30 June 2022

QHW, Day 30: Dwarves

Dwarves need metal. Dwarves eat metal.

Dwarven society is stratified into castes, which in turn are based on the metal which a dwarf can afford to eat. (This can be quite useful for PC dwarves, who can switch between racial benefits simply by changing their diet and waiting for their body to adjust.) More wealthy dwarves can afford better metals, which in turn marks them as belonging to a higher caste. If a dwarf doesn't eat metal, they will grow weak, sickly, and eventually die.

The Alloyed
Any dwarf who switched from one diet to another. It takes several days for one metal to be cleared from the body and superseded with a new one, during which time the dwarf's skin is mottled and uneven, often with rust-pimples or cracks.

Politely ignored if it's a dwarf mid-transition between castes, often with a celebration if they change into a higher caste. Dwarves who keep changing their caste and are more often Alloyed than not, disparagingly called the "slags", are widely considered untrustworthy and ignored impolitely.

The Impures
The lowest caste is composed of dwarves who do not always have access to the same cheap metal every day, or just don't have enough energy left to care. These are the labourers and unskilled workers.

Copper Dwarves have increased stamina, though overdose can lead to restlessness and insomnia. Tin Dwarves have somewhat enhanced senses, especially in the dark. Overdose can lead to migraines. Bronze Dwarves have a lesser version of both, which is especially useful for the miners.

Bronze Dwarves are not considered Alloyed and don't get the tell-tale signs of changing a diet, even if they eat two different metals.

Iron Dwarves, Ferrics
The military caste. Iron Dwarves are stronger and tougher, with overdose leading to the numbing of pain and all emotions.

Many dwarven veterans are unwilling to ever change their diet, as they have brutally slaughtered many enemies while under the influence of iron and losing the numbness would quickly lead to PTSD. Swallowing a large amount of iron at once to intentionally overdose can be used by dwarves of any caste as an emergency painkiller, though it leads to them becoming Alloyed if they weren't Ferrics.

Silver Dwarves, Argents
The craftsdwarves, artisans and artists. Silver Dwarves have augmented creativity, imagination, empathy and emotional intelligence, but overdose can leave them with hallucinations or something akin to a bipolar disorder.

Despite their social nature, many Argents choose to lead a reclusive life, as silver diet sometimes leads to embarrassingly undwarven behaviour, like freely expressing your feelings!

Gold Dwarves, Aureans
The leaders, merchants and scholars. Gold Dwarves have augmented mental capacity, memory retention and brain plasticity, allowing them to learn quickly and easily outwit most others. An overdose leads to a loss of empathy and moral restraints, allowing one to stay calm, objective and profitable even in the face of death and despair. As such, many Aureans eat more gold than would be necessary.

Occultum Dwarves, Occultins
Dwarves never have a natural gift for magic, but they can gain one by eating occultum. This is quite often lethal, but those who survive the first dose are rewarded with sorcerous powers. Occultum Dwarves rarely change their diet unless forced to by circumstances, as they cannot return to occultum without risking their life with that first dose again.

An occultum overdose has roughly equal chance of either a massive explosion, or a transformation into a mighty spirit of the earth.

Quicksilver Dwarves, Mercurials
Mercurials are not a part of the dwarven society. They are outcasts, considered monstrous and perverse. They are feared, despised and only whispered about in stories to frighten children. Their blood is a deadly poison, thus they steal the blood of other dwarves to survive. Just like quicksilver, they are malleable, able to change their appearance at will, or even dissolve their body into a pool of living mercury.

Some stories also claim that Mercurials are immortal. Many dwarven lands ban mercury to forestall the temptation and prevent the rise of dwarf-eating monstrosities in their midst.

29 June 2022

QHW, Day 29: Location

Here are some desert hexes:

Terrain: Sand dunes.
Obvious: Tall, ancient tree. Has roots so deep they reach the underground river hidden beneath the sand. Great for orientation, as there is nothing but it and sand all around.
Hidden: City ruins buried in sand. A sandstorm might uncover them, only for the next one to bury them again.

Terrain: Sand dunes.
Obvious: Tents of d6 bedouin families. They are taking their herd of camels to a town fair. You can come with if you wish to.
Hidden: Several corpses freshly buried in shallow graves.

Terrain: Small town with a fort.
Obvious: An inn, a bazaar, baths, barracks with barely any soldiers.
Hidden: A watchtower with all entrances bricked up.

Terrain: Wadi.
Obvious: One-armed goatherd with a massive herd of goats.
Hidden: Giant sandstone hand sticking out of the ground.

Terrain: Sandstone rocks.
Obvious: Sand people campsite with a wellspring, hidden in a rock crevasse.
Hidden: Sandstone tombs deeper in the rocks.

And here are some undead:


  • Also known as the Sun vampires, elkali are solitary desert-dwelling undead who prey on caravans and oasis settlements.
  • They appear as sun-dried corpses, and thus usually hide their visage behind robes, veils and headdresses.
  • They feed by draining a creature of all their moisture, leaving them mummified.
  • They are known to possess inhuman strength and speed, plus the ability to transform into a flying cloud of sand.
  • They only stay active when the Sun is up. Even being in shadow weakens them.
  • At night, they fall into a deathly torpor and cannot be roused. Thus they dig themselves deep into sand to sleep in safety until the Sun rises again.
  • Unlike their local counterparts, they cannot stealthily hunt under the cover of the night, so they rely on disguises, ambushes and kidnapping their victims for later meals.
  • During the night, hunters will use thin poles to discover dormant elkali. However, they also have to deal with the ghouls that come out at night to devour the corpses left behind by elkali.

28 June 2022

QHW, Day 28: Spells

Upon their graduation, each member of the Mage Guild receives an implement which is used to focus and empower their spells beyond the common hedge magery. The focusing stone in this staff (it's usually a staff, though wands or rings and other jewelry are also possible) depends on the mage's chosen field of study, as certain types of stones resonate better with certain types of magic.

d20 Focusing Stones

  1. Glintstone: illusions
  2. Gemstone: emotions
  3. Warpstone: alteration
  4. Sunstone: paladin-style evil-slaying magic
  5. Moonstone: glamour
  6. Bloodstone: biomancy
  7. Gravestone: necromancy
  8. Keystone: portals
  9. Brimstone: fire
  10. Hailstone: ice and frost
  11. Nullstone: hex-breaking
  12. Lodestone: gravity
  13. Felstone: hexes and curses
  14. Voidshard: extradimensional magic
  15. Soulshard: spirit magic
  16. Dragonshard: draconic magic
  17. Godshard: miracles
  18. Dreamshard: dream manipulation
  19. Fossil: time manipulation
  20. Raw crystal: pure magic, crude but powerful

27 June 2022

QHW, Day 27: Physical Laws

Several decades ago, Black Gold Limited completed a new mining station in orbit around the black hole H-485 Phei. With heavy use of spacetime compensators and antigravity generators, the mining crew managed to breach the surface of the black hole and established a mine to extract the deposits of black hole metal ore located between the event horizon and the singularity, a scarce and precious resource.

Since then, Black Gold Limited has shown a considerable financial growth. Until three days ago, that is, when their stock dropped rapidly after some nebulous information about a disaster at the mine that might cripple their supply of black hole metal was leaked to the datasphere.

You have been hired by one of the Black Gold Limited higher-ups to discreetly investigate the "accident". All communications with the mine have indeed been lost. They suspect an industrial sabotage by Omni-Industries megacorp in preparation for a hostile takeover and wish to secure solid grounds for a legal action. They expect that you provide convincing evidence against the megacorp no matter your actual findings.

They provide you with a spacetime-reinforced ship to reach the mining station. Good luck.

26 June 2022

QHW, Day 26: Villains

Morwena the Unseen
Unusually tall and brawny for an elven woman, Morwena is no master of the killing steel as many would guess. Instead, she carries a compound bow three paces long, made from troll horn and ironwood. Her moniker similarly doesn't come from any skill in stealth or invisibility, but rather her penchant for engaging enemies at ranges where they would need a spyglass to even see her.

Her beautiful mare, Feather, gives her the speed to snipe from the next hill over, then escape pursuit and change positions, always staying ahead of her enemies.

Nevermore the Slave
Born in the dark pits of Mörgshire to be a lowly slave and arrow-fodder in the vast armies of Dragana the Demon-Sorceress, Nevermore took on his name after he stole Dragana's horned sceptre and bashed her head in with it. Upon choosing his name, he vowed to free all enslaved or oppressed goblins, wherever they might be, and never stop until all goblin children can live in peace and prosperity.

Nevermore works in secret, travelling through the realms of the various dark lords and organising revolutionary cells in the goblin settlements. Soon, the signal will be sounded and the Evil shall be overthrown.

He still carries the sceptre of his former mistress, its whispers slowly worming their way into his head. Fire is best fought with fire, after all, and the only way to make sure all goblins will be forever safe is to destroy all who would threaten them...

Thog of the Hundred Arms
Thog heard stories of a race of unconquerable warriors, the hecatoncheires, when he was a small child. Thog wanted to be an unconquerable warrior, just like them, so he tried to become one of them. Thog started cutting off the arms of his enemies and sewing them onto his body. Thog was also a troll, and thanks to his remarkable regeneration, this somehow worked.

Kostra the Immortal
Contrary to the belief of the many undead hunters who told tall tales of bringing a final death to the supposed "Immortal", Kostra is not a simple lich with a pompous title. He is an ancient wizard ghost using possessed skeletons to interact with the world of the living, and every time he is "vanquished", he comes back as fast as he can find a new skeleton.

There are no people who have fought Kostra, only those who are either dead, or still fighting him. While he is not all that powerful or hard to defeat, he never ever gives up and really, really holds a grudge. Some whispered legends claim that he will only find peace once his very first grudge is resolved, something he hadn't managed for all the centuries he haunts the world.

Until then, he will always come back, no matter what you throw at him, out of sheer spite.

25 June 2022

QHW, Day 25: Dragons

Fire is a good servant, but a bad master. Humanity was using and utilizing fire since the prehistory shrounded in deep time, but the DRAGON is a remainder that the fear of the flame should never be forgotten. It has a body of coals and embers, of charred corpses and half-molten steel girders, of sand burnt into glass and glowing lava. It radiates deathly heat, like a cracked blast furnace, a volcano or a wildfire. The DRAGON is a mindless, unstoppable destruction without purpose. A gentle remainder that the forces of nature could wipe us out in an instant, should they so choose. A lesson in awe and humility.

The DRAGON is a simple creature, and horrible in its simplicity. It comes, burns everything to the ground, and goes. Those who fight it burn. Those who run burn, too. Those who cannot burn choke on noxious smoke and drown in molten stone. The term "draconic desolation" is not used for no reason.

The DRAGON's breath weapon is a stream of superheated flames. They stick to anything they touch like napalm. They cannot be easily extinguished and continue to burn for a long time even on metal or the surface of water. A glancing blow will burn through a wall. A true strike will melt both a magical armour and the demigod inside. It is the one way to kill the immortal and destroy the invincible.

And the dragonslayers? Those who had truly slain the DRAGON and inherited its soul? They were powerful, yes, for a time. As long as they were still themselves. Why do you think it is called "the DRAGON", singular?

24 June 2022

QHW, Day 24: Megastructures

The worldtree, Nancy. The Yggdrasil.

I'm looking at it right now.

I remember when we had first heard about it after it was discovered. The largest living thing in the known universe. We've seen the documentaries together. But no cameras can provide the real sense of scale. Every time I look out of the port side window, I just freeze for a moment, again and again, lost in its sheer size.

"That is no moon," we joked when PATRIOT first docked in orbit, I remember. That was before my draft notice, of course. But PATRIOT is just a speck against the Yggdrasil.

Really, I have no words that would do it justice. A dendroid Dyson net - that tells you nothing. It has planets wedged between its branches, Nancy. Literal planets.

You really wished to come here, I know. To do your science thing and understand more about this ridiculous crime against the physics as we know them. I'm really glad you didn't.

Our long-range scanners are already going haywire, so that thing is getting close, and yet I can be as calm as a cat knowing that you are safe and sound literal years away.

I keep coming back to our parting kiss from yesterday. My yesterday. I know that with all the time dilation, you have last seen me some ten years ago, but I hope you remember, because the Yggdrasil will survive and I will see you again and I will kiss your then-wrinkly, old face and you will have all the time in the world to get your ass here and science up whatever you want.

Before the communications go blank, I wanted to send you this. This is not a goodbye, it's a promise.

We are the Last Guard, Nancy, and we will hold fast.



23 June 2022

QHW, Day 23: Curses

Resurrection gauntlet
You may put it on and then touch a corpse, bringing it back to life. The resurrected creature is exactly as they were before their untimely demise - completely healed, all abilities and memories and levels untouched - except they no longer have hp of their own. They are linked to yours and any damage taken by the resurrectee is subtracted from your hp. Effects that don't affect hp are not transferred, except for death effects.

Once you have resurrected a creature with the gauntlet, it behaves as a cursed object and can only be doffed with the help of a remove curse spell. If you take it off though, the resurrected creature instantly drops dead.

22 June 2022

QHW, Day 22: ...in SPACE!!!


  • Knot of long, multi-limbed insectoid limbs with no central body. Silicon based.
  • Every joint is covered in sensory whiskers. Extremely sensitive to electricity and vibrations.
  • They communicate via bioelectric signals. Can interface directly with their organic-electronic technology.
  • They live off thermoelectricity. To feed, they lie down with one limb in sunlight and the other in darkness.
  • Vacuum-proof, cannot survive in planetary gravity.
  • Their kilometre-long ships are actually their females.
  • Merchants. They fill their ships with cargo and travel at sub-light speeds to new systems.
  • Due to their slow travel, they often have strange technologies and ancient objects for sale.

They have nothing in common with humans, not even a distant space-faring ancestor, yet they are completely human looking. On the outside.

On the inside:

  • Two hearts.
  • Rib plates.
  • Nictitating membrane.
  • Don't sleep, they enter a trance for two hours a day.
  • Extremely long, prehensile tongue.
  • Can see in infra/ultra, but only black and white. Thus they have trouble understanding human art and fashion.
  • When pregnant, can hold an embryo in stasis for years.
  • Long lived, don't shrivel and wrinkle, but instead loose pigmentation. Old Zeno are albino.

21 June 2022

QHW, Day 21: Underwater

Give your PCs a shark-skin of deep diving or a bubble breath bauble, then let them explore one of these locations:

d12 Locations under the Waves

  1. Shipwreck full of treasures, revealed by an old drunk who claims to have survived the wrecking.
  2. Underwater temple as the headquarters of an enemy faction.
  3. Sahuagin stronghold in a shallow strait blocks all ships from passing after a diplomatic faux pas.
  4. Sunken statues or strange monoliths can be seen beneath the ship.
  5. Powerful deep sea current used by rare migratory animals and merfolk merchants.
  6. Ruins at the edge of an undersea volcano. Some ancient mechanisms are still active, powered by geothermal energies.
  7. A sea giant citadel besieged by several dolphin armies.
  8. A dragon turtle lair where young warriors go to prove themselves by stealing one of its eggs. Maybe some warrior needs help, or rescuing?
  9. Underwater cave system full of valuable ore. Someone needs to protect the squidfolk miners from local wildlife.
  10. Giant bubble-city slowly drifting beneath the waves. Local lords are not amused that it keeps impinging upon their territories.
  11. A rich bed of giant oysters has been found just off this island. A pearl fever starts.
  12. A series of merfolk castles built along the edge of a foreboding trench, long abandoned. Whatever they were keeping sequestered down below will now face no opposition should it try to surface.


20 June 2022

QHW, Day 20: Themed Encounters

2d6 Encounter
2 Paladin armour, animated
3 Rune-cube, floating
4 Ravenous hand, giant
5 Flying head swarm
6 Dwarf, venomous
7 Murderess gang
8 Dwarf, poisonous
9 Botfly swarm, talking
10 Vampire frog swarm
11 Headless swordmistress
12 Godsoul pyramid

19 June 2022

QHW, Day 19: Alchemy

Homunculi are what you get when you plant a kidney stone.

Different kinds of bodily stones give birth to different kinds of homunculi. It's a trivial matter to harvest kidney stones, gallstones and even enteroliths. Things get more difficult when alchemists start to crave more rare homunculi.

It is said that unscrupulous alchemists sometimes keep captives fed with special diets rich in metals, minerals or even worse stuff in order to grow stones otherwise nigh impossible to find. Sialoliths, tonsilloliths, phleboliths. But the truth is, an alchemist's holy grail is no stone. Not even the Philosopher's Stone, which must be grown within the brain of a powerful magic-user. That's just a plaything.

Transmogrification, mutations, chimerae or artificial life - none of this will satisfy a master alchemist.

What they're really after are teratomas, tumours which arise from germinal cells and can therefore contain and create all types of tissue. Finding one is the first step in creating true, original life. Of course, it's not an easy task to keep such a wellspring of life-force in check.

Yet there is one experiment that even the most depraved alchemical tomes will just warn you to never attempt. What happens when you plant a lithopedion?

18 June 2022

QHW, Day 18: Post-Apocalyptic

Humanity used to stand proud and tall. We transformed matter atom after atom with nanotechnology. We created AIs that thought at the speed of light. We made our children healthy and beautiful and clever and immortal. We reached for the stars. That was the Light.

But pride comes before a fall and the higher you rise, the harder your fall. Maybe it was a war. Maybe a natural disaster. An alien invasion. An insane omega psion. A simple mistake that turned the ubiquitous nanite clouds at us. We fell, and no one remembers the fall today. That was the Dark.

But now, the Dark is in the past and a bright future of reclamation and re-discovery looms near. People emerge from ancient vaults and arcologies, or finally dare to venture away from their hidden villages and sheltered towns. That which was lost will be found again.

What once were the city spires that reached so high above now all lies buried in toxic muck, yet both the treasures and the defenders of yore remain. Radiation and bioengineered super-plagues and insane medical nanites and other horrors released by a million past accidents and catastrophes threaten the intrepid pioneers. The land at large is ruled by mutants and insane technology, full of danger and wonder and excitement. Death is always near, but so is endless fame and untold riches.

What awaits in this brave new world? In the After-Dark?

The truth is, this was not the first time. There was another apocalypse before the last one, and more before then. If you dig deep enough, you will find ruins of hundreds, thousands fallen civilizations. Buildings buried by continental drift. No one remembers the years any more, as they no longer make sense to human mind. No one remembers the true cause for the cataclysms, for every time it was something different that brought humanity to its knees.

There was Dark, and there will be again. We shall rise and we shall fall, until the very ashes of past civilizations smother the Sun, already tinged red.

17 June 2022

QHW, Day 17: Roadside

Raiders of the Weird Wasteland

HD 1
Move normal

Lieutenant: Any raider with max hp is a lieutenant.

d10 What are they attacking with?

  1. their own mutated arms (d6)
  2. a severed rotting arm (d4, Save vs disease)
  3. lots and lots and lots of knives (d4 attacks for d4 damage)
  4. cutlery spear (d6, on maximum damage the fork remains stuck in your body and causes bleeding)
  5. chainsaw-chucks (2d6, beheads self on any double)
  6. scissor sword (d8 but extremely silly-looking)
  7. mithril skillet (d6, +4 to cooking checks)
  8. knuckledusters with vulgar inscriptions (d6, critical hit leaves a FUCK-shaped scar)
  9. spiked chain (d6, reach)
  10. GIANT DEATH BEAM LASER CANNON (d20 once, then it overheats)

d4 What armour do they have?

  1. none, but they have sniffed some silver paint and now scream: "Witness me!" (unarmoured, but immune to pain, fear and morale)
  2. bottlecap maille, handmade (leather)
  3. tire tread armour, from the ever-burning rubber hills of the north (chain)
  4. scrap plate (plate, but Move becomes half normal)

d4 What is the lieutenant's deal?

  1. Super: Can fly and shoot lasers for d8 damage.
  2. Zombie: Regains 1 hp / round and cannot be killed unless the players specifically say they destroy the head.
  3. Terminator: Their human disguise is discarded when they first reach 0 hp. They transform into a HD 4 killer robot and all damage done so far is revealed to have been superficial.
  4. Wizard: Roll for two random spells they know. They have a "spellbook" with incantations scribbled in the blank spaces of an old Playboy.


16 June 2022

QHW, Day 16: Deep Space

Stars are born in the wombs of nebulae and spend their long, long lives attending the Galactic Court. They dance at the eternal ball, every step according to the Grand Scheme of Cosmos. Astrologers figured out long ago that they can glimpse Fate itself by observing the movement of the stars, but much fewer people will ever hear the music of the spheres. Yes, the stars sing an endless Song of Existence, preserving the harmony of the whole Universe. And after billions and billions of years, the stars grow old and red and bloated, until finally they die. It is said that virtuous stars leave behind a white, radiant heart, while only a rotten, black heart remains after those stars that were filled with vice.

But this story is not about stars young or old, pure or depraved. It is not even about the dreadful lich-stars, dead and reborn through the most horrid of necromancies. It is about a star who turned away from her sisters and their dance, who screamed against the harmony, who first lost her way, then her place in Cosmos, then her mind, and finally even her existence.

Yet she strayed so far and fell out of the rhythm enough that she wasn't even able to die properly. She writhed in agony for aeons, collapsed and withered yet not truly gone, her energies trapped, unable to return to life nor move on to the afterlife. She trashed and screamed until the very fabric of Creation started to fray and wear thin, and then a moment of sudden silence came as the undying star fell Beyond, leaving a star-shaped hole in reality.

The Voidstar was born.

Unbound by the celestial order, the Voidstar wanders freely through the galaxy to this day. She still shines, but with darkness-that-illuminates, a negative, poisonous unlight. Life touched by this unlight is corrupted and sickened, structures corroded and decayed. Even the spirit of things is subverted and ruined. Vibrant colours help resist the effects of unlight, and deep enough darkness or bright enough light offer some respite.

The Voidstar also still screams, unarticulated and unheard, punching gaps in the harmony of the Universe. A silence strong enough to kill. It is said that music, this tiniest reflection of the universal harmony, might ward off the killing silence.

But most importantly, the Voidstar is not really there, being a gateway to Beyond.

So put on your garish vacc suit and let the space ship be flooded with song. The Unformed and Blanks and Neverwere may be countless, but we are the Last Guard and we have a bullet for every last one of them.

15 June 2022

QHW, Day 15: Crowns

  • Nobility has nothing to do with bloodlines and birthright, nor some nebulous moral concept. Being noble is a metaphysical quality that literally turns your blood blue.
  • Similarly, wickedness turns your blood green. Greenskins and wicked witches were human once, before their evil deeds turned them into a wretch.
  • Blue blood makes one more beautiful, intelligent, healthier and longer-lived than normal humans. Extraordinarily virtuous nobles will one day find a set of wings growing from their shoulders.
  • Only those of blue blood may hold land or serve as knights.
  • Green blood makes one stronger, tougher and more ugly than normal humans. Wretches of unprecedented depravity will eventually be twisted into quadrupedal beasts incapable of speech, who can nonetheless punch through a stone wall.
  • Your blood does not change all of a sudden, but rather every good or evil deed shifts it little by little. The art of bloodletting can separate this changed blood and remove it from the body, slowing any effects your behaviour might have.
  • Blood transfusions can be used to completely stave off green blood, though this practice is less well-understood and much more dangerous. Some people will still turn to it in face of a looming wretchedness; such miserable creatures are called vampires.
  • Transfusions of blue blood into a normal human let the human enjoy some perks of nobility for a short while, helping them to heal from a grievous injury or a serious disease. Many legends feature a noble sharing their blood with an ailing companion to save their life. The stories about nobles kidnapped for their blood, to prolong the life of some old, wealthy and unscrupulous man, are only whispered, though.
  • Some greenskins, on the other hand, have forcibly conscripted more of their kind by injecting their blood into humans.
  • Mixing too much of both blue and green blood in one body can have horrific consequences. At least one assassination is known to have been carried out by injecting a great noble with green blood. Accidental mixing (such as when someone kidnaps a noble for nefarious purposes of blood transfusion, unknowingly turning most of their blood green in the process) are much more common though. The resulting abominations would be pitiful, if they were not so frenzied and hostile.
  • The flagellant knights train themselves to reinforce their will while weakening their bodies, bleeding themselves every day with barbed whips. Thus they reduce the amount of blood they have, making every deed count more, thus bringing them more rapidly towards the angelic metamorphosis.

14 June 2022

QHW, Day 14: Alignment

When an apprentice mage gains the second sight, one of the first things they notice is that auras are not of uniform colour. They shift and change, like splotches of new paint dripped into an already colourful water. Some colours are prevalent - the underlying core of one's personality - while others may flare and then disappear again - fleeting thoughts and emotions.

These are the base colours every aura-reader should know:

  • Red: Determination, inner strength, anger. People with prevalent red in their aura tend to be passionate, impulsive and fickle.
  • Orange: Desire, whether material, physical, social or mental. Such people tend to be covetous, but also very charitable if they feel they have enough to share.
  • Yellow: Fear, excitement, energy. Such people tend to be creative, restless, cheerful, but sometimes cowardly.
  • Green: Trust, sincerity, kindness, compassion. Such people tend to be warm and friendly to the point of naivety.
  • Blue: Peace of mind, idleness, boredom. Such people tend to be calm, loyal, indecisive and passive.
  • Violet: Confidence, wisdom, sense of accomplishment. Such people tend to be ambitious, driven and prideful.
  • Octarine: The colour of magic, signifying one's supernatural talents or a recent use of magic. The more octarine one has in their aura, the more magic they possess. Fear the sorceress with a pure octarine aura. On the other hand, creatures under the influence of curses or other enchantments will also have their aura octarine-coloured.
  • White: A rare colour found only in newborns, saints and some madmen. Very powerful when used as sacrifice for ritual magic.
  • Grey: The colour of forthcoming death; maybe old age, disease, curse or injury. Infirmity, though it may be hidden. The body is already dying, even if the person doesn't know it yet.
  • Black: An unnatural colour, brought about by defying the natural order. Black splotches on one's aura, called smut, mark one as a dark magic user and heretic. A completely black aura is worn only by demons and the undead.

13 June 2022

QHW, Day 13: Elements

Water Child
Souls and elementals are not that different. Both are spirits, one possessing a living body, the other an unliving one. Sometimes, an elemental can be sired by a human "parent". When a small child dies by drowning, their radiant, young soul full of life may imprint itself upon unliving matter, upon the water filling their lungs. A water child is born.

Water children are not undead. Just like a new life is created in the womb of a mother, a new life emerges from the lungs of a drowned child in a torrent of animated water. They have no form in the real world, but in the spirit world they appear as the child they once were, soaked wet. Even though they are always immaterial, they leave wet footprints in Reality where-ever they go.

Water children are confused and scared, haunted by shards of memories they inherited. They remember having a family, and they want their family back. They want their friends back, too. Water children cannot leave their new, watery home for long, and so their friends and family must come to them. Water children will seek to lovingly drown anyone they knew in their past life.

HD 1
Def unarmoured, immaterial
Atk loving hug that fills lungs with water
Wants to return to "their" life, to find friends

12 June 2022

QHW, Day 12: Alchemy

Trap seals are enchanted with the power to trigger the effects of other objects when certain conditions are met. For example, they could be attached to a magic item to invoke its magic, or to a bottle to release its contents, or to pretty much any mechanism. They are made of jale beeswax, elementally aligned additives and runic calligraphy.

  • Trap seal of fire can be attuned to temperature or lighting levels, to the touch of flame or lightning, or to the presence of body heat.
  • Trap seal of air can be fine tuned to vibrations or sounds, triggering on nearby movement, or the door creaking, or a specific voice, or a given password.
  • Trap seal of water can be attuned to humidity levels, or the presence of certain substances (blood, poison, alcohol) nearby.
  • Trap seal of earth can be harmonized with different metals or minerals, triggering when iron alloys or gold or precious gemstones get close to it.
  • Trap seal of mana can detect metaphysical energies and may trigger when a source of magic, or any life force, or individualized brain patterns are nearby.

Famously, the dwarves of Kharaz-arad use trap seals to operate the many drawbridges of their mountainhome. Visitors receive permit-tokens forged from a secret type of brass, allowing them access to communal areas. Many other areas are restricted by having dwarvish blood, or by passwords.

11 June 2022

QHW, Day 11: Graves

Grave-touched peppers can be found where the soil has soaked through with death; on battlefields and in graveyards, around abattoirs and gallows. The plant is sickly greyish green, but the peppers themselves ripen into a bold blood-red colour. To grow properly spicy, the peppers must be watered with fresh blood.

  • Ghost-touched peppers grow through the Veil, being just as present in Reality as on the Other Side.
  • Eating a grave-touched pepper will let you physically affect ghosts - but not see them.
  • An oil prepared from the peppers is used to treat weapons and armour when expecting a spectral foe.
  • A ghost who eats a ghost-touched pepper can similarly affect the real world.
  • Some ghosts keep a garden of the peppers for this very reason. If you find an abandoned place full of well-tended ghost-touched peppers, a spectral gardener is likely watching you.
  • Ghost-touched chilli is ground from the peppers and used to keep hostile ghosts at bay. A handful thrown in the air will likely blind and stagger them.
  • Or it can be used to cook a delicious meal that brings about restful languor and thoughts about the ephemerality of life. Such a meal also helps ghosts to manifest in Reality.

Sex on the Pyre:

  • 2 thin slices of fresh ghost-touched pepper
  • 1 ounce of elfin sunshine
  • 1/2 ounce of freshly squeezed goodberry juice
  • 1/2 ounce of treant syrup
  • 1/2 ounce of unholy water, frozen
  • 1 spoonfull of black xarthan sugar
  • 1 lime wedge


10 June 2022

QHW, Day 10: Domestication

Riftborn buffalo

  • Riftborn buffalos migrate between alternate realities in search of new pastures. Their herds number in the tens of thousands, thus requiring frequent relocations. A stampede of such a herd can shatter the local reality, opening a temporary portal to the next dimension over. In a year, they will have come a full circle through a hundred different dimensions.
  • The rifts close within several hours, but that leaves enough time for brave explorers to gather samples from another dimension. A smart researcher will hire a band of adventurers to get them safely through the rift and back again before it closes. A stupid researcher will surely be in need of rescuing for a fat reward.
  • Riftborn buffalo dung is dried and then burned as the cheapest form of teleportation interference. Research implies that this property of the dung ensures that the herd doesn't backtrack and that the rifts destabilize and close on their own, covering the herd's backs against predators. It also means that royal chambers or treasury smelling of burnt buffalo dung is a rather common occurrence.
  • There is no grazing land in the windswept wastes of N'gzul, but the herd must cross through to get to the lush plains of Shadarkeem. N'gzul hunters wait for the day when the sky starts to rumble and crack, and then kill many of the buffalos, providing a midwinter feast for their tribes. If the herd got delayed or diverted to another dimension, the tribes might not all survive till spring.
  • A lost, lonesome buffalo cannot hope to pierce reality at will, but it still has a way to find its way back to the herd. The buffalos can sniff out places of weakened reality and then attempt to crash through there, even on their own. Sometimes, people will capture a riftborn buffalo for this very reason, releasing it when they need to find a way between planes, or detect a weak point where an incursion might be waiting to happen.
  • An elderly or injured buffalo will spend its last strength to perform a dying plane shift to a dimension not normally visited by the herd. The so-called Buffalo Graveyard, a dead world with pitch black skies and mountains of buffalo bones. The bones are a prized alchemical ingredient, but that is not the main draw and concern here. When the herd is attacked, a wounded buffalo will sometimes carry out a suicide bullrush to drag an attacker with them to the Graveyard. Who or what might have ended up in this lost place?

9 June 2022

QHW, Day 9: Ley Lines

You can throw energy blasts or something. Sweet. But where does this ability come from?

d10 Power Sources

  1. Alien: Inhuman biology evolved on a planet with 10 times earthly gravity which orbits triplet ulfire stars, or something.
  2. Dimensional: Born in a higher dimension. Everyone can do that there.
  3. Chi: Focused chakra training resulting in superhuman capabilities and martial arts.
  4. Psi: Big brain!
  5. Magic: Ley lines, hand-waving and gibberish spouting.
  6. Nature: Elemental spirits, influencing the subconscious singlemind of the planet.
  7. Miracle: Bloodline heritage (demigod, demonspawn) or patronage (cleric, shaman, warlock).
  8. Alchemy: Fullmetal Alchemist-style combat transmutations, or maybe allomancy.
  9. Tech: Gadgets, implants, power armour. Does not include biotech.
  10. Mutant: Magic DNA powers, but not actually magic. Does include biotech.

Pretty much any effect can be tweaked and flavoured to fit under each power source, so why should you care where does your blasty death beam come from?

  • Some powers might be super effective against others. Nature defences trump dimensional attacks because Earth is self-stabilizing against otherworldly incursions.
  • Some powers don't work (well) together, like magic and tech. Combining them might lower your effective power level.
  • Some powers are blocked in special places. Spirit-shielding stops miracles, kryptonite weakens or blocks alien powers.
  • Each power source is boosted by different artifacts and equipment load-outs. There might be synergies.

8 June 2022

QHW, Day 8: Explosive

Silly death spells for wizard ninjas:

  1. Boring Instant Death Technique: Like Marionette With Cut Strings
  2. Evil Eye of Head-a-splode
  3. Black Lightning of Disintegration
  4. Kiss of Petrification
  5. Giant Death Ray
  6. Drain Lifespan
  7. Heart Ripper Strike
  8. Summon Falling Anvil
  9. Power Word: P E R I S H
  10. Power Word: Ten Thousand Pieces, Cleanly Cut
  11. Plane of Eternal Torment: Tentacled Portal Technique
  12. Seventh Druidic Secret: Tree Form Touch
  13. Curse of Coincidence: Destined Death
  14. Time Travel Technique: Neverborn
  15. ...

7 June 2022

QHW, Day 7: Humanoid Races

Baseline Humans, True Men

  • Citizens of the few arcologies that were not damaged or destroyed.
  • Cults of pure blood are rampant, with all other strains of humanity seen as only good to be enslaved or purged.

Cyborgs, Shellers, Aug-Men

  • Second-class citizens of the arcologies, super-soldiers and specialized slave-workers. Dependant on the few skilled surgeons and remaining auto-docs, thus kept in line.
  • Out in the Rad Wastes, they either die of implant rejection, or thrive as invincible warlords.

Robodroids, Mech-Men

  • They never were human and thus don't cling to a humanoid shape. Intelligent vehicles, buildings, etc.
  • Immune to hunger, thirst, asphyxiation, fatigue, poisons and diseases, but suffer from nanites, malware and EMP.

Chimerae, Splicers, Beast Men

  • Humans cross-mutated with animals via careful gene-engineering, gaining useful perks with minimal downsides.
  • Range from a human with a few animal characteristics to a humanoid animal.
  • Unlike mutants, they breed true, including with their parent species. Many splicer tribes roam the Rad Wastes.
  • Radiation exposure often times turns them feral and mindlessly hostile before resulting in mutations.

Synths, Fake Men

  • Shapeshifters. A brain-box suspended in metamorphic synth-flesh.
  • Can also spend their biomass for various effects, like fabricating bone items, breathing toxic gas, shooting enamel-bullets, or creating independent, non-intelligent life forms.

Replicants, Vat Babies

  • Their DNA was hand-crafted to make them peak human, and it shows. Their brains were pruned to make them obedient and happy to serve, but it didn't work. They have no belly buttons.
  • Created in batches of hundreds of clones. Some pre-Turn sites will have tribes of people that all share the same face.
  • Extremely vulnerable to radiation due to their delicate DNA.

Holograms, eGhosts, Hollow Men

  • They all have a phylactery, a tiny piece of tech containing their mindstate, a holo projector and a power source.
  • Can freely switch between soft- and hardlight, but hardlight drains their power reserves fast.
  • Most were once powerful people who sought immortality. Now they are the tyrant kings and queens of the Rad Wastes.

Blighters, Zeds, Chem-Men

  • Gene-plagues and chemical superweapons depopulated whole countries during the Turn. A tiny fraction of a percent of the victims survived, albeit changed.
  • Extremely resistant to diseases, toxins, chemicals and radiation. Basically unageing. Their bodily fluids swiftly kill most lifeforms.
  • Shunned by all, they live in isolated villages or abandoned pre-Turn sites deep in the Rad Wastes.

6 June 2022

QHW, Day 6: Radiation


  • Humans with a non-intelligent symbiont which grants them psionic powers.
  • The symbiont can cross from one host to another, usually on the host's death, taking some memories with them.
  • A single host is sometimes called an incarnation, with the switch between hosts being a reincarnation.
  • Strong emotions carry over the best between incarnations. It is not unheard of feuds or affairs between Dreamers that span multiple reincarnations.
  • Like an unborn baby, a symbiont absorbs any radiation the host is exposed to. This makes the host mostly immune to the Rad Wastes, but it also affects the psionics of the symbiont, increasing their power at the cost of stability and reliability.
  • Some Dreamers purposefully expose themselves to radiation in hopes of getting a temporary power boost. However, an overdose will leave the symbiont broken, with their powers unshackled and uncontrollable. Such monstrosity is known as a Nightmare.
  • Awakening is a rare and dreaded quirk where the symbiont gains full sapience. An Awakened takes over the host body and subsumes the self of the host completely.
  • An Awakened will sometimes quickly jump from one body to another to gain the skills and knowledge of the hosts.
  • Awakened are mortally afraid of Nightmares.

5 June 2022

QHW, Day 5: Towers

27. 5. 1897
Yesterday late at night, the gate has finally succeeded in connecting to a new world. We ventured through earlier today.

We emerged into a room within a man-made (or mayhap I'd better say entity-made) megastructure. A thin tower that stretches upwards and downwards as far as the eye can see, with a single large room taking up every storey. The walls are built of large blocks of grey stone, with many tall slits that serve both as windows and doors to the outside. The floors are connected by a spiral staircase running on the outside of the tower.

There are more towers clustered everywhere around this one. All constructed in a similar manner, though the architectural features differ from one to another. Some are merely several paces of empty space apart.

There is only darkness both above and below. No sky nor ground. The only light comes from the air itself, the source of which seems to be some form of an airborne plankton-like substance. I brought back samples for Dr. Zimmermann, but it seems harmless to humans, so masks should not be necessary on subsequent visits. Dr. Strauss has also noticed some larger floating organisms, though they fled before we could capture any.

We have explored several floors up and down from the gate room, but so far everything has been empty save for several patches of moss and fungi I also took samples of. Tomorrow, we will return with equipment to traverse the frankly terrifying void between towers and see if we don't have more luck in one of the neighbouring structures.

27. 5. 1897
Yesterday late at night, the gate has finally succeeded in connecting to a new world. We ventured through earlier today.

We emerged into a room within a man-made (or mayhap I'd better say entity-made) megastructure. A thin tower that stretches upwards and downwards as far as the eye can see, with a single large room taking up every storey. The walls are built of large blocks of grey stone, with many tall slits that serve both as windows and doors to the outside. The floors are connected by a spiral staircase running on the outside of the tower.

There are more towers clustered everywhere around this one. All constructed in a similar manner, though the architectural features differ from one to another. Some are merely several paces of empty space apart.

There is only darkness both above and below. No sky nor ground. The only light comes from the air itself, the source of which seems to be some form of an airborne plankton-like substance. I brought back samples for Dr. Zimmermann, but it seems harmless to humans, so masks should not be necessary on subsequent visits. Dr. Strauss has also noticed some larger floating organisms, though they fled before we could capture any.

We have explored several floors up and down from the gate room, but so far everything has been empty save for several patches of moss and fungi I also took samples of. Tomorrow, we will return with equipment to traverse the frankly terrifying void between towers and see if we don't have more luck in one of the neighbouring structures.

29. 5. 1897 (likely)
I have noticed my previous entries only now. We have just returned from our initial exploration of the tower, which was apparently repeated for the third time.

I have send for Dr. Zimmermann. We need to discuss the possible causes and likely ramifications of this post haste.

Dr. Strauss has argued for immediate sealing of the gate, but I don't want to act prematurely. It is unknown whether we could re-establish the connection later.

We will leave that decision for tomorrow and the whole team.

27. 5. 1897
Yesterday late at night, the gate has finally succeeded in connecting to a new world. We ventured through earlier today.

We emerged into a room within a man-made...


4 June 2022

QHW, Day 4: Weather

In the ruins of Tolti-Aph, there lies a beautiful grove where the royal gardens once used to be. A songwood grove. The trees are slender and silvery, with leaves like green-tinged glass. As they sway in the wind, they all chime in a haunting harmony. When the rain comes drizzling down, it is as if a thousand master musicians played an endless cantata on the world's largest cimbalom.

Any bard or spellsinger would give a fortune for some songwood. It is said that a songwood instrument makes wild animals approach and listen in awe, that it makes statues weep in joy.

Be careful in that songwood grove. When even a single twig is snapped, a dissonant, discordant sound will reverberate throughout the forest. Then you will hear a wail, and another, as the banshees are roused from their slumber among the roots.

3 June 2022

QHW, Day 3: Children

1. There is a land where no children are born. In this land, there is a river and every few days, a newborn baby floats down its stream in a woven basket. The midwives catch the baskets and distribute the babies among the villages.

This river emerges from a deep cave in a great cliff, the Birthing Cave. What lies hidden inside?

2. An archmage once tried to resurrect a whole civilization by bringing back their dead. He succeeded, in a way.

The dead are indeed rising, in their old, decrepit bodies but with the blank souls of newborns. Then they start ageing - at normal rate but backwards! The helpless senior citizens are raised and educated by the middle aged. The twenty-something hold all the high positions, already experienced and physically in their prime. The ruling class is made up of the respected and wise teenagers, while those who keep their faculties into the baby years are often world-renown sages in their field.

3. Human babies are delivered by a stork. That is a fact. Humans are born from eggs in a stork nest. Where do young storks come from, then?

You see, when a human dies and is buried, a tree sprouts from their corpse. In time, this tree bears fruit, and many a woodland animal comes to feast on these sweet, fragrant fruits. Once sated, the animals are overcome by a strong compulsion to gather in one place and huddle tightly together. They then vomit up a strange bluish substance that hardens over their bodies, forming a chrysalis. After a few days, a small mustering of storks will hatch from this chrysalis.

And the cycle is complete.

2 June 2022

QHW, Day 2: Beggars

Ah, the beggar-dead. Those unmourned souls and unburied skeletons.

They are immortal. They are ever-present. They are so feeble that even a child could beat them up.

They hide in the shadows and back alleys. They swarm the gates of graveyards and temples.

They want your mourning, your sorrow, your tears.

"Please sir, I died alone and nobody cared."

"Just a tear, ma'am, please! My children never loved me."

"I beg you, milord, show mercy! I was murdered by my wife and left in a ditch. Please, help me move on."

Don't. You help one and a thousand more will swarm you. You could cry yourself dry and they would still keep coming.

Just ignore them or notify the Busters' Guild.

1 June 2022

QHW, Day 1: Weapons

All weapons are magic.

Anything used as a weapon is imbued with magic by that very act. The more violence and death a weapon brings, the more powerful it grows. Once it grows powerful enough, it develops a consciousness.

It is said that a weapon that was only ever wielded in a righteous fight will gain a righteous soul, one that was used by a sellsword will gain a greedy, merciless soul, but one that squandered an innocent life in vain will have a ravenous, diabolical soul.

Do not ever fight unarmed, for then you are the weapon. True, angels might be a proof that one can keep fighting the good fight, but there are so many more monsters and demons who were once all men.

Challenge: Quarter-Hour of Writing

Over at Weird & Wonderful Worlds, a five minute creative challenge was issued some three years ago, where you have just five minutes to jot down ideas as they come into your head. I like that. Sometimes it's nice to just write something down, post it and move on, rather than to keep rethinking and rewriting the perfect post.

However, I don't do so good with a completely free-form "Have an idea, now!", so I'd rather have a prompt to start the associations somewhere. And I will give myself 15 minutes, because I want to end up with something intelligible and publishable, and I write way too slow to sort my thoughts out in only 5 minutes. Yeah, that's not really the same challenge, is it?

Anyway, if someone would be interested in such a challenge, here are the rough rules:

  1. Make yourself a nice cup of tea to get the brain juices flowing. This step is mandatory.
  2. Use the generator below to get your prompt. You don't have to stick to it, it's here just for inspiration. Get more than one and combine them, if you'd like.
  3. Have a sip of your tea. Think.
  4. Start the timer and write for 15 minutes. It doesn't matter what you write - A monster stat block? Bullet points of concepts? A micro story or a poem? A stream of consciousness? - but stop when the timer runs out (or as soon as you can, stopping in the middle of a sentence would drive me crazy).
  5. Post the result! The very point of this challenge is to have a post ready in one short sitting.

I will try to go for thirty prompts in thirty days and you are more than welcome to join me. If you decide to do this challenge, please let me know. I would love to read your creations.

Any new prompts or improvements to the challenge are also very much welcome.