Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bujilli: Episode 27

Previously...
Bujilli survived. The crisis was past, the trauma was behind him, and he was healed, healthy and in charge of himself as never before. Terrible, horrible things writhed painfully, hatefully in the shadows just behind the door, but they were no longer his concern. He had saved a boy's life, such as it was or ever would be again. The child's fate was now in the hands of the hag Hedrard. He had done all that he could. More. Bujilli had salvaged the boy from a grotesque fate. But what sort of a future awaited the child now?

Right. Bujilli looked down at the voucher in his hand. And the amulet. It was still curiously warm to the touch. As though slightly alive. A fitting hag-gift.

The amulet slipped over his head smoothly as he began walking. The voucher. That he clutched like a fiery sword. Fees would be waived. He had the right to claim a private locker. Access. He could go freely about the Academy. For the most part. He had definitely made an impression on Hedrard. It would be foolish to discount that. A hag would make a terrifying enemy, but perhaps she'd be an even more terrifying ally. Perhaps.

He touched the amulet. It seemed to slowly be dissolving from direct view. Still solid, still warm, but much less obvious. It was becoming discrete. Unobtrusive.

Bujilli smiled. No one need to know about his arrangement with the hag.

The corridor widened, turned, then opened out into platform overlooking cells, pens, pits and cages--the holding-pens for the Arena. Musk permeated the air. Thickly. Bujilli's hair bristled across his back and arms. He dropped into a crouch, one hand on his tulwar, even before he realized there were other people present.

Old habits die hard. Especially the ones that tended to keep you alive.

Four or five handlers or workers ignored him as they went abut their various tasks. Feeding beasts. Washing-out stalls. Shoveling. Sweeping. Dragging-out the carcass of a dead manticore.

Bujilli watched the handlers wrestle the bulky beast out of its cell and onto a flat-bed cart. It took two handlers. One of them had four arms. Both wore heavily scratched partial lamellar armor that reminded him of the horse-tribes who dominated the vast grasslands he had crossed...years...ago.

He turned away from the railing. Memories churned through him with hot pincers.

There was no way to know how long it had been since he'd left his uncle's yurt. He didn't even know what year it was here in this place. It was Spring. Yes. He knew that much. But it was clear from the plaque beside the statue of some old warlord that he'd passed on his way to Room 101, that the calendar they used here in Wermspittle was clearly not the one he used to take for granted.

Miles and miles. Hundreds, thousands, so many he no longer bothered to keep track. How far had he come through the aperture opened by the Transveyance? Bujilli had crossed more than half a world to reach the ruins of Zormur's old palace. How far had he come from there? He had no idea.

Distance was meaningless now. So was the old calendar, the old way of marking time. He was here. Now. It was a good place to learn many new things, new ways, new tricks, new spells. Knowledge. Resources. Options. Tools. Techniques.

He recalled his moment of terror as his body transformed into a hideous, bestial caricature of his already homely features. Horns, claws, fangs--none of that disturbed him very much. It was becoming like unto his image of his father. Grasping. Power-mad. Obsessed with sorcerous secrets and hairy women. A monster. Not in the sense of what he would do, not in terms of his actions or violence or fearsome displays. No. It was his appetite, his ambition, the things that he held-back and denied to others that made his father monstrous. Raised among the Almas, Bujilli knew keenly that selfishness killed the weak and vulnerable. Sharing was not a virtue to his mother's people, it was a matter of survival. Cooperation was a necessary evil--it was needed all too often to be appreciated, and left those involved exposed to one another. It opened the door to betrayal. And worse.

Bujilli spat. Enough. He looked around the platform. The cart with the dead manticore was long gone. someone with coarsely-chopped white hair poking out form under a muchly-patched green toque was clearing out the pen. He decided to do something that he never did before. The railing felt rough, but steady. A quick jump. Balance. Shift the weight. Extend. Drop. Land softly, rolling then rising onto the balls of his feet. Ready.

Ignored.

Bujilli took three steps towards the white-haired handler. This one wore shoddy iron-studded leather armor, a sort of breast-plate with shoulder guards and a loin-flap, over filthy denims and thigh-high but shabby boots. The left shoulder pauldron was chewed into a misshapen lump that barely seemed serviceable. They continued to swamp-out the pen.

"Hello." Bujilli stood just on the edge of the muck.

Nothing.

"Ahem. I said; 'hello.'"

No response.

Hmmmm. "Well. I guess you're busy. I just wanted to ask a few questions..."

"You! Get out of the pen. Now!" Barked a very large, very angry looking man standing just outside the door to the former manticore's pen.

"I meant no--"

"Out! Now!" the large man snapped the words off like salt-jerky. He wore chain-mail sleeves over a padded torso, but no shoulder-guards, and some sort of heavy apron hung down past his well-rounded belly. There was a wicked-looking barbed whip coiled and dangling from his belt.

Bujilli looked once more at the white-haired handler. They did not look up. But they had stopped working. They were paying attention. Curious. Bujilli moved to the door. His hands flexed. It took an effort not to draw his tulwar.

"I'm new here. I meant no trouble. Just looking around--"

"Shut it. You're in my world now. These are my pens." He growled as he gestured expansively at the fetid domain he laid claim to, a look of pride shining from his scarred and pitted face.

"I--"

"You're--"

"Have--"

"My--"

"--a Voucher. I was told it gave me free access to all non-restricted areas."

The big man's jaw clicked. He considered the matter for a brief moment then bellowed;

"I don't care about any stinking scrap of paper--"

"It's signed by Hedrard."

Quiet.

Everything went preternaturally still.

The big man took a deep breath. He gripped the side of the pen's entrance with his filthy, gauntleted hands. A look of fear fluttered across his face like a flock of starlings that have only just now noticed the fox sneaking up on them.

"Why didn't you say so in the first place?! Welcome to the pens. Feel free to look around. Leeja can show you around--I'll be in my office if you need anything." He swung around and stalked off, trying vainly not to show how unsettled he was by Bujilli's revelation.


The air, though no less burdened with musk, blood, and all the other mingled animal scents somehow felt clearer now.


Less oppressive.


"You shouldn't lie about such things. It's funny now, I admit, but when Unfred finds out--"


"I really do have the voucher." Bujilli showed it to the white-haired handler.


"Good thing you spoke up when you did then." Leeja set their rake against the bars of the pen, then walked out, not once looking up.


Bujilli followed.


Leeja went over to a large trough and hosed-off their hands. Delicate hands. Pale. A girl's hands.


"So what do you want? A tour of the pens? The menagerie? Have you had your orientation yet?"


"No. I only just arrived and passed my Entrance Exam. I haven't--"


"Good. Skip the formal tour. It's worthless. I can show you around instead. Unfred did say that I was granted permission to show you around, and since you hold a voucher from Hedrard, he won't make any trouble for either of us. So what do you say? Want me to show you around the pens, or do you want to get out of this stinky place and get a real look around?"


Should Bujilli inspect the pens...or let Leeja give him a tour outside this area?

She probably knows the way to the Library,

Or to Sprague's offices,

Or to some other places worth finding out about...

Does Bujilli trust Leeja?

Do you?

What should he do now?

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

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pearl Hoarder

Pearl Hoarder
No. Enc.: 1 (1d4)
Alignment: Neutral (Evil)
Movement: 30'
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 2 (beak, petrify)
Damage: 1d4, petrify
Save: F1
Morale: 12

Despicable little monsters, Pearl Hoarders were originally created by saturating the eggs of poisonous serpents with ichor derived from Cockatrices. The details of the process are explained in the (Expurgated) Journals of Halprink, available in most decent occult libraries and some of the more discriminating book-sellers.

A typical Pearl Hoarder is under 1' in length, often only measuring (1d10) inches, with a serrated ridge running down their back and a vestigial comb upon their head. Their beaks are incredibly sharp, but too small for most people to take them very seriously. Their worst feature, however, is their ability to inflict partial petrification upon their victims by just touching them. Victims must make a Save or the area in contact with the Pearl Hoarder turns to stone for 3d6 minutes. Making the Save results in 2d4 damage and a lingering discoloration of the affected area. Failing the Save inflicts 2d4 damage, causes the victim to writhe in agony for 3d6 minutes, and then inflicts an additional 2d4 damage as the petrification effect wears off. Victims who fail their Save are unable to defend themselves, cast spells or move more than 10' while writhing in agony.

These creatures are most commonly encountered within treasuries, hoards and masses of loot. They prefer pearls, hence the name, but do cozy up to gems, jewelry and especially shiny magic items as well.

This creature originated from a Scribble...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bujilli: Episode 26

Previously...
Taking matters into is own hands, Bujilli attempted to save the boy Lemuel from the Vile Transformation brought on by too much Hard Candy. Not fully trusting the hag Hedrard, nor completely understanding the implications of what his Counsel revealed to him, Bujilli quickly found himself in over his head. Things went form bad to worse. Much worse. But Hedrard intervened, Bujilli survived his ordeal, and there may be some small vestige of hope for Lemuel after all. After a fashion. In any case, Bujilli has passed his Entrance Exam and has been accepted into the Academy at Wermspittle...

Sharpness. Blood. Something moved. Bujilli snapped awake. Hand on his knife. Senses--

Bujilli vomited. Coughed. Shivered violently. His skin felt wet, clammy, his hair was damp, clingy. He felt like he'd just clawed his way out of another cave-in. His head felt fuzzy on the inside.

He tried to sit up. Couldn't. Didn't. Groaning in discomfort he blinked his eyes. Tried to remove the scummy, crumbly bits. His left hand wouldn't respond. The right hand worked fine. He wiped off is face. Eyes came into focus a bit more. There was a weird keening, a vaguely malevolent sing-song sort of chant or something. He wasn't sure what it was, nor where. He wasn't sure where he was.

Feeling trickled back into his limbs. Pins and needles. Muscles clenched and pulled, released and quivered as though he were packed within the gullet of a large python. Again. But no. They were just spasming. After-effects.

Good. He didn't relish the thought of cutting his way out of a big snake. He just wasn't strong enough right now. He was exhausted. Weak. Disoriented.

_ _ _

What? "What was that?" Bujilli croaked. Hacked up more blood and yellowish stuff.

System Reconfiguration Complete

"Hello?" he wheezed. Then he remembered. His Counsel. Hedrard. The boy. Bujilli remembered everything.

"Rest now, Bujilli. You've been through a lot..." There was a hand on his shoulder. Long fingers. Cool. Talon-like. A hag's claws. Hedrard.

"Lem--" Bujilli coughed. More blood, only pinkish now. White clumpy bits. A taste like salted honey. His body shook violently.

"The boy is...resting. I... I've done what I can do, for now. He was already far gone when you brought him to me. Nearly too far. Farther than anyone else who've survived the Vile Transformation so far. If it is honestly a case of surviving. Remains to be seen..."

Bujilli collapsed. Muscles jerked. Milky fluid oozed from his pores. He crashed into blackness.

...

Emptiness. Void. Bujilli knew this sensation well. It was like when his uncle beat him or the time he was trapped by an avalanche. It was a way to side-step pain. To collect himself while under assault. Endure the inevitable. Get past the unavoidable.

But this time he wasn't alone.

Oneiromorphic Interface Initiated

What?


The machine in his bones. The gift of the Transveyance. What it called his 'Inheritance.' His Counsel.


"Machine," he whispered; "Can you hear me?"

Query: Assistance Required

"Yes."

Preliminary Analysis Indicates Extreme Immunological Collapse

"What? What does that mean?"

Biological Integrity Compromised

"What are you saying?"

Query: Selective Adaptation Protocol

"Adapt? Do you mean change? I should let you change me somehow? How would you change me?"

Floating in the blackness, Bujilli faced himself. A reflection. An image that responded to his perceptions, shifted and reformed itself in response to his choices and reactions. He could see claws sprout from his hands like the hag's, or his eyes grow larger and almost insect-like. His skin toughened, then became sleek like an eel, and then heavily banded with metallic deposits. His bones stretched or shrank. He had gills. Horns. He screamed.

Nnnnnnnooooo!

He was a monster.

A demon.

He was himself. His reflection was restored to his normal appearance. Even the hairless left-hand. The old violet scars. He was back to normal.

Only better.

As he watched, Bujilli saw colors swirl across his reflection and pools of white light drained out of the image. A subtle gold light flickered along his bones and illuminated him from within.

He felt better.

His breathing didn't hurt any more.

His muscles responded to him, not to some insane and invisible puppet-master.

He relaxed.

Woke up.

Bujilli sat up. He was on a rude cot. A rough bandage fell away squealing softly. It had been covering his hand. There was sticky white goo spattered across the cot and along the floor. The goo was hardening, crumbling into a dry, white powder.

Bujilli swung his feet over the side, avoiding the worst of the white goo and got out of the cot.

He had things to do.

"What do you think you're do--" Hedrard froze. Stared at him.

Bujilli smiled.

"I got better."

"Yes. You did." The hag was visibly shaken. Bujilli's recovery had surprised her. Disturbed her.

"I need to take care of a few errands before Gnosiomandus gets back from his trip. I believe that he mentioned that you were interested in acquiring some of my samples, the bits dreamsnail shell, that sort of thing. Are you still interested?" Bujilli looked right into Hedrard's amber eyes. He didn't blink. she looked down at the mess on her floor.

"Yes. I may be able to use some of those fragments to help repair Lemuel."

"Gnosiomandus mentioned that you had discussed a tentative offer for the shell fragments?"

"I can offer you seven hundred..."

"Ducats or silver Marks?"

"Marks."

"And you feel that these things might help Lemuel somehow?"

"Possibly. I have a feeling, nothing definite..."

"Good enough. We have a deal. Four hundred Marks and you try to help Lemuel with the dreamsnail shell-bits. Agreed?"

"Agreed. You are not like..."

"I did not crawl out of hell to be like anyone else." Bujilli offered the hag his hand. She stared at it for a moment. As though it were a poisoned gladius pointed at her belly. She grasped his hand in her talon-like claw.

"No. I don't imagine you did." She relinquished her grip. Took a step backwards. Looked down at the floor. Sighed. Went over to her desk and counted-out a stack of well-worn banknotes.

"Do you wish to count it yourself?"

"No. I trust you."

They looked at one another in silence.

Hedrard laughed. She slid the wad of money into a dirty pouch, tied it shut and handed it over to Bujilli.

"You're an interesting young man, Bujilli. It has been a long, long time since anyone trusted me, and no one has ever trusted me, ever, quite like you are doing."

"Perhaps you think I am naieve--"

"No. I've seen something of your soul. You're many things, conflicted, driven, lonely, well intentioned, but not naieve. Not that." She handed him the pouch; "I will do what I can, to the extent of my skills and powers, to help the boy...but..."

"What?" Bujilli asked as he slipped the money into his belt pouch.

"Do not expect him to thank you for your efforts."

"Gratitude is scarcer than honesty. I did not help the boy expecting anything. It was the right thing to do. so I did it."

"What will you do now?"

"I have an appointment with someone named 'Sprague,' or possibly their assistant, in the East Wing--"

"The Oneirical Studies Section?"

"Yes."

"Hmmm...and you are selling more of your dreamsnail shell-pieces to Sprague then? As well as to me?"

"That was what Gnosiomandus suggested and arranged."

"What did Sprague offer you for them?"

"There's a voucher in Room 303..."

"Aha! The scoundrel! If you accept that voucher, you accept his terms and there'll be no more to say about the matter. You're new here. Unaware of the nuances and subtle shenanigans and Tomfoolery that takes place on a regular basis. If you expect to get anythings worthwhile from Sprague, you'll need to see him face-to-face and make sure you cross his palm with cold iron first. A voucher! The conniving cheap-skate." Hedrard went back to her desk. she sorted through some papers, scribbled on something then handed it to Bujilli.

"Here."

"What is--"

"It's a voucher. It waives your Library fees, waives your first year's lab fees, entitles you to a private locker, and grants you free access to all non-restricted areas. Show it to Sprague when you meet with him. he'll have to make you a much better offer than he was counting on. I'd dearly love to see the look on his face. In fact..." She moved a few things and produced a small violet gem set within a silver hoop criss-crossed with gold filaments. "Here. If you'd consent to wear this for a while, just until you meet with Sprague, I'll be able to see his face as though I was present. you can return it to me later. Once you've made your deal and you have a few moments to spare."

"Thank--"

"No. Thank You. I get the feeling that things are going to get a lot more interesting around here. If you survive."

Bujilli took the amulet into his hand. It was slightly warm to touch. The chain was exquisitely fine, the links so small as to be nearly translucent. He pulled it over his head and adjusted it on his chest. It was surprisingly unobtrusive. Barely noticeable.

"Well..."

"Yes. Time to go. But remember; you are welcome here. Any time. for any reason. It's good to have allies in this place. Your life can depend on it. spring is here. now. But Winter always returns." Hedrard shivered at the recollection of some disturbing memories.

Bujilli smiled once more. Turned. Walked to the door and started walking.

The door shut softly. Locked.

Bujilli paused for one heart-beat, then he started walking.

One way being as good as any other, he went...


...Right or Left?

Back towards Eberhard's office or on to where?

What's next?

Should Bujilli go to the Library?

Back to his room?

...Over to Room 303 in the East Wing to meet with Sprague?

...Or is it time for some sight-seeing and exploration?

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

Monday, May 21, 2012

Stabber

Stabber
No. Enc.: 1d4
Alignment: n/a
Movement: 160' (Fly)
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 3+3 (Gain XP as a Fighter)
Attacks: 3
Damage: 1d4+2 per attack
Save: F4
Morale: 12

Ancient fighting machines of an extinct species, Stabbers hover quietly in the darkness, patiently waiting for someone, anyone to cross a specific threshold so that they might fling themselves into battle once more.

Mindless automatons, Stabbers are machines driven by pure instinct and reflex, having been imprinted by some of the finest melee artists of a hundred worlds. Only the long ages they've languished all alone and forgotten have finally begun to degrade their internal systems ever so slightly. They need to re-learn the fine art of sword-play, to refine their once formidable technique, and to regain their mastery of the only thing they know how to do--kill things with their built-in blade.

Upon being reduced to zero hit points, a Stabber will be rendered inert for 1d4 hours, after which time it will begin to reassemble itself at a rate of 1d4 hit points per hour until it regains its full complement of hit points. Should any fragments or pieces of a seemingly destroyed Stabber be carried away from the area it is guarding, those bits and pieces will reassemble themselves into 1d4 entirely new and fully functional Stabber(s). These new-made Stabbers will hover in the air for 1d4 minutes as they attempt to reacquire their current orders. Roll on the table below.

Stabber Revised Orders Table
  1. No new orders. Return to original location.
  2. Glitch. Stabber attacks everything within 360' radius, but cannot leave this area under its own power.
  3. Stabber goes inert for 1d100 minutes. When it comes back online, re-roll.
  4. False Recognition. The Stabber mistakenly recognizes one Player Character as an Authority and will obey their telepathic commands for as long as the machine rolls a favorable CHAR reaction roll as though a henchman or retainer.
  5. Flaw in reassembly causes Stabber to attack all other Stabbers it can detect within a 1,000' radius.
  6. Stabber explodes, delivering 8d8 hit points of fire damage across a 60' radius.
  7. Berserk. Stabber attacks anything that moves, inflicting double damage on any roll of 18+ to hit.
  8. Stabber follows one person chosen at random. It is not hostile, unless attacked. It seems to be trying to study them.
  9. Stabber spirals about like a drunken killer bee, randomly attacking anything in its path.
  10. Meltdown. The outer shell of the Stabber begins to melt. It loses 1 HD and will only attack things that attack it first, with a cumulative 20% chance to explode as above (8d8 damage).
  11. The machine stops, drops to the ground. It's dead.
  12. This Stabber is disoriented. It is awaiting orders. It will do whatever the first sentient being instructs it to do without hesitation.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bujilli: Little Brown Journals

Bujilli's Four Little Brown Journals
When he left his uncle's yurt, Bujilli took the four Little Brown Journals that originally belonged to his father. Each of these four booklets are hand-made with triple-stitched covers of ultra-durable Bruthem hide and deeply enchanted in such a way that they attract, capture and accumulate spells in a weirdly osmotic manner.  Each Journal is blank until someone concentrates upon a particular page. Spells then appear fully inscribed upon the pages before the very eyes of the person attempting to read the Journal. The spells that appear tend to be random, and the reader can opt to either study the spell so captured, or to cast it immediately as though it were a one-use sort of scroll or tablet. Casting the spell directly out of the Journal destroys the page involved, permanently deleting the spell once it is so cast. For example, Bujilli has already lost one page from the first journal by casting the Tsannic spell: Malign and Particular Suspension of Natural Law in Episode 13. As he found out in that particular instance, casting a spell directly from the Journal does not confer any benefits beyond giving the user a chance to cast a spell that they otherwise might not have access to, nor the appropriate resources/preparations to deal with adequately...a situation that nearly killed Bujilli. He does not intend to make the same mistake twice. If possible.

In Episode 21 Bujilli toook time to study the Little Brown Journals and learned several new spells: Zymurgic Disgestion, Umbral Maiming, Charnel Breath and Wrathful Facade.

The spells contained/captured by each of the remaining Journals are to be determined by commenters picking randomly from those spells featured at our blog or available in one of our PDF-grimoires.

Until all the spells from the Little Brown Journals are determined, Bujilli can still opt to capture and cast a spell in extremis, as in Episode 13. It is also an option for Bujilli to spend some more time studying the Journals in order to learn more spells, if and when anyone cares to have him do such a thing...


Journal One
Contains 5 spells (2d4-1)
  1. Voorish Sign
  2. Zymurgic Disgestion
  3. Umbral Maiming
  4. Charnel Breath
  5. Wrathful Facade
  6. Deleted: Malign and Particular Suspension of Natural Law [see Episode 13]


Journal Two
Contains xx spells (2d4 +12)

How many spells are in this particular Journal remains to be determined. The first reader who rolls 2d4 and enters the result in the comments to this post decides how many spells are available. Then it's open to reader suggestion by dice rolling or personal fiat to decide which spells from our blog or one of our Grimoires are included in this Journal. Thanks!


Journal Three
Contains xx spells (2d4 +10)

How many spells are in this particular Journal remains to be determined. The first reader who rolls 2d4 and enters the result in the comments to this post decides how many spells are available. Then it's open to reader suggestion by dice rolling or personal fiat to decide which spells from our blog or one of our Grimoires are included in this Journal. Thanks!


Journal Four

This Journal will be available as a pdf shortly.

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

How To Play (Bujilli)

How To Play/Participate
Bujilli is on an adventure. Where he goes, what he does, and how he determines what to do next is all up to you the readers. You Decide.

How this works is simple. Read the most recent episode. Make a comment telling us what you want Bujilli to do next. You can either pick one of the options we've mentioned, or make your own suggestion. This isn't rocket science. It's a game. There are no right or wrong answers--every and any choice or decision might lead to dire consequences or great rewards. That's the nature of the game. But we won't know what will happen until you decide what Bujilli should do next. You Decide.

How This Works
Each episode goes live on Thursday.
I aim to get it posted before Noon when possible.

First I re-read the previous episode.
I check the comments. I jot down the D20 and other random numbers provided by the readers on my handy note-pad. I make note of any details that I need to keep in mind.

Then, once I've had a sip of coffee and made sure to re-check the comments, I start writing.

Each episode of Bujilli's adventures is written in one pass, start to finish, based entirely upon the events of the previous episode and the feedback of each reader's comments.

There is no outline, no safety net. No notes; nothing pre-determined. This is an exercise in informed improvisation. Just like if we were all sitting around a table and rolling real dice.

You control Bujilli's destiny.
You dictate his actions, choices, and over all direction.

Whether he goes onward, turns left, declines an invitation, attacks a monster or sneaks away to set-up an ambush is all up to you. Reader feedback drives each episode.

Any and all of the monsters, spells, settings, items, NPCs, random tables, etc. that we feature on the blog are fair game for use in any given situation or episode. I use a random number provided by a reader to pick what shows up next. Whenever there is a decision to be made, I always try to use one or more of the random numbers provided by the readers to sort it out. If I run short of random numbers, I roll some dice. Old school. Feel free to contribute a few fresh random numbers--and by all means feel free to use any of the polyhedral dice in the gamer's arsenal. If I have a few D4 or d12 rolls to work with, for example, I'll put them to go use. Likewise, if there is a situation that calls for a check against one of Bujilli's attributes, a Save or something of the sort, I always always defer to the random rolls and comments contributed by the readers.

Feel free to ask questions. I'm still tinkering with everything a bit. If I've missed something, or overlooked stuff, let me know. I'll do my best to get it sorted out in a timely manner.

Thanks for dropping by. Feel free to join in the fun. The more the merrier!


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

Bujilli: Episode 25

Previously...
Not trusting the dubious and dangerous methods of the hag Hedrard, Bujilli sought the advice of his Counsel. Thinking that he might be able to save the life of Lemuel, a boy who attacked Bujilli while under the influence of Hard Candy. The boy is dying, his body literally melting away as it undergoes the Vile Transformation brought on by all derivatives of the White Powder. But something has gone wrong...things have gone from bad to worse, much worse. Welcome to Wermspittle...

Red
Everything was red. It reminded Bujilli of the inside of Mazimir's yurt after the demon got loose from its elegant brass cage that he'd brought back all the way from Pao Tharim.

Something spattered Bujilli.Wet. Warm. Viscous. It was a globby fragment of what used to be the boy's left hand. There was a puckering hole distending in what looked like a sickening parody a gargly scream where the boy's mouth should have been. His bones writhed like eels beneath the translucent skin.

Bujilli could feel his skin crawl. It was beginning to move of its own accord. The small bones in his hands began to slide, just enough to cause him discomfort and to give him some idea of what was to come.

He glanced back to the hag and the woman in black. The hag was screaming at him, but he could not hear her screeching voice through the increasingly overwhelming throb of his own blood crashing in his ear drums like surf on jagged rocks. He was hot. Perspiration drenched him. The swollen mass of flesh on the table surged upwards like a gelatinous tide of rancid lard.

In that moment all doubt evaporated. He knew that he could not do this alone. Something was going on here that was still outside his ken, beyond the ability of his Counsel to clearly sort out for him.

Bujilli reached out for the hag's proffered hand.

The fleshy mass enveloped Bujilli's other hand. His left one. Why was it always the left one? He wondered for a brief instant as everything seemed to hang suspended in time.

YYYaaaAAAAAAEEEEEEEEAaaaaaaa!

Someone was screaming.

Bujilli heard it clearly.

System Warning: Unsustainable Feedback

Bujilli felt his flesh begin to melt. Even through the dense red light and the pain. Oh gods and goddesses what pain!

System Warning: Biological Contamination

Bujilli screamed.

Initiating Immunological Counter-Measures

Then it got worse.

System Overload: Fail--

Bujilli ruptured his vocal cords. Blood choked him. Fever burst through him like a terrible sunrise and he saw.

--

He saw terrible things.

The hag interposed herself between him and those things.

She held his hand, even as he held on to Lemuel's hand, paw, tentacle, sloppy mess of protoplasm.

Everything blurred.

She tugged.

Bujilli collapsed to his knees.

The wriggling mass vomited forth a cloud of pink moth-things.

It was pretty. For a moment.

Then the moths began to eat Bujilli's face.

Hedrard tugged again, only much harder this time.

Bujilli felt his muscles turning to jelly. His bones were warping slightly.

The moths were chewing on his face.

Bujilli tugged on what was left of Lemuel.

The hag tugged a third time.

Bujilli sprawled on the dirty floor.

Something twisted in his left hand. A serpent?

No.

"You did what could be done. More. You damned fool." Hedrard crouched beside him and began to wipe off his face with some vaguely clean rags.

"What happened?" Bujilli croaked painfully.

"You've salvaged what can be salvaged from the wreckage of a poor boy's folly and a father's inexcusable stupidity. I'll be having words with him. In due time."

Bujilli struggled to sit up, but couldn't. He was exhausted. Weak. his muscles worked...weirdly...unnaturally. He felt heavy. His skin was tight, hot, swollen like a balloon full of pus. His eyes felt blistered. His face was still bleeding from dozens of small bites.

"Don't try to speak just yet. You're in a bad way. No one does what you did. None that have ever survived. So far. Fool of a boy. Two fools on my floor. Try to lie still. I'll do what I can. For both of you."

The woman in black stared down at Bujilli. Her eyes glistened darkly. Dangerously.

But Bujilli was well past fear. He'd grown up in an abusive environment, survived the worst that his uncle could do to him. He'd confronted terrors in the deep, dark places armed only with his wits and a table knife he'd stolen from the age of three. He'd begun his career as bait for monsters. To his uncle's shame and chagrin, he'd survived. Which made his uncle beat him all the harder. But Bujilli endured. He got through it. Past it. More; he'd thrived. Grown stronger. Better. He learned a great deal about himself. His uncle. His people; no--his Mother's people. He had no people. He was alone. Practically an orphan. Abandoned by his father. Unwanted. Unwelcome. He'd developed determination. He would learn everything he could, master every skill, trick or technique his uncle had to offer so that he could protect himself, provide for himself, defend and take care of himself. He'd risen from the dismal delves again and again after witnessing horrible things, only to return to his uncle's yurt where he was beaten and screamed at and punished even more severely for his successes than his failures. But he got through it. One way or another. The beatings didn't matter. The pain didn't matter. The words carried no weight. Bujilli had grown up absent from much of his own life. Removed from the day-to-day degradation and despair. Even the worst stings of the centipedes didn't mark him, even when they left him poisoned and criss-crossed with violet scars. None of that ever really touched him.

But this...

This touched him.

Hurt him.

Tainted him.

Perhaps she saw this in his eyes.

Maybe she could see it all inscribed on his soul. He imagined her eyes could see right through him. Past all his defenses. His secrets.

He felt stripped bare before her black gaze. Naked. Bereft. Alone.

But that was something that he was used to, something that he knew all too well. If anything that seemed to give him some measure of strength. A bit of his old nature reasserted itself. He'd grown up with everything he ever cared about or tried to hide for himself taken away from him at any moment. If his uncle didn't take things away from him, the other children would steal them, often just because he wasn't really one of them.

Outsider. Half-breed. Bujilli was never welcome. Barely tolerated. Grudgingly accepted.

He'd seen plenty of things before coming to this place. Bad things. Hurtful, hungry, even spiteful and wretched things. Living, dead, distorted or undead. None of it meant a damn any more.

Bujilli teetered on a steep precipice. His soul was shuddering in a cold, empty wind even as his mind attempted to reform itself after being mauled and mutilated nearly as badly as his body had been violated.

"You cannot expect to come out of this unchanged..." rasped the hag's voice from behind his head. she was doing something. His hand flexed painfully. The right one. It spasmed. His left hand jerked. Hard. It was still clenching something soft. Wet. Physically ambiguous.

"Let go." The raven-like Woman in Black nearly whispered; "It's over, as much as it'll ever really be 'over,' for either of you, but it is time to let go now. You've done all you can do. It's time to see to yourself now. You'll have done no one any service if you throw away your own life after all this..."

Bujilli tried to turn his head. To look at the fleshy mass that was once a nervous, desperate boy. But his neck didn't work right. His mouth was bloody. His throat raw and painful. He closed his eyes. Everything felt bruised from the inside out. He let go.

"Damn. It's as I suspected; I'll need to cut them apart now. Damn fools."

"Wait. Bujilli; Hedrard will need to surgically separate you from Lemuel. Do you understand what I'm telling you?" The woman in black scrutinized him even more intently.

"Bujilli tried to say 'cut,' only to have his throat constrict and blood to dribble from his cracked lips. He shook his head.

"Yes. Cut. The only question is where do you end and poor Lemuel begin...and..."

"Tell him."

"Damn fools. Bujilli; I can cut you both apart, but a part of each of you is now inextricably caught-up within each other. You've been co-mingled. In your case, I suspect that the things that dwell in your bones will flush out most of the contamination. You'll have a fever for a while. It'll hurt. but it will pass. However..."

"He needs to know old hag. Tell him. Now."

"Lemuel. He's weak. He won't be able to make it without your help. You've already done so much...but...even if we save his body, rebuild him physically, his mind is broken..."

"He is no longer eligible for admission to the Academy. He forfeited his rather low ranking when he was defeated by you before my door," explained the woman Bujilli now knew had to be Administrator Eberhard;  "Now...he has lost even more than just his chance to undergo the Entrance Exams. He's little more than an animal now. By the old laws, he's yours now. Property. To dispose of as you see fit."

"I can remove his flesh from you with a bit of time and effort, that's demanding enough, but I can manage it well and fine. But what of the boy? Do you wish to dispose of the remains, or do I rebuild his body? And then there's the matter of his fractured mind. Poor Lemuel. I could give him a pen here, in the menagerie. Maybe, eventually...dare any of us hope...he might recover some semblance of his psyche."

Bujilli looked at the hag. There were tears in her eyes. He shuddered, not so much in revulsion, as in realization. Lemuel was her own son. It didn't make sense. He didn't know how he knew it. But he did.

"What is your decision Bujilli? Do you consent to Hedrard attempting to rebuild the boy, or do we let him die once and for all? You've done all that you could do for this child...far more than most would have tried."

"And at a high cost to yourself."

Bujilli nodded. He grunted 'Do It,' which came out garbled, but the two women seemed to understand him well enough.

Hedrard began to slice into the conjoined mass of intertwining flesh.

Beatrice Eberhard looked down on Bujilli with her smooth, unblinking black eyes.

"Welcome to the Academy Bujilli. you've passed your Entrance Exam. Should you survive the next few hours, you'll do well here. If you still intend to pursue your studies as Gnosiomandus outlined to me before he left for his trip to Karmazikan. So. Will you be staying on with us then?"


Should Bujilli stay, or should he go?
If he stays, there will be trouble.
If he goes, it'll be...maybe not double, but maybe dopple?

Does Bujilli still want to spend any more time in this place, or has he had enough?

He has passed the Entrance Exam.
But what will his classes be like?
The homework alone is probably brutal.
Not to mention the pop quizzes.
Though there might be some intriguing extra-curricular activities...

It's wide open from here.

Feel free to make a suggestion or ask a question.

Bujilli never did get to meet with Sprague to arrange for the sale of his dreamsnail shell-fragments.
(see the note from Gnosiomandus in Episode 20).

Thanks to everyone who donated a D20 roll--they all got used-up in this episode. Whew. There was quite a lot of stuff going on, and not all of it went smoothly by any means.

So, we could definitely use a few more new D20 rolls for next time!

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

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Trouble with Troglodytes: Community Project at Rended Press

Matthew over at Rended Press is hosting a Community Project titled 'The Trouble With Troglodytes.' It's an Old School dungeoncrawl with an emphasis on troglodytes. There's still plenty of un-keyed spaces on the map to be filled-in, so if you have an idea or two you'd like to contribute, drop by Rended Press and have at it!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quivering Fungi

Handle With Care...
Quivering Fungi
No. Enc.: 3d6
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: n/a
Armor Class: 9
Hit Dice: 1d4 hit points
Attacks: 1
Damage: Special
Save: MU1
Morale: n/a

Less a monster, more a hazard to underground navigation, Quivering Fungi are dimly luminescent subterranean relatives of puffball mushrooms. But they're more than just mushroom that glow slightly. Quivering Fungi are hosts to a wide range of symbiotes and parasites, their flesh is rife with colonies of bacteria, so much so that these thriving bacterial colonies are what cause the characteristic 'quivering' motion for which these things are known.

What makes these fungi remarkable and useful to delvers is their soft luminosity, which is derives from a milky fluid that can be tapped, collected and concentrated into a sticky paste that can then be packed into various translucent, organic containers such as insect cocoons, glued-together husks, cured worm-skins, or lanthorns molded from various horns, hooves or portions of crustacean or other carapaces. These light sources are cool, non-flammable, and persist for up to 1d6 days, unless the contents are exposed to air or water, in which case the paste quickly melts and/or evaporates within 1d4 hours, growing steadily dimmer as it dissolves and emitting a rich, heady fragrance that attracts all manner of predators within a 360' radius.

What makes these fungi dangerous to encounter in the wild is their sloppy, bacteria-packed fluids that will spray across a 10' radius should one of them be roughly handled, crushed, stepped-upon, or struck with any force. The soupy mess contained within these fungi is virulently contagious, and anyone exposed to it must make a Save (at -2 penalty) or develop a nasty bacterial infection.

We heartily recommend making use of Gorgonmilk's Dungeonfunk Table, a community project available in a free pdf thanks to Matthew from Rended Press.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bujilli: Episode 24

Previously...
While waiting in line to meet with the administrator of the Entrance Exams at the Academy in Wermspittle, Bujilli was challenged, then attacked by a young boy using Hard Candy. Bujilli defeated the boy, but was wounded. The boy collapsed, then began to melt horribly as part of the Vile Transformation brought on by prolonged use of the illicit substance concocted from White Powder. Horrified at this grotesque turn of events, Bujilli sought to help the boy. Administrator Beatrice Eberhard has led Bujilli to the offices of Wilhemina Hedrard, where he has carried the writhing, liquifying body of the melting child. The hag has temporarily halted the progression of the boy's condition, for a short time. Now Bujilli must decide how much he is willing to do, how far he is willing to go in order to save the boy who attacked him...

  "Well? Will you stand there gaping, or will you lend me your hand to help this child? You brought him here seeking my help. will you balk at the price of it now?" The hag scowled at Bujilli. Her amber eyes bore through him. He could feel them examining his bones as though they had been cast before her on an embroidered clothe like some diviners read the future.

"What you intend to do--you say it is dangerous: how dangerous? What are the risks?"

"Wicked dangerous. For both of you. This is not some simple parasite to be sliced out of the brat's belly. You're dealing with a deep, pernicious reorganization of his entire being from the very roots of his life essence. The Vile Transformation has already begun. He's lost a good bit of his humanity already. Some things don't ever come back. Some things can't be fixed or repaired or healed. This is biology, not a reputation or some trick of make-up. Hah. A mask and a cape won't be near enough for this one, not unless.."

"Yes? Unless what? Please. I need to know more so that I can make the right decision."

"Hurm. Folly. Whatever you decide, there'll be repercussions. Consequences. Way of the world my boy. But I see your dilemna. You will suffer. Terribly. The pain is beyond the threshold of all but the most hardened of brutes; but you dare not succumb to it, for to do so will jeopardize everything. Fail in your part, and you'll likely share in the boy's fate, if you're lucky."

"And if we succeed?" Bujilli looked into the hag's eyes. He wanted to do the right thing...but he still wasn't sure what that was, not yet.

"He'll live. You'll both live." The hag turned back to the nearly shapeless white mass upon her work table.

"Tell him." Hissed the lady in black beside Bujilli.

"Oh aye. I'll not mislead the fellow. He has a goodly heart. Best to break it earlier than later. But it has been long ere old Hedrada broke the heart of a strapping young man...and never quite like this..."

"What? What are you both talking about?" He confronted the hag; "Have you ever done this 'transferance' before? Did it work? What are you not telling me?"

"Such a transfer establishes a bond betwixt those involved. Even as you help him recover his humanity, to claw his way back up from the protean depths unleashed from within his cells, the primordial ooze itself, you will be dragged down into this same stuff. Even if you are strong enough...he may not be."

"And?"

"He could pull you down with him. You could dissolve into so much goo, just like he's doing. Or it could get messy."

"Isn't this already quite a mess?"

"You're in Wermspittle now; it can always get worse. Often does."

"You have a choice Bujilli. You said you wanted to help this child. Now that you know that it is risky, do you have the heart to do what must be done, or will you turn your back on him?" The lady in black stared down at Bujilli. Her features were sharply angular. Her hair reminded him of a raven's rough feathers. She was cold. Ruthless. Exacting. Challenging.

"Best you talk to your tutelary spirits. There's time enough for a brief prayer. You'll need it." Hedrard the hag busied herself tending to the boy's body. She started to hum and mutter, perhaps it was some odd little chant? A spell?

Bujilli closed his eyes for a moment. He called upon the Counsel that had been imprinted upon his bones back in the ruins of Zormur's Palace. Maybe it could help him make a sound decision.

"Machine," he whispered; "Can you help the boy?"

Query: Assistance Required

"Yes."

Preliminary Analysis Indicates Immunological Conflict

"What?"

Query: Specify Mitigation Or Elimination Protocol

"Explain--"

Images flooded through Bujilli's mind. There were squiggly silver worm-like threads in his wound. They were physically keeping the wound open, potentially causing him to bleed out.

The Counsel registered Bujilli's intense revulsion and quickly encysted the wriggling silver threads and expelled them from his wound in phlegmy gobs of fat and congealed blood. He stepped back from the bloody mess on the floor.

"What have we here?" The hag hobbled over to peer down at the glistening, jiggling bits of yellowish matter. Bujilli pulled out a rag and wiped off the residue. His wound was sealing already. He could feel his body returning to normal. The fever broke. He was getting hungry. Despite looking down at the grisly bits on the floor that had only moments before been inside him.

"Bloodthreads." hissed the raven-like woman.

"Yes. Bloodthreads. This young man is quite full of surprises, aren't you?"

"I don't know what these...things...are. I was wounded by the boy's knife. He stabbed me in the arm. These were left behind. Like poison."

"Oh indeed. Very like poison, only no curative or salve would do a damn thing for it--you're lucky not to have bled out already. How did you remove the things? I did not see you do anything overt..."

"I...well..." Bujilli hesitated, not sure just how much he wished to reveal to these two. They were both still strangers to him and this was a strange place. He wished Gnosiomandus were here to guide him. But the old man was gone. Bujilli had to start making some decisions. So he did.

"I asked my Counsel about helping the boy, Lemuel, and it detected these things in my wound. It helped me to get rid of the stuff. Sorry about the floor."

"Ha. The floor he says. Ha! Will you sell the nasty things to me? Or do you intend to keep them to yourself?"

"I...I honestly don't know anything about them. What use would they be to me?"

"They're a weapon. An edge. An advantage. One that could overcome the defenses of things that tend to heal overly quick for anyone's liking. Especially if you're faced off against them in the Arena or elsewhere." The lady in black spoke quietly. Businesslike. Bujilli wasn't sure if she approved or not. He suspected it was something else. Harsh realities tended to trump feelings or even eclipse morals. If one allowed such a thing to happen.

"Here. I'll split them with you. I have some flexglass vials around here. We can scoop them up and seal them so they don't get out until we intend to release them. You can have two vials, I'll keep four, and we'll call it even. Deal?"

"Deal."

Hedrard cackled evilly. The glistening blobs were scooped-up, dumped into a glass beaker and some kind of acid or solvent was poured upon them. The bits of Bujilli's flesh and blood cast-off with the bloodthreads dissolved into a whitish, almost milky fluid that settled to the bottom of the beaker. The hag produced a pipette and a syringe and quickly extracted the silvery things from the solution and filled a set of vials that she then closed with a pinch. The vials closed seamlessly. She handed over two of the vials to Bujilli with a disturbing grin on her heavily wrinkled and scarred face.

Bujilli accepted the vials from the hag. They sat cool and smooth upon the palm of his hand. He distrusted the things. But he knew better than to throw away a possible tool or resource out of ignorance. that was not how he was raised. No. He placed the vials into his belt-pouch.

"Since you've been generous, and you have a kind heart, I will not take advantage of you. This time." Hedrard smiled gruesomely.

"And now you have a choice to make. Will you help the boy?" The woman in black crossed her arms in front of her.

Query: Authorization Mitigation Protocol

"What--" Images flashed. Bujilli smiled. He knew what to do. He stepped up to the work-table and extended his hands over the gelatinous form slowly melting away like a sugar sculpture in the mist. He saw a way he might set things right without having to use the hag's questionable skills. Bujilli smiled.

"Yes."

Mitigation Protocol Initiated

"NO! You Fool! What Are you--" The hag screeched. The woman in black involuntarily dropped into a fighting posture.

The boy screamed. Wetly. Garbled. As though he were drowning in his own flesh...which he was.

A cool pinkish light surrounded Bujilli and the boy and the table.

The light swirled with golden motes of light.

It grew increasingly reddish.

Redder.

BRIGHT RED

Bujilli screamed.

"Give me your hand!" Yelled the hag.

"Do It!" barked the woman in black...


What should Bujilli do now?

Does he trust the hag? Does it matter?

Should Bujilli take her hand?

Should he attempt to stop the process? (Can he stop the process?)

Or should he see things through? Whatever the cost?

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

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