Monday, May 8, 2017

Beyonders (+ Some Astral Sailing Stuff)


Space, as you think of it, is composed of two main parts.

There is the Astral Sea, in which all of the planets and solar systems are embedded.  (Light from the Astral "water" doesn't penetrate the ozone layer, but as soon as you leave the planet, you'll see it shining in all its glory, like an ocean of thin, pearlescent mucus.)  Picture a universe filled with thick spiderwebs, and then sailing across the surface of those spiderwebs as if you were a very tiny ship.

<digression>It's not hard for mid-level characters to sail into space.  Here are some possibilities:

  • Equip your ship with both a stormsail mage (collect and shape enough rain as it's falling and you can sail into the sky) and the proper astral sails and you're set.
  • Go to Ba Dwai La, where you can walk to the moon.  Buy a ship and launch yourself off the Last Waterfall, into the Astral Sea.
  • Climb the Cat's Tail to the moon, when it passes overhead.  Buy a ship and launch yourself off the Last Waterfall, into the Astral Sea.
  • Sail to one of the poles, and sail up the chalaza--the twisted string of an ocean that connects the planet to the Astral Sea and the solar system.
Hell, you could do any one of those things before level 3.</digression>

Then there is the Beyond.  It is everything else.

In practice, this means the parts of space that are very far away from the surface of the Astral Sea.  Away from the egg stars and the light-hives.  Nowhere near the mirrored pillars of creation.  Away from the beaconed sea-highway that leads to the Seat of the Authority himself.

There are dead planets.  Cold places where no light has ever shined.

There are the tessuract-ships of liches, who have finally found the peace and quite they could never get on Centerra itself.  Tomb-cities buried deep beneath the crust.

There are elf-seeds.  Impenetrable spheres of runed adamantine, carrying the belongings of some elf lord forward a billion years into his kingdom at the end of time.  They will survive the heat death of the universe, when the elves will return to claim them.  Time machines traveling one hour per hour.  Just fancy luggage, really.

And then there are the creatures that were born out here.  These are the beyonders.

There are many kinds of beyonders, of course.  These are just the ones that are encountered most often in dungeons.

The Beyonders

It is rumored that they are related to the organic satellite-people that orbit Centerra (although the planet is more accurately called Phosma) but this is probably untrue.

Out in the beyond, they look like large hula hoops of flesh and organs.  They're about 60' in diameter.

But your players will probably never encounter them in their native state.  They'll probably encounter them because they rolled a random encounter on dungeon level 6.

So how does a fleshy hoop explore a dungeon?

They do so by creating a portal.

The portal is shaped like a human.  A round, innocuous bubble-shaped human.

They can seal the skin of this portal with something akin to glass.  Which is good, because otherwise they'd just be human-sized holes in space, sucking in crap from all over the dungeon and blasting it into empty space, where some of it would presumably collide with the Beyonder.

When they are walking around a dungeon, they look like a man inside a bubble-suit.  Opaque and dully reflective.

like this, except less shit
At will, they can open up part of their body as a portal and suck stuff in.

They can open up their hand to suck in a coin, and close it smoothly behind it.

If they open up their chest, they can suck in things as large as a human.

They have to be careful with this tactic, though, because anything that gets sucked through is also being shot at their own body, which is a fleshy hula hoop encircling this portal.

They have some telekinesis.  They use this to catch stuff (coins, weapons) and pass them back outside the portal to their bubble-body as they are needed.

Beyonder Bubble Skin
HD 4  AC plate  Space Mace 1d6+1d6 cold
Move as human  Int 10  Mor 4

Immune to non-magical slashing and piercing.

Summon Skin -- Create or remove the glass-like bubble skin that covers the body-shaped portal.  Usually only has a certain patch open at any given time.  Free action.

Portal -- Unless there is bubble skin covering the portal-body beneath, the Beyonder sucks stuff in like a tornado.  5' away = Str check with a -4 penalty.  25' away = Str check.  No effect beyond 30'.  Once you get sucked up, you get a second chance to catch yourself if there is something between you and the Beyonder that you could potentially grab onto.  And yes, if you get sucked through the portal, you can remain conscious for one round while you stab the Beyonder's flesh-body in its stupid flesh-face.

At-will spells:

  • telekinesis
  • teleport up to 10', disappears on one turn, reappears on the next turn. (this is just the Beyonder closing the portal, and reopening it nearby.)

If the bubble skin is broken (or if the Beyonder turns it off), the Beyonder isn't defeated, but it is probably getting smacked in the face by all the stuff that's being sucked through.  Getting bathed in cold air is extremely unpleasant, and most Beyonders won't endure it for more than a couple of turns at a time.

If the bubble skin is broken they can regrow a new one tomorrow.

Beyonder Corpus (the hoop of flesh in space)
HD 2  AC plate  Attacks none
Move *  Int 10  Mor 4

Even if the bubble skin is broken, it isn't immediately obvious that there is a ring of flesh 30' into the portal.  The easiest way to discover this is probably to throw a torch through.

Beyonders aren't stupid, and as soon as they realize their foe has figured out how to damage them, they'll withdraw (which is as simple as closing the portal).  They'll probably come back later.

By the way, they can't teleport their bubble-skin body all over the planet. Whenever they re-open their personal portal, they can only re-open it in the same location where they closed it last time (or at least, within 10' of that point).  This means you can imprison one, as long as the walls are at least 10' thick.

Each Beyonder also keeps 1d3-1 things on hand that they can throw back out their bodies in case things get desperate.

Holdout Weapons [d6]
1. Just a big brick of chlorine.  Quickly evaporates into a gas upon hitting our atmosphere.  As acid cloud.
2. 2d6 legless ghouls.  (Space is full of ancient, insane ghouls.  They're about as common as hailstorms.  Most cut off the unnecessary bits and throw them in order to gain some momentum in space.)
3. Captured light from a dead star.  3d6 necrotic damage, 100000000' cone, save for half.
4. A jet of dust going 400 miles per hour.  Functions as a 30' line of piercing damage that does 3d6 piercing damage each round for up to 3 rounds (as long as the Beyonder concentrates).  Half damage if you succeed on an Armor save.  (Roll your AC like a save.)
5. A lump of lead the size of a VW bug.  Treat this as a melee attack roll (it can't throw the lump very far) with a -4 penalty (it's not very accurate) that does 3d6 damage and pins its target.  The lump is so cold that it sucks the heat out of the room, dealing 1 cold damage on each each subsequent turn for an hour.  Ice will form after 1 minute.
6. A domesticated florgurg.  Just tentacles and teeth.  Sings like a whale being sucked down a garbage disposal.  HD 3  AC leather  Grab/Grab/Bite 1d12.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Wombs and Witch Kites

Crows are the favored pets of witches, and so their kites are made primarily from crows.  They are sometimes confused with smirches (dire crows).

This doesn't have to be the case, of course.  It is said that a witch can make a kite from any flying thing, as long as it loved her and no other.

It is a common misconception to think that they are undead, or that they are somehow mindless.  Although they seem ghastly and otherworldly, they are flesh and blood.

They are only ever constructed by witches, because witches have wombs.


Witches and Wombs

A man cannot be a witch, because he does not have a uterus.  

<digression>There are, of course, exceptions.  

The generative process (the second, vegetable soul) has produced every conceivable arrangement of the sexual organs.  There are rumors of boys born with internal wombs.  And of course, phenotyphical men have gained wombs from certain ecliptic rituals, or from their patrons.</digression>

The Church teaches that while the vagina is sexual, the uterus is spiritual.  After all, it is the womb that receives the soul that is sent by Zulin to populate the body of the developing embryo.  

However you explain it, the uterus is doing an impressive feat: growing and differentiating tissues while simultaneously installing the remaining 5 souls, each installation occurring approximately two months apart.

<digression>This is not how eggs work, which explains their very different properties.</digression>

<digression>Growth, by itself, it not impressive.  Even stones will grow at the proper confluence of leylines, and they only have the first soul--the mineral soul.  This is where mountain ranges come from.  See also: Round Mountain.</digression>

The part of the uterus that collects the incipient soul is called the perimetrium.  This is why different sexual positions can affect the nature of the resultant creature--different positions affect the sacred geometry of the perimetrium, which likewise affects the characteristics of the souls it is able to attract (or retain).

For example, it is known that those conceived in the rear mount position are predisposed towards shamelessness, vandalism, and scurvy.  This is why the Church discourages it.

There is even the chance of entrapping 'souls' that are not human souls at all, and are incompatible with the other souls and tissues.  These are spirits, demons, angels, and all the sundry pseudofauna of the ethereal plane.  Accidental incorporation is the prime cause of stillbirths and birth defects, and it is why such things are quickly burned and buried.

More than any of the body's organs--except for the brain--the uterus touches on the ethereal plane.

A uterus is an immensely powerful tool in the hands of a witch.  Like all tools, it can be turned from its original purpose (receiving godly souls sent by Zulin) and towards darker intentions.  It can be a net used to capture spirits.  It can be a sieve to sift through them.  It can even be a garrote, or a scalpel.

This is why so many hags and witches choose to grow larger: more room for more uteruses.  The witches that are most successful at this endeavor are able to achieve thousands of conceptions in their lifetimes, and hundreds of births.  Souls and newborns are powerful currency to witches.

And that is why you will often find hundreds of infant skeletons beneath the floorboards of a witch's house.  

not a witch kite, but cool anyway
from the Space Cowboy
Witch Kites

They were crows before their consumption and second birth.  Now they are something else.  They've been shuffled.  A little less crow, a little more human, a little something else the crept in around the edges, like a tree root into a cracked pipe.

They look like four-winged crows with large amounts of black hair woven into their feathers.  Crows with weaves.  Their wings are long and finely articulated--feathers can be individually shifted.  A normal crow can move its wing the way a human moves their foot, a witch kite can move its wings like a human moves their hands.

They have no legs, and so they cling to the sides of trees with their tiny talons, or hang upside down from ceilings.  

Their wings do not touch the air.  Instead they fly by shifting their wings to catch different etheric (intangible) currents.  It's similar to how a ship angles its sails to catch the wind, except in this case there are multiple, overlapping, non-interfering winds.

It looks a bit like a four-winged bird rapidly alternating between yoga poses.

And each pose catches a different etheric wind, throwing the bird in another direction, or with a different type of angular acceleration.  Open all four wings wide, face vertical, and the bird can hover.  They don't travel fast, but no other flyer can change direction as fast as them.

They do not eat, and instead sustain themselves by watching meat decay.  The larger the decay, the faster they are fed by watching it.  

A day's worth of sustenance might be gained by watching an elephant rot for 10 minutes, or a full 8 hours of a weasel slowly bloating in the sun.

Witch Kite
HD 1  AC chain  Atk none
Move as hawk  Int 6  Mor 6

Shadow -- When a witch kite's shadow passes over you, you take damage at the end of the witch kite's next turn.  The damage manifests as scratches on your most vulnerable body parts, as if delivered by an enormous crow's talons.  The amount of damage depends on the light.

Sunlight: 1d6 non-lethal
New moon: 0 damage
Partial moon: 1d6 lethal
Full moon: 1d10 lethal

Suicidal Impulses -- If a witch kite flies under a creature's legs, that creature must save or attempt to kill itself as quickly as possible.  This usually takes two rounds (one round to fuck yourself up, and another to finish the job) unless that person isn't carrying weapons for some reason.  A person gets a save at the start of each round (beyond the first) to end the effect.  An animal (or someone with animal-level intelligence) gets a save at the start of each hour, instead.

Tactics: Witch kites like to fly higher than arrow range.  They like to use their suicidal impulse ability against a party's animals (since donkeys don't get to make attacks of opportunity).

Treasure

Witch Kite Cloak
When flared, this cloak launches you upward at 50' per round.  It offers no protection against falling.

Adamantine Ouroboros Necklace
This 5' length of steel chain is as thin as a piece of string.  There is a carved serpent head at each end.  When the two heads are brought together, they bite each other's jaws and lock together.  They cannot be separated except by thing capable of breaking adamantine.  One command word causes the jaws to unlock.  Another command word causes the necklace to each itself, severing whatever it is attached to and causing itself to disappear.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Dungeon Eater

It looks like a large man wrapped in dirty rags.  Impossibly barrel-chested, yet thin-limbed.  The head seems dull and gawping, while the torso heaves with vitality and intent.  It carries a large sack, and the hand that holds it is not a hand, but an enormous chicken's foot.

In fact, a dungeon eater is a particular species of ogre, perhaps most closely related to the ettin.

Dungeon eaters are ogres that have entered a dungeon and begun devouring its inhabitants.  And those inhabitants do not perish in its labyrinthine gut, but instead languish there, preserved as physical heads (in a high state of distress).

Basically, whenever you cut a dungeon eater, one of the heads will explosively grow from the wound atop a short neck, and join the fray.

They are not mindless, nor are they unreasonable.  And since they are usually motivated by the twin pleasures of treasure and food (especially food), the party should have several useful levers by which to motivate them.


Dungeon Eater
HD 5  AC leather  Claw 1d8
Move as human  Int 10  Mor 6

Neocephaly -- Whenever a dungeon eater takes damage, he grows a new head from the wound.  The type of head depends on how much damage was done.  Most heads grant a new type of attack.

1 HP = human head.  No attack, but make a roll on the wandering monster table every 2 full rounds of horrified screaming.
2 HP = giant rat head.  Bite 1d6.
3 HP = goblin head.  Bite 1d6.  If it bites for max damage, it takes off a finger.  Cusses a lot.  Seems confused.
4 HP = wolf head.  Bite 1d8.
5 HP = trap head.  Arrow 1d6, 50' range.
6 HP = malformed troll head.  Body and heads will all regenerate 2d6 HP per turn.
7 HP = owlbear head.  Bite 2d6.  Hoots.
8 HP = wizard head.  Casts 2 random spells from the list below, then bites for 1d4 damage.
9 HP = rust monster head.  Rust attack.
10+ HP = dragon head.  Bite 2d6 or breath fire 1/day.  (30' cone, 2d6 fire, Dex for half.)

Each new head can be attacked separately.  It has HP equal to the attack that spawned it.  If it is left alone for more than ten minutes, the body will pluck off the unresisting heads and re-eat them.

Wizard Head Spells
1 - Magic Missile
2 - Sleep
3 - Levitate
4 - Web
5 - Confusion
6 - Acid Arrow

Treasure
3x normal plus these two things.

Sour Sack -- The sack is full of headless carcasses, stirred together into an acidic mash (pH ~3.5) and fermenting under a heady layer of bacterial foam.  The smell is ungodly, and when it is open, everyone in 30' must make a Con check vs poison or lose a turn to nausea.

Dungeon Eater's Claw
After you kill the dungeon eater, its claw doesn't die, but lives on.  You can wield it like you could wield any other giant, severed chicken's claw.  If used as a weapon, it deals 1 damage + 1d6 starvation damage (emaciation, dehydration, etc.  No effect on creatures immune to starvation.)  If left alone, it will scrawl out blasphemies and plot hooks in the dust.  It cannot be communicated with.  If it is left unsecured while you are helpless (sleeping, unconscious, restrained) it will crawl out of your backpack and try to choke you.  It has Str 12.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Elephantine Ooze


It doesn't look like an ooze.  It looks like a steam roller ran over an boneless, faceless elephant.

Grey lumps of shabby flesh, heaped around the room, draped over everything, as limp and as heavy as wet blankets.  Featureless.  Just dirty wrinkles of elephant skin.

There are a few scars. Some of the scars are stretched, distended, and faded.  These are the scars that it got when it was very young, before its skin thickened.

Like all oozes, it's slow to rouse but creepingly determined when it does.  It clings to ceilings, launches clumsy ambushes.  When it falls on you its like someone throwing a pile of wet blankets on a puppy.

It doesn't crawl; it walks.  It is a sack of muscles, and when it crawls it looks like a dozen deformed bodybuilders crawling under a blanket.  You can see it flex and twitch, like a cow's flank without the cow.  Even under two inches of elephant skin, you can see the huge muscles on this thing.

When it grabs you, it pulls you in.  It's like being grabbed by a mosh pit.  And once you are inside it, it quickly and methodically begins breaking all of your bones.  It starts with the largest bones--usually your femurs--before moving on to the rest.

It seals itself around you, and keeps breaking you.  Eventually, you become a broken pulp, which it pumps from chamber to chamber, through openings no larger than your fist.  In the end, you are more liquid than it is.

Only then does it spend time regrowing its mouths.  The mouths are small things, as small and as toothless as a baby's.  And then it pumps you inside itself, and finally the acid finds you.


Elephantine Ooze (Medium Size)
HD 10  AC leather  Grab 0
Move as dwarf  Int 1  Str 20  Morale 12

Crush -- It can grab any number of adjacent creatures.  At the start of its turn, grabbed creatures automatically take 2d6 damage.

Thick Hide -- Half damage from slashing and bludgeoning.

Ooze -- Can compress itself under doors, etc.


Elephantine oozes always attack elephants, if there are any present.  They will go out of their way to kill and digest an elephant.

Anyone who eats a piece of an Elephantine Ooze and fails a Con check will contract Elephantosis.  Each day, their skin grows thicker, taking up an inventory slot and giving them +1 AC.  This armor bonus stacks up to +6 AC and does not stack with any worn armor.   When the disease is cured, the skin returns to normal at the same rate.  There is a 50% chance that the last point of skin becomes permanent.

Monday, April 24, 2017

How To Survive Death

Adventure is infinite in all directions, eternal through all timelines, and utterly inescapable.  There is no room where Adventure cannot find you; no door that can keep it out.  You cannot shrink below its attentions; you cannot grow beyond its reach.

Death is no exception to this philosophy.

So here are rules to fight off Death when he comes for you.

What Happens When A PC Dies
  1. They get some last words.  Time to read that death poem your knight wrote.
  2. They get a bonus action.  Make it count.
  3. They play Psychopomp Roulette to see who comes to collect your soul.  Depending on how this goes down, you may end up dragged to Hell, guided to judgement (where you may earn entrance into Heaven), or even end up as a ghost.
by Josep Segrelles

Psychopomp Roulette

This is a minigame that involves putting cards into a hat and then drawing one out randomly.

EXCEPT WARLOCKS: Warlocks don't get to play this game.  Their afterlife is already decided by the terms of the deep soul-bond they made with their patron.  For most of them, death is just the beginning of their servitude.

Here's how to play:

First, put the following three names into the hat: Weary Penitent, Very Specific Death, Demon.

Second, if they have been member of the Church in good standing (paying their 10% tithe, haven't committed any mortal sins since their last confession), remove the Demon from the hat.  This won't apply to many PCs.

Third, check the list below to see what other psychopomps they qualify for.  Add all qualifying psychopomps to the hat.

Fourth, roll a d10 on this table.
1 = Double booked.  Two psychopomps show up to claim your soul.  Draw twice from the hat (in the next step).
2 = Delay.  You died seconds earlier than predicted, and as a result, there is no psychopomp present at the moment of your death to greet you.  If you flee immediately, you'll probably get away.
3-10 = Nothing special.

Fifth, pick a name from the hat to see which psychopomp shows up, and then follow those instructions.

I'm pretty sure I remember this level from Super Ghouls and Ghosts
by Josep Segrelles
Psychopomps

Weary Penitent

HD 3
Qualification: Default

Some poor soul still serving in purgatory.  Leaden sandals, wings bound with wire.  Lantern and appointment book (contains schedule of deaths).  The light from the lantern makes all other paths impossible to take.

Weary penitents have no power over life and death.  They're just here to show you the way to your Final Judgement.

Very Specific Death
HD 4
Qualification: Default

Skeleton in a black robe with a scythe.  Will grab you and drag you away.  This small Death will be collecting souls of a very particular type.  For example, the Death of Blond Women Crushed by Bronze Gears will show up to collect all of the souls of blond women who were crushed to death by bronze gears.

If you rolled "Double Booked" in step 4 and the first name pulled was a Very Specific Death, assume that there was a collision between categories, and two very specific deaths showed up.  Expect them to play a game of chess to settle the question of who gets to collect your soul.  Expect them to keep a very close eye on you while they do so.

Unlike the other psychopomps, deaths are capable of stopping time for themselves and the people they collect.  They use this time to chat, play games, etc.  You are free to negotiate with them, but under no circumstances will they ever return you to life.

Demon
HD 1d6+2
Qualifiation: Default (unless in good standing with the Church)

It'll probably have at least one or more of the following traits: horns, red skin, barbed tail, bat wings, lion's mane, horrible gargoyle face.  It intends to devour you and carry you off to the Underworld.  Souls are useful things: they cannot be destroyed and they are infinitely transmutable.  Whatever it has in store for you is probably going to be horrible, though.

Devil
HD 1d6+2
Qualification: Harmed the Church in a significant way.

Devils are just demons that have taken the Oaths.  They'll wear symbolic shackles to indicate their status, and they'll explain their actions as they devour you, but they'll devour you just the same.  Expect no judgement from the courts of hell.  If you weren't already pre-judged, they wouldn't have sent a devil to collect you.

If that PC was guilty of a particular sin, this will be represented by the Devil.  For example, a greedy PC might be collected by a golden demon who spews molten gold and chains.

Asmodeus
HD 12
Qualification: Majorly pissed of the Church.

Asmodeus is prime among the Satans, and is a loyal servant of the Church Below.  He/she/it gets tapped for chores like this, sometimes.  Collection is a joy, a breath of fresh air.  Expect him/her/it to relish it.  Probably a much more pleasant experience than being collected by a demon (unless you draw attention to the shackles Asmodeus wears in his/her/its sleeves).  Asmodeus never rushes anything.

If Asmodeus is busy, they'll just send one of the lesser Satans (balors), as the Church Below has several among the ranks of the faithful.

by Josep Segrelles

Dead Family Member

HD 3
Qualification: Helped the church in a significant way.

Grampa is overjoyed to see you again, of course.  He looks forward to showing you to your mansion in the Immortal Mountains (provided that you pass your judgement, of course).  How are your cousins doing?  And the twins?

A Saint
HD 8
Qualification: Helped the church in a major way.

There are a lot of saints.  Expect them to be serene and beatific.  Friendly and unshakable.  They still bear the marks of their martyrdom (all Hesayan saints are martyrs) and are missing the body parts that have gone on to become holy relics.

For example: Saint Dorbaine is a tall, thin man with broad limbs.  Like all saints, his hair has been turned by his transfiguration.  He lacks a tongue (it's a relic now) but can speak with the voice of a tolling bell, which is miraculously understandable to all creatures.

Somewhat Specific Death
HD 8
Qualification: Has escaped death at once before OR character is at least level 5.  Put two of these guys in the hat and remove the Very Specific Death.

These are deaths that are one step higher on the totem pole.  Ten feet tall and bulletproof.  While the Very Specific Deaths are sort of sweaty and perfunctory, the Somewhat Specific Deaths are specialists.  Expect lectures, accusations, and name dropping all the famous people they killed.

Somewhat Specific Deaths have names like The Death of Wizards Trapped In A Maze or Death of Those Driven To Autocannibalism By Sorcery.

Death
HD 12
Qualification: Has escaped death more than once before OR character is at least level 10.  Remove all of the other deaths in the hat and replace them all with Death.

This is it.  The big guy.  If you impress him he'll petition Heaven to let you become one of his Reapers (see below).  He's polite and educated and knows all about you.  He actually has an amazing sense of humor.  Unlike those who serve him, he's quite reasonable.

Reapers (Special Collection Team)
HD: 1d4+2 dead heroes of HD 1d4+4
Qualification: Killed a death OR violated the sanctity of death via necromancy or resurrection.

These are dead heroes that Death keeps on hand to troubleshoot special problems.  Basically another adventuring party, except they are all undead and armed with scythes (part of the uniform, unfortunately).

When they aren't out kicking the spleens out of rebellious souls, they fight on the eternal battlefield of Balora (conveniently located next to the eternal mead hall), which they share with a bunch of other dead heroes (Saint Ferragun's faithful, etc).  They're the goth dudes in the viking bar.

Spirits
HD 1d12
Qualification: Had a significant interaction with the spirit world.  Put as many cards in the hat as appropriate.

This is sort of a catch-all for characters that helped/harmed druids or river spirits.  If you were helpful, expect them to resurrect you as a badass bear or something.  If you were a dick to them, expect them to put you into a snail or something, forever and ever a million lifetimes of snail.

Dead Death God
HD 12
Qualification: Had a significant interaction with Zala Vacha.  Put as many cards in the hat as appropriate.

Zala Vacha is collective of gods who have been killed or displaced by the Hesayan Church, who they are dedicated to destroying.  Have I blogged about them before?  I know I wrote about the Lavei family at one point.

Summary: They're a doomsday cult of anarcho-gods and iconoclasts.  They're evil, they want to sacrifice millions, but they have a valid point to make, too.

Anyway, the Church steamrolled hundreds of religions during its unification of the continent.  Many of those religions had death gods of their own.  Many of those death gods went on to join Zala Vacha.  So it stands to reason that Zala Vacha is glutted with dozens of death gods, war gods, harvest gods, and the like.

Expect a very old-fashioned god.  The gods that were originally just and forthright have been twisted by the long years of culthood and pseudo-oblivion.  A Sumerian death god reimagined by H. R. Giger and Clive Barker.

GHOST TIME!!!
HD Not Applicable
Qualification: Had some unfinished business that you were very dedicated to.  "The king sent me to find the grail" doesn't count unless you are all about finding that grail.  Put as many cards in the hat as appropriate.

You do not reach the afterlife.  Instead you become a ghost, bound to this location.  The list of things you can do as a ghost (disembodied soul) deserves its own post, but you can basically continue to help out your friends at the cost of going insane and becoming an NPC.

by Josep Segrelles
What Happens After You Are Collected?

If you were taken by a Church-affiliated Psychopomp (penitent, saint, a death, Death) then you go on to your Final Judgement.  The path goes along the River of Souls, which exists in both the Material and Ethereal planes (albeit in different forms).

If you were taken by a demon or devil, you're going straight to hell (since you've already been pre-Judged as unclean).

What's The Final Judgement?

Your (ethereal) heart is cut out and weighed against a sparrow's egg containing all the souls that weren't born so that you could be born.  If your heart is heavy with sin, you are found to be too impure for Heaven, and are sent to Hell.

Here's how you do it:

Characters have a base Goodness of 10.

The DM and the players recount all of the morally significant things that the character has done.  +1 Goodness for giving your last ration to the starving child.  -4 Goodness for literally throwing a baby into a manticore's mouth.  +6 Goodness for saving the city of Trystero.  -1 Goodness for each instance of blasphemy.  -1 Goodness for sex outside of wedlock.

Add them all up, and then roll a d20.  If you get at less than your Goodness, you go to Heaven.  Yay.  Here's the address to your new mansion in the sky.  Don't worry about the streets of gold--penitents keep them clean.

If you roll your Goodness exactly on the d20, you are destined for 1d6 * 100 years of Purgatory.  You're going to go to Heaven eventually, but you need to purify yourself more (via honest labor).  Welcome to the life of a penitent.

If you roll above your Goodness, you fry like a pork sausage.

Can I Fight These Psychopomp Assholes?

Hell yes!  That's why they have stats and hit points and things.

Just remember that fighting saints and deaths counts against your Goodness.  It's like resisting arrest.


What Stats And Equipment Do I Have When I'm Dead?

You use the same character sheet, except you can fly.  The Ethereal plane overlaps with the Material plane, and you can't really interact with the Material plane in anyway.  So you're an invisible ghost that can fly through walls (but so is everyone else on the ethereal plane, really).

You own everything that hasn't been claimed by someone else.  You still have your sword as long as no one else has plucked the sword from your cold, dead fingers.

In Centerra, ownership is not just a human-made condition, it's an obdurate state, like mass or conductivity.

When you die, you get to keep all of the things on your body, and all of the things that you were buried with.  This lasts as long as those items stay with your body (nobody plucks the sword from your hands) and no one loots your tomb.

So if your teammate dies, don't be so quick to pry the magic sword out of her hands--she might be fighting Death on the ethereal plane with that sword at the moment.

Slaves do not remain your property after you are dead.  How can the laws of nature judge competing claims and degrees of slavery?

However, servants do continue to serve you after you are dead.  After all, contracts are part of the natural laws of the cosmos, just like ownership.

Most servants are going to have contracts that end each New Year and must then be renewed.  But a few very foolish people might be willing to write contracts that extend into the afterlife, perhaps in perpetuity.

So yes, one of the things you can hire in cities are suicidal mercenaries.  They take your money, do an incredible amount of fabulously expensive drugs for a few days, and then die.  In return, they promise to help you fight off any psychopomp that comes to collect your soul.  (But remember that their soul might be collected before it can help yours out.)


by Josep Segrelles