A World of Visceral Adventure
From the twisted imagination of Mike Evan comes Hubris, a sword and sorcery campaign setting for the Dungeon Crawl Classics roleplaying game. Keeping to appendix N literature, it is filled with bizarre and wonderous things. Designed to be hackable, table-use friendly, and compatible with Dungeon Crawl Classics and its derivatives it delivers. Hubris offers several new classes, deities, magical items, monsters, etc. The world of Hubris is filled with terrifying creatures, dangerous magic, and cruel gods. It’s not a nice place to visit but a great place for adventure.
New Character Classes
Hubris features several new character classes. The setting uses some of the character classes from Dungeon Crawl Classics but not all. Human character classes, cleric, thief, warrior, and wizard, may be used, along with Hubris’ four new human classes Alchemist, Blood Witch, Druid, and Shadowdancer. Demi-humans, dwarfs, elves, and halflings are not part of the Hubris world. A gamemaster certain may add them if they wish. In their place, Hubris offers five alternate demi-human classes Avarian, Ekrask, Half Demon, Murder Machine, and Mutant. Each one is tailored to fit the setting. An alternative D100 starting occupations chart accommodates the new demi-humans classes.
Following formulas and through experimentations, Alchemists concoct magical potions, unique items, and bombs for everyone to use. Masters at brewing potions, Alchemists know how to streamline the process to get the job completed quicker and by substituting ingredients to get the same desired effect. They can specially craft the most useful items, like the Alchemist fire that bursts into flame on contact with oxygen or Lighting spheres that shock your enemy. But only useful to an Alchemist is a mutation potion that alters them into a large creature with significantly increased statistics in a Hulk-style transformation—destroying armor and clothing worn. The change lasts for a short time and can’t end early. But it usually lasts long enough to settle any physical disputes. The mutation potion does come with determinantal effects if used more than once a day.
Harnessing the secret art of blood magic, Blood Witches control and manipulate the blood in themselves and others. Using their own blood, they can brew potions that replenish their hit points at a greater value than the hit point penalty for its loss. A Blood Witch can transport itself through another living creature as long as the creature has red blood and is the same size as the Witch. A nasty tactic of the Witch is to materialize early in the creature as they are transporting through it, causing heavy wounds as they materialize partially within the creature. A Blood Witch’s blood is so dangerous to touch. A mere drop on the skin will cause harm. A Blood Witch can thicken another living creature’s blood, causing them to slow down. In addition to blood manipulation, Witches are users of arcane magic. However, they require blood to power their magic, be it their own or another’s.
Druids have a special bond with flora and fauna following the traditional trope. They have great empathy for animals and can commune with and befriend them. Druids can alter their form into an animal shape as many times as the dice allow. They can call upon their animal spirit for special bonus abilities and are bound to natural weapons and armor or lose special druidic abilities.
The ultimate assassins are the Shadowdancers with the talent to literally disappear into the shadows even while being watched. They have thieving abilities and have a few special shadow abilities. They can cast the spell Cantrip or Darkness, alter their eyes to see in the dark and wrap themselves in darkness for extra protection. But most impressive of all is their ability to travel through shadows to reappear through another.
Avarians are anthropomorphic birds with a compulsion to collect shiny objects like magpies and blue jays. They can fly but are unable to engage in combat when in flight. Once a day, they can transform their bodies to appear human. The process is not illusionary as the Avarians innards physically change to fit the new form. Avarians can choose a path to cast illusionary spells or learn thieving abilities. They can mimic the voice or sound of any creature like a mockingbird and can make others around them unlucky.
Cousins to the lizardmen, Ekrasks have greater intelligence. The Bogwood Swamp is their ancestral home, where this proud race was once subjugated by an evil wizard and used as sacrificial offerings. Ekrasks are fierce fighters with their natural and fashioned weapons. Like the human Warrior class, Ekrasks can perform Mighty Deeds of Arms. Ekrasks have a couple of unique abilities. They can shoot blood from their eyes once a day, tap into their innermost rage to berserk, and are very good at tracking.
Part human and part demon, Half Demons are an unnatural evil union. Feared and shunned by most, Half Demons struggle to calm the inner conflict within. As part demons, they are vulnerable to clerical exorcism and have a demonic power. They can cast arcane magic, but they may suffer a demonic corruption on a roll of a one. With each corruption, the human within slowly erodes until all that is left is the demonic side. At that point, the player surrenders their character to the Judge to use as an NPC.
Murder Machines are the creations of the Black Queen known as Black Guards. Becoming a Murder Machine starts with a willing host allowing their flesh to merge with metal in a process that binds them to the queen. As a player character, a hiccup released them from her hold, allowing them to escape her clutches. Murder Machines not bonded to the queen are hunted. As a warrior class, they receive the Mighty Deed of Arms, their metal bodies act as natural armor, and their fists pack a punch when they fly. Their hands holster three weapons at once, but only one may be used at a time. Their unnatural and menacing appearance puts others on edge.
Born with their uniqueness, Mutants are corrupt humanoids with striking features. Mutants begin with two cosmetic and power mutations and a possible calamitous mutation. They can sense other mutants with proper concentration. Additional mutations might arise at each level. There are 59 gonzo cosmetic mutations on a 2D30 chart, 100 wonderous mutant powers on a D100 chart, and 14 calamitous mutations on a D14 chart. The cosmetic mutations are not for the faint of heart. Most will undeniably cement your character’s image in the minds of those who gaze upon it. The cosmetic mutations are a strange mix. As an example, a mutant might sweat profusely or smell like cookies. They could also be covered in a thousand nipples or have hair made of grass. Thankful the mutant powers make up for it. A few offensive powers consist of items spewing forth from one’s mouth. It could be fire. It could be maggots—each inflicts damage on its opponent. Of the unique powers, Plague Skin transmits a disease to one’s opponent when touched. The touched individual will begin to suffer from the illness, but the mutant transmitting it does not. Mutants in Hubris are unique.
New Spells and Deities
Spellbooks in Hubris are far from mundane bound pages. They are part of a spell caster’s soul and are imbued with their essence, making them truly unique. Each book receives a unique appearance, personality, quirk, and something special. An accompanying chart provides a host of unique variations, separated by alignments. Spellbooks take on a life of their own. Two wizard books left together will interact with each other. They may converse nicely or bicker. When wizards bond themselves to a patron, small traits of the patron contaminate the book. A list of contaminations for the Hubris and Dungeon Crawl Classics patrons is provided. On top of sentient spellbooks, Hubris feature three new wizard spells, first, third, and fourth level, and spells associated with the four new patrons, The Charred Maiden, Floating Island of Terror, the Spider Goddess, and Twisted One.
There are 12 new deities featured in Hubris and a new clerical ability. Clerics in Hubris can call upon their deity by name for specially embued powers. This is a unique addition not found in any other Dungeon Crawl Classic derivative. Each God listed below is described in detail and has a table listing the abilities and effects that may be granted to a cleric who invokes their name. The new deities are as follows:
- Bailey, God of trickery, deceit, and profit.
- The Corpulent One, God of Excess, Want, and Obsession.
- Digadia, God of Sacrifice, Shadow, and the Poor.
- Drallic the Flayer of Flesh, God of Pain, Intolerance, Strength, and Righteousness.
- God of the Terrible Whisper, God of Knowledge, Secrets, and Madness.
- Great Slumbering Monolith, God of Dreams, Prophecy, and Time.
- The Heathen Below, God of Death, Decay, and Betrayal.
- Set, Serpent god of Klind, God of Poison, Schemes, Forbidden knowledge, and Deviance.
- The Still Born Unwanted Child, God of Healing, Life, and Love.
- Vralkar, God of Battle, Strength, Pride, and Survival.
- Yelsa, The Goddess of Sex and Violence
- The Great Behemoth, Zxyldon, God of the Sea, Water, and Destruction
The land of Hubris comprises a large continent with a few surrounding landmasses. The continent is populated with six named territories, Land of the Perpetual Stone and Mire, Frozen Waste, Great Plains of Unbidden Sorrow, Mountains That Crawl, Bogwood Swamp, and Blighted Sands. From their names, one can surmise their ecosystem. Additional locations adjacent to the continent are the Fetid Corpse Island, Sea That Runs Red, Canyons of the Red Rock, and Unsettled Expanse. Each of these territories gets a brief description, a d100 chart with interesting things to discover called “Lay of the Land,” another D100 chart of encounters, and brief descriptions of key locations. The whole section is kept to a minimum to allow Gamemaster ease of use at the table.
Hubris provides additional tools for the Gamemaster to aid them in building their adventures. This section is intended to be used before the game and not during. There are 14 tables/charts available to the Gamemaster: Ancient and Forgotten Demigod, A Vial of…?, Bandits, Brigands, and Rapscallions, City District Generator, Declaration of Years, Diseases of Hubris, Grav Diggin’, Instatown/Village Generator, NPC Generator, Planes of Hubris, So you Decided to Make Camp, Strange and Interesting Herbs of Hubris, Tavern and Inn Generator, and What are These Strange and Ominous Ruins? The first chart, Ancient and Forgotten Demigod, comprises a D100 table of demigod forms and seven follow-up charts to flesh out the demigod with items like religious holidays, followers, temple aesthetics, and more. The Diseases of Hubris are impressive. Each disease is written similarly to a monster description with all of its effects and game mechanics. Not all of the tables/charts are that in-depth. Grave Diggin’ just features found treasure. But readers will find these charts extremely useful for Hubris or other games.
Weapons and Equipment
Hubris expands on Dungeon Crawl Classics‘ equipment list with a host of new weapons and equipment. A far amount derives from other fantasy games, but it is always easier when someone else has done the heavy lifting for you. There are costs for food, drink, lodging, animals, transportation, alchemist items, adult companionship, and entertainment, among the usually adventuring gear.
Hubris introduces a set of optional rules. These include rules for sacrificing a shield to avoid damage, removing weapon restrictions on classes, and granting a bonus for clerics who chose weapons aligned with their deity. There is also an optional rule to simplify weapon damage into classes and adventurer’s packs specific to each playable class to speed up equipment purchase at character creation.
Magical Items and Artifacts
Hubris comes with its own item creation chart and magical generated items. The creation chart consists of 4 columns of 100 adjectives to describe the item. A Gamemaster rolls once in each column to get their results. The item need not be magical. It can be a family heirloom or an object to acquire for an adventure. There are 13 useful magical items to choose from. One of the items is The Armor of Luck which allows the wearer to roll one step lower on the dice chain for luck rolls for an increased chance of success. Hubris also brings back an adventurer’s staple, The Wonderous Bag of Holding. In addition to the 13 magical items, each of the 12 Hubris Deities has an artifact associated with them that a cleric of that faith will instantly recognize its powers when in possession of it.
Hubris plays host to 50 pages of monsters, each statted out in Dungeon Crawl Classics game mechanics. Some beasts have additional charts to make them truly unique. Those fond of giant lizards will enjoy the four species of dinosaurs to choose from, Brachiosaurus, Deinonychus, Triceratops, and Tyrannosaurus Rex. There are also five types of dragons and generators for Fae, Fallen Angels, and more. Monsters from Dungeon Crawl Classics can easily mix with the ones from Hubris and vice versa.
Hubris contains two ready-to-run adventures, a zero level and a 1st level. The Zero level funnel “It Came… From OUTER SPACE!!!” is a meat grinder. A meteor crashes not far from the player character’s village in a field. It instantly starts to kill or mutant everything around it. The player characters draw the short end of the straw and are sent out to investigate. In one playtest, seven zero-level characters survived out of 28. In the 1st level adventure “In Her Realm,” the player characters investigate a dilapidated cabin where four giant spiders emerged and killed several villagers. Each adventure is easy to follow and short enough to complete in a single session.
For the Table
First and foremost, Hubris was designed with table-use in mind. Upon opening Hubris, its first table-use feature is its large text. Slighter larger than standard, Hubris uses 12 point type for its body copy; chart text varies in size. At first glance, one assumes it is a mistake or design ignorance, but Hubris’s slightly larger type allows for better visibility at a glance. Along with its brief paragraphs, a Gamemaster can quickly locate the desired text and peruses it swiftly without interrupting the game’s flow. Its layout mimics Dungeon Crawl Classics‘ look and feels, giving it comfort and familiarity. Hubris’s only flaw is its size. It is rather large and thick. Using a PDF or selected printouts at the table will alleviate clutter.
Hubris is wacky, off the wall, and rich with charts to harvest. The setting is grim and not to my taste, but the rollable tables are priceless. The light-handed approach to the setting lends itself to repurposing. For example, the various charts in the territories section can easily be utilized in your own campaign by matching Hubris’s ecosystem for encounters and “Lay of the Land” to yours. For gonzo results, the mutation powers charts can add or supersede Mutant Crawl Classics. The cosmetic mutations chart would be helpful for outrageous side effects of a potion or a curse. There is so much to use in the book for Dungeon Crawl Classics or any roleplaying game looking to add an element of strangeness to it. Hubris has more to offer than its setting. It has a whole toolbox of gonzo-ready items waiting to be unleashed. I highly recommend Hubris if you’re looking to add the out-of-the-ordinary to your game.
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