Monthly Archives: April 2017

Barbarians of the Ruined Earth- Appendix B- Bonds

Beyond the Wall is a nifty game that has a great way to quickly band the players together and give them reasons to keep adventuring together.  I knew I wanted to include an optional rule to do something similar.  I decided to build off a thing I created for the Starrunner Kit to create episodic events between session (or at character creation).

I used this rule in my current Barbarians of the Ruined Earth campaign and it was really fun to see the creative juices of my players and creating quick bonds that they still reference in play.


“Ha ha remember that time when we almost got eaten by those monkey people and you, like, TOTALLY saved me?!

Appendix B- Bonds

A GM may desire that members of the group have a quickly established bond at the start of the game.  This gives them a reason to be traveling together.  After all characters have been created, have each player roll 1d6 and consult the chart below.  Tell each player that they have five minutes to create their story that fits the theme they have just rolled and the event includes the player to their right.  Once the five minutes have elapsed, have each player introduce their character and describe the events of their story.  The other player involved is welcome to embellish the story to involve their character more as well.


Events Chart

  1. Tough Times– You’ve had hard luck. Something bad has happened in your past.  Maybe it was your fault, maybe it wasn’t, but either way people got hurt.
  2. Good Times– You’ve had a string of good luck. Something positive has occurred in your life.
  3. Someone Likes Me!– You met someone in your travels that has now become a true friend. How’d this happen?  Who are they?  Where do they live?
  4. Life Can Get Complicated– You somehow got yourself in a pickle. How’d you get out?  Who saved you?
  5. My Enemies Lie Dead at My Feet!– You triumphed over something, be it a person, monster, or other challenge. What was it?  What happened?
  6. Knife in the Back– Someone betrayed another. Was it you?  Were you betrayed?  What happened?  Do you have an enemy seeking revenge?


Example: After character creation, the GM has all the players roll 1d6 and consults the Events Chart and tells each of the player’s their result and explains that this event involves the player to their right in some fashion.  After a few minutes have passed the GM asks Diana about her character.  She explains that she is playing a Scavenger (pg XX) and that she rolled a 4, getting the Life is Complicated result.  Diana describes a story of how she had attempted to sneak into a human settlement in an attempt to steal some of their Ancient Earth technology and she was discovered by a Barbarian, (who was John’s character- the player to her right) and that he took pity on her scraggly, emaciated appearance, and invited her in for food.  They have been friends ever since.


John then adds a small bit about how the tensions between his character and the village’s sheriff finally spilt over because John refused to turn in Diana’s character, so they decided to leave and adventure together.


Strange Weaponized Animals for Barbarians of the Ruined Earth (and Black Hack)


I wanted to create strange (and horrific) animal weapons inspired by the sword and sorcery genre and would be right at home in Barbarians of the Ruined Earth.  Oftentimes there are weapons that appear in these types of stories (especially Pirates of Dark Water) that are cool and crazy and are animals/creatures that have been bred to be awesome weapons.  I think having raiders come over a sandy dune fling explosive hedgehogs will really set the mood, don’t you?

Pirates of Dark Water

Strange Weaponized Animals

These animals have been bred to be weapons.  Many of these animals perish when releasing their abilities, others can be used several times.  This is not an exhaustive list.  Feel free to create your own!  Description are below.


Strange Weaponized Animals
Animal Cost
Acid Squids $200
Crossbow Slug $200
Explosive Hedgehog $200
Explosive Robin $200
Flaming Lizard $200
Ink Bat $100
Mutated Hamster $250
Pint-sized Spiders $100
Regurgitating Rabbit $200
Sleeping Iguana Gun $400
Sonic Crab Bombs $400
Thorny Crow $200


Strange Weaponized Animals Descriptions

Acid Squids: The squid is flung from a sling.  When it strikes a target, the squid releases an acidic secretion that eats through wood and metal.  The acid does 1d8 damage for 10 minutes or it is washed off with oil and flour.  Pirates favor using these on the masts of enemy ships.


Crossbow Slug: The slug is strapped to a board with a pressure handle and worn on the forearm of the user.  When the user squeezes the handle the straps tighten around the slug, causing them to release a jet of stinking mucous from its eyes.  The mucous can hit a Nearby target.  The target is stunned for one round from the vial substance and suffers Class damage as the toxic substance seeps into their skin.  The Crossbow Slug has a d6 Usage Die.  Once the Usage Die has been depleted the slug has been dehydrated and is dead.


Explosive Hedgehog: These small hedgehogs are flung at a target from a sling.  When they strike, they explode dealing Class damage to the target.  The explosion is powerful enough to destroy thin wooden walls.


Explosive Robin: These robins have been trained to fly at a commanded target, land on their shoulder and explode in a red puff of smoke.  Human-sized targets suffer class damage and are knocked prone from the explosion.


Flaming Lizard: These tiny red lizards are fired from a slingshot at a target.  As they travel to their target they burst into flame.  A target hit by the lizard suffers 1d6 damage and has a 1-in-6 chance of catching on fire.  An ignited target suffers 1d6 fire damage until the flames are extinguished.


Ink Bat: This oily-looking bat flutters haphazardly through the air until it gets near its designated target, where it swells and pops, releasing a cloud of black smoke.  Targets in the cloud cannot see outside the area and begin coughing as the putrid-smelling smoke fills their lungs.  The smoke lasts for 1 minute before dissipating.  A strong wind will cancel the effect almost instantly.


Mutated Hamster: Mutants and raiders love using these on unsuspecting targets, either by firing them from slings, slingshots, or running up to a target and slapping it on them.  These hamsters have long corkscrew-like fangs that bite into a target.  The target must succeed a Constitution test (if a player character) or gain one mutation (pg XX).


Pint-Sized Spiders: These tiny spiders have been bred to have a hard metallic-like carapace.  They all live in a hive-like state in a leather bag.  A person can grab a handful of them and throw them onto the floor.  The spiders, shocked by what is happening, curl up into a ball, effectively becoming small marbles.  Targets in the area must make a Dexterity check (if a player character) or fall prone in the area.  Movement is reduced to a quarter in the affected area (roughly 10’ radius), so as not to fall.  This has a d6 Usage Die.  Once it has run out, there are no more spiders in the pouch.


Regurgitating Rabbit: This tubby rabbit is loaded into a scoop attached to a 4’ long pole and flung at a target.  In the air, the rabbit begins dry heaving, eventually vomiting its innards (and more), which expands into a large fleshy net, which will land on the target, entangling them in a sticky web.  Entangled targets can cut their way out of the net (attacks made with Disadvantage), dealing 5 points of damage to it.


Sleeping Iguana Gun: This iguana rests on a stick that is encased in a bottle-shaped glass that is strapped to a gun-like object.  The iguana’s tail is tied to a string that connects to the gun’s trigger.  When the trigger is squeezed, the iguana opens its mouth and belches a small puff of smoke that fills a 5’ radius.  Targets in the area must make a Constitution save (if player characters) or fall unconscious for 1d2 hours.  The Sleeping Iguana Gun has a d4 Usage Die.  After the Usage Die runs out, the iguana’s tail falls off and it will no longer belch its sleeping gas.


Sonic Crab Bombs: These crabs are slapped onto structures like vehicles, boats, and structures.  Their legs dig into the material, making them very difficult to dislodge.  Once the desired number of Sonic Crab Bombs have been placed, the user blows on a whistle that causes ultra-high sonic vibrations, causing the crabs to explode violently.  Targets near a crab when it explodes suffers Class damage (rolled with Advantage) plus an additional 2d6.  Pirates and saboteurs love using these weapons to spring an attack.


Thorny Crow: These crows have small bony protrusions growing from their flesh.  An attacker will snap the crows neck and throw the carcass into an area.  The dead body swells alarmingly fast and then pops, spraying a Nearby radius with sharp boney needles.  Targets in a 15’ radius suffer class damage (Dexterity check for half damage if a player character).

Four Sample Pages From the Upcoming Starunner Kit- Black Hole Edition

I wanted to post some pictures for the upcoming Starrunner Kit!  Enjoy!

Starrunner- Black Hack Edition Page 4


Starrunner- Black Hack Edition Page 3


Starrunner- Black Hack Edition Page 2


Starrunner- Black Hack Edition Page 1


Traps for Barbarians of the Ruined Earth (and the Black Hack)

Here are a few example traps in Barbarians of the Ruined Earth (BotRE).  The book is nearly done (it WAS done, but I decided it wasn’t and wanted to add more content to it because I enjoy  punishing myself).  I prefer traps that have clues to their existence instead of just “ah ha!  Got you guys!  Now die!”

Barbarians of the Ruined Earth uses the awesome Black Hack rules.


Traps are devices set up to deter intruders from advancing into a location, warn defenders of hostiles, or guard valuable objects and locations.

Trap 3

Unless expertly crafted, traps always have telltale signs of being present.  Whether it’s the holes lining the wall that will release poison darts, the slightly raised spot on the floor that is a pressure plate to trigger a spike trap, or the off-color section of the floor that will fall away, revealing a pit trap, all are noticeable if the player characters are taking their time and examining their surroundings.  If the group is running blindly down a hall, then they must succeed an Intelligence check to notice the trap.


Player characters should be encouraged to come up with clever solutions to disarm a trap, but if tinkering is desired characters can disarm a trap with a successful Intelligence check (those who are not technologically inclined suffer Disadvantage on this roll).


Assign traps a HD amount. This will be used to highlight the trap’s complexity (don’t forget to use the Powerful Opponent rules here, pg XX) and determine damage.


Sample Traps

Trap 2

Rudimentary Snare Trap

HD: 1

Signs: Piles of leaves or rubbish hide the noose while a thick rope is nestled against a tree or pillar.

Deactivate: Cut cord or throw something onto noose to spring trap.

Effect: Target must succeed a Dexterity check to avoid having the noose tighten around their ankle and become hoisted upside down.


Rudimentary Floor Pit

HD: 1

Signs: Part of floor is slightly off-color than the rest. Looking closely will reveals a square seam around floor.

Deactivate: Throw something onto floor to spring trap.

Effect: Target must succeed a Dexterity check to avoid falling down pit.

Damage: 1d6 (+1d6 for each additional 10’ fall).


Wall Dart Trap

HD: 2

Signs: Holes dot both sides of the hallway walls. Slightly raised tile on the floor could be pressure plate.

Deactivate: Throw something onto the pressure plate to set off trap.

Effect: Target must succeed a Dexterity check to avoid being hit with a dart. There are 5 pressure plates in hallway.

Damage: 1d8.


Poisoned Wall Dart Trap

HD: 4

Signs: Holes dot both sides of the hallway walls. Slightly raised tile on the floor could be pressure plate.

Deactivate: Throw something onto the pressure plate to set off trap.

Effect: Target must succeed a Dexterity check to avoid being hit with a dart. There are 5 pressure plates in hallway. If a target is hit, the must succeed a Constitution test or become sluggish and suffer Disadvantage to Dexterity tests for 1d4 hours.

Damage: 1d12.


Magical Whistle Trap

HD: 2

Signs: Faintly glowing violet runes where spell has been cast.

Deactivate: A Sorcerer can dispel the trap or characters can risk setting it off.

Effect: A high pitched whistle goes off, alerting enemies of character’s presence.


Magical Disorientating Blast Trap

HD: 6

Signs: Faintly glowing green runes where spell has been cast.

Deactivate: A Sorcerer can dispel the trap or characters can risk setting it off.

Effect: A sonic blast fills a Nearby radius, deafening and disorientating everyone unless they succeed a Constitution test (made with Disadvantage). Target’s that fail their test are stunned and stumble around for 1d3 minutes (roll for random encounters every turn).  While Disorientated, characters suffer Disadvantage to all rolls and cannot do tasks that require concentration (i.e., cast spells, use Miracles, etc.).


Magical Buzzing Bee Door Trap

HD: 6

Signs: The door handle vibrates when held.

Deactivate: A Sorcerer can dispel the trap or insecticide can be sprayed into the key hole.

Effect: When fiddling with the lock of the door, a swarm of mutated angry bees spews forth from the key hole.  These bees sting anyone in a Nearby radius.  All targets in the area must make a Constitution save or swell up and suffer additional damage from the bee’s venom each round until each target succeeds three Constitution checks.

Damage: 2d8 initial (1d8 each additional round).

Trap `

Starrunner Kit: The Black Hole Edition Announcement and Alien Race Archetypes

Starrunner Kit- The Black Hole Edition Announcement

I am pleased to announce that a new edition of the Starrunner Kit will be released soon(ish)!  I really haven’t posted anything about it except a few classes that I have Black Hackified.

At first I was just using my Starrunner Kit and Black Hacking the classes for my players (my players and I really enjoy the Black Hack- it’s become our preferred system- well that and DCC).

Starrunner Kit is inspired by stuff like Star Wars, Mass Effect, Star Trek, Traveller, White Star, etc.

Starrunner Kit: The Black Hole Edition

It’s time to set a course through the stars! The Starrunner Kit- The Black Hole Edition uses the awesome Black Hack rules and is inspired by White Star and the original Starrunner Kit to provide rules and suggestions for sci-fi space adventure!

What’ll you find in this book?

Eleven space-faring classes including rules to generate a wealth of alien cultures.

A bunch of blasters, explosives, advanced technology, black market goods, and cyberware for your players to buy, sell, and use to blow stuff up!

Rules for the Black Hack for vehicles, Mechs, and Starships including rules to modify them to make the faster, stronger, and able to take a beating.

A chapter of thirty one new adversaries/enemies to pit against your group as well as a table to generate new alien culturs and strange and interesting creatures!

And finally twenty awesome charts and tables to help you generate adventures, planets, cargo, NPCs, merchants, etc. all on the fly!

The galaxy is your backyard; It’s time to adventure…

What is Different in This Book From the Original Starrunner Kit?

The GM charts and tables have been reworded to fit the current version and stripped of White Star references. There are also two new tables included.

The classes that were in the original book are included here and fit The Black Hack mechancis and feel.

As does the Advanced Technology and Cyberware included in the original book.

The original book was 78 pages, while the Black Hole Edition is 138 pages (including a character sheet).

Alien Archetypes

When I started writing the book, I didn’t want to create a bunch of alien races that wouldn’t fit the GM’s theme/vision.  Instead I created archetypes that can be pieced together to create a theme desired by the player or GM.

For example: if the player wants to play a Mon Calamari in Star Wars they would select the Aquatic Physical Attribute and the Smart Mental Attribute.

To play a Rodian, a player might choose Agile Physical Attribute and the Violent Mental Attribute.

Here are the pages from the book.

Starrunner for Black Hack- Alien Archetypes Page 1

Starrunner for Black Hack- Alien Archetypes Page 2

The Abhorrent Creature- The Witch/Warlock! An Enemy For Barbarians of the Ruined Earth

I was rewatching Thundarr the Barbarian for more inspiration on Barbarians of the Ruined Earth.

In one episode (first one, I think), an enemy calls Ariel a witch and she shouts back, “I am NOT a witch! I am a Sorceress!”

It got me thinking- why did she sound angry? Why was this an insult? Building on my thoughts that a Sorcerer isn’t a human, but something else, I got to thinking- what if a Witch (or Warlock) is an abnormality that occurs when a Sorcerer is in the womb?  What if a Sorcerer(ess) considers them lesser, disgusting beings?  What kind of jealousy and bitterness would that create on the part of the Witch/Warlock?

I figured it’d be a good enemy to add to BotRE for groups to clash against.


HD 1-5; Reduction Points 0 (None); Claws or Staff (1d6-1d6+1d8)
Description: Witches and Warlocks are the result of a defect or abnormality that occurs to a Sorcerer fetus in utero. Calling a Sorcerer a Witch or Warlock will quickly earn their ire, as they view these beings as lesser pathetic creatures. Warlocks/Witches are malformed, hideous, and abhorrent. Their ability to use magic is extremely limited, but are adept at casting rituals (pg XX). Warlocks and Witches are devious and cunning, but extremely petty and vicious. They are jealous of Sorcerers and often seek to undermine or overthrow them.
Special: Spells: A Warlock/Witch is not a strong magic user and can only cast first and second level Sorcerer spells (or Power of the Sun level if using alternate casting rules, pg XX). They also can use any of the Death Priest Miracles (pg XX) a number of times equal to their HD.
Rituals: A Warlock/Witch always has one ritual that has been cast and ready to use. A 3 HD Warlock/Witch has two rituals ready to use and a 5 HD Warlock/Witch has three rituals ready to use. Warlocks/Witches are not beholden to the normal rules of one item being linked to a ritual at a time (pg XX).



Barbarians of the Ruined Earth- Session Two- Trouble in Cosmetics Department

Last session we left off with the group defeating a group of cultists just outside the abandoned Ancient Earth shopping mall, known as the lair of Grentzel the Witch.


Chad– Medical Robot (named Marko Tron), rides a Giant Snailbadger.  Life Event: Has trouble understanding why humans whine so much, has mouthed off about it and been chased out of several villages. Trinket: World War II army helmet.

JohnBarbarian (named Dagor)- rides on a Giant Snailbear. Life Event: Mother was killed by croc-men when he was a child. Now he fights for the underdog!  Trinket: Silver dagger given by his father.

LiamSorcerer (named Fulgur Tenebris) Crazy Sorcerer appearance- grey skin, grey hair, cat eyes, jagged nails, yellow teeth, body changes color with emotion (50 shades of grey), has a metalic staff with spider web etching. Power manifestation black orbs with grey lightning. Life Event: Family was pushed out of village because of your birth.  Trinket: Golden necklace given to denote remarkable birth.  Rides one of the last Ancient Earth elephants (also has grey skin and yellowing tusks). Rules for Spellcasting here.

NateVek (Anthropomorphic dinosaur- raptor- pretty feathers. Named Valeran the Vek).  He thinks humans are savages.  Life Event: Father was a brilliant Vek who understood Stupendous Science. Father was eventually killed by a Sorcerer. Trinket: Headdress of bone, wood, and feathers.  Rides a camel.

FletchUrchin class (wasn’t able to play today).  More on this character later.

OmarDeath Priest (named Morg).  Wears totally Gothic stuff and has bone shoulder plates, a bone mace, and a Trump-like demeanor.  He was once the ruler of a village of humans, but was chased out and exiled.

Strange Meetings

The group decided to enter the  mall through the Cosmetics Department Store (see map below).  They began to sneak around when they heard muffled screams and a weird noise, like a frog caught in a person’s throat.

The crept quietly up around a crumbled display case and saw a human man, suspended upside down in a net.  Standing below him, making the noise were horrific-looking humanoids.  At these creature’s feet were the bodies of some of the cultists.


One of the beings from the flying ship that crashed into the shopping mall.

The group fired at the creatures, killing one.  The other two turned around and fired at the group with their laser pistols.  After a quick fight, the two were killed and the group looted their bodies, and those of the cultists, and finally cut Omar’s character down.

The group exchanged pleasantries and decided to move on through the mall.

Nate saw a dilapidated fountain in the center of the walkway and decided to prance towards it, excitedly.  He didn’t notice the cultist guard staring right at him, confused as fuck as to what a Vek was doing in his domain.  So he did what any good cultist would do- tried to kill his dinosaur ass and raise the alarm.


A robot and and several cultists came out of various Ancient Earth mall stores and began setting up cover.  Two cultists wheeled out a ballista which fired super-heated globs of green acid.  John let out a might barbarian roar and shot his bow at the acid pot, destroying it and killing the two cultists.

The battle was hard and nearly everyone took a bit of damage, and Chad (the Robot) was dropped.  The group revived Chad with a Robot Repair Kit, looted the bodies, and took refuge in a store for an hour to patch their wounds and gather themselves.

Shopping Mall Map

While they rested they heard a chanting coming from the large department store near them to the East.  The chanting grew in volume and intensity for roughly an hour.  Finally a bright flash of neon pink energy filled the hallway and the chanting stopped.

“What was that?” asked John.

“A ritual has been completed.  We are too late.” Said Liam.

The group decided to go into the department store to see what had been done.  When the entered they found a moldy, tattered bed with a young girl tied and gagged to it.  The group cut her free.  She explained that she was the daughter of Lloyd Greaser of Route 66 and she had been kidnapped by the cultists.  The witch Genzel was inside.  She was told Kit that she had taken something from Route 66 (the Ancient Earth weapon) and would use it in some horribly vile ritual.

Me: So what do you guys do?

John: Let’s go inside and fight and kill them all!

Everyone else: We got the kid- let’s get out of here.

The group turned tail and ran from the mall.  They made it back to Route 66 safely and reunited Kit with her father.

The village celebrated their return and thanked them for saving Kit and defeating the evil witch.

Omar: Oh- yeah- we didn’t do that.

Chad 2.0 (NPC Mayor): What do you mean?

Omar: Well we found the kid and didn’t go any further.

Chad 2.0: So the witch still lives?

Omar: Well we don’t know since we never saw her.

The villagers seemed distraught that the group didn’t deal with the problem.  However they were thankful for what the group had done and offered them a place to sleep, food, and drink.

The group did various things in the village, including Chad having an EMP cannon attached to his shoulder, however a corrupting influence of the previous robot invaded Chad’s personality and he permanently lost 1 Wisdom.

Liam met the bartender, Ursula of the Yellow and drank some Mustard Seed Whisky and had some Spicy Slop Noodles.

Omar and John got new gear and Omar agreed to do a burial service in the morning for those that died in the initial attack (session 1) for a car door shield.

The Next Morning

The Highwaymen of Route 66 gathered outside the walls of the village at the graveyard while Omar pulled a ceremony out of his ass and did some chanting.  As the group walked back toward Route 66, the local healer Kylynn of the Earth thanked him for putting the spirits of their loved ones to rest and helping them to the afterlife.

Omar then explained to her that he did nothing of the sort.  He just made sure they wouldn’t rise from the dead.  There is no heaven or hell… there is no afterlife.  Just a ever expansive gray limbo.

As the group neared the gate to Route 66, the ground exploded in front of them.  They heard a roaring in the air and looked up.  Riding on an Ancient Earth Santa’s sleigh that was fitted with rockets was the hideous old hag, Grenzel.  Three robots, flying around her.

Grenzel: “You fools!  You think you can enter my domain and live!  I will burn you all to the ground!”


Grenzel the Witch!  A piece by the awesome Matthew Adams– not part of BotRE

The group drew their weapons and prepared for battle.

This is where we ended it for the night.  We play again at the end of the month!  Excited to see how this goes.

Aside: I emailed my players the map of the local area I created with the awesome Hex Kit by Cecil Howe.  I have not given them any information on the areas, but the names will be things the group could have heard in passing at Route 66 or hear about in the aftermath of the fight with Grenzel (assuming it isn’t a TPK).  They can then delve for more information about a location and decide where to go.

I will be including this area (not the map) in the BotRE book as a point crawl. BotRE Map