Thursday, February 28, 2013

It's the End of the World as We Know It...

A question I've been asking round the traps of late:

what would happen if you were able to slow the turning of the earth, increasing the length of time it takes to turn by 10% each day, til eventually it was tidelocked with the sun? How long would it take, and what would be the effects on climate, water, world temperatures, plate tectonics, the Coriolis Effect, the moon, the earth's orbit around the sun, and on life?

how many days before it becomes tidelocked (my initial calc had it at <60 days, using compound interest formula I got <62 days).

how many total hours would it take to become tidelocked, from that first hour of that first 26.4 hour day, to the end of the almost year long last day? going on one year = 365.25 days x 24hrs = 8766hrs for the earth to turn and remain tidelocked with the sun.

and some answers:


It will take 62 "days". But since the length of the day gets longer every day, it will take roughly 10 years. Or to be exact, 88157,46812282817 hours.

I can tell you what will happen on the first and second day. Massive storms as the weather adjusts.

I can tell you what definitely will happen on the last day. All life will have died. All atmosphere on the night side is frozen. All atmosphere on the day side will have evaporated. There is no liquid anywhere unless we're talking about maybe puddles of molten lead from some leftover industrial stock. For that matter, since the atmosphere has either frozen off or boiled off, no air either. Temperature on the day side will be at least 123° C but probably higher. I'm basing this on the daytime temperature on the moon. However, the moon does experience a day night cycle, if a bit odd. Since the earth would no longer experience one, it should be higher than 123 °C but I have no idea how high. Temperature on the night side should be far below freezing and will eventually settle at something higher than -233 °C. It should be higher because Earth still have geological activity and active volcanoes, but how much higher I have no idea. Actually, I take that back. Eventually it will end up like that, but it might be possible that water boiling off will create a cloud cover that will temporarily reflect most of the sun and create some atmospheric convection currents moving heat from the day side to the night side. This can not last but I have no idea how long it will last.

I really can't tell what happens inbetween though.

I don't think it will affect the earth's orbit unless whatever caused it also affects the earth's orbit.

That's about all I can tell you. I can't guarantee the correctness either.


Google is your friend.

"The first thing that I should make clear is that a tidally locked planet still rotates once per orbit. If it didn’t, then the same side would not always face the star! I don’t know if that rules out a tidally-locked earth for your episode, but I will assume that it doesn’t.

"If Earth were tidally locked, there would be no seasons. The only change in the amount of sunlight would come from the slight variation in distance from the sun due to Earth’s orbit being slightly out of round. Instead of seasons I suspect there would be zones of different climates depending how far away you are from the center of the side that always faces the sun. Right on the equator of the sun-facing side, I would expect very high temperatures. In the center of land masses you would probably have scorching hot deserts, and near the coasts there would be huge thunderstorms due to the rapid evaporation of the water. As you go farther away from the sub-solar point, the sun would get lower in the sky and you would have gradually cooler climates in rings. I think that the intense heating on the sunlit side and the cooler climates surrounding that area would set up circulation in the atmosphere similar to the Hadley cells that transport heat away from our equator ( but the winds caused by this would not be affected by the coriolis force since the planet is rotating so slowly. So in general you would expect surface winds to blow cooler air toward the sub-solar point, where it would be heated, rise and then circulate back toward cooler climates.

"The far side of the planet would be frigid, since it would never see the sun. Its only source of warmth would be ocean circulation and winds from the warm half of the planet. Even on the sunlit side, much of the planet would never see the sun rise very high, and would be quite cold.

"The slow rotation of the Earth would have an effect on the moon too. Due to the moon’s gravity, the Earth bulges a little bit toward the moon. Right now, the earth rotated much faster than the moon orbits, so the tidal bulge is always a little bit ahead of where the moon’s gravity “wants” it to be. This means that the moon’s gravity is actually slowing the earth’s rotation down and the moon is gradually moving away from the earth. If the earth were rotating really slowly, then the exact opposite would happen (I’m assuming that the moon starts off in its current orbit). The moon would gradually try to make the Earth spin faster, and in doing so the moon would lose energy and come closer to the Earth.

"I would imagine that the lack of days, and the sun being at the same place in the sky all the time would have some interesting effects on life too, but I know very little about biology so I’ll leave that for someone more qualified."


And then Chris pointed me to this:

which includes these maps, showing what happens when you move the centrifugal bulge of the equatorial oceans (the red bits are where the air's too thin to breathe):

and towards the end...

what the program doesn't address is if the earth becomes tidelocked with the sun; instead it slows the turning of the earth down to 6 months of day and 6 months of night. But still plenty of goodness to be had.

Combining that last map then with my first one, where the earth does get stuck one side always sunward, you get:

Option #1 Australiasian Burnation:

Option #2 Eurafrican Fry-Up:

Option #3 Flamerican Inferno: question is this: out of those 3 options, if this was the background for a post-apoc game which would offer the most potential for awesome survival adventure?

... and what if you added vampires?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

HUSK: People of a Hollow World Pt II

(pronounced: JOR)

The Get of Beasts, the trihorned Jhore are unique among the sentients as they are born from animal stock. Yet their greater intelligence singles them out from their pack and they rise to join the other sentients of the world. Their connection with the wild fauna of the Orb can never be severed, and their life is a constant struggle between their animal minds and their higher consciousness. Jhore are a curious fusion Huen and animal traits. A Jhore can easily be spotted at birth however, as all of their kind sport tricorns - three small horns on their foreheads in a triangular formation. Throughout their lives these spires grow and can attain considerable length.  Cutting the horns off a Jhore will see the poor creature reduced to a bestial intelligence, and they will never grow back. Fortunately their tricorns are incredibly hard. Newborn Jhore look much like their animal kin, but when their brethren reach maturity the Jhore will transform into their half beast form.


(pronounced: jicks-EE)

(never did write these guys up, but from memory they're shitty little twig gremlins that fuck you up if you cut trees down)

(pronounced: KOO)

The Ku are a strange people, for they are lumivores, feeding off the light from the many suns that fill the Orb. They have excellent vision, and see many things beyond the sight of others - it is said they can see even the invisible Un. Ku are generally attracted to high culture and the visual arts, and are talented creators themselves, particularly renown for their scintillating paintings and their light-bending fabrics. They are active participants in both politics and philosophy, but are often thwarted by their overwhelming fear of darkness. They believe that the day will come when the varied orbits of the suns will eventually lead to a time when there will be no suns in the sky, and the Ku will all die horribly. Ku mathematicians and astronomers have devoted entire lives in the effort to predict when this will happen. With such an affinity for light, it is no wonder that Ku congregate as close as possible around the Sunmounts found across the Orb.

(pronounced: LIS-kin)

The Liskin are an offshoot of the Huen, so unusual that they deserve a separate entry into this guide. Liskin look much like any other Huen – in fact they have a tendency to look too much like other Huen. Liskin are able to shed their skin and change every physical aspect about them. The Peeling People, as they are known, require at least a week to effect this transformation, and most cannot do so more than twice a year, but those that can have a guaranteed career as spies and infiltrators in Huen communities. It is no surprise then that they are often mistreated and mistrusted, especially by any Huen who has been victim of a Liskin’s deceptions. Liskin shed once a year naturally, but most retain their former visage. It is fairly easy to spot a Liskin who is not trying to hide in Huen society – large slabs of skin hang loose from their body, and they are constantly itching and scratching their old skin away.

(pronounced: NAR-gwar)

Once the proud rulers of the Viperium, the serpentine Narghwa are a shadow of that former glory. Their enslaving Queens vanished long ago, and they are dazed and docile, for the Narghwa are hive minded, and only show intellect when they gather in great numbers. It is said that their Queens were over a mile long, but nowadays it is rare to find one more than two feet in length. They are very sensitive to fluctuations in heat and movement. They are covered in scales that can lift out of their slots and flutter and wave. Often a Narghwa will lift it scales in unison and a ripple of scales down the length of its body. This is believed to be the source of their ability to fly, and they snake their way gracefully through the air. They cannot travel far or fast but are very flexible and can wriggle and writhe into complex knotted positions. Golden in colour, Narghwa have a subtle glow about them. In strong light they are vaguely transparent.

(pronounced: ne-AM-da-BAM)

Boisterous and stupid, the bone-headed Nyamdabams delight in mindless violence and destruction. They can happily pass the day away smashing their heavily armoured skulls together, and love things that crash. They are particularly fond of traffic accidents, sports and the chaos of war, and are usually found in the frontline of any army. Possibly their only redeeming feature is their unique sense of loyalty and honesty – most are too stupid to lie or deceive, and once an instruction is understood, a Nyamdabam will do its utmost to fulfil its quest. Sadly there are malevolent forces in the world that often take advantage of such gullibility, and Nyamdabam are responsible for some terrible deeds. Elderly Nyamdabam are usually aware that somehow their people have been duped, and in Nyamdabam communities these slightly more suspicious Elders are responsible for the general welfare of their people. If only they would be left alone to break things like the good ol’ days...


(pronounced: pree-PAA-ree)

Large and gentle creatures, Priparhi have numerous hollow horns and tubes in their joints and upon their skulls with which they communicate. They are naturally musical, and when they speak, every word is a chord, and every sentence a song. They are welcome across the Orb for their beautiful voices and wondrous tales. Much like an organ or a chorus of pipes, the Priparhi’s horns given them their melodic language. Their small black eyes are found on the end of stubby protrubences on the sides of the skull, and can be retracted into the skull for protection. Their joint-horns are reminiscent of splayed fingers of interlocking hands, and each joint-horn is a hollow pipe that whistles whenever the Priparhi moves as pressure within their limbs is released. It is nigh impossible for a Priparhi to move without some whistling noise being made. Priparhi have a very thin coat of near invisible body hair, and their skin is thick and leathery.

(pronounced: RINE-d)

Make friends with the Rhinde, but do not invite them for tea, for they will eat you out of house and home, and probably eat the house as well. The Rhinde are a porcine people, affable and humorous, but their appetites are legendary. They will happily eat anything, from food to rubbish to even the stuff of the earth, for their magical bellies can draw nourishment from anything, turning all that is devoured into raw potency – The Dreamulant. Belching and farting might be considered ignoble, but the sheer potency of such vapours usually outweighs such reserved manners. The Rhinde are able to collect their waftings and give them to others, transforming the imbuer by bringing them closer to their potential – temporarily. Such is the power of the Dreamulant. Rhinde can manipulate the mist into any shape. This ability improves with age, and a venerable Rhinde can easily make a vapour sculpture in the likeness of a stranger should they wish.

(pronounced: sh-WEEr-LING)

Each night you will see them, hanging high in the sky, small beacons of Skyfire that slowly weave around the Heart according to their own designs. The Schwierling lizards live in the heavens, basking in the glow of the Heart at day and radiating the absorbed light at night. Curled up in a cosy ball of scales and talons, here they slumber til they are called down to earth. The Schwierling have lived like this for millennia, and their memories are said to stretch back to the days before the Viperium. They are reluctant to discuss such matters however, which is a great shame given how little is known about this time. Hopefully one day they will open up and share their knowledge, but for now they remain aloof. Occasionally one will descend from the heavens to investigate the state of the Orb below them, but they generally keep to themselves. If the Schwierling can be convinced to talk, great wisdom is usually bestowed upon those who listen.


(pronounced: ta-NEE-lie)

Beautiful winged insectoids, Taneelai are fast both in body and mind. They are a passionate but short-lived race, rarely attaining twenty years. Their brief lives are twice as busy as a Huen’s, as they desperately try to fulfil their dreams in their allotted time. They are considered to be the most romantic of the Orb people and oft associated with love – their seduction and mating rituals can often last for many weeks! A curious blend of a Huen’s upper body and the wings and tail of a giant dragonfly, the Taneelai can fly with the grace and nimbleness of their insect kin. The wings are a nearly invisible blur when in full flight, and create a tremendous buzzing that can almost deafen when up close. Their fearsome looking pincers are actually fairly harmless and are used from grappling and manipulation. Taneelai are carnivorous and prefer to hunt and devour other flying creatures in the air. It is believed they were bred by the Viperium and are related to Huen. Their benign nature separates them from the Breed.

(pronounced: thOk)

Shambling feathered avians, Thokks gather and roost in dishevelled communities to trade and feed upon that most nourishing of substances: information. The capricious Thokk need information like a Huen needs food, converting knowledge into the stuff of their very ugly bodies. Their constant search for information gives them a reputation as eavesdroppers, gossips and spies, but they are also highly sought for the knowledge they carry. Thokk know too many secrets, and this has led more than one plucky Thokk to its demise. Thokk lucky enough to devour a secret that is known by barely anyone and of a powerful and portenteous nature, will be transformed, growing a magnificent plumage of beautiful iridescent feathers. They slough off their black skin and their beak and claws glint like gold, and even gain the ability to soar like the greatest of birds. Thokk live in places of good nourishment, such as in the roofs of libraries, bureaucratic offices, universities, and the like.

(pronounced: Un)

Some times even the greatest tragedy can be overcome by sheer force of will alone. The invisible Un are one such example of this, for they are the souls of a sentient whose body died before being born. The soul continues to grow within its mother‘s womb, and is born much like it would have had its body survived. The life of an Un is a difficult one, for people often fear what they cannot see, yet for some reason Un have great powers of Imajion to compensate their loss of physical body, and can generally interact, touch, and see the world as well as the next person. A lifetime of stigma can leave its burdens however, and Un often leave their families behind to join with other Un. It is said that The Invisible City is a place where Un live together free of persecution and blame. No one knows where it is, and the Un don’t tell.

(pronounced: VIE-thie)

The Viethie are perhaps the most tragic of the people of the Orb, once living souls now trapped within the heart of an iron engine, a fell creation of the Bhulkulb in ages past. Torn from their flesh and blood, Viethie spend the rest of their lives trying to emulate their former selves, going so far as rebuilding their physical selves out of bones and refuse, binding it together with the wire that spools from their engine hearts. Some will even take to covering themselves with living tissue – the skin and flesh of other creatures. They are quite macabre to behold, a shuddering and lurching mass of refuse. Exactly how they manage to manipulate their limbs and move is unknown. The soul engine at the heart of the Viethie is a mechanical marvel, a skull-sized nugget of cast iron lined with canals and ridges and riddled with pipes and valves. A fiery glow emanates from deep within. Anything that is fed into the soul engine is transformed into the wire that holds them together.

(pronounced: r-OH-ng)

Terrifying perversions of flesh and bone, The Wrong are misshapen and grotesque mockeries of the other sentients, but no less intelligent despite their horrid appearance and manners. Hailing from the marred lands of Vinvasleen, these sad people are well aware of the horror they cause in others, and generally avoid contact with the outside world. Their misery and self-disgust mingle with rage at their treatment by others, giving The Wrong a vicious and aggressive demeanour. Among themselves they are kind are caring people, no less tender than the greatest of lovers. There is no pattern to their physical structure – save that the parts that make up the whole of one of The Wrong’s body come only from one of the other races. Most of the races are represented by the Wrong is some fashion. Should one of the Wrong be forced into contact with others it will cover itself and try to hide its appearance - they know only too well the reactions their visage provokes.

(pronounced: YAH-gn-GEE)

The Yarghinji are unlike any other race in the Orb. Whereas most others seek to reproduce and grow in number, spreading out across the lands, the Yarghinji have but one purpose – to join with the others of their kind, to unite in the great amoebic biomass that is their destiny. Huge flesh spheres made of countless individual Yarghinji slowly traverse the surface of the Orb, gathering up their kind til the day when all Yarghinji are united as one. Spawned from the seas, they make their way upon land, carrying sea sponge on their backs to keep them cool and moist. Yarghinji are intelligent and reasonable, but once they feel the call of the flesh spheres most of them cannot resist, and leave whatever they were doing to join with their kind. The fleshspheres are very destructive, flattening entire cities in their travels, and many believe the presence of a solitary Yarghinji will draw the flesh spheres to them. This fear drives the hatred that Yarghinji often experience.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

HUSK: People of a Hollow World Pt I


The Peoples of the Orb are a varied lot, each with their own idiosyncrasies that has helped them claim a niche in the ecology of the Orb. Each has exploited this niche with such success that they have risen above the basic needs of lesser sentients and played a part in shaping the intricate cultures that span the Orb. Of course, some species would scoff at the above suggestions, dismiss them as scientific claptrap and heresy. These species believe that only they are intelligent, and thus superior to all others. Once there was a time in the long history of the Orb when one such species ruled over all the others, but fortunately today the Viperium is but a shadow of a memory, relegated to folklore and myth. Sadly, several species would happily take their place, but these are a small minority.

For the vast majority of sentient Peoples life is a chaotic interaction between the different species, of learning, understanding, and respecting their differences, and working together to make the most of each species’ strengths and accommodating their weaknesses so that all may live in peace. Naturally, some species prefer their own company to others, and rarely interact with the rest, but they are not coerced into joining the others. They have made their decision, and their wishes respected.

Common to most beliefs held by the Peoples of the Orb is a deep-seated respect for the individual to choose their way of living out their life. The Viperium’s enslavement of the other sentients long ago has permanently etched into the slave species a deep mistrust of overbearing authority. This does not mean that civilisation across the Orb has rejected highly evolved societies or communal values – far from it! However, the majority of these communities are formed from willing members who have learned that the more you give to your community, the more your community will give to you. Naturally there are many exceptions to this rule, and draconian or totalitarian regimes exist to favour one particular ruling class at the expense of others. Fortunately these communities are far less common then the peaceful co-existence sought by so many.

Spirituality and religion do play a major part in the everyday lives of most Peoples. However there are a plethora of belief systems in place and again, most religions respect the right of individuals to choose their own path. No reputable religion would force an unbeliever to join them on pain of death, rather they would seek to reason with a potential follower, convince them through intellect and evidence that their religion is superior to all others. Some religions do use fear as a tool in recruiting followers, but most folk know which religions to steer clear of. A belief without believers is a dead religion, and thus each following tries to care for its followers, so that they too might spread the faith.

(pronounced: aah-KOOL)

Ahkule are fearsome reptilian bipeds, with scaled skin the colour of fire. They are adorned with a magnificent line of spine blades from the tip of their crowns to the end of their long whip-like tails. They use their striped camouflage to hide from or dazzle their prey. They are graceful and lithe and are famed for their dancing abilities and amazing leaps – but they are more infamous for their lack of moral code and barbaric practices. Their reputation for violence provokes strong reactions from others, and Ahkule who try to leave their martial ways behind often find themselves needing to use them in self defence. At home in warmer climes, Ahkule are equally happy in deserts, jungles, and shallow seas. Ahkule have gills that enable them to remain underwater indefinitely. Ahkule cannot regulate their own temperature and need the light of the suns or the warmth of a firepit to stay highly active. If a fight is unavoidable, try to fight the Ahkule in the cold of the night.

(pronounced: brEEd)

The Breed is a catch-all term applied to the descendants of the sentient creatures created by the Viperium to fight during the terrible Thousand Year War. They vary greatly in size and structure, but all possess fearsome weapons and armaments and vicious temperaments. Killing comes easily to them, and they make excellent soldiers as they are both cunning and resourceful. They take great pride in what they do and often take the names of their victims as honorific titles. Smarter than the Nyamdabam, they still lack the greater vision of their former Narghwan commanders and have difficulty functioning as leaders, and usually serve under another’s banner. Yet they give their respect and fealty only to those worthy of it – namely those as vicious as they. Their masters of old included a failsafe device should any of their creations get out of control –the name given to each Breed appears on part of the Breed’s body, in the bold letters of the Forked Tongue. Any Breed who heard its name would be compelled to fulfil any command given to it ­– including taking its own life. Naturally the Breed went to extreme lengths to hide their true name, but found the letters could not be removed, no matter how deep the cuts or terrible the burns; but out of the first primitive tattoos that were used to hide their monikers, a vibrant tattoo culture developed that still thrives after three millennia. The Breed now serve in the armies of others across the Orb, and are rightfully feared wherever they go.

(pronounced: BUL-kulb)

The golden Bhulkulbs are one of the more mysterious sentients of Orb, and certainly one of the most bizarre. Their large floating jelly-bodies leave their sparkle-musk trails across the Orb, and their tentacle juices can cause great pleasure and great pain. Highly intelligent, each Bhulkulb has its own inscrutable purposes and plans. Long ago they tried to enslave the Peoples of the Orb after the fall of the Viperium, and even today others often hold this against them. Bhulkulbs create sparklemusk and lichorijh, and this is how they communicate. Sparklemusk is a dazzling mist, a highly potent emotional medium and hallucinogen – whoever inhales it understands the Bhulkulb through a rapid series of visions and feelings. Lichorijh is a golden juice, similar to sparklemusk, save that it is much more potent. They can also communicate sonically with great difficulty through the use of their arm sphincters, although other species find the sound reminiscent of a bad case of flatulence.

(pronounced: Buh-koo-CREE-oo)
The largest of the higher sentients, the Bokucryu are known for their size and might, and also for their regenerative abilities. They gather in small communities across the Orb, and are generally considered good-natured. Their mottled grey body is reminiscent of a whale (albeit somewhat smaller) with four massive arms and four massive legs. Their tiny eyes are barely perceptible, for the head is dominated by a huge mouth – needed to feed the insatiable appetites that their regenerative abilities require. They reproduce in groups of eight, each tearing of a limb and donating it to the newly forming Bokucryu. The Bokugryki are siblings of the Bokucryu, and are darker and more malevolent, being made of the limbs of dead Bokucryu – a last resort only turned to in times of war.

(pronounced: CHEE-bac)

Large and intelligent crustaceans, Cheebacs live in and near the seas of the Orb. Their crablike bodies are armed with two formidable claws that they use to great effect – they can even crush the thick shells of other Cheebacs. Their shells are made from interlocking plates that grow and harden through out their lives, acquiring many small growths and providing the squigeut parasites that live in shell’s crevices with nourishment and shelter. These parasites do nothing for the Cheebacs save leave intricate and beautiful lines carved into the shells that the Cheebac cultivate for decorative purposes. Cheebac produce a hard but clear resin that can be blown into bubbles of many sizes, which they use for many purposes - communication and construction being the most readily apparent. Cheebac are generally difficult and territorial, who will use their great claws to readily snip off a limb of an antagonist. They are not the best company.

(pronounced: dus-KEE-r)

The Duskeyr took to the skies to flee persecution during the reign of the Viperium, and they have never returned. Their unique ability to walk on the clouds that travel above the surface of the Orb grants them the freedom they crave. Their skin varies in colour, forever reflecting the colour of the sky under which they were born. Nomadic, they travel above the surface of the Orb in tribes, altering the weather as they go to suit their needs. The greatest Duskeyr have the power to bind the clouds, making the kingdoms in permanent mountains of mist that hover above. Their ability summon and control cloudforms gives them to fly from one cloud formation to the next, enabling them to follow their prey. Enervores, the Duskeyr hunt lightning for they draw nutrition and power from such a potent energy. Wherever there are thunderstorms the Duskeyr are sure to follow. Duskeyr are wary by nature, but will happily trade for metal and other goods not available in the clouds.

(pronounced: eh-LOO-ry)

Half woman, half spider, all malevolent – the Ehluri see little value in any who are not as they, and will happily suck their victims dry without remorse. They are aggressively expansionist, using their strange technology and their web-weaving abilities for conquest. Fear them, for these eaters of the living love none save themselves. The body of an Ehluri is a blend of Huen and arachnid. The average Ehluri is six feet tall with an abdomen roughly four feet in diameter. The legs would be six or seven feet in length. Some can grows as big as a house, or even larger! The effects produced from their poisoned fangs can vary. The same fangs may bring pain and paralysis, but they can also produce an erotic euphoria in the victim, necessary for the Ehluri to mate. There are no males among the Ehluri, and they need to be fertilized by Huens in order to reproduce. The wondrous webs produced by the Ehluri’s spinnerets are used for many different purposes.

(pronounced: fay–ELL)

The mysterious Fael are rarely seen and are never heard. Harbingers of change, they are active only in times of political upheaval and seem to promote anarchy and rebellion. It is difficult to provide more accurate information about them for the Fael are never seen without their body-encompassing shawls, and as they cannot die no one has been able to inspect their remains. Not that anyone would, for it is common knowledge that their skin is transparent and to look upon one is a sight of such horror that it turns the viewer to salt. What is certain though is that they are among the most powerful Imajioneers to walk the Orb, and are best avoided where possible. Know the Fael by their great height – their long limbed bodies tower over nine feet tall. They travel without weapons or equipment.

(pronounced: fff-ING)

The Fing are a malevolent and disturbing race, easily identifiable by the hundreds of fingers that cover their bodies. Whether the Fing are an offshoot of Huen bred by the Viperium is unknown, but they are similar form and may have arisen in the Ruined Lands. They are different to The Wrong for there is a definite pattern and symmetry to their digital adornments, but what is most unsettling about them is their ability to graft the severed fingers of others onto their body. However, there is beauty in the grotesque, and once the initial revulsion of their visage has passed, most Fing are charming and gracious, and have the most polite manners. Do not be fooled  – they are cunning creatures and will happily let others come to harm for their own benefit. Fing have only one weakness in their callous hearts – a deep and overriding lust for rings. They have a particular delight in wearing the wedding rings of others. Never shake hands with a Fing.

(pronounced: GOY-el-NOY)

Goilnoi are intelligent and sociable slugs who spend most of their lives within the protection of their crimson orbshells. They often form symbiotic relationships with other creatures, attaching to and burrowing into their flesh. In return for physical protection and movement Goilnoi offer their potent Imajion powers to the host - a mutually beneficial arrangement. Goilnoi create their resilient shells from the spinnerets at the base of their back, and spend much of their life within the safety it provides. Goilnoi outside of their shells tend to be very nervous. The red shell is slightly transparent, and in full daylight it is possible to see the curled up Goilnoi within. Goilnoi can live for a couple of centuries, and often increase the lifespan of their host for as long as possible, slowing down the aging process enough to double the host’s lifespan.  Goilnoi use the many tentacles that line their body to manipulate tools and are as dexterous as a Huen.

(pronounced: ger-ROO-n)

Guruun are as hard as the stone that they shape, and just as slow. For aeons they have moulded the land, using their stone shaping abilities to raise mountains and carve valleys, but now their work is done and they are no longer needed. Some maintain the land that has always been their care; some turn their abilities to other purposes, shaping huge stone constructs and creating new landscapes. Guruun stand 4 to 5 feet tall, their bodies made of clay and stone as varied as the earth itself.  They have no visible eyes, ears or nose, but certainly seem to be able to see and listen like a Huen. Their skin is covered in jagged rocky shards and stony skin that provides wondrous protection against the elements and those that would do them harm. The presence of foliage, where a seed has taken root is considered a sign of luck amongst their kind. If Guruun wear anything it is usually moss or lichen that has been cultivated for modesty. They live on a diet of rocks and soil.

(pronounced: HOR-m (trill the r))

The mighty Horrm are feisty, horn-covered humanoids. Strong and fierce, they delight in their strength and combat with their warhorns. They need little reason to fight and are provocative and rude. They have a cruel sense of humour. Despite their outward demeanour, Horrm have a deep cultural tradition and strong emotional ties with their brethren. They carve their horns with pictograms that detail their personal history. They value these horns greatly and will charge into combat to rescue a fallen comrade - or at least to cut of his horns so the knowledge they contain may be preserved. Horrm heal twice as slowly as a Huen, but when they do so the scars form into a patch of new horns that add protection to the wounded area. Horrm often deliberately wound themselves to increase their horned protection. Horrm children are born with two fully functional hands, but they cut one arm off below the elbow to grow their great warhorn.

(pronounced: he-OO-en)

The Huen are the most populous people on the Orb. Their physical and social adaptability was used many thousands of years ago by the  Viperium to breed many different subspecies of Huen, and physically they are the most diverse of the sentient species. They are known for their strong social nature, needing the company of others to survive. Huens are a quite diverse physically, but all are bipedal, varying in height from 4 to 8 feet, averaging around 6 feet. They have a wide range of builds from lean to obese, and have a varied skin colour, from alabaster white, to pitch black, and all the colours in between. Their heads are often adored with natural growths, hair or horns being the most common, with smaller amounts of such growths being found around the body. Tentacles and feathers are not uncommon, and occasionally stranger adornments appear. Their ability to adapt to change has enabled them to thrive in any climate, and they are found across the Orb.

Monday, February 25, 2013

HUSK: Old Stabs at a New World

K so ten? fifteen? years ago I started going all out on a game setting deliberately leaving behind all the standard fantasy trappings. No elves. No dwarves. No humans either... the other deliberate choice was to say yes to any idea that felt like it would fit. And so the Orb was born, a world on the inside, filled with a central sun, orbited within by other planets, and chock full of every damn idea I had.

It was a mess. A glorious two year mess. But I wrote a fuckton of words about that mess, and I figure what the hell, you got nothing better to do than read about it. So slow days these next few weeks get snippets of what I used to call the Orb. Only now it's Husk, cause it's edgier. Grrr. It's warts and all, crappy proto-writings and pomposterousities and all over done, but still. Better out there than hiding on a hard-drive. 

First up a wankery overview of the physical world. Next the races, then the history. 

As cringeworthy as parts of it are, still, I hope you enjoy it.


What is the Orb? It depends entirely on whom you ask, and on what they hold sacred to their hearts. Some consider the Orb to be the Womb of God, a pregnant creation awaiting birth into a new universe. Some believe it is the Spawnshell of the First Goilnoi Lovers, left behind after their rutting; others believe it is the Bubble of the Great Blower of the Cheebacs. Among the Bokucryu it is where the Eight first lay down to mate; the Horrm know it is the Great Wound where their God speared the Writhe with his Hornfist. The true nature of the Orb is know to all and agreed upon by none – of that you may be certain. Yet there are some things about the Orb that the myriad beliefs do concur, and the physical makeup is one such thing. 


Geographical measurements within the Orb use the Viperial System, developed well over 7,000 years ago, using the length of the Narghwan Queens or Qu as its standard unit [One Queen is equal to 500 meters in the Metric System].


The Orb is a huge spherical hollow. There is enough room within the Orb for the Heartsun, seventeen suns, and numerous orbiting bodies. Planets and moons, comets and stars - these can all be found dancing a complex pattern around the centre of the Orb. On the inside surface of the Orb lie vast lands and oceans; across these lands and in these oceans are found the innumerable creatures and life forms who live and die within the Orb. Some even live on the outermost planets and moons, and some spend their whole lives in the air. Ancient astronomers were able to calculate the following dimensions of the Orb:

Circumference: 46656Qu [23328km; slightly larger than Mars in size]
Radius: approx 7425.533Qu [3712.766km]
Surface Area: approx 692,891,337.529Qu2 [173,222,834.382km2]
Land Area: 40% of surface area; approx 277,159,505.225Qu2 [69,289,133.753km2
(Africa+N & S America)]
Water Area: 60% of surface area; approx 415,739,257.837Qu2 [103,933,700.629km2 (two-thirds of the Pacific)]


At the centre of it all lies the Heartsun, the great beacon of life, whose radiance illuminates the Orb, bathing the Orb in warmth and energy. The Heart’s luminous nature pulses in a regular rhythm, like the beating of any other heart, and this beat defines life in all the Orb.
At the beginning of each day the Heartsun appears to be dead, a lifeless shell, a dark and cold sphere. At dawn a crack appears, a sliver of light that shines out. Then another crack splits its surface, and another, much like a young bird breaking out of its egg. Soon there are cracks to be seen all over the Heartsun, and rents of dappled light beam out through the cracks and spin across the surfaces of the Orb. Soon nothing remains of the shell and the Heartsun is an orange ball of fire, slowly growing in intensity, til at its midday peak it is a blazing white brilliance, far too bright to look at. Then it slowly begins to wane, losing its brilliance and returning again to a smouldering fire at dusk, and by evening it is little more than a smoking coal. At last, as night sets in the Heartsun cools down, and grows dark again, til the next dawn. This is the way it has always been. Around the Heartsun orbit numerous bodies, some are radiant suns, some are dark planets. These planets and moons and stars have a variety of orbits - some spin around the Heartsun within the Orb; others trace paths that pass through the Orb to the Beyon, only to return again and retrace their paths. 


Closest to the Heartsun lie the Shards, a collection of long dark fragments that are made up of flakes of shell that the Heartsun sloughs off each dawn. The Shards are jagged and irregular, conglomerations of spikes and edges, which taper away from the Heartsun. Though no one has ever been to them they appear to be sentient, for they often jostle with each other and vie for each new shellflake. The Shards vary in size, some barely a mile long, the biggest two or three times as long as the Heartsun is wide.  None are large enough to eclipse the Heartsun, but as a swarm the Shards can often block out its light. When there are no shellflakes about they assume varying positions around the Heartsun. Interestingly, the voracious appetites of the Shards has meant that no Shellflake has ever fallen to the Orb, but it is said that long ago a Shard fell to earth, but it fell into the ocean, and was never found. 


Beyond the Shards orbit the Suns. Each Sun is a radiant sphere of light and heat, no brighter than the Heartsun in the late afternoon. Each of the seventeen Suns is golden or fiery in colour, and each travels a most unusual journey. They emerge from huge circular Suntunnels that open across the surface of the Orb, rising out of an encircling ring of burnt and blasted mountains called Birthmounts. From there the Suns rise quickly into the sky, casting their own light and heat across the surrounding lands, which is why most Birthmounts are girt by deserts – few creatures can bear such temperatures. Each Sun then traces a long and lazy journey through the aether, passing near the Shards and the Heartsun til, towards the end of the Sun’s day, it returns to the surface of the Orb. Finally, at sunset, each ball of fire is swallowed up by the earth, disappearing into another mountain-ringed tunnel called Deathmounts. It should be noted that some Suns’ Mounts are located deep beneath the waves, either rising in a huge cloud of boiling steam, or being quenched as they descend into the cool waters. Surrounding coastlines are constantly battered by huge waves and fierce weather. Suntunnels are roughly twenty to forty miles in diameter; the actual diameter of the Suns is yet to be properly gauged, but logically is less than twenty miles across. Where each Sun goes during it journey through the Suntunnels remains a mystery to this day, but it is said they journey to the Beyon, mythical lands far from the surface of the Orb. It remains a matter for taletellers and cosmologists; the last attempt to follow a Sun through its Suntunnel resulted in the destruction of the entire expedition and the cataclysmic Sunfall at Vinvasleen, where the Sun Verliha crashed into the Orb’s surface destroying half a continent and permanently scarring the Orb.

Friday, February 22, 2013

B/X Class: Farkin'Strayans

A shitstain people from the arse end of the world, born from convict scum and their corrupt guards, Farkin'Strayans have a unique attitude towards life: it can't get any worse. For them, the woeful genetic pool they crawled from means that no matter how life turns out for them, it's a success. This unique optimism, combined with the hardiness born from the horrors of the Land of Poison and Fire, makes for an unusually up-beat larrakin adventurer that is sure to delight.

All Farkin'Strayans have the following abilities:

Requirements: Must have an Intelligence so low it confers a negative penalty; during character creation, the player may exchange points in Intelligence and add them to Constitution on a one-for-one basis. The highest attribute must be Constitution.
Prime Requisite: CON
Hit Dice: 1d10
Alignment: Any non-Lawful
Attacks: As Fighter.
Saves: As Dwarves.

Starting Equipment: Roll Int # of d20s:
All Farkin'Strayans start with a wifebeater, stubbies, flipflops and budgie smugglers, plus roll a number of d20's equal to their Intelligence on this table:

1. Case o' stubbies.
2. Stubby cooler.
3. Terry towling hat.
4. Sunnies.
5. Carton o' wine.
6. Pack of smokes and a lighter.
7. Sleeveless flanny.
8. Eskie.
9. Cricket bat.
10. Footy.
11. A dog.
12. Wallet with d6 Lobsters in it.
13. TV guide.
14. Girlie mag.
15. Tranny radio.
16. 3 Longnecks.
17. Big knife (1d6 Dam).
18. Bucket bong.
19. Doms.
20. A ute.

• SPEAK STRAYAN: A debased and vulgar twist on the Mother Tongue, full of slang, shorthand and euphemism, the 'Strayan dialect is difficult for non-speakers to understand, allowing Strayans to have coded conversations with one-another in the presence of others. Attempts to understand what Strayans are saying requires a successful Int check, with penalty equal to the average level of the Strayans involved. All Strayans understand the Mother Tongue clearly though, and can choose speak it perfectly, but normally can't be arsed.

• SHE'LL BE RIGHT: All Strayans are morally opposed to hard work, effort, and thinking, a result of their criminal genetics and the bloody heat of their homeland. Instead they are naturally gifted at making shit up as they go along and trusting things will fall in their favour. For any situation where Strayans dive in head first without planning they are allowed to add a one-off She'll be Right bonus to a single roll (equal to the Strayan's Level plus the inverse of their Intelligence penalty) once per scene.

• TAKING THE PISS: Farkin'Strayans have an inbred hatred of Authority and Excellence, and will take any opportunity to ridicule and belittle authority figures and any who are better than them (which is a lot of people). Taking the Piss requires the Farkin'Strayan to publicly mock their target with inventive invectives and roll D20+level+Charisma bonus, versus the target roll of D20+level+Wisdom bonus (the DM is encouraged to add up to +5 to the roll for genuinely funny insults by the player). Should the Strayan succeed, they are able to add the target's level to one action the following round, and the target is so thrown by the insult they suffer minus the Strayan's level to all actions for the following round.

• GROG IN THE VEINS: The ability of Farkin'Strayans to consume alcohol is the stuff of legend, having been suckled on grog since the moment of birth (all mothers of Farkin'Strayans lactate alcohol until the child is weened). Alcohol has a powerful effect on all Farkin'Strayans, and they need to consume it every day if at all possible. Alcohol leaves the system at a rate of 1 drink per hour:

Sober - (Between zero and a # of drinks < Con currently in bloodstream)
A sober Strayan is an ugly Strayan: the sun is too bright, the world too complicated. Sober Strayans suffer -2 to all rolls due to the overwhelming confusion of reality.

Tipsy - (a # of drinks between Con and Conx2 currently in bloodstream)
The natural state of a Farkin'Strayan, and they are at their happiest and most convivial. Keeping them this way is the real trick.

Pissed - (a # of drinks between Conx2 and Conx3 currently in bloodstream)
Farkin'Strayans who achieve this level of drunkeness exhibit their drunken nature by losing all willpower. They are suggestible, guilble, and must roll under their Wisdom to resist committing crimes, defacing public property, defacating in humorous locations, and hitting on anything with two legs. A Farkin'Strayan who is Pissed is in their element though, and they double the bonus to any She'll Be Right roll they make while in this state.

Hammered - (a # of drinks between Conx3 and Conx4 currently in bloodstream)
Farkin'Strayans who achieve this level of drunkeness are transformed into belligerent arseholes who just love picking fights. A Hammered Strayan feels no pain, suffers no penalties due to injury, and can remaining on their feet til they reach minus Con HP, at which point they typically fall over and die.

Absolutely Shitfaced - (a # of drinks greater than Conx4 currently in bloodstream)
A Farkin'Strayan who achieves this level of drunkeness is guaranteed pass out within Con x minutes in a pool of their own vomit; the Farkin'Strayan must roll under Con or die choking on their spew. If they're lucky enough to have a mate watching over them they may reroll the check should they fail, and have another reroll if that mate's smart enough to get the Farkin'Strayan to hospital. If they survive, they must roll under their Int or forget all events of the past 1d4 days, restoring any sanity lost during that time and adding +10 to any carousing rolls that might have occurred during this delightful phase.

In the interest of gameplay it is suggested that players calculate the cost of reaching the various stages of drunkeness before the game starts: Half the Farkin'Strayan's Con score in silver pieces to go from one level of drunkeness to the next.

• FIVE STAR PRIDE: The five-star constellation that hovers high over the Strayan homeland is a source of mystic pride, and every Farkin'Strayan about to embark on a journey abroad has one tattooed somewhere on their body. This mark of pride is a very real power, and in desperate situations Farkin'Strayans can call on this power to save them from a world of trouble. To call on the Five Star Pride the Farkin'Strayan must make a d20 roll with the following modifiers:

- Is the Farkin'Strayan drunk or hung over? +3 per level of drunkeness achieved
- Is the Farkin'Strayan injured? +1 per point of damage from the worst injury
- Is the Farkin'Strayan behind bars? +5 to the roll
- Is the Farkin'Strayan riddled with some third-world disease? +5 to the roll
- Is the Farkin'Strayan bleeding from the arse? +5 to the roll
- Is the Farkin'Strayan crying like a princess? +5 to the roll

If the roll is equal to 20 or more, one of the stars in the tattoo activates, deporting the Farkin'Strayan out of whatever predicament they're stuck in. They leave all their possessions behind wherever they were, and wash ashore on the sandy beach nearest to their hometown in the Land of Poison and Flame with 1 Hit Point to their name and a shameful walk home.

This power can only be activated once per level, and once all five stars have be activated, the power of the tattoo fades away.

• I'M NOT RACIST BUT: Call a Farkin'Strayan a racist and they'll most likely punch you in the face, but it's true: Farkin'Strayans are racist. Their small minds are only able to handle basic thought processes, and unable to differentiate individuals within larger societal subsets. Therefore they assume that all members of a culture exhibit the same traits and perform the same – cause that's what Farkin'strayans do. They think this way not because they're malicious, but because the just can't imagine anything else. This boorish behaviour means that Farkin'Strayans apply their Intelligence penalty to all social rolls with non-Strayans. They especially hate the natives from the small islands to the east of their homeland, doubling all penalties when dealing with them.

• SECRET SHAME: There are rumours that Farkin'Strayans weren't the first people to come from the Land of Poison and Fire; that an older people once lived there. Any talk about the secret genocide that the forefathers of the Farkin'Strayans committed will unnerve even the most stalwart Farkin'Strayan, making them edgy and violent and prone to genocide. Farkin' Strayans suffer a -4 penalty to all non-violent actions during this uncomfortable time, desperate to get hammered, and will remain this way until they drink enough grog to acquire the Absolutely Shitfaced condition, allowing them to forget the entire incident and walk blissfully under the sun once again.

• LIKE SHIT TO A BLANKET: Every now and then, Farkin'Strayans receive a subtle hint of how unwelcome they are in the world, a suggestion that wherever they are they really ought to fuck off. It is this adversity, this subconscious hatred by the universe that encourages Farkin'Strayans to stick together with their own mob, and reinforce and encourage their mindset and behaviour. Farkin'Strayans take courage and comfort from one another, and they gain a bonus to all rolls in the presence of each other, up to their current level:

2+ Farkin'Strayans +1 to all rolls
5+ Farkin'Strayans +2 to all rolls
10+ Farkin'Strayans +3 to all rolls
50+ Farkin'Strayans +4 to all rolls
100+ Farkin'Strayans +5 to all rolls

Which is why the Strayan army is kickarse.