Wednesday, July 3, 2024

d66 Monsters and Men of BIBLICAL CARCOSA!

Rodney Matthews. Don't know what it's called.

Biblically-accurate blood-soaked sci-fantasy hex-crawl across an Old Testament/Revelation para-apocalyptic fever-dream landscape that can be crossed in six days, or swallow up two million people (plus animals) for forty years.

Bruce Pennington covers (Book of the New Sun, Clark Ashton Smith, Dune); Rodney Matthews; Dark Sun; Kingdom Death; Mork Borg. McKinney's Carcosa, obvs.

System agnostic with the heavy stink of old-fashioned D&D-ish. 

Table not weighted for probability, because it's not really a random encounter table.

Roll d6:

1. Roll d6:

  1. Nephilim: 8’ tall extra-terrestrial cat-folk lion-centaurs; favoured weapons, bow and arrow. Some of them have six legs. Refer to each other with the honorific ‘Coeurl’. Can be paid in salt. 
  2. Lilin (Owl Women) (6-36): bird-featured, taloned hands and feet; otherwise human. Like to perch in trees, watching, with big staring eyes. Capable of dust/mud-caked suspended animation. Variously reviled as thieving monkeys and murderous succubi. Use small/medium flying humanoid stats (but no wings) of any type (including FF Berbalang). 
  3. Ur-Griffin (1): towering, startlingly colourful, wingless griffin; sounds like Godzilla. Doesn’t roll to hit, you roll to save – no real point trying to fight unless you have an army of giants.
  4. Gorgonians: snake-haired Amazons riding iron-scaled, fire- and gas-breathing bulls. Ruled by a medulich-queen. Seek mortal males to produce viable mandusas/maedar (rare, precious; no snakes; stone-to-flesh touch) to propagate their species. Fearsome, honourable, compassionate, inevitably practical.
  5. Land Whales (Behemoths) (1-6): breast-feeding, live-birthing dinosaurs with belly buttons. Dragon Men prize their milk, and to ride one, slung underneath while suckling, is a legendary feat.
  6. Leviathans (1-2): Ichthyosaurs, placoderms, plesiosaurs, zeuglodons – the biggest sea monsters and the longest dead. Vast, filmy and luminous, barely material - unconstrained by seas that no longer exist. You can survive being swallowed, as you are slowly digested over a thousand years.

2. Roll d6:

  1. The Leonine Men: anachronistic leper Knights Templar in local dress: cavalier/paladin abilities and attitudes. Favour huge two-handed swords. Special characters equivalent to Mummies and/or Were-Lions. 
  2. Moon Dogs: unsettling liminal beings, fluid to the mortal eye but more-or-less dog and/or human-like. Can see invisible, detect possession and telepathy. Enemies of disease and mind-control. Do not speak to mortals.
  3. Seraphics (Winged Victories): paramortal androgynes; prototype of Paladin and Vampire. Battlefield scavengers, feeding on spent lives and broken morale. Appear variously glorious, gorgeous or ghastly – the effect is glamour/telepathic feedback camouflage.
  4. Man Scorpions (1-3): morphologically similar to the Nephilim, but scorpions and bigger (range from large, through giant to gargantuan). Can have arms and/or pincers in any configuration. Smaller ones wield pole arms. Remarkably pleasant voices.
  5. Hooved/Horned Lions (1-6):  one or another variety of brightly-coloured, furred and/or feathered aggressive ceratopsian. If you could raise and/or tame one, it’d make an awesome mount.
  6. Cubes: their surface engravings are blueprints for constructing helical orbital tethers/space elevators. Capable of communicating - and presumably compatible – with the ones on the Moon.

3. Roll d6:

  1. The Dreaded Ones (Purples): Flagellants, poisoners, voluptuaries. Affectionately refer to each other as horror and terror. Why not name their great Lankhmar-by-way-of-Erelhei-Cinlu city as Sodom-and-Gomorrah?
  2. Silurians (Valusians): the Serpent People – deeply offended that their blood magic fuel-source is going to out-breed them into extinction. Invented magic, so have a chance to counter yours. 
  3. Diluvials (not these ones)To survive the coming Flood, they need all the resources and all the livestock. Brigands, berserkers, dervishes and pirates; possibly even a/the Barbarian Horde. 
  4. Opinicus (Flying Horses): a bustling crowd of dirty, noisy, ragged pegasi. Disturbingly omnivorous; mostly scavengers. Can be subdued/tamed, using kindness, fresh meat and/or brutality. Congregate in marshes. More like donkeys and jackasses than riding or war horses.
  5. Edenites: the beautiful people, jealously beloved of a/the Creator. Everything they do is automatically Lawful Good. Multi-classed Druid/Paladins. They are both Eloi and Morlock. 
  6. Annakim (Hill Giants) (1-3): not as bloodthirsty, cave-dwelling, dim-witted, gargantuan or lusty as renowned/rumoured. Sensitive, shy, woodland-dwellers, with psionic camouflage but a horrible stench. Can crush your skull with one hand.

4. Roll d6:

  1. Carnotaurus: scaly carnivorous aurochs. If there’s only one, it’s significantly bigger and older than normal; bad-tempered. Cow’s milk is pink and syrupy (with purple froth), salty, and prized by Dragon Men.
  2. Cherubim (1-4): Four-faced guardian obelisks that burst into grinding life as pyramidal killdozers with flame-throwers. “THOU SHALL NOT PASS”. Markers of places without honour, commemorating no highly esteemed deeds etcetera. And/or Eden.
  3. Manna Bees/Beetles: nanite-swarms and drone-units. Convert the aftermath of battles into sweet, flossy, nutritionally-dense material, carried away in great drifts on the wind. As long as the violence continues, none need go hungry.
  4. The Unfinished: misshapen primordial humanoids. Discarded clay, sparkless dust, withered fruit; misery of abandonment turns to envy and hate for the Creator and the Creation. So prototypical they are subject to neither Death nor Time.
  5. Anunnaki: extra-terrestrial Mi-Go as the vulnerable gooey centre of a Xorn/Xaren exo-suit in pseudo-Babylonian/Sumerian-style. Breeding/modding humans to mine elements they are otherwise deathly allergic to. Masquerading as glorious tutelary deities.
  6. Watchers (1-3): gargantuan baobab-cactus Elder Thing/Triffids. Glistening black eye-organ gives them 360 vision, heliographic communication and ability to focus available light as long-range death/heat ray.  You besiege or mine them, rather than fight them. Prefer to stay put, but have been known to uproot and travel (singly or in herds) – slow, inexorable.

5. Roll d6:

  1. Men of Blazing Metal (Shining Ones): silver or gold, respectively roughly equivalent to Elf and Dwarf. Doomed to be out-bred by mundane humanity – silver will not go quietly; gold, neutrally accepting. Junior allies and trading partners of the Anunnaki.
  2. Men of Glowing Metal: bronze or iron; Living Statues as persons/people – they eat the same food, breathe the same air and range across the same moral and cultural continuum as you, but piss fire and shit gold. Cannot hide from infravision.
  3. Men of Shining Blood: Prefer very particular hot, wet environments and don’t stray far without grand designs. Guardians/hoarders/inheritors of Serpent People sorcery. They also invent(ed) fireball. No skin, except when going abroad in disguise. 
  4. Elohim: goat-horned mountain-guerilla/gorilla Clerics; tough, vengeful; armed with staves, knives and slings. They’re more numerous and sophisticated than the received wisdom has it.
  5. Dragon Men: bare- and barrel-chested. Cultivate keloids and cicatrices. Bifurcate tongues (penises, if they have them). Shout loud enough to knock you down/root you to the spot. Venerate, hunt, tame and ride the most draconic wild beasts. 
  6. Sea Monsters: all manner of toothy, tentacles, scaly, slimy things (including flamin’ SQUARKS!). Drag themselves ashore and head inland, looking for somewhere to die and something to kill. Carcasses attract verminous monster pests and smell atrocious.

6. Roll d6:

  1. d666 Locusts: half a HD, otherwise as Cave Cricket/Locust. Odds/evens, Demonic or Devilish for damage resistance/vulnerabilities. If one reaches your brain, has access to your intelligence and abilities. The noise of the swarm is deafening and maddening.
  2. Winged Bulls: exactly that. Wrongly ascribed wisdom and beneficence. Good eating if you survive the hunt. They also breathe fire, but can be broken, clipped, extinguished then yoked as beasts of burden (if you’ve got what it takes). Destined to be bred into the aurochs that will be wiped out in/survive the coming Deluge.
  3. Biblically-Accurate Angels (1-3): wheels, wings, eyes, blazing bright; practically invulnerable, utterly implacable killers robots transmitting “BE NOT AFRAID” like a fucking Dalek on all frequencies as they oversee the Creation. So many damage dice you'd think this was T&T.
  4. Sick Giants: minimum hp, heavy plate armour and shield. Very strong and well-armed (Fire, Frost, Fir-Bolg equivalents). Carry great iron-shod staves to lean and walk on. Constantly complaining, but not automatically hostile. Mercenaries.
  5. Devil Swine: basically RAW.
  6. EYE OF GOD! Azathothian astronomical event. Visible across all space and time. The heavens peel back. All are naked before it. Nothing will ever be the same. Forever and ever. Amen.

Commentary & What Was Left Out.

Initially inspired by a random encounter table on a blog I saw maybe five years ago and recall without specifics. Details sketchy, possibly about East or West of Eden, the Land of Nod (not that blog as far as I can tell), Old Testament as campaign setting. If anyone has any idea, I'd appreciate a link.

I'm not enough of a scholar to include bits of Mormonism and Scientology, but there's probably room for a stripe of each. 

If there is a One-True-God then there are lots of One-True-Gods, hustling for position. I'm pretty sure they eat each other.

Clerics only get basic spell access (1st and 2nd level), otherwise more like 5e Warlocks or Dark Sun Templars. Accessible and vulnerable patrons.

Competing apocalypses. All the imagery.

The pre-humans of Islam (including some unorthodox contemporary 'scientific' takes on the jinn) and Theosophy.

Carcosa-as-Jerusalem or Jerusalem-as-Tanelorn are both valid.

Chorazin, with its Black Pilgrimage and powers of the air.

The sin(s) of Sodom (and presumably Gomorrah): Ezekiel 16:49-50.

Noah as rapacious warlord from some comic I read that I can't remember the name of; Cain was the Conan/Eternal Champion-like hero. 21st Century; possibly French.

Actual Biblical characters and stories optional, including Vampire or Zombie Christ.

1 comment:

  1. I like this very much. The Angels-as-Daleks tickled me in particular (but not in the particulars).