Monday, 16 January 2017

A Procedure for Play

Bastionland is going to distill a lot of GM guidance into very clear procedures. Each of the four sections of the world will have their own procedure, but the core procedure for running the game is something like this:

When you're Refereeing Into the Odd and the players do something, look at the list below.

Work from top to bottom, and when you find a solution to what you're trying to resolve, don't go any further down.
  1. Can you make this into a Dilemma? If so, do it.
  2. Does it make sense for it to just happen? If so, go right to the Consequences.
  3. Is it still uncertain? If so, call for a Save.
  4. I guess it was impossible, give the players more Information to help them come up with reasonable action. 

Further Guidance

Dilemma: Give a clear choice between two desirable outcomes. The players pick one or try to come up with a way to get both, usually by expending a resource or taking a risk.  
Consequences: Make their action matter in the world and push things forwards. Give them information about the new situation they find themselves in. If the consequences can ripple out to effect the world, all the better. 
Save: Saves always carry a risk, so explain what's at stake before the players commit to their action. 
Information: If in doubt, give the players more information and ask them frankly what they're actually trying to achieve with their actions. Don't be a distant referee, get down in the mud with them and discuss the situation. 

Saturday, 14 January 2017

This Charming Mammoth (and Social/Mental Mechanics)

I've talked about my reasoning behind trying Charm in place of Willpower.

Essentially it strengthens the idea that Ability Scores generally have two uses in Into the Odd.

  1. Rolled against when you make a Save due to a risky situation.
  2. Whittled away as a resource when you take serious harm in that area.

(At some point I need to write about how point 2 fits in with DEX. It's not a problem, but it has some interesting implications)

1a. Charm Saves for Players

So my previous post talked a little about point 1, how you roll against your CHA. The key word to remember there is Risk. I'm not necessarily having players roll CHA as soon as they encounter another being, but if you attempt an uncertain interaction, that's when you roll. This could range from:

  • Asking a favour of someone who's friendly.
  • Calming down somebody who's hostile.
  • Trying to get somebody to spill some information without feeling strong-armed.
  • Convince somebody you're telling the truth.
And as with all Saves, smart play and obvious situations can bypass the need for a roll. 

Without a roll, but not without consequences. 
  • Throwing meat to alligators or paying a massive bribe? No roll, but you expend the resource and it's only a temporary fix.
  • Intimidating someone clearly weaker than you? They'll do what you want but now they're not going to avoid you, or maybe try to get you back.
  • Cashing in a favour from somebody you have a close relationship with? Fine, but they'll expect the same from you in future. 
1b Charm Saves for NPCs and Monsters

For allies, CHA can be used in a similar way to PCs. You send that lacky off to deal with a contact and they make a CHA Save to see if they get what they need without leaving a bad impression.

The most obvious use for opposing NPCs and monsters is for leaders trying to prevent a Morale failure amongst their troops. But while Charm is everything you project outwards, this in itself requires control over your subconscious. A lack of Charm reflects a focus on base needs, someone easily dominated by others and their own urges. 
So what about that individual monster with CHA 1. What does it matter that this Slime Thing is totally without Charm?


If the Slime Thing is hurt, and I know it's a mindless thing that will always fight to the death, I'm probably never going to roll its CHA. 

But consider the humanoid Slime Hybrids that lost half of their Charm as part of their transformation. The former humans might have CHA 5, which can be rolled against when there's a risk of their human side showing through (such as running from harm, or refusing to absorb those orphans). 

Or on the other side of the coin, a Cosmic Angel with CHA 17 might have a secret Vice that they must roll a CHA Save to avoid indulging in, given the opportunity. 

So rather than rolling WIL to see if the monster of NPC does the smart thing, I'd roll CHA to see if they have the composure to act against their base urges, which will vary based on the type of being they are. 

Can a Monster force you to roll a CHA Save to avoid some nasty effect? Absolutely! 

Can it roll against its own CHA to convince you of something? No, and I'm sure the reasons for that are obvious. It creates some asymmetry between PCs and NPCs but it's not a problem.

2. Charm Damage

Now what about Point 2. WIL Damage represented sanity-sapping stuff, but what does it mean to lose your Charm?


You become more detached. Those that depend on you for leadership become less sure of you. You turn inward more and more until at Charm 0 you can't interact with the outside world at all.

You Restore your Charm through psychiatric therapy, spiritual meditation, or heavy carousing.

Things that drain your Charm are sapping away at everything that makes you you.

Using CHA isn't as straightforward as using STR and DEX, but it's an opportunity to get creative with the behaviour of your monsters and NPCs. 

Conceptualising Charm

As an aside, I previously toyed with the names Modernity and Civility for the social/mental Ability Score. Thematic, but doesn't work so well in practice. Still, an element of that flavour remains. The big movers and shakers in Bastion usually have higher CHA scores, and animals usually have low scores. 

Charm and Oddities

In my own games, the reliance of Arcana/Oddities on WIL/CHA is gone. The fact that these are the only two names I've changed from the book probably shows my lingering dissatisfaction with that part of the game.

Now everyone can have Oddities. They're more likely to be disposable, or specific in use, though you might still find the occasional super-flexible item that becomes one of your go-to solutions, as long as there's an additional trade off to its use.

Less mentally bending the Oddity to do what you want. More using problem solving to create situations where your Oddities can help you. It puts more weight on your decisions than whether or not you can convince the Referee to let you make a WIL Save to have your Arcanum to solve the problem.

Might some Oddities still drain your CHA away as a trade off? Yes! But there's nothing stopping them draining away your other scores too.

This Charming Mammoth

That's a lot of theory. So let's finally get to the post title.

Mr Ears - Mock Mammoth Bartender
STR 18, DEX 5, CHA 18, 5hp, Massive Furry Body (Armour 3, bypassed by Fire), Wooden Tusks (d8), Threadbare Suit, Warm Fuzzy Voice.

  • Runs the bar at the Apocryphal Specimen Museum containing the remains of animals that probably didn't ever exist. 
  • Offers to cradle you in his trunk while you pour your heart out to him (two drink minimum). An hour of doing this restores your CHA but Mr Ears knows your secrets now. 
  • Knows every drink recipe but has a super clumsy trunk, so requires a DEX Save to avoid spilling even the most basic thing. Is utterly ashamed when he spills something.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Charmed

I'm currently experimenting with renaming Into the Odd's Willpower Ability to Charm.

Symbolic of Into the Odd leaping off the rails, potentially over a shark.

Relax, I still use it in the same way as WIL.

Here's how it currently faces the players in my drafted home version.

Your character has three ability scores.

STRength – Power and Toughness.

DEXterity – Subtlety and Precision

CHArm –Influence and Composure.



Reaction: When you make first contact with someone, person or monster, the player making contact rolls a CHA Save to avoid a particularly bad first impression. For hostile encounters, even a positive reaction can be unfriendly.

Morale: The leader of a group must pass a CHA save to avoid their followers being routed when they take their first casualty, or lose half of their total numbers. This applies to opponents and allies but not player characters. 


And slightly expanded for the Referee.

Reaction Saves: When a character makes first contact with another being, they make a CHA Save to see if they garner a more positive or negative response than usual. This Save is repeated if the character puts strain on an existing relationship.


High CHA characters that ask too much of others will still drive them away. 


So if it's the same, why use a different name at all?

I wrote about looking at WIL in a more social way last year. And these rules aren't anything new, but I've been using a different name lately for a few reasons:
  • The majority of the active use for WIL score is social, and I like the abilities to have a clear active use. If CHA is your only good score, you get an idea of how you should play that character. If WIL was your only high score, it wasn't as obvious that you still had a tool to work with. 
  • If I ask you to imagine a low, medium, and high STR person, it's easy to do. Same for DEX. For WIL it's a bit more fuzzy, but everyone knows someone that's high and low on Charm. While Willpower is inward-facing, Charm is something you project outward. 
  • I've sometimes had NPCs and Monsters roll WIL Saves to see if they "do the smart thing" but I prefer giving behavioural guidelines through their moves. If you need to see if they fall for the party's tricks then putting the focus on the player character's CHA score works well. 
  • Sanity damage stuff currently affects WIL, and the transition to CHA damage works just fine, but this is the one area where I feel a little something is lost. An attack on your Willpower makes more sense than an attack on your Charm. However, I like that as they lose CHA, the character becomes more detached and less likeable.
  • For Morale use, it shifts away from the WIL of the individual and to the CHA of the leader. This makes high CHA characters more useful when leading hirelings, and gives juicy targets to break organised groups of enemies. 
  • I continue to move away from WIL as the "magic score", and severing the link between the strange powers of Oddities and the numbers on the character sheet. Oddities should be interesting and potentially risky because of their own properties, not because you have a low WIL score.
Having a leader with CHA 17 doesn't mean you won't die.


Of course using the abbreviation CHA is going to draw parallels to D&D's Charisma. This is no bad thing, as it's probably the closest parallel to the way I use the score, though I find Charisma carries more weight of being the canonical dump-stat. I might end up using Charisma for that ease of association, but we'll see.

Also, a bit of clarification on yesterday's post. 

This book will contain everything you need to play and run Into the Odd.

It is not replacing the current book. Material that will not be reproduced in Bastionland is:

  • The Iron Coral, Fallen Marsh, and Hopesend adventure sites. 
  • The Oddpendium.
  • The sample Arcana and Monsters (a handful of the former have been remade and find a home in the new character backgrounds).
  • All of the art. 

Any rule changes I make will be minor, and conversion will be a complete non-issue.

So when both books are out there, and somebody asks me which one they should buy, I'd say:

  • Someone's running this and I just need to make a character and know how to play: Into the Odd - Free Edition
  • I want to run a pick-up game out of the box, with ready made content: Into the Odd
  • I want to play or run Into the Odd, and I want more setting-meat and content creation guidance: Bastionland

Saturday, 31 December 2016

The State of Bastionland

Bastionland isn't really a state. It's a way of thinking that generally shares a few ideas:

  1. Bastion is important enough that even those outside it must surely accept that they live in Bastionland.
  2. Anyone that doesn't think Bastion is important clearly isn't intelligent enough to form their own state, so they're included too.
  3. The theory is that all Far Lands have a Bastion of their own, so of course they're included, even if they're Enemies of Bastionland. 

Nobody owns the Bastionland idea, the Mouse Queen is just one person that supposedly threw the word around, and I don't think she's even real.

Don't even start a discussion about flags and constitutions.



But this is a double-meaning post. So I also wanted to give an update on the state of the Into the Odd Toolkit that shares the codename of Bastionland.

It's a worldbook where all fluff is tied to a part of the actual game. Baked-in setting description taken to the next level.

Tentatively, the table of contents will look like this.

Creating your Character
Playing the Game
100 Character Backgrounds
For Referees
Planning the Places
Planning the Danger
Planning the People
Running the Game
Running Bastion
Running the Underground
Running Deep Country
Running the Far Lands

Each of those sections (excluding the character backgrounds) will fit on a 2 page spread, so you open the book to that part and have everything you need.

The Running the Game sections are intended to work like a sort of GM Screen for that specific place, giving you everything you need on hand to make that part of the world feel right. And as Into the Odd isn't big on reference charts and formulas, that content is going to be distilled Referee direction on running that place in the most evocative and effective way.

Playing the Game is almost entirely unchanged from the core game, besides cleaning things up and maybe one rule change regarding how Rests work. This isn't a new edition of the rules.

Meanwhile, the new character Backgrounds replace Starter Packages, but function very similarly.

You compare your Highest and Lowest Ability Scores on a chart to find your starter Package number between 1 and 100. You go to that page to get something like this.


Or maybe this.


More meat than the old starter packages, but still fits nicely onto an index card when you pull out your results.

Not pictured is a small section at the bottom of each Background that also gives you a Contact in the world and a couple of other pieces of information that may or may not make the final cut of the book.

These character backgrounds are the window into the world. There are no timelines or maps of Bastion. They're for players, but the Referee can flick open to any one of them and pull out chunks of the world. If 100 Backgrounds seems excessive, that's the reason.

Dare to dream of Bastionland in 2017.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Tomorrow-Witches

I love interesting mechanics, but Into the Odd has like three mechanics total.

And none of them are very interesting.

But that ultra-light core is the game. Rather than limiting the mechanics you can use, the low number of moving parts frees you up to add in whatever you want.

Original creations, or things stolen from other games and blogs, can just be mixed in without messing up the core all that much.

So if a mechanic is interesting or fun, but too specific, fiddly, or hard to remember to become a full-on house rule, then bolt it onto an Oddity and call it a day. And remember, Oddities don't have to be just objects.

If, like me, you like your mechanics to have some sort of concrete attachment to the game world, this also helps with that drive.

So let's break the game.



Tomorrow-Witches
STR 10, DEX 15, WIL 16, 10hp, Immaterial.
- Claim to be from Bastion's Tomorrow.
- Have a single Hack, and offer a single use to anyone they think might further their agenda.
- Know all about you.

Roll d6 to find this Witch's Agenda

  1. Destroy Bastion so that a new Bastion can arise
  2. Protect Bastion from other interlopers
  3. Ensure nobody holds back technological advancement
  4. Ensure mankind does not advance technologically
  5. See you rise to power
  6. See you powerless




Roll d6 to find this Witch's Hack. Each has one use, and when you use it, any material part of it vanishes. A Witch can give out as many as she likes.

  1. The Mercury Bullet: Immediately and flawlessly kills one being you fire it at, but their closest loved one gets the bullet next. 
  2. The Black Card: Throw down the card and the last significant event did not happen, and all consequences are undone. 
  3. The Guardian Mite: Pixie-like thing that floats behind you and annoys people, but you can never die unless you send it away. 
  4. The Curse Drive: Make up a curse, and the a way to remove it (must be possible, even if near impossible). It happens to your target. 
  5. The Bond Token: Give to a willing, sapient being. The player now has total control over them as if they were their own character. 
  6. The Oracle Chip: Insert into the mouth of a recently dead being to inherit all of their knowledge and memories.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Messy Characters

I run mostly one-shots and short-form campaigns, so it's no surprise that I like my character growth quick and messy. 

Slowly increasing scores and damage output over months of play just doesn't mesh with how I use the game, so that's how you end up with my current home-variant of Into the Odd: Quick and Messy. 

Three Established PCs

The messiness starts from the very birth of a character, with the goal of making characters equally interesting, if not equally powerful. 

I'll let you in on how I'm currently generating new characters. 

So as you know, you roll 3d6 each for STR, DEX, WIL, and d6 for HP. You can swap two scores if you want, but I dare you not to. 

You also get d6x10p in pocket-change. Forget shopping; Pennies are lunch-money at best, but at least you'll be able to afford a drink. 

STARTER PACKS
-           Match your Highest Ability Score against your HP to get your first Starter Pack.
-           Match your Lowest Ability Score against your starting money for your second. 
-           Characters that receive an Oddity roll d100 here
-           A weapon states its damage, and perhaps a detail. For unusual weapons, the Referee clarifies questions about its use and limitations. Weapons causing d6 damage use one hand, and d8 two hands. 
-           If a player rolls the same starter pack as another, they take the next pack instead (right, then next row).

Highest Ability and Hitpoints

1hp
2hp
3hp
4hp
5hp
6hp
9 or less
Spike-Gun (d8)
Oddity
Musket (d8)
Oddity
Pump-Gun (d8)
Oddity
Alleygun (d8)
Oddity
Funnelgun (d8)
Oddity
Hatchet (d6)
Oddity
10
Rifle (d8)
Oddity
Carbine (d8)
Oddity
Claymore (d8)
Oddity
Bladdergun (d8)
Oddity
Pistol brace (d8)
Oddity
Halberd (d8)
Grappling Hook
11
Shotgun (d8)
Oddity
Club (d6)
Oddity
Speargun (d8)
Oddity
Long-Pistol (d6)
Oddity
Maul (d8)
Whiskey
Longaxe (d8)
Blowtorch
12
Hammer (d8)
Oddity
Pocketknife (d6)
Oddity
Mace (d6)
Oddity
Flamethrower (d8 cone), Rum
Truncheon (d6)
Rocket
Duckpistol (d6)
Marbles
13
Handcannon (d6), Oddity
Sports Bat (d6)
Oddity
Pole-Club (d8)
Firebomb
Harpoon (d6)
Net
Cleaver (d6)
Putty
Bonesaw (d6)
Stethoscope
14
Pole-Axe (d8)
Oddity
Pick-Axe (d8)
Bomb
Chain (d6)
Grease
Nail-Plank (d6)
Barbed Wire
Crossbow (d8)
Bolt Cutters
Knife (d6)
Spyglass
15
Mallet (d6)
Tongs
Scalpel (d6)
Brandy
Shovel (d8)
Flute
Rapier (d6)
Smoke Bomb
Pitchfork (d8)
Holy Book
Polehook (d6)
Beast Repellent
16
Cane (d6)
Pocketwatch
Bow (d6)
Ether
Crowbar (d6)
Cigars
Machete (d6)
Fake Pistol
Cutlass (d6)
Parachute
Sabre (d6)
Magnifier
17
Sledgehammer (d8), Drill
Staff (d8)
Glue
Whip (d6)
Shackles
Pistol (d6)
Bug Book
Dirk (d6)
Acid
Garotte (d6)
Poison
18
Sap (d6)
Whistle
Fork (d6)
Gum Collection
Spear (d6)
Puppet
Axe (d6)
Wheelbarrow
Poker (d6)
Wig Collection
Tiny Pistol (d6)
Exquisite Pie

Lowest Ability and Pennies

10p
20p
30p
40p
50p
60p
3
Minor Fame,
Fake Jewellery
Pet Eagle
Frilly Shirt
Perfect Memory
Fur Cloak
Pet Hound
Fine Jacket
Pet Parrot
Monocle
Gills
Long Scarf
4
Gifted Singer,
Puffy Hat
Pet Mutt with Mind Link
Pet Canary
Always Dirty
Bodyguard (5hp, d8 Halberd)
Pet Pigeon
Heavy Boots
Society Connections
5
Idiot Twin (d6 club), Cape
Pet Kestrel
Scruffy Hair
Book Smart
Floppy Cap
Language Skills
Fashion-Wear
Dark-Vision
Rat Hat
Especially Small
Rope Belt
6
Peg Leg
Animal Expert
Gifted Engineer
Fox Hat
Wooden Body
Mock Life
Glorious Hair,
Missing Finger
Pet Cat
Fine Gloves
Elderly
Bloody Clothes
7
Cold Blooded,
Wide Hat
Pet Donkey
Perfect Memory
Pet Ferret
Naval Tattoo
Iron Hand
Old Uniform
Magic Trick
Fancy Shirt
Slave Brand,
Cool Pipe
8
Acute Scent,
Feather Hat
Pet Goat
Crazy Tattoos
Double-Jointed,
Mask
Appraisal Skills,
Old Suit
Political Connections
Toxin-Immune
Hunchback
9
Street-Smarts,
Stolen Gear
Raised in Wilderness
Toothless, Shoeless
Never Sleep, Mad Stare
Loved by Beasts
Puffy Shirt
Hook Hand
Burnt Clothes
10
Formal Wear,
Gifted Dancer
Gifted Cook
Gaudy Clothes
2g Bounty
Warts
Visibly Diseased (benign)
Cult Believer
Pet Rat
Bad Reputation
Studded Jacket
11
Bald, 
Illiterate
Ugly
Loud Whistle
Eyepatch, 
Echolocation
Barely Literate,
Filthy Clothes
Needs Glasses
Hated by Beasts 
Unusually Large
Thick Accent
12 or more
1g Debt
Bloody Eye
Cannot Swim,
Wonky Face
Mute, 
Eats Raw Meat Only
Lice Infested
Patchy Hair
No Nose
Small Clothes
Alcohol Allergy
Burnt Face


Characters Growth happens in a number of ways, most notably through a refinement of my previous Scars system

SCARS

When you are taken to exactly 0hp, you get a Scar.
-           Your first Scar adds d6hp to your Maximum.
-           Scars only occur in deadly situations, not training.
-           When Non-humans take a Scar, the Referee may forgo the table for their own creativity.
-           Specialists overcome negative effects for a price, but a mark always remains.  

Roll d6 plus the damage caused by the attack.
2: Busted Foot - Reduced to a limp until fixed.
3: Lasting Pain - A nasty scar that causes intense pain if pressed on.
4: Busted Lung - Your breathing is loud and you cough up blood often. It’s gross.
5: Smashed Jaw - You lose a lot of teeth and get a speech impediment.
6: Bloody Mess - It needs lots of Stitches, and you don’t benefit from Resting until it’s done by a Specialist.
7: Shaken Nerves - You stammer, twitch, or shake, unless you use something to calm your nerves.
8: Disfigurement - The injury leaves your face totally disfigured.
9: Mind Splinter - A specific element of this injury is stuck in your psyche. Lose d6 WIL each time you're forced to confront it.
10: Gouged Eye - A random eye is gouged out.
11: Obsession - Do not benefit from rests until you achieve revenge.
12: Hewn Limb - One of your limbs (1: right arm, 2: left arm, 3: right leg, 4: left leg) is torn off or in need of amputation.
13: Terrible Fracture - A random limb (1: right arm, 2: left arm, 3: right leg, 4: left leg) is broken in the worst way. It can be set by a specialist, but until then you cannot use it, or benefit from Rests.
14: Lost Sense - One of your senses is lost (1: Sight, 2: Hearing, 3: Scent, 4: Taste).
15: Heart Damage - This vital organ is in critical state. If you suffer this Scar again, you die.
16: Shadow of Death – You feel a cold hand on your shoulder and have nightmares. Any time you sleep, pass a WIL Save or scream through the night.
17: Fractured Skull - You drool and slur. If you suffer this Affliction a second time your skull is utterly split open and you die.
18+: Doomed to Die - You shouldn't have survived that. You have nightmares of your own death. If you fail your next Save against Critical Damage you die horribly. If you pass, remove this effect.


 PRESTIGE

When you achieve all the following criteria, you reach Prestige Status and add d6hp to your Maximum.
-           Bravery: You have at least one Scar.
-           Legacy: You have an apprentice and heir.
-           Prominence: You have sold at least one treasure worth 10g or more.
-           Eminence: You have been awarded a medal, title, or another honour.

Then, roll d12 for your Vice. When you indulge your Vice, re-roll your maximum HP on 3d6, keeping it if the result is higher.

Roll d12
1: Grandiosity – Spend at least 10g on something frivolous. 
2: Greed Take something worth 10g from its rightful owner.
3: Bloodlust – Kill ten sapient beings in one day.
4: Wanderlust – Visit a Far Land you have not visited before.
5: Vanity – Earn a medal or other honour from a figure of genuine respect.
6: Self-Preservation – Return from an expedition without having taken any Ability Score Damage.
7: Zeal – Find a cult that you like and convert a new member.
8: Nurturing – See your heir or apprentice reach Prestige Status.
9: Wrath – Utterly break somebody that has wronged you.
10: Hatred – Kill a specific rival or legendary creature.
11: Pride – Have somebody swear their life to you.
12: Malice – Aid in the collapse of an organisation or group that you dislike.

FOREGROUND GROWTH

Scars and Vices are just one example of Foreground Growth, alongside the obvious changes that come with increased wealth. 

The inevitable consequences of boat ownership.

Now I try to give significant NPCs and Monsters a way to permanently alter the characters through interaction with them. Something direct, not giving the gift of EXP to be spent abstractly. 

Let's take three of the example monsters in the core book, which I'll give a quick update to my current methods. I've bolded the examples of Foreground Growth opportunities. 

Dust Hag
STR 8, DEX 13, WIL 11, 7hp. Claws (d6), Dust Staff (Spray dust, DEX Save or Blinded until the Hag is dead or lifts the curse). 
- Turn to dust at will, ignoring physical attacks (cannot do this if wet). 
- Direct one of her eyes to fly independently, but she can still see through it. If you help her, she will offer to pull one of your eyes out to give you the same gift. 
- Lives to manipulate others, and has no agenda besides stirring up trouble and gaining influence. 

Beckoning Shadow
STR 10, DEX 17, WIL 13, 6hp. Shadow Form (Immune to any attacks, but bright light repels it, and being trapped in light destroys it). 
- Moves across walls as a shadow, mimicking with mocking exaggeration. 
- Lures the unwary to touch hands, then grabs for d6 WIL loss each turn until they break free. At WIL 0 they are absorbed into the shadow. 
- If someone breaks free from the shadow, it flees, but the victim's shadow becomes a pit to nothingness until the shadow is destroyed. 

Strange Hunter
STR 13, DEX 13, WIL 12, 14hp, Glossy Body (Armour 1), Beam-Gun (d8, Disintegrates on Critical Damage), Alien-Blade (d8, one-handed). 
- Speaks an unfathomable language and phases from this place to his Far Land at will. 
- Looks at you with disgust but only wants to find big-prey to hunt. 
- Keeps a watch on you, and if it witnesses you kill some big-prey it grants you the Cosmic Mark on your forehead (if you allow it). Intelligent beings from other Far Lands will respect and fear this.