Trilobites

Here is an old article that I never published for Koru. It focuses on an optional humanoid race evolved from Trilobites (which are the most numerous wild animal on Island World.

Even though it’s a bit rough, and likely will change a lot when the final book goes it, it’s worth checking out!

The Trilobite folk are bipedal humanoids who share an ancestry with the most common arthropods on Koru. While there are three varieties, each with some major distinctions, they all a set of hard, segmented plates going down from the top of their heads down their backs and along their short tails. While they have lost most of their ancestors’  many limbs they have kept the ability to roll up into a hard, armored ball for defence and mobility.

Trilobite_spines

There are three “types” of Trilobite-folk. All three are Amphibious, have Natural Armor (of varying degrees) and can roll up into an Armor Ball.

1. Deep: these are the ones who most resemble their ancestors: they are shorter than other humanoids (roughly 3 to 4 feet tall) and have four sets of limbs. They can assume a bipedal stance by standing on two sets of “legs”. Their insect-like hands are completely unable to use tools or weapons designed for human hands, but their hard chitinous armor allows them to naturally replicate just about any basic tool. Their Natural Armor is the toughest (Plate Armor). A choice for players who wish to be very non-human and alien.

2. Tidal: Their Natural Armor holds the middle ground in terms of hardness (Chain Mail). A choice for players who wish to be unique but still relate-able to near-humans, like Dwarves, Gnomes or Halflings.

3. Shallow: the most human-like of this folk. Their dorsal armor is slimmer and more flexible, allowing them greater mobility at the cost of less protection. While they still possess two sets of arms, the lower pair are almost completely vestigial: too small and weak to perform any arduous tasks beyond lifting small objects. Their faces are almost completely human except for their segmented irises and their mouths which, while closed, look small, but while opened completely split open the lower halves of their faces into long mandibles and maxilla “fingers”. Their hands, are slimmer and more flexible, allowing them to use human tools. Their Natural Armor is the least hard (Leather Armor). A good choice for players wanting to be very nearly human but visually different with minor differences to set themselves apart, like Elves, Half-Elves or Half-Orcs.

People of the Tides

As with the slow movement of the moons and tides, these people have profound ideologies around peaceful and deliberate lives. They rarely act hastily or without some deliberation beforehand.

Plate-VII-Ordovician-Trilobites

Stats

Labyrinth Lord (or OSR game of choice)

As Dwarves, except replace their racial abilities with the following:

Their unique physique prevents them from being able to use weapons, armor or tools made for human use. However their limbs function perfectly for most tools needed for hammering, cutting, digging or scraping (they do not need tools for most tasks).

Armored Shell: Trilobites have a natural AC of 5 from the tough shells on their backs.

Amphibious: Trilobites can breathe equally well underwater as above land. However prolonged exposure to a dry environment will have consequences on their health. Reduce each of their saving throws by 1 for each entire day spent away from a body of water large enough for them to be fully immersed.

Armor Ball: Trilobites may roll up into a tough ball. This form makes them nearly invulnerable (Armor class of 4) and their movement speed of 150′(50′). However they cannot perform any actions except rolling around and smashing into things (attack as a war hammer, dealing 1d6 damage).

Dungeon World

Coming soon

trilobites_fossil

Koru: Harm system

So in my upcoming setting + game, one of the ideas is to take inspiration from my favourite games. I wanted to create a health and injury system that was less abstracted than plain numerical values (i.e., hit points).

I’ve drawn ideas from:

  1. Apocalypse World
  2. World of Darkness
  3. Torchbearer

The basic idea is this: Harm has a spread something like this on your character sheet:

  • [] Want
  • [] Strain
  • [] Fatigue
  • [] Injury
  • [] Illness

When you take Harm from any source, you check the first (or next) box in the sequence. So if you haven’t checked anything yet, you mark Want. If you already had Want checked, you’d check Strain. This represents how much your character can take or bounce back from external sources of trauma. For a while you can just get a bit winded, tired or dehydrated from fighting monsters. Eventually, though, if you don’t recover, you’re opening yourself to far worse consequences (i.e., injuries and illnesses).

Recovery

Recovering from each step requires greater time and resources. For example, to recover from Want, you need to have some food or water in your inventory or at least a turn (in combat) to catch your breath.

  • Want: you just need to catch your breath, eat or drink to replenish yourself. Takes only a moment.
  • Strain: you are emotionally or even mentally drained or upset to some degree and need to calm down, try to relax and collect yourself. Takes a few minutes.
  • Fatigue: you are physically drained and need rest. That means doing nothing strenuous for, say, an hour. Like a Short Rest in D&D 5e.
  • Injury: requires medical or magical attention. This is serious, like a bleeding wound or a broken bone. Requires a longer period of time to recover from an injury; say, at least 8 hours. Like a Long Rest in D&D 5e.
  • Illness: requires recurring, persistent medical or magical attention over a longer period of time. This is very serious: infections, fever, disease and such. Takes a much longer time to recover: a week (at least).

These timings are for a more “heroic” feel and if a group wanted more grittiness or whatever, they could make them take much longer. An Injury could take a week and Illness a month, if you wanted.

Death

If ever all of your Harm boxes are full and you take more Harm, then you die. Plain and simple.

Bonus Boxes

Age

A character’s age plays an important role in Koru. Amongst other things that it determines about a hero, it also affects how much Harm that they can take.

This is handled by applying extra “boxes” for Want. Youths have two extra Want boxes. Prime aged characters have one. Elders have none.

Having multiple checks in a type of Harm has no effect on recovery times.

Armor

Armor provides an extra box for Injury. Thicker, more effective armor just lasts longer, in game terms (Koru will use the “Usage Die” mechanic from the Black Hack).

Other protection and abilities

Some of these Harm boxes will increase depending on other factors, such as enchantments, good equipment or even special abilities. A Shaman, for example, who is an expert at healing, can grant other characters an extra temporary Illness box (if the right conditions are met).

Conclusion

I have yet to play-test these rules, but I’m liking how they look on “paper”.

Status of the Lounge

After the A to Z Challenge, which was fun but quite demanding (but less so than I expected), I decided to take a break for a little while.

I also got really tired of social media and fora (message boards) and I’m trying to quit them to be more productive. My goal right now is to finish some RPG products (modules, mostly) and sell them on online PDF game distributors.

The following projects have completed first drafts and are being assembled into second drafts:

Conquerors of the Cosmos

This is an adventure module for Crimson Dragon Slayer. It is an homage to certain media from the 1980s: stuff like HeMan, Thundarr and Sectaurs. Right now it is a bit linear, so I’m working on making it more like a point crawl. This will hopefully get published through Korthalis.

The Warlock’s Curse

The title logo of this project is the featured image for this post. A 5e and Dungeon World compatible module set in Fantasy Romania. A lot of Ravenloft and Castlevania themes here. Included will be the Hydra Tome: a self-contained generator for unique and cool hydras.

King of the Grey Isles

The focus of my contribution to the A to Z Challenge. This will be a location-based adventure for 5e and Dungeon World. Gothic and Weird Horror, but very open-ended.

Island World

A Dungeon World hack long in the making. Was originally going to be focused on the aboriginal people of the Pacific ocean, but due to cultural sensitivity controversies over the last few years, I’m reluctant to do so anymore. The peoples in this book will definitely be non-white islander types but I won’t be naming names very much out of fear of being blacklisted or worse.

I will be creating art for all of these. My time that would have been spent on pointlessly browsing the internet will be used to develop these products. I’ll occasionally advertise their progress here on the Lounge.

Please stay tuned! Conquerors of the Cosmos is first in line because I’ve made promises to Venger that I’d get it done sooner than later. It’s been a year in the works: progress has been slow with a new baby in the home.