Skip to main content

Setting: The Planet Orcus, part one

Orcus, Plightpost, the Filth
Far removed from the civilized routes of the Solar System lies Orcus. It is a small, lightless world, shrouded in black vapors. No sun or starlight reaches the surface. Light sources only illuminate half normal distance. 

Lorenzo Mattotti, Hansel and Gretel
The surface is composed of a black sludge that is corrosive to metal and flesh (1 hp dmg per turn exposed). Travel time is reduced by half, and every turn there is a 1 in 8 chance of being sucked into the sludge, requiring a STR check to extricate oneself.

Gravity is weak. Characters can jump 30 feet in the air, plus an additional 5 feet for each point of STR modifier. There is a 1 in 4 chance of becoming stuck in the sludge when landing from such a jump.

The Broken Covenant
No one remembers who—demon, god, or mortal—committed what transgression. But to ensure it never happens again, Orcus has been set aside as an observation post. This post is held by Cacogen.

Born of Filth
Cacogen are beings from Solar Systems outside of our own. They are incomprehensibly alien. They are loathed. Any natives of our Solar System will feel an instant bond of fraternity in the presence of a Cacogen, united in their hatred of this abhorrent, impossible thing.

Every round spent in the presence of a Cacogen requires checks against Wisdom and Constitution, with a cumulating -1 penalty for every round after the first. If the Wisdom check is failed, you will attack, berserker-style. A fumble results in madness. If the Constitution check fails, you will be violently ill. A fumble requires a save vs. death.

If you die in the presence of a Cacogen, your corpse will raise up as undead and attack it.

There is no indication that the Cacogen have anything but a benevolent attitude towards all the inhabitants of our System.


  1. This is good. The last sentence was what made me love 'em.

    1. Thanks! I like the idea that it's not their actions or appearance sets people against the Cacogen, but on a cellular level you understand that they don't belong. A paladin and a beholder might be going at it hammer and tongs, but if a Cacogen walks into they room, they'd both immediately bond over how much they hate this guy.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Knaves, fancypants

I've prepared a new layout document of Ben Milton's Knaves . Knaves is a great, light rules set that has an extremely elegant core mechanic while retaining total compatibility with OSR material. It's pretty much the rpg of my dreams. This document contains the complete rules, plus a bunch of useful hacks from the community, plus a few of my invention, plus some useful resources from Ben Milton's previous effort, Maze Rats . EDIT: I've updated the layout to fix errata and make a few tweaks. Further, I've made 3 variations: KNAVES TABLET LAYOUT The Tablet Layout is meant for scrolling on screens, and contains hyperlinks. KNAVES SPREAD LAYOUT The Spread Layout is set up to print on Letter-sized paper. KNAVES A4 LAYOUT The A4 Layout is set up to print on A4 paper, and is probably the most elegant of the three versions. This is presented with generous permission from Ben Milton, and should in no way be an excuse for not purchasing a copy of Knav

Maze Rats by Post

In my previous post , I reviewed a bunch of my favorite rulesets for optimization for Play-by-Post. It occurred to me almost immediately that I hadn't really thought about Maze Rats enough. In fact, I'd mis-remembered and mischaracterized it. Upon reflection, one of the mechanics I took issue with is actually a big strength. Re-reading the rules, it seems like just a few very simple hacks could make it a highly-optimized PbP game. As follows: Danger Rolls are rolled by the GM. Danger rolls usually fail, so it is in the player’s interest to describe their actions plausibly and mitigate as many risks as they can, in the hopes that they don’t trigger a danger roll. 2d6 + ability bonus ≥ 10 If you have taken enough precautions to have a distinct advantage in an action, but not enough to have eliminated the distinct possibility of danger, the GM will give you a roll with advantage. 3d6 keep 2 + ability bonus ≥ 10 Because each character only has 3 ability scores (S

Reviewing Rules for Play-by-Post Optimization

I’ve played a lot of PbP games: all your favorite flavors of OD&D, AD&D, and their retroclones, Call of Cthulhu, Marvel Superheroes, Traveller, Dungeon World, etc. ad nauseam. In almost every instance, I forgot what ruleset we were using at some point. Which is a good thing. Once chargen is over, you spend a lot more time describing your characters actions and poring over the GM’s descriptions than you spend interacting with rules. When you do roll, it’s usually a combat to-hit roll, which you’ve probably programmed into the online dice-roller as a macro. Pretty much any game will work for PbP. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t points of possible optimization. Point 1: Resolution. Anything that can keep the action moving is a boon to PbP. A game that requires a back-and-forth exchange of information to resolve an action is going to progress very slowly. A good rule of thumb is that it’ll take 2 or 3 days to get a response from any given player. At that pace, an exch