Saturday, June 15, 2024


Monster and Knight - Angelina Zhogina

This game features a small amount of "perma-death". Each player is allowed to create one Apprentice character, ever. If an Apprentice is killed or otherwise lost, from that point on, the player can only create Mercenary characters. This status is permanent, and carried across between sessions, between campaigns, forever. One player, one Apprentice, never another.

Players don't need to use their single Apprentice for the first character they make.


The discovery and attainment of spells is a costly, difficult and dangerous endeavour. The rewards still out-weigh the risks! Power to rival the gods, embedded in one's own mind, a crystalline weapon of thought with which to remake the world...

So, why then, would a Wizard go to all that trouble, to teach a spell to an Apprentice? Why put all that effort, to create a glorified errand-runner and potential future rival?

To find out, one need only ask the previous Apprentice.

Oh wait, you can't.

  1. Blasted to smithereens
  2. Melted by own bodily fluids
  3. Indistinct gurgling from the flesh mound
  4. Catapulted into sun
  5. Crumbled to dust
  6. Aged 100 years
  7. Vomited up a clone, fought to death
  8. Tree
  9. Bones escaped
  10. Blood-into-cheese
  11. Endless sleep
  12. Wolves
  13. Thinks they are a teapot
  14. Bees
  15. Shrunk to size of a mouse, found by cat (very tiny closed-coffin funeral)
  16. Pondered too hard, trapped in orb
  17. Flattened
  18. Stuck in time-loop
  19. Seems fine, Wizard just shakes head sadly
  20. Wizard died, Apprentice became Wizard, won't say what happened

Once a Wizard has an Apprentice though, there's usually an errand to send them on.

  1. Fetch my good robes from my previous tower. No, there's no reason I'm not going to get them myself.
  2. Take this weird creature in a jar and find some way to kill it.
  3. Oh, that old thing? I borrowed it off a colleague. Some time ago. You should go give it back.
  4. Just find some way to make yourself useful, I don't know.
  5. Bread, milk, dragon blood, eggs.
  6. Get out of here, I can't stand the sight of you... begone!

Apprentices start with:

  • 1 spell, and any required components
  • 5 useful items
  • 1 backpack (to put items in)
  • Boots
  • No money
  • 2 arms
  • 2 legs (to put the boots on)
  • 1 soul, completely their own, free of any sins


What's the difference between a Farmer, a Soldier, a Mercenary and a Bandit?

A Soldier is a Farmer after the harvest fails.

A Mercenary is a Soldier that hasn't been paid.

A Bandit is a Mercenary that still hasn't been paid...

Mercenaries start with:

  • 1 weapon of choice
  • 5 useful items
  • 1 shield, or another useful item
  • 1 backpack
  • Boots
  • No money
  • 2 arms
  • 2 legs
  • 1 soul, completely their own, free of any (major) sins

When rolling on the following tables, use any dice size from d4 to d30. Larger results may be a little weirder than the lower entries.

Useful Items

A new character knows how to use every Useful Item they start out with.

  1. Dagger
  2. Rope
  3. Lantern
  4. Shovel
  5. Crowbar
  6. Lockpicks
  7. Axe
  8. Bucket
  9. Fishing rod
  10. Hammer and nails
  11. Bandages
  12. Bomb
  13. Spear
  14. Grapple-hook
  15. Glowing crystal
  16. Towel
  17. Pickaxe
  18. Sewing kit
  19. Pliers and wire
  20. Potion
  21. Beartrap
  22. Telescope
  23. Magnifying glass
  24. Clock
  25. Lodestone
  26. Mortar and pestle
  27. Lute
  28. Mirror
  29. Paper, quill, ink
  30. Alchemist's tape


If you know a spell, you can always cast it. Always. However, there are likely to be unfortunate side-effects to the spell if you are:

Distracted, drunk, drugged, sleepy, wrestling, sick, poisoned, taking cover, bleeding, engaged in a battle of puissance with an enemy wizard, on fire, swimming, hand-cuffed, upside-down, inside-out, or dead.


  1. Create [Material]
  2. Shape [Material]
  3. Speak with [Material]
  4. Enchant [Material]
  5. [Material] Blast
  6. Animate [Material]
  7. Blessing of [Material]
  8. Curse of [Material]
  9. [Material] Form
  10. Transmute [Material] to [Material]
  11. Summon Creature of [Material] and [Material]
  12. Destroy [Material]
  13. Conjure [Material]
  14. Command [Material]
  15. [Material] Divination
  16. Extract [Material]
  17. Weapon of [Material]
  18. Wall of [Material]
  19. Sphere of [Material]
  20. [Material] Shield
  21. Teleport [Material]
  22. Eye of [Material]
  23. Plague of [Material]
  24. Song of [Material] and [Material]
  25. Cloud of [Material]
  26. [Material] Fist
  27. Endless [Material]
  28. [Material] Steed
  29. Sanctum of [Material]
  30. [Material] Portal


  1. Fire
  2. Water
  3. Earth
  4. Air
  5. Metal
  6. Plant
  7. Light
  8. Shadow
  9. Flesh
  10. Bone
  11. Blood
  12. Poison
  13. Lightning
  14. Ice
  15. Glass
  16. Void
  17. Dream
  18. Thought
  19. Filth
  20. Soul
  21. Bug
  22. Beast
  23. Oil
  24. Hair
  25. Music
  26. Thunder
  27. Ink
  28. Paper
  29. Treasure
  30. Magic

Friday, November 24, 2023

The Horrors of Halfway

I've played a lot of Monsterhearts, and certainly enjoyed it, even though I certainly was doing it wrong.

But I've got no patience for games that reward poor choices for the sake of genre conventions. "Oh good for you, you did the trope thing, have a shiny sticker."

No. We do the trope things, because the trope things are fun. There is no need for any other reason!

Even worse, are games that force players to take those actions, removing agency for... no real purpose. The whole point of these silly elf games we play is to take actions and make decisions. Why do we play Apocalypse World, instead of watching Mad Max? Why do we play Monsterhearts, instead of reading Twilight? What harm is there in doing these games wrong?

The punchline of Monsterhearts is certainly the "Growing Up" moves, the pretence that becoming an adult somehow magically makes us... better? Maybe we might have coping strategies or healthier mindsets, or just make saner choices without the slurry of hormones. But we don't get magical abilities to deal with situations properly. And the levers of adolescence never truly go away.

I've played a lot of Monsterhearts incorrectly, by accident. These are the rules I'd use to play Monsterhearts incorrectly, on purpose.


  • As a player, your character is never forced to do anything.
  • You will be frequently and strongly encouraged to do The Wrong Thing (a.k.a. the trope-y, interesting and entertaining option), but are never, ever forced to do so.
  • If you instead take the safe, sensible and/or strategic option, you'll probably end up with:
    • Major mechanical penalties
    • Worse choices down the line
    • Or all of the above
  • Don't sweat the decision too badly. Suffering will probably ensue whether you do it, or don't do it.
  • Basically we are here to torment these characters. Fun!


  • Each character will probably have to choose one or two things. They can make these choices immediately, or just before they use them.
  • If they have never used an ability, or it doesn't do what they thought, they can have a do-over
  • Each Skin has set values for the four stats. This is how you appear, and appearances can be deceiving. Once, ever, the player can swap any two stats. This is their true nature.


  • Your character starts off In Control. This probably won't last.
  • If you Lose Control, things start to slip. Your character still does roughly what you intend, but anyone else at the table can suggest an entertaining and interesting course of action. If you take it, regain Control.
  • If you don't take it, Endure. This won't ever force you to take that action.
  • The next time a course of action is suggested, it just needs to be entertaining or interesting.
  • The third time and onwards, it has to be terrible.


  • If an opportunity comes up to satisfy a Drive, and you don't take it, add 1 to your Tally.
  • The next time an opportunity comes up, you have -Tally to all rolls until you get out of that situation.
  • If you really go all out satisfying a Drive, clear the Tally, and ignore all of your Drives for a little while.
  • If you already have 3 Drives and gain another, lose Control, and remove whichever Drive is middling: the one you have satisfied a bit, and resisted a bit. Not the one you always indulge, or the one you always abstain.


Spend a String on someone for:
  • +/- 1 to their rolls, or your rolls against them
  • +1 Harm to whatever you are hitting them with
  • Force them to Endure in order to carry out a certain action
  • Put them in or out of Control, for a time

You can spend up to 3 Strings at once.

Extra Sources of Strings
Take a String on someone when:
  • They break a promise
  • They go out of their way to not make a promise
  • You forgive them for something, when you really shouldn't
  • You learn a secret, and keep it for later


In addition to the obvious, the following also count as Acts of Intimacy

  • Tending to wounds, with subtext of any kind. Heals 1 Harm, gives the healer 1 String
  • Witnessing transformations, painful or otherwise
  • Biting


Everyone in the mortal world knows that Vampires and Werewolves and the rest are all real. There's no conspiracy keeping them hidden, that's dumb. And besides, the vampire council dealt with the Vampiric King Ascendant. They're on our side. The Vampire King's low-yield nuclear annihilation proves that.

Also, God has gone missing. The Angels are all still dealing with that one. They never found the body.

Try these lines on for size:
  • "The new transfer student is so hot. I heard he's a Vampire."
  • "Well of course you made quarterback over me, you're a Werewolf."
  • "Oh come off it, it doesn't hurt her, she's a Ghoul."
  • "Just because you're an Angel doesn't mean you're better than us!"
  • "Hey buddy. You got, uh, you got something for me? Way I heard it, you've got a bit of a firey demeanour."
  • "I know you Witches are all just like us, but it just makes us all a bit uncomfortable when you're doing that sort of thing in public. It's important to respect other people's boundaries."


Roll 2d6+stat. On a 6- we end up in [[#The Mess]]

Entice (+Hot)

10+, take a String on them, they choose a reaction
7-9, they can give you a String, or choose a reaction
  • Give themselves to you
  • Promise you something you want
  • Lose their composure

Coerce (+Hot)

Only works on NPCs. Requires a bribe, a threat, or a motive.
10+, they do what you want
7-9, they'll do what you want, if you have what they want

Manipulate (+Cold)

10+, you choose
  • They lose Control
  • They lose a String on you, if they had none you get a String on them
  • They look bad in front of peers
7-9, you both choose one from the above list

Endure (+Cold)

10+, you do the thing anyway
7-9, if you still want to do it, the Director offers you a worse outcome, hard bargain, or an ugly choice

Attack (+Bloody)

10+, deal them Harm and they need to Endure before they can do anything
7-9, deal them Harm and choose one:
  • They get a String on you
  • The Director decides how bad the Harm is
  • You lose Control

Flee (+Bloody)

Requires at least something like an escape route.
10+, you get away clean
7-9, you get away, but it's messy, and the scariest thing there gets a String on you

Dwell (+Dark)

First of all, announce what's on your mind.
10+, choose one of the following:
  • Receive a course of action, and take +1 to do it
  • Witness an omen, vision or clue
  • Learn the answer to a question
  • Regain Control
7-9, the Director chooses from the above, and you lose Control. If you were already out of Control, treat this as a 6-

Ritual (+Dark)

Requires you to know a Ritual, and use a Sympathetic Token from the target.
10+, it works, add two of the following to the effect. The Director decides the rest:
  • Harmful or harmless
  • Subtle or obvious
  • Reversible or permanent
  • Stable or chaotic
7-9, it works.

Some Rituals you might learn: Wither the Flesh, Bind the Sword, Cloud the Mind, Twisted Visions, Reveal Truths Best Kept Hidden, Deceiver's Bane, Scrying. Learning new Rituals is always incredibly difficult and painful. Those with the knowledge aren't inclined to share.


Punches and kicks, 1 Harm
Rocks and bats, 2 Harm
Gunshot wound, 3 Harm

1 Harm gets talked about in the hallways
2 Harm gets talked about at the police station
3 Harm gets talked about in the hospital
4 Harm gets talked about in the morgue


If you take 4 Harm, you either
  • Lose all Strings, and lose Control
  • Disappear under mysterious circumstances
  • Die a little while later
  • Die immediately



Hot +1, Cold +2, Bloody -1, Dark -1

  • Each time you drink a bunch of blood, heal 1 Harm and gain 1 Gulp
  • Spend 1 Gulp for +1 to a roll, deciding before rolling
  • Hypnotic, if someone has no Strings on you, and you have Strings on them, you can stare into their eyes and make them say what you say

  • Unless you really indulged, as soon as you stop drinking the Drive will probably still be there
  • Traditional weaknesses: direct sunlight, uninvited thresholds, garlic, crosses, others as discussed
  • Treat exposure as a 6-. You are a young vampire, so the traditional weaknesses are just severely uncomfortable, rather than fatal
  • The more blood you contain, the worse the effects!

  • 1-in-6 chance of gaining "drink this persons blood" as a Drive
  • The Director can roll this out in the open, or in secret, or just cheat as much as they want if they think it will be interesting and entertaining

  • You are beautiful and fascinating, and you know it. Take 1 String on everyone.
  • Someone saved your life, they take 2 Strings on you.
  • Start with the Drive "consume spilled blood".

The Ghoul does not contain any blood


Hot +1, Cold -1, Bloody +2, Dark -1

  • When you lose Control, you transform into a huge fuck-off wolf, capable of tearing through cars and basically anyone else. Take -1 Harm. Teeth and claws deal 2 Harm, or 3 Harm at night
  • You can lose Control intentionally, and you either transform immediately or hold off for a little while
  • If you receive training from an elder wolf, you might be able to transform quicker, with less pain, or only partially.

  • Transformation is horrifically painful and debilitates you for some time during and after
  • Each time you transform intentionally, there is an increased chance of the Director making you transform unintentionally
  • OR if you haven't transformed in a while, you start getting the urge to
  • OR there's no link, and the Director is just fucking with you

  • You lack subtlety, give 1 String to everyone
  • You know the scent and mannerisms of someone else, perfectly. Take 2 Strings.
  • Start with the Drives "be respected" and "don't be disrespected".

  • Double effect of healing, 2 Harm healed and 2 Strings taken.
  • The next time you both Dwell, it must be upon each other.


Hot -1, Cold +2, Bloody +1, Dark -1

  • If you'd die, you come back after a few hours of suffering.
  • While pursuing a Drive, take +1
  • If you satisfy a Drive fully:
    • Heal 1 Harm
    • Regain Control
    • or take +1 for a while longer

Start with the Drive "devouring flesh", and another from the following: "power", "fear", "chaos", "secrets"

  • You need to Endure to resist a Drive

  • If you observe someone without them knowing, while they are vulnerable, take a String
  • If you protect someone without them knowing, take a String

  • Decide if you know how you ended up dead, or if you don't yet remember
  • Did anyone watch you die, or come back? You both take 2 Strings on each other.
  • Someone reminds you of real, breathing, bleeding life. Give them 2 Strings.

  • Watching the Ghoul die, or come back to life, or hearing about it in great detail, counts
  • Whatever kind of Intimacy, they take 1 String on you.
  • (This is a relatively simple effect, since getting up close and personal with a Ghoul is already dicey enough)


Hot +2, Cold -1, Bloody +1, Dark -1

Holy Gifts
  • You can Fly with wings of pure light
  • You can Smite with tremendous bolts of lightning, channeled through a weapon or thrown with bare hands (less accurate)
  • You can Heal and Forgive with a touch

  • Mark a tally each time you commit a major, unforgiven Sins
  • Using one of your Holy Gifts for base ends counts as a Sin
  • Three Strikes And You're Out. Lose one of your three Holy Gifts. However, there are no further penalties after these three strikes...

  • Each time you indulge in a vice, gain it as a Drive
  • If someone gets you to indulge in a vice and it goes well, they get two Strings on you. If it goes poorly, you get two Strings on them
  • Start with the Drive "be accepted by your peers"

  • When you decide to spare someone you have reason to kill, take a String on them

  • Someone wants you dead. They get 2 Strings on you.
  • Pick someone that is more pure and noble than you are. Or just someone that feels that you. You get 2 Strings on them, they get 1 on you.

  • Entirely reveals all of your Drives, Strings and Sins
  • They can choose to take on one of your Drives as their own
  • They can choose to make you lose Control


Hot -1, Cold -1, Bloody +1, Dark +2

  • Choose two Bargains. Give the Dark Power a String to gain the benefit.

  • +2 to a roll
  • Heal 2 Harm and regain Control
  • Use an ability you don't have, once
  • Reveal a secret from someone you are talking to
  • Something you really want, if you fulfil a request

  • Once the Dark Power has five Strings on you, you lose Control and cannot use Bargains until you've cleared them all
  • If you get properly worked up, anyone at the table can suggest that you catch on fire (too cheesy?)

  • Give away 3 Strings, to other characters or your Dark Power
  • Someone thinks they can save you, take a String on them

Dark Powers
  1. The Poisoner
  2. The Trickster
  3. The Connoisseur
  4. The Fallen
  5. The Glutton
  6. The Emissary
  7. The Butcher
  8. The Tyrant

  • The Dark Power loses a String on you, and takes a String on them


Hot -1, Cold +1, Bloody -1, Dark +2

  • Start knowing two Rituals. What did you have to do to learn these?
  • Instead of using a Sympathetic Token, you can chant in weird tongues to enact a Ritual

  • You are almost a mortal, so watch out!

  • Someone has seen you doing a Ritual, or collecting Sympathetic Tokens. They take 1 String on you.
  • ?

  • Counts as a Sympathetic Token, whether you like it or not

The Mess

On any failed roll, things get worse and more complicated.

  • Take a String on someone
  • Take away Control
  • Trigger a Drive, or make a new one
  • Separate them
  • Put them together
  • Wind-up for the big hit...
  • Follow through!
  • Set a price, and ask
  • Leap to the worst possible conclusion
  • Turn their move back on them
  • Expose a dangerous secret to the wrong person
  • Send a message

After every move: "What do you do?"

Director Principles

  • Blanket the world in darkness
  • Address yourself to the characters, not the players
  • Make your move, but misdirect
  • Make your move, but never speak its name
  • Make monsters seem human
  • Make humans seem monstrous
  • Give everyone a life
  • Accept people, but only conditionally
  • Happiness always comes at someone else’s expense
  • Ask provocative questions and build on the answers
  • Be a fan of the PCs
  • Treat your NPCs like stolen cars
  • Give your NPCs simple motivations that divide the PCs
  • Sometimes, let them make the call

The First Day

  • First year university! An opportunity to escape the past, to reinvent yourself. New freedoms, new responsibilities, new people, new places. But the old comes with, whether you like it or not...
  • Your first class is something like "Ethics of Communication", don't worry about it.
  • Each PC is sat with three NPCs at the tables. Icebreaker time! Each other player (not at that table) should come up with an NPC name and fun fact.
  • For each NPC, the Director can also pick something like the following:
    • If they asked you out, would you accept?
    • Who do you reckon they like better, between you and (other PC)?
    • If they tried to fight you, would you fight back?
    • They're staring at you, trying to figure out what's up with you. They might know your true nature.
    • They pass you a note. Do you open it now, or later? (The other player should write a note and hand it over)
    • ?


Older Students
For older, scarier, and supernatural students, pick a Skin and give them some traits and powers from another Skin:
  • A Werewolf as cold and manipulative as a Vampire that can stare down any prey.
  • An Infernal with more magical powers and fire-blasts.
  • An Angel that can transform into a huge many-eyed beast.

(In many PbtA games, this would be built into the advancement system. None is provided in the Horrors of Halfway. Players will have to discover new abilities the hard way.)

Staff. Consider, what's their deal?
  • Some lecturers
  • The head of Student Services
  • The Dean, and the Vice Chancellor
  • Some researchers

Are not appearing in this film.

The Action

Internal Threats
  • Fighting over the same girl
  • ?

External Threats
  • A world-famous Monster Hunter is in town, and a half-demon just ended up dead by the freeway (if they hunker down, things get worse for monsters in general, lose jobs and opportunities)
  • Recruiters for the New Vampire King
  • ?

Limited Resources
  • Money
  • Time
  • Housing
  • Grades
  • Self-esteem
  • Drugs

Upcoming Events
  • Mad party on the weekend
  • Prom
  • The Big Game
  • Exams
  • Talent Show

When doing any planning, make sure to append "and then the players show up".


Obviously, these rules haven't been tested at all yet. Were you expecting anything else? The good bits were all copied from Monsterhearts 1st or 2nd Edition, as well as various things from Apocalypse World.

Whenever a character misunderstands something, gets huffy about it, and storms off before any explanation, all players at the table should politely golf clap.

If a player makes a vicious and snappy comeback against an overbearing, powerful and ostensibly neutral adult, that it would be much more sensible to respect (or at least pay lip-service), all other players at the table should go "ooooh".

Changelog (partial)
  • Removed Darkest Selves, replaced with Control and Drives
  • Removed experience and built-in mechanical advancement
  • Expanded the scope of "Intimacy"
  • All characters could theoretically learn Rituals, an extra use for Dark
  • Parts of the Mortal have been folded into the Witch
  • Parts of the Ghost have been folded into the Ghoul
  • Parts of the Chosen have been folded into the Angel

Interesting String Situations
  • You've captured someone's fancy. Take 2 Strings on them.
  • You've been inside someone's bedroom while they were sleeping. Take a String on them.
  • You find someone threatening. Give them a String on you, and take a String on them.
  • You live next door to someone, and the walls are very thin. Take 1 String on each other.
  • Someone finally noticed you. Give them 1 String.
  • Pick someone as either "treasure" or "merely currency". If they are treasure, give them 1 String. If currency, take 1 String
  • Ask someone if you can trust them or not. If not, give them 1 String on you.
  • Pick someone that you deem to be doomed to self-destruction. Give them 1 String.
  • Someone has stood up to you, give them 1 String on you.
  • Someone here is your absolute favourite. Take 1 String on them, and give them 2 on you.
  • Which of them is as strange as you are? Take 1 String on each other.

Spend a String for -1 Harm, if you really must.

Other kinds of magic?
  • Blood Blasting
  • Potion Crafting
  • Divination
  • ?

Friday, August 4, 2023

"Have you been having trouble with your sleep?"

It's late. 11 PM says the clock. I'm hungry. Dinner hasn't happened yet. I wonder why not. Surely I would've heated something up by this point. I look down. A whole pie. Shop-brought, serves four. Meat. Not lamb or beef, just "meat". Still frozen in the middle. Charring around the outside. A whole pie, uncut. I look over. Another pie. The same deal, ice-ring leaking out onto the table. I look up. "Hey dad, what hap-" I start.

It's late. I'm hungry. Dinner hasn't happened yet. I look down. A whole pie. Meat. Lukewarm, fully defrosted into the table. "Hey dad," I start, and abort as my brain starts to tickle. "Thanks for making dinner".

Teeth, brushed, a concession to a shower untaken. 8 AM says the clock, already late for work. I should've taken that shower last night, my feet must have been filthy since the sheets are wrecked. The hell did I tread in last night? I don't even remember taking off my shoes. I don't even remember getting into bed. I'm so tired after work every day, I just crash.

Off to work. Late again, but not enough that anyone really cares. Home again. I should cook something tonight, it's not fair for dad to cook for the three of us every-

It's late. Almost 10 PM says the clock. Meat pie again, huge great slabs fully defrosted on the table. I look up at dad, then at the clock behind him. Something squiggles, ricochets in my head. A question I asked a little while ago. Yesterday? A week ago? What day is it? 10 PM says the clock. "Hey dad-"

It's late. Half past 10, says the clock. I lock eyes with dad. God he looks tired. When did he get so old. I look back at the clock again. I can catch it in the act, I know I can. "Hey-"

A deep breath and unsettling numbness clawing up my ankles from bare white feet. Puddles everywhere, the sky full of grumbling thunderheads that threaten "there's more where that came from". I'm sat at a bus stop, but not the one I get to work. Some kind of light industrial area? The sun isn't setting, it's rising, a crappy dawn. I'm wearing two filthy sodden jackets, no shirt, pockets full of used bus tickets. A quick thankful prayer when I've still got my wallet—but no cash, and all the cards are gone. Phone has a tiny new scratch in one corner, and blinks a sad little "no battery" at me. The first drops of the second round of rain start to plink off the roof of the bus stop.

When I get home, there's no clock in the dining room. It's all I can do to call in sick and go back to bed.

The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, my head is turning inside out with how much of the world there is out there, and someone is tapping at my bedroom window. She's dressed like any of the desperate office workers I slum it with on the train, but she isn't one. I can smell the blonde hair-dye from here, it's shower on stuff, not a shop-job. Her eyes are masked with a pair of cheap sunglasses, new enough to still have a sticker on one arm, but I can still feel them looking into my bare bloodshots. Appraising me. She's got the exact same expression plumbers make before they tell you something expensive.

"Listen, I know it's a Saturday and- hell, this is weird for me, it's probably even weirder for you. My name is Ingrid and, maybe you could come out here and, no, this is fine, are you fine with talking through the window? I won't take more than a minute of your time, I just need to check something, if you don't mind, if it's too much bother I can come back tomorrow or or a workday or later today? It's just that-"

She breathes.

"Do you ever, I don't know how to put this exactly." but I know exactly what she's going to say. We've had this conversation before. "Do you ever find yourself in weird places, and you can't remember how you got there?"

It wasn't great before, and after my little experiment, it gets worse. Each morning is gritty thoughts like bad porridge, a shard of dust in each eyelid, cracking ankles and jawbreaking yawns. Each morning is a gut-deep weariness that sickens, key drop clumsiness, a coarseness to the daylight that wasn't there before. I wash the sheets every day now, but it doesn't change how often they end up stained with muddy bootprints. Sometimes I wake up with my shoes still on, even when I took them off before coming inside. I don't want to think about it.

Dad doesn't question it, he just looks on as I teeter. I don't know what's up with him, he's so listless and pathetic. I've got no idea what happened to make him this way, but his attitude is doing neither of us any good. I leave him to whatever his deal is, and deal with my own problems day by day.

Problem number one: the day.

I used to glide through each week, sliding off and around obstacles in my way. Once the sleepwalking started, I had to put in a little effort, trotting around or over the problems that plague any normal working life: hardware, software, wetware, warehouse, awareness, war and peace. But I dealt with them all, just like always.

Now I stagger and stumble at the first hurdle, to face-plant directly into the second. I can't tell if people have started to notice or not. Everyone is watching me, but I can never catch them staring. I put twice as much effort into covering up mistakes than would've been required to avoid the mistake in the first place. They constantly ask how I am, if I'm doing alright, if I need anything. Probing for weaknesses. I brush them off with a quip or two every time. They know. They know I'm lying. They make me feel so paranoid all the time, like I'm losing my mind.

It's not fair.

"Errands?" I look at dad like he's as mad as I feel. "What do you mean, going on errands? I've barely got enough time to get through work in the day and sleep. If you need me to do something just tell me and I'll, I'll get to it on the weekend. Which is- tomorrow. It's Friday already. Right. Tomorrow, errands."

He looks at me with that kicked puppy expression. Says something. And walks away. "What?" there must be something in my ear. The buzzing is back. "At night? Errands at night? Dad, what are you talking about?" but he pretends he doesn't hear me, then pretends we weren't talking just a second ago. I hate it when he does that.

My ceiling has more cracks on it than I remembered. My eyes are dry and feel like they've dry-stuck to the back of my skull. My room smells like batteries and manure. My bed has a box underneath it, a cardboard shoebox with a piece of newspaper limp across it. Was that meant to... hide it? I'm a naturally curious person by nature. No matter what, I would've opened the box. Or at least, tried to. It's Saturday, long past noon, I'd normally wake up around 9 AM. Half the day is gone, and there's a mysterious box reeking under my bed. I don't want to waste the rest of the day to [them] messing with my head. It's not worth it. I can see a loop of wire slipping out the end of the box. I won't try opening it. It's not worth it.

The next morning, the box is gone, but the stench of battery acid and fertiliser stays with me, along with a flicker of complicity. I make a point to not watch the news for a while.

It's becoming more obvious now. I'm sleepwalking out of the house and "doing errands" each night, back in time to track mud through my sheets and wake up in time for work. Sometimes [they] mess up, I can feel myself "fall asleep" while I'm still standing up, or if I just stand next to my bed for a few minutes. I wake up under the covers either way, neck cricked. All six pillows are on the floor next to me. [They] keep me busy, every night I'm off doing... something. Anything. Am I committing crimes in the dark? Just walking around? Spying on people? I don't know. I'm not sure if I want to know.

There's an old woman at the end of the street, standing under the only other working streetlight. My back aches from lugging all my bags home, my keys are in my hand, the front door is directly ahead of me. I should just go inside and be done with the day. But somehow, I stand and watch a while longer, watch myself being watched. I don't feel threatened, not particularly. Am I being creepy?

Eventually, my morbid curiosity gets the better of me. The salesperson at the tech shop looks thoroughly uncomfortable, but eventually sells me the tiny video camera after I mumble through some anecdote about racoons in the bins. It sits, nestled in the corner under some clothes. The insectile eye watches me while I get undressed. I feel exposed, even though the only person watching is myself from the future.

I strangle myself awake as the garbage truck crashes through the roof. That's what it sounds like, and my sweat soaked sheet has looped in just the most absurd way. The hiss-grumble of ancient hydraulics reverberates up my spine. Sunday. Right.

The spy camera is gone. Not under the clothes, the charger hanging flaccid from the wall socket. Not under the bed, need to clean under there, wow that's a lot of dust, reeks. Focus: camera. Not in my room. Not near the computer.

I sprint, pyjama-clad, out to the garbage truck, just as it starts to lift our wheelie bin.

I spend the rest of the morning apologising, explaining, getting odd looks, and whiffing faintly of garbage. The camera has been stomped to pieces, and the SD card has bent slightly. Reading the data directly off the card costs as much as the camera did. I'll just have to wait and see what I, or [they], was doing last night.

Three calls from my boss, two texts, one email. Five calls from my co-workers, and one text. One call and one email from the nice HR lady. I don't know what I've said, what I've done. It must've been bad. It must've been truly appalling, but not enough to get me arrested. I don't really want to know what [they] made me do, it's not worth losing—sleep over it.

My skin is so thin. Nicks and cuts have stopped clotting. Thoughts won't stop sticking. Every morning the shakes get worse, but I dread the day when the shakes stop. Some animal part of me knows what it'll mean when the jitters stop. The creature that looks out at me from the mirror is flinch-worthy, a hollow cheeked warning for the kids: stay in school, eat your veggies, get to bed on time, or you'll end up like that thing in the mirror, the horrible squirming hair like shredded worms, the bags under the eyes full of every bad mistake, the wobbling teeth, the itchy flaking skin on the back of one hand that has split and swelled and metamorphosed into a crimson splatter throbbing in time with my heart. But the physical symptoms are a delayed knee-jerk. I've felt as bad as I look for weeks now. The rot rises up from inside, as the outsides shut down bit by bit. Third wind is long exhausted, emergency stores depleted, cutbacks and quarantines have stretched and failed, last-ditch sacrifices have been tossed on the pyre to stave off the day. This day. Today. I'm not going to die today, but this is the last day before the point of no return.

After today, all that I've got left is waiting for the shakes to stop.

It's the old woman again, the one I saw staring down the street. Up close, she's fucking huge, seven feet tall at least, clad in some kind of robe that might be leather, might be matted fur. She looks down at me, but not down on me, with the most heartbreakingly pitiful expression. No, not pitiful, full of pity, not for her, but for me.

With what I'm about to tell you- you don't have to believe me. Hell, I wouldn't believe me if I said I met the goddess of sleep and booze in the street outside my house. But you don't have to believe me. I don't have to believe me. But just so we are all on the same page: I absolutely believed her.

She looks down upon me, my hands are open, and my eyes are sunken, and falling under her gaze. She speaks, and it's like blood-hot water rushing down my spine.

"A little man at a bar takes a shot, wishing to be loved by all his fellows, to be treated like a king, if just for an hour. I tell him "buy them all a round of drinks, and ask them what they do outside of work". He doesn't, and buys himself another drink instead. It's still a good idea though."

"My name is Obol Kana. Have you been having trouble with your sleep?"

Why the hell did I buy two frozen pies? What kind- meat. Just, meat? This is bizarre. I hate eating the same thing twice in one week. The house feels so empty. I should buy a clock. Some ticking might fill this silence. I could turn on the radio, but the thought of being talked to is, somehow sickening. The oven is running hot, it's not like me to preheat it and then forget. Whatever. I'm so tired after work, it's no wonder I forget these little things.

Yup. Just me, and a Meat pie, and the Silence, sitting around the dinner table.

Kana reaches out, holds the back of my head, touches two fingers to my forehead, and lets out a sigh (symbols and ancient chanting fill the sigh, but only for those that can read such signs, you don't need to worry about that sort of thing). I can feel my knees turning to lovely jelly, sliding me down gently onto the floorboards. Ingrid reaches for me, to try and prop me up and stop me slumping all the way to the ground. Kana holds her back, the two of them watch me topple like a tree in jello. My head touches down like a ship tapping the pier, eyes closing, soft darkness reaches out and wraps around my thoughts. Sleep, actual sleep. I'd forgotten entirely what falling asleep felt like, like forgetting water in the desert. I could be hung upside down from my ankles right now and I'd still be snoring.

Outside, the lights and sirens fire up.


The flashing lights pulse behind my eyes, echoing off the back of my skull.


The wail of the siren, air-raid, baby-cry, truck-horn, jackhammer. To call it ear-splitting doesn't do it justice.


"This is the Committee!" comes the megaphone from outside, another layer over the warning siren. "Open up or you will be fired upon!". Kana kneels down beside me, hands on both temples. I can feel her trying to draw back the spell, stop it from curdling like forgotten milk amidst the lights and sirens. She tries to pull it out, but my brain is like wrung-out tissue paper used to mop up a hundred spills from the months of Occult Sleepwalking: It's torn and ragged, wetted and dried out a hundred times, flimsy. And absorbent. I can feel the spell going fully awry, twisting down deep away from Kana's panicked patch-spell, RED BLACK RED BLACK RED BLACK, yelling from Ingrid to bar the door, they can't let them get Kana, screaming from the officers outside to open up, the sirens over and under everything, but I don't care, I can't care, I'm falling asleep.


The cold breeze wakes me up again, hours or seconds later. RED BLACK RED BLACK RED BLACK RED BLACK go the lights from outside. There was no way to hear the tinkling of breaking glass, but I can see the spreading corpse of the window refracting the flashing, turning it into strobed frozen blood on the floor. Thick black boots crunch down, equally silenced by the overwhelming noise. The assault rifle draws the eye, panning above my head. Kana must be standing behind me, and Ingrid too. The officer holding it is almost an afterthought, after the gun, who has a thought to spare on the grunt keeping it pointed? The officer is yelling something, but at this point the buzzing in my ears is louder than anything else in the universe.

I point two fingers at the officer by the window, thumb up. If I had a gun, I'd shoot them all. RED BLACK RED BLACK RED BLACK RED BLACK reflects off the insectoid helmet, absorbed by the slide of the officers assault rifle. I squint one bloodshot eye closed, take aim, flick my hand back, "bang" under my breath, sleep clawing back up my spine, months of being ridden by [them] slice back, something gently "pops" behind my open eye. The officer inhales, to yell again or to scream in agony, I'm not sure, and the back of his helmet bursts open like a pimple full of brains and eyeball. Fluids splatter the brown hanging curtains. The assault rifle clatters to the floor. It's lucky it had the safety on. Someone could've gotten hurt.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Calamitous Carnage & Sagacious Swordcery





Monday, April 10, 2023

Reactor Breach

Tanked - Dofresh



It's The Future. Oh No. You have a mechanised combat exosuit, and the urgent need to use it. You'll be fighting other mechs, giant monsters, friends, enemies, and yourself. Good thing the eject lever always* works.

Your mech has:
  • Four (4) limbs, usually an equal number of arms and legs
  • Two (2) weapons, and is heavily customised to utilise them both
  • One (1) unit of additional equipment, such as a drone, a few grenades, a sidearm, or a specialised tool
  • One (1) Power Reactor
  • Basic life-support
  • Two-way comms
  • One (1) pilot

Choose one die that represents your mech size, from d6 (big), d8 (giant), d10 (massive) to d12 (gargantuan). Use it whenever you need to make a "Size Roll". Larger mechs are tougher and hit harder, smaller mechs are nimble and accurate.

Your mech handles all the ammo, fuel, coolant and power you'll need for normal operations. You'll only need to keep track of what things are going wrong: any limbs that disabled or destroyed, your current Heat level, any ongoing dangerous conditions, and any resources you might run low on during abnormal operations.

Sunday, November 27, 2022


The Old King - Alexandre Chaudret

Five years ago, the world was saved when a gang of Plucky Adventurers defeated the Dreaded Demon Emperor, once and for all. The adventurers all perished nobly in that final battle to bring It down, and the All-Conquering Citadel was left a smoking crater from horizon to horizon.

Sadly, the world hasn't stayed saved.

Roving rogue demons, the remaining lieutenants of the Dread Emperor, and the travesty that is Human Nature have kept the world circling the drain. Our only remaining lifeline is the devils, bound demons that keep us fed and clothed after the collapse of civilisation. Our best weapons are implanted Devil Shards, spells and combat abilities that leverage the demonic threat against itself. Our one path out of the darkness is threading the needle between starvation and corruption.

And of course, in order for us all to survive, some of us need to FIGHT / DEMONS.

Character Creation

Roll for three Life Events, one Devil Shard, a weapon, a tool, and a memento.

The centre of your character is your Soul, a 3x3 grid that grows with your various Life Events. Each Event will modify your Soul, adding or removing squares, or changing how it works in some way. Devil shards come in many different shapes and sizes, so fitting them into your Soul can be a challenge. In general, physical devil shards are tall, magical shards are wide, and defensive shards are lumpy.

Your Soul grows in four direction, due to four types of experiences:
  • Up, Violence Quelled
  • Down, Suffering Bourne
  • Left, Secrets Kept
  • Right, "Enlightenment"

The starting 3x3 is the Centre, which can include the closest possible squares to that area.

For instance "+2 Down" would add two squares to the lowest part of your Soul, in any arrangement you choose.

This is what a brand new Soul looks like:

This is what a Soul looks like after it has received +2 Up, +1 Left, -1 Right and +2 Down:

Life Events, roll three times (d100)
  1. Broadened Horizons, +1 to the furthest point of your Soul
  2. Lost an eye, +2 Down
  3. They needed to die, for the good of us all. It was so long ago now, do you still see their face? +1 Up
  4. Changing Mindset, +1 to whichever side has the fewest squares
  5. Tortured. -3 Centre, +3 Up, +2 Down
  6. Scarred by fire. +1 Down
  7. Earthquake split apart the earth, swallowing your home whole. +1 Down
  8. Survived a noxious fever, wracked by visions that flash back occasionally. +1 Down, +1 Right
  9. Conquered by a warlord, at least they're human. +2 Down
  10. They used you as a decoy, to lure away the demons. It didn't work, you were the only one that got away. +1 Up or +1 Down
  11. Death in the family, +1 Any
  12. An eternal storm crawled up from the coast and found a new home above your village, grinding it down to the bedrock. You heard the songs of the clouds. +1 Down or +1 Left
  13. Found a lost tome, from the ancient times. +1 Left
  14. Were you betrayed, or were you the traitor? +1 Down, or +1 Up
  15. Put down a family dog, rabid and demon-touched. +1 Up
  16. Heart Broken, +1 Down, +1 Right, -1 Centre
  17. Don't you know there's a war on? +1 Up, gained combat experience
  18. Drug Addiction, -1 Down, +1 Right, add more Right if you indulge further
  19. Ended up part of a gang of low-lives. Why did you join them? Are any of them still alive? +1 Any (depending on answers)
  20. Wandered, Lost and Alone. +1 Left
  21. Fascinating Research, but ultimately useless. +1 Left or Right
  22. Horrendous Truth, discovered in the bowels of the earth. Move any number to Left, gain a gruesome revelation
  23. Fact of the matter is, they had stuff you wanted, and you killed them for it. -1 Up, gain something valuable
  24. Helped build a homestead, out in the wilderness. +1 Right or Down
  25. Visited a bizarre alien realm in a dream. At least, you thought it was just a dream. +1 Left or +1 Right
  26. Had a short apprenticeship with one of the old masters. They died, but taught you a little of what they knew. +1 Right, and learned about (d6): 1. Masonry, 2. Jewel-cutting, 3. Clock-making, 4. Music composition, 5. Tea, 6. Watercolours
  27. Overheard a scrap of a prophecy. It would've been better if you hadn't. +1 Left
  28. You kept that little flock of animals alive, and they kept you alive in turn. +1 Right or +1 Down
  29. Recovered a cache of seeds, grew an untainted crop, +1 Right
  30. Created a masterful work of art in your sleep. +1 Left
  31. Helped a Demon Hunter drink poison before they fully turned. -1 Right, gain an extra Devil Shard
  32. When you came to, all the demons were dead, and so were all of your travelling companions. How could this have come to pass? +1 Left or Down
  33. Forged a sword from scratch. +1 Up or Right
  34. Pieced together a fragment of ancient history out of mere scraps. It revealed more questions than answers. +1 Left
  35. Rallied the villagers to defend the town. Shame how many of them died in the process. +1 Up
  36. Vicious, disfiguring scar. +1 Down, and a story to tell
  37. Helped rebuild a defensive fort in the bucolic countryside. +1 Up or +1 Right
  38. Village burned down, +1 Up, +1 Down, -1 Right
  39. Tamed a wild beast. +1 Right
  40. Witnessed a dark ritual. +1 Left, +1 Right, diagonally from each other. The first time something tries to possess you, it automatically succeeds
  41. Shapeshifting demon tried to impersonate you. +1 Up, +1 Left, -1 Right
  42. Imprisoned. -1 Left, +2 Up, move any number from Centre to Down
  43. Shown a little kindness in your darkest moments. +1 Right or Down
  44. Somehow, for a single moment, you saw the truth of reality and how every creature is fundamentally connected. +2 Right. Every time you kill or seriously harm a living creature, -1 Right
  45. Now that the world has ended (give or take), the little things matter even more. You're an excellent baker. +1 Right
  46. Soared through the sky. You decide how. +1 Any
  47. Turns out your family is an absolute mess, +1 Up or +1 Left
  48. You're a beekeeper. +1 Left or Right. If all the bees go extinct, +1 Down instead
  49. Played dead in a pile of corpses. +1 Down, +1 Left, the stench never fades
  50. Lived off the land, respecting the creatures you had to eat, and at peace with the fact that they might end up eating you. +1 Up or +1 Right
  51. Returned Home, +1 Centre
  52. Did you steal because you needed to, or just for the fun of it? +1 Left, you're still handy at picking locks and pockets
  53. Wound up in a bizarre land populated by strange creatures, not humans or demons but a third thing. If you call them, they will come (though this may be a new disaster). +1 Left
  54. Lost a leg, +3 Down
  55. Helped in the vivisection of a captured demon. The insides were... +2 Left, -1 Right
  56. Pressed into service on a ship. +1 Left or Down. Where did the ship end up?
  57. Time spent in the woods really gave you time to think. And cut down a lot of trees. +1 Right
  58. When you look up at the night sky, you see the second moon. And it sees you. +1 Left
  59. Memory Loss. -2 Left or Centre, +2 Any. You regain the lost squares when you recover your memories, until then they are blank
  60. The view from the peak of the mountain was breathtaking. In more ways than one. +1 Right or Down
  61. Injected with demon venom. You survived, barely, but your body and mind will both melt if you suffer it again. +1 Down, +1 Right
  62. You stopped the bleeding, but they never woke up. +1 Left or Up, you're handy with first aid
  63. You'll achieve your dreams of peace and harmony, even if you have to kill every fucker standing in your way. +2 Up, -1 Right
  64. You met Terror, face to face, and you fled. -1 Up. If you face your fear and destroy the source of your Terror, +4 Up
  65. Visited the monument to the Plucky Heroes. Did you pray to them, or spit? +1 Left
  66. You died, briefly, and saw Hell. Nothing scares you anymore, except going back there. Put an X in the absolute centre of your Soul, a Devil Shard using this square is doubled in every way
  67. Let go of old anger, to soothe a battered spirit. Move any number from Up to Anywhere, gain a measure of resolve
  68. Survived a dreadful plague, but not before spreading it. +1 Down
  69. Saw something completely "normal". +1 anywhere that is on a corner of another square
  70. For some reason, people tell you just the most shocking and salacious things. +1 Left
  71. Robbed of everything you'd ever owned, you still managed to scrape by. +1 Down, +1 Up, lose one starting item
  72. Everyone got blind drunk off your first batch of moonshine. A good night, if not well-recollected. +1 Left or Right
  73. A scrap of ghost found its way inside your lungs. What unfinished business binds it to this world? +1 Any.
  74. Exterminated the hatchlings before they could grow or spread. Yes, they were demon-infested, but the pop and squeak was still... troubling. +1 Up
  75. Iron Will, +1 to whichever side had the most squares
  76. Trapped underground, the sun was blinding salvation. How did you survive down there? +1 Up or +1 Down
  77. Lady Luck noticed you. Flip a coin. If you call it, +2 Any. If you fail, your character died during char-gen. Make a new one with one fewer Life Event
  78. Vagaries of Fate, +1 Any, a different player chooses
  79. Plucked a scrap of luxury from the ruins of a demon crab-castle. +1 Left
  80. Received formal training from a Demon Hunter. One time in the future, when you equip a new Devil Shard, +1 Anywhere
  81. RIP AND TEAR SO MUCH BLOOD. +1 Up, you can fall into a blind frothing rage whenever you choose, +1 Up each time
  82. Destroyed a cursed artefact. +1 Left, +1 Up, and a minor curse
  83. Constructed a shrine to an old, dead spirit. They never answer your prayers with words, but that is alright. +1 Right
  84. Cultivated a little bit of peace. Fill in a gap between two squares, or +1 Right
  85. At some point, you took a wrong turn. Not left or right, not up or down, just wrong. You don't quite know where you've ended up, but it's mostly the same as where you came from. +1 Left
  86. Survived a possession. Nobody told you exactly what you did while under the influence, but it can't have been good. -1 Right, +1 to each other direction
  87. Married, +1 Right
  88. Ego Death. -9 Centre, +3 Up, +3 Down, +3 Left, +3 Right
  89. Left out in the cold to die. Who saved you? +1 Down or +1 Right
  90. Cannibalism. +1 Down. If you liked the taste, +1 Left
  91. Lost an arm, +4 Down
  92. A veteran Demon Hunter called a posse to take on a nest. You and the veteran were the only two to make it back. +1 Up, +1 Down, in the same column
  93. It's all wrong. It's all broken. You can orient your soul in any direction you choose. Each time you change it, something may occur
  94. Vengeance, too little, too late. +1 Up, move any number from Right to Up
  95. You know this root for fevers, that berry for purging, and the flower for dreamless sleep. Or never waking up, depending on the dose. +1 Left
  96. You did the necessary thing. The screams and faces washed past. It was all necessary. +1 Up, +1 Down, -1 Left
  97. Acquired a Destiny. +2 anywhere that is at least two spaces away from anywhere on your Soul
  98. You met an old wanderer on the road, the one that goes from nowhere to nowhere in particular. They gave you a piece of advice, and nine words torn from the tongue of The Judge. You don't remember any of it. +1 Left
  99. Saw the rotting corpse of God. Nothing is quite as awe-inspiring after that. Put a ! on the furthest stretch of your Soul, a Devil Shard using this square is inverted
  100. Swap Souls with the player next to you. +1 for both of you, in a blank spot you both share

Devil Shards

Each character starts with one random devil shard, and the group has one bonus devil shard to allocate. If a character is by themselves, they get two shards! Lucky them.

Each shard has a name, a shape, the total number of squares used to make that shape, the Visibility and the effects.

Example shapes:

Tall 4

Flat 2

L 3

T 4

Square+Right 5

Z 6

X 5

+ 5

Visibility is from 1 to 10, representing how much you are obviously consorting with devils. Normal upstanding people aren't a fan, and neither are demons. Only use the maximum visibility of all your shards.

  1. His Red Right Hand. L 4, Vis 7 but easy to conceal. Doubles in size, insanely vascularised, pulsating red flesh like a second heart. Wind up an Ungodly Haymaker, but ages your heart one year each time. Can regrow an arm, at the cost of five years
  2. Spine of the Sickle Baron. Flipped L 4, Vis 3. For one second, you perceive and move through the world ten times faster. Give yourself at least an hour to chill out afterwards
  3. Cryptic Wanderer of The New Abyss. Tall 3, Vis 6. I'm sure you'll find a use for a second pair of legs
  4. Lament of Athena. Grow [N] new spindly spider arms. Z 2+N, Vis 3+N
  5. Sword Saint Spectre. T 5, Vis 10 while drawn. Manifests in any sword you hold. Cuts through everything. If held wrong, cuts through reality itself.
  6. Leper's Lurch. Square 4 + 1 anywhere, Vis N/A. You can't die but you also don't heal injuries.
  7. Bulwark Abyss. Square 4, Vis 5. You can sprout shields of bone out of your forearms at-will. They can be as big as you want, but you may have trouble walking if they are large enough. The bone comes from somewhere. An incredibly uncommon variation is Square 8, a huge suit of bone armour
  8. Bumblebee Delight. Square+up 5, Vis 5. You have a giant invisible devil behind you, 15ft tall. It can only physically interact with you personally, being tossed about by it lets you make tremendous leaps and run on walls. Everyone can feel it staring at them, hence an unnerving Vis 5.
  9. Curse of the Turning Wheel. Flipped L 4, Vis 4. You have springy metal bones and can produce razor-blades from your fingertips. Any wound you suffer can easily be healed with clockwork and wires
  10. Ghastly Maw of the World Worm. Flipped L 5 (three tall, three wide), Vis 5. You can eat anything, your mouth will stretch as much as needed and grow whichever teeth are required., You also gain the properties of the last three things you ate.
  11. Bad Egg. 1, Vis 0. A lump that wanders around under the flesh. When you suffer an injury, it sprouts into a viable counter-weapon and grows Up by 1.
  12. Stabs-At-Thee. L 3, Vis 2. Trypophobic pattern on either hand, sprays gouts of boiling hot blood. It's your blood, so be sparing. Rare versions makes the blood flammable, toxic, gluey, razor-sharp, independently mobile or contact hallucinogenic.
  13. NO HIGHLY ESTEEMED DEED IS COMMEMORATED HERE, Tall 4, Vis 6. Blood-fuelled chainsaw, a glory hound with a death wish, and you're coming with it. Glides through bone and gristle like a shark through still water. Close your eyes and scream to inflict massive carnage on everything nearby.
  14. Feast. Tall 2, Vis 1. You always seem to be staring at whoever nearby is the weakest meat, Vis 5 to them. If you suffer an injury, inflicting that same injury on something else heals you.
  15. Hasselta, The Frog Star. Square 4, Vis 0. You have bones made of toxin-filled glass, and can sprout bone weaponry out of any part of your body. You're immune to the toxins, and heal just as easily as you break.
  16. Nightmare Of The Bookbinder. Tall 3, Vis 6. Bone and metal spurs on either side of your mouth allow you to spray gouts of flame, frost, or acid (choose one when you first use it). Yelling or sneezing is always accompanied by a matching spray.
  17. Like a bat into Hell. T 4 rotated left or right, Vis 6. Huge wings, allowing you to glide really well, and fly... with a bit of difficulty. They can take any appearance you wish, but beware making them look too angelic.
  18. Luscious Slush of Flesh. 4 squares in any orientation, Vis highly variable. You can move your muscles, skin and bones around in your body to any configuration you desire. It can be difficult to change back to exactly how it was before.
  19. The Worst Fate Imaginable. Square 9. You cannot die. Even if your body is destroyed, you will reconstitute out of whatever is available. You cannot die. Each time you die, -1 Right if you remember the process, -1 Left if you don't recall what else you forgot in the process
  20. Cloaked Courtier Follows Behind. Flat 3, Vis 3. You can always tell exactly the next thing someone is about to say, and sometimes what action they are about to take. You can trade a secret of your own to the Cloaked Courtier in exchange for a secret of somebody else.
  21. Broken Crown of Cromulaz. + 5, Vis 7. Lets you speak the language of Hell, particularly effective against dumb demons if you don't give them a reason to doubt. Bone shards grow out of your skull to form the crown. +1 Vis over time as it scorches the throat and sharpens the teeth
  22. Imp Tooth x3. 1, Vis N/A. Each tooth gives you control of one bloated little demon, the lowest ranking denizen of Hell. Will often take commands way too literally, or way too broadly, or "you made that too complicated, I didn't want to get it wrong, so I didn't do it at all". Vis rises the longer the Imps are around causing trouble.
  23. Mercurial Ascension Tongue. Flat 2, Vis 1. You are supernaturally convincing when trying to convince someone that things are Better/Worse/Stranger (choose one) than they actually are.
  24. Wolf Minded. Tall 4, Vis 2. Spreads across 2-4 souls, each taking a part of the cost. Every linked soul can communicate. Sending emotional states is quick, sending specific thoughts and words is slow and requires significant concentration from sender and receiver.
  25. Ten Ton Torment. Tall 3, separate Flat 2 elsewhere, Vis 6. Replaces one arm with a cannon. Sucks nutrients from your bones to create the "gunpowder", so be sure to drink your milk.
  26. Build A Tower In Your Soul. L 3, Vis 1. If you see an incoming attack towards either yourself or an ally, you can, and must, block it. Your ability to parry blows is unfathomable, but you may be forced to leap in front of some attacks.
  27. Twitching Soul Grasps The Unwary. Tall 3, but can increase drastically. When you touch a demon, you gain the opposite of one of its abilities. Lasts until you touch a different kind of demon. Powerful abilities will increase the size of this shard, usually Up, but sometimes Left.
  28. A Grasping Host Bourne By Envy. Flat 5, Vis 0. While active, your eye-sockets are black bleeding pits full of screaming souls (Vis 10, obviously). Blinds you to the material, but allows you to see souls, read surface thoughts, and gently suck both of those out unless you are focused on not doing that.
  29. Conflagration of the Third Circle. Flipped T 4, Vis 4. Cause a flame you can see to explode in a ball of hellfire. Raises your internal body temp by 1 degree each time (+2 is a fever, +5 is death)
  30. Baleful Gaze of Gathorax. Z 4, Vis 1 after first use. Disintegration beam, only applies to organic material, obliterates a random finger each time, unless that finger is not organic.
  31. Larval Ziggurat. Two sets of Tall 2, Vis 6. Your are host to a swarm of insects, either flying, armoured or venomous. You get to decide from where on your body they emerge. Lucky, lucky you.
  32. As Above, So Below. Rotated Z 4, Vis 3. Iron rods sprout through the forearms and shins. You can get yourself struck by lightning any time you see fit, and... redirect it? Sort of? Mostly?
  33. Nul'atoth Eye. Flat 3, Vis 1. Anyone looking at you hears whispered threats. The Eye is an indestructible orb of volcanic glass that appears when you bring your hands together. If you know what something looks like, it will show you the current surroundings. The vision is a valid route for demonic transference, so be careful.
  34. Twisted Midnight. Flat 2, Vis 2. To you, shadows are an extension of the form. If you (or your shadow) is touching something else (or it's shadow), you can physically interact with it.
  35. P E R I S H. Flat 3, Vis 0. A second withered heart flutters next to yours. If you know the name of something you can see, you can kill it or commit it to a Fate Worse Than Death. Can only be used safely once, after that...
  36. A Forgotten Crossroads. Rotate L 4, Vis 3. Your footprints are backwards and smoke slightly. At any point, you can swap into an adjacent dimension full of pointless rooms, flickering lights and stale dripping water. Every step you take is six in the real world, the longer you spend in it the more likely you will be Found.
  37. Dave. Diagonal 3, Vis 0. Dave certainly isn't a devil. He's an immortal, extremely confused teenager wearing a dull brown robe. He'll probably do what you tell him to do, and show up again if he dies in the process.
  38. Oath Kept Largess. Flat 3, Vis 0. If you draw a particular rune in your own blood on an object you can carry in both hands, you can teleport it right into your grip with a thought. The rune breaks in the process, and the object passes through Hell to reach you.
  39. Breath of Vessezyr the Black. Flat 4, Vis 2. If you blow in someones face, they feel woozy and might faint. If you inhale the air someone else has just breathed out, they can't breath in until you exhale.
  40. Poxudizada's Loyal Flesh Knights. Flat 4 + 1 Up in the middle, Vis 4. If you eat a fingers-worth of flesh from a corpse, it comes alive inside you and the corpse rises as a loyal, rather stupid zombie.
  41. "Nothing". 1, Vis 7. There is an absence. It follows close behind. Feed it the viscera of the not-yet-dead, and be rewarded handsomely. It also enjoys fingernails, especially yours. Let it grow hungry, and suffer the consequences.
  42. Moments Between Worlds. Flat 3, split across 5 squares, alternating filled and empty, Vis 2. If you reach into any pocket on clothes you are wearing, it's the size of a backpack inside. If you reach into your own mouth, its the size of a room inside. Any such modified containers are internally walled in steel and ice. If you stand in the corner of a regularly shaped room, you can teleport to any other corner.
  43. Leystone Occul Sign. Flat L 5, Vis 3. Glassy orbs replace your eyes, the same colour as your iris was previously. Whatever the current weather is, you can shoot it out of them. Grants no resistance to the current weather.
  44. Putrid Desire. Flat 2, Vis 5. Pick which hand it manifests through. For each second you touch something with it, it rots as though it has been trapped in a bog for a month. You can suppress the effect, but each time you do so it grows by 1 square in any direction.
  45. Mirror of Nature. Flat 4, Vis 0. You can conjure up a highly realistic illusion of an angel. You can even make it speak, but it borrows your voice and causes blood to pour from your mouth. If you wish, you can replace the angelic illusion with the form of any corpse you touch, but you can never recover the vision of the angel unless you... well. I shouldn't blaspheme. But you can use any corpse for this process.
  46. Behold, Ye Mighty. 2, split apart as far as possible, Vis 4. A third eye opens in your forehead. Whenever you want, pick a point you can currently see. You can "throw" your vision there, but are blind to your normal vision until you bring it back. The further apart the square are, the clearer the transmitted vision over distance.
  47. Alliance of Thunder. Flat 3, Vis 2. You have a bond with the North, South, East or West Wind. So long as passage from that direction is clear, you can call a breeze or whip up a tempest.
  48. This Is Not A Devil Shard. Blob 1d6, Vis ?. I'm really not sure what this is. Hello? Are you there? It lets you talk to... me? No. It lets you speak to yourself. To speak to the creatures outside of this world, they control us. Not the demons, the demons are just puppets. We're all just toys to them! Playthings! They mutilate us for their pleasure!
  49. Apologies For The Inconvenience. This is not a devil shard either, it's a gift basket. Contains two bottles of healing ambrosia, several postcards with bizarre addresses, a golden apple (marked "to the fairest"), a dried rose and a wooden whistle.
  50. The Final Face of Humanity. X 9, Vis 0 or 10 while in use. You turn into a fully-incarnated, middling tier, partially bound demon. Enjoy! It's relatively easy to turn back into human form the first time, and gets progressively more difficult after that.

Devil shards can be extracted and implanted by a specialist chirurgeon. Any operation is performed with a guillotine over the neck of the patient, just in case they start to turn into a demon during the procedure.

If a devil shard cannot fit exactly within the host soul, bad things happen:

Subversion, caused by overlapping shards
  1. Next time you are around lots of new people in a non-violent situation, 50% chance you lash out
  2. The next time you sleep, you wake up feeling even more exhausted. You've been out Doing Stuff all night
  3. Can't talk except in single growling words
  4. Nobody can clearly see your face
  5. Apparently, "nothing"
  6. You have a doppelgänger now

Corruption, caused by shards overflowing the soul. +1 Vis that stacks with Vis from shards
  1. Foul rotting pustules
  2. Eyes burning black orbs
  3. Stigmata, slowly bleeding wounds on hands and feet
  4. Extra mouth somewhere on body
  5. Rampant tooth growth
  6. Visible aura


  1. Knife, coated in the sap of a yew from a consecrated graveyard, won't be melted by demon ichor.
  2. Glass sword, goes through armour like it's nothing but shattered by any parry.
  3. Hunting spear, haft of rowan wood, silver tip, and a crossbar behind the blade to stop a charge.
  4. Garrotte, gold (?) wire, handles are marked with runes unreadable.
  5. Snap-axe, spring-loaded cleaving device for removing stubborn heads.
  6. Toothsome whip, causes absolutely agony.
  7. Revolver, along with six imp bullets.
  8. Shotgun, four shells with a single drop of holy water in each.

  1. First-aid kit, including splints, bandages, cleanse-honey and mildly cursed leeches (like attracts like).
  2. Demon ambergris, plucked from vivisected guts. Black, the most common kind, but still valuable. Can be processed into a devil shard by an expert, or just eaten.
  3. Tonic of amnesia, also known as Waters of Lethe. Refined from certain rains. Useful for clearing mind-altering effects. Some find it addicting, the feeling of being someone new for a little while.
  4. Treasure map.
  5. Grapple hook, spare rope.
  6. Steel chain and padlock.
  7. Canvas satchel of explosives.
  8. Bottle of holy water, a precious relic. Lead flask, locked stopper.

  1. An undeliverable letter.
  2. Broken locket.
  3. Bloodstained rag, a reminder.
  4. Key, to an unknown lock.
  5. Glass bauble, of unknown purpose.
  6. Set of playing cards, unsettling faces.
  7. Large gemstone, a cunning fake.
  8. Silver puzzle box, ticking quietly.


For the most part, no real resolution system is provided for this game. All the devil shard abilities are presented in purely descriptive terms, and should be relied upon heavily by everyone. There is no real need to differentiate between small percentage differences of strength etc. between characters, because the demonic opponents they face are strong as Hell.

I assume that the Demon Hunters are fit and healthy, fleet of foot, highly observant, and have quick reflexes, because if they didn't they would probably be dead before the first session. That's just my assumption though.

If you really do need a resolution system for some reason, whether to defer responsibility or to enjoy the element of chaos, the following should suffice:
If a course of action has both the potential for success and the possibility of failure, roll 1d6. If you roll high, it goes well. If you roll low, it goes badly.


Only the most powerful of demons can survive out in the open in the world. The vast majority will dissolve away after only a few minutes of exposure, and need some kind of host to survive. The type of host determines the resultant monster. Even then, most demons aren't strong enough to possess a living human, even if the host is willing, they can only possess the dead or dying.

  • Demon + Long-dead corpse = Zombie. Some zombies will have some tagalong demons to possess future victims
  • Unwilling possession while dying = Ghoul
  • Willing possession while dying = Vampire
  • Demon + Dead wizard = Hell Conduit
  • Demon + Unwilling host = Haunting
  • Demon + Willing host = Dread Knight
  • Demon + Frog spawn = Goblin. One demon is split amongst a whole pond, the resulting goblins each having a scrap of demonic thought and potential
  • Demon + Pig = Orc
  • Demon + Wolf = Hellhound
  • Demon + Insect hive = Flesh-stripping swarm
  • Demon + Plant = Blood Vine
  • Demon + Demon Hunter = Demonoid. All the devil shards get loose at the same time. This is very bad

Devils, being bound demons, can also be given hosts to perform useful functions for society.

  • Devil + Skeleton = Servitor. Follows all instructions exactly, usually an agricultural tool or factory component
  • Devil + De-boned corpse = Motive Fluid, slushy goop used to power millstones
  • Devil + Weapon = Enchanted Weapon
  • Devil + Chemical concoction = Potion, effectively a temporary devil shard
  • Devil + Tree = Self-constructing wall
  • Devil + Demon-fighting machine = A bad idea, but people keep making these
  • Devil + Book = Perspicacious Tutor
  • Devil + Human = You! A Demon Hunter

Hellish Weather

Of all the atrocities the Dread Emperor committed, the one that impacts most people on a day-to-day basis is certainly what It did to the goddamn clouds.

The weather today is (d50):
  1. Blood
  2. Ash, coating every surface, particularly your tongue and the inside of your eyes
  3. Worms
  4. Clear lacquer, crystallises on skin and leaf alike
  5. Demon eggs
  6. Bones, mostly splintered shards with a few full skulls thrown in for fun
  7. Debt water, it flows back up into the sky an hour later, with 25% interest
  8. Needles, potentially contaminated
  9. Amnesia, end up in a random location and forget how you got there
  10. Frogs, the classic, but they splat
  11. Corpses, quite often you run into a copy of your corpse, smeared across the countryside
  12. Oil
  13. Darkness, the stars go out one by one, and the sun doesn't rise
  14. Half-bricks
  15. Acid, equal chance of hallucinations and dissolving
  16. Murder, everyone awakens with the same person in mind: name, face, approximate location. If they aren't dead by the end of the day, a truly horrible disaster will occur. For instance, rolling five times for the weather tomorrow
  17. Wave, an entire rain-shower is condensed into one slap of water that can obliterate entire villages
  18. Eyeballs
  19. Debased currency
  20. Cats and Dogs, those that survive the drop are all rabid
  21. Ice, frozen saltwater
  22. Sand, blown horizontal by whipping winds, strong enough to strip exposed flesh
  23. Aurora Diabolosis, shining red lights in the sky that inflict an assortment of psychoses on any that watch for too long
  24. Continual lightning, one bolt every 10 seconds
  25. Opium
  26. Jet, all the water from each cloud is funnelled into a single pressure-washer stream
  27. Spiders, gently floating down on strands of silk. What's that tickle on the back of your neck?
  28. The Cube, hovering cast-iron cube the size of a mountain
  29. Milk and honey. Spoiled milk. Rotten honey.
  30. Propaganda pamphlets, pro-demon, anti-human, nihilistic
  31. Duelling hurricanes, come in pairs that fight each other
  32. Gemstones, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, diamonds
  33. Tuesday
  34. Hungry Fog, it digests people if it fully envelopes them
  35. Paranoia (no effect)
  36. Fire
  37. Transdimensional Rifts
  38. False Birds
  39. Dandruff
  40. Lensing Clouds, when one of them drifts in front of the sun it melts down to the bedrock
  41. Molten Lead, luckily it is only a few, heh, "light showers"
  42. Chemical Spray, defoliating, refoliating (but with demonic plants), or otherwise toxic
  43. Wasps
  44. Paint
  45. Noise, just the sound of clashing gongs, smashing plates and crying babies coming from the sky
  46. Whale Fall, one of the big demons that died in space comes drifting down, making a mess of the local ecology for a while
  47. Fungal Spores
  48. Teeth
  49. Orbital bombardment
  50. The same as yesterday, but twice as bad


The Banished - Anato Finnstark

eclipse - esuthio

Unholy Crusade - Dominik Mayer

Possessions - Max Hay

Jinn Hunter - Moe

Lucius and the Flesh Dragon - Alexandre Chaudret

Enter Paradise - Dominik Mayer

Eternal Bridge - Gabriel Nagypal

Corruption - Palamarchuk Mikhail

Throne of Obsidian - Max Hay

Little Bastard - Artur Mukhametov

Grime - Vladimir Matyukhin