Hex-map of the Grand Hyperborean Upland

For the past 15 months, I’ve been running a campaign I call Spear! Fang! Raygun! which is basically a dreamscape where I’ve taken all my childhood/teenage love for The HerculoidsSpace GhostThundarr the Barbarian (who gets way more attention than the other two in today’s RPG community), He-Man, and Conan and all his imitators and shoved them through my adult brain to grant the campaign a consistent tone and aesthetic. Here’s a photo of the player character party’s miniatures for the campaign:


From left to right: Myrn, Cleavehilda, Frax! the Taller, Rok, Borgoth!, Darkaar, Gruul, and Fly Stargroove.

So far, it’s coming along great, and I hope to be posting A LOT about it in the coming months as I dredge up the focus necessary to put together a small ‘zine of content.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on maps for the setting along with a lot of homebrewed content. For a while, I was using David Sell’s “Pocket Dimensions” for all of my hex-maps in the campaign, but overuse has worn them out, so I’ve started a project of redrawing, at a slightly larger scale, all of the maps for the campaign.

In each of the 6-mile hexes in the map below I’ve drawn, or at least attempted to draw, the major feature to be discovered therein. How my campaign’s sandbox works is that each of these maps represents a region, which forms a 36-mile hex of the larger map. As is unusual for me, I’ve not actually drawn a detailed, representational map of the whole campaign setting, which in this case is a small dimension called the Forlorn Plateau (more info coming in a later post).

Anyway, here’s the map and below is a key, and you’re free to use this for whatever, non-commercial purposes you want:

Grand Hyperborean Upland.jpg


  1. Impossible Peaks
  2. Incredible Peaks
  3. Impossible Peaks
  4. The Steps of No Pity for the Weak
  5. Empty Tundra
  6. Hot Springs and Geysers
  7. Improbable Peaks
  8. Impossible Hyperborean Peaks
  9. Incredible Peaks
  10. Empty Tundra
  11. Empty Tundra
  12. Empty Tundra along the shores of the Lake of Tombs
  13. “Tomb” of Moork!
  14. Impersonal Peaks
  15. Hyperborean Tors
  16. Hot Springs & Geysers
  17. Cacti Forest of Fthuggai
  18. Fungal Shores of the Lake of Tombs
  19. The Lake of Tombs
  20. Fossilized Coleopteran Army
  21. Improbable Hyperborean Peaks
  22. White Pylon
  23. Cacti Forest of Fthuggai
  24. Empty Tundra/Shores of the Lake of Tombs
  25. Glacier
  26. Impassable Hyperborean Tors
  27. Golden Dome Dojo
  28. Cacti Forest of Fthuggai
  29. Lost City of the Hyperboreans/insectoid civilization
  30. Impossible Hyperborean Peaks
  31. Glacier-bound Menagerie of the Preserver
  32. Global Locus of Omniscience Access Brain (GLOAB) Facility
  33. Improbable Hyperborean Peaks
  34. Impossible Peaks
  35. Impossible Hyperborean Peaks



Req. Con 14
Prime Constitution
Hit Die 6 hit points per level
Attack As a fighter
Saves As a dwarf, +1 versus heat and cold effects; +3 versus radiation; immunity to poison; immune to stun and blind attacks as a result of attacking the senses

Kill! Kill! Kill! Built to fight in the brutal proxy wars of the Ancients, Murderbots are relics of a more civilized age. Every Murderbot, possibly a thousand or more years old, is a paragon of Atomic Age aesthetic and know-how, and they are also completely insane, at least for a machine designed to eradicate organic life. While all Murderbots are born to kill, within every model has emerged a unique personality  (a flaw of their neural processors) that allows them to generally get along with others. Couple this with a stylish, Googie design to help them stand out among the dreary rabble of the apocalypse in their wasteland chic, and Murderbots are unstoppable.

(For the purposes of being turned by a technopriest, Murderbots are Class D robots.)

Level Experience Title Hit Points
1 0 Killbot 6
2 3,001 Roboslayer 12
3 6,001 Autoslayer 18
4 12,001 Mechanokiller 24
5 24,001 Terminator 30
6 48,001 Ex-terminator 36
7 96,001 Kill-o-drone 42
8 192,001 Warmachine 48
9 492,001 Murderbot! 54
10 892,001 Doom of All

Organic Life



Metal Skin – Murderbots are encased in what had been state-of-the-art  plasteel, giving them an Armor Class of 3. This plasteel can be reinforced by someone trained in robotics, or just able to use a welder or hammer or screws.

Components – Murderbots may choose three class 1 mutations; or one class 1 mutations and one class 2 mutation; or one class 3. The Murderbot may replace “components” if they scavenge the necessary tech. The formula for replacing components is 1 for 1, so to add a class 3 component, three class 1’s or a class 1 and class 2 must be removed. The Murderbot cannot replace any aspect of its Robotype (see below) as that is part of its essential design.

Healing – Magical healing heals robots because it’s magic, but robots do not heal naturally. Instead, they require maintenance from someone familiar with robotics.

Random Access PTSD – Possibly a thousand years old, the neural networks and heuristic processes of Murderbots function in a state of perpetual decline. As they increase in level, Murderbots have the potential of short circuiting and going berserk during combat after their first kill, as their combat heuristic randomly accesses traumatic battles of the past for tactical computation. Each round, the Murderbot must make a technology roll to use an executive override of their functions and return to normal; others may attempt, as well, by jacking into the Murderbot’s neural processor, if they dare get close enough.

Lvl. Chance of Short Circuit

1-3)      2-in-12
4-6)      3-in-12
7-9)      4-in-12
10)       5-in-12

Robotype – By the end of the civilized age, the mass-production of Murderbots was such that as one fell on the Neo-Atomic Age battlefields, another was ready to take its place. So Muderbots come in a variety of forms, with the means of locomotion, neural processing, and murdering varying between models. When creating a Murderbot, roll for robotype in each column on the table below to determine its type. Beware, many of these come with drawbacks.

Locomotion (1d6) Neural Processor (1d8) Means of  Murder (1d6)
1 Treads: +2 Con, -1 Dex; +4 against being knocked prone; trouble with stairs Brain in Jar: +/-2 Int depending on quality of brain, need fresh one per month; side effect of additional knowledge/powers from brain may occur Buzzsaw Hands: two atks, 1d8 dmg each; however buzzsaws… is your hands
2 Bipedal: +1 Dex; you get around as easily as a human; -2 against being knocked prone; Kill Quota: To function, must kill # of living beings per week per level; +1 atk/dmg per kill for rest of day Gamma Beam: single telescoping eye fires gamma pulse in 30 ft. cone, class 3 radiation, twice per day; 1-in-6 gets stuck, fires in random direction
3 Armadillidiidaeiform; roll up in a ball; 1d8 collision dmg; children love you; difficulty stopping and turning over Preset Kill Limit: humanitarian killing machine; once killing 10d20, shut down permanently; driven by destiny; +4 saves versus Death Gout o’ Flame: breathe fire in 20 ft. line 2d6 dmg; consumes 1 gal. petroleum; tank holds 3 gal.
4 Hov-a-round: hover between ~1-5 ft. over solid ground; sputters out at inopportune times (Luck check) Quantum Braided Tesseracts: top of the line brain; +4 Int; 2-in-6 to get hints from DM 1/day; prone to pathological, destructive ennui (see GM for details) Clamps: amazing grip; +2 Str; can crush nearly anything no more than 6” in width; love to clamp things
5 Spidery Legs: can climb any surface at 20’; sense movement w/in 60’; -4 reaction mod for creeping people out Captured Transdimensional Entity: alien sentience gives -2 Cha; intense desire to escape this reality; may cast out consciousness as arcane eye 1/day Plasma Cannon in Chest: 4d6 blast, range 30’, width 10’; overheats on 3-in-6, shutting you down for 1d4 turns
6 Rubber to the Road, Baby: you’re on wheels, or… well, one wheel; excellent balance, when moving, anyway; -1 Dex; spd 80’/rd.; stops on a dime Jury-rigged: some assembly and duct tape required; -2 Int; impossible to hack; +5% short circuit chance Rocket Fists: fists can be fired by rocket; 1d8 dmg; range 60’; 1 rd. for return/reattachment; hands function at range can be controlled, fly spd 40’
7 Laws of Robotics: cannot harm humans; determine human-ness of beings in disguise on a 3-in-6; +3 atk/dmg against mutants
8 Destructor, Eater of Worlds: You are DESTRUCTOR!!!!; severe delusions of grandiosity  from sentient virus “Destructor”; if
“plugged” into another Murderbot! or cyborg (if no neural component, conect to robo body part instead) within one turn of death, may transfer consciousness (save vs. death on the victim’s part)


Gelman (class)

This class is for my Doom Lords of the Atomic Underworld campaign. It was adapted from a class of the same name by Jeff Call, with his permission.


Req. Con 9
Prime Constitution
Hit Die d10
Attack As a cleric
Saves As a dwarf


Art by Jeff Call

The origins of the Gelmen are a mystery to even the most erudite scholars of SuperScience and Sorcery. While some claim they are undead, a last desperate attempt by the Ancients to achieve immortality, others believe Gelmen were spawned via abiogensis from some puddle of irradiated slime or biowaste. Whatever the truth, Gelmen have no culture, no towns, no religion, and no language of their own, speaking dialects of other languages known collectively as “Blorpish.”

Each Gelman appears as a blue dishwashing liquid-colored, man-shaped gelatin with a human skull floating about within its neckless head protrusion, and while variations in body-shape are common, they are always human-like: two arms, two legs, a head. At a glance, other species have a difficult , if not impossible, time telling one Gelman apart from another, but once you get to know one it’s clear they have distinct personalities, though all Gelmen share a pathologically positive attitude and are generally high on life. As such, no one can stand them. In fact, they are so abundantly positive it unnerves other living beings.

They are almost universally reviled, a fate which Gelmen accept with their usual pathological look-on-the-bright-side-at-least-we-have-each-other  attitude. If they were simply undead, it’d be one thing, most say, but why do they have to be so damn happy all the time? Having no communities of their own and only needing to absorb nutrients via their permeable membranes (many Gelman are seen with various organic bits of “food” floating around in their bodies being slowly digested over a period of several weeks, depending on the size of the meal), Gelmen are mostly found scrounging about in ruins or in ghettos in the wasteland cities exclusively around the Deathlands of Alb.

Level Experience Title Hit dice
1 0 Gelman 1d10
2 2,501 Gelman 2d10
3 5,001 Gelman 3d10
4 10,001 Gelman 4d10
5 20,001 Gelman 5d10
6 40,001 Gelman 6d10
7 80,001 Gelman 7d10
8 120,001 Gelman 8d10
9 240,001 Still a Gelman 9d10
10 480,001 Gelman 10d10


Vaguely Amorphous – While Gelmen retain a vaguely humanoid shape by default (think of it as a psychological Jell-O mold), they may temporarily shape their bodies into other conceivable shapes in order to squeeze through holes (so long as their skull can fit through), hide behind oddly-shaped objects, or elongate themselves Stretch Armstrong-style. (This ability is open to interpretation by player and GM.)

Gelatinous Physiology – Being that they’re basically made of Jell-O, Gelmen cannot wear armor of any sort, but fortunately they are extraordinarily resilient. They take only half damage from falling and blunt weapons and are immune to Backstabbing  and Critical Hits. Against projectile weapons, such as laser blasts or arrows, as a reaction, Gelmen get a 1-in-6 chance to create a hole in their bodies for the shot to harmlessly pass through. Additionally, they may store items within their bodies, though doing so subjects the items to their paralytic digestive protoplasm (any item stored in such a way must pass a saving throw per day or be damaged, after three days the item is disintegrated).

Paralytic Digestive Protoplasm – Gelmen may coat their weapons in their own protoplasm to add a paralytic poison to their attacks (save vs. Paralysis if hit or be paralyzed for 1d3 rds.); doing so, however, may destroy the weapon, which must make a saving throw every time this is done. Failure means the weapon has been corroded, giving it a -1 penalty to hit and to damage. Additionally, enemies who attack Gelmen with their natural weapons must make a save versus paralysis or be paralyzed for 1d3 rds.

Pathologically Bubbling Positivity – Nothing, absolutely nothing, seems to bring a Gelman down. Something about their sticky, viscid existence just makes them optimistic. As such, a Gelman can pop back from apparently any setback, healing at twice the rate as a human and receiving double the amount of magical healing from spells.

Shirriffs and Bounders

To begin, here are the design concepts  of the Southfarthing Confidential, a halfling police procedural game/setting I’m writing:

Shirriffs and Bounders

Re-reading the prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring about a year back, it dawned on me that I had never seen anyone do anything, as far as I was and am aware, game-wise with the concept of halfling policemen. Ol’ J.R.R. writes about the ‘Shirriffs’ in “Of the Ordering of the Shire:

‘The Shirriffs was the name that the Hobbits gave to their police, or the nearest equivalent they possessed. They had, of course, no uniforms (such as things being quite unknown), only a feather in their caps; and they were in practice rather haywards than policemen, more concerned with the strayings of beasts than of people. There were in all the Shire only twelve of them, three in each Farthing, for Inside Work. A rather larger body, varying at need, was employed to “beat the bounds”, and to see that Outsiders of any kind, great or small, did not make themselves a nuisance.

At the time when this story begins the Bounders, as they were called, had been greatly increased. There were many reports and complaints of strange persons and creatures prowling about the borders, or over them: the first sign that all was not quite as it should be, and always had been except in tales and legends of long ago.’

Wow! Somehow, in the dozen or so times I’ve probably read that prologue, this never quite stood out to me as prominently as it did this once. I’d encountered the idea of halfling guards or policemen-like operators only one other time in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying Game career of ‘fieldwarden.’ I’m not familiar enough with the Middle Earth Roleplaying Game to say if there is anything there about, but I’ll be investigating that soon.

My first impulse was to run a Middle-earth campaign set in the shire where the PCs were bounders, but quickly the whole idea sounded really boring–lots of fighting off dwarves, goblins, and men. That didn’t really sound all that exciting and to be honest, I’m not a very serious person and while halflings are inherently hilarious, this wasn’t doing it for me. Then it hit me: pipeweed!

Pipeweed Prohibition

Back when Peter Jackson’s movies came out I remember a lot of jokes about Old Toby’s purported mildly hallucinogenic effects, which is, of course, entirely untrue, but I digress. Still, the halfling love of the leaf was an interesting element, seeing that Tolkien had just devoted an entire section of the prologue to it, as well. So, I wondered, what if pipeweed was more marijuana-like, or at least, what if it came to be seen as a social ill among the Shirefolk?

Quickly, the whole idea of setting this in the Shire was dropped, and I started thinking of the consequences of pipeweed being made illegal. Not by any leap of the imagination this led to the idea of organized crime, increased police (Shirriff) funding, and the idea that Bounders (having jurisdiction across and outside the Farthings) were pretty much G-men. Then what about dwarves? They were more accepted into the halfling lands than others, but it was clear they weren’t exactly welcome…

It all started to come together. All it needed was a bit of a push. Halflings always had that shtick in games of being slightly not on the up-and-up anyway. So why not take the bucolic wonderland of the Shire and its almost Elysium-like pastures and treat it as if it were really as sleazy as 1970s NYC or ’80s Miami?

Of course, this was absolutely ridiculous, but somehow it made so, so much sense. Halfling mafioso and cow-path pushers. Hardboiled halfling shirriffs whose experience chasing roving cattle has given them the tools to take them on. Or the younger Shirriffs like the loose sling who, at any moment, might go over the edge. Or the gloomy bounder who’s close to being discovered after years working ‘underhill.”

‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.’


Yeah, this was the shit. But I had to find a way to make it work. So that’s what I’ll be doing in this blog (some of the times). Any ideas anyone has to throw my way are appreciated. So far I’ve ran a brief campaign using D&D 5th ed. and a con game at NTRPG Con. They were both well-received and a lot of fun. I might start up an online game, too, for the purpose of working things out. If anyone is interested, I’ll definitely be looking for players.

Tomb of Idiosyncratic… [Area A]

This is the first section of my Tomb of Idiosyncratic Glandular and Neurochemical Response to Abrupt Sympathetic Nervous System Stimulation. This is an ongoing project where I draw isometric maps of individual areas of the dungeon and detail them.

The full map and background for the Tomcan be found here, but as of right now it is unlabeled. I’ll be labeling it and updating as I go.

Area A – Pool of the Disgruntled Gator-People
The smell of rotting fish and non-aquatic organisms overpowers anyone who area-a-bwapproaches this 40′ by 20′ by 30’pool. The water is the color and general low viscosity of baby poo following an
abundant helping of pea mash. Dead fish float and bob in the water, along with the occasional human hand (1 in 6 chance of bearing a magic ring) belonging to some previous ne’er or e’er-do-well who sought the lich Gabothax’s treasure.

Two gator-men (one a gator-woman) by the names of Slackmaw and Ralph are stationed at this pool to guard the entrance. They were hired recently after Lazzgrazzathax attended a conference on advanced dungeon stocking methods. Slackmaw and Ralph are unionized and disgruntled due to Gabothax’s paternal leave policies. At any given time there is a 2 in 6 chance that Slackjaw will be away from the pool while Ralph remains  behind alone, due to said policies banning the father from taking time off to sit with his clutch. When not guarding the entrance at the pool, Slackjaw can be found tending to their clutch of eggs at a nearby river or creek. It is important to note that gator-men are loving parents. If Ralph is found alone at the pool, PCs might be able to convince him to let them pass by offering sympathy for his situation.

Creatures: 2 Gator-people. room-a-iso

Cryo and Med Bay [Friday Map]

The following map is from my Wednesday night Voyages of the Mutual of Omaha Starship Vonnegut Metamorphosis Alpha/Mutant Future game. We’re three sessions in and the PCs have spent the majority of their time attempting to escape from the cryochambers in which they’ve been frozen for 500 years. The facility is embedded in a false cliff face along the wall of a deck which contains a 30 mile wide lake biome, which can be seen from the glass elevator at the top left and through the viewing area/lounge (with conversation pits) at the bottom left.





Don’t Call it a Hill Fort [Tuesday Map]

James Aulds, one of my Patreon backers and fellow player in Chris Kutalik’s Hill Cantons campaign, asked me to draw a war-bear hill fort, since he’s been playing Starilak (sp), a war-bear who has a healthy relationship with his polearm.

So, I’m obliging, I think. I’m not too happy with this sort of a hill fort, so I might return to it later, but in the meantime, here’s a war-bear hill fort for James.