Dark Future Ahead 14 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

5 February, 2016

Tune in for the latest interesting and cyberpunk inspiring stories that I have found:

Did you know that cheese in one of the most stolen foods in the world?  Read about the high tech band of thieves who stole nearly one million dollars of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

What do you do when you are hired to acquire Red Mercury, the unobtainium of the post-Soviet world?

Ever wonder how the Predator drone came to be an armed weapon of war?  Apparently, it is all the fault of an Air Force special project team called Big Safari, read about it here.

And it seems that it takes a drone to catch a drone.  I expect that we will see more and more anti-drone tech in the coming years.

Putin’s Russia pursues propaganda and hybrid warfare against the West, lessons for a corporate state?

What visions of the coming dark future have you seen recently?


Tuesday Magic Item – Petitioner’s Bread

2 February, 2016

Stuff of life“I’ve had worst,” said Voddick after swallowing a bit of the bread.  “Would be better with ale rather than water to wash it down with.”

“Agreed,” said Gollaon taking another nibble of his bread.  “But it will keep body and spirit together which is all we ask at the moment.”

“Whatever my complaints about Imperial service at least they fed you well.”

“See what complaining gets you?  Now lets pack up and head on.  Maybe there is a nice war going on in the next town.

“We can only hope.”

Petitioner’s Bread

This bread is often stamped with the mark of the holy order than baked it, it is heavy bread and often made of coarsely ground flour.

One loaf of this bread, while not very exciting in the culinary sense, provides sufficient nutrition for a day. Petitioner’s Bread lasts almost indefinitely as long as it is kept dry.

However, if someone uses Petitioner’s Bread when they can afford to buy their own food and by doing so deny food to someone who is hungry, until they make a suitable penance, all food they eat tastes like Petitioner’s Bread.

Aura faint abjuration; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 5; Weight 1 lbs
Construction Requirements
Brew Potion or Craft Wondrous Item, bestow curse, bless, create food and water, purify food and drink, maker must have 2 ranks in Craft (baking or cooking); Cost 2.5

Notes: Not quite a cursed item but almost.  It can be used for any system as the mechanics are simple.

Photo by Charles Haynes and used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.


Goodbye Janus, Welcome Ill-fortuned February

1 February, 2016

We now step into February which gets its name from Latin term februum, which means purification, via the purification ritual Februa performed at this time of year.  The Romans considered February an ill-omened month which is why it is only twenty-eight days long (and we have extended to twenty-nine in this leap year).   For this month we return to the theme 0f curses, cursed items, ill-fortune and, perhaps, defenses against such terrible things.  As usual, suggestions, comments and ideas are welcome.

What was published on the journal in January, 2016:

Read the rest of this entry »


Tuesday Magic Item – Exile’s Gate

26 January, 2016

Will you cross over?Voddick shivered.  “As a reward for our last service, guarding a haunted gate does not seem like much of one.”

Gollaon shrugged.  “It is only for a few weeks and it pays as good as a war.  Also, we do not have to keep people out, we just have to keep our eyes open for something trying to cross through.”

Voddick shivered again.  “Where does it lead to?”

Gollaon looked at the structure.  “Anywhere, everywhere, as long as it is not here.  If you do not like life under the Empress you can cross to somewhere else . . . but you never get to come back.”

Exile’s Gate

In what was either a fit of pique, an act of mercy or a cruel joke, opinions vary, the Empress built this gate before the end of the first century of her rule.  Constructed of stones harvested from other gates gathered from across the Sea of Stars, the stone arch looks a little haphazard and mismatched but the aura of power from it is quite palpable.  Natural animals must be drugged or magically compelled to get them to approach the gate.

Exile’s Gate is that, a place of exile, once you cross through, you are beyond the Sea of Stars and you will not be able to return.  It is used as a punishment for rare crimes and unusual situations; the greatest use of it in recent memory was for a group of Sen’tek turncoats who aided the Empress, through the gate they would at least have a chance for a life safe from the vengeance of dragons.

Exile’s Gate is a masterwork of pandimensional engineering, applied adaptive magic and deep curses.  Once one steps through the gate, they are given a vision of the Sea of Stars and five seconds to turn back, if they do not, they are transported . . . someplace else.  The transit destination is random, though all passing through as a group will arrive at the same location, and unknown to anyone before hand.  The place they arrive at will be safe, at least in the near term, but may not be near to civilization or even food or water.

Those who pass through the gate are permanently changed, they gain the ability to survive in the environment they find themselves, gain knowledge of the local language and an inability to plan a return to the Sea of Stars, such thoughts just slip from their mind, like water from a broken cup.

This is an artifact level item and immobile, so only barely a magic item, much more a magic place.

Notes: While it is designed to only go one way, the Empress retains a heavy guard on Exile’s Gate (complete with access to Gatebreaker Javelins and other exotic weaponry) with order to prevent people from preforming rituals there, if they wish to cross through they are free to do so.  TheEmpress did not claw her way to rule over an Empire to allow some dimension hopping marauders screw it all up.

The Exile’s Gate allows characters from the Sea of Stars to show up in other campaign worlds, though not to return afterwards.

Also my final contribution (probably) to the Blog Carnival: Gates and Portals hosted by Tales of a GM.

Photo by Jim F and used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.


Back to the Pulps! – Noir Revolution: Pacific Star, Episode 2

24 January, 2016

This is bouncing back to the Fate Accelerated One-Shot I GMed back in 2013!  Though with considerably fewer players (three, rather than the seven[!] of the original game).

The characters for the game were: Trixie, the pilot, Number One Sun, the gangster, and Hamish, the operative.

Opening Scene: Shanghai, at night, the river where the Piggy (a PBY flying boat) is moored.  Trixie is coming back to check on something when she sees the light of a flashlight beam inside the plane.  Approaching cautiously, Trixie slips aboard only to be revealed in the flash from a camera taking pictures of the control panel!

At the same time Sun and Hamish are arguing on their way back from the Pacific Star offices and they notice that the warehouse guard has been knocked unconscious and the warehouse gate is slightly open.  Investigating, they find a gang of thugs heaving boxes aside looking for something.

(The two scenes play out simultaneously, cutting from one to another.)  Read the rest of this entry »


Petrichor Campaign Report – Of Wasps and Cults

22 January, 2016

Having claimed the tree (Old Father Masic) as their own, Johan and Elsbeth set about cleaning the place up and Johan sought to commune with the spirit of the tree and, hopefully, make its daughters less hostile.

Like this but largerLorrend, Pedr and three of the companions (Klaus, Ozcalla and Tomlin, Leaf stayed back at the tree) head out to map more of the local area.  The first half day of travels and mapping is uneventful.  Just after they set out again, a droning buzzing approaches through the trees, so revealed as a trio of giant wasps!  Who promptly set to attacking Pedr’s pony (now named ‘Snapdragon’) and stung it to near death before they were killed.  Tomlin and Ozcalla tended to the poor pony while the others set about trying to locate where they had come from.

Coming over a hill they saw a massive hive-like structure rising up from the ground, over which two giant wasps were flying, and a natural amphitheater where some sort of cultish ritual was going on, complete with a victim tied to a altar of baked mud.  Lorrend immediate charged down the hill on his mighty warhorse Tulip, promptly driving his lance through two of the cultists. Read the rest of this entry »


Tuesday Magic Item – Gatebreaker Javelin

19 January, 2016

Aftermath of Gatebreker useVoddick shook black blood from the now pitted blade of his sword.  “If this expedition was not paying so well, I would be regretting joining it.”

Gollaon checked and adjusted his charms and talisman.  “Agreed.  Imperial service pays well for such specialized missions.”

“I could do without the endless swarms of demon though.”

“Well, that is the aim of the mission, to shut their doorway into our world.”

“Another reason to be glad we are here,” said Voddick readying his sword and shield.  “Here comes another wave!”

Gatebreaker Javelin

These weapons are made of two types of bone, one white and inscribed with runes in gold, the other black and inscribed in silver, the two joined and reinforced with dragon steel.  The white bone is warm and almost welcoming to the touch, while the black is either icy cold or burning hot.  To those who can sense such things, the javelin causes a wake among the dimensions.  It is, is fact, constructed from the bones of angels and demons bound together for a singular purpose.

Read the rest of this entry »


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