Friday 31 August 2018

Journeylands Miscellania

~ The month of the Journeylands playtest draws to a close... Find out more and get the rules for free right here. ~

1d8 Quick Points (Nothing Dangerous)

Player: “Well, maybe we should go that way instead. What’s over there?”
GM: “Uuuhhh…” *rolls dice*

1: abandoned warehouse
2: sundered obelisk
3: food truck: drinks cost 2, meals cost 3
4: a small crew setting down after a photoshoot; popular spot, photogenic backdrop
5: big plant-thing that blows bubbles
6: a small shelter for hitchhikers, 50% chance there's someone there
7: a scrapheap, roll Coordination to notice a working car part (d6 Power) in the pile
8: giant, sun-bleached whale skeleton

1d4 Mildly Interesting Skyfish

We just call them “fish”.

1: Herringbees. Dense schools of little fish that move in unison. They can be trained to track a strong scent for miles, but you’d need a whole school.
2: Wingfish. Impressive finspans. As with gulls in a maritime campaign, tracking their flight patterns reveals a lot about what’s nearby. Where do they roost/feed/avoid?
3: Lightning rays. Docile until poked and prodded. Catch one gently then, while it’s asleep and drifting on the wind, and you can use its tail to charge up a battery.
4: Sharks. Like wolves in a fantasy game – a boring enemy for your first encounter only.

1d6 Route Ideas to Expound Upon Your Own Damn Self

Point A to Point B.

1: A smooth desert track. Mushrooms, tall as sequoias, dot the landscape.
2: A gleaming highway bridge. Popular for races.
3: Road skirts past a forest. Small chance of a forest encounter emerging from the treeline.
4: Rock canyon. A mudhole deep within is the demesne of a Demon Toad.
5: Ancient stone bridge over a sea of smoke. Clearly some old civilisation knew to avoid it.
6: Sea route! Put your car on the back of a boat and make your way to the island.

Thursday 30 August 2018

Racing in Journeylands

~ Every day for the rest of August, I'm posting content for the Journeylands mini-RPG playtest! Find out more and get the rules for free right here. ~

Journeylands is a game that features vehicles heavily, but its focus is travel, not racing.

You're probably going to want to race, though.

literally sounds like the background for a Journeylands campaign
Cross Country
The type of race most suited to Journeylands. Pick a starting point (a Point, literally) and a destination, and make sure there are various optional Routes to take. Other competitors start at the same location too, and the GM controls their actions as per us'.

For the purposes of a race, each unit of Fuel spent relates to an hour of spent time. For each hour the players thusly spend, the GM decides what each other competitor did in that same hour. Racers might meet at times, by chance.

First to the finish line wins!

Actual Cool Racing

The kind of racing you were probably hoping for.

Come up with a track, but don't make it out of Routes, just call the whole circuit one Point. Map it out as a vague squiggly circle, and number each important section in order. Then come up with something fun, cool or interactive for each number, leaving breathing room with a couple of simple, straight roads. Consider forking paths or shortcuts.

The race begins! Every competitor rolls a contested check against one another, but rather than working out a success or failure scenario or making cars lose Body, each vehicle's roll result is noted and tallied. We'll call that number their "score".

Proceed along the track. For each numbered section, roll another contested check between all competitors, and for each vehicle add the new total to that team's current score.

The dice rolled for each section depend on what that vehicle is doing when they get to that numbered part of the track. Use Power for speed and brute force, Handling for tricky turns or terrain, and Weapons to blast obstacles.

Vehicles can interact with each other directly only if they have the same current total, or the vehicle they're interacting with is one step ahead of or behind them in the overall total scores (otherwise they're too far away). Interactions might be a Power roll to outspeed or shove another vehicle, Handling to outmanoeuvre them, or Weapons for a straight-up attack.

Highest total score at the end wins. Or, knock out the lowest scoring competitor each lap and keep going round.

The Grand Prix

Combine the two into a campaign. Different cool circuits at different points, lowest score at each track is disqualified. Then, race to the next track - last one there is disqualified too.

Look at something like Oban Star Racers for NPC ideas - each competitor has a different reason for racing.

Wednesday 29 August 2018

The Kingpin’s Getaway (An Adventure)

~ Every day for the rest of August, I'm posting content for the Journeylands mini-RPG playtest! Find out more and get the rules for free right here. ~

A Point for use in your Journeylands game - but written to be fairly system-neutral up until the end bit, so run it with whatever you want and change the racing to fighting or something if needed.

Written after watching an episode of Lupin III Part V. I’m not as into this Part overall as I was the last, but it’s slowly winning me over with some excellent translation work and these fun little “flashback” digressions to previous jacket colours.

Tales and Rumours

A drug lord had a secret retreat here in ancient times, a private villa where he would entertain lovers away from prying eyes. It is believed that he was buried there, and some say his most prized treasures are still deep within the ruins with him.

Thieves and those who have tried to raid the tomb will know that there are traps still working – “watch out for the eyes”. Explorers and wanderers from nearby will have heard that a cursed flower grows on his grave, and even breathing the air brings sickness. Stories of the man himself range as you would expect of a drug lord, but all speak of a love for excess.

Yellow Flowers

As you approach the old entranceway, overgrown with rust and jungle plants, a faint sweet smell wafts out to greet you. Inside the villa, the smell is thick, strong and nearly unbearable. The flowers grow everywhere.

Every in-game hour (or, even better, real-world 10 minutes – set a timer) that trespassers spend inside, breathing the air, increase the effects of the yellow flowers by 1 on the scale below.

Temporary fixes like a cloth over the mouth delay the effects from starting for 1 increment of time. A character can reduce the effects on themselves to the previous stage by spending an equal increment of time outside in fresh air.

1: A tickling around the inside of the mouth. Thickening mucus in the nose and throat.
2: The eyes begin to itch. Treat normal light as dim light.
3: A hacking cough – save vs coughing or become unable to keep quiet until you recover.
4: Difficulty breathing. Movement and reactions become sluggish.
5: Begins choking on own mucus. Will die if left untreated.

The Villa

The villa consists of an open plan lounge and entertaining space, as well as a kitchen and a private bedroom with an en suite. One final door leads to a back room.

Everything is old, once ostentatious but now weathered and dirty, overgrown with vines and weeds. Insects flit through the muggy air. A portrait hangs of what must be the man himself, posing by a sports car with several beautiful onlookers. There is a craps table that might be functional, and next to it a gaming machine that is very much not.

And everywhere, the musk of those yellow flowers.

The Skeleton Staff

Three skeletons stand around: one in the kitchen, one by a craps table in the lounge, and one in the bedroom. These are the remains of the kingpin’s staff, their lives gone with his, like servants in a pharaoh’s pyramid.

The skeletons can barely move, crumbling away and grown through with flowers, but they are animated and act as they did in life. They assume trespassers are guests of their boss, and are polite conversationalists.

They speak highly of their employer, admitting that his life was a dangerous one and full of hard decisions, but speaking to a depth of character and a good heart. He supposedly treated them well, though nobody was ever allowed in the back room except a select few guests.

The skeletons mildly protest, and then use force, if they see anyone attempting to enter the back room.

Snot Sloths

These dumb beasts hang from old pipes in the ceiling, living among the branches of trees that have crept their way into the back room.

The yellow flower dulls their senses pleasantly, though they are allergic to it. Thick, globby strings of mucus dangle from their noses, hanging from the ceiling above like vines, shuffling and wobbling around with the creatures’ slow movement.

The snot strands will occasionally plop to the floor under their own weight – there is a translucent coating of hardened mucus encrusting everything on the ground, including several shiny coins, gummed-up old gears and pieces of machinery.

The sloths are utterly docile, but if anyone attempts to remove the flowers from their room, they will revolt. They are slow, and only attack half as often as anything else, but their claws are incredibly long and surprisingly nimble – there is nowhere to stand in the back room without being in range of their slashes and scratches.

Right Antechamber

There is an open hallway to the right of the back room, leading to a circular antechamber. A magical stone eye guards the passage, rolling around in a disturbing facsimile of life. Anything that would blind an eye works here.

If the eye sees intruders try to pass, a little mechanical arm that protrudes from the wall will fire spurts of purple paint. This permanently dyes anything, including skin. Some sloth snot would gum up the arm easily.

Within the antechamber, among the yellow flowers and the thick haze of pollen they expel, are a couple of old skeletons, a small amount of money, and a big skull statue. Water pours from its open mouth in a steady trickle, into a basin that is overflowing and dripping everywhere, presumably feeding the plant life.

Left Antechamber

An open hallway to the left of the back room leads to another antechamber, mirroring the one on the right. This magic eye blinks a lot, and its arm doesn’t spray purple paint – it just likes slapping things out of people’s hands. It’s very fast.

In this room the basin is bigger, large enough for several people to get into even, but there is no water flow. A golden goblet sits on the basin edge, probably used to fill it. If only there was a water source nearby… the players could use their waterskins, but that probably wouldn’t fill the basin up more than a tenth of the way, and then they wouldn’t have anything to drink.

If the basin is filled, the water will magically drain away into the stone, revealing a trapdoor that was not there before.

Beyond the Trapdoor

The door opens and descends down a gentle slope into a large natural cavern. An underground river bisects the room, with the players emerging from the slope on one side. Blind, translucent fish swim in the clear water.

On the other shore sleeps a creature – a giant panther, with a head like a black-furred snake and far too many legs. It is collared and chained to a post, but the chain is more than long enough to give it free reign of its side of the cave, and it can climb adeptly.

On its side of the cave are piles of bones – fish, mostly, with a few human skeletons in tattered, purple-stained rags. It has a little collection of pet toys in various colours, and the purple one is by far the most loved, in the way that animals love things with their teeth and claws.

Beyond the beast’s domain is a bulkhead door with a big circular handle to open it, like a safe.

The Secret Track

The door opens onto dark tunnels. Lights flicker on in sequence, revealing an underground race track. Two cars stand ready – between them, a skeletal figure beckons, tattered old racing gear flapping in another world’s breeze, hollow eyes eager for a challenge.

The wraith lets the challenger choose their car. One is sleeker and flashier, one more reliable looking. Both are extravagant and well-kept, famous models that were the height of luxury collector cars in their day. Stat them with 8s and 10s.

The wraith has A6 C10 T8. Its Trait is Kingpin, and it can upgrade its ACT die in any roll it makes while cheating or playing dirty on the track – however it will only do so in retaliation if it first suspects foul play, and it much prefers a fair race and honest sportsmanship. Roll a best of 3 contested rolls to represent the laps, and narrate along.

If it is beaten in a race, or the race is good enough to make it recall its glory days, it will fade into the next life. The skeleton staff in the villa will move on as well. The cars will resume their true forms as age takes hold of them and they rust away, and the yellow flowers will begin to die and wither.

The winning driver finds themselves suddenly adorned with a gold medal worth 2k, or 3k to a collector. The medallion was a distinguishing mark of this particular drug lord, and even these days has a certain cache in local crime circles.

Tuesday 28 August 2018

1d4 Encounters on the Road

~ Every day for the rest of August, I'm posting content for the Journeylands mini-RPG playtest! Find out more and get the rules for free right here. ~

1: A lone adventurer in their own personal vehicle, starting their journey. Roll up a PC, and roll 1d8 on a list of the names of the Seven Dwarves for a personality (reroll 8s).
2: A noble postal worker from the esteemed Guild of Letters! See their characteristic red garb and winged envelope insignia! Marvel at their resourceful determination! Giggle at their cute lil moped!
3: A broken down delivery truck, driver presumably nearby. Was carrying… 1: meat, 2: big eggs, 3: candy, 4: video games, 5: soda, 6: toys from a failed merchandising line.
4: What’s that, up above? A skydiver with a giant fan and gliding wings strapped to their back – an experimental flying contraption of their own design. Coming in hot.

Monday 27 August 2018

Rock Shrine

~ Every day for the rest of August, I'm posting content for the Journeylands mini-RPG playtest! Find out more and get the rules for free right here. ~

A Point for your Journeylands game.

A place of study and training, of tireless devotion to the asymptotic pursuit of a perfect body and spirit.

The shrine and surrounding temple are themselves atop a large, sheer outcropping of rock. Climbing is impossible without some kind of gear, or a suitable plan.

For a stranger to reach the temple is most impressive. If the monks see potential in a visitor, they will allow them to attempt the Gauntlet.

The Gauntlet

Like that bit in kung fu panda, or the final challenge in The Raven (anyone remember that show?). Whether the tone is closer to Ninja Warrior or Takeshi’s Castle is up to you. Shifting pillars, spiked pits, moving platforms, swinging axes.

Think up three cool things that test Agility, then Coordination, then Toughness (eg: leaping between small platforms while they fall in sequence, then ducking and weaving while lion-monkey carvings in the walls spit arrows at you, then pushing over a stone obelisk to make a bridge to the end.) Or steal bits from the tv shows mentioned.

If they fail, no harm no foul, but they cannot attempt it again without proper training (as in, becoming a monk).

If they succeed, they could be the fabled traveller with a heart of pure gold… Take this Golden Sun Blade (upgrade your Coordination while using it, shines in the presence of impurity), and return once your journey is through if you wish to become the shrine’s new master.

As the master, you will meditate and train the rest of your days, before peacefully passing into the spirit world at the ripe old age of 108, beneath the twisted boughs of a citrus tree, finally at one with all things.

Sunday 26 August 2018

Piggybank XP

~ Every day for the rest of August, I'm posting content for the Journeylands mini-RPG playtest! Find out more and get the rules for free right here. ~

A short thought about awarding XP to your players in Journeylands.

By default, the GM hands everyone about 2 XP per adventure, and players save that up to spend on whatever they want: new Traits or permanent upgrades for their ACT dice.

I’d normally expect some kind of fictional justification for an XP spend (fiction first! Just like rolling – don’t tell me what dice you’re using, tell me what’s happening in the fiction and we’ll choose the dice based on that), but I’m fairly lenient. Your Agility, Toughness and Coordination will naturally improve over time spent adventuring, and a Trait could have been picked up on the road in downtime for all I care. A little more investment into the fictional reasons for a character’s mechanical growth is nice, but I’d never enforce it.

Here’s a thing you can do though:

When a player earns XP, they put it into a kind of pool… we’ll call it a piggy bank. Basically, the player decides what it is they’re saving their XP for from the get-go, and then invests XP they earn towards that progression – when the piggy bank is full, they get the thing.

A player could have as many piggy banks as they like on the go, but wouldn’t be able to take out XP once they invest it. When the GM awards the XP, the player will have to decide immediately whether to put it in an existing piggy bank or a new one.

So for example: a player wants their character’s d6 in Agility to eventually become a d8. Instead of spending the 8 XP required whenever they get it, the player sets aside XP specifically towards that single goal, until they save up 8 total.

It’s a very small distinction, but the difference is that the player has to think ahead from step 1, setting their own targets and feeling accomplishment when they reach them, rather than hoarding XP and then generally frittering it away of whatever. Actually putting it in writing that THIS is what their character is growing towards or training for makes it more concrete in their mind.

That might even help with the whole fictional justification part of it. As the player invests XP, they describe what their character does towards that goal, or picks out moments from the session that display the growth the mechanics describe.

Just an idea!

Saturday 25 August 2018

Biker Gangs in Journeylands

~ Every day for the rest of August, I'm posting content for the Journeylands mini-RPG playtest! Find out more and get the rules for free right here. ~

“Forgive us if we’re a lil jumpy… There’s a gang ‘round these parts, been stirrin’ up an awful lot of trouble of late. We heard your engine coming, thought you might be with ‘em! Say… You look like capable folk. Don’t suppose you’d be willing to chase ‘em out of town for us?”

Mark the gang’s hideout as a Point on your map. The gang controls all Routes connected to that point, and frequently venture further, causing mischief and mayhem in any connected Points.

The gang has 2 members for each XP point you’ve given each player so far (min 4, max 10), and a bike for each member and the boss plus 1d6 spare bikes at the hideout.

Each bike can be scrapped for about 1k’s worth of useful parts, but nobody will buy the bike as-is due to the gang connection. The hideout has about 2k’s worth of valuable goods/cash/treasure, and the boss has a bounty on their head of 1k plus 1k for each gang member.

By Default:

ACT all d4. Grit 2. Trait: Driver.
Bikes: Handling 6, Power 4, Weapons 6, Body 1, Fuel 5.

Some Sample Gangs:

The Barracudas all drive sleek, silver-blue bikes, robbing places and making quick getaways.

Boss: Mama Shark. Voluptuous and deadly. Grit 4, Ad6, Cd4, Td8. Traits: Fighter, Driver, Thief.

Hideout: The Aquarium. A dusty old warehouse where the bikers keep their stolen goods.

1d10 Bikers:
1: Flippers. Short, fat, simple.
Davy. Tall, lean, conniving but cowardly.
Sharktooth. Muscular, broad-shouldered. Takes no nonsense. Toughness d6.
Billy the Squid. Mute. Carries twin pistols. Coordination d6, upgrade ACT die if firing a gun.
Nancy Wakame. Attractive, smells odd. Agility d6.
Archie. Scars across chest. Loud, affable. Toughness d6.
Ishmael. Big, thick, bushy beard. Hides a knife in there.
Luke “Big Fish” Rodriguez. Calm, cool. Always wearing a flashy jacket. Coordination d6.
Viper. Slender, mysterious. Upgrade ACT die if sneak attacking.
Slim Willie. Enormously overweight. Toughness d6.

The Lucky Sevens drive flashy, retro roadsters. They splash their cash around and cause a ruckus.

Boss: X. Lean, pale, a gambler’s confidence. Grit 3, A8, C10, T4. Traits: Gamer (playing, cheating).

Hideout: Gold Rush Casino. The most rigged joint in town.

1d10 Bikers:
1: Jimmy Violence. Slightly unhinged. Carries 2d6 grenades.
Slick Larry. Greasy, smoker, sharp suit. Coordination d6.
Mathilde the Card. Bushy hair, watchful eyes. Coordination d6.
Gunsmoke. Big shades, pinstripes, tommy gun. Upgrade ACT die in a firefight.
Maurice. Stetson, bolo tie, cigar. Upgrade ACT die on a quick draw.
Ace. Leather jacket, cool hair, handsome. Has a switchblade. Trait: Mechanic.
“Fingers” Malone. Pencil moustache, gold tooth. Coordination d10.
Smokey Jalfrezi. Prosthetic leg, knuckledusters. Toughness d6.
9: “
Blind-Eye” Santana. Elderly, wears an eyepatch. Upgrade ACT die if using a firearm.
Frankie the Scoundrel. Scar on one cheek, well dressed. Agility d6.

The Mushroom Boys are all constantly off their heads on the substances they peddle.

Boss: Apparently none. They just kind of do stuff.

Hideout: The Devil’s Armpit. A dank old cave in the side of a mountain.

1d10 Bikers:
1: Strangles. Several missing teeth. Upgrade ACT die if grappling in a fight.
Loopo. Speaks in gibberish the others seem to understand.
Boltz. Carries a huge wrench. Trait: Mechanic.
Buttface. Bosses the others around. 3 Grit, spends it to aid teammates’ rolls.
Meep. Hairless, stares a lot. Agility d6.
Doof. Fuckin’ huge. Toughness d8.
Gizza. Speaks in third person.
Bosh. Dopey, doesn’t really seem to register surroundings. Toughness d6.
Nuts. Has broken legs, so rides with another biker or goes piggyback.
Choppa. Carries a big jagged saw-sword. Agility d6, upgrade ACT die if attacking.

Friday 24 August 2018

Anemone Goddess

~ Every day for the rest of August, I'm posting content for the Journeylands mini-RPG playtest! Find out more and get the rules for free right here. ~

A Point for your game.

Deep in a grove of land coral, rooted to the earth, she stands like a monument. True goddess or no, her power is beyond the reach of mortal men.

1d4 Major Quests from the Goddess:

Find her a Pearl of Wisdom. (Currently, one is in a hidden cave shrine, one is the prized possession of a notorious crime boss, and the third is the prize in a racing tournament.)
2: Bandits are beginning to encroach on her coral grove, harvesting. This is a big operation – once they’re done there will be nothing left. There must be some way to stop them.
3: She needs to go somewhere far away, but she’s planted here. Helping her move would require a heavy-duty vehicle (and a lot of explaining to anyone who sees) but it could, theoretically, be done.
4: She hasn’t heard from her sisters in a while, and doesn’t know where they are… but she couldn’t possibly ask you to travel the whole world in search of the other two! Unless you happen to be travelling the world anyway?

1d4 Boons from the Goddess:

1: She’ll teach you the language of fish. Your average sturgeon may not be the best conversationalist, but doors of communication with more interesting creatures are also open.
2: Her light goes with you. You are now her Cleric (can speak to her with your mind, are immune to poison and may summon her essence to upgrade any single die two steps by spending 1 Grit).
3: A free upgrade to your vehicle in the form of a magical coral core (d12 Handling, vehicle now hovers slightly off the ground, increase maximum Fuel capacity by 2).
4: A crystal conch. Blow it like a trumpet to instantly transport your vehicle and its contents back to her side, should you ever be in dire straits.

The Clownfish Cult

“Priests” if you’re talking to their faces. Noticeable immediately by their lurid orange robes, cut across with striking patches of black and white. They seem quiet but polite, monastic even, keeping to themselves and always travelling in groups.

A short conversation will reveal that they have never actually seen their deity in the flesh, only heard tell of her – an explorer founded the religion a few generations back and the rest has been hearsay. They ascribe to tenets of asceticism, privacy and humility, as well as esoteric rituals involving painted symbology, the imbibing of semi-toxic spirits and tantric fornication.

They could be the way in which the players first hear of the goddess, or they could be a faction to win over for players who have already encountered her.

Thursday 23 August 2018

1d4 Fellow Travellers

~ Every day for the rest of August, I'm posting content for the Journeylands mini-RPG playtest! Find out more and get the rules for free right here. ~

Your players aren't the only wanderers in Journeylands! These folk are going places.

Popping them into your game gives the players something to do (help them on their quest), somewhere to go (the distant lands or goals they speak of), and adds colour to your world.

1: Jiminy Hedgerows, a bearded scholar with a winning smile. Collects old artefacts, but prefers to not have to traverse the ruins himself where possible. A6, C6, T4.
2: Fiona Yejide, an entomologist with an adventurous spirit. Seeks new and exciting bugs to find, research and capture if possible. ACT d6, Angler Trait (reflavoured as Bug Catcher).
3: RJ “The Barista” Albanes, a stoic wanderer of few words, he is the foremost expert on coffee in the known world. Seeks new blends. ACT d4, Gourmet Trait.
4: Old Bones, the Boogeyman, Cactus Jim – he has many names. An animated skeleton, noble of heart sternum, he quests for some magic to break the curse upon him, writing wrongs on his way. A6, C4, T8, Fighter Trait, 5 Grit.

Wednesday 22 August 2018

1d8 Garages

~ Every day for the rest of August, I'm posting content for the Journeylands mini-RPG playtest! Find out more and get the rules for free right here. ~

A few garages to drop into your game as Points, each offering a unique upgrade. Costs are as defined in the rules unless specified.

Roscoe’s Chop ‘n’ Change
Roscoe is a burly man with thick, dark chest hair and a well-oiled moustache.
Power d6, also comes with a tow cable, upgrade when rolling to tow something.
Secret Swap Shop
A clandestine engineer’s workshop that caters to bandits and the like. The owner is a scarred old woman with a prosthetic arm.
Weapons d8, retractable spikes and a fold-out cannon. Vehicle looks unarmed when weapons are stowed.
Jelly Place
A small garage round the side of a diner with a cute jellyfish mascot.
Handling d6. Also get a free jellyfish decal and discount card for ice cream in all Jelly Place branches.
Run by retired racing driver Wilson Merengue. Still wears his classic driving helmet and fabled moustache.
Power d8, upgrade when rolling to outspeed something on easy terrain. Costs 8500 due to name recognition.
Bullet Shack
Also sells handguns, swords and other weaponry.
Weapons d8. A huge-ass cannon, multi-gun array, or similarly bombastic weaponry.
Turtle Bay Repairs
Soothing surf music plays, the owners wear patterned shirts. Beverages offered while-u-wait.
Handling d6. Also offers Weapons d6, the Shell Shield: upgrade when defending against attack.
Magick Motors
Run by a little old man with a long white beard and moon-and-star robes.
Handling d10, can spend 1 Fuel to warp a few metres in any direction.
El Grande’s BBQ & Truck Stop
Huge vehicles, huge portions. El Grande is a retired luchador.
Fuel Tank upgrade, up to 15 maximum.

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Kaiju in Journeylands

~ Every day for the rest of August, I'm posting content for the Journeylands mini-RPG playtest! Find out more and get the rules for free right here. ~

Other people might not be the only dangers out there for your players. Huge creatures known as kaiju roam the land.

To stat a kaiju, treat it as both character and vehicle – 2 dice for each of its three stats. If a Trait or other effect would upgrade a die, upgrade only one.

Sample Kaiju

Demon Toad

Gigantic, horned and tusked, this beast wallows in mud that cakes onto it like rock. Not mobile, but can charge surprisingly fast when defending its home. Easiest to just avoid its Route, if possible.

A2d6, C1d4/1d6, T2d8, Grit 3. While it is caked in mud, upgrade 1d8 to 1d10 in Toughness rolls to resist attacks (the first successful attack or manoeuvre that would remove the mud ends this effect).

The Sentry

An ancient obelisk, its parts rotating as it magically levitates, giant fleshy eyeballs rolling around in stone sockets, scanning for intruders in the territory it was sworn to protect long ago. Run.

A2d8, C2d8, T2d10, Grit 6.


Enormous flightless birds that can run at high speeds to catch prey. They defend their nests at all costs, but egg-poachers know that they are stupid and easily distracted by live bait.

A2d10, C2d6, T2d8, Grit 3, Trait: Hunter (skills include attacking, finding food, chasing prey).

Monday 20 August 2018

Mini Carnival

~ Every day for the rest of August, I'm posting content for the Journeylands mini-RPG playtest! Find out more and get the rules for free right here. ~

A Point, could go anywhere really. Liven up a long journey.

Rides! Games! Food! A ghost train?! Let the players suggest additions to what’s going on if you can’t think of anything yourself. The whole thing is small and a bit run down, but lively enough. If there are other carnival-goers, they will include friendly NPCs the players have already met in the local area.

There’s a Test-Your-Strength game: highest Toughness roll of the day wins, costs 5 coins per try. The prize is the big, cartoon-esque mallet used for the game, which is surprisingly sturdy and could be used as a real weapon.

A wizened old man runs a target-shooting game from the back of his vehicle. Costs 5 coins, hit 3 targets to win a prize! Roll Coordination for each shot of the toy gun – if a player is doing too well, the old man will wiggle the final target by tugging on a piece of string he’s attached to his big toe (contested roll vs the geezer’s d6 Agility). The most observant person watching will notice this, seconds before the final shot is fired. The prize is a large stuffed toy of a local animal/kaiju.

More Hooks:
1: A young girl has lost her father. He’ll be on the other side of the carnival, looking for her.
2: A cooking contest! Players can enter for 10 coins, and win with high rolls and unique ingredients.
3: The guy running the candyfloss stall wants to leave the carnival and set up shop in a nearby town.
4: Low-level bandits the players met before are skulking around. They propose a truce.

If the players drive on by or don’t spend any money, consider having them come across a closed and abandoned carnival next time they’re passing through.

Sunday 19 August 2018


~ Every day for the rest of August, I'm posting content for the Journeylands mini-RPG playtest! Find out more and get the rules for free right here. ~

A Route, Fuel cost 2.

This narrow canyon pass has recently been blocked off by a rock slide. The player characters will have to clear it to pass. Turning back and returning to the Point they started from also costs 2 Fuel.

Also at the rockslide:

1: A bandit captain (Grit 2, ACTd4, Thief) and 1d4 followers (same, no Grit). They are taking advantage of the impasse to harass travellers, or may have caused it themselves.
2: A lone miner with a pickaxe. Their lover lives on the other side. Not making much progress.
3: A food truck. The merchant is annoyed that they can’t make their usual run, but happy to do business.
4: 1d6 wildcats! Hungry and easily distracted. (A6, C4, T6)
5: An old man with what he claims is a magic staff, fruitlessly attempting to levitate the boulders with his mind.
6: Another vehicle full of adventurers just like the players, on a delivery. They’ll turn back and head via another route, advising the players do the same.

Saturday 18 August 2018

Mysterious Village of the Fishfolk

~ Every day for the rest of August, I'm posting content for the Journeylands mini-RPG playtest! Find out more and get the rules for free right here. ~


A Point for use in your Journeylands game.

Decades ago, settlers wandering the desert came upon a sundered shrine to an ancient sea goddess. Unable to bear seeing such beauty left forgotten, they decided to build their village around it, cleaning and rebuilding the shrine.

Once complete, its magic was restored and it began to run with clear water. The bounty was blessed, and bestowed favour upon those who drank it. Quickly, the new villagers began to mutate into forms more pleasing to the goddess.

Embarrassed by their new bodies, the fishfolk retreated from society.

Routes to the Village

Fishfolk set traps on all Routes leading to their enclave.

1: Fishfolk in camouflage with rifles at strategic high points. Will flee if noticed or confronted.
2: Two swinging logs that crash together.
3: The ground gives way to a pit filled with stagnant water (not blessed).
4: Caltrops or spikes on the road, little sharp seashells and shark teeth.

Notable Villagers and Quest Hooks

Villagers are generally friendly, if a little meek. If stats are needed use d4s all round, with upgrades in C or T for trappers and able fighters respectively.

1: The mayor is a tall woman with jellyfish hair. Wants books from far off towns.
2: The pub is run by a portly octopus man. Patrons tell of a demon frog in a nearby cave.
3: The general store lacks one important item. Help establish trade with a nearby town.
4: The garage owner is an urchin person. Sells some unique parts (d8 Power, upgrade if underwater).

The Blessed Water

There is nothing else available to drink in the village except for alcohol and whatever the party brings with them. Friendly fishfolk will warn of this, and the side effects.

Should a character drink the water, they can make a roll with their Toughness at the end of each day to resist its effects. 2 failed rolls and the character mutates. Their general appearance becomes fishier, and they must also roll for a mutation below:

1-2: Fins, scales.
3: Tentacles, fronds or shrimp-whiskers.
4: Suckers on hands/arms.
5: Deep sea bioluminescence.
6: Sea urchin spikes.
7: Swordfish nose.
8: Sharp teeth, big strong jaw.
9: Sea slug colouration and general sliminess.
10: Jellyfish or anemone hair.
11: Feet are big ol’ flippers.
12: Crab claw.

The character also gains the Fishfolk Trait, which allows them to upgrade their ACT die when 
swimming or otherwise using their mutation to their advantage.

Player Character Connections

One could be used at character creation if this Point is on your map.

1: Has heard tell of a shrine here with supposedly magical transformation properties.
2: Has a package to deliver to the mayor and a map to the village’s location.
3: Has a map with an X on the village’s location, warning that here be monsters.
4: Is a fishfolk who chose to see the world. Must spend starting XP on the Fishfolk Trait.

Friday 17 August 2018


"and now for something completely different"

tl;dr: made a game

is a modern-fantasy sandbox mini-RPG about travel and adventure. Players journey around a sprawling, magically tinged landscape, in a vehicle that they all share and live in together.

sketch by Krzysztof Maziarz (the final art is bonkers good you guys)


J'lands, mechanically, IS:
- Fiction first. Gameplay is mostly just talking and cool ideas, with mechanics as a frame to fall back on if needed, rather than a driving force of play. Like OSR stuff.
- Player-driven. Players can customise their characters (no "builds" though), and customise their vehicle, and I guess "customise" their adventure: go where they want, see what's there. Sandbox!
- Light. It's small - nay, tiny. I gave my group the draft rules and they were done reading and basically understood the whole game in a few minutes.
- My kind of thing! I made this game because I want more of this kind of game to exist. No idea if anyone else will dig it, but I'm happy with it.

J'lands, mechanically, AIN'T:
- A narrative game. It's got more storygame DNA in it than, say, B/X, but the influence is subtle. It's basically a traditional RPG.
- Comprehensive. It's bare bones, intentionally so. Do what you want with it, build on it, etc. "Rulings not rules". It's a little mini-game, not a fantasy epic.
- Grimdark Poverty Simulator 3000. Not so much with the impotent characters and resource scarcity and to-the-bone survival of many games in the same sphere. Still deadly enough, tho.
- A game-changer. I didn't design this to blow people's minds with some innovative mechanic that explodes the untapped potential of emergent gameplay. It's just a fun game.

Btw, only on an RPG blog would I have gone this far in describing the game just talking mechanics. I know that's what you nerds crave: cold, hard FACTS.

Having said that, here's the fluff:

this but it's a truck stop


By default, the setting is the dried-out seabed of the Gulf of Mexico, an indeterminate number of centuries in the future.

It's not Mad Max!! This is not a post-apocalyptic wasteland: it's post-post. If you want a harsh and oppressive future, you've come to the wrong place. The world can be dangerous, sure, and mechanically speaking death is as much a possibility as your average OSR if you play your cards wrong, but this is a game about living despite all that: about friendship, about people coping and making a life.

The tone is silly-serious, goofy and heartfelt and hopeful, with all the Gen Z post-ironic earnestness I can muster. (I love making content for this game. It comes easier to me than almost any other game I've written. it's so fucking dumb.)

this but if they all lived in a VW campervan

For reference on the setting and tone? Think something like Adventure Time, that's pretty close. The Borderlands games are a better comparison than most other madmaxian fare.

It's quite... "anime"? One Piece is a huge inspiration: imagine that but someone drained all the water out and you've got a decent image of a Journeylands campaign. Also maybe Cowboy Bebop... actually, no, more like Space Dandy. Early issues of Dragon Ball, Pokemon without the 'mon.

Also feel it's worth mentioning that the setting is COMPLETELY made for the purpose of being played in. It's not some fantasy opus I tacked rules on to, it's my pitch for the ideal setting in which to game with the rules I made.

Travel! People, places, wacky and fun things to explore and find and see and do!


I liked this game

The playtest version of the rules is available now on my Gumroad store. It's free! I'm calling it the Just The Gears version - all the base mechanics are there, but the game content is up to you.

Well, not completely up to you - this is a new world and system, and you might not want or be able to convert adventures into it. And that's a pain for this system since the world and the "fluff" is most of the game (fiction first!).

So I'm sharing some of my home game prep with youse lot: every day for the rest of this month I'll be uploading a small bit of Journeylands content to this blog.

Download the Just The Gears version, use the content from the blog or some up with your own, and GM a game or two for your friends! It's fast and fun and sessions only take an hour or two in my experience.


I'd like to at the very least get some art done for the game!

Then, ideally, I'd write up a cool little 'zine-style booklet: all the rules, several pages of gameable content to start you off with, a GM's Advice Guide... maybe even a Japanese-style "replay"! I envision a fun little product, almost like a kid's comic, full of content and Things to Make and Do.

If you want that to happen, you can:

- use the pay-what-you-want feature on Gumroad to help fund it
- join the fine folks over at the Graverobber's Guild (my recently launched Patreon)
- show your interest online, give me feedback, tell people who you think would like the game

If the interest levels are there, I'll consider launching a small Kickstarter campaign next month to fund it fully. If not, I'll keep plugging away at things in my own time, and put out a slightly more bare-bones product as and when it's ready in the distant future.

Thanks for your time and support! Hope you enjoy the new game :)

PS: "What about the Graverobbers RPG?" Yeah, I make a lot of games. I'm still working on it! Join the Patreon to get more regular updates, sneak peeks and playtest material for that.

Thursday 16 August 2018

and we're back!

Sorry for scuttling off for a few weeks! Moving house is a whole thing. The blog will be back underway in a big way very shortly!

Here's what's been going on in the meantime:

Work on the Graverobbers RPG continues apace. (Refresh your memory with the playtest document right here.)

The fine folks who support this blog and my game-making over at the Graverobber's Guild just got a whole big new chunk of the ruleset, as part of the general updates and behind-the-scenes stuff I share there. Consider donating just $1 a month to become a Guildmember yourself!

Over on Reddit, the peeps at r/osr just added this blog as one of their "favourites"! If you've come our way via that route, welcome. It feels nice to be listed up there, a couple of those blogs are ones I read regularly by proper actual writers and everything.

There's a Kickstarter on for a new edition of Troika! I'm not affiliated with this in any way, it's just a good game.

And just as a little aside, Steve Crompton, who works on Tunnels and Trolls, stopped by my review of their Japan magazine and thanked me for it! I know we're a small pond here in RPG-land, but my lil blog catching the eye of an actual big fish feels nice. The guy is a proper industry vet. Thanks for reaching out, Steve!

I don't think I've linked this here before? On my Twitter I mostly just retweet cool fantasy-ish art, so follow me if you want that and game stuff in your timeline.


Other than that, I've been plugging away at a whole bunch of good new stuff that will be with you very shortly. I'm excited for what's to come!

In fact, I think I hear an engine revving in the distance...