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.