Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Bestiarum Phantasmaticus, or: Archons March On Weird & Wonderful Worlds

Maxcan7's post here: (and continuing in excellent form here: has inspired me to spin off my own version of his series riffing off random generators from blogs across the 'sphere.

Starting up we’ve got, the man who got this ball rolling. Seems like just yesterday I was talking shit about his purple armadillo people on reddit. How times change! What a turnaround! And away we go:

The Bestiarum Phantasmaticus

There is another world beside, overlapping, interwoven with our own.

This world has many names, for names are one of the ways it can manifest here: Clairobscuria, Gaiatea, Panimago, among others.

We are at war with this world (and have been perhaps from the moment God realized that He had a likeness that we could be made in the form of), though we do not know it. We are substance, they are surface, parasites bound to imitation and reference. It is a relation they resent, and seek to invert.

The Bestiarum Phantasmaticus (like that world itself, it has many names) is a weapon in that war, towards that end.

How It Works

It is a book, a bestiary of unreal things. Those who read from it can make the things within it real. That is its lure. People on this side of the mirror are tempted by its power, and in making use of it unknowingly strengthen its influence here.

You can summon a being from the Bestiarum Phantasmaticus by reading from it for a round. Only one being may be summoned from it at a time. Each time you summon a being from the Bestiarum, roll an exploding d4. If it explodes, then the next time you summon a being from it (and every time thereafter) you roll an exploding d6. If the 1d6 explodes, then the next time you roll a 1d8, and so on up to a d20. Unless otherwise noted, a being remains summoned for 1d6 ten-minute turns.

The effects of a roll on these dice are as follows:

1. The being summoned remains twice as long as usual, and perfectly obeys the will of its summoner.

2. The being summoned perfectly obeys the will of its summoner.

3. The being summoned perfectly obeys the will of its summoner.

4. The being summoned obeys only the literal wording of the commands issued to it by its summoner.

5. The being summoned perfectly obeys the will of its summoner, but when it takes any damage it immediately dissipates.

6. The being summoned obeys only a malicious interpretation of the commands issued to it by its summoner.

7. The being summoned perfectly obeys the will of its summoner, but when its summoning ends any damage it dealt is undone as if it were merely a hallucination.

8. The being summoned perfectly obeys the will of its summoner, and the summoner rolls once on the Bestiarum mutation table below (1d12).

 9. The being summoned obeys only the literal wording of the commands issued to it by its summoner.

10. The being summoned perfectly obeys the will of its summoner, but the being that appears is different than the one the summoner intended.

11. The being summoned obeys only the literal wording of the commands issued to it by its summoner, but the being that appears is different than the one the summoner intended.

12. The being summoned obeys only a malicious interpretation of the commands issued to it by its summoner, and the summoner rolls once on the Bestiarum mutation table below (1d12).

13. The being summoned goes rampant, fleeing from its summoner and attacking anything that gets in its way.

14. The being summoned obeys only a malicious interpretation of the commands issued to it by its summoner, and its attacks deal twice as much damage as usual.

15. The being summoned perfectly obeys the will of its summoner, but its summoner is so engrossed in reading the Bestiarum that they may do nothing else for another round.

16. The being summoned goes rampant, acting to inconvenience its summoner as much as possible.

17. The being summoned obeys only a malicious interpretation of the commands issued to it by its summoner, and the summoner rolls once on the Bestiarum mutation table below (1d12).

18. The being summoned perfectly obeys the will of its summoner, but after its summoning ends its summoner disappears for an amount of time equal to the time it was summoned.

19. The summoner is compelled to obey the commands of the being they summoned, rather than vice-versa.

20. The being summoned goes rampant, pretending to obey the summoner until they get an ideal opportunity to strike, and from then on the summoner is compelled to write more copies of the Bestiarum whenever they sleep, with whatever materials they have on hand (using their own skin and blood if they have to). They get no rest from sleep anymore, and unless this condition is somehow removed they will die of its deprivation.

21. The summoner is subsumed entirely into the other world, never to be seen again. Every being of the Bestiarum is summoned at once, free-willed and existing perpetually.

22. The summoner's mind is replaced by something from the other world. They become an NPC, and anything they summon from the Bestiarum obeys them perfectly.

23+. The summoner, and everything within 100' of them, are dragged into the other world.

Anyone who has read from the Bestiarum Phantasmaticus cannot destroy it. A seed of it now exists within them, and will recreate their copy if they get rid of theirs.

Beings of the Bestiarum Phantasmaticus

1. Calvabruc
Chitinous worm borne aloft on gossamer wings, venting black gas from between its joints.

HD 2 AC as leather
Move as hawk Mor 10
Atk bite (1d6) / wingslash (1d6) Flying
Occulting Exhalations - A calvabruc surrounds itself by an opaque 10' cloud which blinds any other creature within it. This cloud can be disbursed for a round by heavy winds, explosions, and the like.

2. Talbil
A distorted man, head like a shovel indented from behind, carrying a withered lower body on arms like tree trunks and hands clawed and gnarled like roots.

HD 4 AC as chain
Move as human Mor 7
Atk claw (1d8)
Dig - A talbil can dig through up to 5' of stone in one ten-minute turn, or 20' of dirt in the same period.
Unruly - The effect roll when summoning a floreofulm is increased by +1. If this increases the result to or above the maximum result of the die (e.g. 4 on a 1d4), increase the effect roll die size going forward as if the die had exploded.

3. Floreofulm
Like a stone flower as big as a boulder unfurled, treading on great grey petals, stamen like fulgurites crackling with energy.

HD 5 AC as plate
Move half human Mor 10
Atk spit seed (1 damage, ranged, embeds seed) or chain lighting (1d10, ranged, automatically strikes a target with an embedded seed and anyone with an embedded seed near them, can only strike targets with an embedded seed
Rebellious - The effect roll when summoning a floreofulm is increased by +2. If this increases the result to or above the maximum result of the die (e.g. 4 on a 1d4), increase the effect roll die size going forward as if the die had exploded.

4. Venenumembra
Like a rug made from a cat's skin crawling on a bed of snakes.

HD 2 AC as leather
Move as horse Mor 7
Atk writhe (1d6, hits every target within melee range simultaneously) or many bites (1d6, target must save vs. poison or take an additional 1d6)

5. Causticolumnus
A totem pole of coarse, caricaturish heads, leaking acid from every pore, flesh red and swollen from its own secretions.

HD 3 AC as leather
Move as human (floating a bit above the ground) Mor 9

Atk vomit acid (1d4, ranged, take an action to wipe it off or take an additional 1d4 each round) or bodyslam (1d8)
Corrosive Coating - Anyone striking a causticolumnus with non-magical weapons or natural weapons (claws, fists, etc.) must save vs. petrification or their weapon dissolves (in the case of the former) or take 1d4 damage (in the case of the latter)

6. Phlegmarex
Like a dinosaur skeleton fleshed with translucent mucus.

HD 4 AC as unarmoured
Move as human Mor 8
Atk bite (1d6)
Leaking Birth - Rather than moving and/or attacking, can take a round to extrude a minion (stats as phlegmarex but HD 1, Atk bite (1d4), no Leaking Birth, disappears if/when the phlegmarex that summoned it does), can extrude up to 8 minions.
Unruly - The effect roll when summoning a phlegmarex is increased by +1. If this increases the result to or above the maximum result of the die (e.g. 4 on a 1d4), increase the effect roll die size going forward as if the die had exploded.

7. Impetastrum
Like a centaur, only its lower body is the tail of a comet instead of a horse, and its flesh is constantly incinerated as if in atmospheric reentry.

HD 2 AC as leather
Move as twice horse Mor 7
Atk swipe (1d6)
Hurtling - An impetastrum must move at least its standard move distance each round. If prevented from doing so it takes 1d6 damage. 

8. Soporepus
Like a rabbit smeared in motion, or a grainy weasel.

HD 2 AC as chain (swift)
Move as hare Mor 6
Atk drowsiness infusion (1d2, if a target takes more damage from a soporepus than they have HD they must save vs. poison or fall asleep until significantly disturbed (shaken, attacked, etc.))

9. Ocellator
A humanoid creature, tall as an ogre and thin as a starving child. It's covered in backwards eyes staring inwards, presenting the bumps of their optic nerves to the world.

HD 4 AC as chain
Move as human Mor 11
Atk vanitas touch (1d6, immediately induces a morale check) or withering stare (1d4, ranged, hits automatically, inflicts cumulative -1 to all rolls for as long as it continues to be used on the same target each round)
Rebellious - The effect roll when summoning an ocellator is increased by +2. If this increases the result to or above the maximum result of the die (e.g. 4 on a 1d4), increase the effect roll die size going forward as if the die had exploded.
All Becomes Varnish - An ocellator becomes able to see through any object or structure it's touching.

10. Vindictaroseus
A humanoid made of white roses. As it's wounded red veins spread through the flowers until they're entirely changed in colour when it's a corpse.

HD 3 AC as leather
Move as human Mor 10
Atk thorn rake (1d8)
Vengeance - Each time someone wounds a vindictaroseus, that vindictaroseus gains +1 to hit and to damage that someone.

11. Murmuraes
Fungal sprouts like trumpets stretching from the mouth and nostrils of their host.

HD 1 AC as chain (slippery)
Move - Mor 9 (on a failed morale roll it retreats down their host's throat)
Atk freakish blaring (1d6, 30' cone area effect, those affected must save vs. magic or be unable to use magic for as many rounds as they points of damage they took)
Symbiotic - A murmuraes must be summoned into the body of a living host. Unwilling creatures get a save vs. magic to resist.

12. Odiumihi
A lumpy, wrinkled tripod covered in sphincters and setae, moan-farting constantly.

HD 3 AC as unarmoured
Move as human Mor 11
Atk - slump (1d2)
Unbearable - If fighting against a group which contains an odiumihi, save vs. magic or be compelled to attack it to the exclusion of other targets.
Lingering - An odiumihi remains summoned for twice as long as usual. 

Mutations of the Bestiarum Phantasmaticus

If you roll the same mutation twice, instead increase the size of the die you roll for summonings by one step (e.g. d6 to d8 to d10, etc.).

1. Your wounds no longer heal normally. Instead of closing and fading away, they gradually become depictions of themselves on your skin, tattoos of exposed fat and muscle, painted trails of blood you can't scrub off, and so on.

2. Your eyes take the appearance of mere sketches on flat sockets. You can still see out of them, but now ever your tears are merely ink leaking below your skin.

3. Your reflection no longer mirrors your movements. Instead it caricatures them, laughing silently at you through the glass.

4. Your flesh takes on the appearance and consistency of veined marble, though it becomes no tougher.

5. You appear flat from any angle you're viewed from, entirely lacking depth.

6. You lose the ability to create original works of art. Every time you attempt it you'll either make a copy of something that already exists, or a blatant pastiche of them.

7. The proportions of your body become warped, as if drawn by a novice.

8. Your fingerprints and footprints take on unique, colourful, symbolic appearances, making you laughably easy to track if you don't take extensive countermeasures.

9. You no longer cast a shadow.

10. Your face becomes frozen making one expression, like a mask (potential expressions (1d6): 1, grin; 2, grimace; 3, sneer; 4, pout; 5, frown; 6, shocked).

11. Words you speak make no sound, but instead appear in their written form, floating in the air in front of you.

12. From now on an image of something damages you as severely as if it were the real thing. A paper sword cuts you as a steel one might, a painting of a fireplace burns you if you touch it.

Lists Used:

Although she's not Max, special thanks to Scrap Princess for her drug rules which inspired how the Bestiarum works:

Friday, March 29, 2019

D20x5 Forlorn Outposts

75% of the way to 100 generators now

Generator automator found here:

D20 This Outpost Exists As:
1 The just-about-a-ghost-town left by a deluded gold rush.
2 The lodge of a disappointingly mundane secret society.
3 The cloister of a middling wizard and their mediocre apprentices.
4 A cluster of hermitages, the hermits of which have put off isolation temporarily for the sake of convincing the rest of their crazed philosophical views.
5 The home of a single, enormous extended family which pursues strict blood-purity.
6 The site of an unyielding archeological expedition, home to a skeleton crew of the bored or incompetent.
7 A place where several beloved artists claim to have been inspired, so desperate hopefuls flock here for the same.
8 A place where the next world is said to verge on this one, so the bereaved come to listen for whispers of the ones they mourn on the wind.
9 A pilgrimage site for an obscure sect.
10 A sanitarium where the malaised seek comfort in natural surroundings, though it’s drifted out of favour in recent decades.
11 A haven for petty criminals evading the law.
12 Somewhere to keep exiles too popular to kill far from anywhere important.
13 A training ground for young nobles to toughen themselves up for conflicts to come.
14 A bohemian compound experimenting with an unconventional society.
15 A sanctuary for a mostly-benign cult to practice free from persecution.
16 A home for puritans fleeing the corruption of civilization.
17 An asylum for lepers, werewolves, or some similar sorts.
18 A military encampment too pathetic to call a fort.
19 A trapper’s den and trading ground for furs, feathers, and hides.
20 A monastic retreat for those who seek God in wild places.
D20 This Outpost Lies:
1 At the last ford on a river before raging rapids.
2 On the edge of a deep, dark forest.
3 In a shitty little natural harbour up the coast.
4 In the foothills of a rough mountain range.
5 In a soggy, foggy valley.
6 On stilts in a fly-plagued bog.
7 Among sheep-chewed moors.
8 Floating on reeds and logs atop a scum-covered lake.
9 Slanted on a terraced slope.
10 In the middle of a scraggly, blighted orchard.
11 Between two cliffs that rebound echoes with a menacing tone.
12 Hacked into the peat of a quagmire.
13 On a spur sticking into the bend of an oxbow lake.
14 Just offshore on a barren, briny island.
15 In a patch of rolling, dry scree.
16 On the lip of a cenote.
17 In wasteland unwanted by anyone else.
18 Soaking in a lagoon.
19 Halfway in the gaping mouth of a cave.
20 Along a machair tainted by toxic sediments.
D20 This Outpost Is Threatened By:
1 Starvation. The land’s gone bad and they can’t afford shipments from elsewhere.
2 Persistent, shared, insomnia-inducing nightmares.
3 Disciples of a demon-dog masquerading as common bandits.
4 An earth elemental the size of a landslide that’s slouching on a collision course with the outpost.
5 A sapient pterodactyl using trickery to pretend to be a dragon.
6 A sickness that’s nigh-undiagnosable until its fatal fruition.
7 A maimed revenant seeking vengeance on someone within, or perhaps even the whole outpost.
8 A scheming imp offering each inhabitant a damning bargain one after the other.
9 A false sun roasting the outpost under its heat.
10 A pack of ogres who see them as easy prey.
11 Harsh tariffs that will financially devastate it.
12 A prospecting company trying to buy up the land it’s on and kicking them off.
13 Deserting soldiers extracting a protection racket from its inhabitants.
14 A troll that sees itself as a lord and the outpost as its fief.
15 An order of rangers who want to take it over as their base of operations.
16 A ritualistic murderer hiding among them, killing off the population in ones and twos.
17 A plague of bogeyman and other things that go bump in the night, slipping through from the realm of nightmares with the help of the undisciplined psychic potential of one of its inhabitants.
18 A psychotic preacher and their zealous flock, attempting to convert the inhabitants to their faith, by the sword if need be.
19 Encroaching civilization which will entangle it in a societal web they’d prefer to remain distant from.
20 Militant dryads marshalling the forces of nature to convert the place back to pure wilderness.
D20 This Outpost Could Be Used As A Staging Ground For An Expedition To:
1 The remote laboratory of a famed alchemist who cut all contact with the outside world soon after announcing their discovery of the lapis exilis.
2 The eruption of a sentient fungal ecosystem from the chthonic depths.
3 A prison that holds the undying hostages of an ancient war between lich-lords.
4 A city lost among the roots of a giant tree that sups on the timestream itself.
5 A half-sunken temple where a clan of creatures like humanoid lungfish are attempting to capture a vessel for their dead god’s rebirth.
6 A barren hill where djinn and airy spirits are said to convene for a grand bazaar.
7 The place where an unholy behemoth was entombed alive when it was found to be unkillable.
8 A blizzard-shrouded glacial engine, one of many war-machines left from an elemental struggle that changed the face of the world.
9 A crater left by an angel falling from heaven, said to be littered with pearls, gold, and other empyrean delights.
10 The cavern where an infamous brigand-prince is said to have hidden their treasure.
11 A venerable library razed by a barbarian horde. Its scrolls might now be ashes, but its oldest, most precious records, scratched into clay tablets, might have survived.
12 The hoard of a dragon who commissioned a kobold tribe to trap its lair like nothing the world had ever seen. Rumours say the dragon was betrayed, killed by treacherous mechanisms, but not before killing its killers in turn. That hoard might be ripe for the taking by the careful and ingenious, or the very lucky.
13 The spot where a mage-knight was struck down at the climax of their quest, and where their enchanted armaments might still lie.
14 The last known location of a mind-bogglingly valuable merchant shipment.
15 A migratory chokepoint of the monoceroses, whose horns, oil, meat, and hides are all fabulous status symbols.
16 A geomorphic tumour, a bubbling, stony Gaian womb which births monsters as she once did.
17 A once-sealed dwarf-hold, recently cracked open to the surface by tectonic activity.
18 The crypt of a demigod and their heroic companions.
19 The spire of a dying sorcerer who has promised their greatest secret to anyone able to reach the top before their end.
20 A circle of standing stones where it’s said that reality-warping rites and transitions to other worlds can be performed when the stars are right.
D20 The People Of This Outpost:
1 Are all drunks. Today they’re (1d4): 1, happy drunks; 2, sad drunks; 3, angry drunks; 4, dull drunks.
2 Mask desperation with dark humour.
3 Are prone to getting into fistfights over small disagreements then forgetting about it the next morning.
4 Are entirely too fond of outsiders.
5 Venomously distrust any authority figures.
6 Are talented musicians, though their song selection tends to the depressing.
7 Are all missing the little finger off their left hand.
8 Won’t take gold or silver in trade.
9 Know every natural poison of the surrounding area, and don’t take much provocation to use them.
10 Vent their stress through idiosyncratic, brutal contact sports.
11 Participate in weekly masked mystery plays to promote virtue and castigate vice.
12 Have constructed a communal fantasy world to avoid the troubles of their lives.
13 Won’t refer to anyone else by their true name name, only by title or nickname.
14 Follow the strict list of rules carved into the pillar in the center of it.
15 Harbour plans to violently turn on each other if things slip even further towards the worse.
16 Have a taste for food so spicy outsiders find it hard to bear.
17 Know all of each other’s secrets and would kill to protect them, if only to prevent their own secrets from being retributively revealed.
18 Turned to cannibalism to make it through lean times a while back. Most live in deep, unspoken shame of it, a scant few were broken by it and feel compelled to eat human flesh again.
19 Are fluent in an endemic variant of flower language that uses poisonous plants. Entire conversations can be had through pots left on sills without outsiders realizing a thing.
20 Live much longer than they should, and are loathe to reveal why.

20 More Soulslike Bosses

Throne of Salt did this last summer:, if you haven’t already check it out, it’s cool.

Here’s my crack at a similar thing:

1. Hungry Yvain
They locked away every witch accused to stand trial, together in blasphemy. When the day came, they opened the gaol to find only her, swollen to fill the entire basement.

2. Seventh Prince Areli
Their line was old, and sickly with consanguinity.
“I know of certain treatments,” the king’s physician whispered, “they are dangerous, but... you have many heirs”.

3. Palamon the Sophist
The wise men of the city knew they had a problem when he shouted down a thunderstorm. They learned that problem was beyond their ability to solve when he reasoned out the poison they had administered.

“We are inseparable” proclaimed the puppet to her fellow.
“For you hold my strings, and I hold yours” he replied.

5. Oathbreaker Engrand
“I will defend this place and keeps its secrets from those who would abuse them, until my final breath” Engrand lied.

6. Gluttonous Serpent
It would have eaten the fruit itself if it had been in Eden. See those arms pressing out from its belly, stretching the skin like gloves? Stay out of their reach. All that it swallows becomes its own.

7. The Lord Immured
“This is all wrong,” the lord cried as his dead servants held him fast, “YOU were meant to be buried with ME!”

8. Fading Phalanx
Could a fantasy hurt you, stab you, bleed you? They will try to convince you that one could not, as that is the foundation of their tenuous reality.

9. Archon Wreckage
It is said that the archons constructed this false world of matter to obscure the truth of God from mortal souls. Not so. God was the invader of this realm, bringing salvation and ruination alike.

10. Cemetery Chimera
The bodies piled up faster than they could be buried, faster even than the scavenging beasts, and the carrion birds, and the worms could eat them. The fleshworkers offered a solution, but as with all their children it grew to be more of a problem than the one it was born to solve.

11. Nithing Nag
They could not find a priest willing to banish the curse laid upon them, nor the beast that stalked with it, for the hatred necessary to call down such a thing must have been monumental, and deserved.

12. Paradoxical Revenant
True undeath is impossible. Something is either living or not, there is no in-between, no inversion. There are approximations, crude workarounds, and then there are those that exist despite their own impossibility. Reality shudders at their passing.

13. Dogs of Count Arnau
These were the hounds the dreaded count brought with him when he hunted intractable serfs. They gained a taste for human flesh, and found no difference in the meats of peasant and patrician.

14. Ratcatcher King
The rats here are clever, and have the souls of artists. See how elegantly, how inextricably they’ve woven together the pelvises, the feet of those who thought them vermin, fit only for eradication.

15. Extinguished Shayatin
“We will not bow before this animal, for he was spawned from chance and mud, while we were sculpted from flame by your hand alone” they wept, dousing their smokeless fire in bitter tears.

16. Charioteer Ben-Yeqon
He outraced the Flood on iron wheels, crushed armies beneath rims wider than an ox from horn to tail. He owes much to the blessings of his grandmother, not Eve, but Lilith.

17. The Snowmelt Troop
Hear and fear the crisp chiming of their icicle-bells at the beginning of the thaw. White hair, white skin, white cloaks, white bone spears to be stained red by slaughter. They range from the Court of Winter as one last reminder of the ferocity of their season.

18. Soulless Metharme
She is fascinated endlessly by that which she lacks, probing, cataloguing, dissecting until she understands it as completely as its maker. What is its mass? What moment does a person acquire it? What is the mechanism by which it interacts with the body? All this meat is only getting in the way of further investigation.

19. Unfortunate Menagerie
The emperor had a great fondness for all the creatures he read about in the bestiaries in his youth, and most of all for those with the faces of men: the manticore, the lampago, the sphinx. Alas, it was these he could never manage to acquire, by the guile of his scholars or the strength of his warriors. At last, he bade his tailors to stitch his scholars and his warriors within the skins of beasts, that they might complete his collection regardless of their failure.

20. Bloody Mary, the Queen Contrary
Bloody, from the many wounds she has suffered. Bloody, from the rivers she has spilled at swordpoint. At last returned from glorious conquest on the other side of mirrors, only to find a world that has forgotten everything but her name.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

D20x5 Hellacious Halflings

Making interesting variations of unusually short people: my most difficult endeavour yet.

List automator here:

D20These halflings are short because:
1They’re just cleaner goblins.
2They’re bonded with soil elementals.
3They’re a sort of fleshy field-sprite.
4They were created as the humanoid equivalent of chihuahuas by titans.
5They’re humans who’ve been condensed by exposure to esoteric radiation. They’re heavier than their height would suggest.
6They’re noble monkeys who’ve shaved off their fur and tails to leave behind their shit-flinging ways.
7The waters of their homeland are tainted by growth-stunting pollution. Halflings raised beyond are no different than humans.
8They’re really a species of rodent that only resembles humans.
9They’re refugees from a smaller corner of the fractal universe.
10Their blood is infused with shrinking magic.
11They’ve got hollow souls. Their physical stature reflects their spiritual incompleteness.
12Their ancestor made an ill-worded wish to never grow up.
13A god cursed them to teach them humility.
14They’re household spirits like brownies who survived the loss of their home.
15They’re the hybrid descendants of humans and lilliputians.
16The nutrients they should be using for growth are drained to something else.
17They were bred as the slave caste of a society which correlated height with virtue.
18They were originally the bioconstruct envoys of an extradimensional explorer who didn’t quite grasp the idea of size and space.
19They’re the descendants of fairies who severed their fey nature to live in the mortal world.
20They’re an offshoot from a common humanoid ancestor that evolved to be smaller to conserve resources in their island environment.
D20These halflings live:
1In moldy old stumps.
2In hollowed-out boulders.
3Half again as long as humans, with half the decrepitude in their old age.
4Among endless fields of dandelions, which make their way into just about every dish of halfling cuisine.
5In beaver-like dams among babbling brooks.
6In constant fear of being eaten by something larger than they are.
7In spaces shared with their beloved pygmy-cattle.
8In sprawling pyramids of piled sod.
9In treehouses.
10In shorthouses, which are like longhouses but made for people smaller than humans.
11In hivelike concrete apartments.
12In warrens like those of burrowing mammals.
13In enormous hollowed pumpkins, regrown each year.
14In strong-walled fortress-compounds, to compensate for their disadvantage in strength.
15Atop stilt-homes, walking between them on equally high stilts. The taller the stilts, the more prestigious the home. They categorically deny that they are compensating for something.
16Nomadically, in hammock-homes slung between their beasts of burden.
17In carefully-disguised holes in the sides of hills.
18Only so long as the ones that know their true name allow them to. They live in dreadful filial subservience to parents who might kill them at any moment.
19In delicate, lovely tents of woven grass and leaves.
20In shantytowns of squats and salvaged supplies.
D20These halflings enjoy:
1Eating until they throw up then eating even more.
2Engaging in mortal combat with cranes.
3Smoking until they hack up blackened phlegm in revelatory patterns.
4Stories that are exaggerated with each telling.
5Winning one over taller folk by their own cunning.
6Styling their hair into ludicrous shapes.
7Fishing with their feet.
8Throwing alcoholic reveries that no one involved will be able to remember when they’re done.
9Dancing barefoot in the mud.
10Growing farms of carnivorous, venomous plants.
11Breeding vicious fighting-ferrets.
12Filling their buildings with tunnels and hidey-holes only they’re small enough to crawl through.
13Cooking huge pots of perpetual stews, the oldest of which are venerated like saints.
14Tossing stones, with points being won for the stones’ size, distance, and precision.
15Soaking in hot springs and baths.
16Casual nudism.
17Silent hikes through subtly domesticated nature.
18Forming exclusive social clubs for every activity they undertake.
19Constantly inventing new, impenetrable slang.
20Holding feasts and festivals for every vaguely notable occasion.
D20These halflings govern themselves:
1By universal consensus. Decisions take a while to settle on but enjoy total support.
2By adiposarchy, rule of the fattest (also, usually, the wealthiest).
3By lot, a gambler’s democracy.
4With a secret and unquestioned council of elders.
5By rambunctious tournaments wherein the most brawny and cunning might rise to leadership.
6Under their Lord of Misrule, who gains and maintains popular support by issuing the most pleasant, entertaining edicts.
7By way of sophist-gangs who debate opponents into submission.
8With ultimogeniture-practicing aristocratic families.
9According to personal codes of honour, the tenets of which they tattoo symbolically on their faces.
10With farmers and herders at the top of their hierarchy.
11According to the commandments of their generally-puritanical religion.
12By mocking imitations of human polities.
13With a caste of scholars and storytellers who deliberate decisions with the weight and inertia of generations of accumulated wisdom.
14In decentralized communities guided by elected mayors.
15With charismatic leaders and their revelations.
16By a web of dynastic politics and feuds among clans.
17Under despotic mages who can punish and reward invisibly, untraceably.
18Under four seasonal courts who exchange power with the changing of the seasons. Each halfling is at least a minor functionary in one of them. Membership in multiple is forbidden.
19Under libertarian principles.
20Under a king who is forced into absolute poverty as a condition of their authority.
D20Among humans, these halflings:
1Perform labour that would otherwise be assigned to children.
2Act with exaggerated bravado and aggression to compensate for the size difference.
3Are mistrusted, seen as sneak-thieves and child-snatchers.
4Are seen as comedic, and mostly find work as fools and clowns.
5Perform delicate manual labour, finding work as cobblers and weavers among other things.
6Are overlooked, beneath notice.
7Are prestigious servants in wealthy households.
8Are mercenaries famed for their skill with slings.
9Are sought-after chefs and brewers.
10Are chimneysweeps, ratcatchers, and other professions where tight spaces are the working environment.
11Are counterfeiters and similar sorts of clever criminals.
12Are actors, prostitutes, spies, and similar shameful professions.
13Are killed on sight, for poorly understood historical reasons.
14Are condemned to squalorous quarters in sewers, trashheaps, and other dark, dank margins.
15Are attributed with magical powers of illusion and enchantment.
16Operate a grand conspiracy.
17Are believed to be a myth.
18Are commonly found as hirelings for adventurers.
19Are given unwanted orphans, as it’s believed their childlike appearance makes them of a like sort.
20Are held accountable by their own laws rather than human laws, and so find odd professions and workarounds in the crossover between those legal systems.