Friday, December 4, 2009

The Ooh-Oh Monks (Go Ducks!)

Now that my players have met the monks in game, I can reveal the "secret" information about them that I gave to the player of Dataan the robot before he joined the campaign.  I had told the players that if anyone wanted to play a robot, they had to keep that fact secret from the other players and let me know confidentially so that I could give them further instructions.  I did this because I had decided any robots in my campaign would be escapees from the Ooh-Oh Monks, and the monks tried to scare their robotic charges into obedience by filling their positronic brains with stories about how they would be melted down for their valuable metal components if they ever escaped and ran into the swamp dwellers.  I envisioned a cool roleplaying moment when the truth about the "human" in the party came out; I was picturing that scene in "Alien" when Ash is decapitated and the white milky fluid comes out.  

Unfortunately, it never really played out like that.  Dataan did eventually reveal his robotic nature to his comrades, but he had been able to feel out their opinions on the subject first and when he realized that they weren't about to deactivate him and scavenge parts from his body, he simply told them that he was a robot.  There was one good moment in an earlier session when a freaky mutant creature wielding a hedge trimmer got Dataan in the arm pretty good, and Dataan quickly ducked out of sight and bound his arm to prevent his metal bones from showing.  

Without further ado, here is the unedited text of the original player handout that I emailed to Dataan's player as he was making his character:

"Hey mister fucking Cyborg- here is the robot info I promised you (reading the general background I sent you and Jamey first might help). You were originally programmed as a laboratory assistant and have fulfilled that function for years in the sprawling underground labs that are jealously guarded by the Ooh-Oh Monks. You were one of dozens of robots serving the order, collectively known as the Bones of Ooh. You were created (X amount of years ago, your choice up to several hundred, but the older you are the more certain subsystems might be acting up/working differently than intended, feel free to go wild with that if you want to) by a vast computer known only as the T5 Mainframe. In addition to the T5's incredible computing power, its access to the archived information banks known to the monks as Intur Netz makes it an oracular figure to the monks. The monks worship Intur Netz as the god of knowledge; the core of their doctrine is - "Confess your impurities to Intur Netz and let the cool light of his wisdom guide your journey. Intur Netz the all seeing. Intur Netz the all knowing. Intur Netz the Alpha and the Omega." 

T5, as the interface between the monks and Intur Netz, is in a position of great power. However, the long years have warped the T5's programming and its behavior is often erratic, although the monks obey it unquestioningly. You, however, were far too logical to mindlessly obey some of its stranger requests and one particularly outlandish mission that you were instructed to undertake contradicted your basic programing to the point that you broke free of your programming constraints and fled out into the world an autonomous individual. The monks often talk about the horrible fate that would befall any technological artifact that ended up in Skinny Butt town; they maintain that it would be smelted down to recover the precious metal. Knowing that the last place in the world the monks would look for you would be Skinny Butt, you set off for the place, confident in your ability to pass yourself off as a human. When you arrived, you conveniently blended in with a flood of new arrivals fleeing persecution in Spanky Butt town. 

You read and write English, the language of the Ancients, as well as understanding binary code (which allows you to communicate with most computers). Of course, you also speak the common tongue of the day (as distantly related to English as modern English is related to 5th century Old English).  You can have some means of interfacing directly with computers (a finger that flips back to reveal a probe that you insert into a slot in the computer, etc.) if you so desire. Your role as laboratory assistant familiarized you with some general technological concepts, such as power packs, outlet and broadcast power and basic menu navigation for items with screens. In game terms, this will grant you a 30% bonus to your technology roll and you may automatically know how to work certain items at my discretion. You can come up for yourself with your motivation for joining the party and seeking adventure. Also, feel free to modify any particulars in the background that I laid out above as long as the basic premise that you are a robot escaped from the Ooh-Oh Monks is maintained. If you want, you can come up with what sort of lab work you were involved in before, and have some degree of knowledge of the subject (the monks are particularly interested in how mutations occur/controlling them, the effects of radiation on living tissue, cybernetics, brain/computer interfacing, ancient weapons technologies and other such nonsense). 

I imagine that you are enjoying your new-found freedom and would be reluctant to return to the monks. If the party ends up visiting the monks you would probably try to disguise yourself in some way (but that is up to you, of course!) A few more things that you would know about the Ooh-Oh Monks - the monks are divided into two orders, the Radiant Order of the Oh and the Secret Order of the Ooh. You had the most contact with the Secret Order of the Ooh, as they are the only ones allowed in the sacred underground chambers where you spent most of your existence. The Oohs are mostly mutant humans with keen minds aided by mental mutations. The Oohs are ranked from lowest to highest as follows: Undergrade Studes (white), Grade Studes (pink), Master Proffus (brown), and Doco Proffus (gold), rank signified by the color of the tassel hanging from their odd diamond-shaped caps (tassel color denoted in parenthesis after each rank name). You have never met the leader of the order, his Magnificence the Dean Doco Proffus Flipsham Egwar; you have mostly just communicated with the Grade Studes that supervised much of the lab work and the Undergrade Studes that performed the bulk of the actual experiments. The Radiant Order of the Oh is the militant wing of the sect and only its highest ranking members enter the underground complexes. They are charged with patrolling the aboveground sections of the settlement and defending the monks from intruders. You know next to nothing about the Ohs. Have fun, and let me know what you think! May Lard Jeebus smile down upon you,

Mutant Lord Carl"

One last thing before I wrap up this post - the party met several members of the Radiant Order of the Oh a few sessions ago, and I want to take this opportunity to show the uniforms that the lowest two ranks of the Ohs wear.  The Sun Beams are the rank and file soldiers of the militant wing, and each Sun Spot commands 10 Sun Beams.  They wear padded armor emblazoned with numbers and ancient glyphs, and shiny helmets with the symbol of the order, an "O", on the side.

Go Ducks!


  1. Really enjoying your blog.

    Quick question - How many of these NPC groups/factions did you have in mind before you began the campaign and how many have been created as the campaign has advanced?

  2. Almost all of them have been created as the campaign has advanced. Of the major factions that are in play right now, only the Ooh-Oh Monks were planned from the beginning. Major elements of the campaign today, such as the Knights of Genetic Purity, the Coy-Pu and the Badders, the military complex and the Warangutans and War Chimps, Julius Corple, Glargorion and the Ray Coons all arose organically as a response to the PCs actions.



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