Schattelgeist - developing a 40k roleplay setting

HorribleHedgehog

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Oh, I think a permanent tear in reality is required by law or something. it doesn't have to be huge like the Eye of Terror either. running with your idea, what if its a small, semi-stable rift out in the wastes somewhere (ceremonial complex?), and it's size and power waxes and wanes with the moons. When one moon has the upper hand, the rift allows beasts belonging to that power through. If it gets bigger it allows minor deamons through. If one moon should dominate the others, the rift will get so large that a greater daemon can come through.
I put a rift smack dab in the middle of the Exhaustion desert - I figure whatever cataclysm caused the rift was bad enough to permanently screw up the ecosystem of the area. Obviously, it's a holy site to the nomads who make their home on the desert - tribal shamans regularly seek communion with their god by venturing dangerously close to the rift and interpreting the reality distortions they experience as auguries. Needless to say, it's a dangerous business.

The rift varying in size according to the movements of the moons is a good idea.


In addition to the rift, I added Belphegor's defilement and Liedrada's Bones - the wreck of a warp-displaced imperial cruiser, stranded on Schattelgeist a century ago, home to the descendants of its crew. This tribe, called the Void Children, practise a bizarre mash-up of imperial cult and chaos worship - they revere the chaos gods as aspects of the Emperor, who they in turn see as an embodiment of humanity.

EXz7CeD.jpg


I also started the shading on the biomancer.

qhH5n5H.jpg
 
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HorribleHedgehog

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The map is close to being done. A few more locations of interest and maybe a settlement or two and it'll be sufficiently detailed.

35HqN9N.jpg

I added a field of floating boulders surrounding the portal to underscore its reality-warping tendencies. Other details I've added is the Amaranthine Plain, where a battle between nurglite and tzeentchian armies has been trapped in a time loop following a catastrophic psychic mishap. I decided that the Sentinel Woods to the north would be home to tribes of cannibalistic beastmen, with a hill full of ancient menhirs to serve as their place of worship. I decided that the last road would continue from Ore Town all the way to Liedrada's Bones, and put down a pair of promethium mines close by the latter. The Void Children residing there provide the Hive and Dark Mechanicus with raw promethium in exchange for technical assistance and materials they need to keep the Liedrada's systems - notably the void shield generators - up and running.

Other than those, I dotted some unnamed minor villages around, especially near rivers. No feudal setting can do without some backwoods hamlets for the high-and-mighty to oppress and raid.

I also thought about the Void Children's religious beliefs, and decided that instead of venerating the Emperor as a god, they see him as the progenitor of their people and a great champion of the gods, who had the Liedrada built in the distant past to save them from some terrible fate.
 

Punktaku

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What do you think of this?
THE ABSCESS
A classic dungeon crawl-type underground complex, it used to be a Khornate temple, complete with skull throne and rivers of blood. Then a Nurgle warband infiltrated the complex and unleashed an experimental blood plague into the rivers.

The Bleeder Slaves were the first victims, then the sacrifices. It wasn't long until the faithful fell to the ravages of the tainted blood. Only a few of the chosen made it out alive, to spread the tale of what happened.

The Abscess is home to the dreaded Ragers, berserk zombies confined to the complex by their need of the plague-tainted blood rivers to survive. And survive they do, as the Ragers are the original victims. The exist in a state of berserk rage, constantly at war with each other.

Khorne warbands cannot retake the complex thanks to the infectious blood plague. Nurgle warbands cannot use the complex thanks to the zombies' berserk state.
 
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HorribleHedgehog

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What do you think of this?
THE ABSCESS
A classic dungeon crawl-type underground complex, it used to be a Khornate temple, complete with skull throne and rivers of blood. Then a Nurgle warband infiltrated the complex and unleashed an experimental blood plague into the rivers.

The Bleeder Slaves were the first victims, then the sacrifices. It wasn't long until the faithful fell to the ravages of the tainted blood. Only a few of the chosen made it out alive, to spread the tale of what happened.

The Abscess is home to the dreaded Ragers, berserk zombies confined to the complex by their need of the plague-tainted blood rivers to survive. And survive they do, as the Ragers are the original victims. The exist in a state of berserk rage, constantly at war with each other.

Khorne warbands cannot retake the complex thanks to the infectious blood plague. Nurgle warbands cannot use the complex thanks to the zombies' berserk state.

Sounds good! Although if the ragers were hostile to each other, surely they would wipe themselves out in short order?

How about instead of a disease, the Nurglites introduced a semi-sentient waterborne (or bloodborne, in this case) parasitic mold to the temple - kinda like that creepy-ass real world fungus that spreads its spores by taking control of hapless ants and making them climb to high places. Only in this case, the spreading of spores happens via biting and gouging, so the victims are driven to feed on anything that doesn't already carry a high concentration of the mold. They've yet to spread outside of the temple because they're unable to perform complex actions, like opening doors. The reason why the Nurglites haven't been able to take advantage of the situation is that they're short on warriors due to their clashes with the Khornates; this is where the player characters come in.


Changing the subject, I finished the biomancer. The anatomy turned out a little problematic, but I'm tired of working on this one, so it'll do. Maybe they're a low-key mutant or something.

3b5zua8.jpg

Now, as I'm fairly sure I'll end up starting another character illustration soon - you should know by now I can't help it - which specialization should I do next? As a reminder, list of the career specializations that haven't yet gotten any art loving:

SORCERER: Diviner, Unbound Psyker
WARRIOR: Champion, Imperviant
SCOUT: Hunter, Assassin, Scavenger
TECHNICIAN: Heretek, Augmenticist, Wasteland Mechanic
SOCIAL: Inciter
 

Punktaku

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the main idea i had is that Khorne and Nurgle clash, and the site is below ground and infested like a real abscess. BUT it’s also spoiled for Nurgle too.

i figure opposed Powers (khorne/slaanesh and tzneetch/nurgle) would cancel each other out. but other clashes would leave a mark. i don’t wanna think too hard about what happens when Slaanesh and Nurgle interact... :eek:
 

HorribleHedgehog

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the main idea i had is that Khorne and Nurgle clash, and the site is below ground and infested like a real abscess. BUT it’s also spoiled for Nurgle too.

i figure opposed Powers (khorne/slaanesh and tzneetch/nurgle) would cancel each other out. but other clashes would leave a mark. i don’t wanna think too hard about what happens when Slaanesh and Nurgle interact... :eek:
Ah, now I see what you mean. I was unfamiliar with the word abscess, so I didn't fully grasp the meaning and got bogged down on the details. I'll definitely work it into the map!

I actually had a similar thought in regards to the time-looped Tzeentch-Nurgle battle on the Amaranthine plain - although instead of cancelling each other out, they simply caused a stalemate. It's eternally repeating the same cycle (stagnation, so Nurgle) but the outcome of the battle is always slightly different (Tzeentch) - not to mention the time loop traps anyone who ventures too close, thus it's slowly but steadily growing. It's basically a never-ending arm-wrestling match between two opposite deities.
 
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trollmeat

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Skimmed through to catch up, what program/media are you using for the art?

Prophecy - an unlikely ragtag team of misfits, while constantly at odds with each other, hilariously join forces to fight for gods and glory. All the while each of them secretly knowing that only one can ascended, rising in status and stature, into the most powerful daemon prince this planet has ever seen. :)
 

trollmeat

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Amazing works. The map is really getting quite interesting, “The Breathing Woods” is an awesome touch with some of the “trees” looking more like little people.

Maybe watch Silent Hill, Annihilation and the short video meta chaos for inspiration of more Strange Things that could be on the map? :-D
 

HorribleHedgehog

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Thanks! I've actually already seen Silent Hill and Annihilation, I'm a big fan of the latter - it definitely has a Tzeentchian thing going. I'll have to check out the short film too!

Unfortunately I haven't been able to bring myself to work on the map, and instead have started another character piece... this one's been a real chore, even at a sketching stage. I ended up redoing most of her because I wasn't happy with the first attempt. Anyway, my take on a Champion of Nurgle: The Sisters, twin chiefs of [insert random waster tribe here]!

Xjxbnd9.jpg

I'm probably still going to change some things before I go further - the mismatched arms aren't really working and the neck looks too... "artificial", for the want of a better word.
 

Wasteland

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@OP:

Former Ravenloft DM here. Read upon techniques of creating a horror story as your action takes place on a daemon world. And just a quick question at the end:
Prolonged exposure to an environment like the one you described would drive sooner or later everyone insane which is the trademark of the majority of chaos cultists. How do your PCs stave off the corruption? Or phrased another way: Why don´t they participate in the most awful atrocities that are perpetrated there on a daily basis? In my experience, a believable RPG group of sick & evil culprits never works out as they will sooner or later tear themselves apart.
Just think of the movie Event Horizon. What happened to it´s crew when the ship literally went to hell...
 

HorribleHedgehog

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@OP:

Former Ravenloft DM here. Read upon techniques of creating a horror story as your action takes place on a daemon world. And just a quick question at the end:
Prolonged exposure to an environment like the one you described would drive sooner or later everyone insane which is the trademark of the majority of chaos cultists. How do your PCs stave off the corruption? Or phrased another way: Why don´t they participate in the most awful atrocities that are perpetrated there on a daily basis? In my experience, a believable RPG group of sick & evil culprits never works out as they will sooner or later tear themselves apart.
Just think of the movie Event Horizon. What happened to it´s crew when the ship literally went to hell...
It's a good question, and one that took me some time to formulate a satisfactory answer to!

For starters, I view most Schattelgeistians as akin to death worlders: pragmatic and often quite ruthless, but in the end they're just trying to survive in a hostile environment. Chaos gods are just part of the natural order of the place - they're worshipped for the same reasons our ancestors worshipped nature deities, with the added bonus that appeasing the chaos gods demonstrably works. For most, it's a means to survival, and one that's best not trusted too much.

Sure, by our standards, it's safe to say everyone living on Schattelgeist is damaged somehow, and a lot end up jumping off the slippery slope at some point - but it's not like they're all screaming maniacs, else they'd have died out a long time ago.

Of course, the worst of humanity is well represented, but the truly despicable people are usually the ones in power - the nobility, the Dark Mechanicus, the Prince and their lackeys. Most of the people are just that; people, stuck in a hostile world and oppressed by insane oligarchs.

On page five, there's some mulling on how to bring the characters together and hopefully keep them that way - as you can see, we've mostly gone with the assumption that the players will belong to lower strata of society, and mostly motivated by survival or somehow improving their lot in life.



Now, moving on to other things - I fiddled some more with the Sisters, and I'm now fairly happy with them. I'll start shading tomorrow. I also got the map more or less done; still need to clean some things up, but I think I've got all the details I want (unless someone's got a really cool idea for a location ;) ).

cw6ijn4.jpg

0Kgm66J.jpg

Edit: I couldn't let the champ wait until tomorrow. They're coming along nicely.

4ToX4Hb.jpg
 
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trollmeat

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Who is to say that Earth isn’t inside the Eye of Terror? We just can’t see how horribly mutated, vicious and malignant humanity is because we are part of it. :p
 
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HorribleHedgehog

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Right. It's past time I stopped distracting myself with art and got some rules nailed down.

I decided to start with the mutations/gifts chart. This thing needs to be varied enough that - depending on the modifiers of the roll - it can be a reward, a gamble or a punishment.

All mutations are permanent.

If the character rolls a mutation they already have, roll again until you get a viable result. Some mutations can be suffered multiple times; this is specifically noted in the description. WORK IN PROGRESS - I've yet to add the really really bad stuff (-50 to 0, or maybe even -100 to 0).

GIFTS FROM THE GODS RESULT

-50 or less - Spawndom: The character immediately suffers 5 mutations at -100 (rerolling further Spawndom results). They lose their mind and become an NPC.

-49 to -45 - Feebleminded: The character reduces their Intellect rating, Cunning rating and Willpower rating by one.

-44 to -40 - Uncontrollable muscle growth: The character improves their Brawn rating by one and reduces their Agility rating by one. They can no longer perform free manouevers in combat.

-39 to -35 - Feeder tentacles: The character sprouts tentacles all over their body. The tentacles try to grab anything fleshy within range and bring it to the character's mouth (or mouths). Any enemy wishing to disengage character with Feeder tentacles must pass an opposed Brawl check. The tentacles prevent the character from wearing armour.

-34 to -30 - Lamprey mouth: When within engaged range of an enemy, the character can spend a manouever to latch onto them, causing two wounds to the target and recovering one for themselves. The character loses the ability to speak.

-29 to -25 - Skinless: The character must reduce their Wound threshold by three and increase the difficulty of all Resilience checks once.

-24 to -20 - Beast head: The character's head morphs into one of an animal. They retain their intellect, but lose the ability to speak. In addition, they can reduce the difficulty of all Coercion checks once.

-19 to -15 - Vestigial appendage: The character grows an obtrusive appendage which forces them to modify or strip parts of their armour to accommodate it. Any suit of armour worn by the character counts their Soak Value as one point less than usual (ie. a suit of Flak armour counts as having a Soak Value of 1 when worn by a character with a Vestigial Extra Limb).

-14 to -10 - Crablike Pincer: One of the target's hands (selected by the GM) morphs into a great crablike pincer. The character must increase the difficulty of all checks requiring two hands twice. However, they can use their Pincer as a Brawling weapon with the following profile: Crablike pincer - Damage: 7 + Brawn Critical: 3 Range: engaged Special: Vicious 4, Pierce 3. This mutation can be suffered as many times as the character has hands left. If the character is ever reduced to having no hands, they cannot perform any actions that would require hands.

-9 to -5 - Tentacle arm: One of the target's hands (selected by the GM) morphs into a long whiplike tentacle. The character must increase the difficulty of all checks requiring the use of that hand by one. However, they can use their Tentacle as a Brawling weapon with the following profile: Tentacle arm - Damage: 1 + Brawn Critical: 3 Range: short Special: Ensnare 1.This mutation can be suffered as many times as the character has hands left. If the character is ever reduced to having no hands, they cannot perform any actions that would require hands.

-4 to 0 - Brain tumor: The character must increase the difficulty of all Intellect and Cunning checks once. In addition, they must reduce their Strain Threshold by 3.

01-05 - Tumorous growth: The character must increase the difficulty of all Resilience, Athletics, and Coordination checks once. In addition, they must reduce their Wound Threshold by 2. This mutation can be suffered more than once; each Tumorous Growth gained after the first one further reduces the character's Wound Threshold by one, but does not impose any further penalties to skill checks. Example: a character with two Tumorous Growths would increase the difficulty of all Resilience, Athletics, and Coordination checks once, and reduce their Wound Threshold by 3.

06-10 - Muscular atrophy: The character must increase the difficulty of all Brawn checks once.

11-15 - Vestigial wings: The character cannot wear a backpack or carry items on their back without extreme discomfort. Whenever the character wears a backpack or carries a heavy item on their back, their strain threshold is reduced by 2.

16-20 - Horrifying appearance: The character must upgrade the difficulty of all Charm checks by one, and reduce the difficulty of all Coercion checks by one.

21-25 - Superficial mutation: The character is develops a skin condition, colored skin, little mouths dotting their body or some other visible mutation that doesn't help or hinder them much. It can make them easier to identify, however.

26-30 - Extra arm: The character must increase the difficulty of all Coordination checks once. However, when dual-wielding they can substitute one Ranged (light) or a one-handed Melee weapon with a Ranged (heavy) or two-handed melee weapon. This mutation can be suffered more than once. If the player has managed to accrue four or more total arms, they can use two Ranged (heavy) or two-handed melee weapons when dual-wielding. If the character has lost an arm before gaining this mutation, then the mutation and the injury cancel each other out.

31-35 - Crab legs: The character's legs morph into a gaggle of crab legs. The character can reduce the difficulty of all Coordination checks once. Their improved stability also means they can add a Boost die to all Ranged (heavy) and Gunnery checks at Long or Extreme range. However, as a armour generally isn't designed with arthropods in mind, any suit or armour worn by a character with Crab legs counts their Soak Value as one less than usual. Riding vehicles may prove problematic.

36-40 - Bone plates: The character improves their Soak Value by one. They must increase the difficulty of all Agility checks once.

41-45 - Extra eyes: Roll 1d6 to determine the amount of extra eyes gained. As long as the character has three or more eyes (including bionic eyes) they can reduce the difficulty of all Perception checks once. This result can negate permanent eye injuries. This mutation can be suffered more than once.

46-50 - Crocodile smile: The character gains a mean bite and lots of sharp teeth. They can use their bite as a Brawling weapon with the following profile: Damage: 2 + Brawn Critical: 3 Range: engaged Special: Pierce 1.

51-55 - Digitigrade legs: The character can reduce the difficulty of all Athletics checks once, but must increase the difficulty of all Coordination checks once. They must also increase the difficulty of all Piloting checks if the vehicle in question requires use of pedals to operate it.

56-60 - Horns: When the character moves to engaged range with an enemy, they can spend a manouever to perform a special attack with the following weapon profile: Damage: 4 + Brawn Critical: 3 Range: engaged Special: Knockdown.

61-65 - Claws: The character's nails morph into sharp bone claws. The character gains as many Claws weapons as they have hands. Claws count as Brawling weapons. Claws have the following profile: Claws - Damage: 3 + Brawn Critical: 3 Range: engaged Special: Vicious 2, if the character dual-wields two or more Claws without other weapons (ie. they only use their Claws in all of their hands), they don't need to upgrade the difficulty of their attack like they normally would when dual-wielding. All of the character's hands gain the weapon when this mutation is rolled. If they gain extra arms after rolling this mutation, those arms count as having Claws as well.

66-70 - Tail: The character can reduce the difficulty of all Coordination checks once.

71-80 - God-specific mutation: Roll again on the God-specific mutation chart of your character's chosen patron deity. Undivided characters can choose which God-specific mutation chart they roll on. This result can be gained as many times as there are viable results on the God-specific chart left.

81-85 - Healing factor: Whenever the character recovers wounds, they recover one extra wound in addition to their normal wound recovery. Once per week, the character can attempt to heal a critical injury - even one that would normally be permanent like a lost limb or missing eye - with a Daunting Resilience check. Every time this check fails, the next time the check is made for the same injury the difficulty is reduced by one (ie. the first attempt to heal an injury is a Daunting check, the next is Very Hard, etc.).

86-90 - Wings: The character can fly short distances by passing an Athletics check. The difficulty of this check is determined by the GM based on the distance, carried weight, weather conditions, etc.

91-95 - Metal skin: The character improves their Soak value by 2.

96-100 - Cannibal mimicry: The character can change their appearance to match humanoid beings of similar mass that they have eaten (at least a few good bites' worth). Roll an 1d6 when you gain this mutation: this is the amount of "disguises" acquired this way you can store in your memory. Gaining a new "disguise" immediately overwrites your oldest stored disguise.

101-105 - Aura of dark majesty: The character can reduce the difficulty of all Leadership and Coercion checks once.

106-110 - Psychic awakening: The character improves their Psychic rating by one, or gains Psychic rating of one if the didn't have a Psychic rating already. Followers of Khorne re-roll this mutation.

111-115 - Daemonic willpower: The character improves their Willpower rating by one.

116-120 - Daemonic vigor: The character improves their Brawn rating by one.

121-125 - God's favour: Roll again on the god-specific mutation chart of your character's chosen patron deity. You can add or subtract 1 from the result. Undivided characters can choose which God-specific mutation chart they roll on. This result can be gained as many times as there are viable results on the God-specific chart left.

126-130 - Breath attack: The character can spew fire, lighting, acid or some other deadly substance from their mouth. Once per encounter, they can make a breath attack. This attack uses Resilience instead of a weapon skill and has the following profile: Damage: 10 Critical: 3 Range: short Special: Burn 3, Blast 10

131-135 - Redundant organs: The character's Wound Threshold is improved by 3 and they can reduce the difficulty of all Resilience checks once.

136-140 - Gift of tongues: The character can reduce the difficulty of all Charm and Negotiation checks once. In addition, they are understood and can understand all sentient beings, regardless of language barriers.

141-145 - Cameleonine skin: The character immediately gains 2 ranks in Stealth.

146-150 - Rapid regeneration: Whenever the character recovers wounds, they recover 3 extra wounds in addition to their normal wound recovery. Once per week, the character can attempt to heal a critical injury - even one that would normally be permanent like a lost limb or missing eye - with a Very Hard Resilience check. Every time this check fails, the next time the check is made for the same limb or eye the difficulty is reduced by one (ie. the first attempt to heal an injury is a Very Hard check, the next is Hard, etc.). This mutation replaces the Healing factor mutation, if the character already has it. The character with this mutation rolls the Healing factor result, they must roll again.

151-155 - Sixth sense: The character immediately gains 3 ranks in Vigilance.

156-160 - Indefatigable: The character improves their Strain threshold by three.

161-165 - Untouchable: The character improves their Defense rating by one.

166-170 - Technopath: The character immediately gains two ranks in Mechanics and one rank in Computers.

171-175 - Gigantic stature: The character grows to around twice their original size. The character improves their Wound threshold by 3 and their Brawn rating by 2, but must reduce their Agility rating by one. All armours need to be modified to fit them. This costs half the listed price of the armour (ie. a suit of mesh armour (500 runes) would cost 250 runes to be modified to fit a gigantic character). This modification does not require hardpoints and can be done by any weaponsmith or by a player with an Average Mechanics check.

176-180 - Doombreath: As Breath attack, but the attack has the following profile: Damage: 16 Critical: 3 Range: short Special: Burn 3, Blast 14, Vicious 3. This mutation replaces Breath attack and a character with this mutation cannot gain Breath attack and re-rolls instead.

181-190 - Chosen: You can choose one mutation from this chart, except for Apotheosis or Exalted. This result can be gained multiple times.

191-199 - Exalted: You can choose one mutation from the god-specific mutation chart of your character's chosen patron deity. Undivided characters can choose which God-specific mutation chart they choose their result from. This result can be gained as many times as there are viable results on the God-specific chart left.

200+ - Apotheosis: The character ascends to daemonhood and becomes immortal. They immediately regenerate all injuries, including permanent ones. They require no sustenance or rest. They gain 3 mutations of the player's choice (or GM's, in case of NPCs). When they would die, they are instead banished into the warp to slowly recover.


Edit: added the results for negative rolls and moved some things around.
 
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Punktaku

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I think this is a good start, especially since you have Power-specific charts on the way. I think you need some mutations that are purely cosmetic, or of seriously limited use or hindrance. Things like Brightly Patterned Skin ( hard to hide), Furry (stay warm), Acid Blood (retaliatory attack that also damages your own armor), Funny Voice (why does Brutus sound like an over-excited chipmunk on speed?), Skin Condition (gross, but that's about it), Long Arms, Big Hands, Stubby Legs, Unfeasibly Large Testicles, Tentacle Fingers, Sucker Mouth, Elephantine Ears, Hair Spikes (like a porcupine), etc.
 
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HorribleHedgehog

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I'd love to have all sorts of mostly-cosmetic mutations, but I'm kind of already suffering from an embarrassment of riches in regards to stuff I want to include on the chart (notice it's still missing tentacles and lamprey mouths and crab legs and beast heads...). Nevertheless, perhaps I'll find space to include some, or at least a few catch-all cosmetic mutation results.

Edit: I couldn't resist starting another character piece. I've been thinking that I'm lacking a heavy weapons class, and I figured that the waster mechanic would be a natural fit for that role. So I sketched one with a heavy bolter and crazy survivalist eyes.

igS3od3.jpg
 
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HorribleHedgehog

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I added the nasty stuff (I decided -50 would be enough, it takes a lot of negative modifiers and bad luck to get even that low) to the Gifts chart. I also moved some things around and added a few new things to the mid-range.
 

Punktaku

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I was thinking of another possible map/adventure location. THE VAPOR WASTES. A couple hundred years ago, and Imperial Explorator vessel was dumped out of the warp over the planet and crashed into a valley high up the mountains. During its plummet to the surface, the engine pods separated from the craft, leaving a huge debris field. To prevent detonation on impact, the crew jettisoned the warp core. The core landed in the midst of a small city and detonated, wiping the city off the map and leaving a massive, radioactive wasteland.

Luckily for the crew, the catastrophe hid the fact that th majority of the vessel survived, wedged in a valley high up between two mountain peaks. Over the years the crew has continued to camouflage the wreckage, their population has grown, and their tech has survived. They can never leave, but they can continue to monitor and prepare reports to send back to the Imperium.
 
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