Saturday, 28 November 2015


 Update: I'm looking at this and I can't figure out who wrote it. Aparrently it was me. It reads like a sixth form essay on writing, except the writer hasn't done enough revision on writing, so he's making it up, padding, desperate for a C grade. Oh well.

It was quite an eye opener for me, discovering all these beautiful OSR blogs. Essentially, after years of comparing my imagination to the lukewarm talents/idea-by-committee-camel-fluff fests of the major publishers, I thought I was perhaps in a higher imagination tier than many. How wrong I was. Without going on record like a gushing fan boy, I saw a constellation of greats. Some more successful than others, but all undeniably brilliant in their own way.

A surplus of raw idea stuff suggesting minds tapping a flow, a source, that in the main, remained plugged for me.

I'm a general...most of the time. That source I was talking about? Let's capitalise it...let's call it 'The Source'. I'm of the shakeable opinion that the brain is a kind of radio, picking up on signals that are kind of bouncing around the aether in some unfathomable fashion. To me (TO ME) it's possible to orbit 'The Source' from an infinite number of positions, some nearer, some further, some forever locked apart. I'm good with melody. I can take something and make it feel like you haven't heard it before. Lyrics come eventually. They're usually good. Not always though. Sometimes they're the worst kind of banal posturing and so with songs of that ilk, I keep them mutable, struggling to find the right phrase. But it comes. The melody is my river, is my way of orbitting The Source.

And yet, the imagination and its castles...that is my playground and my arena. I see things...and I have the fierce desire to document them. To make other people see. To give them a taste of my own happiness. And yet... that goal remains unreached. I can't really write in the way I'd like to be able to write. I think part of it is to do with patience. I enjoy reading...but given the option, I'll reach for an RPG product, something I can immediately put to use, rather than the enriching prose of say, Baudelaire. And I believe that depth of reading gives sanctity to both the written word and definition to the vistas of the imagination. Before I paint myself a Philistine, I've delved deeper than many of my peers into various literary catacombs; but recent times seem to stave this occurrence from happening with any frequency. In fact, more often than reading, I'll feel the compulsion to create music RIGHT NOW. Even when perhaps I'd be best served fuelling my mind in some other fashion.

And yet, my greatest suspicion, is that I am not seeing the wonders and horrors of 'the other' in the way many of the OSR writers I laud, see wonders and horrors. There is a boiling prismatic sea of incoherence. A hand gripping a sword I'd seen pictured in a book; a thousand faces, so many as to be all and one; imagined companions, striving, suffering, victory; all of soon as I close my eyes. What kind of fisherman would I have to be to reach into that chaos and withdraw something I could bring to the table and say "Here is a fish. Please enjoy my fish?" Evidently, the kind of fisherman that I see writing with ease and assurance as I flick from blog to blog (and not just in the OSRverse).

I think I'm doing it wrong. How can I translate the natural flow of melody, into written word? Never mind faculty with the English language...I'm competent enough to bury meaning, that much is certain. But can one ride close enough to The Source and feel the ebb that inspires one to create in a certain fashion...and let it flow out via a different medium? Am I fighting a losing battle?

We shall see.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Old Man of the Womb

Old Man of the Womb

When a pregnant woman is murdered and her body buried in rude earth, sacred to the bleak god of futile gestures, Kalak Mar, predictably the results are horrific. 

The body so recently gestating within the womb, becomes a vessel of rage for both unborn infant and slain mother. For a year and a day, it remains curled within the mother corpse, festering and withering, like a beetle grub in a rotten stump. The terrible energies at play mummify both the unborn child and mother. By the end of this period, the creature within resembles nothing so much as a grotesque and wrinkled old man, a foetid grey prune for a head, its body unnaturally bent into a permanent foetal posture, rigid with hate, its face etched with a malignant loathing for a life it never had the chance to lead. 

Still attached via the umbilical cord, the thing finds egress from the cold earth and slowly, obscenely floats from its shared grave to feast upon others that remind it of what it never had (by feasting, I mean it enjoys finding its way into cribs and leaving horrifically aged infant corpses to be found by shrieking mothers, the shock enough to kill them). It remains at all times connected to the body of its mother via the umbilical cord, though this is able to stretch up to seven whole leagues in length. The cord cannot be severed unless one uses silver shears. Upon this occurrence, the Old Man drops to the earth and shrivels to dust within minutes. However, this is not the end of the monster. The cord is moved to seek out another child to replace the one destroyed. It will strangle the chosen babe and drag its poor little body back to the ghastly womb of the dead mother, where after a year and a day, it will have fully fused to the umbilical cord and birthed another Old Man. That said, during this period without a true 'Old Man', the mother host can be destroyed with flame.

The simplest (and most deadly) way to end the monster, is to track it back to the grave from whence it came. This can be done by chasing the retreating Old Man using magical means (it retreats swiftly, as fast as a bird) or by bribing local owls who are known to see all in the night (their price often involves weird geasa...some scholars speculate that Owls are the keepers of reality, but that, is of course, a different tale). Other means may work and would rely upon the ingenuity of the hunter. What is important, is that the grave is found. It is said, that if the body is dug up at this point, only moldering bones will be discovered. But if the hunters can make the creature jealous of the childhood it never had...perhaps by playing a game or reciting an account of a parent's love, then the Old Man of the Womb will not be able to contain its fury.

At this point, the host mother rises, piloted in blasphemous fashion by the wizened Man of the Womb, clearly visible through a tattered aperture in the mother's stomach. She cannot be stopped short of destroying the Old Man. This can only be accomplished with a piercing weapon of silver or magical origin. The shriveled operator must be pinned to the earth, whereby it will finally disintegrate. 

Whilst the Old Man is within the mother host, the mother's body grows taller and thinner and her eyes begin to emit a withering white beam that ages those caught within its shocking deadlight glare. 

These horrors are created by cultists of Kalak Mar whose purposes are often inscrutable and nihilistic. At the very least, they represent abominations which must be destroyed for the sake of sanity and good reason.

Old Man of the Womb sans Mother Host

Characteristics -------------Attributes ------------------------1d20 Location AP/HP
STR: (8/28 body/cord)------Action Points 3 ----------------------------------1-2 R.Leg 4
CON: (15) ---------------- Damage Modifier -1d4/+1d4-----------------------3-4 L.Leg 4
SIZ: (3) ------------------ Magic Points 14----------------------------------5-6 Abdomen 5
DEX: (16)----------------- Movement 18(Flying)-----------------------------7-8 Chest 6
INT: (10) ---------------- Strike Rank 13------------------------------------9-15 Umbilical Cord 6
POW: (14)---------------- Armour None-------------------------------------16-17 R.Arm 3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------18-19 L.Arm 3
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------20 Head 4
Abilities: Dark Sight, Immunity (None magic or silver weapons), Life Sense, Flight, Undead, Grapple
Skills: Endurance 96%, Evade 70%, Perception 80%, Willpower 90%, Brawn 60%
Combat Style: Ghastly Floating Strangler (Umbilical Cord, Toothless Kiss) 86% 

Damage: Umbilical Cord 1d8+1d4, large ,reach VL
-------- Toothless Kiss no damage, special effect only on successful grapple. Causes withering effect; Endurance check vs attack roll. Failure indicates a roll on the ageing table and the loss of 1d3 characteristic points. Critical failure indicates two rolls on the table. Ageing appears more like a kind of grey ashen shriveling, rather than standard wrinkles and sagging skin, etc.

Notes: Silver shears can be used to sever the umbilical cord. The passage of the Old Man is marked by the hoot of owls, offended by its passage through the gloapy night air which belongs to them. Upon tracking the thing back to its grave lair, a second even more horrible fight begins...

Old Man of the Womb in Mother Host exoskeleton

Characteristics -------------Attributes ------------------------1d20 Location AP/HP
STR: (28)--------------------------Action Points 3 ----------------------------1-3 R.Leg 2/6
CON: (15) ------------------------ Damage Modifier +1d8-----------------------4-6 L.Leg 2/6
SIZ: (2d6+6/13) ------------------ Magic Points 14-----------------------------7-9 Abdomen 2/7
DEX: (16)--------------------------Movement 6--------------------------------10-12 Chest 2/8
INT: (10) ------------------------- Strike Rank 13------------------------------13-15 R.Arm 2/5
POW: (14)------------------------ Armour Mummified Flesh---------------------16-18 L.Arm 2/5
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------19-20 Head 2/6
Abilities: Dark Sight, Immunity (None magic or silver weapons), Life Sense, Flight, Undead, Grapple, Regeneration 3HP every location/round, including lost limbs and even when apparently destroyed (Excepting abdominal blows), Terrifying, Formidable Natural Weapons
Skills: Endurance 96%, Evade 50%, Perception 80%, Willpower 90%, Brawn 80%
Combat Styles: Relentless Exo-Mother (Rending Claws) 86% 
---------------------Deadlight Beams 70%

Rending Claws 1d8+1d8 bleed/plus whatever hideous grave disease you care to infect its rank claws with. Large, Long Reach
Deadlight Beam: see below Range 50/200/300

Notes: Deadlight beams act exactly like the Toothless Kiss, only they're ranged and thus much, MUCH worse. 

In the write up above, I mention that the creature seems to stretch and grow. Personally, I make this effect cosmetic...I think I have the (possibly false) memory of a wicked queen stretching and growing; menacing some Prince Charming type: the end result being to bewilder and cause fear...hence the 'Terrifying' attribute. So not entirely cosmetic after all. 

Only by impaling the Old Man and pinning it to the earth can the creature be finally stopped. Naturally, this requires an Impale effect and enough damage to cause a serious wound.

If the body is discovered without an Old Man, then it may be safely burnt and the ashes scattered. That will be enough to end the nightmare.