Tombpunk: Arcana – Temples of Goremarrow, the God of Murder

Tombpunk is my lo-fi, lightweightfantasy roleplaying game, published under license by Outland Entertainment. You can find it here on DriveThruRPG.

Tombpunk: Arcana is a series of articles written by me expanding content for the game with “playtest” material (I don’t think I can call it homebrew if I’m the official writer/creator!). This is the second article in the series.

Worlds of Tombpunk

The core Tombpunk game features micro-settings, short settings that are designed to be springboards and ideas for your own campaigns. It’s deliberately not packed with a “default” setting that’s made explicit. The setting is implicit in the rules.

Now, that’s not to say that Tombpunk doesn’t have a default setting. As the designer, I feel like like the mechanics give a firm idea of the sort of setting Tombpunk supports, and that leans to a clear picture of the game’s default setting. The names might not be in there, the details might be missing, but the rules in the game clearly indicated (in my eyes) the setting the game exists in.

This article contains some details from the default (ie. my) Tombpunk setting, though you’ll not find it printed anywhere. In this case, one of the gods of Tombpunk: Goremarrow.

Goremarrow, the God of Murder

Goremarrow is a dark, violent god, born in blood and terror. His cults are evil beyond the scope of the standard cultists in worlds of Tombpunk, reveling in dark rites of bloodshed, torture and bladed mutilation.

His cultists exist to wreak crimson paths through society, their idea of offerings to their foul god. Most worshippers of Goremarrow are serial killers, violent psychopaths and deadly mad tyrants, using bloody terror to instill fear and loyalty (though most worshippers of Goremarrow are unaware of who their violent acts feed and support.)

Goremarrow’s origins as a God are irrelevant. Most religious scholars assume the path to godhood was bloody, violent and terrible and that Goremarrow likely murdered a god on the way. However, all the way back to recorded history, Goremarrow is a god and always the god of murder.

Goremarrow doesn’t commune with his cultists, nor offer them any blessings (other than the Consecration laid out below). Goremarrow….doesn’t do anything. For a god of murder, he’s relatively passive. Goremarrow often serves as the example athetistic or agnostic individuals point out. If the God of Murder (a wholly active behavior) is not seeing doing anything, are the gods real, or just manifestations assigned to human behaviors to make the world make more sense. The lack of obvious action from Goremarrow means the gods aren’t real!

Of course, the argument invariably becomes moot when a cultist of Goremarrow knifes the questioning scholar in the stomach. Arguments about the reality of religious existence is only as hypothetic as the behavior of the followers of that god…

Consecrations

Consecrations are a GM tool that is used to represent the influence of Gods and Cults on areas and locales. These are broad effects that apply across the whole space as bound by a Darkness Rating.

It costs 2 Darkness (ie. the Darkness Rating of the location is permanently two lower) to consecrate a Dungeon. When a Dungeon is consecrated, there is a static effect that applies across the space, usually modifying a game rule. Additionally, other cults and Gods are anathema to the locale and will not take up shop there.

Consecrations of Goremarrow

Cults can enact a consecration ritual to dedicate a space to Goremarrow. The gory details of these rites are best left to the imagination, but the effects are ever-present. Space consecrated tend to be discrete areas (buildings, very large rooms) and the blood of unwilling participants must be spilled on a weekly basis to keep the space consecrated. One can always tell a consecrated area, by its coppery scent, sticky red ichor and the crazed scarified cultists.

Consecrated Ground

When in a space consecrated to Goremarrow, all damage rolls gain the Darkness rating as a numerical bonus.

Example: In a dungeon that's consecrated to Goremarrow, if the Darkness Rating is 4, all damage rolls gain a +4 to their total. This applies to all damage rolls: enemies, player characters, traps, anything.

Tombpunk and the text above © 2020 Alan Bahr. Tombpunk is a trademark of Alan Bahr.

Of note is the currently running Rogues Kickstarter (link here), an expansion set in Outland Entertainment’s anthology series about villains and scum.

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