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“You’re Always Aiming For Their Eyes”

“I want to aim for his eye! So I can blind him, and kill him in one shot!”

“Okay, his eyes widen as he sees your malicious intent, and he throws up a guard. Make an attack roll.”

“What modifiers for aiming for his eyes?!”

“None. You’re always aiming for your foes’ eyes.”

“No I’m not! I’m just trying to hit. I want to do a lethal blow now!”

“You’re always trying to land a lethal blow, unless you do something special not to. It’s a fight. Your character is always doing their best unless you say otherwise. Your attack rolls already represent the very best attack your character thinks can land. Of course you want to stab him in the eye, or cut off his head, or pierce his heart. And that’s represented by the existing combat rules of the game. And when the foe goes down, that is when you succeeded.”

“But maybe I can do those things before that!”

“Sure. It’s called a “critical hit.” in this game. A “stunt” or special maneuver in other games.”

“But I want a SPECIAL chance to kill him in one shot!”

“Okay. Do you want every foe you ever fight to have a special chance to kill you in one shot, too?”

“You’re no fun!”

“If you want to try to be flamboyant in your attacks because that’s fun, I am fine with that. That’s why I said he reacted to your effort. And if this attack kills him, it’ll be because you ran him through the eye, and that’ll be awesome.

If you want to have a reduced chance to be effective because of what you are trying, feel free to not use your full combat bonuses.

If you want an increased chance to be effective because of what you are trying, once I allow that why wouldn’t you always do that? And every other PC? And every NPC?”

 

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TOP TEN INEVITABLE GEEK SHOWS

I haven’t done one of these for a while, so:
TOP TEN INEVITABLE GEEK SHOWS

10. The Southsons Family Park and Morty
Irreverent animated family comedy that riffs off more popular shows, while trying to create its own catchphrases and making all the same mistakes and with less original writing.

9. Preteennatural
Look, Supernatural has gone on forever, all the main characters have died (most more than once), and no spin-off has been produced. So:
Young hunky gender-swapped clones of the most popular characters–Deanne, Samantha, Charlie, and Cassielle, try to make their own path and escape the shadow of their originals.

8. GRIMLOCK
A reboot of the T-Rex Transformer as a high-functioning sociopath robot that solves crimes. Seven episodes over four years!

7. Mithral Girls
Linda Carter heads up this heroines-of-a-certain-age sitcom when powerful, confident women who saved the world in the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s decide retirement isn’t the best use of their golden years.

6. Crowd Hoot
UNIT was disbanded for budgetary reasons… but not everyone is willing to leave the Earth undefended. Every time a new threat looms, rogue “Companion’s Companions” gather a different force of people who have traveled in a TARDIS before to deal with it. All under the direction of the mysterious mastermind “DN.”

5. Agents of G.O.T.H.A.M
It practically writes itself, continuity be damned.

4. Throne of Games
Political intrigue, sex, betrayal, and war as a single shared video game universe groans under the weight of Smash Brothers, Tekken, Mortal Combat, and Kingdom Hearts all fighting to control the Grid. The mash-up you never asked for!

3. The Mighty Crusaders
Heroes are big, in movies and on TV. Archie Comics characters are making a big push on TV and streaming. So doesn’t it make sense for the heroes originally written by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel to get their own show?
The Shield, Flygirl, the Black Hood, War Eagle (if the rights can be ironed out), the Shadow (again, rights), the Comet. The Crusade starts now!

2. Star Trek: Eugenics War
After the war, the records of what happened when got badly confused. The Eugenics War is now, and Khan is Earth’s last, best hope.
I mean, it’s worth a shot…

1. CSI: Brainiac
He’s stolen cities and destroyed planets to collect all the knowledge in the universe. But there are some unsolved mysteries throughout the galaxy Brainiac can’t stand not knowing the answers to. So the all-powerful artificial intelligence has gathered the best CSIs of all worlds and sets them to solve one mystery each week.
Or else.

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Holiday Poem: The Night Before Adventure

Happy holidays all! Regular articles will return with the new year, but for now please enjoy this bit of silliness.

It was the Night before Adventure and all through the Party,

Not a Creature Was Stirring, their snores much too hearty.

No one on watch, they trusted a spell,

And if it didn’t work, their mage they’d give hell.

The steeds were all stabled, the familiars asleep,

The summoner’s eidolon made not a peep.

The rogue clad in mithral, paladin in full plate,

Knew the forces of evil would just have to wait.

When from camp’s edge there arose a loud scream,

Two boom, three zaps, and one laser beam.

“To arms” a knight screamed, to weapons they dashed,

Though the bard didn’t make it, his head was too bashed.

The wards all collapse, some hirelings did flee,

As a cyborg rust monster attacked us with glee.

“I won’t kill you all” it said in voice clipped,

“I’ll just rot your stuff, so your power is dipped.”

The adventurers all gasped, and considered the horrors,

Of loosing their status as bad-ass top scorers.

They rolled their initiative, and cast up their buffs,

And leaped up to engage in violent fisticuffs.

The monster did taunt them, and call them bad names,

As it used its evasion to dodge magic flames.

They stabbed it, and slashed it, and missiled it with magic,

Until its form was quite punctured, lifeless, and tragic.

The adventurers smiled, and kicked the dead brute,

For they knew in its lair, there was surely more loot.

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Horrifically Overpowered Star-Feats

Very soon, RGG will be releasing Starfarer’s Codex: Horrifically Overpowered Feats.

And it’s my fault.

This is, obviously, a new entry in the Horrifically Overpowered line of game supplements, bringing the world of OP to Starfinder-compatible games. And while it WILL update many of the old Pf-edition OP feats, that’s not all the book has.

Oh heavens no.

It is SO much worse than that.

“How bad could it be?” you ask. Pretty bad. game-breakingly bad. You should never allow ANY of these into your campaign.

Seriously, let me show you.

Here’s just a few examples of Horrifically Overpowered Star Feats.

Ain’t Got Time To Bleed (Horrifically Overpowered)
You can rest when you’re dead.
Benefit: As a full action, you can use any option available to you that normally takes 10 minutes. You are subject to all the other restrictions of the action (it’s fast not free, get real).

Ancestral Plasma Canon
You have an item your family has carried into star battle with star demons for star centuries.
Benefit: Select one category of item that is not consumed when it is used, such as a small arm, heavy weapon, light armor, an armor upgrade, or a technological, hybrid, or magic item. Each time you gain a new character level, this item is upgraded to any item of the same category you wish with an item level no greater than your character level +2. If the item is lost or destroyed, it or a replacement returns to you no later than the next time you gain a character level.

Resolved (Horrifically Overpowered)
No one is more resolved than you are.
Benefit: The Resolve Point cost of any ability or option that requires Resolve Points is one lower than normal for you. If that makes the Resolve Point cost 0 or less (yeah, or less—if you are allowing THIS option, who KNOWS what you’ve allowed into your campaign?!) you can still only use the ability if you have at least 1 Resolve Point remaining in your Resolve Pool.

If you want to make me stop writing such ridiculous pandering products which appeal only to power gamers and bring shame on my reputation as a professional, feel free to join my Patreon, in the hopes the money will distract me and put an end to this terrible idea.
Or… I mean back me and tell me to write more. As long as you give me money, I don;t care what you ask me to do.

TOP TEN Alternate “TPK” Terms

Sometimes things don’t go well in an RPG, and all the player characters die. This sad event is often known as a Total party Kill, or TPK.
But what ELSE could you call it, if someone asks you what your game was like the day after a wipeout?

TOP TEN ALTERNATIVES TO CALL THE GAME IF IT WAS A TPK

10. The ultimate validation of our sense that our characters faced real risks during gametime.
9. Teambuilding exercise to all travel beyond the pale.
8. Once-in-a-lifetime investment prospect involving buying a farm together.
7. Impressive group effort to push up ALL the daisies.
6. Six-way tie of the world “playing opossum” championships.
5. Story-driven opportunity for everyone to make new characters.
4. Achievement of biological function zero.
3. The “Last Stand of the Swiss Guard” memorial game session.
2. An involuntary change of the campaign to an all-outer-planes petitioners game.
1. Unscheduled playtest of the we are all dead and dying and not coming back rules.

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Words of Wisdom. Sort of.

For more than a decade now, I have been collecting the most profound things I have written online.
Here’s a sample of more than 140 of the best examples.

“Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. Goblins are the screaming, burning chaos of little minds.”

A rolling d20 gathers no moss… and delays the game until it stops %*#^ing rolling!”

A picture is worth 1,000 words. A clear, accurate, useful map is priceless.

Edition Wars were BETTER back in my day!

A fool and his money are a miniatures games company’s target audience.

A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. A gamer is the same, but also wants to tell your company with a decade or more of experience how you could do things soooo much cheaper.

A game worth playing, is worth playing badly, on the path to playing well.

If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, I now understand why player characters often burn down kingdoms…

Better the devil you know than the one you don’t. At least then you know what bypasses its DR.

A house divided against itself cannot stand… unless that’s just step one of transforming into a robot.

A closed mouth gathers no foot. But with enough force, you can JAM one in there.

A good lawyer makes a bad neighbor, especially if actually they’re a superhero and villains keep dropping buildings on the law firm but some rubble crosses onto your property.

Editing (or being edited by) your spouse leads to a much closer understanding of each other… or divorce. There’s no middle ground there.

Theory: Sailor Moon is actually a were-sailor. She was bitten by a rabid sailor which is why she transforms into a hybrid scout/sailor form.

When you have a cat in your home, you MUST delight in every precious moment. Because one day you’ll wake up to a hairball in your eye.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single Google Maps search.

*Absinthe* makes the heart grow fonder. Any other claim is a typo.

Moving is like doing homework so that you can exercise too hard in painful positions with the main reward being massive inconvenience.

What if you only lose your soul if picture’s taken while sneezing and no one says “bless you”? We’re one coincidence from zombie apocalypse!

It’s beginning to look like the term “testerical” may be my longest-lasting legacy. … I’d be okay with that.

A man cannot serve two masters. Well, he can, but it eats into Netflix time.

I plan to seed the ground above my burial site with caltrops.
So just LET my enemies dance on my grave…

I think Luke Skywalker has probably upgraded his prosthesis a few times since Empire Strikes Back. I think of that as my Personal Hand Canon.

I have no option about whether the chicken or the egg came first. I’m eggnostic.

I’m sorry the release date of the new RPG/Movie/Novel you were looking forward to got delayed, but…
Shift Happens.

I’m pretty sure my patronus is a fat badger. So far it doesn’t chase off dementors, but just kinda shows up and disapproves of them.

As a security measure, I like to keep passwords on post-it notes scattered around my desk. They just aren’t passwords I use for anything.

There are many ways in which game designers are like cats. Mostly, these are not related to being adorable.

Oh Fine. Apparently mixing dragons and turtles or dragons and lions is classic, but my Dragon Lobster is “dumb” and Dragolverinne “silly.”

If someone stabs you instead of crying out “touché!,” the correct response is to yell “Ouché!”

It’s hockey mask and machete, right? No wearing a human-flesh-face-and-chainsaw until after Memorial Day, as I recall Slasher Etiquette.

A man is known by the company he keeps. At least, he is if his company’s advertising budget is big enough.

A man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. His lawyer’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, either.

A man’s home is his castle. And the heating bills on castles are outrageous. I recommend renting a small fort or keep, instead.

“I’ve been trying to figure out how to attack this stronghold, but I’ve had to reconsider every plan…
“Of COURSE you have. What do you expect from a redoubt?”

A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. A college-level course can be catastrophic.

Honesty is the best policy… but honestly how many companies do you know that actually follow their own policies?

You can’t judge a book by its cover. Sentencing is even more complex, and allows an appeal.

Familiarity breeds contempt. Familiars mostly breed with fairy-dragons. And a few imps. Maybe a brownie.

All good things must come to an end. An unfortunate number of terrible things just go on, and on, and on…

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Or at least wash it off first.

Too many cooks spoil the broth. And is it too much to ask for SOMEONE to make a salad for table 7 if we have so many damn cooks?!

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Or… isn’t broke? What if it’s broke but kinda works? What if it’s not but it’s crappy. This proverb sucks

Cleanliness is not next to Godliness. Unless your dictionary only has 7 entries.

You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Unless you use an ostrich egg. Then it just takes the one.

Keeps your friends close, and your enemies closer. “Prayer” only has a 40-foot-radius.

Birds of a feather flock together. Dinosaurs of a feather engage in sudden but inevitable betrayal.

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Unless it’s bulletproof glass. In that case, go ahead.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. The squeaky kobold gets a fireball!

Jumping to conclusions can be bad exercise. Also, it provokes attacks of opportunity.

Don’t learn safety rules on accident. I mean, that’s better than not learning them at all, but still.

The heaviest thing to carry is a grudge. Though it still doesn’t slow down dwarves at all. which explains a lot, actually.

One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time. Another is glossy magazine covers. A third is bad olives.

Your mind is like a parachute. Always pack it yourself, don’t wait too long to use it, and it’s better with a giant picture of Daffy Duck.

Dress for the adventure you want to go on, not the adventure in your zip code. As long as the adventure you want to go on is HR appropriate.

Labels are for cans, not people. Nutritional information should be universal. If you’re on a desert island you need to know who to eat first.

If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Also the forge, volcanoes, the Elemental plane of Fire, and Arizona.

It isn’t whether you win or lose that counts, it’s how you play the game. Although constantly losing may suggest you suck at playing the game.

Always get your ducks in a row. Then, one lightning bolt later, fried duck!

Wake up and smell the coffee. Because apparently you have the technology or contacts to have coffee get made while you are still sleeping.

A bird may love a fish, but where would they live? I mean, sure a houseboat, but let’s be real even most humans can’t afford a houseboat.

“Flopportunity” – A chance to make something that could be extremely unsuccessful.

“Evil Stew” – A thick soup made from everything in the house that is “about to go bad.”

Early to bed and early to rise doesn’t actually mean you’re getting any more work done.

“Like a bat out of a handbasket.”

You reap what you sow. Which means there’s a skull with a scythe and robe that’s quietly going around sowing the heck out of things.

You have to take the bad with the good. The facts of life. The facts of life.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but “You’re never too old to learn.” Which tells me the old dog’s teacher sucks.

You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. So you need two cakes, which explains the American obesity epidemic.

You can lead a horse to water. Actually, can you? I am sure a few of you can, but it’s not as common a skill as it used to be.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. That’s just how the pyrotechnics spell works.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Play musical instruments as the place burns to the ground.

The way to a man’s is through his stomach. The way to a man’s stomach is for a facehugger to burst out of a yonic egg and mouthfuck him.

Variety is the spice of life. So it comes from worm butts on a desert planet.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Unless you are paid by the word, in which case for SOME reason, it doesn’t count. 😛

Two heads are better than one. Though an ettin is only CR 6 and a hill giant is CR 7, so maybe one head is actually better.

Too many chefs spoil the soup, but not enough chefs ruin the restaurant.

There’s no fool like an old fool. Well, except a young fool which, just by process of basic logic, we can determine has some similarities.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, but less than three to pet their belly.

There is no honor among thieves. Which may be true, but my MAIN issue with them is that they steal things.

Strike while the iron is hot. It’s more likely to give into your union demands if it’s uncomfortable.

The squeaky wheel gets the oil, but the squeaky mouse gets eaten by the cat.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. And bad intentions. And anything else the devil can get his hands on, he’s a pragmatist.

Rome was not built in a day. But it sure burned down fast.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The proof of the pie is in the radius.

Keep the home fires burning. That way your enemies have no place to sleep or change their shoes.

Practice makes perfect. I suspect that’s why so many doctors and lawyers think they’re perfect.

Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Which is why the Devil’s Advocate is such a good lawyer,

The pen is mightier than the sword. But not the vorpal sword.

One swallow does not a summer make. Which is either profound on a ‘winter is coming” level, or the tagline for bad porn.

One man’s gravy is another man’s poison. Especially with Vishkanya. Though “Vishkanya Gravy” sounds like a nasty euphemism

One good turn deserves another, but you’re just as likely to roll a 1 next turn.

Old habits die hard. I think they’re mostly worn by vampire nuns and you have to stuff holy wafers in their hems after you deravelcate them.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Which I think means all venturing is painful, according to that other proverb…

Nothing hurts like the truth. Especially +1 keen flaming truth.

No pain, no gain. Of course there’s plenty of pain that ALSO produced no gain, so fuck that.

No news is good news.

No, seriously, nowadays none of the news is good.

Necessity is the mother of invention. But does invention ever call? Ever write? Nooooooooo…

Money doesn’t grow on tree. Except black walnut. Those things are cash cows.

Misery loves company. But honestly most company is kinda sick of misery.

A man is known by the company he keeps. Unless they’re idiots and never noticed him.

Look before you leap. It’s nice to at least know where you are going to go splat.

Love is blind. Love makes the world go ’round. Which may explain why we seem to be headed to hell in a handbasket.

Lightning never strikes twice in the same place. Because if your enemies line up for a lightning bolt, they quickly learn to spread out.

A leopard can’t change its spots. A cuttlefish can. A cuttlepard is CR 5.

It takes two to tango. Also, to flank.

Man does not live by bread alone. Normally he’s also near some other stuff. Maybe a chair, or a tree.

Good things come in small packages. So do evil things. Package size is a terrible gauge for moral value.

Don’t judge a book by its cover – there are critics that will do it for you.

Don’t cry over spilled milk. You’ll get your tears in it and make it salty.

Blood is thicker than water, and harder to get out of the carpet.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but the CR isn’t as high.

Clothes make the man. A woman probably made the clothes.

Beauty is in the eye of the generic non-IP floating eye-monster with ray attacks.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. That’s what catapults are for!

Actions speak louder than words. Full-round actions, especially.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Unless it’s the heart that’s absent, which makes the body grow colder.

A watched pot will not toke.

A lion won’t eat where it sleeps, but a spider must. A spiderlion is CR 5.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Or a teleport spell. Plane shift works, too. Or just summon giant eagles.

If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. Unless what you love is working, in which case apparently you’re screwed.

The friends of our friends are our friends. Except Arlo. Fuck that guy.

A single stick is easily broken. A bundle of sticks is difficult to break. A stick golem is CR 5.

War has no eyes, and justice is blind. Leaving both vulnerable to sneak attack.

If you use your wealth, it diminishes. If you use your wits, they expand. If you use the critical hit deck, you lose a hand.

The foolish build walls. The wise build bridges. The wizard builds a staff of blasting.

The idiotic speak. The wise listen. The rogue rolls for initiative.

Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it. But you CAN tongue-kiss it.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, bring a cleric. And a summoner, preferably with one of the broken archetypes.

“If you wait long enough by the riverbank, the bodies of your enemies will float by. But writers don’t have that kind of time.

Can you imagine if dead souls had access to social media?
“Still in Limbo. Working off sins of things I did when I was, like, 8. Really??”

Hcum gnihton spelled backwards is nothing much.

The Black Pudding is not NEARLY as evil, NOR as moist, as the Ochre Bunt Cake!

People need priorities.
Arguing about a game online with people who don’t even play with you should never be at the top.

Go home spellchecker. Your drank.

Any popular game that has human interpretation of rules is inevitably going to have people bitch about how those rules are interpreted.

I am well aware that nearly everything I do could be done by a million monkeys pounding on a million typewriters.
As a result, my career is based in large part on flinging less poo than they would.

Mint absinthe. It’s the ghost of Christmas Passed Out.

“I kept thinking a shark fin was following me, but it was just a fluke.”

Never complain about anyone but yourself. And your dice. And fascists, because frak them.

A clean conscience makes a soft pillow. But so do the corpses of your enemies.

A smile is worth a thousand words. But for some people’s smiles, those are all words of warning.

Life is more than just surviving. That’s why we have refrigerators.

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Ichthine–A Species for all -finder games!

As far as I can tell, the urge to do this species came straight from the art, by the amazing Jacob Blackmon. Certainly nothing else I can think of inspired this. The write up should work for both the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Starfinder Roleplaying Game.

ICHTHINE

The ichthine are an ancient, accomplished species who have had access to star travel for millions of years. Able to place themselves into a natural form of hibernation, their species travelled the stars in vast slower-than-light ships to explore and learn. However, lacking any way to communicate with each other or their homeworld, each ichthine ship became its own hub of knowledge and developed its own culture. Most eventually began to break down in systems lacking the technology to repair or replace their advanced systems, and the ichthine inhabitants within eventually choose a new world to colonize. Ichthine than thus be found on thousands of world, many of which have no native star-travel capacity, or have only developed such capacity in recent centuries. If the original ichthine homeworld is still populated, none of the current ichthine populations know where it is. It has even been suggested the ichthine originated in a different galaxy, though most scholars dismiss this as hyperbolic legend.

Ichthine culture has survived, however, in part because they have a remarkable racial memory that retains a great deal of core knowledge from generation to generation. Each ichthine is born knowing the Aquan language, already able to speak and understand basic phrases, with a general knowledge of the history of their line. Thus most ichthine populations are aware of their long history of star travel, even those living on worlds with no more than iron age levels of technology. While the ichthine diaspora happened so long ago that many isolated ichthine populations have evolved to look radically different than their distant cousins, most recognize their kinship to ichthine of all types, and can remember in general terms a time when they had a united appearance.

On many worlds ichthine are known as “grandparent fish,” and are considered skilled advisors and scholars, Icthine generally take a long view of things, from history to politics to religious tolerance. This partially comes from their long lifespans and partially from their racial memories, but also seems to be a natural tendency of the species. While young ichthine are significantly more excitable than their older relatives, even as “tads” ichthine generally contemplate major actions and their consequences before diving into them.

However, once an ichthine has decided a risk or consequence is worth the benefit that causes it, they are loathe to reconsider that opinion without significant new evidence. This sometimes leads to ichthine picking up damaging vices, or remaining friends with people who have changed from being short-sighted or brash to being genuinely destructive or evil. Ichthine also think strongly in terms of groups, and hate excluding anyone once they have been accepted into any social or cultural organization.

Grandparent Fish

(Art by Jacob Blackmon. Available as stock art here!)

Species Traits

Ichthine are Medium monstrous humanoids. Despite their fishlike appearance, they can easily manipulate items with their nimble fins as well as a human with two normal hands.

+2 Wis, +2 Cha, -2 Str. Ichthine are calm and caring, often contemplating how helping others may help them as well, but have frame ill-suited to the leverage needed for optimized application of strength.

Movement. Ichthine have a 20-foot move rate, and a 30-foot swim rate.

Deep Senses. Ichthine have low-light vision and darkvision. When in a liquid environment, they also have blindsight, 30 feet.

Amphibious. Ichthine can breath air and water with equal ease.

Depth acclimated. Icthine ignore penalties for high pressure, both in water and in normal atmosphere.

Hibernate (Ex). As a full action an ichthine can slow its metabolism to a crawl, radically reducing its need for air, water, and food. In this state it does not suffocate or starve, and is considered unconscious for most purposes. However, a hibernating ichthine can make Perception checks at -10 to notice changes to its environment while hibernating, and choose to end its hibernation as a full action. A DC 10 Medicine check is required to differentiate between a hibernating ichthine and a dead one. An icthine’s hibernation can last for tens of thousands of years with no harm.

Racial Memory (Ex). An ichthine can attempt a recall lore task with untrained skills, regardless of the check’s DC. An ichthine receives a +2 bonus to all recall lore checks. If the recall lore check is for questions relating to the ichthine’s own heritage, this bonus increases to +10.

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The Chosen… ish

“You are the Chosen Seventeen.”

“Say what now?”

“Chosen. The Chosen Seventeen. I mean, one of them, obviously. You’re not all 17.”

“I… I mean. I thought there was a Chosen One?”

“Oh, there is! She’s great. Met her at a seminar a couple of years ago. But, yeah, no. You’re not THAT Chosen. I mean, only one person is the Chosen ONE, right?”

“O… Okay. So… after the Chosen One, we go to the Chosen Seventeen?”

“Oh heck no! Wouldn’t that be weird? No, after the Chosen One, there are the Chosen Two. Who I have NOT met, but I am told are equally great. Well, I mean not EQUALLY great, obviously. They are only half as Chosen. But the two of them together are just as good as the Chosen One, and each on their own are still WAY better than an Un-See.”

“An Un-See?”

“Yeah, UnChosen. UnSee, for short.”

“So… after the Chosen Two, there are… ”

“Then the Chosen Three, the Chosen Five…”

“No Chosen Four?”

“What? No. Four isn’t a prime number.”

“Pri… but you said there were a Chosen Two?”

“Yeah. Two is prime. You… you weren’t paying attention in math class, were you?”

“Well I TRIED, but I kept having these weird daydreams about awful things happening to my friends.”

“Oh, yeah, the Fel Abstraction. That’s one of the powers of the Chosen Seventeen.”

“Oh. Ah, okay. What’s it good for?”

“I mean, not a lot. It’s an abstraction. Of fel things. Terrible things that could, theoretically happen, but probably won’t. Though I *am* told it’s good for coming up with lyrics to death metal songs.”

“I see. So I have vicious woolgathering?”

“Pretty much, yeah. Though that’s only ONE of your powers.”

“Uh-huh. And, tell me, am I one-seventeenth as useful and powerful as the Chosen One?”

Oh heck no. Not even close. You have one-seventeenth of her POTENTIAL, sure. But she’s 27 years old, we identified her when she was 9, she’s been trained by the greatest mystics and warriors most of her life, and she was granted the holy relic, the legendary blade Durandal.

“Where as I am 48, you JUST found me, and up til now I have been trained by a failing public school, two community colleges, and one Fast-Burger Shift Manager training Program.”

“Er… yeah. So you see how you are way, I mean WAY, less than one-seventeenth as potent as the Chosen One.”

“Do I even get a holy relic? Like, the Pope’s steak knife, or something?”

“You DO get a hold relic, if you complete your 90-day probationary period.”

“Great. Super. What holy relic?”

“Well, I mean, the weapons are mostly handed out to the Magnificent Eleven. You know, the Chosen One through the Chosen Five.”

“Sure. makes sense.”

“And the holy shields, gauntlets, and vambraces generally get divvied up among the Awesome Eighteen. Then…”

“Hey, one isn’t a prime number either!”

“Excuse me?”

You said there was no Chosen Four, because four isn’t prime. But neither is one. I do remember THAT form math class!”

“It’s not that all prime numbered groups of people are Chosen. It’s that there are ranks of Chosen, with the Chosen one at the top, and every tier UNDER that is eldritch potential divided among a prime number of people.”

“Why?

“Who the hell knows? Not my department. Anyway, you wanted to know about your relic?”

“Sure. Why not?”

“Well, as the last of the Seventeen, you’re part of the Terrible Thirty…”

“Terrible as in terrible to behold?”

“Ah, no. More like “terrible twos,” to be honest. I mean, these aren’t official group designations but… look. While there ARE a Chosen Nineteen, and a Chosen Twenty-Three, by the time the eldritch potential is divided that thinly, it’s not a lot different from just being an UnSee. We don’t even recruit them, normally.”

“Really? Because one-seventeenth of being Chosen doesn’t seem to be that different from one-nineteenth of being Chosen.”

“You’re right. It’s not.”

“So… ah.”

“Yeah. Historically, most of the Chosen Thirteen are constantly bitching about how each of them is very nearly as good as one of the Chosen Eleven, but gets no respect, and most of the Chosen Seventeen are complaining no one takes them seriously. So, their Compeers–that is the people who train, advise, and direct them, like I am with you right now–their compeers generally find the Terrible Thirty–the Thirteens and Seventeens–are a huge pain in the ass to deal with.”

“So why bother?”

“Because if we don’t, the Bockshexe, Goulekon, or Nelapsi will recruit you. Any of those groups are bad enough without any decent amount of Chosen-ness to give them an edge. And the Terrible Thirty may often be worse than useless, but they do less damage as crappy heroes than augmented villains.”

“So a Seventeen is just potent enough to make preventing them from going Dark Side smart, while a Nineteen simply isn’t worth the effort? Awesome. Tremendous. What a glorious destiny I foresee. And my relic?”

“Oh, sorry! So the Thirteen get the  flops and pings..”

“The what?”

“My bad, that’s Compeer talk. They get the majority of the cloth and metal relics that aren’t arms or armor–cloaks, boots, rings, amulets, that kind of thing.”

“Uh-huh. And what, dare I ask, does that leave for a Seventeener?”

“You have the advantage of picking from a fairly large category of relics. We have more than seventeen of these, so even as the Last Seventeen, you’ll have a choice within the category.”

“Okay, swell. but what’s the category?”

“Holy Miscellany.”

“… Seriously?”

“Look, we don’t make holy relics. Not for centuries. So we have to make do with what we’ve found over the centuries. And some things just defy easy categorization. But like I said, we have a LOT of those, so…”

“Gimme an example.”

“What?”

“Miscellany doesn’t tell me much. So give me an example of some holy relics in that category.”

Well, okay. There are the Tablets of Destiny, stolen by Anzû the Demon Bird from Enlil and hidden on a mountainside. They offer dominion over all the things written within their divine law.”

“Er… wow. That’s amazing!”

“Yep! Of course they’re made of clay and are thousands of years old, so there are parts missing…”

“How much is missing?”

“More than 99% The remaining clay bits pretty much fit in a wallet now, and just give dominion over onions, cucumbers, adzes, bronze daggers, and clay tablets. Itself included.”

“Ah… well, okay. I an still see lots of uses for that.”

“Absolutely. It’s the most powerful of the Miscellany, so it’s always the first thing selected by a new generation of Seventeens.”

“Oh. I see. And I am the LAST Seventeen? So that’s been taken?”

“Oh, heck yeah. No, the Tablets are absolutely spoken for. But you wanted an example, so…”

“How about an example of things I could actually pick from?”

“Oh. Well, sure. I mean, they won’t be Tablets of Destiny…”

“My point exactly.”

“Well, okay. There is the Holy Door of Alexander the VI.”

“A door?”

“Yeah, I mean it’s not something you’re going to carry around with you, but you could have it installed in an RV or something. And when you walk through it, for 24 hours you gain the Borgia Sight”

“Great. Fantastic. And what does that do?”

“The next significantly bad thing that happens to you?”

“Yes?”

“You see how you could have avoided it.”

“But only after it happens?”

“Yeah, but that’s still some potent hindsight?”

“Okay, true. Not terrible. What else?”

“There’s the Iron Jiaozi. It’s a 900-year old paper bank note, which was used to pay a swordsman to kill a demon. Whoever last licked it has the power to always know how much a killer would require to kill someone for pay.”

“Only killers?”

“Yeah. Not just assassins, but anyone who has killed another person.”

“Righty. Grim, and weirdly specific. And I don’t think i want to lick thousand-year-old money. But I could see it being a huge help in the right situation. Gimme one more example.”

“There’s the Whitehall Chair. it was designed by Inigo Jones. Sitting in it allows you to sleep, no matter your condition, restfully and for exactly how long you wish.”

“No drawbacks?”

“Well… it’s a 85-pound chain. That just lets you sleep…”

“But it’s not sleep cursed with nightmares, or you snore loudly enough to wake the dead, or you end up with a weird crick in your neck?”

“Oh no. The sleep is always restful and fulfilling.”

“Great. Sign me up. I feel super Chosen.”

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BEHOLD THE MIGHTY CAPIEKIE!

So, we took a capiekie to the 4th of July gathering we went to.

That’s a cake, stuffed with a pie, stuffed with cookies.

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It seems complicated, but making one isn’t that difficult.

The first step is always to pick complementary flavors. In this case, it’s a rum-glazed yellow cake, stuffed with a cherry pie, that is itself stuffed with chocolate cookies. Cream pies don’t work well for this. Sometimes, to see if it’s a good three-way match, I ask myself if there’s one flavor of ice cream or sauce that would go with all three dessert elements.

So, construction is in steps.

First, bake your cookies. It’s okay if they are only lightly done. Then bake the pie crust by itself, without filling, in a pie pan. Then make the cake batter, and pour about 1/3 of it into a springform pan. Then lift the crust out of its pie pan, and settle it into the batter. Then a layer of pie filling goes into the pie crust, then a layer of the cookies (just one layer—you can set the rest aside for a second capiekie if you want), then the rest of the pie filling. Then the top crust of the pie (just set it on, no need to crimp it or anything), and then the rest of the cake batter, which should cover the pie crust.

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Then, cook as directed for a square cake, though realistically you’ll need to check doneness with a toothpick at the edge (since the center is gooey pie when the cake is solid).

In this case we went with a rum glaze, but you could frost it. Just… only frost the top. A capiekie’s sides don’t have a lot of structural support.

Then cool in the fridge overnight, and remove from springform pan after a good 12 hours of cooling.

Make sure you are taking this thing to a party. It’s not a leave-it-on-the-house-to-snack-on kind of dessert.

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The Shape of Gelatinous Evolution

Idea: Gelatinous Oozes change shape from cubes as they age, and gain special powers, based on their shape.

Gelatinous Torus: Gets increased speed and Spring Attack
Gelatinous Pyramid: Gets Spell Resistance equal to 15 + CR
Gelatinous Reuleaux Triangle: Gains the power of two other oozes, selected as random.
Gelatinous Apollonian Gasket: Can cast enlarge and reduce person, even on oozes, at will
Gelatinous Hyperboloid: Can cast haste and slow at will, and time stop once per day
Gelatinous Lemniscate: Gains the ghost’s rejuvenation ability.

Patreon: I have one. Please join, and support me being able to p[ost things like this! (And more serious ideas, too.)