OSR: The World of Rust - Unofficial Bestiary

People on Artstation and other portfolio sites create these personal projects full of astonishing worldbuilding, but they've got no framework for implementing their worldbuilding. Even if they know RPGs exist, they might not have the skills, contacts, experience, or time to adapt their work.
People in the DIY RPG community have plenty of experience producing, publishing, distributing, and writing books, but (often), not enough cash for lavish art. Sometimes they also lack artistic inspiration.

Two groups of two people. Two eminent compatible passions.

The only project I can think of that started as art and became an RPG is Tales from the Loop, which started as Simon Stålenhag's disconnected art pieces, became narrative art books, and eventually had an RPG adaptation.

So if you see someone build a world with superb art, and you think you've got the skills to execute a project successfully, see if they're interested in creating an RPG, setting guide, or bestiary from their work. I'd suggest including non-exclusive rights (so the art and ideas can be reused elsewhere if a better offer comes along) and fair method of revenue sharing. Maybe the artist says no. Maybe they ignore you. But it's worth a shot.

Full RPG systems are ambitious and difficult projects. Writing a complete system requires a very specific skill set and a lot of playtesting. Setting-neutral material is tricky to create but can be much more rewarding.

Right now, Nicolas Folliot (twitter) is potentially working on some sort of RPG adaptation of Lucas Roussel's Le Monde de Rouille setting. I don't have all the details but it seems very exciting.

The original setting is in French. If you can read French, great! If not, OCR + translation software is so advanced these days that it's a matter of minutes run the images through a few programs to get the gist of the text.



With Lucas' permission, I've created an unofficial free 29-page bestiary and random encounter table for the "L'Exante" / "Era of Ruins" period. It's a great sci-fantasy / sword-and-planet / Ultraviolet Grasslands resource.

Translations are my own. My French is good enough that waiters in Paris look at me like I've spit in their coffee, then speak very slowly to me in English, waiters in Belgium laugh and call their friends over, and waiters in Quebec call the OQLF to arrest me. You've been warned.

Images have also been lightly edited and whitepointed for easy printing.

The bestiary is just a list of monsters, plus a massive d120 table of Omens and Encounters. To roll a d120, use a d12 for the 10s place and a d10 for the 1s place. No stats are provided.

There's also a GLOG-style d20 table of races.



40k: Building a Space Hulk, Part 2

In Part 1, I covered the initial plans for this project. In brief, I'm "crashing" Iron Sleet's Primogenitor Invitational, where a bunch of incredibly talented people get together and work on vaguely cohesively themed projects.
Games Workshop

Twin Rogue Traders, born moments apart, the undisputed children of Eusebius Drakemorton Cadrel and dynastic concubine sanctioned by the Sisters Famulous. A prodigy, reported to Administratum and filed, no doubt, among the other signs and wonders of the Imperium's waning days.

The Lex Imperialis, whose volumes and commentaries are said to stretch from one end of the galaxy to the other, provided the remedy for this dynastic crisis. An obscure clause in the Cadrel Warrant of Trade referenced one law, that law referenced another, and so after months of research (with the proverbial Sword of Dorn hanging over the infants), the adepts of the dynasty produced a satisfactory solution. Duabus anima in pari materia. Two souls, two bodies, two minds, yet one legal entity.

On their father's death, there would be only one Rogue Trader Cadrel. The Rogue Trader Cadrel, who only existed as the manifestation of the joint will of the twin children. Eusebius hired the finest tutors and psychosurgeons to raise them in the Cadrel ways. Jealousy and infighting were burned away; the two children were made closely codependent, unable to imagine life without the other or dream of seizing sole dynastic power. An unconventional approach, but what Rogue Trader dynasty follows convention?

When Eusebius died, Barabbas and Barnabus assumed control of a dynasty on the wane. Revenues from the Cold Trader - Xenos artifacts looted from distant worlds and sold to discerning collectors under the thinnest possible veil of legality - kept creditors and political rivals at bay, but the dynasty's coffers were slowly running dry.
The brothers met, as they often did, in the Cold Lightning's tertiary strategium. Neutral ground. No spies, no vox-recorders, no servants. Just two halves of the same Rogue Trader, discussing things without the mask of formal ceremony and secret signals. Many grand plots had lived and died in the ancient rust-streaked walls of the strategium.

"The Cygnus Gamma shipyards built four Hellbender-class cruisers," Barabbas said, in a storyteller's sing-song tone. "Only four. The Hellbender, first of her line, was destroyed in the Gothic Wars. The Lance of Dawn rests in the third reserve fleet of Holy Terra. The Gamella Magna was lost with all hands at the Battle of Corona VI. And the Cinderspine..."

"The Cinderspine, flagship of the Kossgrave dynasty, sailed beyond the Ghoul Stars and never returned," Barnabus said, cutting off his brother's story. "Is that why you brought me here, brother? Nostalgia for the old nursery tales?"

Barabbas smiled. "I found it. The Cinderspine." He tapped the a few keys and the holoprojector whirred to life. The images were faint and distorted. "Three weeks ago, one of our agents bribed an Imperial Navy auger-interpreter for maximal resolution pict-captures of Interdicted Object Theta-Grey-Epsilon. The space hulk they call Primogenitor."

"And the Cinderspine is part of the hulk?"

"Indisputably. Look, just here, you can see the dorsal spars. No other class then or since carried those triplex-arrays. In this pict you can even see a corner of the dynastic crest. The gun batteries would be here, putting the bridge and private sanctum here." But Barnabus wasn't listening. He was finishing the story, in the same sing-song tone, in his head.

The Cinderspine, flagship of the Kossgrave dynasty, sailed beyond the Ghoul Stars and never returned. Lord-Captain Sophia Kossgrave claimed to have charted a route through the Helical Rifts. The worlds beyond: unexplored, treasure-bearing, rich. The Lord-Captain sailed with her entire fleet. All contact was lost.

Three hundred years later, one ship, the frigate Scorpion, returned to the Imperium. Half her crew were dead, the other half were mad. Her navigator burned all charts and auto-immolated once they reached port. The ship's holds contained wealth beyond measure. Ingots of priceless ores stacked like nutri-bricks. Techno-relics from forgotten ages. The ship's logs indicated this wealth was chaff and dross to the fleet. They had been sent back to unload and return with more cargo vessels.

Since that day, no ship has crossed the Helical Rifts and returned. Of the Lord-Captain Kossgrave, the Cinderspine, and her fabled hoard, nothing is known.

"When can we sail?" he said.

The Space Hulk: Primogenitor


The first two 1'x1' panels are essentially complete. The cargo needs polishing and some plastic bits, but the main landing bay is done.

Working with plaster is fun but slightly more time-consuming than expected. Sorting bits and making sure they're bone dry is slow. If I wanted a perfectly even Paranoia or Star Wars space ship, I'd also need to spend time checking measurements to ensure exact alignment. For space hulks, +/- 1/16" of an inch isn't going to harm anyone.

Three main 1'x1' panels remain: a fuel depot, a second landing bay, and a temple-shrine.

I've been experimenting with weathering methods. I should have realized salt weathering (in any form) won't work on plaster. Even sealed with two coats of primer, plaster absorbs water like crazy. It sucks in the salt and crumbles in interesting (but unpredictable) ways.

The design ethos is "dead but not rotting". I want to create a distinctly Imperial ship that feels abandoned but not yet utterly corrupt. A lot of space hulk boards feel like a maze of generic mechanical greebling. I'd like to inject some form of symmetry and purpose into the design, as if this was a real place and not just a set.
I've recently been inspired by Neil101's terrain (blog) but the level of sand, ash, and general decay is too high for this project. I don't want this ship to look scavenged or repurposed. Smashed, distorted, maybe with a boarding torpedo wedged in it somewhere, but not a ruin turned into a hab turned into a factory turned into a ruin.

I also want to keep that very 40k mashup of high technology and low gothic. Elegant curves plated in false stone to give a sense of borrowed antiquity. Vents repurposed to hold cables. Looming iconography. Practical details. A sense of overwhelming scale. This hangar is just a minor shuttle bay on the side of a single cruiser.

Scale and Pattern

The walls of the 1x1' panels typically have five doors. Three on the lower level and two on the upper, 5" off the base. They're not all identical, but the idea is that the panels can be pushed against each other or connected by other bits of terrain. The 5/8" MDF base (without the 1/4" plaster floor) is the same height as my other terrain boards, meaning the hulk's panels can be mixed with other modular terrain sets. 5" is also the floor height of Games Workshop's Sector Imperialis and Sector Mechanicus lines. Sections can be attached directly or connected by small 3" tall corridor segments.

I like the large open sections. Space hulk corridors are deliberately claustrophobic, but you can't have claustrophobia without contrast. Hangars, holds, and temples provide spaces for massive firefights and even light vehicles.


The current plan is to basecoat black, add weathering in umber, sienna, and ochre, and overspray in a white-yellow. Then, a whole bunch of washes, texture daubs, and error correction. We'll see how it goes.

I'm not much of a painter, so working with colours that are "natural" seems sensible. Ochre is clay; umber and sienna are great for painting rust because they are rust. Oil paints are great for painting oil because they are oil.

The ideal end result should be something like Kari Hernesniemi's Monastery project... but significantly worse.


OSR: Ultraviolet Grasslands Session 5 - Innovative Renovations

Last session, the PCs fought their way out of the Last Serai after being framed the murder of Angel 22-unity.

Note: If you haven't read Ultraviolet Grasslands, most of this writeup will seem like psychedelic heavy metal Mad Libs. Even if you have ready UVG it's going to be a mess.
The members of the Cat's Meow Trading Company are:
Granville Porter
Cogflower necromancer lawyer. A mutant human thief/necromancer and warlock of Kon-Fabulate. Equipped with starscape skin, a vibrating thumb, a telephone that talks to dead people, and basic legal training.

Bluelander engineer. A human hunter on the run. Member of the Bluelander Liberation Front.
Gormog the Builder

Safarian merchant adventurer. A half-orc barbarian/fighter and warlock of Kon-Fabulate. Gormog is neither pretty nor clever, but knows a good deal when he sees it.


Exiled pirate liberal. A half-elf barbarian chased out of the Red Lands for their radical views, Clovis has a chainsword and a tattooed map to an aerolith fortress.

Wine vampire priest. A dwarf forcebender wizard and warlock of Deel, Orbital Wargoddess. Full of a strange blend of bloodlust and diplomacy.

A dwarf demon hunter from the Red Lands secretly fighting the most perfidious demon of all: capitalism.
Oblong Dusk
Degenerate quarter-ling Docteure Massese, the faceless Oblong Dusk provides healing and sensual massage... for a fee.
Transport: 2 mules, 2 carts, 1 looted one-person porcelain walker, 4 zombie porters.
Hirelings: 4 Bluelander Revolutionaries, 3 Orangelander Pirate Liberals.

Yongsub Noh
Side Note: Clovis' player had missed the previous session. A few rolls and some hasty improvisation later and the half-elf rejoined the group with three fellow Pirate Liberals in tow. The new hirelings could operate the expensive para-radio set the rest of the party had stolen; a handy bonus. Clovis also picked up the chainsaws looted from the Necrocultists.

The Cat's Meow Trading Company fled into the wastes, dodging shots from porcelain walkers and furiously whipping their mules. They boldly chose to head east, back to the Porcelain Citadel along a polybody-patrolled road, because they lacked supplies to reach other destinations. They'd managed to loot just enough food for a week of travel; any delay or damage would necessitate eating their zombie porters, mules, or hirelings.

The para-radio set allowed the party to detect and evade Porcelain Prince patrols. Luckily, they didn't need to worry. Two days out of the Last Serai, a massive dust storm hit. Electrical discharge and mid-altitude radiation ghosts made long-distance communication impossible. The storm slowed the party's progress, but it gave Lapis extra time to hunt for supplies. A buried roadside crocoarmadillo provided some much-needed fresh meat.

Hoovercamel* traders on the road carried ominous news from the Porcelain Citadel. Unrest and riots had engulfed the city. The Defense Golems, normally quick to vaporize anyone committing violence in the streets, seemed to only target monobodies. They'd even heard rumours a polybody trader had died, leaving their expensive house in the hills empty and unguarded.

*a hoovercamel is a camel with a very long flexible neck and four additional small legs growing from their head. Though ungainly, they are able to devour even the smallest scrap of grass, as they can run and eat at the same time. The party decided not to buy any.

One week later, coated head to toe in dust, the party reached the Porcelain Citadel. Monobody traders and refugees were camped a safe distance outside the defense golem wall. Inside, some buildings were still burning. Walkers roamed the streets. People said the Porcelain Princes had turned on their monobody servants. A corpse dredged from the lake confirmed the story. The Princes had declared martial law and rounded up any "dissidents" and "assassins". Some Princes had been killed or damaged; it wasn't clear how or by whom. Then, with the monobodies under control, they'd turned on their servants and allies. Was it war? Madness? No one knew.

While trading for food and other supplies, rumours of a dead Prince in the hills continued to swirl. A Porcelain Prince patrol had travelled to the house just before the uprising; a few escaped servants had confirmed that Satrasco 3-body, the notoriously eccentric merchant-trader, was dead. The palatial glass house was up for grabs, though no one had attempted the two-day journey in the storm.

With empty carts and a lust for treasure, the Cat's Meow Trading Company seemed ideally positioned to exploit the tragic death of the merchant.

Side Note: The rest of this post contains spoilers for the adventure "Glass House of a Dead Prince", UVG pp. 30-31.


40k: Building a Space Hulk, Part 1

It seems everyone has space hulks on the brain this year. Iron Sleet has the Primogenitor invitational. WIP shots here.

On a good day I can usually put paint on the right end of a paintbrush and slop it onto some plastic. Compared to the usual quality of Invitational painters I might as well be using my fingers. I doubt I'm going to make it as an "official" participant, but the concept is interesting and it's nice to have an imaginary deadline.

Games Workshop

Step 1: Method

What am I going to use to build this space hulk? I narrowed it down to 4 choices:

1. Plastic Terrain

  • Games Workshop's new Zone Mortalis kit is amazing.
  • Plastic is very easy to customize.
  • All current-generation GW terrain is built on the same (undisclosed) measurement grid. Sections from different kits fit together easily.
  • Official consideration. GW, or semi-official campaigns, are unlikely to feature a competitor's products. Since I don't intend to submit this project for official consideration I can use whatever methods I'd like.
  • Cost. Building a small board is viable. Building a larger board, or a few hangar-sized interiors, would blow the budget for this project.
  • Iteration. The cost of trying something, screwing up, and tearing down is much higher with expensive plastic kits.

2. MDF / Lasercut Terrain

  • I've never managed to paint MDF in a way that makes it not look like MDF. I've tried textured sprays, plaster skims, sand, etc.
  • Stacked flat sheets always look like stacked flat sheets. Death Ray Designs does astonishing work concealing the nature of their product, but edges and cuts are always visible.
  •  Measurements are not available.

3. 3D Printing

  • Infinite flexibility.
  • Moderate cost.
  • The new hotness, so plenty of tutorials exist.
  • Fiddly. It's easy to screw up 3D printing.
  • Comparatively slow, depending on the size of the printer.
  • Temptation to tinker endlessly and not get anything done.

Maybe in a year or two I'll pick up a printer. In the meantime:

4. Plaster Casting

  • Hirst Arts' Gothic and Sci-Fi lines mix easily to make gothic starships.
  • Fast. A full cast to demold cycle is 30 minutes. Sorting the bits takes longer than making them. It's a nice way to relax after working on a thought-intensive project.
  • Relatively cheap. Once you have the molds or mold-making material, casting is almost free. A 50lb bag of hard cement will last a lifetime.
  • Flexible. I can cast plastic bits, sculpt new bits.
  • Excellent measurements and guides. 
  • Time. A full mold cycle might take 30 minutes, but some of the official plans call for 30 or 40 casts.
  • Plaster isn't the easiest to work with. Soft plaster, like plaster of paris, snaps and crumbles. Harder plasters, like hydrostone (what I'm using) or dental stone, still produce lots of powder and flakes when cut and sanded.
I've decided to use a mix of existing plastic bits and plaster casts.
Side Note: Hirst Arts
This is what the internet used to be like. Hirst Arts' website is absolutely charming. There are so many tutorials, tips, guides, and tools! The owner genuinely cares about their work. There's no trickery. All measurements are given. All methods are described.

Other options might have tempted me, but I felt inspired by Hirst Arts. I'd recommend them without hesitation.

Step 2: Sharpening the Axe

Before casting anything, I used the measurements provided on Hirst Arts' website, plus a few of my own, to build a crude but functional 3D model of every part in Sketchup. I assembled them like LEGO bricks, checking alignment, height, and compatibility.

I also examined projects other people had completed using Hirst Arts blocks. Sveamore's space hulk is an excellent resource, though I wanted my hulk to be a bit less cramped and chaotic. I'd like the sections to feel designed, as though they were once harmonious elements of some vast cathedral-starship.

The central design is simple. Five 12"x12" sections, each 7" high, will be placed in a cross. They are modular and can be rearranged, but the base arrangement has a 24" long hangar, a cargo bay on one side, a fuel depot on the other, and a docking control temple-shrine on the end of the hangar. Small corridors and rooms with 3" high walls will branch off these main rooms.
Sveamore's space hulk
Side Note: 40k Overlay Gothic
For me, part of the High Imperial aesthetic is functional, simple, industrial purity overlaid with gothic elements. A shrine in the middle of a nuclear power control room. Pipe-spars turned into buttresses. Everything is old or decorated to appear old. New things are dangerous. An alcove full of skulls reminds you that this place is safe. Generations of workers have lived and died here.

Ideally, the space hulk I'm building will have that aesthetic. A functional, far-future sci-fi core encrusted with grim darkness and millennia of tradition, poorly understood ritual, and decay. Pulsing blue power columns controlled not by advanced cogitators but by hardwired servitors. A simple hatchway decorated with candles. Lots of rust, lots of chipping. A ship that's dead but not yet rotten.

Step 3: Cast

Using Mold Star 30, I made a quick one-sided mold of some 40k panels and items. Some test casts with plaster of paris failed, and some elements of the mold didn't work as well as I would have liked, but it's reasonably functional.

Here's an evening's casting results. Most of the parts are from Hirst Art molds.

Quality is slowly improving. There are still plenty of bubbles... but bubbles look a lot like bullet holes!

Step 4: Story

There'd be no point in crashing an Invitational without coming up with an appropriately gothic story.
I'll put proper fiction in the next post, but in brief:

Twin Rogue Traders, Barabbas and Barnabus Cadrel of the Cadrel Dynasty, seek to raid the space hulk for filthy profit. "Unknown energy signature" is just another word for "treasure". While better-armed and less subtle factions seek to smash the space hulk apart and destroy its inhabitants, the Rogue Traders plot to sneak aboard on a small Ossifrage-class shuttle, acquire a few legendary items, and return to their ship with minimal loss of life and equipment.

Magos Clarity Urksa, seeking redemption in the eyes of Mars, dispatches servants of the Omnissiah to shadow the Rogue Traders and prevent sacred archaotechnology from falling into profane hands.
And, as ever, the Inquisition lurks in the background. Who could walk the Primogenitor's twisted decks and return uncorrupted?

If all goes well all factions will have a small Inq28-style / Kill Team force plus an Arvus-sized landing craft. Stay tuned for more updates.


OSR: 1d8 Gonzo Cults

Here, have 10 high-energy gonzo cults. Stick these on the tail end of the random encounter table or deploy them when a situation is going little too well. Heist progressing without a hitch? The Cult breaks through the wall. Diplomatic endeavour nearly complete? The Cult rides into town. Set up an ambush? The Cult blunders into it. They're designed with my anticanon UVG game in mind, but should work well elsewhere.

Each Cult is designed to create a unique combat scenario. Using a grid is probably a good idea.

The Generic Cult Lair might also be useful.
Sam Carr

1. Chainsaw Necrocult

Good body parts are hard to find. Necrocultists have transitioned from grave robbing to active inhumation.

Generic Chainsaw Necrocultist

Wears: Black leather straps and patches, gore-proof glass goggles.
Wields: Throwing Chainsaw on a chain. 30' range / melee. 2d8 damage. If thrown, takes 1 round to reel back in. Wildly dangerous. On a critical failure, hits Cultist.
Special Ability: Injects Combat Drugs before a fight. Provides immunity to pain, fear, and mind-altering magic for 1 hour. Also, the first hit that would normally kill a creature on combat drugs reduces them to 1 HP instead. Carries a spare dose.

Leader Chainsaw Necrocultist

Wears: Black leather straps, a steel mohawk, gore-proof glass goggles.
Wields: Giant Circular Saw. 1d4+1d6 damage, both dice explode (if the highest value on the die is rolled, roll and add an additional die of that type). Belches smoke and sparks.
Special Ability: Combat Drugs. Also, can ride the Giant Circular Saw into battle. Moves as a horse, or make a 50' charge attack. Shoots sparks everywhere.

Chainsaw Necrocultist Ethos and Shouting

Life in death! Only the pure survive the trials of necro-revival! Stitch and suture, flay and fuse! Your limbs, give them to me! What a wonderful discovery! You think this is my real head!?
Konstantin Kostadinov

2. Blood Cult of Satur

Satur the Blood God has a simple tenet: blood is fertility.  All those fat lazy bastards living in cities, doing nothing of value? They're the reason your crops fail and your children are small and sickly. Satur lives in the ground, so all you need to do is spill their blood and...

Generic Blood Cultist of Satur

Wears: Loincloth, old scarf, piercings, embedded knives, elaborate scars. Patchily shaved.
Wields: Twin Daggers of Satur. Normal dagger damage, but chance (5%) of tetanus. Two prongs, like the horns of a bull. Rusty and badly made.
Special Ability: Blood Sacrifice. If a living creature (including a Blood Cultist of Satur) dies messily, all Blood Cultists of Satur who saw the death heal 2 HP.

Blood Cult of Satur Leader

Wears: Loincloth, braided chains, frill of bones, embedded needles, elaborate scars. Completely shaved and lightly oiled.
Wields: Executioner's Axe. 1d8+1 damage. On a critical hit, severs: 1d6: 1-2. Leg, 3-4. Arm, 5-6. Head.
Special Ability: Whirlwind of Death. Attacks twice per round. If an attack severs a limb or kills an opponent, may immediately attack another adjacent enemy.

Cult of Satur Ethos and Shouting

Your blood nourishes the earth! Accept Satur or die! You blood-filled bastards! Why should you live while others suffer?
Stepan Alekseev

3. Ascending Flame Cult

There is only one path to heaven; ascend in flames. The Cult has prepared the way. Anyone they can bring with them, willing or not, will be saved as well. The cultists will act as a guide through the perilous upper air to the blessed afterlife. To burn with you is their sincerest wish; if you burn alone, you may not make it to the correct heaven.

Ascended Flame Cultists try to stand at least 30' apart. They attack from multiple directions.

Generic Ascending Flame Cultist

Wears: Thick red robe concealing a bandolier of vials, sturdy boots.
Wields: Pyre Vials. Cultist can activate on their turn. At the start of their next turn, they immolate . 20' radius, 2d6 fire damage, Save for half. Everything that fails its Save catches on fire.
Special Ability: Charming Words. Surely they're not about to set themselves, and you, on fire. Right? If the Ascending Flame Cult hasn't attacked, reasonably moral people must Save to attack them.

Ascending Flame Cult Pyrospecialist

Wears: Thick red robe, black ceramic mask with a square eye slit, glass tank backpack.
Wields: Unstable Flamethrower. 3 shots, 30' line, 2d6 fire damage, Save for half. Will try to hit (and immediately set off) other Cultists near to targets. If set on fire, the Unstable Flamethrower explodes at the start of its next turn. 20' radius, 2d6 fire damage, Save for half.
Special Ability: Smokesense. Mask allows them to see through smoke and flame.

Ascending Flame Cult Leader

Wears: Charred black fireproof robe, black ceramic mask with a round eye slit.
Wields: Sacred Oil Cannon. 5 shots, 50' cone of flammable oil starting 10' away from the cannon. Anyone covered in the oil automatically fails all Saves against fire-based attacks and is automatically set on fire by fire-based attacks. A cone of oil burns with rich scented smoke for 10 minutes.
Special Ability: Control Flames. 100' range. Can douse a 10' cube of flames per round, or move a torch-sized fire up to 10' along a solid surface.

Ascending Flame Cult Ethos and Shouting

Heaven is at hand! Rejoice, for soon we shall all be among the annointed host. Step beyond this vale of tears and into the light of redemption and glory!

4. Ravening Cult

Cultists connect their digestive systems to Sorg, the all-devouring hunger. The more the eat, the stronger Sorg grows. They are always hungry. Bribing them with food works... temporarily.

Generic Ravening Cultist

Wears: Sturdy leather apron, close-fitting leather cap.
Wields: Steel Teeth. Bite for 1d6 damage.
Special Ability: Gorge. Instead of making a bite attack, a Generic Ravening Cultist can make an attack roll to steal and devour 1d3 rations from an adjacent target's inventory.

Ravening Cultist Leader

Wears: Leather apron, cured pig-head mask.
Wields: Seasoning Shaker. Glass jar on a stick. 10 uses. Melee attack deals 1d4 damage and coats the target in delicious seasoning. Target must Save or be blinded for 1d4 rounds. Beasts and Ravening Cultists find the target irresistibly delicious and will attempt to attack them first.


Ravening Cult Ethos and Shouting

For Sorg! Your food or your life! Your succulent flesh is very appealing! Know any good restaurants?
Sean Andrew Murray

5. Cult of True Healing

All flesh is diseased, broken, and dying. Why should the body not obey the whims of the mind? The Cult of True Healing restores flesh to its true, vibrant, diverse form. They can control their mutations through meditation and training.

Generic True Healing Cultist

Wears: Creased white robes, white cap, silver rings.
Wields: Healing Touch. Heals 1d6 HP per round. If target is healed over their maximum HP, they must Save or gain a random mutation. Requires an attack roll to touch an unwilling target.
Special Ability: Mutation Burst. On death, a True Healing Cultist's flesh unknits. 10' radius, 1d4 acid damage, +1d4 acid damage per round until washed. Save to dodge.

True Healing Cultist Leader

Wears: Silver robes, fan-shaped hat, silver rings.
Wields: Healing Touch, but with a 20' range. Still requires a roll to hit unwilling targets.
Special Ability: The Flesh Reborn. On death, becomes a ravening Chaotic Psychoplasm or something equally hideous.

True Healing Cult Ethos and Shouting

Oh no, you've been wounded! Allow us to heal you. Yes, that's much better. Let your body relax and assume its true form.
Dirty Iron

6. Whack-A-Ball Cult

And now, we play the most dangerous game... Full Contact Whack-a-Ball. Cultists appear in two teams, with at least 3 Generic Cultists and 1 Goalchecker per team. Before battle begins, they will designate two distinct regions, or 20'x10' areas, as the "goal zones". People stapled to the ground in those areas will be left alone. The game ends when all non-Cultists are dead and/or in a goal zone.

Generic Whack-A-Ball Cultist

Wears: Thick leather padding daubed in bright colours, spiked steel cap.
Wields: Whack-A-Ball Hammer. 1d8 damage, flings a human-sized target up to 30'. Targets must also Save or fall prone.
Special Ability: Team Coordination. If a target is flung by a Whack-A-Ball Hammer to a spot next to another Whack-A-Ball Cultist, from the same team or a different team, the Cultist can immediately make an attack against the newly arrived target.

Whack-A-Ball Goalchecker

Wears: Thick leather padding daubed in bright colours, conical steel cap.
Wields: Whack-A-Ball Stapler. No damage, but can staple a limb or torso to the ground via a thick steel bracket. Very difficult Strength check to stand up and break free.
Special Ability: Dive. If a target is flung by a Whack-A-Ball hammer to a spot within 20' of a Goalchecker, the Goalchecker can immediately move to a space adjacent to the target and make an attack roll to staple the target to the ground.

Whack-A-Ball Ethos and Shouting

Game on! Look out, they're trying to flank you! Over here! Good shot! Hey, stop moving!
Yujin Kim

7. Zombie Drug Cult

Death is only the beginning. Zombie Drug Cults get into a very altered state on various chemicals, then raid catacombs and graveyards. They sometimes push wheelbarrows full of corpses into battle.

Generic Zombie Drug Cultist

Wears: Skintight pants, wrinkled jacket.
Wields: Death-Dealing Dagger. Does normal dagger damage but glows green.
Special Ability: Zombie Smoke. Can tear open a glowing green tube to fill a 30' cube with opaque green smoke. All mostly intact corpses in the area rise as Zombies at the start of the next round. The smoke dissipates in 1 hour. Zombies raised also fade in 1 hour. Zombies will attack non-Cultists if possible, but they are not under the control of the Cult.

Zombie Drug Cultist Leader

Wears: Skintight pants, wrinkled jacket, triple-decker hat.
Wields: Shrunken Head Grenades. 30' range, as thrown daggers. On a hit, they bite and deal 1d4 damage per round. It takes 1 round to remove a biting shrunken head. Shrunken Head Grenades in Zombie Smoke deal 1d6 damage per round instead.
Special Ability: Smokebomb! Three times per battle, the Zombie Drug Cultist Leader can fill a 20' cube with Zombie Smoke, vanish, and reappear up to 100' away.


Zombie Drug Cult Ethos and Shouting

Whooooooo! Zombie shuffle! Hey look at this! Smokebomb! Oh shit, run!

8. Cult of Geometric Alignment

Swarming, but with carefully measured steps and semaphore-gestures to prevent accidental alignment, the Cult of Geometric Alignment seeks to rearrange the world.

Generic Cultists of Geometric Alignment

Wears: blue robes, runic circular tattoos.
Wields: Stave of Smacking. 1d6 bludgeoning damage.
Special Ability: Shaped Spellcasting. If a shape can be drawn between Cultists, the shape's effects immediately take place. Only the most complicated shape's effects activate. Cultists can be up 50' apart. Effects are 10' high. Precisely measuring alignment during D&D is not practical, so eyeball distances and shapes.

  • Equilateral Triangle: Time inside the triangle is slowed. Creatures move at half speed and take a penalty to all rolls.
  • Square: Gravity inside a square is increased fivefold. Creatures are knocked prone and can only crawl.
  • Regular Pentagon: Magic flames deal 1d6 damage per round to anything inside the pentagon.
  • Regular Hexagon: No spellcasting is possible inside a hexagon. All enchantments are temporarily cancelled.
  • Regular Septagon: Everything inside a septagon is teleported 1d100 miles in a random direction.
  • Regular Octagon: Everything inside the octagon is immediately disintegrated. No Save.

Cult of Geometric Alignment Leader

Wears: white robes, runic circular tattoos.
Wields: Stave of Smacking. 1d6 bludgeoning damage.
Special Ability: Emergency Realignment. Once per round, can teleport up to 50', or teleport a Cultist within 50' up to 50'.

Cult of Geometric Alignment Ethos and Shouting

Fear the True Lines! Obey the Five Postulates! You, a little to the left.


OSR: What Does This Elemental Want?

Here's a significantly updated and revised version of this old post, formatted for the Monster Overhaul. Ooh, so fancy. Full elemental stats and extra tables are currently available on Patreon.



Speak with [Element] is a useful spell. Elementals know things about their local area and can provide many favours. They have personalities and foibles. A lightning trap can disarm itself; a stone door can shuffle out of the way. Bargaining with elementals is a great way to solve problems at low levels.

Asking the great void of Space or the all-encompassing Ocean for a favour is risky, but they can both destroy cities, move mountains, or alter the course of history.


OSR: Ultraviolet Grasslands Session 4 - Escape from the Last Serai

Last session, the PCs carried a cargo of spare bodies from the Porcelain Citadel to the Last Serai at the behest of the eccentric Leopard Lithopane 4-dyad. They forgot to read a secret message passed to them by Laquer Stone 4-body and, shockingly, found themselves at the centre of a polybody conspiracy.
Note: If you haven't read Ultraviolet Grasslands, most of this writeup will seem like psychedelic heavy metal Mad Libs. Even if you have ready UVG it's going to be a mess.
The members of the Cat's Meow Trading Company are:

Granville Porter
Cogflower necromancer lawyer. A mutant human thief/necromancer and warlock of Kon-Fabulate. Equipped with starscape skin, a vibrating thumb, a telephone that talks to dead people, and basic legal training.

Bluelander engineer. A human hunter on the run. Member of the Bluelander Liberation Front.

Gormog the Builder
Safarian merchant adventurer. A half-orc barbarian/fighter and warlock of Kon-Fabulate. Gormog is neither pretty nor clever, but knows a good deal when he sees it.

Exiled pirate liberal. A half-elf barbarian chased out of the Red Lands for their radical views, Clovis has a chainsword and a tattooed map to an aerolith fortress.

Wine vampire priest. A dwarf forcebender wizard and warlock of Deel, Orbital Wargoddess. Full of a strange blend of bloodlust and diplomacy.

A dwarf demon hunter from the Red Lands secretly fighting the most perfidious demon of all: capitalism.

Escape from the Last Serai: Map, Key, and Notes

Granville read the scorch-engraved note a second time. "Thank you for your commitment to the Unified Future. The Animated Tetrology appreciates your service. Flee immediately."

"Ah fridgebiscuits," the necromancer said, shrugging on his rugged outdoor legal regalia. He realized, to his horror, that he was alone in the hotel room. The other members of the Cat's Meow Trading Company had balked at the €30 per week fee, preferring to spend just €10 a week to buy food and sleep on crates of dehydrated potatoes in their warehouse lair. Cursing the parsimonious of his coworkers he prepared for a hasty jog through the Last Serai and an even hastier retreat into the desert.

Sirens began to blare outside the domes of the Last Trading House. Ancient shutters and blast doors slammed closed. Through a pitifully small porthole, Granville could see porcelain walkers rise from their creches and turn their laser blasters on any monobody walking the streets.

"The Last Serai is now under martial law," a buzzing voice repeated. "An unknown dwarven assassin has killed our leader, Angel 22-unity. All monobodies will remain in their rooms until interrogated. Do not attempt to flee. The Last Serai is now under martial law..."

Meanwhile, across the Serai, the other PCs woke up and scrambled for their weapons. Backs sore from sleeping on dehydrated tubers and dusty crates, the listened to the announcements with horror. All eyes turned to Karl and Frieda, the two dwarves.

"Well I didn't do it," said Karl, glaring at the group's newest hire.
"I didn't do it either!" Frieda said, waving her hands in the air. "I didn't have time!"
"Well some dwarf did, and now we're all in the rust," Lapis replied. "I'm going to check the corridor."
Side Note: Granville Porter is in room 1. The rest of the PCs are in room 21. Their mules and carts are in 62; the exit is 66. Also, Clovis' player couldn't make this session, so Clovis was assumed to be doing background elf things.
The bluelander immediately spotted three bodies of Black Helmet 60-plurality, the Last Serai's police polybody, marching towards her. "Hands on the wall, monobody," one of the imposing identical construct-servants shouted. Lapis took one look at their menacing pistols and complied.

"How many mobodies in the room?" one asked. Lapis made up three unconvincing answers in quick succession. Two Black Helmets moved into the room. The PCs hid behind their improvised barricade-beds.

Desperate and afraid, Granville Porter reached out to his patron god Kon-Fabulate, the god of urbanity, industry, and macroengineering. He'd been a good warlock. He'd protected the city; now it needed to protect him. "Kon-Fabulate, carry this message from your servant Granville Porter to your servant Gormog the Builder. Tell him I will meet him at the carts. At the carts. Meet him at the carts." The warlock pressed his hand into some exposed urban wiring, praying that his patron would come to his aid.

Across the city, as Gormog hid behind a crate of defunct light-bulbs, a panel popped off an ancient fusebox. The wires inside rearranged themselves into a facsimile of Granville's face and whispered his message to his fellow warlock. Gormog stared in religious awe.

The rest of the party stared at the approaching Black Helmets with near-religious terror, until Frieda, screaming like a hairy devil, brained one with her Polearm of Halberding. The two remaining Polybodies turned their pistols on her, filling the dwarf with transuranic pellets. Gormog leapt into action and finished one off with his legendary Black City Blade; Lapis' concealed pistol took care of the other.

"Is this what we're doing," Karl said. "Just shooting our way out?"
"Guess so," Lapis replied, looting the bodies and reloading her guns. "Here, have a neural whip."

Back at the low-budget Hostel Fornio, Granville had finished his ritual preparations. He ducked into the lobby (4). Ignoring the hostel's owner, the greasy Don Hedley, he checked the other two guest rooms. One was unmarked, but a handlettered sign adorned the other. It read

Oblong Dusk
Docteure Massese
Medicine and Sensual Massage

Reasoning that a doctor could be handy, and that any good doctor wouldn't be staying at the Hotel Fornio, Granville knocked on the door. A degenerate quarterling with a featureless face, a glowing blue forehead curse-rune, and a very risque silk robe opened the door.

"Wrong profession," Granville said. Oblong Dusk nodded, closed the door, and opened it again, this time wearing a white doctor's coat and plastic toy stethoscope.

"How can the Good Docteure help you?" the quarterling purred. "The Invisible Hand of the Market demands cash up front."
"The city is under martial law. My friends are trapped and will probably be injured. They have all the group's funds and will pay for healing," Granville said, once again cursing the confusing financial system that let Gormog carry the group's pooled resources.
"Acceptable. Let me fetch my things." Oblong closed the door, then opened it again, now carrying a small folding baton.

The pair evaluated their options, then panicked when a fully armed and operational Combat Vome burst through the door to the Hostel Fornio. Its twin blade-arms and reciprocating poison spikes terrified them. Oblong blasted it with a wave of mutilation, leaving Granville to finish it off with a few desperate stabs.

On the other side of the Last Trading House, the PCs were once again fighting for their lives. They'd decided to kick open some rooms to try and find a handcart. They didn't want to leave a valuable cryo-casket behind, but it was too large to haul by hand. Gormog had angered Kon-Fabulate by kicking in a door; his reward was a mountain of cold ash that coated him to the waist. A thorough search by Lapis had revealed a single half-full syringe of some magic liquid. Frieda had found a diused refinery, a handcart... and a large metallic ooze.

"OOOooze!" the dwarf screamed, running down the hall with her stolen handcart.
"Aha!" Lapis said, blasting the approaching mercury wall with her scavenged bolter. Though the crater was impressive, the ooze was unmoved. "Run!"

Wisely, Gormog tossed a fully charged neural whip into the ooze's path. The sparking ring seemed to push the ooze back. The group loaded the sturdy cryo-casket and its mysterious slumbering inhabitant onto the cart, then set off for the gate to the citadel.

In (18), Frieda improvised a hydrocarbon bomb using an old barrel and briefly shattered a gunfight of Bluelanders vs. Black Helmets. Lapis rallied her brethren. With shotgun and molotov, Black City Blade and thrown rocks, the group descended on the polybodies. The four surviving Bluelanders looked to Lapis for leadership.

"Did you kill Angel 22-unity," Lapis asked them. "Are you part of this uprising?"
"We did not, but we are taking over this revolution and or counterrevolution for the Blue Land! Freedom from oppresssion! Death to all polybodies!"
"Right. Splendid. Say, are those shotguns loaded?"
"Some of them are."
"Follow me!"
Back near the Hostel Fornio, Granville and Oblong decided to cut through the (much more successful) medical practice of Doctor Gontagopolis. They thoroughly looted his pharmacy (8), then crept into his waiting room.

Doctor Gontagopolis' blue-haired gum-chewing receptionist idly read a magazine, flanked by two obedient murder-golems.

"Susan," Oblong hissed, hand on her baton.
"D'ya have an appointment... bitch?" Susan drawled.
"We need to see the Doctor. Is he in?"
"Oh, he's in, and he's busy. Why don't you take a seat?" Susan said, flopping a chrome double-barreled shotgun onto her desk.

The two medical professionals stared each other down. Granville quietly took a large paper-wrapped unmarked package from his pocket, tore off a tab, and lobbed it at the receptionist. He grabbed his new ally and ducked. Susan fired.

The gel-explosive goop inside the package detonated. The waiting room filled with flame. Oblong and Granville were flung into the pharmacy, which also caught on fire. Stumbling and smouldering, they staggered into the dark arcade (5).

Susan, her flesh burnt away, her steel high heels crunching on broken glass, her red eyes burning, her immaculate steel hair undamaged, marched impassively after them.
Side Note: the instant venomous rivalry between Susan the receptionist and Docture Oblong Dusk was immediately improvised by the player. No prompt required. Also, "docteure" is pronounced to rhyme with "couture".
Meanwhile, the rest of the Cat's Meow Trading Company was flummoxed by some toxic water (15). "I could make a tunnel using wall of force," Karl suggested, "but I think it's still toxic."
"Do you think this mysterious glowing syringe is an antidote?" Lapis said, offering the item to the group's wizards.
"Only one way to find out," Karl said, nonchalantly injecting it into his neck. The entire group scream-winced.

Karl began to glow. His muscles rippled. His beard went solid black, his shoulders squared, his eyes glittered with inner fire. His skin became the colour of lead. He felt fantastic.

Side Note: Karl had injected a batch of dubious batch of Save-or-Die super-solider serum. Luckily, at level 1, he'd passed his Save. The serum let him reroll all his stats and take the higher result. With Str. 14, Dex. 14, and Con. 18, he certainly felt like a super-solider. The accompanying mutation of lead skin means he can't run, jump, or swim. In a hasty escape, that's a significant downside.
Protected by the wall of force and pursued by the ooze (who'd circled around, picked up several crates of now-glowing lightbulbs, and renewed its pursuit), the group stumbled through the Tru-Velour Serpentine Fleshlounge and ran into a tollbooth. Its angry operator, Quint, insisted on blasting them with a laser. Its (proudly announced) 3-second charging period gave the group plenty of time to dodge, but they worried they wouldn't have enough time to make it across the room.

Still, it was worth a shot. Everyone made it, even the Bluelanders, but Karl lumbered behind. The glowing red laser cast ominous shadows around the wizard's leaden form. "Two... one..."

"Wait!" Frieda said, sticking her head out from cover. "I am the dwarf who killed Angel 22-unity. I surrender!"
"1... 1... 1..." the laser repeated, as Quint squinted at the dwarf.
"You are?," the tollkeeper said. "And I've captured you?"
"Yes, you're a hero. I surrender."
"Walk forwards with your hands up."
"Actually," Frieda said, as Karl finally lumbered into cover, "I unsurrender. Byyeeeeee!"
"No! FIRE!" Quint shouted, but it was too late. The group had slipped past the vigilant tollmaster.

Finnian MacManus
After a refreshing drink of healing moloko drencrum the Giving Cow Milk Bar, Granville and Oblong opened the door to the next room and were attacked by inflatable tigers.

"Why are there inflatable tigers!?" Granville screamed. Oblong didn't panic, and use fleshcrafting to induce a pleasant euphoria a rubberbodied cat. The others held back, deeply confused. The Docteure rode it (well, more straddled it) for the next few rooms until Granville decided to deflate it for safety reasons. It tried to chew his throat out as it died.

Bloody, tired, and miserable, the necromancer finally met up with the rest of the group in room (49).

The rest of the escape was a moderate farce. They were attacked by cultists of Satur the Blood Good, poisoned by mimic diplo-cats, and stole an expensive para-radio set. Granville was shot in the shoulder by a a hidden bounty hunter's rifle and only saved (from 9 Fatal Wounds) by his docteure-friend and a stolen first aid kit.

"Thank Deel that's over," Oblong said. Karl lit up at the discovery that their new accomplice was a coreligionist; the rest of the group glowered.

A terrible grinding noise and a shower of sparks from above dispelled any notions of an easy escape. Three chainsaw-wielding necrocultists descended on ropes. While two fought (ineffectually) with hedge trimmers on chains, their leader wielded a two-handed circular rock saw... and rode it like a motorcycle. Combat drugs also kept him functional until his head was lopped off. The group agreed that this was awesome and looted his weapons and drugs. Luckily they sustained only a few minor cuts in the fight.

Granville, still very low on blood, repaid the group's kindness by picking the lock to the main door and, while waiting for the group to marshal their mules, finding a one-person porcelain walker in a storage vault.

The Cat's Meow Trading Company staggered into the early afternoon haze. Low on supplies, with four extra Bluelanders (plus four zombie porters) and a great deal of loot, they were still trapped in relatively hostile territory. Where would they go? Would they try to follow Clovis' map to the rumoured aerolith and die in uncharted territory? Try to bluff their way into the Porcelain Citadel? Hope to find supplies on the road to the Waystone Graveyard? Or almost certainly descend into cannibalism and madness in the Death Facing Passage?

Find out next time.