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Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Thoughts on 1,000 Statues

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine by Kurt Vonnegut

1,000 statues is a dungeon. If it can be played is something I don’t care about. 

There is a thinking adventures principle: try and be brave. I will add something, and this goes hand-in-hand with this principle without adding much: try and be curious. 

The notebook is made and bound by Thriftomancer sent by way of Jarrett Crader as a gift. Jert’s package was trapped in the mailbox over a few stormy days and became soaked.

The process follows: room layout was drawn, then ordered by alphabetical letter and then written with some edits here and there. Intention was at best washed away or at worst pitifully submerged.

1,000 statues is not faithful and it pays no homage. It is a hack and cruel work. It is lonesome and it is entirely personal, so, sorry about that. I know some of you will hate that. Who cares. Grow up. Cowards.

If I have any advice on playing 1,000 statues it is this: take care of the little things. It is easy to be distrustful.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

MEATHEADS: the working system

MEATHEADS the working system v0.1

by blark

Photograph of Louise Leers (aka Luise Krökel), 1930s.

Making a Meathead

Roll 3d6 to determine your only stat: Strength.

Afterwards, you have the chance to further your character's brawn. Roll 3d6 with the result equal to or greater than the character's current Strength to bestow an additional 1d3 points into Strength. Gains! Failure means death, having been crushed by stone and hubris. Roll anew.

After your Strength Score is determined, consult the table below and notate your character’s adjustments. These adjustments do not stack with each other. You begin with 2d6x10 coin.

To determine the number of languages a meathead knows, roll d6-1.5. If your result is 0 or lower, you only speak your common language colloquially and cannot read or write or interpret. Half known languages cannot be read or written but can be spoken enough to act as an interpreter, but prone to mispronunciations. 

Testing Strength

To test your Strength, subtract the result of 1d6 from 20. If the result is equal to or under your strength score, the test is a success. Failure means your brute strength alone was not enough. However, a meathead can push their strength and roll another 1d6. If this result is still a failure, they gain a temporary injury, healed after a full week's rest. A result of double 1s is always a failure and a meathead must succeed a Saving Throw. Success leaves them with a temporary injury, failure imparts a choice: receive 1 permanent injury or to lose 1 HD.  

For every meathead assisting with a strength test, roll another 1d3 as if pushing your strength.

A meathead who works smarter and not harder with the proper tools can go a long way. A crowbar, rope and iron pitons are an essential set for the adventuring meathead. Proper tools make for quick and skillful work, more often circumventing obstacles where strength alone could not. 


Situations that cannot be adjudicated through circumstance, equipment, or planning can be resolved by a Saving Throw adjusted with any modifiers deemed relevant. When called to make a Saving Throw, roll a d20 equal to or above the Saving Throw value listed as in the HD level.

Whether a character is stricken by a spell, infected by toxins, or dodging a trap, the Saving Throw can be relied on. Jumping across a 12 foot gap without a vaulting pole or Sandals of Leaping? Roll a Saving Throw, perhaps modified by a +4 for pure athleticism. Talk it out chief.

Feats of Strength

Advancement in Meatheads is done by completing Feats of Strength, heroic goals set by the character - such as choke holding a dragon - that grant +1HD on accomplishment. 

A meathead can declare a Feat of Strength to showcase their raw power. This is done by testing Strength as above but must be done alone as well as witnessed by other meatheads. If a meathead cowers in the face of their declared feat, they cannot declare another Feat of Strength until one weeks passes. Succeeding the feat grants an additional 1 HD. Other meatheads may goad on this feat, offering additional qualifiers as complications. Each complication grants an additional +1 bonus. Goading in this manner adds +2 to the base 20 of a strength test. So, a Feat of Strength that is being goaded on will roll 1d6 subtracted from 22 instead of 20. Goading meatheads who complete the feat where the original declaring character failed gain all the bonuses proposed.

Hit Dice

When a new HD is gained, a meathead rerolls all their HD. If the new total Hit Point value is greater than the previous, the new score is kept. If it is lower, it is increased by only 1 Hit Point. Conversely, if a meathead loses an HD, all HD are again rerolled, but if the total is lower than previous it is kept, and if higher then is only lowered by 1 Hit Point.

A meathead is more powerful the more HD they possess. In simplest terms, 1 HD is roughly equal to the fighting capability of a single person. Meatheads with higher HDs may take a number of actions as determined by their HD in addition to their base movement. 


Each Meathead is able to carry a number of items as slots equal to 12 + their Strength Score Adjustment. Large items requiring two hands to hold take up 2 slots. Armor takes up a number of slots equal to 10 minus its AC value (e.g. Chain will take up 5 slots, Plate will take up 8 slots).

Exceeding these slots slows the carrier by one movement category as if wearing armor a class heavier (e.g. an over encumbered Meathead wearing Light Foot Armor would move as if wearing Medium foot, from 60 ft to 40ft), and receives a +1 chance to Hit against them.


All Meatheads can acquire 2 Toadies (followers) adjusted by their Strength Score. To enlist a toadie, a meathead must first impress them with a Strength Test. If successful, the toadie is enamored, following the meathead in search of gains. A player may designate one toadie as the meathead's heir, playing them as the next meathead if the former were to perish.

Toadies have a Strength of 2d6+1 and 1 HD, a Saving Throw 15+, and can carry up to 8 slots worth of items. They begin with 3d6 loyalty to their meathead. This fidelity is tested in dangerous or embarrassing situations by rolling a 3d6 with a result under their total loyalty score. Failure has them abandoning your side. A result that is exact to their loyalty will have you rerolling their loyalty completely and keeping the new score; they don't know quite what to think. Thankfully thinking is not their main job.

Loyalty is kept with fair treatment and increases with rewards and fair payment.

Record Sheet
Track your Strength Score, HD, Saving Throw & any modifiers, as well as your Equipment and any abilities. Record your Feats of Strength and Signature Moves. Name yourself.

From Physical Training for Business Men by Harrie Irving 

Strength Score



-1 to hit, damage, bashing, inventory slots, and toadies. -2d6 for grappling.


-1 damage, bashing, inventory slots, and toadies. -1d6 for grappling.




+1 to hit and bashing. +2 inventory slots, and toadies. +1d6 to grappling.


+1 to hit or damage (determined before attacking). +2 bashing. +3 inventory slots, and toadies. +2d6 for grappling.

18+ (The limit for a person. Exceptional Strength)

+1 to hit and damage. +3 bashing. +4 inventory slots, and toadies. +3d6 for grappling.


# of Actions/Bonuses

Saving Throw


2 Action



2 Actions



2 Actions



3 Actions 



3 Actions/ +1 to STR



3 Actions/Reroll a Save once a day.



4 Actions/Reroll a Strength die once a day.



4 Actions/Foes Test Morale when first sighting you.



4 Actions/Auto strike 7+ on Damage once a day.


From Physical Training for Business Men by Harrie Irving

Dungeon Crawling

Movement is in segments of 5 minutes, moving up to the max distance according to your Armor Class. 10 minutes constitutes a single turn. Thus, a single turn consists of two moves. 

Each turn there is a 1in6 chance of a wandering monster encounter. On encounters, don’t forget to roll for Surprise (2in6 chance for each side), Distance (1d6x10’), and Reaction (2d6, generally the higher the better). Time spent thoroughly searching a room takes 10 minutes. Loading treasure, listening carefully, hiding and such actions take 5 minutes. 

Each turn, during wandering monster check, roll d6 to determine torchlight. On a 1, it extinguishes suddenly. Torches naturally extinguish after 1 hour. Torch light lowers the chance to surprise adversaries to a 1in6 chance.

Listening carefully has a 2in6 chance to hear the other side of shut doors, thin walls or down long hallways. Undead make no noise while still.

The chance to be noticed while sneaking is a base of 2in6. Each plate armor adds +1 to this chance. Groups of 4 or more add +1. Other factors or stressors add +1 to be noticed. If the chances exceed over 6 there is no chance of sneaking or catching groups surprised while moving.

Movement Rates

Light Foot -  60ft (12”)

Medium Foot- 40ft (8”)

Heavy Foot - 20ft (4”)

Standing from prone counts as 10ft of movement.


After determining Surprise (2-in-6), Distance (1d6x10’) and Reaction (2d6+modifiers), determine the battle initiative order*. Every round competing sides roll 1d6, the highest holding initiative first. Action orders follow as morale tests, to movement, to missile fire, to magic, then to melee.

During a meathead’s turn they may move up to their movement rate. Afterwards, they may take a number of actions as determined by their HD, as well as allot any number attacks also determined by their HD. An action in combat counts as opening a door, bashing, drinking a potion, switching a weapon, etc. A meathead may expend 2 of their actions to move again.

A meathead can attack a number of 1 HD foes a number of times equal to their HD. Foes with higher HD can be attacked multiple times if a meathead possesses at least double the HD of their opponent. So a 4 HD meathead can make two attacks on a 2 HD foe, a 6 HD meathead can make three attacks against the same 2 HD foe or 6 attacks against 1 HD foes, or any combo there in-between. A meathead can always attack at least once during their turn.

To hit an opponent, a meathead must roll 2d6 with a result equal or greater than the target number determined by the opponent's AC. If hit, the meathead rolls on the damage matrix according to their weapon.

Combat Charts

Double sixes on To Hit rolls indicates double weapon damage dealt. The weapon damage die is rolled and the corresponding result on the matrix is doubled. Double ones on To Hit rolls indicates an embarrassing fumble, usually dropping a weapon, slipping onto your bottom, or getting your weapon stuck from swinging too wildly.

Weapons of Class 6 and above (with the exception of spears) suffer a -2 penalty when fighting in very close quarters; narrow tunnels, tight corridors, any space where two people cannot stand abreast. Smallfolk may be exempt from such penalties.

*Individual Initiative can be determined by subtracting Weapon Class from 10, then adding that result to a d20 roll. Adjudicate from highest to lowest. This will disrupt action orders but is more in line with popular ttrpgs today. 

Injury table.
Temporary Injuries last until one week of full rest. Permanent ones are just that; with you forever. Roll 1d4:

  1. Lift Injury = -1 Strength Score.

  2. Push Injury = -1 to Bashing chance.

  3. Pull Injury = -1 Inventory Slot.

  4. Ego Injury = -1 to Saving Throws.


Quick and brutal maneuvers: a shove, a shoulder check, a big swing. Bashing flings an object or character 2d6 feet back and onto the ground. Targets may make a Saving Throw to avoid falling prone, but are still flung back. To successfully bash something there is a 1+(x)-in-6 chance where (x) is the bonus determined by your Strength Score Adjustment. Stuck or locked doors can be opened in this manner, as well as toppling weakened walls or statues.

Signature Move

In combat a Meathead may expend an action to perform a maneuver specific to them. Accomplishing a Signature Move succeeds on a result of 1 or 2 on a roll of d6. Signature Moves are things such as tripping, head butting, spitting blood, shouting catch phrases, and so on. The effects a Signature Move has on targets is the ref's call. Think on the go, improvise, and use your head. Using a Signature Move to accomplish a Feat of Strength allows the Signature Move to become a permanent ability to use at will per day equal to the Meathead’s HD divided by 2 and rounded down. If all uses are expended, roll as normal.


Participants roll a number of d6s equal to their HD against one another. The higher result wins the contest, controlling the grapple. A meathead may add up to a number of d6s granted from their Strength Score Adjustment before testing a Grapple. Any penalties to grappling are rolled during this initial test.

If the initial test is a failure, a meathead can add any remaining d6s allocated to them from their Grapple bonus. If a meathead uses this method and still fails against the foe, then a critical choice occurs. The meathead may choose to either take the foe’s Damage, to be restrained and have their AC treated as 2 steps worse, or be thrown to the ground to be stunned and prone for one round. Weapons of Class 3 or lower may be used to deal damage in Grapples.

Rolling all 1s results in being thrown and stunned for 2d3 rounds as well as taking damage as per the opponent's weapon.

Pumping Iron

For every 4 weeks a meathead spends fully training, they have a chance to increase their Strength Score. These four weeks do not have to be consecutive. After the four weeks are through, roll 3d6 with a result greater than your current Strength Score. Add +1 to Strength if successful, otherwise pass a Saving Throw or attain a temporary injury.


Meatheads are tough. When they reach 0 hit points, roll a Saving Throw. Success means they survive but receive a permanent injury. Failure means you're dead meat.

A Save vs Death can be made a number of times equal to a meathead’s HD over their entire career. E.G. a meathead with 1 HD used her death Saving Throw to avoid death, and when she attained 2 HD, she would gain a single additional Save vs Death, not 2 more. Losing HD in any manner also loses this additional Save until it can be regained.

Foe Stats
(X) HD, Attack as Class Weapon (X) as Damage as (X), AC as (X), Saving Throw (15 - HD), Ability and Notes. Good luck fucker.

Hobbits gain an additional Hit Pip for each HD they possess, this HP is lost if the HD is lost. They gain a +2 to Saves vs Poisons, and wield enchanted clubs and slings as +2 to Hit. They do not incur Sneak Penalty from being in groups of 4 or more.

Dwarves have a 2in6 chance to notice secret stone work (rolled by the DM), a +2 Saves vs Petrification/Paralysis, and wield enchanted hammers and crossbows as +2 to Damage. They can always tell fake gold from real.

Elves can listen carefully with success 3in6 times. They are caught surprised only 1in6 times. They cannot be magically put to sleep. They gain a +2 Save vs Magic, and wield enchanted spears and bows as +2 to Hit.

Orcs may float in water wearing up to AC 4. +2 Saves vs Bashing and +1 to Bashing. Orcs ignore the dual wielding penalty, and wield enchanted axes and javelins as +2 to Damage. 

Humans may begin with an extra language point of 1, added after their initial language roll. They also begin with 2d6x5 additional coins and wield enchanted swords as +2 to Hit.

What else? Making a creature into a meathead is simple: follow the HD progression chart, choose a cool thing to be then add a relevant ability. Rules are weak, you can bend them.

From Physical Training for Business Men by Harrie Irving

Appendix M

Arnold Schawrzenegger
Conan the Barbarian

Conan the Destroyer


The Barbarians
Pumping Iron

Brock Samson




The Iliad


Ator the Fighting Eagle
The Sword and the Sorcerer

Action Movie Stars (Sylvester Stallone, Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, etc)

Body builders (Ronnie Coleman, Sally McNeil, Eugen Sandow, etc)

Action Boyz Podcast

The Dumbbells Podcast

Shit to buy


Slab Bulkhead

Bridge Largemeat

Punt Speedchunk

Butch Deadlift

Hold Bigflank

Splint Chesthair

Flint Ironstag

Bolt Vanderhuge

Thick McRunfast

Blast Hardcheese
Buff Drinklots

Crunch Slamchest

Fist Rockbone

Stump Beefknob

Smash Lampjaw

Punch Rockgroin

Buck Plankchest

Stump Junkman

Dirk Hardpec

Rip Steakface

Slate Slabrock

Crud Bonemeal

Brick Hardmeat

Rip Slagcheek

Punch Sideiron

Gristle McThornbody

Slate Fistcrunch

Buff Hardback

Bob Johnson

Blast Thickneck

Crunch Buttsteak

Slab Squatthrust

Lump Beefbroth
Touch Rustrod

Beef Blastbody

Big McLargehuge

Smoke Manmuscle

Beat Punchmeat

Hack Blowfist

Roll Fizzlebeef

*Names taken from the MST3K episode of Space Mutiny.

Special Thanks to Chao, Bonito, Sean, Robin, Jert, Kyj, Thrift, Matthew K, Wolves, Troika

One Stat. One Save.

“Meatheads is a practical game.”

“Meatheads is a game that treats you fucking stupid.”

“Meatheads is very easy, you just imagine the biggest, strongest guys you possibly can.”

Magic is for wimps. Gods are weak. Flesh is stronger than steel.

Fuck Wizards.

From Physical Training for Business Men by Harrie Irving

TBD Extras

Dual Wielding, make two attacks at a -1 penalty with a weapon that doesn't require two hands to wield. For each hit, roll the Damage Die twice and take the lower result.

Helms lower listening chance by 1, but allow an extra saving throw before death and are then destroyed.

Useful Roles - not essential, but helpful. Can overlap.

Big Man

The Big Man is the caller for the group. They inform the DM of the actions of all the party as agreed upon as meatheads. They might be the biggest meathead, the prettiest face, or the most literate. Whatever the reason, they call the shots. The Big Man is The Big Man regardless of their gender, but also do call them by whatever they want. Don't get it twisted dipshit.


Graphs and shit, pen and paper and whatever at hand. Just don't lose track of where you’re going or how to get back. Simple as that.


The meathead that keeps track of time, goals, potions imbibed, powders snorted, salamanders chewed, etc, etc. They note the benefits or penalties affecting a party, how long they last and how much time has passed. It’s called discipline, cupcake!

Toadie Wrangler

Unfortunately someone has to spend time with the toadies. Keeping track of names, their pay, loyalty, inheritance, their marching order, etc. If all toadies are accounted for, they can’t be sitting around staring at paint dry all day now can they?

Encounter Tables.

During a turn, with a result of 1 on a d6, there is a wandering encounter. 

Roll two six sided dice, one die after the other. If the second roll is lower than or equal to the first roll, combine the results. Then consult your encounter table.

Some Art

by Sean Murphy

by Brandon Yu (@Chaoclypse)

by blark