a coherent and interesting world" crossover.


  • Lord of the Rings and X-men: It could also be Forgotten Realms, or even GoT, I'm just interested in the idea of dealing with the issue of Mutants in a fantasy world, and if or how the "mutant metaphor" would play out in a fictional or anachronistic setting
  • Daredevil/Marvel and TMNT: Obvious reasons if you know anything about TMNT
  • Lovecraft and LoTR: Given that they are philosophically so different, this crossover could be interesting. Alternatively, I've seen some cool fan theories for GoT and Lovecraft...
  • Evangelion and Darling in the Franxx: DitF is the closest thing to a spiritual successor I've seen to eva, and both deal with issues of psychosexual development and childhood in interesting ways. It would be interesting to think about how those themes would come together in a singular setting and still be coherent. Would new themes emerge?
  • Star Wars and Transformers: There's nothing deeper here, it would just be cool

Hm... not as happy with this one. I think it would be easy to do "X-men and X" or "Lovecraft and X", which I wanted to avoid, but then that was all I could think about. I do think there's a lot more to mine here with this idea of purposeful crossovers. The first one, not specifically LoTR, but X-men in a fantasy setting, is actually a one-shot I want to do on discord...


Monday, April 8, 2019

30 Day Challenge: Day 17-18 Ways of Doing Magic and Odd Animal martial art styles

I've been bad about weekends, so again I'll be doing two today, two tomorrow.

Following up on Semiurge's suggestions, I'm going to try to come up with some ways of doing magic (e.g. Vancian, divine/prayer, mana, etc.). This is more conceptual than explicitly mechanical, but there is still sort of an inherently mechanical component and I often struggle with combining those things, so I have a feeling this is going to be a rough one...


  • Morse code eye blink magic
  • Magic as code
  • Magic as machine learning (playing off the idea of magic as metaphysical entities, except instead of spirit creatures, magical beings are trained neural networks)
  • Libertarian self-actualization paladin
  • Magic where you gain power by defeating monsters, and can summon the monsters to serve you temporarily, but then you lose their power (XP/levels) after expending the summon
  • Magic that breaks the logic of the game (magic that involves using mechanics from other games, swapping character sheets, in other ways breaking the meta and fiction of the game)
  • Magic that comes from the player having to sing / karaoke (or dance- I recommend including alcohol)
  • Magic that comes from the player being drunk and/or high

Ok, that turned out alright. Some of these are ideas I've talked about before but it's a decent set.

And next we have an unrelated idea I came up with, for Shaolin-style martial arts based on odd animals (no serpent, crane, or monkey here...)

  • Pistol Shrimp style: Gun-kata
  • Mantis Shrimp style: SMASH!
  • Hyena style: Laughing, banter, using noises as a way of manipulating your opponent
  • Squid style: Use liquids (when present) or in some other way try to blind your opponent
  • Ostrich style: Emphasis on strong kicks
  • Walrus style: Sumo-like style
  • Orca style: Rhythmic cycling of open-palm strikes based on harmonics 
I think 6 months ago or so when I was watching a ton of David Attenborough documentaries this one would have been better, but I think it still turned out alright. It would also be fun to follow up on this with martial arts styles based specifically on D&D / fantasy monsters.

Friday, April 5, 2019

30 Day Challenge: Day 16 Domesticated "Animals"

Semiurge once again gave me some good prompts (as a comment on Day 12-13), so i'll try to explore these soon. I think I'll start with domesticated "animals":


  • Like a dolphin, but skinnier and covered in a thin layer of fur, and walks on dog-like legs
  • A dog-sized parrot with a raptor-like body that hops but cannot fly*
  • A hairless metallic blue cyclops monkey with swirly-pads on its hands
  • A stunted frog in a large but permanently tadpole-like state. Playful and surprisingly intelligent
  • A techno-organic creature, vaguely like a cat. Because of some weird noise in its training data and some issues with convergence in the layers of the neural network, it occasionally freaks out for seemingly no reason (like a cat)
  • A basilisk that's had its gorgon-abilities removed
  • A lobotomized goblin
  • A goblin-dog (a goblin subspecies that has been bred into a grotesque, Cronenbergian dog-like form)
I'm pretty happy with this list, and again I think outside of the five-minute challenge, with a bit more research and work this could be a cool concept for a future post. Thanks semiurge!

* This is a real thing and it's kinda cute but also freaks me the fuck out because I have a weird thing about birds, but anyway I'm not sure why this doesn't show up more in fantasy fiction because it looks like it should.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

30 Day Challenge: Day 15 Two-Player Characters

The recent goblin punch post, The Mother of Osk, had me thinking of concepts for characters played by two players, or two characters in one body, that sort of thing. Some of these I've done or talked about before, but whatever, here are some rough concepts for two-player characters:


  • Intelligent mimic armor
  • Two-headed ogre
  • False Warlock patron (a psychic, extradimensional, or physically parasitic entity granting powers to a "warlock"- not actually a god or demon or anything like that)
  • Matryoshka mutant: Identity-within-identity-within-identity, each with some unique ability
  • Alt to above- Mutant Menagerie: A psychic prison or zoo contained in the character's mind from which special abilities can be co-opted. One psychic entity has escaped...
  • All at once: A character across multiple moments in time existing simultaneously.
  • Living system: A living idea, a living institution. It's constituent parts may or may not have identities of their own, but collectively they serve a greater consciousness they may or may not understand or even be aware of.

Some of these are a bit high-concept and might need some work to bring to the table, others I think are pretty much good to go as is. Anyway, this is a really cool concept that I'd like to flesh out more in the future.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

30 Day Challenge: Day 14 Animaloids

We all love centaurs, satyrs, minotaurs, naga, etc., so this is going to be five minutes of vaguely humanoid, animal combinations.

  • Upper half orca, lower half hippopotamus
  • Upper half frog, lower half giant rabbit
  • Upper half barracuda, lower half humanoid
  • Upper half humanoid, lower half ant
  • Upper half humanoid, lower half centipede/millipede
  • Upper half praying mantis, lower half humanoid
  • Upper half feline, lower half eel
  • Upper half cephalopoid, lower half canine
  • Upper half harpy eagle, lower half humanoid

Weirdly I forgot birds right up until the end 0.o. Anyway, obviously I could have gone much faster if I had just written out a bunch of animal combinations randomly, but I tried to actually think them through a little bit. It could be fun to give each of these a more fleshed out blurb down the line and not just the bare-bones as presented here.

30 days may be a bit overkill but I feel like I should follow through on this challenge just for its own sake, but at least it's giving me plenty of project seeds to work on for future posts.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

30 Day Challenge Day: 12-13

Making up for the weekend still, I've got two challenges today!

First up, elementals:


  • Shit elemental: An urban legend in the sewers. An amorphous thing, stewing in the drains, streaming along the walls, best identified by its scent. A cog in the biomantic network machine.
  • Spice elemental: The fragrant essence of  the dried and crushed young of treants and other intelligent plants.
  • Herb elemental: The leaf, the organ of breath and food for a plant, in elemental form.
  • Fruit elemental: A vehicle of sugars sacrificed to vicious animals in order to spread its seed, the fruit elemental is the ultimate form of plant expansion.
  • Machine elemental: Is it a golem, an AI, an android, or a machine god? It is not merely a machine, but the concept of machine brought to life.

Next, thematic god concepts:

  • God of learning from ones mistakes: Appears as an elder, someone with wisdom, with damages from fraught years.
  • God of self-acceptance: A being both ugly and beautiful.
  • God of forward thinking: An alien thing, that one finds either disturbing, or intriguing.
  • God of self-improvement: Always in a state of flux, but slowly, manifesting subtly over years. It can only be perceived by those who have significantly changed at some point in their adult life. Others deny its existence altogether.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Purposive Constraint Monster Concept

I was inspired recently by noism's (of the monsters and manuals blog) concept of Purposive Constraint in monster creation. In fact, I think it's one of the most interesting tabletop "think pieces" I've read in quite some time. I tend to go for weird / abstract / "high-concept" stuff, and that's always going to be my jam, but I think there's something to be said for simple, elegant, and purposive creations. As I'll discuss below, this monster was designed with a specific purpose, which is expressed in its appearance and its behaviors. It's probably not the first of its kind, but I think it's a cool idea that could be a fun inclusion in any dungeon.

Purposive Constraint of the Monster

The purpose of this monster is urgency. It is a force of nature. It's not an uber-god, but it is an essentially unkillable, unstoppable force that the party will have to deal with. It is one that (at least to some extent) scales to the power of the party. It can be impeded, but there are certain hard constraints on to what extent this is true, and it will require ingenuity on the part of the party to figure out how to do so. A level one party has (almost) as much of a chance of impeding it as a level 20 party. It's form is primally evocative and horrifying, but also (hopefully) suggestive of its abilities.

These kinds of monsters can be tricky in tabletop, since some see it as a "cheat" to have an unkillable, unstoppable monster, or feel that it takes away player agency. I think if the appropriate expectations are set, and the party is given a fair chance to fend for themselves, and the manner in which they figure out how to defend themselves requires ingenuity, then I think this could be a lot of fun and very much in-line with the philosophy of OSR. In terms of videogames, you could think of it like the Nemesis from Resident Evil; it is in effect more like a dungeon obstacle, or a horrific force of nature, in terms of how the party should interact with it.

The Monster

The monster appears as an oblong, vaguely animal-like torso, a round head with ambiguous and vaguely humanoid features, and eight long limbs, four on each side of its torso, each significantly longer than its body. Its skin is a sickly reddish-pinkish-orange, like extreme inflammation. It is gelatinous, but firm to the touch, like a semi-amorphous exoskeleton. Its limbs can be as flexible as tentacles or as firm as insect legs. Its default size is that of a large creature, but it can compress or expand itself to a seemingly impossible degree. It can traverse any surface, walk on water, swim, and even stretch itself like a kite and glide. It can squeeze through impossibly tight spaces. It produces a venom that can (eventually) dissolve any substance. It can harden itself against extreme heat, or preserve its insides with natural anti-freeze if frozen. It can slow its metabolism and remain in stasis if it cannot access oxygen or nutrients and can remain that way effectively indefinitely. Its skin can harden or soften to impact as needed and it has no obvious sensory or vital organs.

It will never leave its lair, and in fact cannot leave its lair, even by magical means. It will hunt anything in its lair. It likes to toy with its prey, first revealing itself and attacking the party to get a measure of them, only to run off. It will stalk the party, re-emerging to strike whenever the party get too comfortable (if they are already overwhelmed, it will strike them at each room). It will usually toy with the party until they are just short of their goal, or too deep into the dungeon to easily escape, and then it will go for the kill. If it is not actively assaulting the party, it will allow other threats to face the party. However, if it is actively engaged with the party, it will casually deal with any other threats in its path.

It's first assault is generally a surprise attack, where it attempts to knock over, grapple, and pummel the most vulnerable member of the party. If the prey is strong, it will release a sticky fluid from its pores to better grapple. If this is insufficient, it will attempt to squeeze its limbs or whole body into any orifice of its prey. If there are no exposed orifices, or no seams in the protection of the prey, it will dribble its corrosive venom onto the protection until there is an opening.

Discussion?

Obviously this thing still needs a name. Also, I intentionally left out stats, with the idea that it should always be just a little bit above what the party would probably be able to defeat. They should have a small but reasonable chance of being able to escape if grappled, of being able to survive more than one surprise attack, and maybe even hit it (even if the damage doesn't mean much except to maybe stun it for a moment). This can be explained as the monster testing them, or toying with them, or even giving them a false sense of security that maybe they can beat it. Also, maybe I could do more with its appearance or abilities, or give it some explicit vulnerabilities? It clearly has some inspirations like the Nemesis from RE, the xenomorph from Alien, and spiders, but I think as-is it's fairly unique and I don't want to over-explain it in a way that takes away from that. Is this purposive constraint actually interesting? Does it meet this constraint?

30 Day Challenge Day: 10-11

I missed the weekend for my 30 day challenge! I'm going to do two today and two tomorrow to make up for it! I also have another full post that I will hopefully put out some time today or tomorrow.

The first five-minute challenge will be "One Weird Thing" to give your character some distinctive characteristic.

  • Wears a watch that is atomically synchronized to another universe
  • Irises of the eyes reflect like a mirror
  • Skin occasionally flushes with pulses of blood
  • Has mineraly or metallic hair or nails
  • One eye is like a magic eightball
  • Has an animated tattoo (that maybe can also change its form or place)
  • Wears an outfit made of their own hair
  • Wears a necklace that is actually a mimic

Those ones were ok, I think I'm rusty from the weekend.

Second five-minute challenge will be deranged dimensions (I don't really know how deranged they'll be I just liked the alliteration).

  • Alcohol dimension: Oceans of wine, frothy beer waterfalls, whiskey swamps, crystal vodka streams. Alcohol vapors in the air.
  • Methane dimension: A gaseous world of gaseous beings and overwhelming odors. 
  • Pink dimension: Everything is pink.
  • Paper dimension: A world like the paper mario videogames. Everything is a paper cutout or diorama.
  • Multi-dimension: Reality is like a split-screen TV or multi-display screen. A day plays out in multiple ways simultaneously and interactively, or a series of days interact non-linearly.
Could use some work, but the last one in particular has potential...