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Lavender Hack: Tarantula Hawk Wasp Edition
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Lavender Hack: Tarantula Hawk Wasp Edition

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Heretical Ambitions!

They’ll certainly kill you if you ever show up back at the manor house. But you have no intention of going back. Who wants to barely survive, serving every sadistic whim of some wealthy asshole? Not you.

They say there are devils out there. Things that will suck the lifeforce right out of you and leave you as a drooling husk. Devils? Maybe. Or maybe they spin lies to trap you. Maybe you can learn new things from those so-called devils, and return to lay all these bastards low. Won’t that be nice.

Or, maybe you’ll be ripped apart or poisoned or fall in a pit. Better than spending one more second here.

What is This?

Lavender Hack is a grand strategy fantasy role-playing game of mismanaged party resources, rapidly dwindling time, diplomatic incidents, magical mishaps, starving in the wilds, running out of light in the dungeon, facing mutiny on the high sea, and going broke in service to your character’s wild ambitions!

How Does it Work?

The core mechanic in Lavender Hack is a d20 test, with weak successes on an 8+, strong successes on an 18+, fumbles on a natural 1, and criticals on a natural 20. From this core, procedures are built which feature four shared company resources, each represented by a usage die: food, light, gear, and fellowship. These resources can be used to add to tests in a variety of ways, at the risk of using more of that resource.

What’s in the Book?

  • Classes – Rules for the strong, wise, and deft, flexible palettes upon which to build many character concepts
  • Wilderness Exploration – Lavender Hack is very well suited for hexcrawls, with a clean exploration core using days broken up into six watches, and roles like guides and scouts
  • Ocean Exploration – Players take on the roles of captain, quartermaster, cook, and bosuns while dealing with weather and a restless crew
  • Naval Warfare – Rules for ship-to-ship and ship-to-kraken combat
  • Factions – Rules for adding cultural depth to intelligent folk like dwarves and orcs
  • Court – A diplomatic procedure for trading and interacting with factions out in the wilds
  • Dungeon Exploration – Dwindling light and soul sucking despair are just as big of hazards as the terrible monsters
  • Combat – Combat rules avoid fights to the death by featuring morale and degrading armor
  • Retainers – It’s better not to go it alone, even with the extra cost
  • Downtime – Buy, sell, craft, train, research, carouse, and get robbed back in town
  • Spells – Twenty spells, each with their own unique results for criticals, strong successes, weak successes, and fumbles
  • Artifacts – Magical items use a patience die that dwindles if you don't fulfill their desires 
  • Monsters – Includes the dire tarantula hawkwasp, which has a painful sting
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Reviews (3)
Discussions (8)
Customer avatar
Fredrick R September 15, 2021 7:53 pm UTC
Free PDf Awesome!

This is a great product. Love the zaniness and wild strategy of this game.
Customer avatar
Andrew M September 14, 2021 8:20 pm UTC
Hi Phil. Any chance of a discount on the POD for previous PDF purchasers?
Customer avatar
Phil L September 14, 2021 8:38 pm UTC
Hi Andrew! As of yet - no one has purchased the PDF, and after thinking about it more - I'm going to keep it free.
Customer avatar
Andrew M September 14, 2021 9:25 pm UTC
Haha! I totally forgot that it costs nothing! Okay well I'd better pony up! Just waiting on an answer to the same question on another product-- legitimate in that case.
Customer avatar
Phil L September 14, 2021 9:37 pm UTC
No worries! My guess is that most people who wanted it already downloaded it for free over the last two years of development, which is part of my motivation for keeping it free. Kind of doubt there will be much new traffic, so any money will have to come from POD sales.
Customer avatar
Andrew M November 21, 2020 6:14 pm UTC
Phil, are you going to offer any print options? And, if so, will you discount for PDF buyers?
Customer avatar
Phil L November 24, 2020 9:19 pm UTC
Hi Andrew! At some point I will! I just need to stop fiddling with it and move on to an editing. Easier said than done apparently. :)

I think my big decision is whether I do some kind of offset print run via Kickstarter, or just go straight into POD, or both. If I do POD via drivethru, I'm sure I'll make the PDF cheaper (or most likely free) for anyone who purchases a print version.
Customer avatar
Andrew M November 27, 2020 4:38 am UTC
Good to hear. An offset print would probably get my money. When it's POD I often just print and bind at home. My question about PDFs was more about if you might consider offering a discount on the printed book for those who'd already bought the PDF. I understand that a PDF of one revision isn't the same as a PDF of a final version, though.

Also I should mention: Brilliant work. Your authorial notes are invaluable. Please do not remove this feature in upcoming revisions! Your design choices are very solid. The resolution mechanic is excellent. 8, 18, 20, done.
Customer avatar
Phil L June 05, 2020 10:28 pm UTC
V 0.19

Major magic item overhaul, artifact creation
Court - no disposition increase for faction goals
Downtime overhaul, more explicit training step
Downtime - selling items reveals their worth
Revised when cost of living is applied during downtime
Revised company creation rules
Revised retainer morale
Revised wilderness exploration procedure
Revised how ambition works with invokes
Customer avatar
Phil L June 26, 2020 9:41 pm UTC
V 0.20 Update

Major wilderness event update
Downtime events update, taking inflation into account
Added new artifacts
Updates to how ambition and goals are set/resolved
Customer avatar
Phil L July 10, 2020 7:09 pm UTC
V 0.21 Update

Large overhaul of faction chapter
More magical artifacts and beasts
Working on knowledge and perception guidance
Customer avatar
Phil L July 17, 2020 10:35 pm UTC
V 0.22 Update

Big overhaul to knowledge and perception
Clarifications for ambition and goals
Error in valuable types table fixed
Customer avatar
Phil L July 31, 2020 9:03 pm UTC
V0.23 Update

New retainers: the sage and the entertainer
Downtime locations have specialties and limitations
Town generation rules
New downtime events
Customer avatar
Phil L August 08, 2020 4:58 pm UTC
V 0.24 Update

Morale for factions
More folk
More beasts
More artifacts
Faction creation guidance
Customer avatar
Phil L August 24, 2020 12:18 am UTC
V0.25 Update

Poisoncraft and butchery features
New monsters
Combat overhaul
New / modified deft features
New / modified strong features
Slower rate of wise spell acquisition
Improving ambition no longer a downtime action - occurs immediately
Customer avatar
Phil L September 18, 2020 8:50 pm UTC
V 0.26 Update

Massive overhaul and rethink of combat
More minor tweaks to wises, ambitions, and goals
New monsters and cool monster art!
Customer avatar
Phil L October 10, 2020 6:32 pm UTC
V 0.27 Update

Overhaul of class starting equipment and weapons tables
Added sample ambitions by class
More weapons and weapon effects
Clean up feats and weapons to match new combat system
Added sample weights for random valuables
Customer avatar
Phil L November 24, 2020 9:15 pm UTC
V 0.28

Overhaul of ambition
Ambition is now at the level of company - and is progressed through reaching flexible milestones
As the company advances, they influence their home town
Added a new town crafting sheet
Customer avatar
Phil L November 28, 2020 8:47 pm UTC
V 0.29 Update

Broke out company renown into a list of achievements and total company renown
Artifacts use company renown for power levels (character ambition was removed from the game)
Artifacts use the same crafting rules as other types of items, no extra crafting for each power level
Add crafting option for repairing broken weapons and armor during downtime
Fixed a layout issue in magic items chapter
Minor changes to downtime events
Mounted combat
Charging rules in combat
Customer avatar
Phil L December 05, 2020 6:59 pm UTC
V 0.30 Update

Tables for core concepts
Some how to play guidance
Minor edits
Customer avatar
Phil L December 11, 2020 11:38 pm UTC
V 0.31 Update

Minor edits
Drowning and falling
Strong feats
Deft feats
Customer avatar
Phil L December 23, 2020 10:09 pm UTC
V 0.32 Update

Downtime simplification
No tracking more progress for leveling up
No more spending different amounts of money for crafting
Twists for usage dice
No more usage saves
More art
More monsters
Customer avatar
Phil L January 29, 2021 6:08 pm UTC
V 0.33

Wilderness camp procedure (& events)
Dungeon camp procedure (& events)
Explorer retainer
Diplomat retainer
Updated random valuables procedure
Added number appearing to monster listings
Cleaned up language for attacks/grapple in beastiary to reflect new combat rules
Cleaned up a number of monster entries
Customer avatar
Phil L March 13, 2021 8:35 pm UTC
V 0.34

Working on system editing
Consolidated / refined procedures from exploration chapters
Added a few new monsters
Customer avatar
Phil L August 10, 2021 3:41 am UTC
V 0.35

Retirement table
More fiends
Copy edits
Moving toward POD version
Customer avatar
Phil L September 13, 2021 8:42 pm UTC
Edited and POD version available!
Customer avatar
Benjamin R May 21, 2020 12:19 am UTC
I don’t really understand the results for usage saves. If the save for the gear die is a strong success it says “the value is 2”. The value of what? Does the party still have equipment or not?
Customer avatar
Phil L May 22, 2020 1:43 pm UTC
Thanks for the feedback! I'll make sure to go over that section again - I can see how it's not clear. The idea is that you will always have a d20 usage die for resources, you can never lose it. If you have to step it down for some reason, instead of having no dice, that's one situation in which you'll make a save. For gear, a d20 represents a situation that's about as bad as it gets - both in quantity and quality.

Frequently, when you roll a non-d20 usage die, you'll use the value for some reason, usually to add to a test. For instance, let's say the company has a d6 gear die, and a player invokes their character's background to add it to a test. They roll a 4. That's the "value" of the result they'll use.

A d20 resource die can be used in the same way. But if a player invokes a d20 resource die, it's really a d2, so the values you would add to a test are usually going to be 1 or 2. However, because a d20 resource die is so bad, there's a chance you don't add anything (the value...See more
Customer avatar
Phil L May 09, 2020 10:29 pm UTC
Version 0.18 updates. Change list here:
Customer avatar
Phil L April 24, 2020 11:46 pm UTC
Version 0.17 updates. Change list here:
Customer avatar
Craig D April 21, 2020 6:30 pm UTC
I'm really enjoying this. I particularly appreciate the designer's notes.

I did notice that the Nereid's special abilities also appear under the Mystic, Apprentice in the bestiary. (Sorry for posting here. I was looking for a more direct form of communication, but wasn't able to find one.)
Customer avatar
Phil L April 21, 2020 10:52 pm UTC
Thanks! And yeah, good catch!

Not totally sure the best way to handle feedback. I created a forum on rpggeek I was thinking of using to capture thoughts:
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File Last Updated:
August 09, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on April 21, 2020.