#RPG – Dragon Warriors – The Hōl Tribe of the Northern Gnawing Wastes

The Hōl

The Hōl (pronounced ‘Horl’) are an alliance of tribes from the far north of The Gnawing Wastes. Nomadic herders and raiders they are divided into a handful of clans, each associated with a different totemic beast. They are feared and respected throughout the north, and their yearly migrations can take them as far south as the northern parts of the Selentine Empire. So fearless are these tribes that they even raid the Nomad Khanates.

Appearance

The Hōl appear to be something of a blend between the Mercanian people and those of the Nomad Khanates. They tend to be extremely pale, with pale blond or jet black hair and brown or blue eyes. There is a tendency towards stockiness, but something in the Hōl bloodline frequently produces giants of six or even seven feet in height. They tend to have high, rounded cheekbones and eyes that are slightly slanted and/or hooded. Some take more after the Khanate peoples, others take more after their Mercanian blood.

Art

The Hōl have many expert craftsmen and women amongst their number and they produce a great deal of jewellery, typically in the form of bone, tusk or beads. Their nomadic lifestyle does not lend itself to metal-working, and so jewellery of a more conventional sort is uncommon amongst the Hōl, though they will trade for it – or steal it – should the chance come about.

Their armour is often extremely decorative, as are their tents and the harnesses and tack they use on their beasts and herds, these decorations conveying meaning through colour and arrangement. The more extravagant the bead-work, the more colourful the armour, the more prestige the tribe member has.

The Hōl still prominently use stone in many of their weapons, saving metal for armour, swords and axes, and still using flint or obsidian for spear, javelin and arrow heads. Stone weapons frequently have small totemic items – feathers, bone and bead-charms – attached to them, as a ward against chipping or breaking.

The Hōl tend to eschew dance as a waste of energy, the closest thing in their culture being an hypnotic swaying and chanting during some of their festivals.

Clothing

Hōl tribe-members wear a fairly unisex outfit of fine-tooled, insulated buckskin tunics and britches, surmounted by a waist-mat of fur, their upper body further protected by a fur vest and a cross-piece of leather, fur or reindeer skin, covered in toggles, onto which they can hang their gear, weapons, bags, bottles, quivers and so forth. Their sleeves even have toggles, which their gloves or mittens button to, so they can free their hands for delicate work without losing them or setting them down.

The Hōl grow their hair and beards long, as protection against the cold, braiding them with beads and knotting them into elaborate ropes for special occasions, or out of vanity.

Herds

The Hōl primarily farm reindeer for meat, horn, bone, leather and milk, as well as drinking their piss – infused with hallucinogenic mushrooms – as part of their vision quests. They also maintain packs of wolves, trained as fierce hunting companions, a breed of battle-elk, and even a breed of bear that one tribe uses as mounts. Legends tell of lost tribes that tamed the great sabretooth tigers, or even the gigantic hairy mammuk. That knowledge has been lost to time. In addition to their herds they take food on their raids, gather and preserve berries, fruit, fish and nuts when they can and engage in trade if they have a surplus – but only during their seasonal festivals.

Organisation

A tribal leader is accepted by a crude sort of consensus, if nobody significant objects. In times of battle a war leader is chosen amongst the warriors, through a combination of reputation, non-lethal single combat and consensus. Either leader is advised by a Shaman, typically an Air or Water Elementalist. There is no succession, save in the Shamanic line, where each Shaman educates two apprentices, only one of which can become the new Shaman.

There is no appreciable gender division in Hōl society, everyone must be able to fight, everyone must be able to tend the herds, everyone must be able to craft – to at least some degree. There is no more or less honour in any particular role, and every tribe-member is free to seek out their calling and their place, their ‘Kashin’, one of the two most important concepts in Hōl society.

Religion

The Hōl practice ancestor worship, or rather memorial, and animistic respect of the spirits. They see no spirit in rocks, plants or places, but only animals and people. This spirit they call ‘Liekki’ or ‘soulfire’ and many of their sayings revolve around the relationship between fire and life. Unlike most inanimate things, the Hōl believe fire itself is alive, and can convey some of that life when it is applied to things – like metal-working or fire-hardening. Just as it sustains the life of those who warm themselves by it.

Chief totemic spirits of the Hōl include the reindeer, the elk, the wolf, the fox, the eagle, the tiger, the mammuk, the bear and the rabbit. Though every animal in their land has a place in their pantheon.

Slavery

An unfortunate aspect of the Hōl is their practice of slavery. On their raids they frequently take captives from the places they raid, and consider the act of sparing those captives to mean that they are now owed that person’s life. These bondslaves are considered part of the tribe, albeit at a low rung, and can ‘buy’ their way out of their position by saving a life of the tribe, bearing a child for the tribe or committing an act of heroism or great worth to the tribe.

War Beasts

Battle-Elk

Battle-Elk (a moose for our transatlantic cousins), never shed their antlers. Instead they continue to grow constantly throughout the elk’s lift, and have to be constantly trimmed, honed and sharpened. Battle-elk are also considerably larger and more powerful than their wild cousins.

Attack: 22, Horns (d8+1/5), Kick (d10/6).
Armour Factor: 1 (4 in armour)
Defence: 6
Movement 10m.
Magical Defence: 5
Evasion: 3
Health 3d6+16
Stealth: 9
Perception: 5
Rank: 8

Special: Charge attack: Speed 14 vs Evasion, 1d6+5 damage, minus Armour and thrown 5m back and winded for 1d3 combat rounds.

Herd-Wolf

Herd-Wolves are enormous, wolf-like dogs with pure white fur, who serve as hunting companions and warriors alongside their tribe partners.

Attack: 21 Fangs (d6/6)
Armour Factor: 0 (3 in armour)
Defence: 5
Movement: 12m
Magical Defence: 3
Evasion: 3
Health Points: 2d6+4
Stealth: 16
Perception: 11 (elfsight)
Rank: 4

Bear-Mount

Bears, bred to be mounts as well as for size and fierceness, bringing them close to the legendary cave bears in ferocity. They do not hibernate, and require considerable resources from the tribe to stay fed – especially during winter.

Attack: 23, Claws (d10/6)
Armour Factor: 1 (4 in armour)
Defence: 9
Movement: 10
Magical Defence: 5
Evasion: 4
Health Points: 3d6+20
Stealth: 10
Perception: 6
Rank: 9

#RPG – Dragon Warriors – Breylak

The City of Breylak

Completely non-canonical, just some musings I had for my own game.

Breylak is a major port city in Albion, straddling the watermill-choked River Abus before it turns into marsh and mud, and laying south-east of The Noden Moors.

The Moors are a wind-blasted, bleak landscape of gorse and heather. Their windswept expanse is dotted with stone tors, burial mounds and the occasional copse of twisted trees. The land is virtually useless for anything beyond grazing sheep, and often plagued by monsters.

Breylak is a city that suits its location, grey stone walls against grey skies, full of no-nonsense, hardy men and women. Even the Breylak cathedral is a simple, minimalistic slab of a building and its clergy grey-faced and humourless.

Most of the folk, rich or poor, are involved with the wool, linen and rope businesses that dominate the city. Other businesses buy and sell material from across Albion and trade it for goods from the continent.

The water mills were supposedly engineered by the dwarves, originally, who dwell in the cave systems beneath the moors. Whether this is true or not is unknown, though some claim to hear the beautiful sound of the dwarven battle-choirs echoing out of the ground.

Very occasionally a few dwarven traders do appear, to exchange coal, tar, bitchimen, copper, lead and crystals of fluorite for food and cloth. Despite the distance these dwarves observer, the stubborn and wilful nature of the people of Breylak leads many to speculate that there’s more than a little dwarvish blood in their human stock.

Breylak is split between it’s eastern and western sides, with a Duchy on the Eastern half of the city – and its surrounding moorland – and a much older Earldom on the western half, which lays claim to the more arable land, south-west of the river.

While the city is a single entity, the split nobility has people from different parts of the city in fierce competition with one another, even coming to sectarian blows over whether they serve the poor, but plucky, ‘newcomers’ to the North-East (Osterlak) or the more established and traditional ‘old timers’ to the South-East (Vesterlak).

Duke Eadva Osterlak rules over the newer, watermill and grazing part of the city, supported by two barons. Baron Langley whose lands encompass the estuary, and Baron Bran whose lands, technically, spread north onto the moors. Baron Bran styles himself ‘of Breylak’, refusing to take part in the petty squabbles of times past. For this moderate and measured attitude, he is treated poorly by the rest of the local gentry.

On the other side of the river Earl Cynnamar Vesterlak’s claim takes in the wealthier and older parts of the city, as well as the more fertile farmland. His subordinates are the young dowager-Baroness Alethia of Vesterlak, and Baron Chauncey of Vesterlak, each with equal subdivisions of the city and its farmland.

A rising power in the city is The Syndic of the Draper’s guild, the anonymous council of the most powerful guild in the city, to which all other guilds are subordinate. Their wealth is distorting the traditional power dynamic of the city’s feudalism, but the Osterlaks and Vesterlaks are too consumed by their rivalry to pay attention.

While they squabble The Syndic begins to bring in mercenaries from the continent, to provide security to their shipments, sheep herds and mills. A private army in all but name.

Recent Events

A series of murders in the city were blamed on a minority group, The Ibram, a monotheistic precursor to The True Faith, which existed in small numbers in the city, primarily as assayers and crafters. This mass murder is now a guilty, open secret that has riven the city even more.

#RPG – Postmortem Studios Game Giveaway!

Isabelle Gedigk

I’ve been doing giveaways since the beginning of this year, sending physical items and gifts out to people to help with promoting my store and games. With the whole pandemic thing, visits to the Post Office are a bit trickier and more time consuming, and you have to be careful in general.

Even to, I really would like to still give some things away, so this month – and for as long as we have to avoid contact – I’ll be doing electronic giveaways.

This month’s giveaway will be sent out in about two weeks from now. To go into the draw all you have to do is one of the following…

Tweet something nice about Postmortem Studios and include @Grimsaur, a link to Post-Mort.com and the hashtag #RPGsToDieFor.

Make a post to Facebook, adding me (James Desborough) in the comments or ‘who I’m with’ section, and include the hashtag #RPGsToDieFor and a link to Post-Mort.com

Post a review of one of my games or books to Youtube, your blog or anywhere else you can and then drop a link to it for me in the comments below this blog.

Bish bash bosh, you go into the draw, and Robert’s your mother’s brother.

This month’s giveaway includes:

  • Satana Station
  • Swords & Shields
  • Election Party
  • Fistful of Foes 1-3
  • Top Table Comix: What is an RPG?
  • Actual Fucking Monsters
  • Tales of Gor
  • World of Gor

A total combined value of almost $50!

#RPG – Postmortem Studios March/April Update – BIG DISCOUNTS FOR PATRONS!

NOPE! They said BARGAINS!

50% DISCOUNT FOR ALL PATRONS AT POST-MORT.COM!

$4 OFF ALL MERCH AT TEESPRING!

JOIN PATREON OR SUBSCRIBESTAR TO GET THE DISCOUNT CODE!

If you’re not reading this ON the email list, get ON the email list! https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/postmortem-studios-fan-group/join

March/April Update

‘Ello lovelies,
I messed up by forgetting to do this update last month, so we’re already off to a fantastic start. However, the reasons to have this email list remain extremely strong, those being that social media is a shit-show where nobody gets to see a damn thing you talk about. Facebook keeps trying to get me to pay to let people see my posts, which strikes me as a little bit of extortion. Anyway, I promise to try and do better, and if it gets to the second of the month and you haven’t seen an update, feel free to nag me.Here’s your update for the last month.

Work:

Last month was pretty good for work, I managed to release two products, Satana Station for Machinations of the Space Princess and the restart of my ‘zine ‘Autopsy’.

I will be looking for submissions in the future and will be paying $10 a pop for articles or doodads 500-1500 words. So if anyone’s interested, you might want to get in on that.

I’m also looking to support artists, in particular, who are affected by the Coronavirus. So if you have any friends in need, who have a bit of talent in that regard, send them my way and I’ll see what I can manage.

The virus is, obviously, having a fairly dire effect on many businesses, including mine. I have actually done OK, two releases and a big stock art sale (go to DrivethruRPG, select Postmortem Studios and select ‘Clipart’) along with my various ‘side gigs’ mean I almost made minimum wage last month.

A lot of people are hurting though, and if you can afford to give them your support, please do. Authors, game designers, artists, cosplayers, LARP stores etc are all especially harmed because they have all become so reliant on the convention and event circuit, so spare them a thought.

I’m knocking out a bunch of small projects and blogs at the moment, to maintain a steady release schedule. A lot of people are playing games online or finding themselves with a lot of time on their hands, so providing tools to help people stave off boredom and to give them something to do seems like a good idea.

I have been doing promotional giveaways, but they’ve been hit and miss and now, with the virus, obviously I want to stay away from the Post Office, so I’ll be doing them electronically.

Self:

I’ve been ill. With no tests there’s no way to know whether it was The Dreaded Lurgy or not, but I’m starting to feel better. It’s stopped me doing videos and recordings for about a week because of a terrible sore throat and a dry cough.

I live rurally and naturally self isolate anyway, which is a pretty good thing as I’m fairly high risk (bad lungs from childhood asthma). So far the only real impact on me has been a lack of groceries, and my missus being underfoot all day, which isn’t ALL bad.

I was trying to run RPG sessions online to provide something for people to do who are forced out of work or self-isolating at the moment. The uptake was disappointing, but I want to try and keep that going. Watch my social media for updates on when sessions are – it can be fairly short notice. I aim to do them around 7:30-8pm UK start, and keep them to short, convention-style slots of 3-4 hours.

If you have a group or can get together a group of 3-6 people I’m happy to bend that time to meet your demand, and run during the day or late in (my) night. Just get in touch.I also have a Facebook group for people who are interested: https://www.facebook.com/groups/grimstream

Depression seems to have backed off a bit, which is nice. I’ve been doing this ‘gratitude journal’ thing, that was recommended by Kurzgesagt, I’ve found it somewhat useful, but not as much as they suggest. Unlike a lot of this stuff, there’s some actual science behind it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPPPFqsECz0

I’ve been playing the ever-loving shit out of Mechwarrior 5 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which I wish I could stream, but the Switch is shit for that. Perhaps when I’ve completed it, I’ll play something I can stream from the PS4 again.

Blogs:

Pricing Change & Demo Opportunities:  https://postmortemstudios.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/rpg-postmortem-studios-pricing-moving-forward-demo-opportunities-more/

Satana Station Preview:  https://postmortemstudios.wordpress.com/2020/02/17/rpg-satana-station-for-machinations-of-the-space-princess-preview/

Election Party Print and Play Available:  https://postmortemstudios.wordpress.com/2020/02/18/politics-election-party-card-game-now-available-in-print-and-play/

Swords & Shields RELEASED:  https://postmortemstudios.wordpress.com/2020/02/19/boardgames-swords-and-shields-released/

I’ll be Running Streamed Games on the Regular:  https://postmortemstudios.wordpress.com/2020/03/21/rpg-ill-be-running-streamed-games-on-the-regular-and-helping-with-yours/

Cyberpunk to-hit Chances & Realism:  https://postmortemstudios.wordpress.com/2020/03/22/rpg-cyberpunk-red-2020-and-firearms-to-hit-chances/

Satana Station Released:  https://postmortemstudios.wordpress.com/2020/03/26/rpg-satana-station-for-machinations-of-the-space-princess-osr-space-opera-released/

HUMUNGULOUS STOCK ART SALE:  https://postmortemstudios.wordpress.com/2020/03/26/rpg-dnd-humungulous-stock-art-sale/

ALL NEW AUTOPSY ‘Zine Released:  https://postmortemstudios.wordpress.com/2020/03/30/rpg-all-new-autopsy-zine/

[i] s o l a t i o n: https://talesofgrim.wordpress.com/2020/03/23/i-s-o-l-a-t-i-o-n/

Gathercole Investigates: The Voice in the Radio – https://talesofgrim.wordpress.com/2020/02/09/gathercole-investigates-short-the-voice-in-the-radio/

Depressive Episode:  https://talesofgrim.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/depressive-episode/

Youtube:

Grimstream:

Dragon Warriors Session 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV_7X9oUWUw

Dragon Warriors Session 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn3u-SUz9cc

(Please sub and click the bell and select all, I only need a few more subs to get a custom URL on this channel).

PostmortemVideo:

I Haz a Sick – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6jdByRFic8

Cummings or Goings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lIUu3oyC2s

Satana Station Released: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESuEgq9Za6A

The Plague Changed Society for the Better: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUiJDn4fmAA

The Plague Ghost of Vernham Dean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F65BdkD-sv0

SLA Industries Quickstart Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTJauVSLHzc

Can You Fuck a Zombie?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-rCiPNbDs8

Whatever Happened to the Terran Trade Authority?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ssQYKVN740

YES! Let’s Politicise Covid-19: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLaX2r3R7TY

PSA How to Work From Home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgT7w4a2aac

Faith of Our Fathers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fQvFYio_lk

Disease from an RPG Perspective: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzeL-imu_p0

RPG Inspiration – Terra Incognita: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkBbWn9kI_M

Decoupling Ideas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msu3M96Ag9o

Brain and Stuff Update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4feThLO_Juo

Review: Bryan Talbot’s Grandville – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOoRCj9qapk

Socialised Medicine, Threat or Menace?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgLktpWz2iI

Glitch Mix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Nio9qEjTTk

The UK Housing Crisis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSjkkV48u5g

Darknet Download 2: https://youtu.be/YDGEka3gCMY

A Slight Case of Oversharing: https://youtu.be/-TFO5d_0vbI

Otters and Theramin: https://youtu.be/F1n3ic8VYqY

Puppies and Kazoos: https://youtu.be/lM-lFP4zq7Y

Bagpipes and Kittens: https://youtu.be/K6kPkSIWtW4

Review: The Fiends in the Furrows: https://youtu.be/QDIDIXT2IWs

What if the Orange Man is bad?: https://youtu.be/R0bl_zSzmnk

Swords and Shields Tactical Board Game: https://youtu.be/dViYntv-iNY

New Youtube Back End: https://youtu.be/2Ybn976WYx8

Grim’s Tales: Omega Men – https://youtu.be/7VUe4D9LDqI

Save the BBC: https://youtu.be/pqu3MG90_tg

Virtual Idol Disrupts Online Sex Work: https://youtu.be/OGXqrd1Feqo

The Recline of Civilisation: https://youtu.be/8ZxIOyJxYWw

So, You Finally Found a Bigot: https://youtu.be/i9tPZfC6Syk

Diversity Versus Mythohistory Via the Mabinogion:  https://youtu.be/z3tOhr5KKls

Pokemon, Doctor Who, and the Representation Boogaloo:  https://youtu.be/5g-wet63LQIDown: https://youtu.be/hoKD2e9NY-k

The Lawrence Fox Reaction: https://youtu.be/wgW9wP55kYI

A Dirtbag Left Case for and Against Social Justice:  https://youtu.be/3ruiB8fvQts

Propaganda and Post Truth with Rin: https://youtu.be/2DPv1ZgsOn4

Podcasts:

https://anchor.fm/Grimstaleshttps://anchor.fm/inappropriatecharactershttps://anchor.fm/narrativeattack

New Products:

ELECTION PARTY THE CARD GAME

Electronic: https://post-mort.com/products/election-party-card-game-pdf-version

Hardcopy: https://post-mort.com/products/election-party-card-game

Swords & Shields

Boardgame: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/swords-and-shields1

Cut Out and Play Hard Copy:  http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-desborough-and-gwenblanket-knight/swords-and-shields/paperback/product-24437619.html

Electronic Version: https://post-mort.com/products/swords-and-shields

Satana Station

Electronic: https://post-mort.com/products/satana-station-for-machinations-of-the-space-princess

Print on Demand: http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-desborough/grim-jims-satana-station/paperback/product-24483669.html

All New Autopsy 001

Electronic: https://post-mort.com/products/all-new-autopsy-001

Print on Demand: http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-desborough/autopsy-001/paperback/product-24487424.html

Merch

Iosef Stalin’s Comintern Vodka T-Shirt (Red): https://teespring.com/new-iosef-stalin-s-comintern-v

Iosef Stalin’s Comintern Vodka T-Shirt (Black): https://teespring.com/iosef-stalin-s-comintern-vodka?pid=395&cid=6622

Ahegao Mug (Read the Reverse): https://teespring.com/get-ahegao-mug?pid=659&cid=102972

Mascara Flavoured Bitch Tears Mug (White Text): https://teespring.com/new-mascara-flavoured-bitch-te?pid=659&cid=102911

Mascara Flavoured Bitch Tears Mug (Black Text): htt ps://teespring.com/mascara-flavoured-bitch-tears?pid=659&cid=102910

Prose Before Hoes T-Shirt: https://teespring.com/get-prose-before-hoes?pid=395&cid=6622

#RPG – ALL NEW AUTOPSY ‘ZINE!

Starting up the Autopsy ‘Zine again, over, as a new volume, beginning with issue 001.

Polished and expanded material from Postmortem Studios blogs for our games, and many others. A gaming magazine like what we used to have, back in the day.

This issue includes:

  • * Gritty FATE?
  • * Skyrim in BRP
  • * Working for Wizards
  • * Planetary – Into the Fictiverse
  • * Whatever happened to the Terran Trade Authority?

GET IT HERE IN PDF

ALSO AVAILABLE (SOON) AT LULU.COM

#RPG – Satana Station for Machinations of the Space Princess (OSR Space Opera) Released!

Buy the PDF HERE, PoD coming soon!

A runaway space station controlled by a rogue AI.

A haven for scum, pirates, slavers and other ne’er-do-wells, squatting amidst the ruin of the fallen Urlanth Empire, right on the edge of a warzone.

100 shops, services and interesting people for your players to interact with, inspiration for hundreds of adventures and many ideas that can easily be ripped off for other space opera, heavy metal or OSR science fiction games.

#RPG – Cyberpunk RED/2020 and firearms to hit chances

In running my 2020 in 2020 campaign I’ve noticed something. Even accounting for the relative levels of expertise amongst Player Characters, shooting people is profoundly easy.

This simply doesn’t marry up with what I know from the statistics, regarding soldiers and police forces (police situations being closest to Player Character situations).

American police, who are habitually armed, trained and prone to resort to using their weapons, have a typical shot-to-hit percentage around 30%. That drops to around 18% if it’s a two-way firefight.

If we take the base scenario of these police firefights to be close ranged (0-12 metres) using a pistol, without fire being returned, then our average member of the plod should be hittin 30% of the time. In d10 terms, that would be needing an 8-10 on a d10. If we assume a standard copper has Reflexes 7 and a Handgun skill of 6 (Protect and Serve p22), that gives them a base of 13 as their total score.

Currently the base difficulty for a close range pistol shot is 15, which means our beat cop is going to be landing 80% of hits, not 30%. Something they typically only achieve while straddling a target with their body-cams off.

The easiest way to fix that is simply to raise all the difficulties by 5, which would reduce the 80% to 30% right away.

This still assumes certain things, like that the target is moving, but not returning fire, so you can still alter things on that basis (-2 difficulty for static targets, +1 difficulty if under fire), and all the other legacy modifiers from CP2020. It also makes the accuracy of truly hardcore, cybernetically boosed Solos, genuinely impressive.

Still, if you’re after something a bit more like gritty realism, +5 to the base difficulty seems to be the way to go, which also makes melee more of a compelling option.