Saturday, October 13, 2018

Mystics in Search of the Holy Mountain

Much of the population of the Sphere of the Holy Mountain fancies themselves something of a sage, and some even have enough chutzpah to gain a bit of a following. Conventional religions who set up shop here have little chance against these tenacious domestic breeds.

The following mystical orders use the stats for generic Acolyte Mystics and Master Mystics, but each has their own unique features listed as Special.

Orders of Mystics

  1. The Vulcanized Pact believes that the Holy Mountain is rather a volcano, and summiting it would trigger an apocalyptic eruption. They employ various schemes to deceive mystics into blaspheming and straying from their path.
    1. They publicize the idea that the holy mountain is actually on a different sphere.
    2. They employ temptresses to dissuade believers from their path.
    3. They swap holy texts for similar but heretical ones, to trick devout mouths into uttering heresy.
    • Special: Members of this order have the Spells Babble and Befuddle.
  2. This heretical fellowship dedicates themselves to anti-spiritualism. They attempt to defile all that is holy and commit every blasphemy, believing this the true path to enlightenment.
    • Special: Members of this order have the Spells Shatter and Undo.
  3. The Martyrers seek truth in the screaming eyes and distant words of those nursed on their Judas Cradles and broken on their Catherine Wheels.
    • Special: Members of this order have +1 Armour, deal damage as Axe, and have the spells Assassin's Dagger and Darksee.
  4. This sect of a popular religion believes in a holistic use of their sacred text. They bring copies of it with them everywhere, in order to tear out pages to use as tissues or toilet paper. They clothe themselves entirely in stitched-together pages. They fight by hitting people with the tome.
    • Special: Members of this order have +1 Armour and deal damage as Club.
  5. This cult frequently tests their piety via such deadly trials as pistolet roulette, being bitten by venomous snakes, and being burned alive. They have a high turnover. The gauntlet is open to all who would seek to gain esteem with the order, though unwilling participants have been known to receive judgement (to the benefit of their enemies). One who succeeds the trials fairly gains Enlightenment, though some prefer to ensure their survival by cheating.
    • Special: Members of this order deal damage as Pistolet, and have the Spell Zed.
  6. The Rainbow Threshers deem all but their holy wavelength false. Some of their order have undergone excruciating rituals to purify their retinas of blasphemous receptors, rendering their vision monotone.
    • Special: Members of this order have the spells Light, Jolt, and Flash.


Acolyte Mystic

Skill 6
Stamina 7
Initiative 2
Armour 0
Damage as knife
1. Bloodthirsty
2. Panicked
3. Ritualistic
4. Bored
5. Evangelical
6. Disillusioned

The acolyte has the Spells Exorcism, Presence, and Read Entrails.

Master Mystic

Skill 9
Stamina 14
Initiative 3
Armour 2
Damage as Staff
1. Bloodthirsty
2. Megalomaniacal
3. Ritualistic
4. Despondent
5. Evangelical
6. Heretical

The master has the spells of an acolyte, plus Illusion and Levitate.


Now that we have a bunch of Mystical orders written up, we can plug them into random encounters with minimal effort. Here are some simple examples that can be made more interesting by rolling to determine the Orders and Mien of the Mystics:
  • Two groups from different orders, composed of d6 Acolytes lead by a Master, converge on a large and deserted plaza.
  • An Acolyte struggles with a stubborn sacred cow.
  • d3 Acolytes vandalize the temple of another order. If the players have erected or seized a religious structure of their own, they are the victims.
  • A pupilless Master Mystic attempts to take the players under their wing.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Second Batch of Backgrounds

7) Conspicuous Amnesiac

Your role as a literary device sticks out as a sore thumb. Your past goals and personality traits elude you like an itch on the small of your back, though there are many who would lend a helping hand. Would-be adversaries give you a wide berth, and a flock of sycophants crowd around you—hoping to cash in on your inevitably heroic fate or recovered high status. Ambitious Viziers or desperately leaderless empires have historically used amnesiacs as malleable tools of succession, to mixed results.

- Ragged and filthy, though unmistakably exquisite clothing
- A hollow brass tube OR slimy lead shot OR an inescapable trail of insects
- A capriciously brilliant gemstone OR an onyx sword hilt OR a heavy, gilt tome with exclusively blank pages


- Though you begin as helpless as a child, your past talents may be resurrected with practice. When you learn a new Skill or train or advance an acquired one, you may test your luck to see if your subject was known to your past self. If you succeed, you may roll twice to vie for improvement.

8) Custom Barge Racer

The viscous membrane that connects the spheres is to many simply an obstacle on the path to their destination. To you, it is a stadium and a playground. The spheres are merely places to repair, restock, and renovate, but the sea of Nothing is where you and your competitors truly live. Some racers are in it for prize winnings, others for fame or admiration, but all share an all-consuming desire for speed.

- A Golden Barge, in truth owned by a wealthy patron
- An inordinate number of small supplemental sails OR an emergency silver-combustion engine OR sail-shredding cannons
- A well-used boarding pike

4 Golden Barge Pilot
2 Astrology
2 Awareness
2 Spear Fighting
1 Climb
1 Mathmology
1 Strength

9) Chased Chaste Chase

You’ve jilted the priest at the sacrificial alter, fleeing your virginal destiny, but your purpose stinks upon you like a rotten egg. Your original captors aren’t the only ones greedily dreaming of pushing you into a volcano or flaying you over the gaping mouths of devout parishioners—you must maintain constant vigilance when around any priest. Perhaps you can evade your fate by losing that which they hold sacred, but it’s a dubious task.

- Torn bits of cloth that pass for clothes
- A length of chain still bound to your wrist (Damage as club)
- A ceremonial dagger and your severed though still-beating heart OR a crucible of molten lava (cools in 2d6 days) OR a Cacogen Death Mask that conveys +2 Second Sight
- Numerous golden bangles worth d66 silver pennies OR a sacrilegious tome containing the teachings of 2 Random Spells.

3 Run
1 Climb
1 Acrobatics
1 Etiquette
1 Club Fighting

10) Absurd Vigilante

In the less policed spheres, there are those who take up the mantle of a defender of innocents, though few take so dramatic an approach as you. The alternate identity that you wear to mask your true self has consumed your life to a frightful degree. You’ve crafted a heart-wrenching backstory to justify your prolific violence, but truly, you’re just in it for the thrills.

- A lovingly fashioned costume, themed around your randomly rolled spell, complete with cape
- A deck of calling cards
- A weapon of your choice, if you choose Weapon Fighting

3 Spell – Random (Troika Table 5)
3 Disguise
3 Unarmed Fighting
2 Acrobatics
2 Strength
2 Run
1 Climb
1 Fly OR 2 Weapon Fighting (of your choice) OR 4 Second Sight

You have a weakness, so absurdly niche that it would seem impossible to exploit. When subject to this vulnerability, your Base Skill and Luck temporarily drop to 0.

11) The Killer

You live an inoffensive life. Your friends know you as a harmless wallflower. Strangers find you meek, even pathetic. However, deep within you lies a dormant monster. You are a sleeper cell—the finely honed tool of person or persons unknown. Even in your normal life, your purpose finds ways to leak from your otherwise unassuming exterior. You have a secret, nasty vice that you can’t help but indulge. Time will tell when, and at whose behest, you will be unleashed upon which unsuspecting victim.

- A thin dagger sewn into your clothing that you only know about when activated
- A cyanide capsule, likewise hidden

1 Etiquette

When the command word is given, you must do everything in your power to track down and kill your designated target. While activated, you gain the following skills:
5 Sword Fighting
5 Knife Fighting
4 Tracking
4 Run
3 Strength
3 Poison

12) Haunted Medic

Behind the brazen charges and bristling armies that sweep and collide across the spheres, you wage your own war in hellish ditches and ramshackle huts that pass for operating theatres. Almost as spectacular and strange as the weapons that make them, the wounds of your patients constitute the intricate intrigues at the heart of your feverishly wrought dramas. You’ve been at this too long, and finally caught a body that snapped your typically adamantine heartstrings. The wars left behind, will your quaking hands and quivering lips prove fatal for your new comrades?

- A surgeon’s kit, disused aside from a dwindling supply of painkillers
- A half-empty bottle of strong spirits

2 Awareness
1 Trapping
1 Poison
1 Healing

The bottle or the pill are the only ways you’ve managed to dull the screams and still your tremulations. When thoroughly soused, you gain a +4 bonus to Healing but -1 to everything else.

First Batch of Backgrounds

1) Food

Some adventurers try to kill monsters from the outside, impotently sliding their blades against tough hides. You know better.

- Aromatic spices and rotten meats
- Full body chain suit (Moderate Armour)
- Carving knife
- Gall stone trophy from a vanquished foe

4 Tunnel Fighting
2 Disguise
1 Evaluate
1 Poison
1 Knife Fighting

2) Monumentalist

While your companions are busy wrestling and hacking away at some foe, you're already planning the bloodstone obelisk that will forever mark this place. Your paths through the spheres are marked by cairns, tombstones, and temples. For you, the only things worth remembering are written in stone.

- Hammer and chisel
- Pulleys and rope
- A jar of gold leaf
- A sled
- A pack mule

4 Masonry
3 Mathmology
1 Most Obscure Languages
1 Secret Signs - Masons
1 Evaluate
1 Awareness
1 Climb

3) Rainbow Thresher

All but the holy wavelength are false. Some members of your order have purified their retinas to expunge the blasphemous receptors, but you retain yours to bear witness to their grotesque vibrations. Let the gods sort heretics into ultraviolet heavens and infrared hells, you have painting to do.

- A prism
- Robes and tassels dyed the sacred shade
- Pigments and binding agents

3 Spell - Light
2 Mathmology
2 Second Sight
2 Spell - Jolt
1 Spell - Darksee
1 Spell – Flash

4) Maiden Bearer

You carry the maw of your god upon your back, and your god is always hungry.

- An iron maiden
- Hooks and chains
- A nasty little trap of your own invention

3 Wrestling
3 Strength
2 Run
1 Tracking
1 Trapping

Your iron god takes up 4 equipment slots. Once its thorny chambers are filled with a wriggling sacrifice and the door is shut, it doubles in weight and cannot be opened until your god is satiated—usually about 1 day. Your god never needs cleaning.

5) Miracle Cure Salesmen

You were the only survivor of an expedition to the fountain of youth, and you’ve carried back as much of the legendary waters with you as you could. However, eternity is proving too short a time to make your fortune hawking your miraculous wares. You meander from sphere to sphere, seeking out the desperate and the gullible after being laughed out of throne rooms and grand halls. Maybe somewhere there’s one fool enough, or a deal cheap enough, to offload some of your priceless haul.

- Water from the fountain of youth, stoppered in tacky curio bottles
- Dirty, threadbare rags
- Banners bearing slogans of previous marketing attempts

1 Awareness
1 Run
1 Sneak
1 Swim
1 Trapping
You never age.

6) Masonic Campaign Manager

The candidates are secret, the districts jagged, voter registration arcane, but there’s an election to be run. It’s your job to find babies to wave and hands to kiss for your future club president… whoever they might be.

- A crate of campaign pins
- A poisoner’s ring
- A list of suspected opposition candidates

4 Secret Signs – Secret Sphere Domination Organization
3 Etiquette
2 Poison
1 Disguise
1 Awareness
1 Astrology

If you win the election, your candidate will assume a mantle of unspeakable power. You may be awarded for your efforts with obscene wealth, an influential office, or a firm handshake.