[Primal SF] Planet Leviathan
I like the rules explanations. I don't know much about Black Hat, but I like systems that are simple and fast. Can you cross class in BH?
(04-13-2018, 11:37 PM)Jingo Wrote: I like the rules explanations. I don't know much about Black Hat, but I like systems that are simple and fast. Can you cross class in BH?

In the basic rules of The Black Hack, there's no multi-classing.  The system is way, way too simple for even something that complex.  However, there are hacks of the hack which elaborate on the class system, so it's entirely possible there's something out there which adds the necessary tools.  I'd start with this list of stuff.  A lot of it's free, but even the things which aren't only run a couple of bucks, usually.

In addition, I apologize for the delay in updating either thread.  I was in the hospital Tuesday and have been in and out of various doctors' offices since then dealing with a sudden hearing/balance loss.  Lots of time spent in bed, unfortunately, and not at the keyboard.  Sad

Hopefully everything will be back to more or less normal soon!
If you're reading The Warwind, my other thread, you'll understand why an update to Planet Leviathan has been delayed.  My apologies, but it's pretty much unavoidable.

Somehow I did end up with two threads going simultaneously, but considering how things are going for the orcish scout, Zinzi, and her human allies over at The Warwind, this might not be the case for very long.  In the meantime, enjoy.

This narrative uses The Black Hack, as well as supplementary material from The Hunter Hack and The Beast Hack 2: Monster Madness.

The character sheet for Wish, our heroine, is located here.


This is the major question left over from last time: are Wish's parents still alive after the attack by Scarred One and his fellow Ubar warriors on Inanna village?

(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

Wish is overjoyed to see her parents are still alive, though the damage wrought by Scarred One in his assault was severe.  Inanna is a relatively peaceful village devoted to hunting, gathering and light agriculture.  They are not a warrior society like some have become since The Stranding, and while that is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be a disadvantage, as we've seen here today.

If only the success Wish had with her hunting was enough to make up for what's happened.  Wish can't help but feel somewhat responsible, since it was she who first encountered Scarred One, and she who appears to have enraged him enough to lead the attack.  But why was he out there in the first place?  And beyond doing as much injury to a rival village that they could be something he'd even want to do?  Is it purely revenge?

Let's see if we can find out.

Communicate / Pleasures

[That's a tough one to interpret.  If I may recommend it, check out the subreddit called /r/mythic_gme, where some players post their questions about how others would advance the plot based on difficult oracle results.  I'll post this one there, just to see if it jibes with what popped into my mind immediately.  Or share your own, as I'm sure we won't get to that part right away as it is.]

Whatever the case, Wish must report all this to the leadership of Inanna, (2 = 2[d4]) respected villagers who came on The Spirit of Inquiry prior to The Stranding.  While the bodies are still warm, and tears are still shed, Wish goes to them to tell her story.  Farrand and Kaylynn listen to what Wish has to say.

Antagonise / A plot

They are angry, though not with Wish.  This is an unquestionable act of aggression on the part of the Ubar, and Inanna can't stand for it.  Plus, once Scarred One brings the news back to his people, they are sure to mount another assault, and though Inanna village will be ready, they are (as mentioned) not warriors by and large.

Do the Ubar outnumber the Inanna?

(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but... +Event: Expose / Joy

It's not so much Ubar's numerical advantage that's the problem, but their total devotion to the kill-or-be-killed ethos which arose among many following The Stranding.  There had been an effort among the survivors of The Spirit of Inquiry to preserve some of the egalitarian principles which were meant to guide new human life on Nibiru, but the presence of the beasts and the general hostility of the environment — they did not land in the fertile plains area in which they had intended to settle — pushed more than a few to turn on the others in an act of pure survival.  Some, like Inanna, established themselves in the way it was always supposed to be, and learned to balance themselves against the dangers of the forest.  Some fled, never to return.  Some stayed, and became like the Ubar, who almost seem to take delight in exposing villages like Inanna because of their joy/weakness.  Once again, we have to face the truth: if the Ubar come in force, Inanna village will die.

Faced with this, the leaders have no choice, especially after they've heard the testimony of other villagers.  They must return aggression with aggression and risk antagonizing the Ubar further.  A counterattack, according to the forming plot, might take the Ubar off-guard.  They will expect Inanna to dig in — which, of course, they'll do — but they'll never expect a pinpoint strike.  And a prime target is...

Old necropolis

... their place of the dead.  As a warrior people, the Ubar place particular emphasis on the honor of their dead, both those who didn't survive The Stranding and the massive die-off which happened then, or in the clashes to follow.  Every Ubar swears they will be burned in the Place of Ashes, as it has become their sacred resting ground.  It's a bold act, and certain to stir up awful conflict, but the hope is that it'll be shocking enough to paralyze the Ubar long enough for Inanna's hunters and braver villagers to make a difference in a broader follow-up attack.

The problem is there's not a whole lot of time.  They must make ready as swiftly as possible, because they have no more than a day before Scarred One makes his full report to the Ubar and they mount a plan of their own.  Volunteers are needed now.  Wish is the first to raise her hand.  Her parents aren't thrilled, but this is no time for second thoughts.

The preparation begins.  Hunters of Inanna wear, like many, armor pieces crafted from the bones and plates of various beasts, and bear weapons made of the same.  The larger the beast, the more formidable the gear required.  Fighting other humans isn't much of a problem when they're on equal terms.  A small scouting party like Scarred One's wasn't prepared for a huge fight, and even when they turned their attention toward Inanna, they didn't arm themselves heavily.  The Inanna fighters will not make the same mistake.  Their armourers immediately get to work, hoping to do the job of days in only one.

[I think this is a good time to level Wish.  One advantage of The Black Hack is that characters level whenever they and/or the GM feel it's appropriate to the story, and this seems like such a point.  Though Wish hasn't accomplished a great deal between reaching level 2 and now, she has just made a monumental decision to join a daring, and potentially deadly, assault.  I interpret this as a moment where she steps up and becomes more heroic.  Hence additional HP and potentially higher stats.  To do this, I roll a d20 for each of her six stats in turn, and if the rolls are higher than the given stat, it goes up by one.  For a Thief/Hunter like Wish, she gets to roll twice to potentially advance DEX and WIS.]

9 = 9[d20]

8 = 8[d20]

12 = 12[d20]

6 = 6[d20]

6 = 6[d20]

4 = 4[d20]

20 = 20[d20]

16 = 16[d20]

[Looks like Wish has learned not only to be more alert (plus to WIS), but is more greatly respected due to her clash with the Ubar all on her own.  The copious bloody battle-marks she bears after all this probably don't hurt when making an impression.  Because Wish is going to rest for a full day, I'm going to restore her HP to maximum, and roll d6 to see how many new HP she has.]

3 = 3[d6]

[But let's not forget: I've designated Scarred One as Wish's nemesis, and given him a full write-up as a character.  So whenever Wish levels, Scarred One levels.  This takes him to Warrior 3.  The same process is repeated for potential stat increases, plus more HP.  He rolls twice for STR and DEX.]

19 = 19[d20]

17 = 17[d20]

7 = 7[d20]

18 = 18[d20]

20 = 20[d20]

12 = 12[d20]

4 = 4[d10]

[Scarred One was already pretty scary, but he has just been boosted to terrifying levels.  You can see his character sheet here.  Let's hope Wish does not have to go toe-to-toe with this mighty Ubar warrior.]

Wish doesn't spend all her time resting, of course.  She must prepare.  To this end, she takes possession of a bone spear (nothing special), and turns over the azusa plate she scavenged on her journey.  This will take some time to fashion into something of use, and time is short and the armor plate is tough, but Wish will have enough protection in the form of primitive armor to give her a fighting chance [2 Armor Points].  Her supply of arrows is refreshed.  Wish's father and mother, Ari and June, are coming along, as well.  In all, the village can spare (6 = 6[d12]) decent fighters besides Wish and her family.  Not a great force, but perhaps enough to handle the challenge to come.

Does the night pass without incident?

(Very Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

By dawn the preparations are still underway, but wrapping up.  The Inanna village armorers have worked through the night to give their fighters what they'll need.  By midday they have gotten ready enough to say prayers and hope for the best on their mission.  By the time a full day has passed since the Ubar raid, they are ready to go.

Together the nine Inanna fighters leave the safety of the village and plunge into the forest.  This is a quest which could easily end in all of their deaths and, in turn, provoke a response so furious Inanna itself will be wiped out.  The stakes could not be higher.

Nice! I'm interested to see what happens next.
At the beginning of each of these posts, I always include a little summary of the previous entry's action, plus information about the system used, and so forth.  I do this because I figure not everyone's going to start the thread from the beginning, but I also realize it's possibly a little redundant and dull for some readers.  If you'd prefer I do away with the introductions, please let me know.  I'll always include links to the rules and character sheets, but I don't need to do a "last time on" every time.

With that out of the way, where are we?  Wish Bailey, her parents, and a small group of brave villagers from Wish's home of Inanna have set out on a potentially suicidal raid against the most sacred spot of a rival group.  The purpose is to hit these enemies in a spectacularly painful way, because a toe-to-toe fight between the two villages would inevitably end in Inanna's destruction.  Striking at The Place of Ashes, as the enemy's hallowed ground is called, could put Inanna's opposition on the back foot long enough for Inanna to summon its strength, sue for peace, or better prepare for their annihilation.

And let us not forget: this story is not called Planet Leviathan for no reason.  In the forest where all this is happening, great beasts roam and hunt and care only about how hungry they are, not about human squabbles.

I am using The Black Hack as a ruleset, with a tiny bit of supplemental material from The Hunter Hack, a PWYW supplement.  The Black Hack is a great system for this kind of thing, and so flexible you wouldn't believe, so if you haven't tried it, take a gander at the SRD and see if it's something you'd like.


Remote event



Wish and the Inanna move through the forest, but elsewhere...

Scarred One has returned to his people with the rest of his raiding party.  Emotions run high, as he describes the situation of the past couple of days: the encroachment of the young Inanna hunter on what the Ubar consider their territory, the ferocious battles with beasts which ensued, and the young hunter's eventual escape.  The raid Scarred One turned on Inanna itself was not sanctioned by the Ubar leader and (1 = 1[d2]) his counselors, but rather a manifestation of Scarred One's own, twisted pleasure at inflicting pain and misery upon his foes.  Scarred One remembers the time before The Stranding, having come to Nibiru aboard The Spirit of Inquiry.  Unlike many, he took immediately to the savage demands of this new planet, and has devoted himself entirely to the role of hunter, warrior and... leader?

Why hasn't Scarred One competed for the chance to become leader of the Ubar?

Return / Victory

It seems Scarred One has been looking for the unquestionable victory, the hero's return, which would make his challenge for the leadership of the Ubar absolutely justified.  Given what he has now interpreted as a provocation by the Inanna which can't be ignored — he has no idea what's coming, of course, which is going to change things a lot — this could be his golden opportunity to raise his status to the highest level and make his claim unassailable.  But first...

[i]How does the leader feel about what has transpired?[/i]

Pursue / Goals

It's a tense time, the period after Scarred One has told his story, but the Leader is not displeased.  Early on, the group of colonists who became the Ubar realized that the old norms aboard The Spirit of Inquiry, and of Earth itself, needed to be discarded to ensure the survival of the species.  Striking where they can, for as much damage as they can inflict, is a part of the unfolding philosophy of the past twenty years.  Yes, Scarred One ought to have asked permission first, but what he's done is not exactly out of line with any of that.  And the ultimate destruction of Inanna village, or at least the enslavement of its useful population and confiscation of its resources, is part of the long-term goals of the Ubar.

[i]So what is the Leader's decision moving forward?[/i]

Inform / Fame

The Leader lauds Scarred One for his bravery and quick thinking, announcing this to all, and Scarred One's fame is increased accordingly.

[i]But do they pursue this course of action?[/i]

(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

... it will happen as soon as possible.  The Inanna can't have a chance to gather their resources before the Ubar mount a second assault.  Inanna village is already weak by comparison, so hitting them when they're already reeling is an ideal strategy.  Scarred One is put in charge a new raid, and preparations are ordered.  So even as Inanna prepares their counterattack, Ubar has their own violent plan of action.  This is going to get ugly.

But with Wish and the others, it is already the next day, and progress through the forest is swift.  If nothing else, hunting on Nibiru rewards quick thought and quicker action.  The wildlands of the planet teem with ferocious beasts, and speaking of which...

Do they encounter any beasts?

(50/50 | 2[d10]) No +Event: Kill / War

Wish smells the blood before they reach the carnage.  The great boreal forest spreads out a bit here, and the Inanna come across a scene of horrific destruction.  Just two days before, Wish encountered an azusa which had been badly mauled and left to die, not even given the dignity of consumption.  What they find now is ten times as bad.  A whole string of azusa have been slaughtered here, ripped to shreds by some mighty animal.  There doesn't seem to have been any attempt to devour the azusa, either, just as before.  This is killing purely for the sake of killing, the kind of malice generally only human beings are capable of.

Is the beast nearby?

(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

The beast appears to be gone, but at that moment Wish hears the roar of something massive deep in the forest.

Does she know its call?

(Unlikely | 7[d10]) Yes

The sound freezes the blood in her veins, and her companions are likewise disturbed.  This is the sound of the peloro, one of the largest forest-hunting beasts.  It does not spend all its time among the trees, but ventures in from the edges of the forest when looking for juicy prey, like the azusa who tend to stick to the deep foliage.  It stands semi-erect on four powerful legs, and has jaws vast enough to scoop up two humans at a time.  When the first settlers explored the forest after The Stranding, a single peloro killed nearly fifty people in one attack.  It was a massacre.  If this one is between the Inanna and Ubar, they may come across it sooner rather than later.  They wouldn't stand a chance against it, not with their inferior weapons and numbers.  Even the Ubar as a whole would be hard-pressed to fight back without committing every resource they have.

It's time for consideration.  A headlong rush into the forest is now not an advisable move, because the peloro could be up there somewhere.  And this one seems unusually vicious.  The peloro is always hungry but, as we've seen, this one isn't eating.  Why?  And if it gets their scent, would they even be able to get away?  Suddenly the situation is more dire than it was before.  Caught by the Ubar, a peloro or both would mean certain death.

There are elder Inanna in the party, but it's Wish who makes the decision: they will proceed.  The future of their village is at stake, and if they don't act now, they may not get a second chance.  Hit the Ubar where it hurts, withdraw, and hope it doesn't come to a three-way deathmatch between forces they cannot resist.  She is determined, and she faced a handful of Scarred One's warriors, including Scarred One himself, all by herself.  Certainly they can do this together!

[Test CHA 15.]

12 = 12[d20]

Her argument works.  There's trepidation — because why wouldn't there be? — but the imperative of their mission is absolute.  They decide to move on, though more carefully.  The peloro isn't close (yet), but that could easily change.  The only advantage is that its murderous presence may have driven back other, lesser predators and smoothed the way for them.

Has it?

(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

The journey proceeds almost as swiftly as it did before, with confidence building after each kilometer they travel.  Before the day has begun to fade, Wish and the others are fairly flying through the underbrush, springing over fallen trunks, whipping through underbrush and skirting the vast boles of ancient trees.  By the time light has failed completely, they're exhausted, but close to their objective.  They will rest first, and then proceed the final distance.


[A small note: I never shared this here before, but I posted my initial notes about the campaign over on Reddit, so you can see how little I started with.  While this story isn't exactly complicated, it's definitely getting there.  More so than I would have expected.]
I like the "last time we met..." intro and the link to Wish's char sheet. Good story!
In the last installment, we left Wish, her parents and a handful of other brave souls from Inanna village on the verge of a mission so perilous, it could easily end their lives.  Having weathered an attack by a fearsome warrior tribe called the Ubar, Inanna's fate lies in the balance.  If Wish and her comrades are successful, they will put the Ubar on the back foot, and perhaps hinder a second assault by a larger force.  This, in turn, could allow Inanna to better prepare and potentially survive.

This narrative uses The Black Hack as its core ruleset, with small amounts of material from other sources.  For Wish's character sheet, click here.


Wish and the others settle down for the night amid the hooting of night-hunting beasts and their prey.  They are too close to Ubar village to risk a fire, but luckily the weather is mild nearly year-round in this part of Nibiru, which is one of the reasons so many settled here after The Stranding.  The intrepid group takes turns individually watching for trouble, whether human or not.

Does anything happen in the night?

(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

... it's exactly the sort of trouble they don't need.  In the darkness, at least one Ubar warrior, patrolling the darkness, comes across them, but it's an open question as to whether Wish or the others notice the warrior's presence.

Is Wish on watch at the time?

(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...

... she wakens by some instinct when the Ubar threat draws near.  Without moving from the shelter of a great set of tree roots, she listens to the night for something out of the ordinary.  The wildland forest is not a place for the unwary or the weak.  There is a reason she was sent alone into those wildlands to prove herself as a blooded hunter unsupported by any other members of the Inanna.  Those who manage to survive the trial by solitude are worthy to continue their service to the village at large.  Those who do not either take up roles in the gathering of resources, or the tending of what little crops they cultivate, or they simply do not return at all.

[Test WIS 16 with Advantage.]

4 = 4[d20]

5 = 5[d20]

She hears what she needs to hear.  They are not alone.  Somewhere, out of sight, a human threat lurks.

Is there more than one warrior?

(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

... there are many more besides.  How many more is the question.  Wish curses herself inwardly for the carelessness which brought them into this situation.  Of course the Ubar would have set patrols around their village in the aftermath of their assault on Inanna.  Of course they would be prepared for a counterattack, no matter how small.  But how are badly the odds set against them, and can survive the inevitable attack?

Are the odds worse than two-to-one?

(Unlikely | 3[d10]) No +Event: Adjourn / Success

She does not dare move, nor make a sound to warn her companions.  Wish must wait until the exact moment the Ubar are about to strike, a moment she will not be able to determine with any sort of accuracy in the dark, with no visual cues from which to work.  She must count on the others to react swiftly and with deadly intent.  The Ubar may not have the advantage of significant numbers — this much Wish can tell from listening — but the Ubar are a people of war, and they do not need to be many in order to devastate the relatively weak Inanna.  Hunters are strong and capable, but their skills are directed toward the beasts of this world, not the two-legged variety of danger.

Wish waits.  Her hand rests on her spear.  Moments pass.  The Ubar are still.  They are watching.  Calculating.  Wish has no idea what they're waiting for.

And then they are gone.  She senses it more than hears it.  Why they would adjourn from a situation where they have such a clear advantage, she doesn't know, but there's no time to waste.  She makes certain there's no further sound from the Ubar, then hastens to wake her parents and the others.  They have to move swiftly, because the Ubar are certain to report the presence of interlopers.  The attack on the Place of Ashes must proceed tonight.

They gather themselves with urgency.  Sleep is forgotten.  The Place of Ashes is not too far away, as they had hoped to strike it when first light reached the forest floor.  With no choice, they must undertake this deadliest of tasks in the dead of night.

Do they encounter any Ubar along the way?

(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

Retaliation comes more quickly than even Wish expected, or perhaps this is simply another group of Ubar positioned in their territory overnight.

Is it the same group?

(Unlikely | 4[d10]) No

Is it a large group (larger than the Inanna party)?

(Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

... it is an Ubar warrior alone.  As they are very nearly to the Place of Ashes, Wish reasons this is a guard set to watch the area immediately around this sacred site.  He'll have to be eliminated with maximum efficiency and silence.  Nearly all of the Inanna with her are hunters, so any one of them could do the deed, but Wish signals her intention to move forward on her own.  She is terrified, because though she has killed humans at this point, it is not something to which she's grown accustomed.

[She moves silently.  When she is just able to make out the lone warrior, she intends to strike with her bow.  First we will text DEX 16 with Advantage for the stealth attempt and, if successful, test the same way for a sneak attack.  Should that be successful, we'll roll for damage.]

7 = 7[d20]

5 = 5[d20]

[She's unseen.]

13 = 13[d20]

14 = 14[d20]

6 = 2[d6]+4[d6]

4 = 4[d8]

Wish's arrow slices through the night, virtually silent.  The bone tip penetrates the Ubar's flesh just above the point where his shoulder meets his neck, and instantly severs his spinal cord.  He drops without a sound, likely dead before he even felt the pain.

They move forward to examine the body.  Spear and knife of bone.  Bare-chested, with only wraps around his arms to guard against stray slashes in a close battle.  Even in the darkness it's possible to make out his ritual scarification.  This reminds Wish of Scarred One, and she shudders involuntarily.  Scarred One is still alive, and he's probably nearby.  Whatever else, he'll want to kill her for the offense she inflicted on him.  She's not sure she can survive another fight with him.  Having her parents and the others might help, but ultimately it would be her against him, and they are not evenly matched in ability nor experience.

There is no time to linger.  They must continue.  Ahead they see a faint light flickering through the foliage.  Wish has never been here before.  She doesn't know what to expect.  Are there more Ubar ahead, simply waiting for the Inanna to fall into their hands?  Is their plan so transparent?  Did the group from before fall back to the sacred place, rather than to Ubar village, having divined their purpose?

And then they are there.  Are they alone?

(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

It seems no one has disturbed the area in a while.  Save for a single burning torch in the center of the space, there's no evidence a person has even been here.  The Ubar must rake the ashes to do away with any footprints.

And ashes there are.  In a broad circle twenty meters across, there is nothing but a thick coating of ashes spread and maintained in a pattern of wavy lines.  Yes, they must cultivate the Place of Ashes like a garden.  This is where all Ubar are laid to rest, reduced to dust.  All the trees have been cut back, and the sacred space is open to the sky.  Stars wheel overhead, brilliant in a black setting untarnished by any city lights.  Wish has heard of such things on the old world.

Wooden markers decorated with bone and beast-ivory stand sentinel around the perimeter.  The symbols the Ubar use are ones of their own devising, part of the new faith they adopted after The Stranding.  The old ways, the ways of Earth, have no place on this forbidding world where no human has ever trod.  In a certain respect, Wish understands this.  The Stranding forced all of them to begin again, as if they had stepped fully formed out of the cosmos with no past and only future.

They have discussed previously what to do.  It is a blasphemy to the Ubar.  A part of Wish regrets this is the only way they can realistically strike back without more preparation.

She steps out onto the ashes.  They are soft, feathery under the soles of her bare feet.  The others fan out around her.

It's time.  They begin to shatter the icons of the Ubar, one by one, overturning them, prying out their careful inlays.  Dusty ash swirls around them as the careful rills are disturbed.  It takes less time to defile this place than even Wish expected.

If they weren't before, they are at war now.


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