Ghost Origins

A good ghost has a good background, but it can be hard to think up a background on a spot. Here is a list of backgrounds to help.

The Lost Lover: A young woman who ran off away with a sailor, only to be sacrificed by the crew to appease the sea gods when a storm hit.

The Rising star and Fans: A famous singer and his audience who died in a theater fire.

The Time Traveler: A wizard who wanted revenge on his father, but accidentally went back too far and committed the murder before he had been conceived.

The Accidental Tourists: Sightseers who died when their touring carriage accidentally entered a desert pocket dimension with no way out.

The Informer: A barmaid who got caught buying illegal drugs. She became an undercover informer for the City Guard to avoid punishment, but the drug gang found out and had her executed.

The Tortured: Not even after they shoved needles up her toenails or held her over burning coals would she tell them where she had hidden the Book of the Moon.

The Lost: A party goer who got drunk, entered the catacombs on a dare, and never found her way back out.

The Falconer: A woman who trained and piloted giant falcons, but was eaten by her own Red Eye. Continue reading “Ghost Origins”



Another Dungeon World Monster this week. This is my first try at the “statless” monster – one that relies entirely on its special moves instead of its stats. This creature acts like a virus, harmless when outside the body, devastating when within.

Tulippe smiled at Garyver stretched out on the picnic blanket. He smiled back and told her how beautiful she looked with the sun shining off her hair. Tulippe blushed and told him he wasn’t so bad himself. The afternoon whittled away with the sweethearts eating their paper-wrapped food, talking of small things, and exchanging kisses. With the sun still bright in the sky, Garyver asked Tullippe if she had remembered to bring that dandelion wine with her. She answered by running to the stream and pulling out a glistening bottle of blonde liquid. Garyver looked just as the glass winked in the light. A stinging pain struck through his eyes and down to his feet, but then was gone. He finished the rest of the picnic, but it felt weird. The colors slightly off, the sounds slightly the wrong pitch.

As the days went by, he began experiencing more odd things. He’d feel bugs crawling over him, but no one else could see them. He’d hear people whispering about him, but when he turned to confront them, there was no one there. Despite the summer heat, he’d sometimes feel so cold, he’d cover himself in wool blankets and heavy furs. One day, the light got so bright all he could see was whiteness. He curled up in a ball and lost sense of time. He came to again at night in his bedroom. Tulippe was sleeping in a chair near his bed and a full moon shone through the window. He reached over and shook her shoulder to wake her. She opened her eyes and began to say something when she looked into his eyes. Her face froze for a second, her mouth hanging open, and then she shook her head as if trying to fix her vision.

Flikers appear as the shimmer of the sun on waters, as the sparkle on snow on a bright day, as the glitter cast by a young woman’s sequin dress, and anywhere else light twinkles. Usually they pass through the air harmlessly. But when infused with light, they gain the temporary ability to enter the eyes of anyone looking directly at them.  Once inside the body, they disrupt the host’s senses, slowly driving them insane. The afflicted have run off cliffs, clawed out their own eyes, and dumped boiling water over their head. Only extreme measures or luck will save them. Administering a cure can be dangerous, as the Flikers often appear as the glint in their victims’ eyes and thus spread to another.

Instinct: To infect and spread

Poisonous, Minuscule, Infectious

No HP, Armor or Damage Die. See special moves.

Special Moves:

  • Get inside you and confuse your senses
  • Slowly make you go insane
  • Spread to someone else

Flying Vampire Jellies

Today’s monster was inspired by the world of Shards of Honor.

 They drift through the air like dandelion seeds, their transparent, globular bodies sparkling in the sun. When unexpectedly and with a sudden purpose, the lead jellies dart downward followed by the entire flock. They land with a jabbing sound upon an army of goblins and begin to fill with blood. The soldiers scream and beat at the parasites, but there are too many. One of the goblins, its body covered by the now-red orbs, manages to reach the campfire. Burning stick in hand, it punches one of the jellies. Boom! The creature explodes along with the goblin and anyone near it.

Instinct: To drink blood


Flying, Horde

3hp, 0 armor


Close, stinging tentacles (d6-2)

Special Moves

  • Latch onto a target and drink its blood
  • They’re everywhere!
  • Explode

The Thought Stealers

This week, the monster stat block for the Thought Stealers from last week’s adventure, The Splendid Spa of Two Angels

“Hey, do you see that odd haze over there?”


“Well, you can’t see it lying on a lounge chair. Sit up and put down your cocktail. Over there, by the spring.”

“Huh, oh yeah. Probably just a heat mirage. Relax. Order some oysters or something.”

“No, look! It’s coming closer. It’s…it’s…doesn’t it look like a person? No, it is a person…..It looks like…like you? Get up, get up! What’s wrong with you, why aren’t you moving?!”

Thought Stealers leak into our universe from an uncharted plane. No one knows what they appear like in their own dimension, but here they appear as a haze, at least initially. In order to continue to exist, they must steal a person’s thoughts. Imaginative thoughts, such as fear, are the easiest to steal. With each thought they consume they become more solid, until finally they suck all thought from their victim and assume their identity. Yet, a Thought Stealer can never create thoughts of its own, they merely mimic the actions and thoughts of their victims. Hordes of Thought Stealers have taken over towns before, reliving the same year over and over. Continue reading “The Thought Stealers”

Campaign Front: Tearing Through Space

At the beginning of the year I brought you the Attack of the Riftsquid! Adventure Front, an outline for a single session of play. Today, I expand on that adventure front with the campaign front Tearing Through Space -an outline to use for a multi-session campaign. Since these are all ‘big dangers’ not every danger will come in play every session. Think of this outline as the Big Bads of a television show, the overarching dangers that may not always directly threaten the PCs, but tie together the Big Story.

The Triwip people hoped they could settle a new planet after their own had died in the explosion of its sun. But space is big and callous while habitable planets are small and fragile. Halfway through their voyage, a Riftsquid attacked the ship, the first of many pitfalls for the Triwips. Tears in space-time were forming dangerous zones of unpredictable chaos and were likely the source of the recent Riftsquid blight…along with other extra-dimensional threats. Even the Triwip people themselves stood divided on what the future should look like. An aggressive minority of Triwips  who called themselves The Apex saw the new settlement as a chance to perfect the race, to finally free it of undesirable things…and people.

Danger: Dimensional Tears

Type: Unpredictable zones

Impulse: To grow, to tear apart reality

  1. A new tear opens up
  2. Reality and time near the tear warps
  3. The tears spread
  4. The multi-verses collide to form one erratic universe

Impending Doom: Rampant Chaos. Time and space swirl and crash together, making distinctions between past, present, and future meaningless. Continue reading “Campaign Front: Tearing Through Space”

Riftsquid (adult)

This week I continue adding to the Attack of the Riftsquid! adventure with a monster stat block for none other than the Riftsquid itself. Enjoy!


“Sir! We’ve been hit! Something is on the ship!”

“By what? How? There’s nothing around us for 10 light years.”

“I don’t know, sir. One second our sensors show nothing around us, next second massive damage to the agriculture level. Whatever this thing is, it’s big and aggressive.”

Passing through extra-dimensional space with ease, the Riftsquid swims through the multi-verse searching for ships to crack and consume the people inside. The few who have survived its vicious attacks claim that it looks like an inside-out squid, with its internal organs constantly flitting into and out of view. It moves unpredictably, one minute it appears to come from one direction, the next from another, and the next, completely gone only to reappear again. The beast also uses ships to reproduce by laying its eggs inside along with Riftsquid Minions to protect them. The Minions, miniature versions of the Riftsquid itself with a limited brain, kill most of the crew and mind control the others. The zombie crew then flies the eggs to a safe planet for the eggs to hatch and the larvae to grow up. Many a daredevil has made it their goal to ride the Riftsquid as it tears through the fabric of space, but to date, none have succeeded. Continue reading “Riftsquid (adult)”

Aquatic Peoples of the Oceans

More aquatic peoples! Hope you enjoy these. I just did Dungeon World builds this time, but might add Pathfinder later.


The most well-known of the aquatic people, merfolk live in the open seas and come in a variety of vivid colors. These beautiful people are the most human-like: farming kelp, waging wars, creating art. They engage with other humanoid races as much as the next and the important trade routes depend on their good favor.

Dungeon World build:

Intelligent, Group, amphibious

8 hp, 2 armor

Attack, close, spear (d8)

Special Moves:

  • Disarm with their beauty
  • Disappear into the waters.
  • Attack in numbers.
Deep Merfolk

The day I fell off the ship, I thought the sea was going to take me. I blacked out after gulping down mouthfuls of sea water and falling under the surface. But then I found myself dry in some kind of dark cave. Huge eyes loomed at me and at first I thought I was in hell. But they were kind and helped me heal. Although I never did get over that weird translucent skin. Once I recovered enough, they put me in this odd contraption made from jelly and junk and brought me to the surface near a shipping lane. Never seen one of them since. Sometimes I wonder if I dreamed it.

Deep Merfolk live at the oceans’ bottom. Their translucent-blue skin and large eyes  may give a fright, but they are mainly peaceful. From the junk that collects at the bottom of the sea, they build elaborate structures and contraptions that would rival the best wizard’s constructs. Deep merfolk communities are often semi-nomadic, tending to gardens along the lava vents which can stretch for hundreds of miles. They harness giant sea crabs to carry their belongings, and if they can find them, gargantuan sea crabs to carry the entire village, houses and all.  While usually a quiet, laid-back race, deep merfolk will war over the best ‘trash spots’ under shipping lanes. Scores of war sea crabs are harnessed for these struggles, and the sea above will froth with the fury.

Dungeon World Build

Intelligent, group, amphibious, terrifying

8 hp, 2 armor

Attack, close, clenching jaw (d8)

Special Moves:

  • Build something amazing out of junk
  • Use light magic
  • Slip into the darkness.