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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Death, Trauma, and Retirement: I'm Gettin' Too Old For This Shit

So, with my current group, I'm trying something new.
Let me tell you why I'm doing these things.

by Jose Segrelles
click it

Trauma

PC retirement is a replacement for PC death, not an additional risk.  I'm making death less likely in order to make retirement more likely.  Retired characters are more interesting and more useful than dead ones.  (And a lot less demoralizing.)

For example, ". . . and then he bought a turnip farm and swore never to leave it" is more satisfying end to a character's story than ". . . and then he died in a filthy hole, and the rats nibbled his eyes until he was quite dead".

And of course, forcibly retiring a character still accomplishes the primary punitive aspect of dying: you lose the opportunity to play your character.

So here's my first draft:

Whenever you have a near-death experience (roll higher than a 10 on the Death and Dismemberment Table) and survive, you gain a point of Trauma and put a question mark next to it (if a question mark isn't there already).

Whenever you return to place where your character could conceivably retire, erase the question mark and roll a d20.  If you roll equal-or-less than your Trauma score, your character decides to retire.  You cannot stop them.

The player can dictate the conditions of the retirement.  They are free to give away their magic items if they wish; they will have no need of them in their new life as a turnip farmer.  They are also free to retire penniless if they desire; surely a beggar will have a longer life than those fools venturing back down into the maw of the earth.  (But see Retirement, below.)

Give them a bonus to this roll if they are on an Epic Quest and are deeply invested in it.  They're more than just a mere murderhobo.

Give them a penalty to this roll if the retirement is especially tempting.  If a grateful king offers the hobbit a bucolic tobacco plantation, for example.

Retirement

I started writing up a big set of rules for how to adjudicate this, but now I think it's probably just best for the DM to rule on an ad-hoc basis.  

So here's my first draft:

Retirement is just retirement from adventuring.  It can be literally anything they way, as long as it's not adventuring and they do not continue on as a player character.  They become a friendly NPC instead.  If they retire with enough loot, they can become a friendly and powerful NPC.  You can retire at any time, not just when Trauma forces them.

Inform the players about everything in the last paragraph.  This rule needs to be mostly transparent.

1. When a player retires, ask them what sort of retirement they intend, and how much wealth they are retiring with.

2. Multiply the wealth by the character's level, and look up the result on the table below.  Adjudicate the details of the new NPC using your vast prowess, using the numbers below as a guide.

Level x Wealth = Retirement Points (RP)

Less than 100 RP
Probably going to die in a nearby gutter.

100 RP
A chance at a normal life.  Apartment, job, loans, loyal dog, relationship problems, taxes.  Just a citizen.

1000 RP
Comfortable retirement in position where they can give modest assistance.  A bartender who gives you free drinks and rumors.  A rancher who gives away horses and rations.

10,000 RP
Excellent retirement in position where they can give major assistance.  A tavern keeper who can give you secure lodging and introductions all over the city.  A master assassin who will do a couple of jobs for free.  The captain of the guard who lies under oath in order to get your case dismissed.

100,000 RP
Go wild, bro.

A Softer Death Table

My most recent groups have been getting less hardcore and more casual.  More beer and cheese, less blood and grit.  Which is fine--we have a lot of fun.  But I'm getting the impression that they don't like how easily their characters die.  It's true; I put death on a low shelf.

Luckily, death rules are very easy to tweak, since they usually don't interact with the rest of the game at all.  So I'm rewriting my Death and Dismemberment Table (for the fifth fucking time lolololololol).  I'll probably post it once it's been playtested a bit maybe?

From a game design standpoint, the purpose of a Death and Dismemberment Table is two-fold.  
  • When players start Losing The Game, the Death Table delivers the most final punishment the game offers: death and all its lesser cousins.  It answers the question of "what happens if we lose?"
  • It introduces complications and that should drive the type of gameplay that you want.  This is a complicated question, and I've spent a lot of time thinking about best tweak it so it can drive the game towards its intended gameplay.
But here are some design goals for the rewrite:

1. Lingering injuries aren't that much fun.  They're fun to give out, but they're a pain in the ass to track, and it creates a need for a lot of downtime, which doesn't always mesh with the player's goals.  Also, it requires a lot of mandatory downtime in town while player's rest, and although my Downtime Event tables produce interesting results/plots, they usually aren't as much fun as the rest of the well-prepped dungeon shit.

Plus, players never keep track of negative conditions (they only remember bonuses) and so it's up to me to remember that their skin is all burned off and they can't wear armor for 9 more days.

So no more "Broken Leg: half speed for 75 days", despite that injury being both accurate and metal.

Injuries will last for minutes, 1 day, or 1 week.  I think I'm going to try to do away with permanent mutilations, because I think the 

2. Less instant death.  It's still going to be on the table (because dragons need to be able to bite people in half), but I no longer think it should be something that has a chance of happening when I goblin bites your hand.

And anyway, it's more tactically interesting to have to choose between stabilizing a dying friend or stabbing the owlbear that just spit him out.

3. No permanent mutilations.  In my Willows game, I'm pretty sure we had 3 players lose a leg across 6 months of gameplay.  That's a lot.

And anyway, I think the forced retirement thing (see below) will help drive them away from adventuring without gimping them towards the end.

Because one of the reasons why I liked the idea of players losing arms and legs, is because it would (a) motivate them to go find a cool new hand, or (b) encourage them to retire their character and roll up a new one.  In practice however, I find that players tend to just drive their characters until they fall apart like an unlubricated Corolla.

So why not create a mechanic that takes a straight path route to that goal, and forces characters to retire directly?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Heaven, Hell, and the Souls Betwixt

I started writing a post about the various psychopomps who come to collect your soul after you die, and how you can fight them off and live forever, but I realized that I need to write a bunch of background first, about souls and the afterlife.  So consider this a preamble.

I’ll write the psychopomp one next.


Heaven and Heavens

Everyone knows that Heaven is located in the Immortal Mountains.  I mean, if you stand in the right place, you can fucking see it.

The big heaven—the Heaven with a capitol ‘H’—is of course the Hesayan heaven, ruled over by Zulin and his court.  But there are other heavens: some small, some secret, some dead, and some still thriving.

<sidebar>Remember that Centerra tries to avoid using planes.  What would be another plane in another setting’s cosmology is instead a specific location on the Centerran globe you can walk to.  What Centerran wizards call “The Plane of Air” is actually the Sirium nation of air spirits, located in the air high above Outer Basharna.  Similarly, the Hesayan Heaven and all the lesser heavens are also located on the map somewhere.</sidebar>

Most of the Fire Cult heavens have been discovered and razed by the Hesayan Church.  After the Fire Gods were killed, there was nothing to stop the Church from finding these heavens, rounding up all the resident souls, and sending them to whatever corner of hell is reserved for unrepentant pagans.

Most of the old Fire Cult heavens were beneath volcanoes, now dormant and mostly collapsed.  They’d make good dungeons.

The Heralds of the Immaculate Morning have their own private heaven.  It’s rumored to be even nicer than the Hesayan heaven.  It's certainly less bureaucratic.

Even Zala Vacha has their own heaven, although it is technically located somewhere in the Underworld.

The Underworld

The Underworld isn’t the Underworld because it’s bad.  It’s the Underworld because it’s literally underneath the entire world—everything trickles down there eventually.  It’s the psychic drip tray beneath the continents.

The Underworld is bad because everything trickles down there eventually, except the souls who are saved by their religion and transported to their appropriate heaven.  Unless your deity makes an effort to scoop you out of the River of Souls, you’ll end up there.

<sidebar>The River of Souls is located on the eastern side of the continent.  It empties into Greywing Bay, near the Abominable Colossus.  Mortals view Greywing Bay as a placid bay ringed by mud flats and sea birds, but on the Ethereal Plane it is a screaming vortex of struggling souls.  It’s a hole in the psychic world, and the negative spiritual pressure it creates pulls souls in from all over the continent.  Unless you die deep in the Madlands, your unclaimed soul will end up here.</sidebar>

And because decent, caring people tend to band together and form religions, they tend to be the ones that go to Heaven (or at least, one of the heavens).  And since all of the decent folk don’t trickle down to the Underworld, and most of the terrible people do, the Underworld ends up being a pretty horrible place.

Hell, by the way, is only a small part of the Underworld.  It’s merely the known fraction, populated by the psychic ejecta of the Hesayan religion.

The rest of the Underworld is full of the architecture of dead civilizations, dreams whose dreamers have died, and souls who have forgotten who and what they ever were.  Lost continents, some impossible and some merely forgotten, grinding through eons of abyssal geology.

The Underworld is enormous.  Zulin didn’t arrive until about a millennia ago, at the end of the Time of Fire and Madness.  And since Heaven wasn’t constructed until then, most clerics believe that everyone who died prior to that has ended up in the Underworld.

The Soul

You have seven, according to Church Doctrine.

The first three are the lower souls.  They stay with the body when you die.  The last four souls are the upper souls.  They 

Identity is a more nebulous concept in Centerran culture than in our own.  Don't think about it too hard.

Mineral Soul

This soul stays with the corpse.  Its the deepest soul, and the oldest soul.  It's the type of soul that stones have.  It is the one you are talking to when you use speak with corpse.  It knows facts about material interactions ("A knife entered the ribs and blood filled the space where air once was.") and a few facts (“I am the corpse of King Amontep the Illuminated.  This body was born on the island of Mesos.”)

Vegetable Soul

Molecular biology doesn't work the way you think it does.  This soul is the second oldest and the second deepest.  It builds cells and tissues.  It formed you in the womb.  It knows a lot about your endocrine system.  It's what animates a zombie, if your body is ever a zombie.  

Animal Soul

Concerned with istinct, food, shelter.  Sex and violence.  Maybe a little bit of rock and roll, if its played loud and enough.  Elves lack this one.

Purple Soul (Memory)

If you lack this soul, you have total amnesia.  You are a stateless mind.

Red Soul (Personality) 

This is the soul's syntax.  Not so much what you say as much as how you say it.  It's the one that most people would most strongly associate with style and individuality.  Are you a good fuck?  That's something your red soul handles.

It is said that dwarves lack this one.  (They all fuck the same.)

White Soul (Goals)

This is your intellect and your goals.  Not so much the knowledge you have (that's purple soul), but the machinery that pumps that knowledge around.  It's also the part of the soul that wants

Blue Soul (Spirit)

This is the highest and most important of the souls, because this is what allows your connection with the divine and the magical.  This is the religious soul, the intuitive soul.

24 Illuminating Items of Interest

Weaponized Animals

Always a popular category.

1 - Ripper Eggs

Rippers are fierce little things.  A bit like gaudy red raptors (the lizard kind, not the feather kind) with a row of black spikes running down their spine.  They imprint very quickly when they hatch, and are exceptionally easy to train.

They are popular pets, due to their intense loyalty (starting morale = 20) but they are hyperaggressive.  Whenever they see something that is red, loud, or even vaguely threatening, their owner must succeed on a loyalty check to keep them from attacking.

They abhor being left alone.  Each time you leave your pet Ripper alone, it loses 4 points of loyalty, in addition to all the things that stress out a pet.

Just stat them up like little raptors/lizards.  They eat an incredible amount: about 1 days worth of food per HD.

2 - Throwing Snakes

HD 1.  Str 8.  Will try to strangle anything you throw them at.  A well-trained snake can can tie itself into very strong knots (useful as part of a self-releasing rope mechanism).  And the best snakes are capable of the "suicide knot", where the snake knots itself to death and creates an incredibly strong loop.

Popular among the people of the Fog Caverns in Outer Basharna.

3 - Acid Slug

Transported in glass vials.  Thrown from glass-bucketed slings.  As acid arrow.  Will also crawl inside locks and melt them.  Single use.

Can also be fed in order to grow them larger.  This is a bad idea, but I'm sure adventurers will do it anyway.

4 - Murder Urchins

When taken out of their oil-filled sacks, they die within 24 hours.  They grow 1' in diameter for every sentient creature killed within 1 km of them.  They eat corpses telekinetically.  When they're large enough, they eat people the old-fashioned way.

A scattering of these urchins in a city's streets during a battle will quickly fill the streets with rapidly growing urchins.

5 - Termite Swarm

A 1 oz vial holds 500 lbs of termites.  Will devour a cabin's worth of wood in 1 hour, and then disperse outwards to terrorize more distant climes.

6 - Giant Zombie Hand

A proper mount for necromancers. The wrist functions as a back rest.  The necromancers of Kel Dravonis also use them as scribes, for all those times you need your message clawed into the side of a castle.

7 - Horse Train

Just take a bunch of horses and sew them together into a caterpillar thing.  Zombie horses are notoriously stupid, and this way you only have to keep track of one of them.  Popular among vapor-maddened wizards.

8 - Proxy Mouse

If you breathe into this mouse's mouth, you exchange all wounds with it, up to a mouse's capacity to absorb damage, which ends up being about the same as a normal healing potion.

Magic Items

The eternal engine of our hobby.

1. Dawn Tent

Can only be used once.  Anything inside this silken tent when it is sealed is sent forward in time until the next dawn.  For someone inside the tent, it is as if dawn arrived suddenly.  Effect ends immediately if someone destroys the integrity of the tent.

2. Spinal Bow

Made by the bone-and-metal worshippers of the Ashen Archipelago from your own spine (which is then replaced with a piece of metal that was once part of a ship's mast).  Your spinal bow is a bow +1.  If you sleep with an animal spine beneath you, the spine will turn into an arrow +3 that is functional against the same species.  Usable 1/night, but the arrows it creates are permanent.

3. Black Sheep's Wool Cloak

Whenever you sleep in this cloak, you are safely entombed 4' beneath the ground.  This is true for both magical and non-magical sleep.  As soon as you wake up, you return safely to the surface of the ground.

4. Nostalgia Poison

Causes creatures to reminisce.  Once combat has died down, they are compelled to immediately return home and/or seek out a loved one they haven't seen in a while and/or seek out their grave.  As suggestion.  Intelligent creatures will take time to pack, inform people of their decision, but they will not be halted.

5. Crown of Chaos

All spell's cast within/into 100' of you have their targets randomized.  The crown is actually an especially lazy slaad.

6. White Lotus Powder

Kills the drinker, no save.  Exactly 13 hours later, they wake up at full health and without diseases (as long as their body hasn't been  mangled during that time).

Oddly enough, the powder is black, as are the flowers it is made from.  (It's just a play on black lotus powder, of course.)

7. Alternate Self Ring

When this ring is put on the finger, you are replaced with a version of yourself from an alternate dimension.  This effect is reversible, and ends as soon as the ring is removed.  The effect is consistent with each person--that is, each person who wears the ring will turn into the same alternate universe self each time.  If the ring turns you into a corpse (from a timeline where you are dead), you will always turn into that particular corpse when you put on the ring.  For someone else, the ring might switch their gender.

Whenever a new character tries on the ring, roll a d6 and a d4 together.  (You're probably going to ignore the d4 roll.)

1. Minor difference, such as a facial scar or a goatee.
2. Different gender.
3. Different class.  (Roll randomly.)
4. Inverted stats.  (18s become 3s.)
5. Corpse.
6. Actually an evil twin that will reveal themselves only at the worst possible time (basically turning into an NPC at that point, but let the player play them as normal until then, and don't even tell them).  Roll a d4 to see what alternate version they seem to be.

Alternate selves, although basically the same character under the control of the same player, still notice things that are different from their home timeline.  As in: "Whoa, the sky is blue here!  Weird!"

8. Demon Blood

You get +1 Attack and deal +1 Damage each turn.  This stacks.  Make a Con check at the start of each round.  After you fail two checks, or after 6 rounds (whichever comes first), you are paralyzed as all of your muscles attempt to clench at the same time.

9. Shacklebolt

Struck targets take nonlethal damage from this arrow and must then make a Str check or be wrapped in a full set of manacles.  Only binds 4 limbs.

10. Choodoo Doll

Perfectly imitates the actions of the person whose lock of hair is affixed to it.  Mostly used to spy on people, since you can see what actions the person is performing at any given time.  If you build a model of their house, you can see what part of the house they are in at any given time.  If you give them a miniature pencil, you can see what they are writing as they write it.

11. Mountain Maker

Looks like a propeller attached to a chain.  When bolted to the ground, will immediately fly up, pulling the ground with it and creating a hill.  The resultant hill is 10' tall for every maker used, and 40' wide for every maker used.  Chance of toppling a castle, if used adjacent to a castle = X in 20, where X is the number of makers used.

12. Blood of Luroc

If poured on the ground of a building, will cause it to grow 1d3-1 hallways and 1d6 new rooms, riddling the structure like a cancer.  Will spread outwards from your current location, distorting the position of current rooms) until it reaches an outer area where it can grow rooms there.  Each room has a 50% chance of containing a creature (equal chance NPC or monster), 50% chance of containing a treasure, and a 2-in-6 chance of containing a trap.  These creatures are drawn from the Halls of Luroc (a living, moving, sentient dungeon that is obsessed with collecting history, as recorded by architecture.  Expect mad librarians, living gates, and collections of keystones, keys, and/or bricks that hold thumbprints).

13. Skeevu Stingers

Heal you similar to a healing potion, but your HP total decreases by 2 points each time.

14. Sacred Cake

Heals you like a healing potion, but it makes you fat.  Fat takes up inventory slots, the same as items do, and you can't just throw it away.  Every 2 weeks of adventuring will remove 1 inventory slot's worth of fat.  This can be accelerated if you are starving in a desert, or halted if you are feasting in a city.

15. Stoneweaver's Needles

Basically allows you to cast a version of the stone shape spell, except it's much more dramatic--you're drawing out strings of stone from the earth and weaving them into shapes.  It's actually a version of a crochet needle.  You can control the hard and soft parts of your stoneweave, so you aren't limited to only shapes that you could knit.

24. Blood Pillow

When this small hand pillow is drenched in a creature's blood and then wrung out, the blood will begin flowing in the direction of that creature's home.  If the creature knew the way to get back home, so will the blood.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Paladins of the Blue Kite

There are 77 orthodox orders of paladins in the Hesayan Church.  They include:
  • The Sons of Saint Arquette, who use cannibalism to fuel their gigantism.
  • The Order of the Moth, devotees of Saint Caldi, who each swear to spend 50 years fighting the undead.  Those who die in service are raised as undead to continue their duty.
  • The Order of the Red and Blue Rose, who are wrestlers and swordbreakers.

There are at least 3 heretic orders that are in hiding.  They include:
  • The Winged Legion, who followed the Simurgh after her divorce from Zulin and subsequent excommunication.
  • The Order of the Shepherd's Crook, who seek to bring the kingdom of Hell to earth.  Not literally, but they do want to use enslaved devils to police the world.  (Officially, they are condemned by the paladins of hell and have no affiliation.  They're just fans.)

And although the Celestialist Hesayans of the north do not have paladins, they have schools of swordsmanship that often serve the same function.

Anyway, this post is about one of the orthodox orders.

The Order of the Blue Kite

They're also known (somewhat mockingly) as "those naked paladins".  This is a little misleading.

Zulin's divine divorce caused quite a few shockwaves throughout the Church.  One of the secondary or tertiary effects was the relaxation of quite a few nuptial laws.  These were mostly sensible, good things.  Farmers no longer had to have their horses married before siring a foal, for example.

In this new marital climate, one vocal personage was the North Wind.  He had many lovers, and sought to make his trysts honest and open.  After a long period of debate, this was granted to him, and in less than a year, he had taken his first three wives.

Although the North Wind, the Windwives, and the House of Miraculous Windmills originally set itself up to be a religious power center similar to Concrayda, but it eventually failed at this task.  After being marginalized for half a century, the Blue Kites reinvented themselves as a martial order.

The first set of Windwives (now retiring into old age and death) were soft things, full of poetry and expensive wine.  But in the decades that passed, the North Wind's amorous tastes changed.  His newest brides are all warrior women and lawyers.  The formation of a paladin order was inevitable.

His newest bride is a man: Thornis Oglafar, possessor of a magnificent mustache, dyed a magnificent blue.

There are many members in the Order of the Blue Kite.  The Windwives are merely the ones that tend to occupy most of the high positions (but not all of them).

Can a starting PC play a Windwife?  I don't see why not.  Perhaps a Windwife just starting out, or one who has fallen from favor for some reason.  Have fun DMing the inevitable sex scene when hubby visits.

Crusades of the Blue Kite

There are two:
  • To catch the rebellious South Wind and either bring it among Hesaya's faithful, or kill it.
  • To protect the sanctity of marriage.  There's a lot of debate about what this actually means, though.  The North Wind has a fairly lax interpretation of marriage, but he isn't in charge of the Blue Feather.  His wives are--and their opinions are as varied as the clouds. 
And so the paladins sometimes work with things like domestic abuse, reconcile estranged spouses, and investigate claims of infidelity.  I mean, they fight dragons, too, but dragons aren't one of the official crusades, so. . .

like this, except with swords instead of brooms
and also they're the good guys and you can play one
by Luis Falero
Class Abilities

Originally, I was going to put them all in a little level progression for you.  But fuck that--there's too many systems, and too many scales of power level.  I'm just going to list them all here, and you can assemble them however you want.

Okay, fine.  I'll type something up, just so people can refer to it if they want to a FLAILSNAILS game I'm running or something.

Level 1 - Wind Squire, Speak with Wind, Gust of Wind (1x per day per level), Armor of Wind
Level 2 - Throw Arrow, Immunity to Wind
Level 3 - Negotiate Windstorm, Lightened Body
Level 4 - Flight, +1 Attack

Wind Squire

You travel with a squire wind.  It mostly hangs on you, messing with your hair and making sure that no one ever smells your farts.

Speak with Wind

Each day brings a new wind.  At a minimum, this functions similar to gathering rumors.  You should also roll a d10 to see what direction the wind is blowing from, since the wind will bring news from that direction as well (and not only the stuff that is visible from the sky).

You can talk to your squire, of course.

Gust of Wind

As the spell, gust of wind.  You'll get a lot of castings of this.

1 - North
2 - East
3 - South
4 - West
5-10 - The predominant wind direction in the area.

<sidebar>I actually have an old map of Centerra with all of the prevailing winds drawn on it.  I used it to figure out which side of the mountain range got all the rain, and which direction the trade winds blew the caravels.  I was much more interested in simulating a realistic world then.  Nowadays, it seems like useless fussing--pointless unless you want to publish a gazetteer.</sidebar>

Armor of Wind

This is the reason why so many of the Blue Kites walk around naked.  Those who have always trusted the wind will be protected by the wind.  This benefit is lost as soon as the trust is betrayed: i.e. the paladin willingly wears conventional armor at any point after they take the oaths.

Make your own level chart, but here's an example:
  • Level 1, AC 11, AC 13 vs small projectiles (arrows or smaller)
  • Level 2, AC 12, AC 14 vs small projectiles
  • Level 3, AC 13, AC 15 vs small projectiles
  • Level 4, AC 14, AC 16 vs small projectiles
  • Level 5, AC 15, AC 17 vs small projectiles
  • Level 6+, AC 16, AC 18 vs small projectiles.
A sacrifice now for a payoff later.  And not all of them are naked.  Many wear simple robes.  And others just wear armor like a normal person.

This ability is useless against really big things.  At a minimum: a boulder hurled by a giant, a dragon's claws.

Throw Arrow

You don't need a bow to fire an arrow.  Your squire accelerates it for you.

At high level, you can use this to fire around corners, as long as your squire can see the target.

Immunity to Wind

Lame now, but useful later on when you can summon a windstorm.

Negotiate Windstorm

You will need to negotiate with a local wind in order to do this.  Probably a wind duke, actually, since most minor winds don't have the ability to call in a windstorm.  (Military actions are regulated among the winds, just as they are among us.)

Windstorms are environmental, usually last for at least an afternoon, and only work outdoors.  Arrows are impossible.  Speech is difficult.  Shoving people is very easy (+4), and everyone gets -4 to attacking and defending (which usually cancels itself out).  Flight is impossible.  Shoddy buildings will be torn apart.  

Expect pissed off treants to show up the next day, cradling broken limbs.  They usually wish to repay one broken arm with another.

Lightened Body

By controlling their breath, a Blue Kite Paladin can make their body much lighter. This lets them walk across water and stand on tree branches that are normally too small to support them.  This doesn't let you jump any further, since the lowered mass also means that you have less momentum.

It also makes you immune to fall damage.  Fun!

"Flight"

It's not quite the same as the fly spell.  It's more like being picked up by a huge wind and carried through the sky in a horrifying vortex of deafening winds.  Expect bruises from your clothing as it flaps around (unless your clothing is tied down tight).  It's like skydiving, while the wind teases you and tries to crack jokes.

You can bring your friends with you, of course.

Not coincidentally, skydiving is a popular past time among the Blue Kites.  

You can fly large distances (miles) but not small ones.  Small hops of less than half a mile are out of the question.  And you will take 1d6 fall damage when you land, unless you can find a decent spot of water to land in.  (By default, 50% chance that your Wind can find one in time.)

Many Blue Kites wear an enormous silk scarf tied up around their waist.  Enormous, as in 30' long.  You might think that it's a swordswoman wrapped up in a weird, bulky burka, but then the wind unfurls it and BAM it's this huge scarf tied around their waist, shaking like the arms of God.  

The giant scarf makes sense: it means that the Wind will pull you through the air by your center of mass (your waist/ass) and not by the part of your body that has the greatest wind cross-section.  This prevents you from spinning uncontrollably as you fly through the air (a common blunder among first-time flyers).

This is their love token.  It's given to them by the North Wind as a sign of his favor.  And it serves a function: it allows you to make an attack for double damage upon landing.

Blue Kite strike teams usually blow in the window, and open up with an attack like that.

This also requires talking to a powerful local wind, and negotiating the cost.  What does the Wind want?  See below.

Other Stuff

Swords of the North Wind

If the love token scarves were a sign of approval, then a sword is a full-fledged admission of love.  If you aren't already a Windwife, you will probably be one soon.

These are +1 swords given out by the North Wind only after some seriously big favor has been earned.  They can be used to attack anything within 50', since they "throw" their slashes through the air.

Every Paladin of the Blue Kite aspires to own one.  The magic of the blade is dwarfed by the immense prestige it confers.

The House of Miraculous Windmills

This is your home base.  It's a cross between a church and a mansion, and it is covered with short towers that are themselves covered with windmills, large and small.

The house uses minor Winds as servants.  But since Winds have a hard time clearing the table after dinner, they mostly just turn the windmills and sing mariner's work songs all the damn day.  Expect a high level of automation within the house.  Crudely automated dishwashers, that sort of thing.

Nabba Sunbeam runs the house.  She's 55, a Windwife, and an inventor.

The most interesting room is the Flight Room, stocked with skydiver's wingsuits and with several ways to take to the sky.

Generating a Wind NPC

Roll up starting attitude and personality normally.  You may want to use this altered goals table, though.

This Wind NPC wants. . . [d6]
  1. To punish a particular piece of the earth, which has offended it.  Please roll this impudent boulder into the ocean, explain the Wind's displeasure, and sink it someplace cold and lonely.
  2. A wife, like the North Wind.  Not only does this mean finding a willing bride, but it also means convincing the Church to perform the ceremony.
  3. Less smoke.  Get these people--those ones over there--to stop burning fires.  I don't care how you do it.
  4. To go on an adventure.  Take me with you!  Expect to have a very difficult time lightning a campfire, having a quiet meeting in the library, and having all of your arrows miss.  Remember that Winds can't go underground or in confined spaces.  (Or more accurately, they can, they just risk dying if someone shuts a door and traps them in a space too small for them to circulate.)
  5. To kill some noxious creature.  Perhaps a monster that controls wind, a wizard that captures wind, a roc, or a sky whale.
  6. A vacation!  You'll have to do the wind's job for it.  Turning the windmill, spreading seeds, drying laundry.  Expect bewildered villagers and hilarious complications.  The Wind will probably bring you a souvenir from wherever the fuck it goes.  Probably something stupid, like 800 pounds of snow.