Monday, December 28, 2015

A Flight from Imminent Doom! - A Moment in AEthrem!

Welcome again, good reader, to another astonishing installment of Fridays in AEthem! Our series has temporarily been delayed to Monday this week, with the business of the year-end holidays at hand, but fear not! This week, we bring you something special: the opening bit of fiction from the upcoming Venture! RPG core book - "A Flight from Imminent Doom!"

From next week onward, the blog's focus will shift from setting details to specifics about the final production of the Venture! RPG book leading up to its release in the new year. Even now, final layout work is being completed on the project, so stay tuned - things will be moving quickly from here on out! Thank you to everyone who has followed the blog in the past, or who is just discovering it for the first time. We hope you all have an exciting 2016 full of THRILLING TALES!

Now, we hope you enjoy "A Flight from Imminent Doom!"

Nell Carten ran out from under the jungle canopy, her companions’ boots scraping on rocks as lush foliage gave way to black stone. She could see the cliff edge just ahead, where the ground dropped away thirty meters to the river below. Shouldering her Model 3 rifle, she scanned the empty skies in a barely-controlled panic.

A stone-tipped arrow flew past her face as Nell turned to her employees, “where are they, Tren? You said your ‘friend’ would be bringing the airship around before now!” His constant smirk faltered just slightly as he came to a halt and spat back, “listen, she’ll be here, chief. She wouldn’t want anything to happen to my pretty face, after all.” Nell’s irritation didn’t slow him down at all, “besides, the plan would have worked out fine if m’lord could actually go without being seen when swiping one measly idol.”

Bronnan hefted the strange, grotesque statue as he glowered at his accuser, “those creatures were abnormally acute. Furthermore, the official address for my title is…” The venture company’s final member cut the former Thassylian lord short, Lid Beglif’s curly hair bobbing about as she shouted back at the others, “I think we have bigger issues to worry about right now!” The others turned to see the first of their pursuers emerge from the cover of the jungle behind them.

The members of the local ss’ra tribe were short, with scales in a vibrant blue-green shade covering their bodies. In unison, the first rank of the reptilian creatures switched from bows to simple spears, as those behind kept their arrows trained on Nell and her staff. She sighted down her rifle, a prize from her days in the Legion, and noted the disconcerting way that the translucent tendrils on the heads of the ss’ra wriggled independently of one another, like a nest of worms all reaching out for something. Nell knew they were pinned, with the cliff to their backs, and was already counting more than twenty opponents.

Just as she was preparing to order Lid to go for help, Nell noticed the droning sound of props over the sibilant, hissing speech of the ss’ra. “Ha! Told ‘ya,” Tren proclaimed triumphantly as a rope ladder dropped down beside him. Nell took a few shots at the ss’ra that still had their bows ready, shouting back “save it for when we’re clear of this mess!” Bronnan fired a few rounds from his twin Y-45s, helping her keep the attackers pinned as the Beglif twins started up the ladder.

In a few hair-raising seconds, they were all on their way up the ladder, as the airship above passed beyond the cliff edge, empty air yawning below Nell in the bottom position. A rain of arrows whizzed past them still, eliciting an offhanded, “you know, if one of those pierces any of the gas cells,” from Lid. “We know, Liddy!” her sibling grunted, helping Bronnan and Nell up on the gangway surrounding the rigid airship’s gondola, “besides, we’ve got your surprise as a backup if that happens – if you’ve got it working today.” The shorter twin just glared back at her brother in reply.

Ignoring his sister, Tren turned to their rescuer – Alorrea, some kind of independent courier with her own ship that Tren had become acquainted with back in town. “Why thank you kindly, Al. I’ll have to get the next round when we make it back to Haran Olesh.” The owner of the vessel returned Tren a sad, guilty look that made the hairs on the back of Nell’s neck stand on end. She replied to him with a gentle resignation, “I’d love to, but I’m afraid a better offer has already come my way.”

The hatch beside Tren suddenly burst open, disgorging a huge figure that barely seemed to pass through. With one swing of his meaty fist, the black-uniformed man knocked the unsuspecting Tren back, toppling him over the edge of the gangway. With a blood-curdling, “TREN!” Lid had jumped over the edge as well, following her brother down. Nell brought her rifle around on the goon, scowling as his Ferridi military uniform and Khradi armband finally registered in her mind – she despised the goons that claimed Khradi membership.

With a forearm, the Khradi soldier knocked aside the barrel of Nell’s Model 3, making the first two shots go wide. As he was distracted, Bronnan dropped the idol with a dull clang and charged into their opponent, bare handed. One quick punch from the much smaller thandi stunned the black uniformed foe with unnatural force, and a second strike knocked him unconscious, rattling the gangway as he fell to it.

Nell kept a wary gaze on her remaining employee. He’d done this before, and she knew that things could get “funny” when he called on the powers of his pact. Alorrea looked terrified at first, but that eased with the sound of jackboots ringing out on the gangway. In a moment, both hatches had disgorged a half-dozen black uniformed figures, all levelling Ferridi infantry rifles on Nell and Bronnan.

The ex-legionnaire only needed a half second to weigh their odds before throwing her rifle aside and motioning for Bronnan to do likewise with his pistols. Nell spared a glance over the side, noticing the flame of Lid’s little toy flaring even through the mist of the canyon below. The rocket pack normally only carried Lid herself. Hopefully, her gizmo was enough to carry both of the twins to safety.

A small, smug officer stepped through the crowd. Nell noted the kernal’s insignia on his uniform, and how the Ferridi military coat fit him about as well as a little boy trying on his father’s suit. With a maniacal gleam in his eye, the kernal bent over, scooping up the idol from where it had been abandoned. Looking to Nell, he spoke with a thick accent, “Good afternoon, Carten. I appreciate your company going out of the way to acquire the Implement of Transcendant Protection for us. All glory to the First.” The kernal beamed like someone who had just made a particularly clever play in a game of cards as he men shouted out the rote, “all glory to the First!”

Nell Carten grunted, and made a small silent prayer to the Crafter. She just hoped His wayward priest and her idiot brother made it back to solid ground safely, and that the two of them could manage a rescue on their own. From the look in his eyes, she could tell Bronnan was thinking the same.


Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.

West End Games, OpenD6, and The D6 system are trademarks and properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Cults of the Forgotten Gods OR: SKULKING Fanatics in Our Very MIDST!

Adventurers and explorers of the unknown BEWARE! Even your home city is not safe! Hidden among us, everywhere, are secret worshipers of foul, ancient gods - meeting in secret, profane ceremonies filled with dark agendas and violent sacrifices! This week on Fridays in AEthrem, we observe the cults of the forgotten gods!

From their earliest, almost forgotten histories, human civilizations have always venerated a variety of deities - ranging from strange, animistic powers to beings with all the passions and desires of a mortal human. These practices changed during the long human enslavement to the ghond, but persisted, even under these circumstances. Once regaining their freedom, these faiths exploded along with the new, expanding human cultures.

This all changed when the Peloric Church became the dominant religion through most of the human world. The followers of Pelorus hold that all other deities are foul beings, working against the divine machinery at the heart of creation. As a result, other faiths and temples were crushed and scattered as the Church seized hold of the population of each new kingdom or territory. Those remaining faithful to these forgotten gods were driven underground, forced to practice their beliefs in secret at the risk of often-violent punishment from the Church and their own communities.

While many beliefs have faded into obscurity and eventually died out in the centuries since the initial expansion of the Church, a handful have survived into the modern day. Unfortunately, in most cases, only gods strange or dark in comparison to Pelorus have retained any followers - too twisted or stubborn to convert. The following are just a few of the most well-known examples.

The Enlightened of Pjmaal are a mystery cult, following a god of the ancient Ferridi highlands. Pjmaal is said to offer his followers knowledge at a terrible cost, and is depicted as a lurking shadow with a thousand eyes, each taken from a mortal in exchange for wisdom. The mad and apocalyptic are equally tempted into the ranks of the Enlightened. Most sanitariums have at least a single resident that claims a belief in bearer of light and madness, and the scrawling literature recovered from the site following gatherings of Enlightened frequently mentions an end to all things - and Pjmaal helping the Enlightened to bring it about.

Mareib had scattered worshipers through Pelifor in antiquity. A goddess of cunning and resolve, she supposedly birthed the first serpent into the world, and ancient mythology paints her as a clever but violently ruthless figure. Before the rise of the Peloric Church, many ancient kings and queens were chosen by Mareib's oracles - her calculating nature being a prized trait in rulers during this darker age. Modern worshipers still venerate her as a granter of authority and aide to the ambitious - small cults of Mareib have sprung up throughout Condrace during its recent turmoil, their ranks filled by aristocrats willing to even offer blood sacrifices if need be in order to gain the throne.

In modern times, it is believed that the spirits of the departed will either join Pelorus or be cast out of creation entirely, but this was not always the case. Rhion was one of many death gods, and remains one of the most well-known. His divine duty was to gather the spirits of the dead at his island home, lest they remain behind to haunt and torture the living. Small cabals of the Quieted, his followers, still operate throughout the world - meeting clandestinely in late-night meetings at cemeteries and in catacombs. They remain closed and secretive, and rumors persist that the Quieted have dark aims, making them suspect for any of a range of desecrations and offenses at burial sites across the globe.

Venture companies have often been drawn into the secretive world of cults. Guards at a remote archeological dig can run afoul of a cabal still employing a ruin in some strange ritual. Companies put on the case of a missing person may find them held captive, awaiting a celestial alignment necessary for a bloody rite. Even seemingly innocuous opponent could turn out to be a member of some mad, hidden sect. The secretive nature of these cults are their greatest threat; any normal-seeming person could be a member, waiting to strike.


Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.

West End Games, OpenD6, and The D6 system are trademarks and properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Gavierna OR: MOBSTERS in control of our STREETS!

Loyal listeners, welcome, once again, to Fridays in AEthrem! This week, we delve deep into the lurking shadows of our cities, exploring the terror of organized crime gripping our darkened alleys, secluded basements, and nighttime street! That's right, dear listener, we take a look at Valerica's infamous crime syndicate - the Gavierna!

Born within the earliest mining camps in Mirenfell, the Gavierna was established by destitute workers to help their fellows bear the hardships of the mines - smuggling goods for sale outside of the exorbitantly-priced company stores and providing a variety of illicit entertainment. Even the organization's name shows its origin - Gavierna meaning "miner's society" in Exelosian, with immigrants from that nation making up the bulk of its original membership.

By the time Mirenfell had developed into a well-populated colony and the average miner no longer suffered so harshly under the thumb of their bosses, the Gavierna were already well-established in the criminal underworld locally. Most of their early enterprises have become cornerstones of their empire - everyone is familiar with the Gavierna's underground casinos, bordellos, boxing rings, and drug dens. The most infamous business of these criminals, however, remains offering illegal thandi services.

Everyone is all too aware that the organization acts as a clearing house for immoral pact work, able to put you in touch with a thandi willing to skirt the law to mesmer a business partner, rough up a mark, or read the mind of that special person you've got your eye on. The Gavierna take a cut from every contract, and carefully tend their stable of thandi - hiding them from the Bureau and "acquiring" targets for the sacrifices demanded by their ryns at a high cost.

Over the years, the Gavierna have expanded rapidly, incorporating a handful of existing gangs in each new territory into the lower levels of their organization and crushing all opposition. When Valerica started major trade with the outside world, the Gavierna expanded into new markets through port cities across the globe, tying itself into the local underworld everywhere it has grown. While this has allowed them to grow easily and at a breakneck pace, it has also kept the syndicate's organization shaky, at best. 

The Gavierna is organized like a tiered pyramid on paper, but functions as a chaotic mass of shifting alliances in practice. Promotion is still most often accomplished with a hit on a superior, and the Patro (the head of the entire syndicate) maintains power only by playing all sides against the middle. Frequently, these struggles erupt into open mob war.

In Valerica, politicians make a big production of cracking down on the Gavierna whenever open violence in the streets starts headlining local papers. Unfortunately, things aren't quite so simple - the mobsters are have become experts at integrating themselves into society at every level. These social puppeteers use their ill-gotten gains to keep many, politicians, judges, and even police patrols in their pockets. It is said that the Patro's vote in Mirenfell is the only one that matters. The Gavierna also know just what to do to rile up the labor force, and more than one captain of industry keeps close financial ties to the mobsters to prevent any sudden and "unexpected" work stoppage.

For venture companies, the Gavierna can offer a channel for any manner of illegal goods, information, and even muscle, when needed. They can also be a potent threat if you get on their bad side. Given the syndicate's organization, they can even be both at the same time - wise outsiders should best try to not get caught in the crossfire when the mobsers' Apry guns come out.


Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.

West End Games, OpenD6, and The D6 system are trademarks and properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Grey Legion OR: OUTCAST Soldiers of a Land in CHAOS!

For those who just walked in... the nation of Condrace is at the brink of civil war! Just seventeen years ago, King Antonius XIV and nearly all of his close relatives perished in the influenza epidemic of 998! The only survivor? An illegitimate son by a palace servant! Although crowned King Medran II, the aristocrats of the once great trade nation refuse to accept his rule - instead fighting among themselves over who has a greater claim to the throne!

As tensions surge toward open civil war, the powerful enlist local garrisons of the national legions under their direct control, weakening the young king's hold over Condrace ever further. The primary military instrument still under the crown's direct control is the storied Grey Legion, which has always answered to the monarchy directly. With a history stretching back five and half centuries, the Grey Legion was established during the height of Condracean power to offer citizenship in exchange for a five year tour of military service. These foreigners, with no internal loyalties within their adoptive nation, have now become the most loyal soldiers to the nation as a whole.

While native legionnaires have always discounted the Grey Legion as a gathering of rabble, these outsiders typically experience the most frequent and harshest military service among the Condracean legions. For centuries, commanders have put these foreigners into the thick of battle as shock troops, used them as screening forces, and sent them on the riskiest patrols. When Ferridon swept up into Condrace's southern colonies, the Grey Legionnaires resisted them with little to no outside support in some of the bloodiest and most drawn-out engagements of the Reclamation.

The Grey Legion is now one of the few things maintaining some semblance of stability within Condrace. Its members now serve in place of native legionnaires and police forces lured into the service of nearby aristocrats. Thankfullly, their ranks have swollen, with many members signing up for additional tours of duty - reluctant to settle down in a place that may become a war zone any day. These veterans are among the most experienced soldiers in the world, but are still greatly outnumbered by the inferior forces the local rebels can bring to the field.

New members of the legion are not quite up to the same caliber as these veterans, unfortunately. While Condrace was once a shining land of wealth and prosperity, in its current state, only the truly desperate are still willing to risk life and limb in exchange for Condracean citizenship. The typical recruit is a refugee fleeing Ferridi-occupied lands to the south, an outcast or homeless drifter in their nation of origin, or (in the worst cases) a fugitive fleeing justice. Many desert within a year, but those few willing to stay and adapt come out of their service changed for the better.

Those who have completed their five year tour with the Grey Legion will have gained a great deal of combat experience. Those survivors choosing not to remain with the legion or settle down within Condrace can easily find work using these talents elsewhere. Many join mercenary groups or become security personnel with venture companies. Although the terms of their service require turning over their assigned rifle, a standing tradition within the Grey Legion is to allow a subordinate that served with distinction to keep the weapon at the end of their five years. Carrying the distinctive Viseri Model 3 announces one's battlefield experience to anyone familiar with the legion.


Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.

West End Games, OpenD6, and The D6 system are trademarks and properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Black Skull Brotherhood OR: MURDEROUS Pirates of Sea and SKY!

Dear reader, following our brief intermission, we welcome you once again to another Fridays in AEthrem! Are you prepared to face groups of determined individuals, secretive and dangerous? If yes, then you stand prepared! This week, we begin our review of some of AEthrem's many organizations and secret societies! Many dangerous groups operate around the globe, and this week's subject is no exception! Brace yourself - for today's episode focuses on the dread pirates of the Black Skull Brotherhood!

For a group of thieves and anarchists, the Black Skull Brotherhood has survived for quite some time. Dating back to a time when sailing ships were the primary means of rapid shipping, this group of allied pirates has been a thorn in the side of merchants for many years. Although many water-bound members of the Brotherhood remain, in modern times many have taken to the skies. Airship captains dread encountering a wing of fighters, or even worse, another airship, marked with the Black Skull.

Pirates of the Black Skull Brotherhood can be found throughout the world, raiding many lucrative trade routes. Despite this huge area of influence, however, the group lacks any true organization or leadership. Anarchists at heart, these criminals refuse to accept any leader but those they work with directly. The most powerful members of the Brotherhood are its captains - each commanding a ship or fighter squadron - and pirate lords - who manage just a handful of captains. Even ascending to these modest ranks requires brutal determination and constant vigilance - a captain or lord must keep their underlings happy or face mutiny, all while keeping an eye out for rival pirates, the law, and bounty hunters.

Respect and fear are the greatest currencies for a leader within the Brotherhood. A captain or lord gains sole right of plunder within their territory, and that territory is determined by their ability to claim and defend it from all rivals. If a lord or captain shows signs of weakness, their neighbors will move in quickly to grow their own hunting grounds. While any member of the Black Skull Brotherhood can call upon other members of equal rank if they feel that another has overstepped their bounds, it is typically better to deal with this interloper yourself. Usually, if a member airs a grievance about another pirate in the Brotherhood, others just see this as a sign of weakness, moving against the aggrieved themselves.

This loose alliance is driven by mutual benefit and held together by tradition. Members of the Black Skull Brotherhood fight among each other frequently, but will come together to eliminate rival pirates that refuse to join - the primary focus of the Brotherhood is to eliminate competition. When a unified response to the threat of law is needed, the local members may also come together - more than once, pirate hunters tailing a single ship have found an unexpected fleet waiting in ambush - although these pirates generally prefer evasion over confrontation.

By tradition, initiation into the Brotherhood is compulsory for anyone working aboard one of its vessels or supporting it as spies or port-bound crew. New members are tattooed with the group's infamous symbol - a leering black skull and crossbones - and the first brand of rank in the Black Skull Brotherhood. Additional brands are added to a pirate as the ascend in rank. Both membership and promotions are for life - no one leaves the brotherhood, and anyone failing in their new rank is likely to be murdered by someone else eyeing their position. The lucky few who escape alive have been marked for life, the tattoo and brands identifying them to the law and ensuring their death at the hands of any active Brotherhood members they encounter.

While opposing or hunting pirates, it is always good to be well aware of the Black Skull Brotherhood's controlling influence over this particular crime. Eliminating a pirate crew that has refused to join them can earn the respect of local Black Skulls, and maybe even a favor from less amoral Brotherhood leaders. Apprehending or destroying one of the Brotherhood's crews, however, will likely draw unwanted attention. While there may be no immediate reprisal - after all, a rival has just been eliminated - other leaders within the Brotherhood will pay close attention to the new potential threat you pose and strike out if they find you operating within their territory.


Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.

West End Games, OpenD6, and The D6 system are trademarks and properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc.

Friday, November 20, 2015

INTERMISSION - Let's All Go to the Lobby and Get Ourselves Some Stat-Blocks!

I'm going to drop out of character as the cliffhanger-spewing period narrator this week, and take the opportunity to extend a special thank you to each and every person who has taken the time to glance at any part of this developer's blog. Venture! has been my on-again off-again personal project for the past several years, and I really enjoy getting the opportunity to share some of it with the world at large. So, thank you for following along with me, and thank you for your interest in my mad little indie project, I really appreciate it.

This week, I'm also going to post the stat blocks for the creatures detailed over the past month, since I did receive an inquiry about these. As these game statistics are based on OpenD6, they will fall within the OGL, so please feel free to use them in your home game. If you would like to republish them, please contact me first - I don't have any objections to this, but I would like to know where and how the content I've generated in the past is going to be applied.

Please enjoy the following details, as we take a break from our usual, fluff-heavy episode format. We'll be back in the usual style next week, where we're going to start a series on the most prominent organizations and secret societies to be found in the world of AEthrem. This will carry us through the end of the year, when we'll start preparing for the launch of the core book in 2016!

Moon Wolf

Reflexes 3D
Brawling 5D
Dodge 6D
Coordination 3D
Physique 4D
Running 6D
Knowledge 1D
Perception 3D
Search 4D
Search – Tracking 10D
Presence 3D
Intimidation 6D
Willpower 6D

Strength Damage 2D
Move 12

Special Abilities:

Dragging Grapple – Moon wolves’ preferred method of attack is to latch on to a target with their vice-like jaws, then drag them away from their allies at a full run. Treat this as a grappling Brawling attack. The wolf may move as normal during this grapple, but her full Move is reduced by a number of meters equal to the total rolled by her target in her last attempt to escape the grapple. Two or more wolves may participate in a single grapple, negating five meters of this Move penalty for every wolf after the first – each participant must succeed at their own Brawling check. This grapple inflicts Strength Damage +2D (for a total of 4D) due to the wolves’ fangs and objects being struck by the victim as they are drug through the wilderness. For each additional wolf participating in a grapple, add +1D to its Damage.

Hypnotic Stare – The silver eyes of a moon wolf have a captivating effect on other creatures, an ability usually employed by a pack’s spotter. To initiate a hypnotic stare, a moon wolf makes an Intimidation check, and all creatures looking in its direction must make a Willpower check at a difficulty equal to the result of this Intimidation check. Any creature that does not succeed in this check is unable to do anything but stare at the wolf for a full round. At the start of every round, those enthralled by this ability may attempt another Willpower check against the original Intimidation check result to act normally. This effect ends automatically if those captivated or their comrades are attacked.


Reflexes 4D
Brawling 6D
Coordination 2D
Throwing 6D
Physique 5D
Lifting 7D
Stamina 6D
Swimming 8D
Knowledge 1D
Perception 2D
Search 3D
Presence 2D
Intimidation 5D

Strength Damage 4D
Move 25

Special Abilities:

Chitinous Body – Armor Value +1D (The creature’s tentacles do not benefit from this armor, but injuring a tentacle does not affect the creature as a whole – a Wounded or worse result against a tentacle instead disables that limb for several days.)

Large Size – Scale 18

Mandible Bite – After pulling prey in with its tentacles (see the Tentacle Grappling ability, below), the pagren holds it in one of its two large pincers biting it into smaller pieces with its huge mandibles to feed. Each pincer can hold only one human-sized victim, but the creature may bite at both in the same round. Treat this as a grappling Brawling attack, causing Damage +1D (for a total of 5D) every round. If a victim reaches Incapacitated or worse, the pagren consumes them whole the following round.

Tentacle Grappling – The pagren uses its eight tentacles to grab prey to bring to its mandibles, often grasping several creatures at once. Treat this as a grappling Brawling attack, inflicting the pagren’s base Strength Damage (4D) only. If a victim is unable to break free on the round immediately after a successful grapple in this way, the pagren transfers her to one of the claws around its mandibles (see the Mandible Bite ability, above) if there is one available. If not, it will continue grappling and inflicting its base Strength Damage until claws becomes available.

Smashing Strike – Against opponents (or vessels) larger than Scale 8, a pagren will attack first by flailing its tentacles about like titanic clubs in an attempt to render its foe unconscious or break vessels into smaller pieces. This is a normal Brawling attack, causing Damage +3D (7D total).

Water Jets – Each of a pagren’s tentacles can fire a pressurized jet of water from its tip as a Throwing attack, with a Range of 3-10/20/30. Anything hit by one of these blasts suffers 3D Damage (modified by scale as normal), and may not use any Armor Value in its damage resistance check. The target may not suffer any Wound Level worse than Stunned from this attack. Instead, for every five result points (rounding up) on this damage check, the target is knocked back one meter away from the firing tentacle. After firing, a tentacle must take an action while immersed in water to refill its internal reservoir.

Rictus Spider

Reflexes 4D+1
Agility 4D+2
Brawling 5D
Dodge 4D+2
Sneak 5D
Coordination 2D
Throwing – Webbing 4D
Physique 3D+1
Running 4D
Knowledge 1D
Perception 3D
Concealment 3D+1
Search 4D
Presence 1D
Intimidation 3D
Willpower 2D+2

Strength Damage 2D
Move 10

Special Abilities:

Addictive Venom – The venom of a rictus spider is paralytic and causes a sense of euphoria for higher lifeforms. After being bitten (see the Biting Attack ability, below) the victim must succeed at a Very Hard (25) Stamina check or suffer a -2D penalty on all actions for the remainder of the scene from this effect. This experience is highly addictive, and any creature that has not resisted the spider’s venom after a bite must make Moderate (15) Willpower check one week after the effect wears off. They receive a -1 penalty on this check for every previous dose of venom (one per bite) they have received, and those that fail immediately seek out the spider (or another, if it is unavailable). Those that succeed at this check have resisted their addiction for now, but must attempt the same check after every week – if they succeed for three consecutive weeks, they no longer experience this effect (until bitten again).

Armored Carapace – Armor Value +1D

Biting Attack – Rictus spiders have tiny fangs that they use to inject their venom and leave their prey helpless (the spiders hold prey captive in a web and consume them after death). A bite from these fangs is a Brawling attack, causing Damage +2 (2D+2 total). If the victim suffers a Stunned Wound Level or worse from this attack, they receive a dose of the spider’s venom (see the Addictive Venom ability, above).

Ensnaring Web – Creatures moving into the web of a rictus spider are held fast by its natural adhesiveness. They may attempt to break free with an action by making a Lifting check at a Moderate (15) difficulty. Rictus spiders usually conceal their webs with local plants and debris (using their Concealment skill) to disguise them so that prey wander into a web unaware of its presence. The spiders may also aim their webbing at a target with a Throwing attack. Webbing causes no damage itself, and has a Range of 3-5/10/15. On a successful attack, the target is bound to the ground or a nearby object by a glob of webbing, requiring the usual Lifting check to break free.

Large Size – Scale 3

Spitting Crocodile

Reflexes 1D+2
Brawling 6D
Dodge 3D+1
Sneak 4D+2
Coordination 1D
Throwing – Spit 4D
Physique 4D+2
Lifting 6D
Swimming 7D
Knowledge 1D
Perception 1D
Search 4D
Presence 1D
Intimidation 4D
Willpower 3D+2

Strength Damage 3D
Move 10 (Crawling) / 15 (Swimming)

Special Abilities:

Acidic Spit – As it approaches prey or any threat, a spitting crocodile will first attack with its acidic spittle. This is a Throwing attack with a Range of 3-5/10/15. On a successful strike, the target immediately suffers 4D damage, and additional damage at the start of the following two subsequent rounds. If a complication occurs on the first damage resistance check against an acidic spit attack, the target has temporarily blinded – vision will return about 24 hours after flushing her eyes with clean water. A spitting crocodile only has enough reserves of acid for six of these attacks without resting for several hours.

Biting Grab – Spitting crocodiles close in on their prey for the kill, snaring them in powerful jaws. This is a grappling Brawling attack, inflicting Damage +2D (5D total). Once its prey has been grappled, the crocodile will try to pull it underwater and drown it as quickly as possible.

Scaly Hide – Armor Value +2


Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.

West End Games, OpenD6, and The D6 system are trademarks and properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Spitting Crocodiles OR LURKING PERIL of the MENRIC SEA!

Fridays in AEthrem sneaks upon you again, with a splash and a sibilant hiss, dauntless reader! This week, we bring our series on the beasts of the world to a close, and take a look at a prominent example of the unique threat provided by the fauna of the Menric Sea. Today, we dare to look the buentratuk directly in its fearsome maw!

To the casual observer, the spitting crocodile - or buentratuk, as it is called by local pramadi - is not particularly remarkable. Members of the species are native to the rivers and standing bodies of either fresh or brackish water within the Menric Sea. They have short limbs, powerful jaws, a grey-green scaled hide, and average about two meters long at their full, adult size - none of which would make them stand out from any other crocodile found throughout the world.

Any close observer of the spitting crocodile should easily notice the large bulges to either side of the beast's throat. It is these protuberances that actually give the creature its common name. Each contains a large gland that produces an acidic compound, and a muscular sac to store it. A spitting crocodile may open its mouth and project its acidic spray forward at whatever it faces through a muscular contraction of these sacs.

The acidic spray of an adult spitting crocodile will cause intense pain, burns, and even temporary blindness for those targets unfortunately struck in the eyes. Spitting crocodiles use this as an aide in hunting - first spraying its prey, then rushing in to seize it in its jaws while the victim is confused and in pain. They also have been known to spray potential dangers when they feel pursued or threatened.

Intelligent species such as humans are not the typical prey of the spitting crocodile - these creatures prefer to feed on water fowl and small mammals. This isn't to say that explorers have nothing to fear from the creatures - spitting crocodiles are known to frequently be threatened by passing boats, spraying the side of approaching craft before quickly fleeing. The buentratuk is also an opportunistic predator, and will rush for a lone swimmer (especially one in distress). At the site of a shipwreck in the Menric Sea, expect several local spitting crocodiles to congregate in search of easy prey.

In addition to shipwrecks, these creatures seem to enjoy the shelter provided by recent settlements, and have been known to gather in abandoned human buildings and mining tunnels near sea level that have flooded in the wet season. The spitting crocodile is semi-social - anywhere from one to twenty have been discovered living in close proximity in the wild. Larger gatherings of the species are allegedly more aggressive, leading most savvy guides to avoid groups larger than a handful.

As a side note, all recorded attempts to domesticate the spitting crocodile have ended in expected disaster. This has not stopped the truly eccentric or careless prospectors of the Menric Sea to continue attempting to do so.


Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.

West End Games, OpenD6, and The D6 system are trademarks and properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Moon Wolves OR: HOWLING Guardians of the FORBIDDEN Wood!

Welcome once again to another episode of Fridays in AEthrem! In our series on wild beasts, we turn away from the open sea and deep jungle, going closer to home. This week, we look at a hot-blooded danger most citizens of western Valerica are all too familiar with - the fearsome moon wolf pack!

Moon wolves are native only to the Sillindri Wildlands and those territories on its periphery, despite having no apparent problems with surviving outside of these specific regions. They show none of the fear of humans exhibited by other wolf species, but have only been first encountered within a few days of a full moon - hence their common name. Whether this fleeting presence is due to some migratory hunting pattern or another aspect of the moon wolves' natural instincts is still undetermined.

Packs that have been encountered varying from five to twenty members in number, and have invariably been led by their largest member, regardless of age or gender. Individual members of the pack are about average size for most wolf species - 80 centimeters tall at the shoulder with a body roughly 150 centimeters long. Most moon wolves have mottled black and silver fur, but specimens with pure silver coats are frequently encountered.

The wolves show no hesitation in attacking humans encroaching on the Sillindri Wildlands. Typically, this ambush occurs well after dark and is proceeded by a "spotter" from the pack - a single wolf, typically one with an attention-grabbing silver coat, moving into the open and drawing the attention of the targeted humans. Eyewitnesses often report being dazzled or confused after looking these lone wolves in the eyes, unable to act. Whether this effect is a natural ability of some moon wolves or just mistakenly attributed to the animals is not certain.

While the rest of the pack moves to encircle and ambush the humans, the spotter will continue to draw their attention, avoiding attacks from their human targets for as long as possible before fleeing. As soon as the pack's spotter runs or is killed, the other moon wolves rush forward in a blur of fur and fangs. The creatures invariably target the weakest few of the humans they attack - focusing on between one and three human victims in a single strike. While some victims of moon wolves will be killed where they stand, most will be seized by the maw of one or more of the creatures and drug out into the night will all possible speed.

Humans assaulted by moon wolves have only experienced a single attack in any one night. After an assault, the pack at a safe distance, but close - their victims able to hear the cries of the wolves and their victims through the remainder of the night. On every subsequent night, the wolves make another lightning strike, dragging away additional victims each time - slowly whittling away at the humans' ranks. After selecting a group of humans to harass, moon wolves are very persistent in their pursuit of their quarry - using their superior tracking skills to pursue and harass a group for a week or more, sometimes travelling for kilometers outside of the Sillindri Wildlands before returning to their home territory.


Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.

West End Games, OpenD6, and The D6 system are trademarks and properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Rictus Spider OR: Eight-Legged GOD of the Dark JUNGLE!

We bid you welcome once again, you courageous and daring few, willing to investigate more terrifying creatures of the wilderness! In this episode of Fridays in AEthrem, we leave the HORRORS of the sea behind to look at the most TERRIFYING arachnid of the deep jungle!

Rictus spiders are native to Tefira, and lair in natural caverns or the hollowed-out remains of old trees, spinning elaborate webs to ensnare their prey. They are jet black, with the exception of ghostly white markings on the back of their abdomen, resembling a leering human skull (from whence they get their name). Most noticeably, they are huge by the standards of most other spiders found throughout the world, growing just over three meters long at full adult size.

However, the rictus spider's most terrifying quality is not its size, but its venom. The bite of this creature contains a paralytic, but is not fatal - except to smaller organisms. To higher animals - including humans - this venom also has a stimulating and euphoric effect that is highly addictive.

Over time, members of the species have learned to envenom anything caught in their webs, but to release victims they do not have a need to feed on immediately. Typically, those released will return within a few days - possibly when the spider's web doesn't have so quite a large bounty. As an added bonus, communal creatures will sometimes bring along a handful of unwitting companions - doing the work of luring in new meals for the rictus spider.

Elder members of the species can learn to recognize returning victims, and favor feeding on newcomers over repeat visitors. Those who have returned once typically continue to do so - bringing new meals with each time - provided the spider gives them another dose of the venom they now crave. Intelligent creatures can likewise learn to take advantage of this, bringing along one or more unwitting victims for the rictus spider to consume, while they receive their "reward" and survive the encounter.

Primitive settlements have occasionally built cults around a single, long-lived rictus spider or an extended family of the creatures lairing nearby. These spiders can count on the cult to provide the majority of their food as sacrifices to their living god in exchange for the blessing of its divine bite. Of course, these cults are always in need of outsiders to offer up as sacrifices, lest they need to sacrifice too many of their own number. Explorers and new settlers to a region are prime candidates for capture for these purposes, of course.


Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.

West End Games, OpenD6, and The D6 system are trademarks and properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pagren OR: Tentacled TERROR of the DEEP!

Stalwart explorers, welcome back to Fridays in AEthrem! With the current season, we turn to observing some of the HARROWING beasts to be found around the globe - each quick to claim the lives of the UNPREPARED and UNWARY!

We start this series off with a look at the titanic pagren, the doom of many unfortunate sailors. At home in the deep ocean, pagrens are one of many perilous threats that make travel by ship such a treacherous task in AEthrem. These massive beasts grow longer than thirty meters on average, dwarfing many smaller human ships easily.

The main body of a pagren takes up only a third of its total length. Coated in heavy, murky brown chitin, its bullet-shaped body drives point-first through the water - the outer surface unadorned except for a pair of eye-stalks on opposite sides. The center of the flat rear of the body is where the creature's mandibled mouth resides, flanked by a pair of segmented arms tipped in pincers - each large enough to hold an adult human. A set of eight tentacles sprout from the body, surrounding the mouth and pincers on all sides.

A pagren's tentacles make up the remainder of its length. Unlike the body, these huge limbs are unarmored - their soft, blue-grey flesh exposed. The pagren uses these eight strong manipulators to propel itself through the water and grasp objects and prey with the aid of suckers running along the interior of each. Each tentacle is also tipped in a muscular valve - used to take in and pressurize sea water, which is sprayed at prey to stun and disorient it.

The primary prey for pagren are the largest creatures in the ocean, typically sharks and all but the largest whales. Those attacking human ships presumably have mistaken the vessel for a surfacing whale. However, there are numerous accounts of pagren that have apparently adapted to feeding at least partially on shipboard humans - having learned to overturn vessels or knock crew overboard using jets of water, and rushing to snatch up and consume those sent into the water.

Randomly encountering a pagren can spell doom for a ship attempting an oceanic crossing. Those that attempt to do so on a regular basis will usually mount an artillery piece or large machine gun on the deck, as both have proven capable of driving the beasts of with focused fire. Small arms can sometimes prove effective, but most handgun and rifle rounds will have a hard time piercing the armored hide of a pagren and causing any serious injury. If the pagren decides to overturn a ship, survival is much less likely, although there are rare accounts of survivors chasing one of these creatures off from their lifeboats after it had capsized the main vessel.

There are also accounts of a pagren fleeing after the survivors hearing a distant, inhuman roar or experiencing a deep rumbling sensation. Whatever these creatures that have scared away pagren actually are, they are probably best left to the imagination. Or left to suicidally-minded researchers, at least.


Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.

West End Games, OpenD6, and The D6 system are trademarks and properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Isles of the Menric Sea OR: A DROWNING Land of WONDERS and VENOM!

Stalwart sojourners, we return to another thrilling installment of Fridays in AEthrem! In the past weeks, we have spanned the globe, exploring some of the most dangerous, wild locals to be found. Today, we end our long trek at the far side of the world, in the Menric Sea.

Far east of Otaru and southwest of Tefira, across many kilometers of hazardous open ocean, the Menric Sea rises up as a wide, shallow plain. Here, innumerable small islands poke above the waves and deep-water vessels run aground as the sea floor rises up to meet them. The water depth in the Menric is chaotic at best, influenced by tides, seasons, and the current weather patterns - individual islands grow, shrink, and occasionally connect to one another by temporary land bridges.

Local flora and fauna in the Menric Sea is somewhat sparse, and comprised of hardy species. The land is a mix of red clay and dark mud, both on the islands and the sea floor, suitable mostly for quick-growing grasses by the shore and stunted trees clear of the high water mark, growing twisted in the hard winds from the open ocean. Animal life here is exotic to outsiders, and most species are venomous. The warm climate allows many species of insect and reptile to thrive, such as the native spitting crocodile - with its infamous acidic spray.

Even this perilous environment is home to intelligent life, as well. Local pramadi and ss'ra tribes dot the islands, fighting between each other and among themselves for the limited resources of the Menric Sea. Local ss'ra fiercely guard a few native territories - most likely the remains of their once-proud cities in the region. The pramadi, meanwhile, are especially laid back for their species, caring little about ss'ra territory or anything else. This is most likely due to the calming effects of dried jiruun leaf, which local pramadi grow, cure, and partake of liberally. The tribes of neither species had been able to develop any technology more advanced than flint-tipped weapons prior to the arrival of humans, due to the limitations of their homeland.

Human exploration of the Menric Sea is a fairly recent development. The region is home to a scattered handful of tiny settlements and outposts - established by foreign nations, forward-thinking corporations, and private investors gauging the profit to be gleaned from the islands. Almost uniformly, these tiny colonies are economic failures; the Menric has little of value outside of a few caches of valuable metals and semiprecious stones found thus far - nothing capable of sustaining these far-flung colonies. The remaining settlers are a resilient and independent group, and have become largely self-sufficient - as most outside goods can only be reliably delivered by long distance cargo plane, and few pilots consider the route to the Menric Sea worth the potential profits.

In the short time that humans have begun residing on the islands of the Menric Sea, many local legends have sprung up regarding oddities in the region. The most famous of these tall tales regard massive structures apparently made of spun glass or strange, dancing lights - always seen from a distance or disappearing on a return visit to their location (as if vanishing overnight). Native pramadi and ss'ra readily support these stories, calling up their own elaborate legends that attribute these lights and structures to gods or monsters - benevolent and dangerous alike. No human expedition has ever been able to verify these sightings on a subsequent trip to the location of the alleged encounter.


Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.

West End Games, OpenD6, and The D6 system are trademarks and properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Sands of the Lahana Desert OR: TREASURES and PERILS of the Fiery Dunes!

Daring travelers, welcome back! In today's episode of Fridays in AEthrem we fly east along the equator, returning to the main continent of Pelifor! We leave behind the steamy jungles of Tefira, trading them for the parched, sand-swept wastes of the Lahana Desert!

Stretching from east to west across the entire continent of Pelifor, the Lahana desert breaks the continent in two.  To the north lies the most venerable and traditionally dominant human nations, including such great powers as Thassyl and Condrace, among many lesser countries. South of the desert, nearly all of the continent now belongs to Ferridon, although it was once home to various colonies and independent powers prior to the First's rise to power in the south.

Legends dating back to the fall of the early ghond civilization tell that central Pelifor was once a warm, fertile land, but some sacrifice agreed to by ghond thandi destroyed the land itself, turning it dry and uninhabitable in exchange for victory against the ss'ra. No one can prove the truth of these tales, but the Lahana certainly contains numerous ruins of once-thriving ghond cities, ripe targets for treasure hunters and archaeologists alike. The remnants along the outskirts of the desert have been searched thoroughly, but many potential sites still remain untouched further in, at much greater risk to would-be explorers.

Along its periphery, the land is relatively stable, if unsuitable to permanent settlement. Scrub lands give way to sun-baked clay flats here. This area is home to nomadic human tribes that have lineages going back into distant antiquity. These wanderers have subsisted on what foraging and hunting are available, and have traditionally trade between northern and southern human nations using coastal caravan routes to supplement what the desert provides them. Modern aerial shipping has made these caravans all but obsolete, pushing these tribes to more illicit dealings such as smuggling or banditry.

The interior of the Lahana Desert is made of an endless stretch of sand, piled in wind-swept dunes that only increase in size the further inward one travels. Few, if any landmarks exist for explorers, and the wind changes the terrain on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Sudden windstorms have been known to swallow the remains of entire ghond cities whole, and aircraft are regularly lost attempting to travel over the interior desert during poor conditions. There are no permanent residents of the interior desert, except for a few hardy individuals that survive only due to the rare oasis or rock-walled ravine to call home.

It is within the hazardous interior of the Lahana Desert that intrepid explorers can find its greatest possible treasure: the untouched remains of a ghond city. The residences and central pyramid of the city can hold a bounty of treasures - ancient coinage and artwork, or even the relics and recorded wisdom of early thandi. To academics, however, the ruin itself is a treasure far beyond any monetary value - everything from carvings to the artifacts of daily life in desperate need of cataloging and prolonged study.

However, these ruins hold their own share of dangers. Superstition holds that these cities were cursed by ancient ghond thandi, and many of their discoverers have met untimely ends within their walls. Most commonly, this happens due to one of many traps - left behind by fleeing ghond or besieging human armies and never triggered. Even worse, these traps could be brand new - installed by the current subterranean ghond culture to protect one of their active exits to the surface world. Sudden ambushes by members of the ghond warrior caste are not uncommon. Other living threats include any of the few species to survive in the modern Lahana: many varieties of snakes, scorpions, and the infamous Lancer Scarabs, swarms of which can allegedly strip a victim down to their bones in a only a few ravenous minutes of feeding.

For any and all of these reasons, experienced venture companies are in high demand for anyone setting out on an expedition into the Lahana Desert. These contractors can provide ready labor, navigational assistance, but especially security against the threats of the desert itself and ambushes by rival, jealous explorers, which are all too common. Many universities' archaeology departments and individual professors have long-standing contracts with one or more venture companies, relying on them for several expeditions over the years. Proving your business capable on an expedition can be very lucrative in the long term, if your venture company can safely navigate the Lahana's many hazards.


Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.

West End Games, OpenD6, and The D6 system are trademarks and properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc.