Friday, March 17, 2017

The Frog Demons are Coming Y'all (Eventually)

So the long and short of the update on What Ho, Frog Demons (the fourth of the Slumbering Ursine Dunes series) is that we are right in the middle of the editorial process. The ever-versatile Luka Rejec has jumped over from the illustration side to being the chief editor and just when I thought I was catching a break from the ever-demanding eye of Robert Parker I find myself wading through a 21-point revision list for the manuscript.

Punchline: What Ho is going to take a month or three longer---but it will be tougher and stronger for it.

So in the meantime here's some actual gameable content, one of the lesser tiers of the eponymous critters (the full version comes complete with a random generation system based in freakish real world adaptations to create your nightmare). Also Luka being Luka some sketches of anuran fiends are already percolating through the ether here are some.

Frog Demonettes/Žába'dabel Nymphs
No. Enc.: 1d6 (3d6)
Alignment: Chaotic (Evil)
Movement: 120’ (40’)
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 2 (claws or barbed steel darts)
Damage: 1d4 or 1d4+1
Save: D2
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: XI
XP: 60
Like many extra-dimensional xenoforms the Žába'dabel as a demonic race both mirror and defy natural ecology. Frog Demonettes, the lowest of the three basic types—one hesitates to call them life-cycle stages as they seem to lack rhyme or reason alternately evolving or devolving at seemingly random intervals of their millennium-long lives—is a uniformly female-appearing race of man-sized, lithe, pastel-skinned bipeds with short stubby tails.

Though the Frog Demonette is not as intellectually well-rounded as the larger, more mutated Oorhi, they are quite cunning and love tinkering. This dovetails nicely with their typical caste role as trap setters, sanitation maintenance specialists and unionized builders of the grotesque, baroque floats that grace the annual Benighted Parade of Weltschmerz in Peklo, their home dimension.


Frog Demonettes can cast Mend and Push spells once a day. Admittedly a power that will see little use in combat with PCs.  


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hydra Needs Editors

A good kind of problem to have, but our happy little creator-owned outfit the Hydra Cooperative has enough projects going right now that it is looking for both line and copy editors for freelance project work.

Qualities we are looking for:
1. Done editing work previously on a professional or volunteer basis. Bonus points for having done it in a gaming context.

2. Have an interest for the DIY and OSR gaming scene (broadly speaking) and pushing that design vision.

3. Are familiar with the work of the Hydra Cooperative (Strange Stars, the Slumbering Ursine Dunes series, Ruins & Ronin, Weird Adventures etc).

4. Understand the balance between the interest of the readers and the aesthetic vision of precious snowflake designers.

5. Understands and respects the need for making deadlines and general timeliness in publishing. Communicates proactively about potential conflicts and delays.

If interested drop me a private email at kutalik at the gmail dot com to talk details. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Peklo the Hot Hell: a Brief Tour on Ten Electrum Pieces or Less, Part 1

One hell is really insufficient for the inimical side of the Hill Cantons' cosmology. The reality of the Cold Hell readers of Misty Isles of the Eld have experienced, What Ho, Frog Demons explores some adventurable connections to that other fell dimension, Peklo or more baldly the Hot Hell.

I have cut the long willow branches from their tree and dragging them thrice around where the red bull stomps the tall rye, I have made loving supplication to God S-d. Erecting the lead barriers and donning the Suit of Containment and issuing the mutterings of the Vulgar Hyperborean words of protection, I can tell finally of Peklo.

The Ludicists maintain that Zem, is just the dream projection of a great and cosmic game. That is of course heresy vile and ill-informed, but like most corruptions of the mind has an element of Truth in its inception. When great Overgod floated across the void, his ship left a wake from Demonspace. How natural, how predictable, how convenient, that it was that the ego-drunk Demons with their great arrow-like vessels penetrating the heavens would also follow shortly in their vessels.

The Sunlord in His Wisdom sternly warns us of the trap of timelines, intoning of expository history and the senseless capitalizations of portentous proper names but suffice it to say there was a time of Conflict between Overgod and the voyaging Captains. Overgod held his own trapping the inimical encroachers to an infinite in-between plane of psychic friction: the fell place we now know as the Hot Hell.

Lower and Upper Hell
The Two Hells each have their own two hells. Much like our world the Hot Hell is divided between a flat bedrock of daily existence and an upper firament. Unlike Zem with its orderly domed heavens and neatly bounded earth, the Lower Hell and the dark inky void Upper Hell are said to run dizzingly, terrifyingly infinite.

Upper Hell is a lifeless zone, a place of transit (astral flyover country if you will), eschewed even by the Captains. The void is punctuated here and there by the running lights of the hulking, ruined Vessels and cold rocky orbs. It is known to run over the Cold Hell, a pocket dimension closer and more imbued with its substance.

Lower Hell in comparison teems with demonic ecologies. While universally unpleasant and over-warm, the Lower Hell is a bewildering patchwork of fiendish bio-climes fecundly blossoming from the psychic projections of the deep anxieties, ugly archetypes and ego excesses of the adjoining dimensions. Here is the Malachite Scarp, a vertigo-inducing narrow-ledged cliffscape of barely perched stork-legged backward facing demons raised by the pure might of petty insecurity. There the polished bronze phallic towers and monstrous hot pink orchids of Vulvak, the Archtownship of Unsubtle Imagery.
Also striking are the teeming, squalid squatter cities thrown up around the wrecked hulks of the Vessels (more about those later). Lording over each vessel-city are the silver-suited Captains with the castes of the Crew eternally jockeying from the flaming-eyeball headed engineers up to the gargantuan, multi-headed Officers.

And those are just the thematically discernible sections, some areas seem to be a confusing stew of jarring elements. Great barb-vined patches of demonic tubers nestle up against tarpits filled with lamprey-faced life coaches, cellophane forests, and dung warrens of cold-calling bivalve psychic marketers.

In the Next Part we get into some of the hot spot (no pun intended) sites of Peklo.