Friday, November 28, 2014

Second Black Bestiary Art Preview: Four Horrors

Black Friday, Black Tokyo artwork.

Pictured are four work in progress images of various critters from the Black Bestiary. At top left, you've got a Tottori Horror, clockwise from it is the Dofoku, the Peach Idol and the H-Child. Of them all, only the Peach Idol is a potential allly. The Tottori Horror is an implacable physical threat, the Dofoku is an undead master-manipulator, and the H-Child is a seductress type.

It's been a good year for Bestiaries for me.
I've uploaded two monster books to Mark for immediate release, both focusing on Heavy Future. We're working on a combined, full color print on demand version of the three volume Nemesis Bestiary series, with new content. Hopefully that'll be available before the first of the year or early in the spring. Right now I'm revising the monsters from Guide to the Known Galaxy to make them fully Pathfinder compatible, and having a ton of fun doing it.I've revised like 12 of the 17 or 18 critters in the Guide to the Known Galaxy, and added a handful more. I expect this Lifespawn specific bestiary to top 40-50 beasties before all's said and done. I've got a ton of art for it, already, commissioned stuff I've been gathering in the background over the last couple years, in addition to some good stock and some re-purposed art.

Beyond just monster books, John and I are going to do a soucebook for Idol Singers and bards in general in Black Tokyo after Black Bestiary hits. That's another one that should be fun, and will be one of the many books that leads into the eventual cyberpunk Black Tokyo content we both want to explore in 2015.

Also, speaking of Black Friday, I just saw the news this morning, and there's a national protest going on. If you can avoid it, don't do your shopping today, put it off for a week or so. The intent is to showcase the purchasing power of black Americans, and their rightful rage after the Furgeson bullshit. Anyway, I don't know the race of any of you readers, but I' do know that most of you care about justice, at least to the extent you read RPGs about badass pro-choice pagans fighting evil. So if you can, stay home today- my white ass is doing so.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

First Black Bestiary Image from Anthony Cournoyer

Remember a couple of posts ago, when I mentioned that Anthony Cournoyer would be doing some new artwork for Black Tokyo's  Black Bestiary monster book?

Well, yesterday I received the first of many images for the project. The first thing he chose to illustrate is the fearsome Bake-Kujira. I love it- I wasn't able to afford artwork for this monster in the first edition of Black Tokyo, and it's such an iconic, threatening creature, I regretted that. Being able to field a spectacular image of a high level monster feels good. And this monster is one that I've always wanted Anthony to illustrate- it's such a specific critter that it's difficult to find appropriate stock art, and the force of the image- this thing breaching and flipping backwards over a whaling vessel, was something I felt suited to Anthony's very cartoony style. I was right. Look at that pretty fucking thing.

Anyway, here are the Bake-Kujira's stats, if that image inspires you to put him into your campaign.
Blessed Be,

Bake-Kujira (CR 18)
Gargantuan CE Undead (water)
XP 156,300
Init +1 Senses Darkvision 120 ft, Perception +2
Languages None
Aura Renderflame (50% concealment within 10 ft radius; creatures within 30 ft are nauseated; FORT DC 21 reduces this to the sickened condition)

AC 32 Touch 7 Flatfooted 31 (-4 size, +1 DEX, + 25 natural)
HP 28d8+28 hp (154 HP)
FORT +11 REF +12 WILL +20
Immune undead traits
Channel Resistance 20

Fly 80 ft (good) Swim 40 ft
Melee +29/+24/+19/+14 slam (10d10+12 bludgeoning plus 3d6 fire plus staggered (FORT DC 22 negates)
Attack Options Tail Sweep (automatic slam attack against all targets within a 60 ft cone; REF DC 18 for half damage)
Special Actions Swallow Whole (5d10+12 bludgeoning plus 6d6 fire, AC 23, HP 15)
Sonardirge (60 ft radius, paralyzed for 2d6 rounds, WILL DC 22 (DC 28 submerged) reduces the effect to a -2 morale penalty on attack rolls, skill checks and saving throws for 1 round)

Str 35 Dex 13 Con – Int 2 Wis 15 Cha 7
Base Atk +21 CMB +38 CMD 49 (cannot be tripped)
Feats Cleave, Critical Focus, Exhausting Critical, Great Fortitude, Greater Overrun, Iron Will, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Overrun, Intimidating Prowess, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Staggering Critical, Tiring Critical, Toughness
Skills Fly +28, Intimidate +27, Swim +40 (+8 racial bonus on Fly and Swim checks) 

Environment any water or coastal
Organization solitary
Treasure incidental

Special Abilities
Renderflame (SU)
While above the waterline, the ghostly whale is wreathed in a constant cloud of flickering black flames, which burn like burning oil and stink of whale lanterns. The additional fire damage added by the Renderflame aura does not apply to attacks made while the Bake-kujira is submerged.

The Bake-kujira’s Renderflame aura fills a 10 ft radius around the creature with cloying black smoke that grants all creatures within the aura 50% concealment, including the Bake-kujira itself. Creatures coming within 30 ft of the Bake-kujira must succeed at a DC 21 FORT Save or become nauseated; success indicates the creature is merely sickened. This effect persists as long as a creature remains in the Renderflame aura and for 1d4 rounds after it leaves the area.

Sonardirge (SU)
The Bake-kujira’s cry is the final plaintive wail of all dying cetaceans. As a full round action, the ghostly whale can emit a mournful cry. All living creatures within 60 ft of the ghost whale, who can clearly hear its cry must succeed at a DC 22 WILL Save or become paralyzed with guilt, terror and grief for 2d6 rounds. Those who sucessfully resist the effect suffer a –2 morale penalty on attack rolls, skill checks and saving throws for one round.

            The undead whale’s cry is even more debilitating when both the creature and its victim are fully submerged; unholy subsonics sap the victim’s mind and crush their will. If both the undead whale and its victim are fully submerged when the Bake-kujira uses this ability the WILL Save DC increases to DC 28. This is a mind-influencing, fear effect.

            Swallow Whole (EX)
            The Bake-kujira does not have a traditional bite attack. Instead, the skeletal whale can activate its Swallow Whole special ability after any successful melee slam attack made during a charge.

            Tail Sweep (EX)
            As a full round action, the Bake-kujira can sweep its mighty, skeletal tail. Doing so allows it to automatically hit with its slam attack against all creatures within a 60 ft cone. Creatures within the area may attempt a DC 18 REF save for half damage.

            Japan is one of the few nations still allowed to hunt whales. The ancient trade dies a little bit more each day, with each captain who goes bankrupt, with each fisherman who retires, with each boat that is dry-docked. The killings do not stop though: despite legal restrictions, UN mandated whaling grounds, despite Greenpeace protests. During the whaling season, great beasts die drowning in air and pierced with explosive harpoons. Once rendered, and processed the ruined bones sink to the deep. Forgotten.

            The Bake-kujira are a dark legend which date back to the feudal era; they are blamed for lost ships and drowned crew. The ghostly whales glide soundlessly through the ocean deeps, breeching only rarely for a chance at revenge. They move through the sky, hidden behind clouds, dark and rotting shapes against the silver moon. Bake-kujira pods drift through the Black Else’s seas, guarding submerged toriii between the realm. They are common to seas throughout the Tatakama, appearing most often on nights when the Great Tree is obscured by cold fog.
            Bake-kujira resemble the decaying hulks of long dead Wright, sperm and baleen whales. Their rancid, blubbery flesh hangs off their bones in ragged sheets, and their skulls are clearly visible through the rotting tissue of their faces. They stink of oil, fouling the air like a rendering plant. When especially enraged, the dim-witted monstrosities burn with a flickering grey/black flame, which belches stinking smoke into the night sky.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Coming Soon: Advanced Tech

My last few PDFs have been a series of tech books, Advanced Armory, Advanced Arsenal and Advanced Edge. They're less imaginative writing- nice, crunchy tech books focusing on different gear.

I've been writing a series of technology guides for Pathfinder- it does fantasy well, but most of my stuff is sci-fantasy or cross genre, and I don't have a good baseline for the high tech aspects. I like aspects of their PFSRD tech stuff but it mostly focuses on tech as rare artifacts from a long vanished culture, not as current day, common place and still evolving consumer and milary tech. 

Like I said, It's less imaginative writing, but I needed to do it- I pulled a bunch of stuff from the D20 Modern system, modernized it, some stuff from other sources, and a lot of stuff I just made up myself. Getting this ground work laid out sets me up for more imaginitve stuff with my campaign worlds, since I've got the basic gear questions settled. I'm still working on my Black Tokyo, Heavy Future and Otherverse America settings.... the next year I want to revise Otherverse America to be a fully Pathfinder compatible modern magic plus tech setting, and I want to finally get started on my He-Man inspired setting, and since that's sci-fantasy and Otherverse America is mostly military sci-fi, these last few PDFs have been time well spent. 

The last book in this series is Advanced Tech, the cover of which you can see at right. It's a pretty fun one, the biggest of the Advanced sourcebooks- focusing on every gadget and bit of science fiction tech that wasn't a form of body armor or man-portable weapon. It's got everything from computers to personal flight systems and commercial mass-transit teleporters. It was a fun one to write. Anyway, it'll be up on RPGnow within the next few days, as part of a bundle with the other three Advanced sourcebooks and the Polymer Path. Combined, that's 150 pages or so of sci-fi goodness for your Pathfinder Roleplaying Game campaigns.

Also, expect The Black Bestiary soon, and the Heavy Future bestiary I previewed last post a while before that. I'm going to start laying out the Heavy Future bestiary tonight. I would have done it last night, but I've been down with a stomach flu, and spent the last couple days doing nothing but reading webcomics and trying to keep down toast.

Talk to you later,

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Creature Preview: The Overlord Dragon (CR 20)

Okay, I am deliberately not mentioning anything about Tuesday's elections, because I want to kill the fuck out of a whole lot of motherfuckers right the fuck now. Just....FUUUUUCCCCKKKK!

Okay, now that that is out of the way, while I'm waiting on the final Black Bestiary artwork, and some artwork for Advanced Tech, I'm putting together a mid-length bestiary
for Heavy Future. It was originally just a collection of random monster stat blocks, and then a few critters into the manuscript, a pattern started emerging. Most of these creatures are space-born threats- either predators lurking in hyperspace itself, or capable of surviving (and hunting) in space almost indefinitely. There's a few interesting planet bound alien animals, too, but most of the focus is on space.

Right about this time, I realized that I'd already begun the process of updating the Lifechain stuff from my 2008 release, Guide to the Known Galaxy, by including a Lifespawn subtype in Closed: Monsters of the Army of God. I could build on that, update some of the creatures from Guide for use with Pathfinder, which is something I've wanted to do for years now, and introduce them to Heavy Future, and the wider Otherverse Games multiverse. Plus, adding Lifespawn apex predators to Heavy Future just makes that campaign more dangerous and that much more interesting.

Last night, I revised the Overlord Dragon. I did a pretty radical revamp on the creature. Not the least I changed his appearance slightly. My original design was eyeless and more typically draconic, but I had this wonderful Rick Hershey (Standard Stock Art) from Empty Room Studios. I've loved this image since I bought- it has an almost claymation-esque solidity and three dimensionality to it- and I've been wanting to use it for something for a while now. I redesigned the Overlord Dragon, retaining its core, as an imperious, cold and physically powerful threat, but changing almost every mechanical aspect of the monster. I retained its utterly unbalanced, crazy deadly breath weapon though, since that was the most fun part of the old, D20 Modern based Overlord Dragon.

Take a look at the new stat-block, and the Lifespawn subtype as it will appear in this upcoming bestiary, which I'm tentatively calling The Dark Star Bestiary.

Overlord Dragon (CR 20)
Colossal LE Dragon (lifespawn)
XP 307,200
Init +4 Senses Darkvision 1,500 ft, lowlight vision, scent, Lifesense 5,000 miles, perceive unencrypted wifi/radio/television signals, Perception +   
Languages Celestial, Draconic, Galactic Common, Infernal, Truespeech  
Aura Radioactivity (Highly Irradiated area, 60 ft), Frightful Presence (1,500 ft, WILL DC 29 negates, plus Fearsome Violence)

AC 38 Touch 14 Flatfooted 38 (-8 size, +4 deflection, +32 natural)
HP 23d12 + 276 hp (425 HP)
Damage Reduction 15/adamantine
Regeneration 5 (natural attacks and spell-like or psi-like abilities wielded by Lifespawn)
FORT +25 REF +13 WILL +18
Immune Cold, Electricity Fire, Radiation, Draconic Immunities
Resist Acid 10, Sonic 10 SR 23
Weaknesses Lifecount 5

Spd 60 ft Flight 120 ft (average) Zero G Flight 4,500 ft
Melee eight +30 claws (4d6+15 slashing, 20/x2 plus rend) plus +30 tail whip (6d6+7 bludgeoning, 20/x2, 60 ft maximum range)
Ranged two +15 Starbreaker Missiles (12d6 energy, 20/x4, 5,000 ft range increment)
Special Attacks Rend (2 claws, 4d6+15 slashing), Star Fury Breath Weapon (30 ft x 10,000 ft line, 20d12 energy plus radioactivity and communication distruption, usable every 1d4 hours)
Special Qualities Draconic Panoply of Weapons, No Breath, Greater Starflight
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 13th Concentration +18) 
Constant – Mage Armor

Str 41 Dex 11 Con 35 Int 21 Wis 20 Cha 22
Base Atk +23 CMB +46 (+48 bull-rush and trip) CMD 56 (60 vs trip/bull-rush)  
Feats Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Great Cleave, Fearsome Violence, Fly-By Attack, Greater Bull-Rush, Greater Trip, Hover, Improved Initiative, Improved Bull-Rush, Improved Trip, Power Attack
Skills Acrobatics +26, Climb +41, Computer Use +31, Craft (visual arts) +31, Fly +33, Intimidate +32, Knowledge (history, the planes, technology) all at +31, Perception +31, Sense Motive +31

Environment deep space or extraplanar (hyperspace)
Organization usually solitary, sometimes accompanied by a single offspring (Young Simple template applied twice) or various half-dragon servitors, valets and bodyguards
Treasure triple standard (in lair)

Special Abilities
            Draconic Panoply of Weapons (EX)
            The Overlord Dragon has the cruel intellect common to all dragons, but has evolved potent, purely physical defenses rather innate mystical power. The Overlord Dragon’s natural weapon attacks ignore an object’s Hardness and are considered both magical, adamantine and cold iron weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

            Fearsome Violence (EX)
            The Overlord Dragon’s Frightful Presence ability has a range of 1,500 ft, but it otherwise functions as the standard monster ability. The Overlord Dragon has the Fearsome Violence feat. This means that opponents must attempt a new WILL Save against the dragon’s Frightful Presence, even if they have previously saved, at +1 to the base WILL Save DC, each time in a combat encounter that the Overlord Dragon slays a creature.

            Hyperspatial Charge (EX)
            The Overlord Dragon may make a full attack after a charge when flying using its Zero G Flight ability or traveling through hyperspace under its own power.

Starbreaker Missile Array (EX)
The Overlord Dragons have evolved biological processes similar to missile launch rails, as a consequence of their Lifechained (possibly Genesis bloodline) heritage. An array of bio-mechanical missile racks are visible on the underside of the dragon’s body, just fore its strange genitals.

            The dragon’s Starbreaker missiles disrupt reality on a sub-quantum level, completely severing the bonds between quarks. There is usually nothing left of a starship caught in one of these blasts, not even drifting atoms! Damage inflicted by Starbreaker Missiles is an unspecified energy type, not subject to energy resistance or immunity. A target destroyed by these missiles is completely disintegrated, along with all their gear.

            Star Fury (SU)
            The Overlord Dragon’s breath weapon can boil the atmosphere away from an earth-like planet. The Overlord Dragon’s Star Fury breath weapon is a 30 ft wide by 10,000 ft long line, allowing it to easily be used as stellar distances. The Overlord Dragon can choose to breathe a shorter line if it wishes, if it wishes to fight conservatively.

            The damage inflicted by the Star Fury breath weapon is an unspecified energy type, not subject to energy resistance or immunity. Objects and creatures destroyed by this breath weapon are completely disintegrated, along with all their gear.

            The area affected by this breath weapon is considered a Highly Irradiated area and remains so for 1d4 minutes after the blast.  The breath weapon also generates a fearsome electromagnetic pulse, which can terminally disrupt planetary communications. Electronic communication is impossible for 1d4 minutes for a 100 mile radius around the blast site.

            Overlord Dragons control an empire that stretches across a hundred-score worlds separated by almost incalculable distances, even when traveled via hyperspace. Individual clans might separate themselves from their nearest kin by 10,000 parsecs or more, and the great, fusion-hearted dragons are known to travel the endless gulf between galaxies, and cross the planes to exercise their authority. From the moment they hatch, these monstrous and regal beings are taught that they are the highest form of life the galaxy has to offer, and that all lesser beings are their subjects. They are trained to be benevolent rulers, forging peace and expanding the range of civilization and culture, but they are first and foremost: rulers. A culture designed by the dragons glorifies the great beasts. An Overlord Dragon’s subjects are well cared for, well loved pets, but over the generations are cunningly bred and culled into their inhuman master’s ideal of beauty.
            The dragons have a rigid social hierarchy and clearly defined government. Overlord Dragons are born in deep space, and soar unaided through the stars. Young dragons only make planet-fall after several millennia of tempering, and are only allowed to carve out a planetary lair for themselves after proving themselves to their elders. Young dragons protect hyperspace travelers not out of generosity, but to blood themselves against other Lifespawn and win glory. Teen dragons are only considered adults when they successfully bring down a suitably powerful opponent, and hatchlings compete fiercely for the opportunity to battle one of these legendary opponents.
            Overlord Dragon culture is imperial and expansionistic. Strict controls are placed upon the number of dragons which can reside on a single continent or on a single world. When breeding or immigration forces the dragon population past this quota, a wing of the great creatures takes flight, in search of a new world to conquer and transform. Overlord Dragons, for all their power, are few in number. Most spacers consider them nothing more than terrifying legends; their holdings are distant enough from the main hyperspace lanes that few outsiders ever see an Overlord Dragon’s fiefdom.
            Overlord Dragons have rejected much of the sorcerous might of what they consider ‘lesser breeds’ of Dragon. They have instead concentrated on the purely physical, the practical and the quantifiable rather than the unseen. The race is atheistic and coldly logical. The dragons themselves are keenly intelligent, and many consider themselves great artists or artisans, practicing ancient techniques that predate humanity’s evolution by uncounted millennia. Many of the most influential and feared Overlord Dragons are master technologists, who have augmented their natural might with cybernetics, powered armor and advanced, artifact level weapontry of their own design. The Overlord Dragon presented here is a young specimen, still arrogant enough to reject mortal technology in favor of their own, raw physicality. 

Overlord Dragons are lean, sinewy dragons without wings to mar their clean, serpentine lines. They have eight powerful limbs ending in talons with a monomolecular edge more than able to shred a starship’s hull in a single pass. Their scales are the crystal blue of oxygenated sky, and golden iridescence plays over their powerful bodies, produced by the star-like nuclear forces contained in their hearts.

            Like many Lifespawn, the Overlord Dragons are intensely colorful, decorative species. Their bodies are studded with luminous eye spots and strange orifices, which vent the glowing plasma that is a by-product of the dragon’s fusion powered metabolism. When addressing their planetary supplicants, the Overlord Dragons allow themselves to be intricately painted in a rainbow of colors and complex patterns; some paint schemes are so intricate they must be applied by specially built robot expert systems. 

The Lifespawn Subtype
Creatures with the Lifespawn subtype are genetically connected to a galaxy spanning eco-system. They are extremely powerful and have a connection to the enigmatic beings that forged the current universe. Creatures with this subtype are often referred to as Lifechained creatures or by the name of their particular genetic lineage, such as Nemesis Lifespawn or Gazelle Lifespawn.

This is an abbreviated treatment of Lifespawn, who are fully described in Guide to the Known Galaxy (Otherverse Games, 2008), and reflects the author’s intended revisions to how Lifespawn powers work.

·        Lifespawn receive Darkvision 60 ft and gain the Scent special quality. Lifespawn can sense the distance to and general direction of all other creatures with this subtype within one mile. Some Lifespawn have even greater Lifesense radius.
Location: Senses Format: Darkvision 60 ft, scent, Lifesense 1 mile

·        Lifespawn are immune to non-magical disease and poison.
Location: Immunities Format: Lifechained Immunities

·        Lifespawn have a statistic called a Lifecount, which measures the relative strength of their bloodline. Lifespawn suffer a penalty equal to their Lifecount on saving throws against effects caused by other creatures with this subtype. Immunities to a particular effect, such as poison or disease, does not apply against effects caused by other Lifespawn.
      Location: Weaknesses Format: Lifecount X

·        Some, but not all Lifespawn, are capable of spaceflight. These Lifespawn gain the No Breath and Greater Starflight special qualities. Lifespawn typically fly as fast as a top of the line military starship; in space, they gain a Zero G Fight speed of at least 500 ft (one space scale square). Lifespawn can enter hyperspace by traveling in real space using their Zero G Flight for at least 1 minute (10 rounds) to build up speed.
Location: Special Qualities Format: No Breath, Greater Starflight



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Update: November Projects

This will be a brief post. I'm just about to head out to work, and thought I'd update everybody about my upcoming projects.

First and most important. If you're in Texas, go to the polls before 7 pm tonight. I just got done voting and I'm hoping the election is going to be close enough that Wendy Davis actually has a chance. If you read this at work, go help her out on her way home. Texas really, really needs more pro-choicers in power.

Second, Black Tokyo! Anthony Cournoyer (a longtime Skortched Urf Studios artist) is starting work on his illustrations for the Black Bestiary this week. I don't have a firm ETA on his art, but expect it fairly quickly. He's fast and dedicated, so an amazingly illustrated, absolutely beautiful bestiary will be coming at you before the end of the year.

I'm getting the last art together for a final book in the "Advanced" sourcebook line, Advanced Tech. This updates and expands on a lot of the gear from D20 Future and my various sourcebooks, and updates it all to Pathfinder. Expect that out in a week or so.

Finally, I'm working on a mid-length bestiary for Heavy Future, focusing mostly on spacers and alien predators. It's already pretty fun, and while I'm not quite sure the direction I'll go with it yet, it's been enjoyable to right and I'm proud of what I have to date.

Blessed Be,