Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hard Candy (Corruption Trade/Wermspittle)

Sweet, wicked and all too cheap for anyone's good; there are over a thousand different types, sorts and kinds of candies and confections made from the by-products of the White Powder. Temptation made edible and immediately accessible, the various forms of Hard Candies available in Wermspittle have become a tradition, a custom, and worse--an addiction that affects most of the population. Few survive the harsh winters without resorting to Hard Candy. Very few. In some places specific types of Hard Candy have become an informal currency. For many, Hard Candy is the only option they have, if they wish to eat, once the Butchers run out of questionable meat.

It isn't the White Powder that takes such a heavy toll on the people of Wermspittle, nor even the violence, the miasmas, the prowling things just outside of sight; it is their reliance upon Hard Candy to survive the winter.
According to the Midwives...
Back before the Midwives' Rebellion, there was plenty to eat in Wermspittle, even in the winter. But something happened. In the midst of the riots, the lootings, the burnings and the chaos, someone orchestrated a methodical, calculated and well-planned destruction of certain things, mostly those sorts of things that tended to be overlooked by the mobs or the partisans. Overnight the things that had once made Wermspittle a prosperous source of plenty for all crashed and it came to an end. The warehouses were ransacked, silos and storage-bins were emptied or burned. Stockpiles ran out. Famine became a reality. Starvation made people desperate. Terrible things were allowed, where before they would have been reviled and punished. Only the Candymen, the dealers and distributors had anything left to eat and they exacted a heavy price for their favors.

Eat Your Heart Out
Hard Candy does offer those who eat it definite benefits, at first. Then things tend to go bad, then they get ugly. If used in moderation, it is possible to avoid the worst side-effects, as long as use is not prolonged beyond three months or so. Usually less. (One way to handle this is to look at the character's CON bonus; they can safely use Hard Candy once a day for 1 month per point of their CON bonus.)

Once-a-Day is Enough
Each piece of Hard Candy consumed within a 24-hour period will eliminate the need to eat for 1d4 days. It will also cause healing to take place at triple the normal rate and boost the immune system so as to remove all mundane diseases and give a +3 bonus on all Saves versus infection, poison, or diseases of a more sorcerous nature such as Mummy Rot.

Make one roll on the following table for each piece of Hard Candy consumed within a 24-hour period.
After getting the same result three times, make an additional roll on the next table.
  1. Visual perception heightened, triple normal range, expands into infra-red and beyond. (treat as Clairaudience, Clairvoyance, and Infravision combined). Save or go blind for next 1d8 days, make the Save it only lasts for 1d4 days.
  2. Gain Regeneration ability for 1d4 days. At end of effect, make a Save or begin to grow 1d4 tumorous growths or throbbing cysts requiring surgery to remove. Each of these nasty things absorbs 1 hit point per day of uninterrupted growth. They might become autonomous upon achieving more than ten hit points. If so, they will cause 1d4 damage per growth, as they rip themselves free of their host.
  3. Gain +2 to hit with melee weapons for next 1d4 hours. When effect ends, make a Save or suffer -1 penalty to hit for 1d4 days.
  4. Memory enhanced, can memorize spells or other things in 1/3 normal time, effect persists for 1d12 hours, at end of which time user must make a Save or lose all memories for 1d4 days.
  5. Movement doubled for next 1d4 days. Once this runs its course, user must eat triple normal rations for 1d4 days or suffer 1d4 damage each day they eat less.
  6. Features become malleable for next 1d4 hours. You can reshape your face. It will remain in the new configuration unless you roll this result again, in which case make a Save or your face will begin to melt (-1 penalty to CHAR).
  7. Movement tripled for next 3d8 hours. At end of duration user must eat actual food or suffer 1d4 damage for the next 2d4 days. Consuming Hard Candy during this recovery period will force an automatic roll on the next table.
  8. Sense of smell is heightened to extraordinary degree for next 1d6 days, after which make a Save or lose all sense of smell for 1d6 days.
  9. Gain +2 bonus to DEX for next 1d4 days, user experiences incredible balance and moves at double normal rate when climbing. At end of the duration, make a Save or be incapable of movement for 1d4 days. Making the Save reduces their movement by one-half for 2d4 days.
  10. Shrug off first 2 points of damage from all melee attacks for next 1d4 hours. At end of duration, make Save or suffer 2d4 damage, making the Save results in half damage.
  11. No need to eat for the next 3d6 days, however you now must make a Save or become one of the emaciated wretches who must eat one piece of Hard Candy every day or suffer 1d4 damage or worse.
  12. Transfer 2 points from INT, WIS or CHAR to STR, DEX or CON. Make Save or it is permanent. 

Things Turn Ugly
Prolonged use, a bad reaction, or overdosing on Hard Candy results in a roll on the following table.
  1. Lose 1 point of INT, however you temporarily regain all lost INT points while under the effect of Hard Candy.
  2. Your blood is now a weak form of Black Liquor. You are immune to the effect of the stuff, but all other forms of Black Liquor cause damage to you similar to boiling oil.
  3. You can now See Invisible all the time, but you can only see invisible things now. Base 10% chance to attract attention of a Horla every wandering monster check.
  4. Lose all sense of touch.
  5. You can no longer see the color (1=Blue, 2=Red, 3=Yellow, 4=Green, 5=Orange, 6=Purple).
  6. One half of all damage healed becomes hit points applied to the tumor-like growth developing within your abdominal cavity.
  7. The bodily fluids within one of your limbs are congealing into a warm, viscous mass that will thicken into a raw lump of 1d4 pounds of Achromic Powder that will need to be removed before it poisons your blood and kills you within the next 1d4 days. You lose 1 point of CON, STR, and DEX each day the lump is allowed to persist.
  8. Your skin is prone to molting. Some of the pieces that you've shed seem to disappear when you look away. Perhaps they have become autonomous in some way?
  9. Gain +1 to DEX, suffer -1 to STR, as your bones have become pliable, flexible things capable of bending in ways others might find unsettling.
  10. Your skin takes on a rancid smell and grows dark, with black splotches. Make Save or suffer -1 penalty to CHAR. Even if you make the Save, you gain a random mutation or defect. (see Table)
  11. Your blood no longer clots right, instead of forming scabs, it clumps together in little quivering blob-lets that may or may not slither away. When injured, you take an additional 1 point of damage just from blood loss.
  12. Large portions of your body have now become invisible. (Determine portions/extent randomly)
  13. Transfer 1d4 points from WIS to STR. You can only reverse this while under the effect of Hard Candy.
  14. Make Save every day or suffer effect of Feeblemind, unless you are under the influence of Hard Candy, then you're immune to all Fear, Feeblemind and related effects.
  15. One limb selected at random is becoming a lumpy sort of tentacle, unless you make a Save, then it's only a finger or toe that is getting wiggly.
  16. Your blood is now black and you heal a double normal rate all the time, unfortunately, every point you regain is counted against your original hit point total and when the new hit points exceed that amount, you lose one point of WIS and then must make a Save or else become a Loathsome Mass in 1d4 days. Perhaps you can find a cure before you collapse into a writhing mass of corruption? 
  17. Save or your skin is covered by a Sallow Stain that seeps out from your very bones. Make the Save and you only suffer this effect whenever you are injured--your blood produces a Wet Spot (roll 1d10) if you make a Save, or leaves behind a Sallow Stain if you fail.
  18. You suffer a loss of 1d4 points from CHAR or WIS, and your blood becomes a sweet, sticky green serum that attracts vermin within 360'. You regain the lost attribute points whenever you eat more Hard Candy, but the vermin will always come for you. Getting this result more than once carries a cumulative 20% chance of suffering the effects of a Verminomorphosis spell. Making a Save means the effect is random, akin to a form of verminicious lycanthropy, perhaps.
  19. Congratulations; you get to roll 1d10 on the Wet Spot table and apply the result to your body in some gruesome, particularly uncomfortable way.
  20. Become a Loathsome Mass...for 1d4 hours every time you fail a Save. Duration of transformation triples every time you get this result, with a Save required or else it becomes permanent. 
It is suggested that one does not combine White Powder or Black Liquor with Hard Candy, as that would probably be cause to make a roll on the above table, should the victim fail a Save.


  1. A lot of masty effects. Hard candy ain't sweet! ;)

  2. Nope. It certainly isn't. But it does give us a good (bad?) excuse to make use of our forthcoming Vile Transformations Table...

    The thing with Wermspittle is that it is completely untenable as things stand right now; the call to action is inherent in the very structure of the place. but at the same time, corruption will always win when no one will make the necessary sacrifice, or actually attempt to change the way things have been for all too long now...

  3. Glad you posted this, as I have been thinking about Hard Candy all day. It is going to make an appearance in a totally different game and setting - an additional clue for the PCs, if they are attentive.

  4. @Tallgeese: Sorry things got out of order there with the Thysanurians. The Half-Almas, Almas Gland-culler, and Yeren are all coming in early May at this rate. Barring any more medical crap. Hope this helps. We'd love to hear about the game some time. Have fun with the not-so-sweet-stuff fresh from Wermspittle!

  5. Last night, Hard Candy featured in my con scenario "The Fight Club of Paris" using the All of One: Regime Diabolique RPG (Ubiquity system). The Hard Candy was found to be fueling some if the fights. Two characters took some - one who was fighting an armored bear, and he other who was fighting a boar (this was due to a really BAD series of roles, since there is only a 1/6 chance of facing an animal combatant ub the arena). One Hard Candy was found in the shop of an Ile de Cite apothecary; the others were being sold right at the fight. The PCs took them in spite of one of having a very good idea that these were not good - after all, they had witnessed the deliquesing of another Musketeer just a day before. The candies were traced to the mysterious "Duc of Lessing" who ultimately was traced to a fortified town of Wurmspittle in the Germanies.

  6. Hi John! So Hard Candy has leaked across the plenal boundaries to another Adjacent World or Parallel Realm...those apothecaries who get dismissed from the Medical School in Wermspittle can be a real problem at times. They're always so caught-up in their experiments, their formulae, their work that they tend to forget that they're human, or used to be human, before the peculiar chemicals, weird energies, or other fall-out from their efforts have twisted and warped them body, mind and soul...

    Hmmm...this 'Duc de Lessing' might be someone worth investigating a bit more closely. And this RPG bears looking into as well. How does it compare to Flashing Blades or Engarde?

  7. Hi Jim: All for One: Regime Diabolique is very much a modern successor to those games, as well as to Lace and Steel, and Seven Seas. In many ways, I think it corrects the mistakes of the last game, including fantastic elements and a system that lends itself to swashbuckling adventures, while avoiding the trap of creating a pseudo-Europe when the real one can do just fine.

  8. Well, that sounds like quite a fine RPG. We'll have to see if they have a copy over at The Source next time we drop in. Never tried this Ubiquity system. How does that play out? Would an old schooler have much trouble grokking the fine-points?


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