Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Wondla - A Wonderful Trilogy

WondLa is WondLaful |

Wondla is a trilogy by Tony DiTerlizzi about a young lab-born girl named Eva Nine and her explorations into the world outside her underground Sanctuary. A much stranger world than she was lead to expect.

The books are delightfully illustrated and wonderfully imaginative, an absolute goldmine for inspiration, heck, the illustrations alone could prompt many many thoughts. Giant water bears, motile forests, sonic weaponry, a variety of charming aliens, war machines, airships, ancient ruins, the series packs a lot into three books.

If I had to compare the books to other media, I would say that it reminds me the most of Nausicaä, both have prominent themes of respect for nature (while also showing that this does not mean nature is nice), of seeking peace while not being afraid of violence, and a strong female protagonist.

What I like the most about the books (besides their fantastic world) is the tone of optimism and hope, yet without shying away from the ugly and terrible.

I wish I could say more of the books, and the amazing things found within, but alas that would spoil the fun. So I leave with these illustrations.

What to Draw? – Tony DiTerlizzi

Zin | WondLa Wiki | Fandom

Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi on Cuseum

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Slushpost Mark. 1

Aka lets copy Throne of Salt.

All of these are free real estate for post and game alike as long as you can beat me to it.

  1. Spanish Civil War pulp adventure setting.
  2. Harpers Ferry pulp adventure. John Brown is a wizard now.
  3. Bioluminescent deep elves. Either from evolution or diet.
  4. The people of the swamps fear and venerate Big Moses, a colossal pure white crocodile.
  5. Funeral pyres burn colorful paper objects representing different parts of a person's soul or personality.
  6. The Twelfth Pasha of Saffron has commissioned their subjects to construct a massive arrangement of stone obelisks for the purpose of attracting the Solar Gods.
  7. The Underpope and the Grand Eucemenal Guild of Darks and Depths.
  8. Mr. Tuesday, a dapper and politely feral gentleman.
  9. Old Buster, a diminutive wizard who rides around in a pelican's pouch.
  10. The Immaculate & Thirsty Suit Of Bone (armour 3), sacrifice 1 pt of STR each week worn.
  11. A man with a cabinet in his chest. It opens unto an impossible room.
  12. Greek inspired boxer/wrestler philosophers, all their philosophy is about wrestling.
  13. Actually, someone should just play a pretentious Plato suplexing people while spouting off insults about ideal forms.
  14. Praise the Holy Porcupine.
  15. Every scion of the great houses carries an ancestral sword. However the number of children as of late has greatly outpaced the number of swords leading to an influx of counterfeits.
  16. Kingdom of aggressive, sapient, but otherwise normal, hippos and their human slaves. Amphibious hippo shock troops in reed armour.
  17. Knife money - bronze knives traded as currency.
  18. Dwarvish holy books are made of sheets of steel and are thusly so heavy that they are carried around on special lecture-palanquins.
  19. The Arthropod Potentates carried aloft by their pill bug servitors.
  20. Elves are magic ape-men with fur who cannot sweat. Cousins to humans.
  21. The Bat-Headed Men of the canyon cities of Old Usk are developing a sonic probe to analysis the earth's crust but which could also be utilized as devastating weapon of war. Steal it.
  22. The plains cities of Deb Lota where weaponry is obscene.
  23. A city bedecked with humanoid statues, caryatid statues, they give advice to the inhabitants and guard ancient buildings.
  24. Never underestimate humanities desire to look fancy.
  25. Mushroom rebels vs the undead empire, undead = never changing, rejection of rot, empire itself is undead kept alive past its expiration (this was stolen wholesale from the discord)
  26. The City of Red Glass, where crystalline dragons lord over glassblowing peasants who spin them their new bodies.
  27. Those of the Way of the Fifteenth Eye, sworn enemies of the Third Eye and its false aphotesis, sworn allies of the Eleventh Eye and its elevated thought.
  28. There need to be more friendly undead.
  29. Execution via show tunes played upon a Sparagmos Organ.
  30. Massive biomechanical construct/dungeon partially powered by the heat of massive compost plots deep within its cavernous belly.
  31. Warriors dressed in crocodile hide armour carrying curved bronze shields.
  32. An impossible compass that points the way towards abstract concepts.
  33. Everything is made of dragons. The ground? A shit ton of dragons. That rock? Very lazy dragon. The sun? King of dragons. You? A human shaped dragon.
  34. Instead of tight dungeons focused on claustrophobia lets see more adventure locales focused on the horror of vastness. Clouds. Endless cliffside's. Endless oceans.
  35. A religious order built on the idea that the sky wants to eat us, which is why we must give it blood.
  36. Giant lizards as pack animals, their tails (which grow back) can be cut off as emergency rations or a delicacy.
  37. In Ishanheim people carve their homes into the glaciers.
  38. At the edge of the world lies the Celestial Dam holding back the abyssal floodwaters and all that lurks within. Only the most damned souls plumb those depths.
  39. Frogmen coat themselves in a special paste when wandering far from water to retain moisture and act as decoration. 
  40. Giant yeti crabs as riding steeds.
  41. "An Ionian emissary called at the kings court the other day, reeking of sulfur and radiating the most horribly humid heat."
  42. Coal miners digging through mountains riddled with ancient tunnels. They must contend with the boot of the company and the horrors from below.
  43. Great mechanized war machines, so vast that entire cities have grown up inside them, battle upon a dying planet.
  44. Once picked clean by river creatures the skeletons of family members are used to decorate a families ancestral home.
  45. Esrever, a city of reverse spires sunken into the ground.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Skipping Stone Wizard

Skipping Stone Wizards are muscular and dexterous and can skip even regular stones incredibly long distances. The great Fingers Fim was said to have skipped a perfectly normal stone all the way across the world ocean and back again. 

Of course, a true Skipping Stone Wizard does not even need water for their feats. Easily skipping stones off any surface. 

The heavier the stone the more powerful the spell, some stones are so massive they have to be thrown like a shot put. Stones must be recovered to cast them again...

You can skip stones at improbable angles and distances. As well if using spell stones you can conjure up a magical effect. Given time you can always find 1d6 smooth skippable stones in most environments.

Start With:
Stone Pouch (looks like a sporran), Stone Polisher

Spell Stones:

Magic Missile - a medium stone, slightly pointy, magic bolts hit whoever was nearest where the stone hit

Fireball - a large slightly charred stone, does what is says on the tin

Freeze - a small cold stone, freezes any water it bounces off of, with skill you could make a bridge

Drag - a medium stone, any loose objects in a 10 ft cone gets pulled along with it until it stops

Teleport - a absolutely massive stone, teleports you to where it lands 

This Is What World Champion Stone Skipper Keisuke Hashimoto Is Capable Of -  Digg

Sunday, September 13, 2020

F-122 Challenge Done

My response to Throne of Salt's question challenge!

The short version for those not in the know, get 7 classes, answer 10 questions out of the 122, make a setting out of it. 

:: CATSUKA :: Focus On - Catfish Deluxe


  1. Adept - a student of the hand and foot's potential
  2. Iconoclast - a temple wrecker, heretic, destroyer of beliefs*
  3. Scrap Courtesan - a beauty with a patchwork body*
  4. Zouave - a weary soldier whose been at this too long
  5. Scrivener - a clerk devoted to the gods of bureaucracy*
  6. Theotokos - a professional god birther
  7. Foreign Barbarian - a stranger to these lands
* made 'em up on the spot, to be written out soon...


1. Is a bar tab used to hire on cannon fodder or sailors?
Pretty much every bar and pub in the lower spires has a running deal with the army to put debtors into uniforms in exchange for a kickback. The nicer bartenders will give you a headstart when the military police come to pick you up.

2. Are <scholars> a religious order?
The Scriveners do all the paperwork in the city. They are incredibly devout. An error is a sin. They have no internal hierarchy and spend most of their free time debating one another over the finer points of filing and scripture. They follow the (conflicting) teachings of some thousand gods of bureaucracy. 

3. Is military service compulsory?
No, but the army does its damndest to snatch people off the streets, put a rifle in their hands, and send them off fighting in foreign parts.

4. What cosmetics or prosthetics are used to hide marks of aging, scarring, or amputation?
Arcanely animated porcelain is used to make prosthetics and masks. In recently years its use has grown increasingly pervasive to the point some will remove entire limbs with but a minor blemish, in order to replace them with 'perfect' porcelain ones.

5. What is the recreational drug abuse your cultures has organized meetings around?
At all levels of society Bluk is smoked, often communally, but also in individual cigarettes. A small leafy herb, similar in appearance to mint, and usually grown in window boxes or large rooftop plantations. If dried and smoked it creates a cathartic state which dulls the body but sharpens sight, hearing, and smell. Bluk is often cut with other harsher drugs.

6. How are soldiers usually paid?
Weekly wages and Bluk rations. When a soldiers time is up their severance package usually consists of the clothes on their back and the gun in their hand. This has of course, created a large community of disenfranchised veterans. The elites have so far handled this by employing them salvaging, treasure hunting, and pest controlling in the lower spires. Veterans often partner with iconoclast in burning down temples. Dissent is growing.

7. What foods are associated with major festivals? What slaughter animals do poor families raise?
Pork and dumplings. Oodles of fried tubers. Most poorer families raise pigeon flocks. In fact several extremely plump and delicious breeds have been created. Pigeon racing and shows are popular.

8. What illegal bloodsports do elites favor?
Making bets on which slum spire collapses is not technically illegal, however planting explosives to ensure you win is. Rumors abound about even less scrupulous nobles who force courtesans with specially modified porcelain prosthetics to fight to the death.

9. What technology is eroding traditional society or being acclimated to it?
The introduction of porcelain prosthetics has created a culture of bodily replacement in the middle class. Not everyone handles it well. Rumor abounds of strange experimentations with the technology creating horrid beasts that now stalk the lowest spires.

10. What area is considered seditious?
The lower spires and stacks, especially anywhere where veterans and iconoclasts call home. The dockside spires in particular are seen as hives political dissension. It's no coincidence that this is where many from overseas make their home. 

Setting Thoughts

Im imagining a great big imperialistic city, a vertical city, all spires and stacks and bridges. The elites of course, live up on top with their shining towers and magnificent views. The city is constantly waging colonial wars in far off places, its docks bustle with the fruits of empire, and it's ironclads steam in out of harbor. The players would all be the people in the bottom of this world. The people who have served and been cast aside by those above. 

I really like this setting, Im definitely going to expand on it in the future.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Worldbuilding Queerness #3

The Veluoga were originally a hill people living in scattered fortress settlements bordering the vast wastes of the Polar Lords. Then, some fifty odd years ago, they conquered their way down the rivers of the eastern basin and to the edge of the sea.

They ride upon shaggy mountain goats and form complicated familial arrangements based on webs of multiple husbands and wives. Richly brocaded and colored fabrics are highly valued and often they trade or raid the southern cities for such.

For the Veluoga romantic relations involve cycles of age and responsibility. For early years of ones life till coming of age only same sex relations are tolerated. Upon reaching marriageable age opposite sex relations become the new norm. And finally in elder years any relations go.

Likewise, in youth ones number of partners may range as wide as one likes, but upon marriage must be restricted to the number of married partners. And upon old age is once again allowed to be as wide as one wishes.

The Stone Monks dwell in their cliff side monasteries far removed from the outside world. Food is farmed from terraces and within the monastery walls philosophy and magecraft is taught.

Skilled are their mages in the shaping of stone. The very canyons they dwell in are said to have been struck into existence by the mage founder of their culture.

Key in their philosophy is the concept creation. To craft something is akin to giving birth, the highest and most precious of acts. As such the mages spend most of their time creating art and chiseling the elaborate sculptures that line the canyon walls and denote which monastery controls this land. 

They are a matriarchal society, with each monastery run by an abbess who has beaten the previous abbess in contest of art (judged by their peers).

Men for the most part are expected to tend the fields and do housework such as cleaning and cooking. However, persons of any gender are allowed to train in the arts but must prove themselves with a magnum opus to be allowed lessons in magecraft. 

It is claimed by some, that the most skilled of their mages can shape the very clay of your flesh. And spawn from you identical clones.

The Good Doctor Amalia

Oh, glorious electricity! That which arcs and sparks from the living wires and descends from the heavens with all the fury of a god! If only for a moment one could achieve that transcendence.

At least that was the good doctor's plan. Unfortunately for her it worked. Mostly. The procedure burnt away her mortal flesh till all there was left was the electric traceries of a nervous system. But in the process the her suit melted and twisted to the whims of strange physics forever trapping her within.

She is thoroughly convinced that this is no fault of her own nor flaw in method. No it could only have been sabotage!

Currently the doctor wanders the streets seeking her imagined saboteur and chasing electrical phenomena in vain hope of freeing herself from this prison and becoming pure energy.

Doctor Amalia
3hp, Dex 14, Rubber Suit (armour 1), Lightning Gun (d10, blast)*
Heavy rubber suit, faint crackling of electricity inside.
    - Can be found attempting to murder whoever she has decided is the saboteur today
    - If her suit is damaged the rubber melts closing the gap.
    - Easily distracted with academic papers

* the blast tag applies to all surrounding who are not grounded or insulated

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Bastionjam Showcase: Ossie - The Diabolical Dossier

Several of the us who participated in the Eclectic Bastionjam are doing a showcase where we take a look and write about each-others works. For the showcase I will be speaking and thinking about Ossie's hack The Diabolical Dossier.

The hack is very tightly written, focusing primarily on the rules, guidelines for enemies, and a list of backgrounds. From the start we get a nice list of 'media touchstones' (excellent term) along with an evocative description of the setting. The hack is descried as a 'Supernatural Espionage RPG' and the term fits well. 

  • Theres a nice little skill system that is essentially a codified way for players to know what their characters are good at. Reminds me a bit of Troika's skills.
  • Simple chase rules. Im divided on this and would have to see it in play in order to get a good read on how well they work.
  • Very simple progression tied to the skill system. Would be nice to maybe give this a bit more meat with some info on how this might go diametrically within game.
  • Enemies are divided into Pawns, Knights, and Kings with each fitting into a sort of 'archetype' with Pawns being your typical throwaway goons whereas Kings fit more for Dracula type bosses.
  • An evocative (if short) list of anomalous items.
  • A 'birthing beasts' section on design monsters with some okay examples. This could have been a bit more substantial in my opinion. Maybe not a full bestiary, but a micro-bestiary or sample adventure would have been nice to get a bit more 'feel' for the setting.
These are the highlight of the game for me, a d66 list of character backgrounds that provide some skills and tidy explanations for what dragged them into the supernatural world. Comes with such delightful entries as 'Birdwatcher' and 'Suspicious Widow'. 

The entries do a wonderful job of fleshing out the setting and giving you a sense of who the players characters are going to be. I would love if in a future edition they came with their own little portraitures.

A good amount of content for only 13 pages. I could defiantly see myself using those backgrounds and some of the rules in my games. Biggest criticism is that it could do with more setting detail. Perhaps a sample adventure or some thematic in-game documents. For example, I would love to know more about the Institute and how that slots in with the players.

Overall I liked it and am eager to see what's in those redacted sections of the Diabolical Dossier.