Monday, September 1, 2014

Bonus Maps for The Horrid Caves from The Manor Issue 7

Click to Download
Issue 7 of Tim Short's RPG-Zine The Manor is available via his online store Gothridge Manor Games or at RPGNow, where the pdf is currently discounted to $2.50. A print copy will set you back $4.00 ($4.50 in Canda, $5.00 elsewhere).

Tim managed to pack a lot into just 24 pages. There's a traveling potion-peddler, the Skinwalker as a playable class option, a set of gonzo Arduin-esque magic mirrors, a nifty mini-adventure involving a fire demon, a mind-bending Mind Flayer Haiku, and The Horrid Caves, which is one of our adventures, this time involving a series of caves where a powerful prehuman warlord held court long, long ago. If you haven't checked out The Manor yet, click over to Tim's Gothridge Manor blog and take a look at the various posts tagged The Manor, or better still, just pick an issue at random and download it from RPGNow while they're all discounted to $2.50. We both really enjoyed Issue 6 quite a bit.

We're offering a free set of bonus maps for The Horrid Caves. There is one numbered and one unnumbered map in each of three versions, so you can provide a player's version of the map or re-key the thing, or use the map for another site, as you like.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bujilli: Episode 103

Bujilli, Leeja and a rag-tag band of freed prisoners including Hedrard and Lemuel have taken refuge from a powerful thunderstorm within one of the upper passages connecting the myriad towers of the Gormenstille...

"There are no vampires in Wermspittle--"

"A common misconception. The electric pentacles mounted on the galvanic streetlamps drove off those that were not destroyed in the campaign of retaliation against the Eldest by the Sewer Militia, or at least that is what the papers printed and the Council let people believe." Hedrard slumped against the wall. Her skin had a swirling yellow-green Vinksome sheen to it from the barely contained toxins she was struggling to drive out of her body.

"Are we still in Wermspittle?" Bujilli recalled something he had read about the Eight Known Worlds...even though there were nine glyphs associated with them in his father Little Brown Journal.

"We're in an Adjacent World now, one of the Adjacent Cities, another version of where there are still vampires. Old vampires. Very, very old ones. The Sewer Milita has no jurisdiction in this place." Hedrard leaned heavily on Lenuel. She turned to keep an eye on the calotte-passage leading down toward the Secondary Tower. The hag had always struck Bujilli as formidable, since he met her on his first day at the Academy.* It made him uneasy to see how much she dreaded whatever lurked and lorded over the Secondary Tower at the end of this passage.

He looked out the window. The storm was assaulting the ramparts and buttresses of the Gormenstille with incredible fury and force. Driving rain, sleet and hail made it impossible to see anything through the dusty, grimy panes.

The window Leeja and the Eloi roof-runner had broken to get them all in from the rain was closing-up; the glass flowing back into place as each shard wriggled back into place like a swarm of glistening, transparent slugs.

Bujilli turned away from the windows and looked at the rest of the group. The Ignoble sat against the outer wall in shock. The removal of their mask had proven more traumatic than he thought was possible. The Roof-runner seemed ready to run off the moment they figured out which way might be the best chance for escape. The custodian lay there waiting for the inevitable with a fatalism even a Pruztian Nekrokommando might find disconcerting.

Fatalism. Bujilli nearly spat in disgust. He'd seen how that could get twisted and used to excuse some terrible things. People gave up and let everything go to hell. He considered it cowardly. Weak.

He looked more closely at the custodian. They were a creature of the dim spaces and walled-in places with pale, fungous-splotched skin with a rancid, cheesy quality to it. Their eyes glimmered with the piss-yellow gleam of a dog. Their aura...was equal parts gray and brown, with a few red sparks here and there...and it showed extensive, invasive meddling in their brain, their nerves, their entire being. He looked away just before he was wracked with nausea.

The custodian wasn't weak, not in the usual sense of the word. They were deeply manipulated, constrained, directed and shocked Bujilli that anyone could live like that. He'd rather be dead.

He wanted to do something. But he was tired. Maintaining the Zone of Normality so they could all walk more than two miles down the face of the Gormenstille's central tower had taken a toll on his strength. He needed to rest, to recover. They all did. But they had to find someplace relatively safe.

"Going farther down this passage," he waved towards the downward-sloping direction of the calotte-passage; "probably isn't a good idea. We're in no shape to deal with undead things, let alone vampires or whatever minions they have working for them. We're also not going to make it very much farther if we don't get a chance to rest-up a bit. I need to sleep, as do most of you, I would guess." Bujilli forced himself up onto his feet. Leeja pulled his arm over her shoulder and helped prop him up. He was too tired to argue or resist. His head-wound was bleeding again.

"You," He gestured to the Eloi; "Can you scout ahead a bit? Look for someplace--"

"Where will you go? I told you no one patrols these passages. Just Baron Bannerworth's hunters and scouts...and a few little spiders." The custodian cackled loudly until Leeja kicked them in the head to shut them up. Too hard; or rather too soft--the custodian's skull popped like a rotten egg, splashing grisly yellow-orange slop against the wall.

"Scheiss!" Bujilli pulled Leeja back from the gory mess. They tripped one another up. He went to his knees. She fell backwards.

"Wash off your boots! Do it now!" He recognized the noxious, odious fluids. The custodian was not just a simple minion, they were colonized by a Fungal Tyrant...or something very similar.

Leeja went over to the puddles below the window they had used to gain entry and scuffed her boots against the rough stone wall. Thankfully most of the nasty goo came off in the cold water quickly and easily.

"It isn't acid--"

"No. It usually isn't."

"What is this stuff? Why was the custodian full of all this reeking pus?"

"Another Tyrant. That's my guess." Bujilli shivered involuntarily at the memory of the last Fungal Tyrant they had encountered beneath Idvard's Keep.

"Oh great." She began to really scrub and scrape her boots in the rainwater.

"We have to get moving. This mess is only going to get worse, though we may have a little while before it gets dangerous. Maybe it will inconvenience or discourage the things prowling around from below."

"If we're lucky." Hedrard nodded.

Bujilli waved the Eloi on ahead of the group. Leeja, satisfied that her boots were as clean as she was going to get them, resumed her place beside Bujilli and they started walking up the sloping passage, towards the Central Tower. Lemuel helped Hedrard along. The morose Ignoble cradled their un-wearable iron mask in their arms as they shuffled along at the back of the group.

There were plenty of niches, crannies and structural supports to hide behind, but no real cover aside from that. They were considering one such spot when the Roof-runner came back in a hurry.

"I found a good place for us!"

"Where is it?"

"How far?"

"What is it like?"

"There is a corridor up ahead, one that curves along the outer wall of the main tower and connects to all the other passages like this one, at least those at this level. There are plenty of rooms and such all along the corridor."

"Any sign of recent use?"

"No. It's very dusty, with debris mounded-up in some places. I think the custodian was telling the truth about this section being abandoned or cordoned-off."

"That sounds better than trying to camp-out here in a passage that we know is now infested with nasty fungus..."

Bujilli nodded. The Eloi grinned, turned around and led the way forward. The group followed.

The third door they tried opened stiffly, but was still structurally sound. It was some sort of triage area. Stretchers were propped against the walls or set across makeshift supports like crates or barrels or boxes. Bloody gauze was tossed all about the place, usually in tatters. All the smaller boxes and packages they could find were opened, empty and often smeared with blood or other fluids.

The next room was stripped bare. The one beyond that was heavily scorched and seared by intense flames and blasting spells. They decided not to go past that point and instead barricaded the doors of the two rooms between them and that space as best as they could manage.

Five stretchers were cleared-off and dragged into place near the door by which they had entered the room. Leeja cast Pale Shelter and Bujilli fell asleep as a delicate white sea shell made of soft moonlight shimmered all around the group. The spell was gentle and kind and relaxing.

He awoke with a start a few hours later. The storm had run its course. He could feel it. The deep purple animosity of the storm was moving away. He wasn't sure if the thunderstorm had been some sort of a Purple Cloud or not, but even if it had been, it had not noticed him. This time.

Bujilli sat up on the stretcher. Swung his legs over the side and squinted at the darkness. He could hear the others breathing, snoring, sleeping fitfully. Leeja was like a pale white flame flickering through the dark.

But that wasn't Leeja...

What should Bujill do next?

You Decide!

*Hedrard first appeared in Episode 23, where she was asked to save Lemuel's life after his fight with Bujilli in Episodes 21 and 22..

What happens next?

Well, first we need to roll for Initiative: Roll 1d6 each for (1) Bujilli, (2) the Lurker. Everyone else is caught by surprise.

Five or six D20 rolls would be handy.

Then it's up to you to decide what Bujilli ought to do next, whether he should cast a spell (and which one?), grab a weapon, go see what that flickering stuff really is, call out to the group; whatever you think he should do, let us know in the comments below.

As always, if you have questions or suggestions let me know in the comments, or via email.

What happens next is up to you, the readers.

You Decide!

Previous                                Next

Series Indexes
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six

About Bujilli (What is This?) | Who is Bujilli? | How to Play

Bujilli's Spells | Little Brown Journals | Loot Tally | House Rules

Episode Guides
Series One (Episodes 1-19)
Series Two (Episode 20-36)
Series Three (Episodes 37-49)
Series Four (Episodes 50-68)
Series Five (Episodes 69-99)
Series Six(Episodes 100-ongoing)

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Six Shunned Houses in Wermspittle

What I heard in my youth about the shunned house was merely that people died there in alarmingly great numbers. That, I was told, was why the original owners had moved out some twenty years after building the place. It was plainly unhealthy, perhaps because of the dampness and fungous growths in the cellar, the general sickish smell, the drafts of the hallways, or the quality of the well and pump water. These things were bad enough, and these were all that gained belief among the persons whom I knew...
The Shunned House, by H. P. Lovecraft

Six Shunned Houses
  1. They say that anyone fool enough to spend a night in what remains of the old Franzikaner Grub Merchant's House on Black Street tends to get their head lopped off by whatever it is that haunts the place. The locals claim that there is a vengeful haint lurking in the place, possibly the ghost of the at old merchant's estranged niece who was a notoriously wicked girl with a violent temper. So far no one has survived to confirm any of the prevailing theories...
    No real mystery here. The attic of this house is crawling with a swarm of  Head Taker Beetles.

    (6d20) Head Taker Beetles [AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 6[13], HD 3, #AT 2, DG 1d4/1d4, SV F2, ML 12 (mindless), Special: On a modified attack roll of 20 or better, a random appendage is severed, possibly even the victim's head. If the beetles successfully remove a victim's head, they will break off the attack and attempt to scuttle away with it. No one is completely sure what they do with such grisly trophies, and it might be prudent to simply just to ask.]

  2. Some folks say there is a vengeful phantom haunting the burned-out ruins of Mister Tiddles' Lollipop Shop. There are several Foragers and some Street Urchins who all swear to having seen the thing, and just barely escaping its clutches, when they tried to take refuge there during the rain or to escape pursuing Butcher Boys. Most of them seem to think that the horrid thing lairs in the fireplace...
    There is indeed an Ourang in this place, but it is not any sort of phantom, at least not yet. This creature was brought back to Wermspittle as a servant by the former proprietor of the candy shop on one of the last airships to visit the city decades ago...

    (1) Ourang [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 6[13], HD 4, #AT 3 (2 claws, 1 bite, can use weapons), DG 1d4+1, 1d4+1, 1d6 or by weapon, SV F4, ML 10, Special: Move Silently 70%, climb Walls 99%,Hide in Shadows 70%.] There is a cache of Trinkets and Trash in the fireplace. The beast actually lairs in a nest it has made in the rafters of the attic...

  3. Five stories above the street, the roof is broken open to the rain and elements like the shell of a rotten egg. No one goes beyond the second floor, only a few have ever attempted that, and never twice...
    The walls, floors and ceilings of this place are saturated with the coagulated filth of dozens of Loathsome Masses left behind by victims of the Vile Transformation were herded into the place by a group of masked vigilantes who rounded-up anyone they suspected of White Powder poisoning and left them here to die. Now there is a thriving colony of Scrum Pustules on every floor...

    (3d10) Scrum Pustules [AL N, MV (See Entry), AC 8[11], HD 1+, #AT 1, DG 1d4+, SV as zero-level human, ML 12 (Mindless), Special: Scrum Pustules gain 1 permanent hit point for every 30 points of damage they inflict. Every 6 hit points gained in this manner gives them another HD and allows them to increase in size, extending their area of effect by one more foot and improving their attack by an additional 1d4.]

  4. This foul-smelling tenement has definitely seen better days. Everyone avoids it. At night the walls radiate a flickering foxfire and dim shapes can be seen moving about doing incomprehensible things...
    Masses of reeking fungal-flesh cover the floors, clutter the stairwells and form something of an irregular obstacle-course or soft labyrinth all through the tenement. There are twelve apartments on each of the ten floors and a colony of Fruiting Bodies in every one of the rooms, with a Fungal Tyrant firmly rooted within the central courtyard.

    (3d4) Fruitng Bodies (per room) [AL N, MV 60' (20'), AC 8[11], HD 2 hit points each, #AT 1, DG 1 hit point (Poison), SV As zero-level human, ML 4, Special: When 'killed' each Fruiting Body erupts into a 10'x10' cloud of toxic spores that lingers for 3d20 minutes and causes all exposed to it to Save at -1 or suffer 1d4 damage every minute of exposure. All corpses left within the area affected by the spores becomes completely taken-over by the fungi and are non-recoverable.]

    (1) Fungal Tyrant [AL N, MV *static*, AC 6[13], HD 4, #AT 1d4, DG 1d4+1 per attack, SV MU 6, ML 11, Special: Use the following spells at-will; Clairvoyance, Detect Invisible, ESP, Locate Object, Ventriloquism (only within Area of Awareness), and may know an additional 1d4 random spells. See entry for more details.]

  5. All three floors above ground are burned, gutted and even the centipedes don't bother hunting there any more. It's the space below the place that people are particularly concerned about. If you are careful in picking your way through the rubble, fallen timbers and collapsed walls, you can still reach the heavy old door that opens onto the narrow, steep stairs leading down to the cellar. If you wait long enough, sometimes you would swear that there were voices down there...
    Falling debris and collapsing walls make this a dangerous, treacherous place to go exploring, but if someone does get past the various hazards and obstacles, the old door can be opened (requires a combined STR of 23), and the rickety stairs might wobble a bit, but they will serve to get you down into the dark, dank chamber of crumbling brown bricks set with narrow arches about the height and width of a typical human. The chamber is clearly much smaller than what one might expect for such an old, large building. Each archway is bricked-up a little bit differently, very likely having been done by different hands at different times. The bricks are old and break easily, so it is possible to break through them, if so desired. Twenty-three cells hold the skeletal remains of long deceased prisoners. The Twenty-fourth cell contains a Spectre.

    (1) Spectre [AL C, MV 150' (50'), AC 2[17], HD 6, #AT 1 (touch), DG (Special: Draining Attack), SV F6, ML 11, Special: When the Spectre successfully strikes a victim, they must Save to avoid losing 1 HD, making the Save means they only take 1d8 damage. When a HD is lost in this manner, the character must re-roll their hit points using the reduced number of HD. The reduction in HD persists for 6d4 hours. Anyone reduced to zero HD is killed and will themselves become a Spectre in 1d4 days. Spectres are immune to Charm, Hold and Sleep spells. They take only 1 hit point of damage from normal or silver weapons. They will seek to avoid looking into mirrors and can be driven off by anyone who calls them by their name.]

  6. The floor in this Abandoned Property sags terribly and appears to be about to collapse at any moment, however a pack of Feral Children have been running through here for more than six months without any mishaps, so perhaps the floor will hold up a little longer. There are the dried remains of Loathsome Masses in most of the ground floor rooms, with a particularly nasty Wet Spot in the kitchen that appears fairly recent. Everyone knows that there is some sort of Vicious Slime under the main stairwell, and there are some peculiar Stains in the upstairs hallway, though they rarely tell outsiders. The cellar is flooded; some idiot filled it with acid until the walls collapsed and now there's a fetid pool of noisome fluids down there that no one wants to deal with, especially since there's a Grobbly Bonk map charred into the main bedroom wall, and a stash of vintage Pruztian pronography rumored to be hidden behind one of the walls on the third floor, despite no Forager admitting to having ever found the stuff...
    There is an Oval Portrait in one of the upstairs rooms, as well as a well-preserved flock of undead gray penguins locked away in the attic...
    (6d6) Undead Penguins [AL C, MV 60' (20'), AC 6[11], HD 2, #AT 1, DG 1d4, SV F1, ML 6, Special: Turn as 1 HD Zombies. They take double damage rom fire, however once set ablaze, they will scamper about the place randomly, setting everything on fire. In all other respects they are zombified birds, and completely inedible.

Happy Birthday HPL

Today, August 20th is H. P. Lovecraft's birthday. Have some ice cream and say a few unspeakable words for the old dead white guy who left us a rich treasure trove of horror stories and opinions that have endured despite all his foibles, faults and failings...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Underworld Lore #4 Now Available

Click to go get your copy!
Issue 4 of Underworld Lore is now available. Greg has done a fantastic job assembling and compiling a lot of interesting material into an 84-page extravaganza that has to be seen to be believed. While you're there, be sure to get all three of the previous issues as well; Underworld Lore is a great resource and lot of fun to read. Be sure to leave a few encouraging words at Gorgonmilk's blog. He puts a ton of work into each issue and he probably wouldn't mind hearing from readers who enjoy and appreciate his efforts.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Wandering Monster Matrix: The Gormenstille (New Chillon)

"This is a place of bastards and illegitimate bloodlines, cast-offs and caitiffs, criminals and deposed heirs alike, all sent here in secret and left to rot, only they didn't all rot. They have their own lineages here, as well established and documented as any in the outer regions of the known worlds; only they are Ignobles in New Chillon, within the walls of the Gormenstille; all of them vying for power or prestige and squabbling among one another over obscure points of genealogy, precedence or their personal entry in the Red Book."
Hedrard's description of the Gormenstille in Bujilli: Episode 102

(1d20) Wandering Monsters in the Upper North East Calotte-Passage of the Gormenstille...
  1. Varn-spiders. (3d4) Dim, gray spiders that have associated with vampires for far too long...
  2. Skeletons. (2d4) They have been tasked to collect and carry all plague victims down to the coroners and plague doctors working in the lower levels. There's a 40% chance that any one of them is carrying a plague ravaged corpse. The rest carry spears. Each one bears the insignia of a red square on their prison-issue tabard.
  3. Ordrang. It is not interested in inedible, living things...however the Squirmy Gurgle that is hiding behind it is...
  4. Gobbling Grout:  1d4: 1Type I2) Type II, 3) Type III, 4) Type IV.
  5. Poppers. (4d6) Squiggly little leeches that explode from guzzling their victim's blood faster than they can process it.
  6. Drab Jelly.
  7. Ceiling Scorpions. (4d4) Huge mottled ochre and black-striped scorpions scuttle across the ceiling, seeking to attack from above by surprise. They never willingly leave the ceiling.
  8. Purple Wisp.
  9. Stranglemass. (1d4) of the things are floating free and on the hunt for fresh victims.
  10. Ourang. (3d6) Recently-escaped, they are headed towards the highest point in the main tower in the hopes of finding (and possibly hijacking) an airship.
  11. Gloomshadow. (30% chance it is trapped within a Binding Geometry).
  12. Yelg Froth.
  13. Screechers. (2d6) Bestial Winged Monkeys hunting for grubs, slugs or other easy-meat.
  14. Orbiculate. It's rolling along the wall, completely absorbed in hunting a pack of green-eyed wolf puppies, after having already consumed their parents. [This means that there are (2d4) wolf pups somewhere nearby.]
  15. Roll 1d20 to determine which random Vicious Slime has crossed your path.
  16. Shrieking White Moths. (3d4) Fluttering, flapping, clamorous winged-things with all too human faces shriek and scream in an effort to escape...only to attract something else in their stead.
  17. Flidder.
  18. Aethyric Eels. (2d4) are swarming around the recently deceased corpse of a Morlock Shaman that summoned them to aid her escape, but did so too late after being stung by a swarm of huge hornets.
  19. Escapees. [See Escapees Table]
  20. Bats. (3d100) of the filthy, diseased plague-bearing things--they were released into the passage by Baron Bannerworth's minions.

(1d20) Special Encounters in the Upper North East Calotte-Passage of the Gormenstille...
  1. (2d4) corpses. Each one has a 50% chance to be infested with Gore Worms.
  2.  A Zahj watches from its position upon the near wall. It may toy with those who pass it by, mostly out of boredom.
  3. Three adolescent Yellow Creepers have broken free of their cells and are desperately looking for the way back to Yellowholm. Their constant bickering alerts you to their presence long before they realize they are not alone.
  4. A Horla has begun to follow you...
  5. Weird whistling noises echo through the passage; there is a Saiitii Manifestation nearby...
  6. The passage is heavily covered and obstructed by a massive build-up of guano from either a huge flock of passenger pigeons or bats.
  7. Thaddeus, a Lesser Nosferatus, who claims that he was cast out of Baron Bannerworth's service over a minor impropriety. In truth, Thaddeus is a scout for Bannerworth's forces and hopes to lure gullible victims into a trap in order to gain a reward.
  8. They did not get very far before collapsing into a Loathsome Mass...
  9. Giant Blue-Speckled Hornets are building a massive hive in this section of the passage. They gained entry through a broken window and have been working away undisturbed until you showed up.
  10. A patch of Philosophic Mold has taken-up a cozy spot along the far wall where it contemplates intensely obscure matters of an esoteric nature. It is inclined to ignore anything that does not expose it to harm.
  11. A larval-stage Irradiant prowls this section of the passage, endlessly spiraling along the same twenty-two foot area again and again.
  12. Rubble. Someone has wrecked a section of the wall. Upon taking a closer look, the wall has buckled out from the constant over-tunneling of things working within it...a colony of Thumblings...
  13. Roll 1d20 to determine which sort of Unsightly Stain you've just discovered.
  14. You find a scabrous amulet on the floor. It bears the sigil of a powerful Sanguinovore. They will attempt to make a psychic connection with whomever picks up the amulet. They are trapped behind a walled-in section of the attic-maze of the Secondary Tower claimed by Baron Bannerworth, whom they consider their most dire personal nemesis.
  15. Suzraal is a Fantomist, recently arrived from the bombed-out ruins of her Nulgarian estates. She has a Black Pass from the Warden allowing her free passage through the Gormenstille for services rendered.
  16. Roof Whale. The massive thing is stuck in a hole it has bashed through the wall. The plaintive fog-horn-like groans of the thing make the walls and floor shudder.
  17. Gudivak is a one-legged Lurm who will gladly teach you a few handy variations on Gloomlight if you agree to help them escape from this place.
  18. A sad, broken and (thankfully) inert Biting Doll lies in a congealed puddle of blood. Somewhere nearby, possibly in a niche behind one of the wall-supports are a small band of Todtenhilzig who keep a vigilant watch over whomever passes this way. They are unsure how to get out of this place and might be inclined to attempt to parley with a suitably impressive-looking group. All others they will seek to avoid.
  19. A chunk of Purple Amber. It was dropped by an Oneirist whose plague-infected body lies only a few feet past the shiny bit. They were able to leave their body before it expired, but now they are trapped in a dreamlike state and only someone holding the piece of Purple Amber can see or communicate with them.
  20. A cat. Yes, it is mostly black. No, it is not interested in you...unless you offer it fresh meat, milk or cat-nip. If treated favorably, the cat has the ability to lead anyone it selects across the temporal threshold of this place to some other place by walking through a wall. Certain walls work better than others and the cat has a liking for the musically-gifted mousefolk that occupy certain choice interstices behind the walls of particular museums on the campus of the Academy at Wermspittle. The cat would be most pleased if you would break through the spell-warded walls protecting the singing mice so it can satisfy its current craving.

    Bujilli and Leeja are currently adventuring within the upper reaches of the Gormenstille upon New Chillon, having arrived there at the end of Episode 100 in an effort to rescue their friends Hedrard and Lemuel. Now they are in the process of making their escape from this place...
    New Chillon

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

    Bujilli: Episode 102

    Bujilli and Leeja have released Hedrard and Lemuel from their chains, as well as three other prisoners, before facing a pair of twisted insectile abominations that they quickly dispatched in a bout of fast and furious combat. Having slain the guards, they now have one of the custodians of this place as their prisoner. For whatever good that might ultimately do them. Miles above the surface and threatened by a looming thunderstorm as well as reinforcements coming up through the hatchway, Bujilli cast Zone of Normality and used it to allow the group to go over the railing and walk down the vertical surface of the gargantuan tower. With miles to go and the storm just beginning, the group is in danger of being washed away...

    Cold wind shrieked past them. Rain mingled with hail pelted them, made the surface of the tower slippery. Bujilli struggled to maintain his spell and to keep everyone together and moving. The rain was coming in more briskly now. It wouldn't be long before the run-off from above became torrential and washed them right off of the tower surface.

    They were nearly to the second mile down the side of the tower when a group of guards and a second custodian thought to look over the edge. They couldn't see anything through the rain and darkness, but Bujilli could see their auras flickering faintly beneath the turbulent violet clouds. He relaxed a tiny bit; there wouldn't be any immediate threat from the keepers of this place. Not yet.

    He kept everyone moving forward and downward, constantly trying to pick out the best route down the side of the tower, avoiding obvious hazards and looking for some sort of balcony or landing or something to use to gain access to the tower. Bujilli had no illusions about maintaining his spell long enough to make it all the way to the ground level. It was miles and miles to the surface below. Even without the rain, on a clear day and all alone it would be a difficult challenge. He tried to extend his perceptions downwards, hoping to discern some means of entry, some sort of shelter from out of the treacherous water flows and shrieking wind; a window, a door, a balcony or something.

    Thunder shook the tower. The rain began to fall harder and harder. The storm was upon them. Grotesque gargoyles spouted streams of water out and away from turreted and peaked roofs clad in shale, lead or other things. The farther down they went the more Tower spread out, thickened, extruded sub-towers and minarets, flying buttresses and ornate cornices, false parapets and elaborate facades. Windows were barred, balded or spiked; a few were covered with fine meshes of metal or webbed-over suspiciously. The cold, driving rain prevented them from having to face the swarms of vermin whose hives and nests they quickly moved past.

    The cavalry-officer cursed and swore vehemently in six languages; her foot had gotten stuck in a crack. Bujilli held the Zone in-place and waited for her to extricate herself. She yelled and threatened anyone who attempted to assist her. A section of the wall shifted. Crumbled. Bujilli nearly lost his hold on the spell as he and the rest of the group slid down the tower. The wall gave-way. She fell into the Tower, into a space carved or tunneled-out within the outer wall. Rubble skittered and slipped in the rain, slid down from the fissure along the surface of the Tower towards the group. Bujilli's spell kept the broken bits of stone from flying off and striking them or bouncing into them, but it also meant that the debris was coming at them at about ankle-height. He tried to get everyone moving towards the right-hand side, it seemed to be less treacherous, partly covered by an overhanging brace of some sort that jutted out into the darkness.

    Leeja slipped. They could not move fast enough to avoid all of the sliding debris. One of the prisoners nearly slid outside the area of effect for the spell. They needed to get out of the rain before they all slipped and fell to their deaths.

    Just ahead, below their current position, was an arch that connected to a smaller, secondary tower that flanked the one they were walking down. Not far below that bridge-like arch was a series of balconies. Most of the balconies were empty. Two of the closest ones were overgrown; one with Red Weeds, the other with dense green vines and ferns.

    Bujilli wasn't sure if he could get the group to either balcony. He was soaked through to the skin and the spell was growing increasingly difficult to maintain. He opted for the archway. It seemed like it might provide suitable shelter, at least long enough to take stock of their situation, perhaps get some rest, before heading blindly into whatever was ahead.

    The Arch was as massive as it was magnificent, a colossal flying buttress that connected to a secondary tower. There was a bridge-like passageway built inside the span of stone. It had shuttered windows all along its entire length. Locked and barred shuttered windows.

    Leeja examined the windows. Bujilli trembled with the first indications of impending spell-failure. His calves ached. It was difficult to remain upright. He rallied as best he could.

    The Eloi roof-runner tried to help Leeja. The Blue-Blood in the Iron Mask stood their propping-up both Hedrard and Lemuel, despite his gene-warped right arm and heavy iron mask. The custodian glared at Leeja venomously--she had gagged him with a few strands of her writhing white hair, just as she had bound his hands behind his back as a precaution.

    Even if he had the strength to shout, his voice wouldn't carry through the howling wind, so Bujilli focused on his spell and tried to keep them all from falling or getting carried off of the wall. He was having an increasingly difficult time keeping things re-oriented within the spherical Zone of the spell. Keeping gravity at a 45-degree angle to the norm was taxing.

    Leeja and the Eloi disappeared inside the span. Bujilli slipped to one knee. The Ignoble slid three feet down the wall before Bujilli could stop them.

    Bujilli forcibly moved everyone who was still out in the pouring rain towards the entrance to the span. Leeja quickly re-appeared and helped pull Hedrard and Lemuel inside. The Ignoble struggled to get their over-sized head-gear through the opening. Leeja was ungentle in helping the custodian inside and he landed flat on his back.

    She reached out--

    Bujilli slipped. He lost the spell.


    He relaxed into the fall; he was too exhausted to fight it.

    Something had him. Strands of stickiness. some sort of net...or web.

    The wind slammed him into the wall.



    The web held. He dangled off of the side of the Tower as Leeja struggled to drag him back up to the window she had opened.

    He tried to help.

    But couldn't.

    Thunder roared and rumbled overhead.

    Somewhere someone was screaming his name.

    He was tired.

    So tired.


    The web was fraying. Breaking. Without warning Bujilli was violently doubled over by the vicious wind.

    The rain was making it hard to breath. He shifted. Lightning streaked overhead. Hot green scribbles of light carved out of the darkness beneath boiling purple the storm that had enveloped the world where Idvard had found his Keep.

    Bujilli slipped from their grasp. Struck his head against the wet, cold stone wall. Someone slipped, lost their grip. He nearly fell.

    He did fall.


    Leeja dragged him farther into the passage, away from the opening she and the Roof-Runner had forced through the window. Most of the shattered glass was already kicked or pushed out of the way.

    Bujilli passed out as she tended to his wounds. He was bleeding from his head for some reason. He was so cold. So very, very wet. And tired.

    He wasn't sure how long he had slept. His muscles were sore, his back bruised and his head bandaged. His clothes were still very wet. It was painful, but he forced himself to sit up, propping his back against a support stanchion.

    "You need to rest--"

    "No. We need to get somewhere safe. Then I can get some rest. Where are we?"

    "Nowhere any good." Grumbled Hedrard. She was awake again.

    "Incredible. You do not know where you are?" The Ignoble sat holding their heavy iron mask in both hands, despite the deliberate disfigurement that made a claw out of their right arm and hand as some form of punishment. But for what sort of offence or infraction?

    "New Chillon. We are trapped within the Bastighast, or some call it the Gormenstille. Especially the Franzikaners who have condemned a multitude of nonpersons and inconvenient bastards to this place. Though the Pruztians have certainly made their own contributions as well."

    "Gormenstille? Is this a palace or a prison then?" Leeja examined Bujilli's bandage.

    "Yes." The Ignoble laughed bitterly behind their iron mask.

    "This is a place of bastards and illegitimate bloodlines, cast-offs and caitiffs, criminals and deposed heirs alike, all sent here in secret and left to rot, only they didn't all rot. They have their own lineages here, as well established and documented as any in the outer regions of the known worlds; only they are Ignobles in New Chillon, within the walls of the Gormenstille; all of them vying for power or prestige and squabbling among one another over obscure points of genealogy, precedence or their personal entry in the Red Book." Hedrard shook her head in disgust.

    "An outsider, like yourself, could never appreciate the nuances--"

    Leeja stalked over to the Ignoble and began to examine the thing's catches, hinges and locking mechanisms.

    "What are you doing?"

    "What needs doing. Now be still and let me work, or else I won't be able to guarantee your safety."

    "But the blades!"

    SNIKT! sniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksniksnik

    The helmet-like iron mask clunked to the floor. Leeja wiped her hands on her thighs as she straightened up. The Ignoble wept, unsure what to do now that they were no longer bound by the iron mask.

    "The way down is clear enough, as far as I could check. Do you want me to check the other direction?" The Roof-runner knelt down to readjust her boots.

    "I'm not sure." Leeja looked at Bujilli; "I know next to nothing about this place. I don't know if we're better off going down to the secondary tower, or heading back inside the central one. Or maybe we should rest here, wait for the rain to run its course, then head down along the outside surface again."

    "We have the custodian. They might be inclined to offer us some information. If asked nicely. Maybe Lemuel can get them talking?" Bujilli watched as the boy rose from beside Hedrard and walked over to the custodian. Leeja released the gag. He spat out the wriggling hair.

    "I'll not talk to the likes--"

    Lemuel smiled. It was a beatific smile. Very toothsome. Glossy and proper. It stretched from ear to ear and as he approached the custodian the teeth wriggled disconcertingly. Baby-Teeth. A whole mouthful of the sharp, glistening things, each one budded and grown from the three that had nearly killed Leeja*.

    The custodian was familiar with Baby Teeth. His resolve evaporated immediately.

    "A great lot of this part of things are closed-off and abandoned. Not as many inmates arriving through the Mazeways or Hedgepaths, let alone the main gate. Then there's the plague..."


    "Clueless as clueless can be; how did you ever get up there at the top-most platform? Do you have an airship? I've always wanted to see one of those..."

    "Let's just say that we have our ways. What is this about a plague?"

    "Half the Central Tower is cordoned-off, quarantined. The lower levels are becoming ossuaries and catacombs; there's nowhere to put all the bones of those we can't just burn. At least the ashes make decent mortar and some of those inmates finally prove useful for the first time in their lives."

    "What have we gotten ourselves into this time?" Leeja shivered.

    "Are there patrols? Will they begin looking for you once they realize you are missing?"

    "Where do you think you are? No one bothers to patrol anything--there's no damn point. No one gives us a damn in this place, custodians, guards, inmates--we're all pretty much all the same to the outsiders as much as we are to the Faceless Lords." The custodian struggled to get some distance between him and Lemuel. The gellid boy quivered in amusement, licked his lips.

    "Faceless Lords?" Leeja asked.

    "They rule this world; they are the secret masters of this place."

    "I thought secret masters ought to remain secret?"

    "Everyone has a title here. Especially the Morons. That sort of thing is important to nobles and politicians. They like to use words like 'cachots,' in place of dungeons, they need everything to have a grand and pointless title. It appeals to their vanity or something. The Faceless Lords rule here and they deal with the royalty, nobility and upper echelons of every nation, state and principality of the known worlds, but always in secret, behind closed doors and in the shadows."

    "But why? To what purpose?" Bujilli was legitimately confounded by it all. This place made no sense to him. It was completely, utterly alien to his upbringing and experience.

    "New Chillon is a name that's used on the secret maps and black keys that get handed out behind the scenes by chamberlains and viziers and all that sort of folk. Those who have the most to gain from having secret access to such a place. Think of it as a trash heap for those who can't be allowed to go free, but ought not to be killed outright because of all the weird little laws, by-laws, rules and regulations surrounding primogeniture, inheritance, rank and all that scheiss." Hedrard scowled at the custodian thoughtfully.

    "You talk too much. You're stalling. What is waiting for us if we go down to the secondary tower?" Leeja's hair swished and swayed as she fixed the custodian with a baleful glare.

    "We abandoned that place to the inmates a long time ago. It is under the control of Baron Bannerworth and his coven."

    "Never heard of him..."

    "I have. We should go back. If it isn't already too late." Hedrard struggled to get back upright. Lemuel went over and helped her, leaving the custodian.

    "Why?" Bujilli tried to get up. Slipped back down. Nearly threw up.

    "Bannerworth is a vampire. One of the worst."

    "There are no vampires in Wermspittle--"

    "A few. Most were wiped-out, but not all. We're in an Adjacent World now, one of the Adjacent Cities, another version of where there are still vampires. Old vampires. Very, very old ones." Hedrard leaned heavily on Lenuel. She turned to keep an eye on the calotte-passage leading down toward the Secondary Tower.

    Bujilli leaned on Leeja. He looked at the rest of the group. The Ignoble sat against the outer wall in shock. The Roof-runner seemed ready to run off the moment they figured out which way might be the best chance for escape. The custodian lay there waiting for the inevitable with a fatalism even a Pruztian Nekrokommando might find disconcerting.


    What should Bujill do next?

    You Decide!

    *Leeja was bitten by a Feral Child who left behind three 'Baby Teeth' in the wound in Episode 52. Hedrard removed the nasty things in Episode 54. Hedrard then implanted the teeth in Lemuel so he'd have some sort of means of self-defense, since he was too clumsy to wield most melee weapons due to the restrictive nature of the wermhide truss that held his mostly gelatinous body together.

    Which way should they go?
    What happens next?

    Well, first we need to roll for Initiative: Roll 1d6 each for (1) Bujilli, (2) Leeja, (3) The Eloi Roof-runner, 4) The Ignoble, (5) The Custodian, and (6) The Lurker.

    Then you, the readers can start making suggestions as to the best next course of action in the comments below and we'll see where that leads us...

    We'll need a few D20 rolls, 2-3 always come in handy.

    We also need to check Morale (as per P. 56) by rolling 2d6 for Lemuel, The Roof-runner, The Ignoble, and The Custodian. They all have a base Morale of 8 and while Bujilli receives no bonus/penalty from his Charisma, Leeja does gain a -1 modifier that can be applied--lower scores are best in this situation, as we're gauging these NPCs' willingness to go along or to resist the group's decision(s).

    As always, if you have questions or suggestions let me know in the comments, or via email.

    What happens next is up to you, the readers.

    You Decide!

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    Series Indexes
    One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six

    About Bujilli (What is This?) | Who is Bujilli? | How to Play

    Bujilli's Spells | Little Brown Journals | Loot Tally | House Rules

    Episode Guides
    Series One (Episodes 1-19)
    Series Two (Episode 20-36)
    Series Three (Episodes 37-49)
    Series Four (Episodes 50-68)
    Series Five (Episodes 69-99)
    Series Six(Episodes 100-ongoing)

    Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion