Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bujilli: Episode 61


Previously...
Bujilli was summoned away from the Academy in Wermspittle by a demoness who once manipulated him as a small child. It didn't work.

"So now what?"

Bujilli turned away from the snow falling outside. The storm had passed. There was little wind now. Just heavy white flakes drifting down to cover everything. Obscuring all traces. He could almost smell the hot blood of a hunting party somewhere out there in the swirling snow.

"This is Yeren weather."

"So it is." His Uncle stared at him inscrutably. The old bastard had gotten fatter since he'd left. Fatter and more full of himself.

"This snow...it will probably last for another few hours at this rate."

"Probably."

"You never told me why you helped Ahtrishka to summon me back here."

"Are you asking?"

"Are you telling?"

They glared at each other for long minutes. His Uncle looked away. Sighed. Walked past him to go outside and take a piss in the fresh snow.

Bujilli waited. Considered his options. He wondered how Leeja had handled his sudden disappearance. He missed her. She'd have killed his Uncle. Probably. Good thing she wasn't here after all. Or was it? He considered his options. Perhaps there was some way to form a link back to her, to let her know he was safe enough...that he would be returning to her...

Hmmm.

Would he?

Should he return to Wermspittle?

And if so, then how?

"Hurm. hak. You're right about the Yeren. The old monastery over across the gorge is burning. They're the only ones who'd bother. Idiots."

Bujilli stared at his Uncle. He was sick of demons and machinations and other people's schemes. He wanted to be free of it all. Once and for all. He felt clear, sharp. It was time for some answers. One way or another.

His Uncle squatted down by the far wall of the cave. His joints clicked. He spat to the side in disgust.

"Yes. I helped the bitch call you back. I gave her the lock of your hair. She already had your blanket. You left a lot behind you."

"Not by choice." Bujilli's voice cracked.

"Yak Shit! You ran off. Stole my property and ran away. Stirred up a lot of trouble too. Not that you care one bit." His Uncle scratched himself. Settled in next to the hard-packed cave-wall. As if he was planning on taking a nap.

"I took what was mine. As for the rest...no one had to chase after me, least of all Jorra."

"Do you still have it?" His Uncle looked up at him. The old sorcerer was shaking. Like an addict going through withdrawal.

"What?"

"The Green Gem..."

"No."

"Ah." His Uncle sagged visibly. Disappointed. Or was it something else? "So you learned your lesson then..."

"What? Never to trust whispering jewels? Not to trust manipulative demons? Not to trust vicious old bastards like you? Yes. I think that I've learned a few lessons from you--"

"But have you learned the most important lesson?"

"Which is?"

"Don't become like me. Ever."

"I'm hardly in any danger of that--"

"Idiot! You come back here and you're so full of yourself that you don't even bother to think about HOW it was done. You react, but you do not anticipate. I can see that I've made a poor sorcerer of you after all."

Bujilli barked harshly once. A strange not-laugh. He knew what he needed to do. He cast Zone of Normality. He revised his surroundings to more closely resemble the conditions prevailing in Wermspittle when he was dragged away from there. The cave got a little warmer, at least within a 10' radius.

"You--you learned that from the Gem, didn't you?"

"Yes." Bujilli cast his Clairvoyance spell, using the ring of white tendril-hair about his finger to connect to Leeja.

"Bujilli? Is that you? Are you alright?" echoed Leeja's voice.

"Yes. I'm fine. Just dealing with some old crap."

"Are you coming back?"

His Uncle burst out laughing. Bujilli glared at him until he shut up.

"Yes. I'm not sure how, but I am coming back, just as soon as I take care of one last thing."

Everything went sickly green.
His Uncle cast Voorish Sign.
Leeja screamed.
The connection was severed.

Four Yeren were entering the cave...


ROLL FOR INITIATIVE!

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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

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Not-So-Empty Crypt of Baljessor (Swords & Wizardry)

Preface
This is another low-level Mini-Adventure ideal for use as a one-shot or the seed of something bigger. It is geared for 1-4 player characters from 1st to 3rd level, but you can certainly ramp it up for more powerful groups.

Introduction
The Crypt of Baljessor is a minor, often ignored and already heavily plundered old tomb that keeps cropping up on cheap treasure maps. No one has figured out how to remove the Throne of Baljessor, so far, and no one claims responsibility for erecting the mysterious barricade blocking-off one of the passages. All anyone really knows is that it has become something of a tradition to leave behind a small holy symbol or vial of blessed water or something similar on the barricade. Cynics grumble that this must be some sort of scam, that someone is going in there and harvesting these things for a quick and painless profit. But others aren't so sure...


Location
The Crypt of Baljessor could be anywhere an old, neglected grave-site might fit-in, as long as it is somewhat close to a mid-sized city or trade-town.


Background
What is actually known (or at least a matter of local record) regarding the Crypt is as follows:
  • The Crypt was built 720 years ago by mute slaves that were executed upon completing their work. Their bodies were rendered down to bones and they were all sealed within large ceramic urns, but were not then converted into reanimated skeletons.
  • The main entrance to the Crypt was sealed by a mass of super-heated stone that still radiates a faint magic. Anyone tampering with the seal risks getting burned. It is still hot.
  • Less than a dozen years ago a family of itinerant Tomb-Looters, seriously down on their luck and recently run out of town for a botched 'extraction' decided to test-out the crappy old map that their mad aunt Hilda won in a nude arm-wrestling contest (don't ask). The map turned out to be more or less accurate and after digging out a tunnel just over 120' into the earth, they were able to breach one of the walls of the main gallery. They spent the next two years systematically plundering the site, until they were ambushed on the way back and killed by a band of goblins.
  • We know these things from the journal kept by Simus, one of the more promising children who was being readied to enter into an apprenticeship with a local wizard, before the family uncovered the Crypt. No one knows what happened to Simus.


Rumors, Lies and Innuendos
For the cost of a few drinks, or just taking the time to listen in any of a dozen run-down ale-shops, grog-houses or inns, you might hear some of the following tid-bits of local lore and speculation. Some of this might be true, but no one can say how accurate any of it is until they've gone down into the place on their own:
  1. At least half of the drunkards in the surrounding area seems to believe that there's something evil locked away behind the barricade down in Baljessor's Crypt. Most of these are convinced that all those holy symbols are the only thing keeping it in there. Whatever 'it' might be.
  2. Quite a few others believe that someone is running a scam, collecting all the holy symbols and other trinkets and re-selling them to whomever might be going down into the Crypt, for whatever reason. So far no one has been actually been confirmed or proven to be doing this, but that just makes these folks more convinced than ever that someone too clever for anyone's good is up to mischief.
  3. A small group of pious individuals has started to make regular pilgrimages to the Crypt to add more holy symbols to the barricade as if it has become something of a shrine or altar to them.
  4. No temple or church has openly spoken on the subject of Baljessor's Crypt. Anyone buying holy symbols, etc. to take to the Crypt is doing so without any formal sanction or specific blessing at this time. But this might be subject to change as some of the smaller sects have noticed the way this fad of placing sacred things in the crypt has positively affected their cash flow.
  5. A lame veteran of a dozen border wars was found drained of all blood and hung upside down from the eaves of a local tavern after he made a big noise about his intent to tear down the Barricade and see what really was back there. No one was arrested in this crime. So far. Speculation as to who--or what--might have done this terrible thing is running rampant.
  6. There sure seem to be a lot more wolves in the area these days. It's getting so that hunters and trappers are having to go around in well-armed groups so as not to invite an attack.


Random Encounters in the Immediate Surroundings
  1. 1d6 Bandits: HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 17; AL C; CL/XP 1/15. They are disguised as merchants. They are very curious about the player character's intentions, especially if they are headed to the Crypt.
  2. 1d6 Wolves: HD 2+2; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 Bite (1d4+1); Move 18; Save 16; AL N; CL/XP 2/30. The wolves will chase anyone, but they will not go down into the hole that is the entrance to the Crypt.
  3. 1d4 Pilgrims:  HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d4); Move 12; Save 17; AL C; CL/XP 1/15. Each one is carrying 1d4 holy symbols worth 1d20 gp each. There is a chance that one is actually a Cleric (1st or 2nd level) in disguise.
  4. 1d2 Weird Wolves:  HD 2+2; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 Bite (1d4+3); Move 18; Save 16; AL C; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Radiate magical Confusion in 12' radius.
  5. 2d6 Bandits: HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 17; AL C; CL/XP 1/15. Fully half of these bandits are badly mauled and in need of immediate medical attention. The group is eager to bargain for assistance.
  6. 2d4 Hunters or Trappers: HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 17; AL N; CL/XP 1/15. They all are carrying short bows in addition to their knives and other weapons. They are also getting really spooked and are highly likely to shoot at anything that moves before checking who it might be.


The Crypt of Baljessor

Entering The Crypt
Things You Might Notice:
  • The opening is your basic hole-in-the-ground, with a pair of old, broken doors dragged over on top of it. The doors come from a tavern; the owner has offered a reward for their return, but both times they were returned, the doors were re-appropriated by someone--or something--and returned to this site.
  • A set of creaky old boards and some frayed ropes have been set up to help people get in and out of the hole. This is a good thing as it is roughly 8' deep.

Area A: The Tunnel
The Tunnel runs just over 120' in a slightly zig-zag fashion. It has been expanded only in the most rudimentary manner, at the bare minimum of effort. It is quite haphazard and looks like it could collapse at any moment, but it is stable.

Things You Might Notice:
  • The ceiling is between 4' and 5' high and varies every ten feet, making it awkward for taller characters. this variation also makes torches a bit more of a hassle as it would be all too easy to accidentally set someone else on fire if people don't pay attention.
  • The floor of the tunnel is loose soil, only packed-down along the middle of the passage, and it would be really easy to trip or injure an ankle in this stuff.
  • The supports are all salvaged and stolen from wherever things could be taken, seemingly at random. It doesn't take much to notice clearly that these supports have been maintained for a long time now, by diverse hands.

Area B1: The Main Gallery
The ceiling is approximately 5' from the floor at its highest point. The floor is uneven and covered in hard, dried mud. Loose gravel, broken stones and tumbled columns litter the place. The air is stuffy and stagnant. Open torches will quickly start to sputter and fill the place with acrid smoke within a half an hour. There is very little ventilation. Anyone staying in this gallery over half an hour must Save or begin to suffocate, unless they make suitable arrangements.

Careful investigation of the ceiling will reveal a set of 1d4 holes, each roughly 1" to 2" in diameter. These holes look like recent things, freshly scratched around the edges. Alongside the rubble at either side of the original breach in the Crypt's wall are 1d6 iron-headed shafts of good quality oak, each one ends in an iron sleeve that screws onto the top of the next section. They are not spears, though they could be used as such. The shafts are there to let people poke the air-holes open to allow for some fresh air to get into the crypt. It takes at least four sections to really get each air-hole cleared, and assembling the shafts to do so takes 10 to 15 minutes per hole. Clearing the holes will prevent asphyxiation, at least for a while.

Area B2: Baljessor's Throne
Carved from a lump of meteoric iron, Baljessor's throne weighs close to two tons. It is one solid piece. It is also bonded to the dais it rests upon, which has stymied previous attempts to drag it free with cables and lots of muscle-power. It has remained in-place for over 700 years and it won't be moving anytime soon. A closer examination will reveal numerous small scratches and gouges in the metal made by looters trying to scrape off at least some bit of the thing to take back with them.

Sitting on the Throne will cause all metallic objects carried by that person to become highly magnetized for the next 1d4 hours. The magnetization is not restricted to just iron, it will also affect copper, bronze and all other metals.

Area B3: The Funeral Stairs
The stairs were built from heavy slabs of dark blue-gray stone that is not like anything in the local area. At the top of the stairs is a smoldering mass of stone on the very verge of melting. Intense heat radiates from this very hot stony mass. Contact with the mass will inflict 1d4 damage per touch. It radiates a clear and present, and very old magical aura.

Area C: The Barricade
Originally this was a four-way junction, but one of the passages has been boarded-up, blocked and barricaded by dozens of people, each adding their bit to the on-going process much like it was some sort of a shared sculpture. Hundreds of tokens, medallions, charms, small figurines, icons, idols, and other holy symbols are affixed, hung, glued, tied into, nailed to, and otherwise incorporated into and upon the Barricade. The whole thing radiates a powerful Protection From Evil that has developed organically from all of the offerings, votive candles, and other bits and pieces that have accumulated over the years.

There is a 20% Chance of a Pilgrim being present. (See Table Below).
Breaking through the Barricade would take close to an hour of heavy labor. But it could be done. However, doing so will run the risk of being interrupted by another group of Pilgrims (70%) or other Looters (30%). (See tables below).

Areas D1 & D2
Both of these areas are essentially the same. They are both ledges overlooking crescent-shaped pits strewn with broken pottery and other fragments, including shards of bone. Down in the pits are dozens of indeterminate shiny-bits. The pits are steeply sloped and extend downwards over 20'. Anyone going down into the pits to search for treasure must Save or make a DEX check (either works fine), every ten minutes they spend sifting through the debris. Failure means that they have either stepped upon or brushed up against a particularly sharp splinter of bone and taken 1d4 damage. Every half hour spent rooting around in this junk will produce a few loose coins or some minor treasure (roll on Loose Coins Table below).

Anyone taking time to really examine the bone fragments will notice that all the finger bones, toe bones and teeth are completely missing.

Area E: The Deep Ravine
This sub-chamber is located more than 60' below the rest of the Crypt. It is a reworked cavern. The ledge overlooks a very steep drop of 30' and there is a broken statue on either side of the entrance. One is reduced to a pair of clawed feet snapped off at the ankles, the other is broken-off at the hips. They are distinctly reptilian. The broken fragments of the statues are scattered down below amid literally tons of broken pottery, splintered bones, dirt and gravel.

What isn't immediately obvious is that the entire ceiling is studded with hundreds of finger and toe bones.

At the far end of the cavern is a set of three heavy urns. These are filled to overflowing with teeth.

Area F: The Sealed Chamber
This chamber is roughly trapezoidal in shape. There is a ledge all around the outer edge of the room, roughly 7' wide. The sunken area is almost a shaft, with incredibly slick stone walls that appear to have been blasted with enough heat to make them appear almost glassy.

At the bottom of the glass-walled shaft is a crude sarcophagus fashioned from a peculiar greenish-tinged bronze alloy and inlaid with raw gold and rough chunks of jade and other precious and semi-precious stones.

There are also five golden rods set at the corners of the shaft, surrounding the sarcophagus. Each of these rods is 3" in diameter, weights 1,000 pounds and is hot to the touch, causing 1d6 damage on contact.

The sarcophagus radiates Fear (as per the spell), forcing any who attempt to descend into the pit after it to Save at -2 or suffer the Fear effects for 1d4 hours.

The Sarcophagus is trapped with both poison gas and poison needles in the latches. The poison is pretty-much evaporated and inert after all the centuries (Save at +2).

Should someone succeed in opening the sarcophagus, inside is the shriveled and mummified body of a ring-mail armored ghoul; none other than the Warlord Baljessor himself. Fortunately the old buried warlord is thoroughly dead. His heart was removed and encased in black amber and buried in another location just to make sure it was that much more difficult for him to rise ever again.

Once the Sarcophagus is opened to the outside air, Baljessor's body rapidly crumbles into a fine black dust that will then begin to swirl about like a mini-sandstorm at the bottom of the pit. Anyone caught in this swirling black vortex of dust and ashes suffers 1 point of damage per minute. Anyone reduced to zero hit points by the dust dies only to rise again in 1d4 turns as a ghoul. The black vortex will not settle down. It becomes a new and permanent feature.

Those converted into ghouls by the black dust of Baljessor suffer from complete insanity for 1d6 hours, after which they begin to recover their memories, after a fashion. They are evil minions in service to an undead liege who can never leave this Crypt...unless they were to discover some way to recover or release their foul master. A lot has changed.

It is left to Referee/DM discretion whether or not anything valuable can be retrieved from the Sarcophagus, aside from the player character's lives. Should the player characters facilitate a high level Cleric coming into the chamber and performing an exorcism, the party will gain 2,000XP each, for expunging this pre-human evil once and for all from the world.


Loose Coins and A Little Loot
  1. (1d6) Silver coins of recent vintage.
  2. (3d4) copper coins, all covered in verdigris and stuck together in one lump.
  3. Fifty feet of good rope packed in an oilskin bag.
  4. (1d4) antique coins: silver oblongs marked with stylized birds. (worth 1d4 sp each)
  5. 1 gold coin cast in the outline of a bat, but otherwise flat. (worth 1d4 gp).
  6. (1d4) chips of exceptionally clear and smooth quartz ground to lens-like shapes. (worth 1d6 gp).
  7. (2d6) Silver bells, squashed flat. (worth 1d4 sp each).
  8. (3d6) Twisted copper tubes. (Worth 1d4 cp each).
  9. (3d4) blue-stone beads carved with wavy-lines. (Worth 1d6 sp each).
  10. (1d4) trapezoidal plaques of jade, each hard-carved with a scene from Baljessor's life. (worth 3d6 gp each).
  11. A stone tablet incised with the formula for raising a wrathful entity to smite one's enemies. (Spell takes effect at far end of Chamber E and produces a golem-like humanoid entity formed entirely of human teeth: HD 8; AC 7[12]; Atk 2 'bites' (1d8, each); Move 8; Save 6; AL C; CL/XP 12/2,000; Special: Hit only by magic weapons, Immune to cold and acid, recovers 1 HD by removing all the teeth of a victim.
  12. (4d6) Silver Spindles decorated with zig-zags and whorls. (worth 2d6 sp each).

Random Tools
  1. Garden shovel with bent blade.
  2. Pick-head, no handle.
  3. (1d4) bunches of wolfsbane bound in red thread.
  4. (1d6) Buckets. Filled with rubble.
  5. Good quality spade.
  6. (1d6) Hawthorn stakes and some stale garlic buds.
  7. Pry-bar, bent almost in half.
  8. Chisel, badly warped.
  9. Maul, made from heavy, old wood. The handle is cracked.
  10. (2d4) Stout burlap sacks, filled with gravel.
  11. Trowel. Bloodstains on blade, (can be used as a dagger for 1d4 damage, but at -1 to hit).
  12. (1d4) Wedges, cast from pig-iron. Shatter or bend when pounded on with any real force.

Pilgrims
  1. 1d4 Pilgrims:  HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d4); Move 12; Save 17; AL C; CL/XP 1/15. Each one is busy adding their respective holy symbols to the Barricade and will ignore others, unless attacked or disturbed.
  2. Eremite: HD 3; AC 5[14]; Atk 1/Mace +1 (1d6+1); Move 12; Save 13; AL L; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Spell-Use as cleric level 3 (Cure Light Wounds, Protection From Evil). They are investigating the Barricade. They will try to stop anyone trying to dismantle it.
  3. 2d4 Pilgrims:  HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 17; AL N; CL/XP 1/15. These pious pilgrims believe that the Barricade has become a sacred site and will fight to the death to defend it from any who would despoil or destroy it.
  4. 1d4 Pilgrims:  HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d4); Move 12; Save 17; AL L; CL/XP 1/15. This group of pilgrims are more circumspect around strangers and will attempt to delay or hinder anyone's attempts to dismantle the Barricade, while sending their fastest member back to town to raise an alarm and bring back an armed mob to deal with anyone trying to wreck the Barricade.
  5. Heretical Cleric: HD 3; AC 5[14]; Atk 1/Hammer+1 (1d6+1); Move 12; Save 13; AL C; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Spell-Use (Cause/Cure Light Wounds, Light). They intend to destroy the Barricade and could use some assistance.
  6. 3d4 Pilgrims:  HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d4); Move 12; Save 17; AL N; CL/XP 1/15. This is a mob of believers who were summoned in response to events that took place more than a day ago--the pilgrim who is stirring them up got lost on the way back to town. Since there's no sign of the previous malefactors, the player characters will be called upon to explain themselves and to prove their good intent...or else it could get ugly.

Other Plunderers
Whether encountered because of the amount of time spent inside the Crypt or as a direct consequence of running off a group of pilgrims or whatever, these are some of the folks that might just show up while the player characters are still investigating the Crypt, or they might be on their way to the Crypt as the player characters are leaving.
  1. 1d6 Bandits: HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 17; AL C; CL/XP 1/15. They are disguised as merchants, but are a different group than the ones possibly encountered previously. This group intends to prey upon hapless pilgrims, offering them 'safe passage' at a price. The leader wields a +1 hammer and has a nasty scar across his left cheek.
  2. 4d6 Angry Villagers HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 17; AL C; CL/XP 1/15. An angry mob looking for someone to hang, stone or just massacre. They're a bit divided on the subject. No clear-cut leader has stepped forward to guide the mob. Yet.
  3. 2d4 Clerics: HD 3; AC 5[14]; Atk 1/Hammer+1 (1d6+1); Move 12; Save 13; AL C; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Spell-Use (Cause/Cure Light Wounds, one random spell). They intend to claim the Barricade as a sacred shrine for their temple. They might be doing this on their own initiative.
  4. 2d4 Would-Be Adventurers: HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 17; AL N; CL/XP 1/15. Ruthless, amoral and destitute, these ruffians have only just worked up the courage to try their luck in scrounging for loose coins in Baljessor's Crypt. They will fold and run away upon meeting any real difficulties or resistance.
  5. 2d4 Hunters: HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 17; AL N; CL/XP 1/15. They all are carrying short bows in addition to their knives and other weapons. They have tracked a pack of wolves to a den very close-by and thought that they'd check in on the Barricade while they were here; people have been talking about strangers out to wreck the Barricade back in town, and they take a dim view of such things.
  6. 1d4 Heretics HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d4); Move 12; Save 17; AL N; CL/XP 1/15. Quiet and cheerful, they hope no one realizes that they intend to tear down the Barricade when no one is looking. They will gladly blame anyone else they spot coming into or out of the Crypt. They lie convincingly and often.


Afterword
This is one of those locations that continues to be a possible adventure site even after all the monsters are gone and all the loot has pretty much run out. It is only a matter of time before the local temples get embroiled in some sort of conflict over who has the best claim to the Barricade Shrine. One or more of the local churches will likely attempt to take the site over, or perhaps they'll settle for driving off and discouraging their competitors. Or perhaps an obscure Order of Monks will decide to take the place over and build a monastery upon this site...

Have Fun!
(...and Yes, this Mini-Adventure is Open Game Content. We'll post the OGL thingy for it later.)

Taglar's Tomb (Mini-Adventure for Swords & Wizardry)

Introduction
Taglar's Tomb is something of an open secret among the more disreputable types in the area. It is an old plundered tomb where many a grave-robber got their start.

This Mini-Adventure is suitable for 1-4 characters of 1st-3rd level, but could easily be adjusted and/or augmented to serve a larger or more powerful group.


Location
The Tomb of Taglar is often mis-marked on maps and locals have a tendency to lead gullible types to any handy cave and tell them that it is Taglar's Tomb. The actual Tomb is located towards the top of a steep old hill where the trees are all dying. Storms are frequent in this place. Whatever trails or paths there are in this area, they tend to be known mostly to grave-robbers, thieves, bandits and the like.


Background
Forlorn and despoiled long ago, Taglar's Tomb was stripped of most of its treasures by tomb-looters centuries ago. It has flooded twice that is known. The floors are thick with a damp, sticky mud that never quite dries. Various animals have made their lair in the first two chambers at different times in the past, but they rarely stay very long.

Grave-robbers and their ilk will sometimes take their apprentices to Taglar's Tomb in order to teach them the basics of their unsavory trade. Most of them return wiser, if not richer, for the experience.

The Tomb was built several hundred years ago to house the remains of the barbaric warlord Taglar, a fierce and ruthless conqueror whose dynasty came to an abrupt end within days of his being buried alive by his wife. Some say the empire he had built by axe and spell was brought to such rapid ruin due to the bickering of his two sons, neither of whom could get along, others say it was because of the treachery of their half-human mother. In any case, the enemies of Taglar pounced upon his empire, his people were scattered, his legacy was brought to an abrupt end, and he has been mostly forgotten. Only those who traffic in illicit tomb-goods still talk of the old warlord these days, mostly because they alone share something of a bond with the old dead king.


Common Rumors and Whispered Lore
Concerning Taglar's Tomb
  1. Sleeping in the First Chamber brings unpleasant dreams, the Second Chamber nightmares. No one has ever slept in the Third Chamber.
  2. Beasts rarely enter the Second Chamber, never the Third Chamber.
  3. Raw flesh tossed into the Third Chamber will rot untouched and untroubled by vermin. Not even maggots will cross that threshold.
  4. There are still a few old coins buried beneath the muck and mud that has flooded the floors of this place, especially the farther back one goes.
  5. These Chambers are Not haunted. So say the priests of six different gods who have visited the place.
  6. Corpses left in this place rot away to the bones more quickly than is natural, but they do not rise.
  7. There is a peculiar breeze constantly blowing out of the Third Chamber. It is strong enough to make torches flicker fitfully. No one knows the source of the breeze.
  8. Many old-timers believe that there is a secret chamber that no one has found yet. Most people consider this foolishness. Surely if such a thing existed, it would have been discovered by now.
Any of these statements might be true or so much hokum--we leave that up to the Referee/DM.

Typical Hillside Encounters
  1. Bad Weather. Roll 1d6 every 4 turns, on a "1" things get worse (heavy rain, lightning strikes, etc.), on a roll of "6" it starts to let up.
  2. Zombie: HD 2; AC 8[11]; Atk 1 strike (1d8); Move 6*; Save 16; AL C; CL/XP 2/30; Special immune to sleep and charm spells. This zombie is swinging back and forth in a noose. Someone hung the thing and left it. 
  3. Mudslide. Save or get swept 1d100' down hill and suffer 1d2 damage.
  4. 1d6 Bandits: HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 17; AL C; CL/XP 1/15.
  5. 1d4 Green Beetles: HD 1; AC 6[13]; Atk 1 bite (1d6); Move 12; Save 18; AL N; CL/XP 1/15; Special: Explode when exposed to open flame inflicting 1d6 damage in a 12' radius per beetle.
  6. Wild Boar (Young): HD 3+3; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 Gore (3d4); Move 15; Save 14; AL N; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Continues attacking for 2 rounds after being "killed."

Entrance
If anyone bothers to check, there is a water-proofed case containing 3d6 torches, with a flint and steel, wedged underneath one of the large, tumbled stones. There is also a broken shovel that was tossed behind another one of the stones.
  • The floor of the tunnel leading into the tomb is muddy and slopes downward, making it easy to slip or fall. The mud gets deeper and more slippery the farther back one goes.
  • There may or may not be some animal that has decided to make its lair inside either one of the first two chambers (See Table Below).
  • Instead of Wandering Monsters, there is a 10% chance of Other Visitors arriving every hour spent inside the tomb (See Table Below).

Chamber One
This Chamber has been totally stripped. Only a pair of heavy stone posts remain where the old throne used to sit. The walls are heavily scored and scratched and chipped by digging tools. Digging in the mud here will produce 1 random copper coin per 3d4 hours spent digging. (Roll 1d4 per coin found on Random Coins Table below).

Chamber Two
There are a pair of five-sided stone prisms set firmly into the floor close to the back of this chamber. The floor is much more muddy and slippery. Digging in the mud in this chamber will produce 1d6 random copper or silver coins every 1d4 hours spent digging. (Roll 1d8 per coin found on Random Coins Table below).

Chamber Three
There is a set of three obelisks set toward the back of this chamber. Behind the obelisks is a large, rounded stone deeply carved with bizarre pre-human hieroglyphs. There are three figures depicted on the stone, a ghoul, a lizardman, and a human being devoured by the other two. It is a thoroughly repugnant image, all too accurately carved in fine detail. The stone radiates a faint aura of Fear (Anyone coming within 20' must Save at +2 or suffer effects of Fear spell for 1 hour). Deciphering the hieroglyphs triggers a Symbol of Discord spell.

Digging in the mud back here will produce 3d6 random coins for every hour spent digging (roll 3d4 per coin found on Random Coins Table below). There is a 10% chance per hour of also finding some minor treasure (see Minor Treasure Table below).

There is also a chance of causing the West side of the floor to collapse, dropping 12' and revealing the once secret passage to the Fourth Chamber. This passage is unstable due to all the water that has seeped into it over the years. It could collapse at any moment...

Chamber Four
A large jade egg hovers over a well-like shaft 8' in diameter that extends down more than a mile. The mud and standing water seeping in from Chamber Three flows over the lip and down the sides of the shaft making it exceptionally treacherous to climb.

The 'Egg' is magically intelligent. It can communicate with one person at a time via telepathy, but its mind is so alien anyone contacted by it must Save or experience Confusion (as Spell) for 1d4 turns. The Egg cannot be removed from this place without first removing a set of very powerful, very ancient wards and bindings. The 'Egg' will attempt to lure a victim close enough for it to cast Petrify Brain upon them, which it hopes will be allowed to run its course so they can possess the victim's body and escape after centuries of imprisonment. Once the 'Egg' has caught a suitable host with its wicked spell, it will attempt to sow discord and confusion among the rest of the group, in the hopes of stalling them long enough to be able to effect the transfer of its consciousness into the new host body. If the 'Egg' fails to capture a new host, it will attempt to bargain with the group, trying to convince them to return and liberate it...it will promise them anything it thinks they might want or that could induce them to rescue it.

'Egg': HD 8; AC 2[17]; Atk 1 Spells; Move n/a; Save 8; AL C; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Magic Resistance 30% (only while in this chamber), cause Fear and Levitate at will, can cast Petrify Brain once per month.
Petrify Brain
Spell Level: Magic-User, 5th Level
Range: 20'
Duration: Permanent
Target begins to suffer from a terrible fever that slowly and painfully destroys 1 point of INT and WIS each hour until both attributes are reduced to zero, at which time a disembodied entity can then possess their body.


Things That Might Try to Lair Inside the Tomb
  1. 1 Giant Pink-and-Orange-Striped Leech: HD 2; AC 3[16]; Atk 1 bite (2d6); Move 6; Save 16; AL N; CL/XP 5/240; Special: suck blood. 
  2. 1 Hill-Gator: HD 2+2; AC 4[15]; Atk 1 Bite (1d6); Move 9; Save 14; AL N; CL/XP 3/60; Special: longer-limbed, land-based relative of the swamp gator. Can't swim, but can climb trees.
  3. Gelatinous Froth: HD 2; AC 8[11]; Atk 1 (1d4); Move 6; Save 13; AL N; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Paralysis (2 turns), Immune to Lightning and Cold.
  4. 1D6 Red Snouted Kobolds: HD 1d4hp; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 Weapon (1d6); Move 6; Save 18; AL C; CL/XP A/5.
  5. 1d4 Lesser Yellow-Banded Nagas: HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 Bite (1d4+Poison) or Tail-Sting (1d4+Poison); Move 9; Save 6; AL C; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Poison (Save or contract 'Yellow Rot' which causes victim to suffer -1 penalty to DEX for 1d4 weeks unless magically cured sooner.)
  6. 1d6 Stirges: HD 1+1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 Sting (1d3+ Blood Drain); Move 3/18 (Flying); Save 17; AL N; CL/XP 1/15; Special: Blood drain for 1d4 damage.


Other Visitors
  1. 1d6 Bandits: HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8); Move 12; Save 17; AL C; CL/XP 1/15.
  2. 2D4 Ring-Tailed Kobolds: HD 1d4 hp; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 Weapon (1d6); Move 6; Save 18; AL C; CL/XP A/5.
  3. 1d6 Mauve-Bellied Lizardmen: HD 2+1; AC 5[14]; Atk 2 Claws (1d3), 1 Bite (1d8); Move 6/12 (Swimming); Save 16; AL C; CL/XP 2/30; Special: One in six will be able to cast 1d2 first-level spells.
  4. 1d4 Grave-Robbers-In-Training: HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 Shovels (1d4); Move 12; Save 17; AL C; CL/XP 1/15.
  5. A Creature(s) looking to make this their lair--roll on Table Above.
  6. 2d4 Brigands: HD 1; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 17; AL C; CL/XP 1/15.


Random Coins
  1. Copper triangle inscribed with dot-and-line symbols. (worth 1d6 cp)
  2. Copper oblong rimmed with electrum. Front has image of a dragon, back is a spiral. (worth 1 sp)
  3. Copper square impressed with four small glyphs. Back is plain. (worth 1d2 cp)
  4. Copper disk, beaten into shape, twice as heavy as average. (worth 1d4 cp)
  5. Silver square hoop. (worth 1d4 sp)
  6. Silver lozenge covered with squiggles. (worth 1d8 sp)
  7. Silver teardrop set with amber disks. (Worth 1d6 sp)
  8. Silver triangle punched with holes at each point. (worth 1d4 sp)
  9. Silver octagon scratched beyond recognition. (worth 1d6 sp)
  10. Gold Crescent inscribed with serpents and worms. (worth: 1d6 gp)
  11. Gold wheel with eight spokes. (worth: 1d8 gp)
  12. Gold Pentagon rimmed with reddish alloy, center features a lizard-like being flanked by humanoids in chains. (worth: 1d10gp)


Random Minor Treasure
  1. Raw amber fragments worth 3d6 gp.
  2. Semiprecious stones worth 1d20 gp.
  3. Gems worth 1d20+25 gp.
  4. Broken Jewelry worth 2d20+50 gp.
  5. Weird pre-human figurines worth 4d20 gp.
  6. Carved gemstones worth 1d100 + 25 gp.
  7. Large green amber pieces worth 1d100 gp.
  8. Ivory fragments worth 2d20 +100gp.
  9. Beaten copper and electrum 'claw' weapon, worth 2d100 gp.
  10. Mostly intact jewelry worth 2d100 +25 gp.
  11. Clay tablet inscribed with 1 spell of level 1-4. (Very fragile)
  12. Fossilized bone wand, 1 d10 charges, random first level spell.


Note
The biggest treasure to be found in this Tomb could turn out to be proof of the existence of the Fourth Chamber. How they handle that knowledge, and whether or not they can capitalize on it before someone else stumbles upon it could easily drive several spin-off adventures. Once word gets out, there could be quite a fight between different factions trying to get into the Fourth Chamber ahead of anyone else. And once it is awakened, the 'Egg' will have its own schemes and machinations to play out as well...

Have Fun!
(...and Yes, this Mini-Adventure is Open Game Content. We'll post the OGL thingy for it later.)

Swords and Wizardry Appreciation Day: Special Discount at Frog God Games Today Only


Frog God Games has discounted their entire line of Swords & Wizardry products for 1 day only in celebration of Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day (April 17th 2013). The discount is good for 25% off S&W Products but you must use the coupon* code: SWApprDay on April 17th 2013 at check out. 

*The coupon excludes items less than $1, S&W Cards, Pre-Orders, and Subscriptions. 


You can also use the code: SWAD252013 over at the D20PFSRD store
Sales at both online shops help support the SRD sites: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/ andhttp://www.d20swsrd.com/



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Index: Friday Flash Fiction by Garrisonjames

Friday Flash
by Garrisonjames


The goal is to post a brand new piece of flash fiction every Friday. Most flash fiction clocks in at under 1,000 or 2,000 words, but can be as brief as 365 words, 101 words, 140 words, five or six sentences, even just six words. There's a lot of room for experimentation and exploration.

The Friday Flash meme is hosted by the nice people at the Friday Flash website.
You can find out more about the challenge, and what stories are available each Friday by clicking over to their site: Fridayflash.org.

The following index will be updated weekly for your convenience.
Stories are listed from Newest to Oldest.
Thanks for taking a look.



Of A Feather...
Posted: 4/12/13
A girl out to avenge her brother's untimely death discovers that not everything is as she assumed or believed. Sometimes the greatest challenge one can face is the lies that blind us to a particularly painful truth.
This story is a spin-off from the on-going Bujilli serial set in Wermspittle featuring Gudrun (whom we haven't seen since Bujilli: Episode 21), and Sharisse (last seen in Episode 33), and taking place sometime after the events of Series Two.


Forbidden (001)
Posted: 4/12/13
Gabrielle is cut of from her group by a freak gritstorm on Alshain-4. She discovers an Obelisk. Then the ground collapses. At least she's out of the storm...

This may or may not develop into another serial.


Counterfeit
Posted: 12/7/12
A quick little bit of robot SciFi dealing with identity, mythology and mob violence. Always a winning combination...


Extractive
Posted: 11/30/12
A Wermspittle story, this time dealing with the creation of the Jewel of Souls...


Better Than Worms
Posted: 11/9/12
Valg is out hunting worms in the midst of a blasted wasteland when he discovers something far more interesting than just a few scraps of wriggly-meat...

Valg first appeared in Option 3 of our second Scenario Seeds: Obelisks post. He may show up again.


Gruekiller
Posted: 11/2/12
There are monsters. This guy deals with them on a regular basis.


Empress of Wastelands
Posted: 3/22/12
This isn't strictly part of the Flash Fiction Friday thing, but it is one of my first forays into writing Flash, and it may well be the piece that caused Wermspittle to come all together, at least in part.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Of A Feather... (Friday Flash)

Of A Feather...
by Garrisonjames

Slish! The third cut split the farm-girl's cuirass. Ruined. The cheap leather gave way as she tried to turn away. Too late. Her armor was not only worthless now, it would be a hindrance. Gudrun sneered. Spun. Drove her bodkin into the girl's abdomen. Then she twisted it. Tore it loose. Blood sprayed from the wound. The girl collapsed with a heavy grunt.

“Stupid cow.” Gudrun watched the girl thrash about on the cold sand. It didn't satisfy her. It wasn't anything to brag about. She easily outmatched the heavy-boned low-land girl. That had to have been plain to see. It hadn't been much of a contest. Certainly not any sort of challenge. What was Mistress Eberhard thinking?

Gudrun wiped the blood off of her blade. The girl stopped kicking. Lay still. Unconscious or dead. Neither mattered to Gudrun. She was done for the night. Three wins. No losses. As usual.

She stepped over the prone, still form of her opponent. It was time to leave this place. She headed to the locker rooms. A long hot shower sounded lovely.

“You have a fine way with a blade.”

Gudrun stopped. Glared at the interloper before her. She wasn't interested in making friends. Not here. Maybe never. She had a brother to avenge before she would even consider such things. She had taken a vow and sealed it with blood and fore and salt in the old way. There was no room in her for anything but her hatred, her mission. She lived for revenge.

The Corbin—no this wasn't a Corbin, it was a Prushain, one of the blue-plumes. He, she?--it was a long way from home. They didn't normally come this far West. It stood there. Stared at her.

“You'll get a personal demonstration of my 'fine way with my blade' if you don't get out of my way.” She scowled at the Prushain. The black, blue and white feathers forming it's head-crest looked dusty, but unruffled. She could swear that the damned thing was restraining itself from laughing. Her face flushed in rage.

It nodded once.

“Perhaps another time. I have been instructed to give you this...” The Prushain held out a vellum card delicately balanced between two sleek, black talons, “...and I am to return with your response.”

She took the card. The bird-thing bowed ever so slightly. For a moment it was impossible to tell who was mocking whom. The card had one word scrawled on it in deep violet ink, done an elegant hand:

Bujilli

Gudrun crumpled the card in her fist. The Prushain stared at her. Waiting for an answer.

“Who sent you?” She felt her blood go cold. This could be a trick. A trap. There were rumors that Bujilli had made quite an impression on Mistress Eberhard and others. Even that old hag Hedrard seemed to take an interest in him. As if it wasn't already bad enough that he was personally sponsored by Gnosiomandus.

“Your response?”

“I would like to meet with your employer.”

“Excellent.”

“But first I need to take a shower. Make myself presentable. You can wait for me here. I'll only need a few minutes.”

The Prushain nodded once. It would wait.

Gudrun forced herself to walk to her locker. Her hands were shaking when she tried to open the lock. The shower calmed her down. She barely got dry before she pulled on her clothes and her leathers. She considered suiting-up in her white fighting gown, but decided to go with denims and a lacy blouse instead. She took the new armor, not the nicked and notched-up stuff she wore in the arena. The extra blades slipped perfectly into place up her sleeves and down her boots. There wasn't time to brush her hair, so she twisted it up in a knot using the pen-stilletto she had received from Sprague. Bujilli wasn't the only one with sponsors or a mentor.

The Prushain regarded her coldly as she approached. It nodded once. Turned. Strode off down the rampway towards the Pens. But that was Hedrard's area. She didn't like going down there. They kept wild animals and twisted beasts there. Things that might catch her scent. Things that she might have to face in the Arena.

The Prushain turned down one of the side hallways, away from the pens and Hedrard's menagerie. They passed numerous glass cases displaying samples and examples of things from various countries and worlds. The crowd parted before the tall, sharp-beaked Prushain. Students gawked. Some of the staff and instructors stared. Gudrun reveled in their attention.

They stopped. A door opened. She was ushered into a courtyard. The door slammed shut behind her.

“What?” Gudrun was startled. She had been so caught-up in the reactions of those she had passed that she did not pay attention to where they were going. She had no idea where she was. The hallways were notoriously mutable. Ten steps could take you a lot farther than you'd ever know, especially if you weren't focused on a particular destination.

“Mirik is dead.”

“So what?”

“Lijji is dead.”

Gudrun drew out her bodkin. There was no sign of whomever was speaking. But the voice...she thought she recognized the voice.

“Kalfer, Rombur and Glus are all dead as well.”

“Who are you?” hissed Gudrun.

“”In fact, I'm the only one who is still alive. Even Unfred is dead, I think. I didn't have a chance to check into that just yet.”

“What do you want?”

“You hired us, remember?”

“You! I know who you are! Sharisse. You stupid whore--”

Clack! Snap. Gudrun whirled out of the way of Sharisse's scalpel only to turn into the follow-up by her cleaver. It was precisely the same trick she had used in the last two matches earlier today. She pushed Sharisse away, drew her off-hand knife. The one with blood-threads embedded in the blade.

Sharisse laughed. Pushed back. Slashed Gudrun's cheek. Blood. Gudrun's blood. She slashed at Sharisse in a frenzy of attacks. The bitch had cut her.

No one cut her.

Ever.

“Recognize this?” Sharisse flipped the cleaver at her feet. It clattered on the paving stones of the path. Gudrun glanced at it. She froze.

“Gabreel--”

“He gave it to me right before he went into the Arena that last time.”

“But--” Gudrun reeled. Her brother had been with this...this...

“We were lovers.”

Gudrun screamed. Reckless in her fury she hacked, cut and stabbed, twisted, lunged and relentlessly assaulted her tormenter. Both were wounded. Bloodied. Sweaty. Gudrun's clothes were slashed, her armor scored and scratched, no longer pristine and perfect. Sharisse wasn't much better off. They were too evenly matched. But Gudrun had already fought three matches this night. She was tiring more quickly than Sharisse. It was a clever ambush.

Feint. Thrust. Back-hand cut. Parry. Jab. They fought with a grim determination neither had ever brought to bear in the Arena before. Sharisse slipped. Went to her knee. Gudrun stabbed. The bodkin slid across Sharisse's side. Twisted. It bit deep.

“Ha! I'll carve your heart out--”

Sharisse stood up quickly. Too quickly. It had been a trap. Gudrun's arm was caught. The Bodkin clattered to the stones. The scalpel was at her throat.

“Go ahead. Kill me.” Gudrun glared at the other girl.

“You'd like that, wouldn't you? Idiot. I beat you. Now you will listen to me.”

“I'm listening.”

“Good. You hired us to kill the new student. The foreigner. Bujilli. You said that he killed Gabreel.”

“He did!”

“He did not. He never even met Gabreel. They never crossed paths, let alone blades. Gabrell was cold and dead on the sand before Bujilli even arrived in Wermspittle.”

“You're lying.”

“No. I'm not. And you know it. You just won't face the truth. You've let his lies twist you.”

“Who? Who's lies?”

“Sprague. Your precious mentor and master. He was the one who brought the Muck Raker into the pens. He's the one who sent Gabreel into the Arena as part of the second group to face the thing.”

“no...”

“Yes.”

“But...” Gudrun twitched. Her hands shook. Not in rage but from something else. Something was making her hands move without her volition.

“See—you're little better than a puppet.”

“Stop it!” Gudrun screamed. Sharisse released her. Stepped back.

Gudrun fell to her knees. Her hands shook. Scrabbled at the blades hidden in her sleeves. Tears ran from her eyes. She was fighting to reclaim control of her own body. Her hands were being directed to kill her. She could feel it. She knew it.

Her mentor had manipulated her. Used her. Like she was disposable. Inconsequential.

But Gudrun had taken a vow in the old way. She knew now that the person she blamed for her bother's death was not to blame. She had been set against Bujilli as though she were some mindless pawn in a sick and twisted game. She felt betrayed . Used. The subtle distortions that had been worked upon her mind collapsed. The dreams evaporated. Gudrun stood up. Her hands curled into fists.

She looked at Sharisse.

They stared at one another.

Silently. They stared into each others eyes.

Bleeding. Ragged. Betrayed.

A cold spring rain began to fall.

It washed away the blood. Most of it.

“I intend to kill him.”

“I know.”

“Will you help me?”

“Yes.”

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bujilli: Episode 60


Previously...
Bujilli has been summoned to a cave in the Yaddivar Highlands. He has been brought back to a place he spent a lot of time during his difficult childhood. The Cave of the Centipedes. There his Uncle confronts Bujilli with news that his father is dead. Killed by rival sorcerers. At first this sounds like good news, but it isn't. Before his Uncle can elaborate any further the person who called Bujilli back to this place enters the cave...

"YOU!" growled Bujilli. He could smell the all-too-familiar scent of sweet damnation approaching him from the cave mouth. He didn't need to see her to know who it was. Ahtrishka. The demon-bitch his Uncle used to keep penned-up in a seven-metal cage. She had been a dirty little secret to both of them; a source of knowledge and gossip for his Uncle and something...a bit more personal to him. Her kiss-mark had scarred his soul.

His hands flew through several antagonistic mudras and vicious violet light began to seep from the fractals embedded in his hairless left hand. It had been her wheedling, pleading and cajoling that had tricked him into casting his first spell. That had gone badly. He was lucky that his Uncle had come home early and dispelled the mess he had made. Surly violet fractals still swirled through the flesh of his permanently hairless left-hand because he botched that spell. He'd never forgiven her for playing that cruel trick upon him.

"Hold!" barked his Uncle.

They locked eyes. For the first time his Uncle looked away first.

"You bastard--"

"Ha! Look whose talking! Here; this is yours."

Something landed at Bujilli's feet. The old table knife. The one he had stolen from his Uncle to defend himself with after his first trip down in the basket as a dangler. It was badly tarnished and poorly sharpened by a young child's inexpert scraping of the blade against rocks in the darkness to give it whatever edge he could manage.

Bujilli picked the knife up. The handle fit his hand perfectly. He'd used it for a long time, until he had won his father's tulwar and taken-up Stril's axe...

The woman-form came closer. She wore a much-patched and poorly fitting cloak with the cowl pulled up and over her head. She approached empty-handed.

His Uncle flicked a Gloomlight glyph into place over head.

That wasn't a cloak. It was a blanket. His old blanket. The one his mother had made for him while she was still carrying him in her belly. His Uncle had never taken away that blanket, no matter how badly he beat him or screamed at him. The blanket was his. It was the only thing Bujilli could come back to. a last tenuous connection to his murdered mother.

Now it was being worn by this thing.

"Is this how you greet an old lover?" hissed the woman-thing.

Bujilli spat in disgust; "You never loved anything in your entire existence. Demon-bitch."

"True. I have never loved. But you have. You used to love me." She pointed to his heart with a filthy finger on a slightly decayed hand. Maggots wriggled in the gaping wounds.

"You preyed upon a vulnerable child, misled and beguiled and lied, lied, lied at every turn."

"Of course. I am a demon." She bowed mockingly.

Bujilli was grateful he had only consented to a single kiss from this foul thing, that he had not succumbed to her whiles and allowed things to go any further. But it had been close.

"I hate you."

"But you loved me. Once." She declared.

"I was a stupid child."

"And now you're a stupid man." the demoness laughed. But she came no farther.

She let the blanket slide from her head, pulled it around her shoulder like a shawl.

Bujilli stared in disbelief, in growing horror. It was his mother standing before him. Talking to him in a demon's voice. Her body, dragged out from under its cairn and made to serve this bitch like a puppet.

He looked at his Uncle in rapidly escalating fury. The old sorcerer nodded then turned away. This was not his doing. Or so he had claimed earlier.

"It was you who called me back to this place?" Bujilli demanded confirmation.

"Like I said; stupid. Of course it was I who summoned you here. Surely you didn't think that this old fraud had done such a thing." She giggled in six softly warbling voices at once.

"Why?"

"Because I can, you stupid little jackass. I summoned you using your own hair, your precious blanket, all the things you left behind when you ran away. I summoned you just the way your kind calls upon mine. I intend to make you my slave. I will devour your soul. but first I desire to taste your despair--"

The silver table knife protruded from her forehead.

"Stupid bitch. My Uncle taught me better than that."

"Yes. I did. So finish this. Now. While you still can!"

Bujilli snarled, his eyes filled with golden light and he shouted the Words to that first spell. This time the violet fractals surged forth to do his bidding. The cave echoed with a terrible thunder. A storm billowed out from Bujilli's left hand. It swarmed and swirled all about the three of them, lashing out and licking the stones with flickering lightnings. Then it all came crashing down upon the transfixed form of Ahtrishka who was trapped in the corpse of his mother. The violet fractals seethed and screamed and struck out at their designated target again and again and again, speeding up with each flash, every slash. The long-constrained weirdstorm quickly reached a crescendo and then all was silence.

Atrishka was gone.

Annihilated.

So was the blanket. The knife. his mother's reanimated cadaver.

There wasn't so much as a violet smudge.

"Well, you finally learned how to cast that spell. Hmmph. took you long enough."

Bujilli stared at his Uncle.

Then they both began to laugh...



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, April 10, 2013

Ten Arrivistes (A Random Table for Wermspittle)

Despite being such a horrid place in the Winter, there is no shortage of new-comers in Wermspittle...

Arrivistes Table One (D10)
  1. Skongra Malebolger: Short, shriveled and incredibly wrinkled little stump of a former soldier in the service to some unpronounceable foreign queen, Skongra carries dozens of badly-healed scars to go with the battered and poorly repaired half-plate armor he wears everywhere. His eyes are never the same two colors twice, nor his teeth the same number, but always his breath is foul, reeking and noxious. He has a number of forged documents granting him various titles and privileges. He may or may not realize that they are spurious. He wishes to settle down and raise onions, but for some reason he cannot locate the plot of land that was promised to him. He is getting quite upset.
  2. Yulinthe: Fair complexioned and lithe to the point of embarrassing swans, Yulinthe claims kinship to some obscure line of nobles that she read about in a children's book. It is a conceit she adopted in order to obscure her rather plain origins. she has always dreamed of being a princess trapped in a peasant's body. Unfortunately she does not realize the full extent of the crimes attributed to the scions of this particular lineage, nor that the locals felt compelled to behead and burn every last one of the wretched, poxy fiends last winter. So far no one has had the heart to tell the oh so pretty, but oh so naive girl the truth. Some wonder if she really could be connected to those rotten abdead things that only masqueraded as human. Others avoid her precisely because they believe she is bound to find out the truth of the matter and it won't be such a pretty sight at all.
  3. Litanj Umarri rode into Wermspittle from off of the Cold Roads. Her horse was killed and eaten by a mob of starving Unfortunates during her first Winter in this place. She has determined that she will not spend another Winter here. She does not like her chances on the Cold Roads without a good horse and there are few horses available,even  to be stolen, in this wretched place. She has heard of Weak Points, but most of those tend to lead to ruins and even less desirable places. It is as though this isolated city were somehow surrounded by dead worlds. Perhaps she'll take her chances. any place has to be better than this one. Right?
  4. Gradha is a brutish lout with appalling manners and worse hygiene. But she gets results. Now she's been assigned the task of whipping a cadre of the Street Patrol into shape. Unfortunately for those under her supervision, Gradha is a bit literal in her approach to this task. Her unit is very close to mutinying on account of her high-handed manner, incomprehensible orders and reliance upon flogging to establish discipline. This isn't the Aerial Navy. At least two officers under her command are conspiring to arrange an 'accident' for Gradha.
  5. Waeru tends to keep to the side-lines as much as possible. They dislike the hustle and bustle of fame, but their new-found good fortune has propelled them onto the local political stage. Every day brings them one step closer to being found-out and all those monks that died might finally be avenged. But all in good time. And who knows--perhaps they can acquire the title to the crappy old chapter house and no one need ever know what really happened there all those months ago...
  6. Zushille smiles. She may not be pretty any more, not after the long trek through the Plateaus and especially not after what the tribe that tortured and killed the rest of her party did to her. But she escaped. She made it out of the 'Drifts. Too bad she had to wind up here. But still, Zushille has been in worse places, under worse conditions. So she smiles.
  7. Undreevio is getting too old for most things. His body is failing. His money is running out. He came here looking for a solution, an alternative to the unhallowed rites he could not afford in Nagrothea. Did he come all this way, endure so very much, only to spend his final days as a test-subject in some mad man's insane experiment?
  8. Ledra was a Forager for close to a year, a really lean and difficult year, Then he found Jakub's Door and learned about Amber-Gathering in the Purple Forest. In a few weeks he collected a great deal of the stuff, having lucked into a substantial deposit. There had to be hundreds of pounds of Purple Amber there, ripe for the taking. But it was more than he could easily carry. He didn't trust the mercenaries on the Logging Roads, or any of the other amber-gatherers, so he buried it and came back with a sackful of choice specimens. He's on his way to King Clovine Court to find a buyer. Then he needs to start looking for a few decent partners to go back for his secret cache before someone else stumbles upon it.
  9. Jurig Dalm is not just any Refugee. He used to be a Baron back in the old country. But the plague ended all that. He has lost his estates, his family, his station and fortune. The plague even took his right eye and left hand. He came to Wermspittle looking for a way to rebuild his fortune. To start a new life. The Surgeons and their clinics expect some form of payment. Nothing comes for free. He has heard that there are Medical Students looking for test-subjects, but he has also heard that little good ever comes from such things. The underground Arenas might be an option. He has heard that sometimes a stable-owner will stake a competitor, allowing them to acquire some prosthetics or grafts. That might be a way to get back on his feet. Leave the Low Streets. Regain his pride and reclaim some measure of power. But it is risky. Very risky. Perhaps he should reconsider becoming a host. He has seen Kilijji regrow her feet after losing them to frostbite. But he has also listened to Sharisse and he has serious misgivings about the true intentions of the werms.
  10. Klimus was abandoned by his caravan during an attack by some group of brigands. He walked through the Low Marshes to get to Wermspittle. Alone. He was a mediocre merchant's apprentice when he started his journey. He's a Geist-Killer now. And a good one.








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