Wednesday, April 29, 2020

D20x5 Radical Religions

Thanks to Throne of Salt for these questions, relayed from an NPR podcast or something (in November 2018, these things can sit around for a while), thesis being that religions have five central questions:

-How am I here?
-Why am I here?
-How do I know right from wrong?
-Why do bad things happen?
-What happens when I die?

Here’s twenty answers to each of those questions, to be composited into the base of a con-religion or whatever else.

I used the non-specific “divine”, replace with God/gods/the Force as you like.

Generator automator can be found here:

D20 How am I here?
1 Once we were merely animals, the same as any other, but the divine saw potential in us and gave us the gifts of speech and rational thought.
2 When the world began the divine was alone, and wept tears of loneliness. They gathered up their tears and some dust, and molded it into us.
3 When the divine gave out their gifts to all living things we were the cleverest, and let the others take claws, or shelter from the elements, or delicious fruits, and when those were gone we took the ability to make or take those things for ourselves.
4 Nothing truly begins or ends, but everything is always changing. How you are now is simply the form we are currently taking.
5 Once there was another moon in the sky. The sun impregnated this moon, and it hatched into us. We must honour this lost moon as we do our own mothers, and the remaining moon as we do our mother’s sister.
6 We were transcendent spirits once, but we were caught in creation as fish are in a net and have been trapped ever since. The divine gives us favour as an apology for this.
7 The divine shaped us from mud and moss. We were low, but they raised us high.
8 We were once worms, but we grew in the divine’s own meat and so we metamorphosed into something far greater than flies.
9 The divine usurped their predecessor, and from the mingled blood of that struggle we arose.
10 The divine got drunk one cosmic night and mistakenly created us.
11 Emergent complexity in interacting systems over a very long period of time.
12 When the light of the divine first shone on the world we were awakened by it from the sleep of nonexistence.
13 A monkey fucked a pig, a pig fucked a monkey, and then those two couples’ children found each other and fucked. Those children were our ancestors.
14 There was once a race of beings which were enemies of the divine. That race was defeated, and accepted diminution rather than death. Those that were diminished and swore loyalty to the divine are our ancestors.
15 The divine swept the shavings from another creation onto their floor, and those shavings coalesced into us and our world.
16 The divine was hungry one day, and found a block of salt to lick. By the time they were satisfied the block had been licked into the shape of a freakish creature with two heads, four arms, and four legs. The divine threw away the block in shock, and it broke apart into the first man and the first woman.
17 The wind became amorous one day, and carved a stone into a lover. The wind then breathed life into its lover, and they conceived many offspring. The wind and stone are our ancestors.
18 Not even the divine knows. We simply appeared one day.
19 We were once inchoate things from outside the world and the divine, and were attracted to the warmth and fixedness of creation.
20 Some part of the divine surrendered their power to create the world and make it lasting. That part was our ancestors.
D20 Why am I here?
1 To act as the hands of the divine and work their raw creation into more refined forms. It is most favoured by the divine to refine our fellows into more useful workers.
2 To tell stories and act out new stories to entertain the divine.
3 To keep the world in balance so that the divine may have some rest from their duties.
4 Because the divine has willed you to be. It is not in our ability to comprehend or question beyond that.
5 To serve as the army of the holy against the unholy, to battle it in body and spirit.
6 To follow the proper ways and become divine yourself.
7 To engage in contests with people who believe different things about the world and the divine, and prove that our way is best through victory.
8 To sow the world, cultivate it, and clear it of pests so that it is ready for the final harvest.
9 We are each born with a purpose, but this purpose cannot be known to any other but yourself. Contemplate this mystery, have faith in the divine, and one day you will be enlightened.
10 To witness the genius of creation and give praise for it to the divine.
11 To accumulate wealth so that you can distribute it as gifts to win favour with your fellows.
12 To cultivate something greater than ourselves.
13 To attain a moment of perfect clarity and oneness with existence.
14 So that the divine may know themself through our eyes.
15 To prove that we among all the divine’s creations are worthiest to receive their grace.
16 To one day make worlds of our own.
17 To build an eternal and pious nation that stretches across the world.
18 To be fruitful and multiply.
19 To challenge your mortal limits and go beyond them.
20 To contemplate and calculate, and thereby cause higher thought to spring from base matter.
D20 How do I know right from wrong?
1 If you do things the right way, you will become strong, healthy, and clean. If you do things the wrong way, you will become weak, sick, and befouled. For an individual to follow the right way, their community must go along it first.
2 That which causes pain, grief, and suffering is wrong. That which brings pleasure and joy is right.
3 Experience is the foundation of wisdom, and so the best way to know right from wrong is to obey your elders.
4 If you are one who fights, to do right is to attain glory, and to do wrong is to be cowardly. If you are one who makes, the right thing to do is to make many fine things, and the wrong thing to do is to make few wretched things. If you are one who rules, the right thing to do is demonstrate the favour of the divine, and the wrong thing to do is lose this favour.
5 Right actions are those that increase the welfare and power of your clan. Wrong actions are those that weaken your clan or aid their enemies.
6 If you are ever in doubt about what is right and what is wrong, you need only consult our oldest stories, which were first shared with us by the divine.
7 With reason and intuition. The ability to know right from wrong for yourself is among the greatest gifts of the divine.
8 Study the sacred texts, and interpret the secret meanings which appear only to the wise.
9 Constantly question and critique the way things are now to determine how they should be.
10 Peace and mercy are right, violence and anger are wrong.
11 Truthful things are right, deceitful things are wrong.
12 You will know you’re on the right path when you triumph over beasts, tame wildness, and build great things.
13 Becoming knowledgeable, cultured and learned is right, wallowing in ignorance is wrong.
14 The foundations of right action are order and intent, the base of wrong action is chaos. Ordered things may not always be right, but disordered things never are.
15 Right and wrong are decided by consensus. When in doubt, consult with those around you.
16 The divine leaves signs and omens in the world which indicate the right and wrong things to do when read properly.
17 New things are dangerous, and often wrong, so it’s best to do things as they’ve been done since the beginning.
18 Relinquish your ego and let the divine act through you, and you will do right.
19 Only the divine may know that for certain.
20 Proper and improper choices are revealed to you through dreams, though often obliquely.
D20 Why do bad things happen?
1 The world itself was wounded by some primordial strife, and misfortune is the festering of that wound.
2 Bad things happen because there are evil sorcerers who allow beings which do not belong in the world into it.
3 Bad things happen when we falter and do not correctly perform the rituals which ward them away.
4 In order to strengthen us, as the pounding hammer strengthens iron.
5 Because like attracts like, and so our evil thoughts and actions draw bad things to us.
6 Because there is an anti-world opposite ours which sends bad things as weapons of war.
7 Because the divine is not all-powerful, and cannot prevent all misfortunes.
8 Because the divine is not all-knowing, and so we must send them our prayers and ensure they are inclined to listen.
9 Because the divine is fickle, and sometimes chooses to let misfortune occur.
10 Because we have strayed from what is right, and so the divine sends bad things to punish us.
11 Because the divine is in constant struggle with their equal and opposite, who desires bad things where the divine desires the good.
12 Because there is a finite supply of good fortune in the world, and so one’s pursuit of it will leave another without it.
13 Bad only exists as a subjective judgement, what is bad for one is good for another.
14 Because the divine has gifted us freedom of choice, to choose to create good or ill in the world through our actions.
15 Because without bad things we would not know good.
16 Because bad things are like a spice or silence which causes us to appreciate the good even more than we otherwise could.
17 Because we are wretched creatures and that is our lot.
18 Because we live in the best of all possible multiverses, and that requires worlds where the total good only just outweighs the total bad such as ours.
19 Because we live in an imperfect world removed from the divine.
20 Because the divine suffers eternally, and we can help ease that suffering by sharing it.
D20 What happens when I die?
1 The divine will consume you and be nourished by you, and you will become part of it as what you consume nourishes and becomes part of you.
2 You become a part of all your children and they will carry that part on to their children when they die. If you die without children you will be lost.
3 You will attend to and be tested by the divine, who will use those tests to judge what sort of station you deserve to be born into in your next life.
4 You will sleep within the earth until the next world is created, where you will awaken refreshed and refleshed.
5 If you have acted the right way, you will be rewarded with a fitting palace on the dark side of the moon. If you have acted the wrong way, you will be made a slave in one of those palaces.
6 As long as you are remembered, you will live on past your body in the place people go when they dream.
7 If the correct rites have been performed for you, you will be brought to the sacred land beneath the mountains and lakes, where you will live like you did here only easier and happier. If the rites were not performed, or performed incorrectly, you will be stuck here and become an evil spirit.
8 You will be reborn as the beings who feed on your body. That is why we leave evil people out for the worms, why good people are raised up where birds can get to them, and why it is honourable for animals to allow themselves to be eaten by us.
9 Your spirit will go and inhabit the idol we make in the image of your body, and living people will leave offerings for you so they will be able to call on you for favours. Those who have no idols, or those whose idols have been destroyed and not replaced, will try to take another’s body for their own, and this is what causes sickness.
10 You will have to undergo a perilous journey to the place where the sun goes when it sets, but if you succeed then the sun will make you into a star so that you will live in warmth, light, and good company forever.
11 The divine will transform your heart into a jewel in their regalia, and the purer your heart is the more beautiful the jewel made from it will be. The more impressive the divine’s regalia is the higher their status will become, and as their status rises they will grant us more favour.
12 Everything that you are will disappear and your body will molder until nothing remains. What matters is this life, this world, and what you do in it.
13 Your spirit will escape your flesh and join the divine as a minor divinity in and of yourself.
14 You will then live out your life backwards in the place which lies on the other side of mirrors, and when you die there you will return to the beginning of your life here again, and so on in eternal recurrence.
15 You will be brought to the garden of the divine with all others who have died before you. If in this life you were good then the fruits of that place will be plentiful and sweet, you will find shade when you want it and light when you want that. If you were not, then the stinging insects and the hungry wolves will hunt you no matter how you flee.
16 You will be dead. If the divine finds you worthy before that then they will take you and make you immortal to live with them forever.
17 The answer to that lies behind a veil which the divine has not seen fit to raise for us. Heed not the lies of the necromancers.
18 You will be thrown on the fire tended by the divine. The wicked shall be burned to ashes while the righteous shall become beings of sweet smoke.
19 The whole of your life shall be recorded in the songs of the divine, to be sung for all time to your shame or renown, depending on how you lived.
20 You will be made into a part of the land, to expand creation or refresh a senescent part of it. If you lived well then your land will be pleasant. If you lived poorly then it will be barren.

Monday, April 27, 2020


þanon untydras ealle onwocon
eotenas ond ylfe ond orcneas
swylce gigantas þa wið gode wunnon
lange þrage he him ðæs lean forgeald 

   —Boku no Pico, Fitt I, vv. 111–14

"Orcneas is translated "evil spirits" above, but its meaning is uncertain. Klaeber suggested it consisted of orc < L. orcus "the underworld" + neas "corpses", which the translation "evil spirits" failed to do justice.[9][c] It is generally supposed to contain an element -né, cognate to Gothic naus and Old Norse nár, both meaning 'corpse'.[10] The usual Old English word for corpse is líc, but -né appears in nebbed 'corpse bed',[11] and in dryhtné 'dead body of a warrior', where dryht is a military unit. If *orcné is to be glossed as orcus 'corpse', the meaning may be "corpse from Orcus (i.e. the underworld)", or "devil-corpse", understood as some sort of walking dead creature.[9]"

   —Wikipedia, Orc, Paragraph 7

Hell does not hold its dead quite so tightly as the Church would have you believe, for a sinner's soul is a tattered thing and the foundations of the Earth have many cracks. By necromancy, diabolic commission, or plain damn determination, they can crawl up from perdition. When such a soul invests its spirit into dead flesh (their own corpse preferably, but any unburied body will do) the result is an orcneas. Whoever they once were they've been harrowed by their time in the pit. Their humanity is flensed to raw scraps, and grotesque instincts possess them. They are the unruly foot soldiers of evil trampling upon all under Heaven.

From the Castlevania show, which is alright I guess

Hellish Urge
What’s in its pocket/sack/buttcrack
To covet and steal what’s precious to others, a miser’s gold or a beggar’s bread
Tatterdemalion bat-wings, can fly, but plummets out of the air if it takes damage
Mortally fearful of fire
Gas-bloated pig skin. Explodes very noisily, pungently when struck or lit
To bully and cow and receive flattery
Covered in shaggy, matted, reeking fur, AC is one step better (e.g. leather => chain)
Empty fire-and-brimstone performances of piety
A convincing forgery of a papal indulgence
To blaspheme and desecrate
Translucent flesh, organs and bones swimming within, can squeeze through any opening big enough to fit its skull
Loves to sing, bad at it
Mixed bottle of piss, vomit, and unholy water
Gluttony, to eat past its fill into everyones’ share
Long snuffling snout, can sniff out anyone who’s wounded from 100 feet away
Has forgotten how to talk but wants to repent
Docile pet animate rat skeleton
To break beautiful things and bring despair
Slimy skin, can breathe and move as normal underwater
Kept a drug habit from its first life, can be easily bribed with narcotics
Rusty yet functional manacles
To ingratiate only to betray when trust is won
Cloven feet but otherwise indistinguishable from human
Believes it’s still in Hell, that anything could be a demon in disguise
A dried gourd full of broken teeth that rattle near priests and sacred things.
To collect grudges and wreak horrific vengeance
Impressive curling horns, morale two points higher than normal
Fond of blood sports, will delay killing for a fox tossing contest or the like
Brass horn of frightful timbre, molded to look like roaring dragon
To hurt those weaker than itself
Barbed quills, missing an attack on it from close combat inflicts 1d4 damage
Self-pitying brute-poet, waxes at length on the indignity of its condition
Filth-crusted shank, save vs. random disease when wounded, breaks on a critical failure

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Silvertine Coast

Kyana over at Noise Sans Signal posted a bunch of maps over here: This is based on that.

Go and stand on a scale. Whatever number the scale displays, a disturbing proportion of it will take the form of plastic. Microplastic, nanoplastic, pieces of plastic thinner than a hair. The same would be true for a dog, a turtle, a fish, if you could hold them on the scale long enough to take their measure. The same would be true in a thousand years even if all plastic production stopped tomorrow.

Cyborgs, the fusion of living and inanimate matter, have become the dominant form of post-industrial life. For now the incorporation is strictly negative for the living bits of us. Cancer, weakened immune systems, congenital deformities, and so on. Who is to say this will always be the case? In a million years or more, our waste and pollution might become as vital to life as carbon. But I digress:

The Silvertine Coast

Only here and nowhere else are the trees silver. Solemn spruces glint in the light of the distant sun (which seems to blind yet never warm) from the Sea of Slush's edge to the Deadline in the west, a winding trail of toxic dirt that cuts a clean demarcation between the silver and the green.

The people of the Coast tend to sickliness, and view growing old with a quiet dread. Most eke out subsistence by farming oats, rye, and cystroot, or by herding caribou. Their most personal possession are their elaborately carved goggles, which shield from the glare off the silver trees. They tend to take heavy matters lightly and light matters seriously. It is said that on the Silvertine Coast life is cheap and precious as fresh air.

1: 'Pon-the-Breach

A town built up around and upon a cyclopean stone bridge that straddles the Deadline, the preferred point of entry for visitors to the Coast. The Deadline itself forms a natural road, through the Chimneys in the south along the way to the Sunken Palace, and north to Thaw. Merchants that have been bullied or swindled off of richer routes come here to trade for trinkets of odd composition and unclear use, which are as common in the Silvertine soil as stones. Mutants too congregate from abroad in 'Pon-the-Breach, for here in the Coast such features are common, their abnormalities seen as no more aberrant than a beauty mark. There is a regrettable exception for those mutants who cannot speak. They are called 'yabos', and hold a position legally equivalent to caribou.

The town is ruled by a carcinomic troll named Thuggy Thorence who lives under its bridge. He maintains a poaching ring, snatching the few exotic yet still delicious game animals from the kinglet's silver woods, and this is known by everyone. Almost no one knows that he's also subverted the royal wardens. On the excuse of pursuing some poacher's lure he can send them on his bidding into the Coast's dens and wreckage, to retrieve the rare still-functioning artifacts of the time when the Silvertine was green.

2: The Sunken Palace

Down past the Chimneys (which aren't volcanoes, but smoke nonetheless) and their rasping packs of Jobby-Lobber Monkeys, you'll see thin towers at the end of the road, sprouting like petrified fungi from sod-mounds. This is the Sunken Palace, which in its relative splendour has been the home of the Silvertine's kinglets for as many generations as anyone besides them can be bothered to remember. Like an iceberg the greatest part of its mass lies in pipes and warrens beneath the surface, the towers reserved for the royal household itself. The servants scurry beneath. The tunnels run farther than anyone knows, and some conspirators who thought their whispers unheard a dozen miles away have been shocked by liveried and mud-caked butlers boiling up from their basement brandishing silverware cleavers.

The kinglets' line is withered, they grow old before they have a chance to be young. In their eyes are silver cataracts that see the will-bes, have-beens, might-have-beens of the Coast (and only of the Coast, they're blind to things from beyond), as though through a shattered mirror or the facets of an insect's compounding. They are quite unhinged from linear reason. Many hold that they have no authority beyond their portents, that true lordship of the Coast lies in the polished hands of the head housekeeper. Certainly the current kinglet has little interest beyond revenging himself upon insults (mention of Thuggy Thorence can drive him into apoplexy), and hosting soirees with fashions and cuisines that have not been popular for centuries, or perhaps never were in this reality.

3: Lake Brine

Scholars surmise that the Sea of Slush once sloshed well beyond the current bounds of the Coast, based on the salty remnant it left in Lake Brine. A blessed remnant it's turned out to be indeed.

Lake Brine rings an accursed island, an island which by royal decree was given a name too sprawling to speak or write in order to limit dissemination of its existence. Of all the ruins in the land those on the island are best preserved. They present a tempting target, for ancient treasures are coveted in all times and places, but the island was not left as a vault for treasures. The steely cylinders entombed in its haunted halls hold death in a thousand kinds. In local legend the kinglets of the Silvertine were once kings, with a kingdom worthy of the title. The kingdom crashed down some misfortunate day when a cylinder was unearthed and cracked. After three nights and a day there were too many dead for the living to bury, pierced through from within and without by growing horns. Since then there have been other cylinders, other plagues, but the population was too thin to incubate such a catastrophe again.

Hopefully the story would disabuse the adventurous of any desire to come to the island, but if you did! Ah, if you did. The Lake's shore is patrolled by the kinglet's men (patrolled thinly now, for this forces are not what they used to be), its depths by hungry multi-mouthed fish that can go so long between eating. In the halls where the cylinders lie: lockdown devices, containment procedures, things that should be dead, things that are dead yet never died.

But why would you come here? Do you seek death? Death for others, death for all? Perhaps you've heard of what the island holds even deeper than its plagues. A snippet of a rumour, from a guy who knows a guy who heard of a guy who died old and happy ages ago. That the island was not just made to hold death, but to cure it. A cure for everything. The panacea.

4: Castle Lily-Blue

Named for the pale lilies that paint the broad shoals of the Sea of Slush, which blush a bright shade of blue in the waters near the castle (the castle itself being grey as lead, or an incandescent cherry-red along its vanes on the warmest days of the year). Castle Lily-Blue sits at a key defensive position against threats coming in from the Sea, whether they be raiders from the archipelago clans, mutant seals, glow-devils, clackety-men, or whatever else is disgorged from the slush, the north of the Coast being shielded by its mountains and high cliffs, the south by its ruptures and worn canals. Even in the deadest night of winter the castle is warm, its moat steaming.

By tradition that's lasted longer than any power has held it (and the castle, or at least its foundation, has stood for a very, very long time), the fortress is garrisoned by twins, and triplets, and all the other human litters (a common occurrence here), and such service holds perhaps the highest honour on the Coast. Even the castle's yabos enjoy a level of privilege. The popular explanation for this practice is that its warriors will fight most courageously in defense of their closest blood. There is a deeper, less heroic truth. So many of the enemies fought by the garrison carry a taint (and more cynical voices claim the castle itself does too), a repulsive taint which warps and kills the body. But it does this in pieces, and it makes the pieces more malleable. It makes them transferable. Healthy parts can be moved to one body, tainted parts to another. The procedure is more successful the closer the relation between participants. A term of service of years can be extended to decades, and veterans are needed for the enemies they face.

It's said that the lilies grow blue around the castle because the coldest of all hells lies beneath it, and the flowers root in the frozen flesh of the damned. The oldest in the garrison, those who've seen their siblings disappear into their flesh, scoff at this rumour. They know the hell beneath the castle is sweltering, guttering with bale-fire.

5: Mount Curly

A sailor worth their salt on the Sea of Slush has little need for maps. They've learned the songs of Mount Curly rebounding off the cliffs, that have a particular tone and tempo in every nook and corner. The mountain, as befits its name, has been carved through in sweeping curls that act like an enormous instrument played by the northern wind.

The Sea of Slush's name comes from the strange property of its water, which once frozen is reluctant to return to fluid. Its currents are choked with icebergs. A cold skin of slush floats across the whole of its surface. Ships built to sail it bear sharp and heavy prows to break through it all.

In a land which holds little sacred Mount Curly has maintained an alien reverence simply because it can't be approached without thickly stuffing one's ears. The songs rise to such a volume as to burst your ears bloody at its foot otherwise. To attempt its peak would see your eyes rattled from your skull two-thirds up. So who built those grand structures all that way past the scream-line? What treasures might lie within? How do the shaggy-goats that pepper its scree caper so carelessly from top to bottom?

6: The Silvertine Archipelago

The archipelago clans are quite unlike the people of the rest of the Coast in thought, prone to morbid recursiveness and obsession with past slights and lost glories. Their tale-tellers recall such wonders as to rival anything in the visions of the silver-eyed kinglets: flying ships, arrows that fly through walls and armour to strike the living down, middens transformed to cornucopias, a war that split the world in two.

The clans dwell in ruins that mainlanders would fear to tread (and for good reason). A household might crampedly fill a tenth of a monolithic building, the rest abandoned as the "attic" where fume-crazed uncles holler and scamper. The cloud-scraping tower where the clans' patriarch-of-patriarchs holds court takes this to an extreme. Perhaps 1% of the place is even reliably mapped. Entire regimes have been overthrown because a feast-party was lost taking a wrong turn. It also has a great glass sphere suspended above it. The sphere can shoot laser beams, or at least it could if anyone were able to reach the control room at the tower's peak.

Besides their attitudes, Silvertiners don't tend to put a lot of stock in islander vs. mainlander identity, or in loyalty to the kinglet or patriarch. When the slush freezes deep enough you can walk from island to shore. Life is short and life is full, and someone might go from raider to herder to soldier to sailor in a single lifetime.

The further south and east you go, the closer the depths encroach on the water's surface. The sea turns lightless black, and the waves flop like dead fish (occasionally bursting up with hull-cracking force), driven by the churning of immense pressures rather than any wind. Peek overboard and glimpse sinuous bulks limned in phosphorescence. Pray that today is not a day they can come too close to the open air. Pray that you make it through, to a faster shipping route, to the hidden isles of the clackety-men, to the shining underwater cities of myth, to whatever desperate wish has brought you to this end of the earth.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

D20x5 Barefaced Banks

Cash money ain't nothin' funny

To automate the rolling of a list of your own, go here:

D20This bank was founded:
1On the order of a monarch to stimulate their nation’s economy.
2By a prospector who chanced upon a huge silver deposit.
3By a criminal syndicate to help launder their funds.
4By a retired adventurer with their amassed wealth.
5By a merchant who swore off travelling the trade routes themself after a disastrous expedition.
6Under mysterious circumstances. It seemed to simply appear one day.
7By an infamous mercenary after they collected several nobles’ ransoms at once.
8By a cult dedicated to a god of greed.
9By some ditch-diggers who discovered an ancient accounting machine.
10By a prelate who pilfered the donations of the pious.
11By a dragon to effortlessly multiply their hoard.
12By an inveterate, unnaturally lucky gambler.
13By the anti-echo of a god of finance to bring itself into existence.
14By a jaded lich who sought amusement in banality.
15By an entrepreneurial dryad entranced by the idea of millennia of compounding returns.
16By triplet-sisters who murdered each other for the controlling share.
17By a crashed alien AI as the first step of its rigourously computed plan to return to the stars.
18In secret, at first lending only to conspiracies.
19By a thieves’ guild going legit.
20By a spidery fairy-creature to expand their web of promises.
D20This bank’s headquarters:
1Is a spiralling tower that goes as far down below the earth as it does above.
2Is a fortress converted from war to commerce, though no less impregnable for it.
3Can only be accessed by a series of enchanted keys. Each further key can take you deeper into their vaults.
4Is said to be haunted by the bound ghosts of those who never fulfilled their contract to the bank.
5Is encased in ice, to better preserve the property they hold.
6Is protected by physical layers of bureaucracy, a paper fortress.
7Is carved into the beached corpse of a dragon-turtle.
8Is an entire town dedicated to the bank, the inhabitants raised from birth as its clerks and accountants.
9Is a dungeon carved down to the roots of a mountain. In its depths lurk things even the bank has forgotten.
10Is a repurposed pyramid complex, its grave goods used for seed capital, its restful dead chopped up and used for firewood.
11Lie in the tangled throats of a petrified hydra.
12Is secreted and ever-expanded by specially-bred molluscs.
13Is built on land dredged up from the seabed, an artificial promontory.
14Is slung beneath a fleet of airships, always on the move.
15Is built with pearly gates, gold-tiled floors, and fountains of rosewater: an imitation of heaven on earth.
16Is built in stacked, mirrored rings, so that a few properly situated guards can see everything that goes on within.
17Is a decoy. The bank’s real executive functions are conducted not-quite-covertly at a beerhall nearby.
18Can in desperate times be animated as a massive golem, though this consumes large quantities of expensive magical fuels.
19Keeps its vaults flooded, accessible (in theory) only by its staff of fish-men.
20Has recently been devastated by a roc seeking to steal some shinies.
D20This bank has a reputation for:
1Using the letter of agreements to drain their spirits.
2Enslaving those debtors who default.
3Being able to purchase anything.
4Funding the construction of monuments for positive publicity.
5Grinding even their own employees down to nubs.
6Taking payment in more gruesome means.
7Pursuing profit no matter the risk, loaning for any endeavour.
8Dealing with the more contract-abiding sort of maleficar.
9Internal corruption, containing many greasable wheels.
10Knowing no discrimination except against lack of liquidity.
11Gathering all the occult knowledge and artifacts they can get their hands on.
12Generous charity.
13Investing in underground fighting rings and other criminal enterprises.
14Incompetence and nepotism.
15Employing spies to gather market intel and sabotage competitors.
16Exploiting the ignorant and desperate.
17Attempting to use their economic power to acquire other sorts of power, bribing priests and princes.
18Ostentatious displays of wealth to prove their success.
19Funding all sides in a war to profit regardless of who wins.
20Collusion with certain noble families for mutual enrichment.
D20This bank wishes to fund:
1An expedition to the lands of the dead, to contact a deceased relative of its founder(s).
2A voyage to the place where the sun rises.
3The construction of an impregnable vault. Experts in security and details of treasure-protection measures will be well compensated by them.
4The construction of an artificial calculator-mind.
5The breeding of dogs able to smell debt.
6Their chairman’s ascension to autocratic domination.
7A monopolistic takeover of all other banks.
8The retrieval of an artifact-ring which spawns yet more rings every night. It’s terrible for inflation.
9The arming of an insurrection to replace the current government with one more amenable to their profit.
10The raising of an island from the sea, beyond the reach of law and taxes.
11Some industrial espionage to steal the craft secrets of the dwarves.
12The construction of a tower that stretches to heaven, to advertise their wealth to all on earth.
13A convocation of the greatest artists of the age, to patronize art that will glorify commerce unto the end of time.
14A heist on the Akashic Records, to steal the Platonic principles of banking.
15The breaking out of a devil that has been bound in a saint’s tomb for centuries, in return for its eternal service as a lawyer.
16The adoption of a fiat system of currency which it will control the supply of.
17The founding of a university unrivalled by any other under heaven, to educate a labour pool of shrewd professionals.
18The discovery of the cure for a plague ravaging the land, so the bank can win profit and influence by metering it out.
19A mass acquisition of letters patent bestowing nobility, to merge the bank’s bourgeoisie into the aristocracy.
20A theological revolution in the Church, to make usury more pleasing to God.
D20This bank collects debts:
1With a gold-skinned, many-mouthed demon. It’s said the founder bound it to the bank’s service, though which serves which in the current day is ambiguous.
2Withs its junior members, recruited from the cream of protection racket-running crops.
3With retriever-golems cast from runed silver.
4With flesh-eating beetles that have evolved to resemble precious coins.
5With government forces in their pocket with bribes.
6With consummately professional and deadly mercenaries.
7Politely and effectively, from fear of the horrific punishments they inflict on those few who do default.
8With doppelgängers of their debtors, bought from the other side of mirrors with the promise that they’ll be able to take over their copy’s life afterwards.
9With their own private secret police force, experts in the breaking of bodies and minds.
10Only sometimes, and they’re failing as a result.
11By requiring its borrowers to imbibe a slow-acting venom, and handing out doses of the antidote with repayment.
12By raising the corpses of debtors to work their debt off if they have to.
13With barbarian sellswords who sneer at the concept of currency (paid in cattle).
14With lobotomized drakes.
15In pounds of flesh if the gold won’t suffice.
16With mobs of other debtors, promised a waiver of repayment if they bring in the target.
17With squads of homunculi that are legally the property of the bank.
18An order of warrior-monks who believe that dying while saddled with debt weighs down one’s souls.
19With loathsome haunting spirits of guilt and shame.
20With brutish orphans raised to view the bank as their parent and master, riding giant magpies.