Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bujilli: Episode 66


Previously...
Assisted by the Ghost of the Grandmaster of the Antazzic Order, Bujilli has summoned forth his father, Lyhydris, intending to confront him once and for all...


Last Episode's Poll Results
6 votes total. 3 votes for 'Cast Shield and try to talk to his father.' 2 votes for 'Talk to his father first.' and 1 vote for 'Cast Confusion then attack.' There were also some excellent suggestions made in last episodes' comments section as well as 2 more FATE Cards drawn at random from the Deck of FATE by John Till from FATE SF: 'They Were Slow,' and 'Well Read.'

Bujilli shivered. Cold. Bloodied. Standing alone in a deep dark place. Only this time he was accompanied by a ghost. It was like so much of his childhood all over again. Even if his wounding was only superficial and by his own hand. This time.

He called out his father's name a second time.

Arcane Geometries swirled through weird sequences of no discernible order.

A third call.

It was working. He could feel it in his bones. Or was that his Counsel somehow letting him know the spell was effective? Did it matter?

He began to cast Shield. It was the accepted form, what most sorcerers would expect. Then he considered Zone of Normality, one of the spells he'd learned from the Gem of Muktra. He felt the loop of white hair around his finger. He wasn't alone in this dark place. Not really. Not this time.

Smiling, he cast Zone of Normality and remembered how he had felt in Wermspittle. Alongside her. Running across rooftops with his partner. Fighting beside the girl with the long white hair. Leeja.

He began to cast Shield, if only as a formality of sorts. Good manners. He got half-way.

"Who Dares!" roared a malevolent voice.

The geometries flickered. Locked down into a spiral of overlapping triangles that blurred into a circle of green light.

A figure stood at the heart of the circle. A grim silhouette. Bujilli thought he'd be taller.

The light shifted from crisp light green to wavering deep violet.

"I am Bujilli. I called you here. Father." He had trouble not spitting in disgust from the foul taste of the word.

"Not without help. Not without goading." Accused the dark figure of Lyhydris.

"That is beside the point--"

"That is precisely the point! Why else would I have answered your summons?"

"You would have summoned me, sooner or later, if I had not acted first--"

"Your Uncle does you no favors my son--"

"Who are you to call me son?" Bujilli spat in anger.

"Do you have another father? I think not."

"I'd rather be an orphan that your son.."

"And yet you summoned me here. Why?"

"My Uncle said--"

"That lying sack of dung. And has he told you how he infected your mother with a hateful mold and sent her to kill me on my last night among her people?"

"What? What are you saying? You killed her. I know you did. You can't deny it--"

"Of course I killed her. She was no longer truly herself any longer. Her mind was driven from her body. The mold controlled her flesh. It acted under your Uncle's orders. I destroyed the corrupted shell. Released her from her torment."

"But..."

"You're surprised. Shocked even. Obviously your Uncle intended for you to be so full of righteous indignation, so blinded by long nurtured hatred and anger that you would strike out at me before we might talk. That's how he works. Clever, conniving bastard. He killed the woman I loved, the woman who gave you birth, even as you blame me for her death, if not more so."

"I..."

"This is no quarrel for us. Unless you would persist in your ignorance and blame me for what had to be done. Would you rather I had allowed your mother to persist as a slave of the mold, a puppet in service to your Uncle?"

"No. But how do I know you are telling the truth?"

"I could tell you to examine your own heart or some gnoph-shit like that of course, but I won't. Have you some spell in your repertoire that will allow you to verify my veracity in this matter?"

Bujilli nodded. He'd read through every one of his Uncle's grimoires that he'd been able to sneak out from under the old sorcerer. For a neglected and abused child, Bujilli was surprisingly well-read, especially in terms of sorcery. He knew a spell that ought to work. He cast ESP (LL, p. 31). He looked across the dim Chamber of Summoning at his father's dark form and peered deep into the man's thoughts. Down to the core where emotions seethed and tossed like a turbulent black sun. He spoke truthfully, but the reality of his sorrow over the loss of his dear Yllorria was overwhelming, a wound that affected him deeply, that he carried out of guilt and regret. Regret. Shame. Remorse. He could see his father's long held belief that their son was dead. Murdered by Ylloria's brother. Then the connection was severed. There was only so much of this sort of thing any man can bear.

They both stood in silence. Each having looked deeply into the other's mind, heart, soul.

"I knew I couldn't rely on the brat. Ahtrishka warned me not to trust to his anger. He's always been a disappointment to me. Weak. Like his mother."

Three green tendrils of smoky non-light struck the ghost of the Grandmaster. Bujilli felt the ghost's screams as the spell unraveled the layers of its auric shells, stripped it of it's last vestiges of identity. It was gone. Destroyed. The spell left a lingering bitterness in the air behind it.

A dozen or more Yeren corpses shuffled into the Chamber behind Bujilli's Uncle. Each glared at Bujilli through green-lit eyes and gnashed their yellow teeth in rigidly restrained anger. His Uncle's influence was unmistakable. Pieces of a puzzle clicked into place. Dozens of encounters with unnatural tings, shambling masses, lesser demons and worse all took on a very different character. The words of the Lichipede* slithered across his mind one last time: 'Stupid little puppet.'

"You were the one who commanded the Yeren..."

"That'd be pretty obvious wouldn't it? Half-wit." His Uncle spit on the floor in disgust. It felt weird to see that gesture being done in front of him for a change.

He needed a new way to display his disgust.

"You dug up my mother's corpse. Gave her body over to that demon-bitch."

"Yes, yes, yes; a thousand times yes and so fucking what about it pup?"

"You bastard!"

"Yawn. Get over yourself you sentimental tyke. I've done all that you say and more, far more and much worse besides. So what?" His Uncle clutched his pot belly and laughed at Bujilli. His eyes radiated a deep resentment, a smoldering hatred he'd been forced to hold back for too damn long and now and this was his chance to end things once and for all. The old Almas was finally revealing his true feelings once and for all.

Bujilli could feel his stomach twist in disgust. All his life he'd been raised to be his Uncle's pawn. A twisted reflection of the vile old Alma's own self loathing.

"Release me. I would settle our score--"

"No. He's mine."



Roll 1d6 for initiative. (Labyrinth Lord, p. 50)

You Decide what Bujilli does next:

What Does Bujilli Do Next?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

* From the short story: 'Purple Wrath', to be available shortly.

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, October 30, 2013

October 30...Where Are Those Martians?


In case of invasion, click the war-machine above.
Transmission ends---

Werm-Riddled Manuscripts (Wermspittle)

There was a formula—a sort of list of things to say and do—which I recognised as something black and forbidden; something which I had read of before in furtive paragraphs of mixed abhorrence and fascination penned by those strange ancient delvers into the universe’s guarded secrets whose decaying texts I loved to absorb. It was a key—a guide—to certain gateways and transitions of which mystics have dreamed and whispered since the race was young, and which lead to freedoms and discoveries beyond the three dimensions and realms of life and matter that we know. Not for centuries had any man recalled its vital substance or known where to find it, but this book was very old indeed. No printing-press, but the hand of some half-crazed monk, had traced these ominous Latin phrases in uncials of awesome antiquity.
by H. P. Lovecraft

(10) Werm-Riddled Manuscripts: Probably Forbidden, Mostly Nameless and Otherwise Suspiciously Cheap...
  1. Torn and smelly, this wad of crumbling old ages is secured into a messy sheaf by a rusty pin that has been driven through the entire stack of pages as though by a hammer or lump of dense rock. None of the pages are in consecutive order and whatever sequence seems to be in effect changes from reading to reading. The thing self-randomizes, switching languages even as it takes on a different page order, even the number of pages tends to change. It costs the permanent sacrifice of one 4th Level spell slot to read this manuscript all the way through in one evening, and doing so prematurely ages the reader by 4d10 years. What the reader gains...is the ability to claim one randomly determined spell in their personal repertoire as an At Will Ability that can be used as many times in a given 26-hour period as they have levels as a spell-caster.
  2. Forty-three blank pages of high-quality paper all clipped together and affixed with a note written in blood-stained Garadic script, very neatly penned with a crisp nib. The note references Thumallian's Third Trance-State. Apparently, if the reader attempts to read this manuscript while in this particular trance-state, it will reveal its secret text.
  3. Sixty-seven pages torn from a madman's diary or personal journal.  Each one contains the same sequence of tight, spidery non-letters that sprawl across the page in a most disturbing, unsavory manner. The curious script employed in this manuscript cannot be read by a rational mind. One must be mad in the first place in order to decipher the thing.
  4. Five neatly-folded comics sections taken from a newspaper over a hundred years out of date. The paper is yellowing from more than just aging badly. Wrapped-up in those comics is an editorial section written in one of the most vile forms of Yellow Journalism. The very paper itself is saturated in the effluent left-over from the production of Yellow Wallpaper. This is highly toxic stuff, gone even more rancid and pernicious with age.
    [Reading/handling the crumbling Comics Pages require a Save at -1, failure inflicts Confusion on the reader for the next 3d6 hours. Success halves the duration. Examination of the Editorial Section requires a Save at -4, failure instills a very visceral -4 Charisma reaction against all members of a particular ethnic or political group. Success imprints the victim with a -2 Reaction Modifier against two such groups. In either case, the reader's hands are permanently stained a distinct yellowish tint, they are more prone to experiencing a distracting sort of melancholy when exposed to anything political (Save or 'lose' 1d10 minutes in a distracted state, unless engaged in vigorous activity), and they suffer a permanent -1 penalty on all Saves in relation to all White Powder derivatives.]
  5. An old broadsheet advertising Doktor Malinkorov's Marvelous Medicinal Mortifactant. On the back someone has carefully illustrated all the steps required to fashion a set of Illudrian bone-lamellar armor, including how to properly attune the rig to various spectra of necromantic energies that Nagrothean Censors tend to expurgate from all modern texts.
  6. Twenty-Six Hundred cardamom-scented foolscap pages packed into a heavy cardboard box reinforced with thin metal bands. Each page is densely scribbled upon and most who look upon these translucent pages for the first time are tempted to pass them over as meaningless. Those who persist in their examination go on to discover that each page contains a single self-contained statement drawn-out in one continuous line.
    [Upon initial examination, roll an Attribute Check against INT; need to succeed to go any further. Each set of 1d20 pages examined after a successful INT check grants the reader a cumulative 1% bonus to comprehend the secrets embedded in these labyrinth-like pages. The reader may attempt to comprehend the manuscript any time they like, rolling a D% and adding-on whatever bonus they've accumulated. Success means that they are now immune to the effects of the Maze spell. Failure means that they've been trapped within the manuscript itself for as many days as they have INT. Each day trapped within the manuscript costs them 1d12 months of aging. Once a reader has failed to comprehend this manuscript, further study is considered pointless. However there are hints whispered between certain book-sellers and librarians and those who seek after strange secrets that if one were to persist to the very end that there indeed are deep secrets buried in this manuscript. Whether or not there actually are, remains a matter of speculation. At least until someone conclusively makes it through the entire thing successfully.]
  7. Nine black pages edged with gold. The first three are empty. Wiped clean by tears. Do you dare to read the fourth page to find out why?
  8. Mold-stained and horribly creased, this manuscript has been stuffed into a rotten canvas courier bag for several years. Only thirty-five pages remain in the bag. The rest have been lost. There is no index, no table of contents, no title page. Half the pages are illegible. What remains appear to be diagrams and formulae for attracting the attentions of some sort of extra-dimensional form of sentient mold. Each page that gets handled inflicts a cumulative -1 penalty on the reader's Save against being poisoned. The mold on these pages will require a fresh Save after every 1d4 pages examined. Should the reader fail their Save, the mold spreads into their skin. Or rather under their skin. This mold isn't particularly sentient, at least not yet, but now that someone has volunteered to be its host, it will slowly devour their INT and WIS and CHAR until it achieves a cold, cruel form of consciousness that will replace everything they lose to the process.
    [This is no simple parasite. It is a symbiotic organism. One that gives as good as it gets, if not better. The victim feels no pain from the process whatsoever. If anything they feel more clear-headed and awake than ever before in their life, even gaining a +1 bonus to all INT & WIS checks, and Immunity to all forms of illusion, charms and hypnosis. The mold integrates itself into the host's flesh, eventually replacing their entire skin and giving them a very distinctive appearance, one apprentice has described as being akin to "...a waxy coating over mottled patches of lint, ashes and chalk dust." Each week from the moment of infection, the host must make a Save, failure meaning that they suffer a loss of 1 CHAR point, success causes them 1d4 damage and intermittent but intense vertigo that somehow only strikes whenever they attempt to cast a spell or try to read. Upon reaching a CHAR score of 3, the host's mind, brain and body have been completely consumed, they get to re-roll all their stats and begin life as a new being. It is unclear whether their soul survives this transformation, or if it is somehow destroyed, displaced or simply replaced. The new entity that is produced by this process does seem to possess a soul, but it is definitely not the original host's, that much was proven in a battery of experiments conducted by Franidar, Murleff and Clevong under the aegis of the Grenavior Occupation. Unfortunately, most of their records were subsequently lost in the course of their trial for war crimes.]
  9. Sixteen feet of coarsely-knotted rough twine securely holds together a stack of rough-edged sheets of pressed yellow-green seaweed, block-printed with a range of grotesque trapezoidal glyphs unlike anything most bibliophiles are ever likely to see in the waking world. The ink is thick upon the fibrous pages. Redolent of Purple Amber. The glyphs are generally indecipherable as they are not rational constructs, but rather a complex cluster of praeterhuman oneiro-tactile intuition-stimulae with a tendency to unlock deeply repressed memories and long suppressed trauma in those who brood upon them for more than a few minutes quick glance. The glyphs have been bound into the loose pages of this manuscript well past their tolerance for such things. They desire to be set free. Will you release them?
  10. One Hundred pages of poor quality typewriter-paper wrapped-up in the entrails of three large toads. The whole thing reeks of burnt flesh -- the typewriter ribbon used for this manuscript was derived from Black Smoke. Roughly a third of the pages have been ruined by exposure to water. What remains is a first-person account of the siege of Tarlonna composed by a Morlock combat-engineer who lost more than just their left arm at that historic battle. Perusing these pages will require experience with a great deal of intellectually opaque Morlock military slang, hence why the seven publishers it was submitted to all rejected it out of hand. The rejection slips are interspersed randomly through the manuscript as bookmarks denoting sections requiring extra attention, editing and revision.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Distracting and Disturbing Sounds (Wermspittle)

I
was pretty well accustomed in my Jermyn Street chambers to passing sounds; usually I did not concern myself, sleeping or waking, with the doings, however noisy, of my neighbours. But this noise was too continuous, too insistent, too imperative to be ignored. There was some active intelligence behind that ceaseless sound; and some stress or need behind the intelligence. I was not altogether selfish, and at the thought of someone's need I was, without premeditation, out of bed...
The Jewel of the Seven Stars, by Bram Stoker
(1912 edition, available via the official Bram Stoker site.)

What Was That Sound?
  1. A dull, ticking noise echoes softly, yet monotonously from beneath the floorboards. This time it's (2d4) Deathwatch Beetles. You were expecting something else perhaps? Live specimens can be bartered to Nagrothean Refugees for various illicit ointments and contraband salves. Do you think that they eat them?
  2. The severed hand of a poet scratches out the verses of an obscure sonnet in Old Cazigillian. Thirty-Six lines. Repeated, repeated, and repeated again and again. Each letter formed one after another, smeared with necrotic debris and infused with a palpable sense of lingering anguish. The particular dialect used is particularly troublesome to translate, even for an accomplished academic. One line will render itself more clearly sensible with a modest effort: 'Let the dead past bury itself!'
  3. Voices. Garbled and garrulous. They urge you to extinguish your lights before someone sees you. 'Hurry you fools. They're coming.' Then nothing.
  4. A tap, tap, tapping in the night, as though someone were rap, rap, rapping on a window, followed with the flash and over-loud 'BANG!' of a blunderbuss. You're not sure whether you heard a squawk just prior to the incident, but it is quiet now. Very quiet indeed.
  5. (1d4) Schrillers have clustered along the eaves of an abandoned property. Their horrid calls weft and wend their way past the waxed-up gaps in storm-windows and most other domestic precautions to torment sleepers with restless insomnia.
  6. Somewhere overhead a Harpy screeches in frustration as it is forced from its comfortable perch.
  7. The faded echoes of a lunatic's ravings can still be heard, if you know which alley to go to and listen for them. One of the younger Street Urchins will lead you to the alley in question, for a small consideration. Perhaps it's just some cohort of the would-be guide that's making the noises in order to pique the interest of the gullible. However, when you find the body of another Street Urchin sprawled across the rubbish piled-up along the side of the alley, you begin to wonder. Have they been murdered? Or are they suffering from 'The Gurgles?'
  8. Crumbling, tumbling stones, or broken brick? Sifting, shifting, a long, low creaking shivers through the walls and floors. You feel the tremor, more and more clearly with each passing breath; the roof is collapsing!
  9. (1d6) Caco-Zombies thrash and smash, lash and gnash wildly, madly, obscenely in dozens of languages. Each one argues vehemently with the other voices spilling from its twisted and decaying lips. Not one of them can agree on a course of action. Perhaps, with luck, they will remain so involved until the Sewer Militia can arrive and take care of them properly.
  10. Some blasted idiot is playing a medley of distinctively discordant folk tunes from Ullijoz on what one suspects can only be the traditional femurbone flute.
  11. Wet, slurping noises seep upwards through the floor-boards as a Corpuscular Sludge oozes into the someone's room. Did the occupant wake in time to escape? Are they calling for help? Or is it their screams that you hear now?
  12. Sniveling. It just keeps on. Just on the very edge of perception. It might as well be wordless for all that you can understand of it. But the tone. The very timbre and quality of the seemingly endless whining right at the threshold of your hearing is really getting on your nerves. Everyone else claims that they can't hear anything of the sort. But you know better. It's not all in your head. Somebody, somewhere out there is sniveling plaintively and pathetically and it is driving you mad. Maybe that's what your so-called friends want. Maybe they're all in this together. Lying about not hearing the whining. Trying to get you to crack up. That's it. You're certain now. They're trying to make you think that you're crazy. But why? What are they trying to get from you? Revenge for something you've forgotten? Perhaps they're just jealous. Whatever it is, you need to figure it out and do something before they succeed in driving you out of your mind with this unrelenting noise they all claim not to hear.
  13. A terrible, long drawn-out fart shudders and rattles out from the broken windows of a nearby cellar. Quickly, everyone in the immediate area extinguish all open flames and the call goes out for the Sewer Militia. A plucky one-eyed vagrant, just a child really, scurries out from another cellar window and jabbers at anyone who will listen to her: 'Gobb-gobb. Gobb-gobb.' Her lank, dirty hair reeks of Red Weed. You can tell from the off-kilter cut of her colorfully dyed clothes and tiny brass bells stitched into her too-long scarf that she's most likely another refugee from Xalmicar. Most by-standers ignore the girl and her idiot pantomime until an old man tries to force open the outside door to the cellar. It collapses on top of him and his screams are cut short by a massive surge of foul-smelling flesh rolling out of the cellar. It's a Type IV Gobbling Grout. A big one.
  14. The locals have been complaining about strange lights and some clumsy bastard plinking away on a badly tuned harpsichord in the boarded-up ruins of an old bordello. The one where the antique chandelier fell onto a huge party of revelers three or four years ago last Spring. Whomever they are, they play the same handful of bawdy tunes, very badly, over again and again, for hours on end. The Street Patrol along this stretch have taken to referring to it as 'The Phantom.' It's a nuisance, but so far no one has offered enough of a reward to make it worthwhile for anyone to go in after the Phantom. Especially since some of the locals are afraid it may well be some sort of demented geist or restless spirit haunting the place, and no one wants to attract the (expensive) attention of a zealot or karcist; they tend to be bad for business, especially when they tarry overlong in a place and start to get all preachy or demanding tithes and extorting payments for 'ongoing spiritual protection.'
  15. The Bells are ringing. Someone nearby seems to think that there's an army out there. No one is sure which army. Nor if it's a real siege battalion or just another group of half-starved soldiers cut-off from the front-lines and wandering about lost. Someone else is certain that it's a long over-due caravan, the one their daughter is riding with from out of Lesser Balzin. Another man grows increasingly hysterical and begins to run about wildly, screaming about a fire no one sees. People let him go. Maybe he's right.
  16. (4d4) Feral Children in torn and ragged cast-off clothes scavenged from unguarded clotheslines and elsewhere are bickering and wrestling over some sort of carved wooden box. There are at least two distinct factions involved in this dispute. One group follows the commands the black-haired girl who carries a rotting pig's head skewered upon a Jelzian bayonet. She is opposed by a Yellow Kid who claims to have discovered the box while scrounging through the attic of a nearby Unclaimed Property. The box reeks of old magic. It contains the still-beating heart of a Terrible Old Man whom no one remembers any more*.
  17. Scraping noises shiver up from below. Muffled voices mutter and swear in a coarse jargon most people would recognize as Morlock Ditch-Cant. Another tunnel? Here? Is that a good idea?
  18. A high-pitched screech. Three rapid shots taken in desperation. Some one falls to the street yelling for someone to grab their hand damn it. A meaty thud. Another screech--cut short by an over-charged gonne. Fragments of what used to be a gargoyle rain down across two roofs, clanking and pinging as they bounce off of the eaves and clatter onto the cobbles of the street below. Amateurs.
  19. Voices. Arguing. Heated and vociferous. Excessively foul language punctuated by terrifying, gurgly screams. You're not the only one to hear the noise and come out to investigate. The sounds only get louder as you pursue their source. Some moron caged-up a blatherer in the downstairs privy. It isn't funny.
  20. >POP!< The noise-ward fails. A herd of red-speckled black penguins panics, breaking loose from their rickety pens in a local attic. The plump birds stampede down the stairs of a half-vacant boarding house, leaving the stairs a slippery mess of trampled bodies, feathers and bird shit. The teenager hired to watch the old Tsalalian blacksmith's unlicensed flock wakes up in the midst of this "penguingeddon" only to get carried downstairs and out into the street by the tumultuous tide of screeching, flapping, frightened birds who quickly scatter in every direction. Looks like practically everyone but the owners of the flock will be eating penguin tonight.


*Some of the local Old-Timers might recognize the box, but they're probably mistaken or lying. If you take it to Schroedinger & Cave, they will offer you 1,000 open-looped silver sestrii on the spot. Then they will call the Red Watch and immediately turn evidence against you for being involved with a notorious war criminal known only as 'The Vulture.'

Monday, October 28, 2013

Secret Spells of the Wizard-Frog

The nice people at Last Gasp have posted a wonderfully wicked six-armed Frog-Wizard as a gesture of appreciation and thanks to various other gameratin' and bloggeratin' folks that have been encouraging and supportive of their efforts, including us. It could be a relative of Tsthahoggua. We didn't ask. Wizard-Frogs can be sensitive about such things. In any case, you should click over and take a look. It's very cool.

Below are a few spells you might be able to acquire from a Hexapedal Wizard-Frog, should your characters ever get the opportunity to make the acquaintance of one.


1d8 Secret Wizard-Frog Spells

Arcane Adumbration
Level: 2
Duration: 6 Turns
Range: 0
The shapes of things to come are revealed in a flurry of sketchy outlines and faint images produced by this spell. The general default configuration is usually attuned to depict the classical symbol associated with any of the 4,200 Common Spells all Wizard-Frogs claim to know. Any competent caster can adjust the spell to instead give themselves some foreshadowing of relatively immediately impending events, but such rejiggering of things is left to the student as an exercise.

Bawd-Breath of Tsthathogguri-Malamala
Level: 6
Duration: 4 rounds + 1d4 rounds
Range: 30'
The caster exhales a pungent pink fog that quickly fills a thirty-foot radius. The vapors distort the senses of everyone caught up within their swirly sphere of effect, causing them to see everyone--and everything--within the pink haze as supremely beautiful, desirable and attractive. Victims can opt to Save against the effects of the pink vapors, but doing so either costs them 1 point of CHAR (permanent) or renders them sterile for 1d6 years, player's choice. This particular spell costs double.

Cloud of Tasty Flies
Level: 2
Duration: 6 Turns
Range: 120'
Flies, flies and more flies of every type, sort and hue swarm madly about the caster, providing a delicious repast for a famished Wizard-Frog. Lesser beings suffer 1d4 points of damage per turn  spent within the area of effect of the spell. Save for half damage.

Gestural Globs
Level: 2
Duration: 6 Turns
Range: 90'
The caster forms a small mass of dermal mucous in their middle-left hand. The mucous forms a thin, but pliable film that holds it together like a water balloon. With a single gesture, but a flick of the wrist, the globular mass is sent streaking out towards any target specified by the caster. Any creature under 4 HD must Save or suffocate as the gooey mucous infiltrates their mouth, nostrils and air passages. Those who make their Save do not suffocate, but instead have their movement reduced to half normal for the next 3d4 rounds. This mucous is alcohol-soluble. Some sources say it can be used in preparing a sort of absinthe-like concoction.

Jiggly Scribbles
Level: 3
Duration: 6 Turns
Range: 120'
With a few quick movements, the caster sketches out a series of swoopy, curvy lines and spirals that quickly takes on a sort of life all its own and rushes forth to swarm all over the designated target who must make a Save or become disoriented (60%) or immobilized from intense nausea and vomiting (40%). While under the effects of this spell, the victim must roll randomly to determine their target, should they attempt an attack.

Humble Murmurings
Level: 1
Duration: 6 Turns
Range: 10'
During the duration of this spell, the target cannot say anything negative about the caster, including cast any sort of damage-dealing spell. The victim is required to make a Save, failure means that they gain a -1 penalty on all Saves versus the caster's spells for the next 6 turns. A successful Save reduces the duration by half.

Pruscoorm's Palpitation
Level: 4
Duration: 12 Turns
Range: 120'
The victim sprouts a host of wriggling pink growths from randomly determined parts of their body. The writhing, fleshy growths are harmless, but distort the victim's bodily shape so much that armor, clothes, rings and the like no longer fit and must be removed or discarded. The victim will suffer 1 hit point of damage per item retained over the course of the spell, their movement is reduced to half, and all their attacks suffer a -2 penalty. Once the spell subsides, the victim must make a CHAR check or else retain some lingering sign of the pink pulpy bits that once deformed their frame. Again, they are harmless, and only have a mildly cosmetic effect, and require a slight adjustment in one's clothing.

Transmute Liquor
Level: 2
Duration: Instantaneous
Range: Touch
Caster transmutes a quantity (up to one gallon/every 3 levels) of one type of liquor into the same quantity of another form of liquor, as specified at the moment the spell is cast.

Those Aren't Worms...A Table for Wermspittle at Dungeon of Signs

The one-and-only Gus L. over at Dungeon of Signs has created a very special table for Wermspittle:

Those Aren't Worms!

It's a Frikkin' Great Table, packed with some really nightmarish things that fit all too well in Wermspittle, or perhaps in some other broken-down, disreputable town, city or enclave your local band of adventuring ne'er-do-wells frequent in-between bouts of burglarizing vacant temples and the obligatory grave-robbing so prevalent in most old school derived/influenced FRPGs.

His Geist Hosts are an absolutely perfect fit for Wermspittle, and some of those Angler Crabs might show up in our upcoming Cellar Inspector scenario at Con of the North this February...those are some seriously sneaky crustaceans! (But they're probably good eatin'...)

Thanks Gus! We love the table and will return the favor shortly.

What the Glandculler is Selling Today...

You might consider what they do a grotesque, even unpleasant profession. Many do. Most civilized nations have either banned or forbidden or outlawed the practice of their craft, the carrying out of their sordid trade. But that doesn't hold in Wermspittle. Here the Almas Glandcullers operate freely, competing with quacks, peddlers of patent medicines, faith healers, Midwives, herbalists and others of their ilk. They are regarded as little more than unsavory, even slightly barbaric folk-practitioners by the Surgeons and Physicians of the established Medical Profession. So long as they pay their annual tithe to the office of propriety, no one much cares what they do...


Fresh Glands For Sale
(Today Only! Tomorrow Might Be Different! For you--a special price!)
  1. Still squirming in the blue-tinted alcohol of its jar, it looks like a curdled lump of gristle. But the 'culler claims this gland will at least double your normal healing rate, especially from cuts, scrapes and scratches. [Roll 1d6: (1) gain 1d4 bonus hit points whenever magically healed. (2) gain 2 bonus hit points per level, for the life of the gland. (3) Regenerate 1 hit point every three hours. (4) All magical healing has double normal effect, however Harm/Cause Wounds spells inflict double damage. (5) Healing time cut in half, so long as you do not have White Powder in your system. If you use the stuff, you suffer a -4 penalty on Saves against becoming a Loathsome Mass. (6) You re-gain hit points at double the normal rate, just like the hairy lady said.]
  2. Three tightly-wound loops of semi-translucent material suspended in a clear fluid that reeks of onions. Once expertly implanted just below your liver, this gland will enable you to digest nearly anything organic. Except onions. You can never eat onions ever again, unless you want to suffer explosive dysentery for the next 1d4 hours.
  3. Bright red disc of rubbery tissue with six ribbed tubes projecting from the edges. It is smaller than your thumbnail. They say it will render you immune to vampirism as well as transform your blood into a self-renewing Cure Light Wounds potion...that you'll need to take damage to make available to anyone else. You're good for 1d4 doses before you pass out and it takes about 3 days to regain enough vitality to produce one more dose. Drinking curative potions will tend to make you drunk, but don't heal you any more. Drinking your own blood will make you vomit and not grant you any healing.
  4. Silvery on top, gnarly yellow with reddish-brown streaks on the bottom, this fluke-like thing was taken from the body of a still-living Blatherer and will grant the recipient the gift of a peculiar form of magical glossolalia. You'll be able to speak in any language you hear, but will not necessarily understand it, and each time you attempt to use this ability, you'll need to make a Save or else begin to blab away uncontrollably for the next 3d4 minutes. Every time you fail this Save, add another 1d4 minutes to the duration.
  5. A small violet lens surrounded by a cloud of milky green fluid. Once implanted near your pineal gland, it will grant you one or more unique new senses such as seeing invisible things, looking into other planes, etc. Thankfully, the gland-culler can insert this into you via one of your eye-sockets, rather painlessly. Though they do recommend using an anesthetic, just in case. [Roll 1d6: (1) Gain See Invisible 3x times a day. (2) Gain Clairvoyance once per day. (3) Gain Read Languages as a permanent effect, but lose the ability to speak any language learned in this manner. (4) You can see the aura around enchanted objects as with Detect Magic, but only in the dark and then you lose normal sight for 1d4 minutes. (5) You now have Infravision. If you already had it, now it is for double the usual range. You also can't abide looking at torches or open flames and now must make a Save or suffer temporary blindness and disorientation for 2d6 minutes. (6) You can peer into other planes as though under a limited form of Contact Other Plane spell. You can see glimpses of otherwhens and otherwheres, but you do not automatically have any sort of rapport through which to make inquiries. It may be possible to attempt to contact entities observed in this manner, however anything you can see, can see you. The chances for insanity are doubled.]
  6. A shapeless yellowish glob of what looks like veiny fat kept in a vinegar and sugar-water solution. This little non-jewel will grant you a bonus of +1 to your CON score, for the life of the gland. Every time you suffer more than ten points of damage or make a CON check, you must also make a Save or the gland goes inert. In the case that this gland does go inert, it will remain within the recipient's body as a harmless lump until such time as they are again subject to a shock or other injury that forces another CON check, at which time another Save is attempted and if successful the gland goes back to work again as if nothing happened.
  7. Wriggling and worm-like, this very fresh gland will give its new owner immunity to all known parasites. They still inflict damage, but cannot survive in your body. 
  8. Rugose russet rhomboid, once it's yours, you'll only ever require 1d4 hours of sleep in a given 3-day period. You'll also gain a resistance against magical forms of involuntary somnolence. Too bad about the dreams, but you can't have everything. [You regain spells and heal normally, however, if you do not voluntarily go to sleep for the rolled amount of hours within the prescribed period, you must Save (-4 penalty) or fall into a deep, coma-like state and cannot be awakened during this slumber. The dreams you experience while trapped within this state are beyond your ability to communicate and you must make a Save upon waking, failure means you've lost another point of Wisdom. Removing the gland will cause a permanent loss of 2d4 Wisdom, though it may be possible to modify or transform the gland. Unfortunately such a thing is beyond the scale and scope of this gland-peddler's powers. Perhaps they know of someone with the requisite skill and expertise?]
  9. Looking like a piece of chewed rawhide, this gland doesn't inspire much confidence in the dealer's prattle, however if it is properly inserted into the sinuses, this little flap of tissue will give you an uncanny sense of direction and the ability to sense Ley-Lines.
  10. Wadded-up like a piece of lint, this gray mass is supposed to grant you the petrifying glare of a basilisk, according to the label on its jar. It needs to be placed into your brain. The dealer recommends trepanation, unless you have a better suggestion. Once lodged firmly in your brain, the gland takes 1d4 weeks to heal and integrate itself into things. Recipient must make a Save once per week during the course of their convalescence. Failure means the gland reverts to inert stone, inflicting 2d4 damage and then slowly dissolving away over the course of the next 2d6 months. Successfully integrating the basilisk gland allows the recipient to use a basilisk's gaze attack once per day, with all the usual caveats and restrictions normally applied to all typical basilisks and with the additional side effect that each use requires them to make a Save each time they use this gaze attack, failure rendering their own eyes into inert globes of stone.
  11. A wide array of carefully removed and extremely well-preserved poison glands from a wide range of centipedes, spiders, serpents, and the like. It is an impressive display. And they are all very modestly priced. The only catch is that the glands alone aren't all that useful without an appropriate delivery mechanism, some sort of specialized fang or whatever. The dealer cannot offer such things, due to the limitations of their license. However they might be able to suggest a competent back-alley surgeon or even a prosthetic-maker, and there are rumors that there are grafters among some of the Refugee communities who do this sort of work, if you know how to find them.
  12. Giant spider spinnerets. They're easy enough to stitch into you, but getting them to work can be a bit of a process. Where you'll put them isn't as important as how they seem to affect your appetite, your behavior, and the skin surrounding them. It's not that the things are turning you into a spider, not so much, really. It's more a matter of the spider becoming a part of you. How much and how far this all goes is best handled on a case-by-case basis. If you do get them to work, the glands will produce silk, so they may come in handy...
  13. Bulbous blue billowy thing fluctuating dimly within a green-tinted beer bottle. This little beauty will grant the recipient the ability to cast spells where they otherwise lacked the ability. The dealer is unsure what it might do for someone already able to cast spells, but for a price you can find out, if you like.
  14. It looks like a torn jellyfish. The Almas claims that it will give you enhanced nightvision if it is placed behind one of your eyes. Of course, there only being one of the things currently available, you'll only have nightvision in one eye. They'll throw-in a hand-embroidered eye-patch for free.
  15. Snarled-up threads of metallic blue and green dangle sluggishly in a jar of fermented and clarified yak butter. This is a rare gland taken from a Horla. Properly integrated into the recipient's endocrine system, it will allow them to become invisible every time they fail a Save. Every time. The effect lasts for an additional 1d6 minutes each instance. The effect is cumulative and runs the risk of becoming permanent once the duration reaches one hour, if the recipient fails one more Save...
  16. A wobbly mess of little purple spiral horn-like cones is alleged to grant you the ability to Detect Magic at will, and with some effort, it may be possible to unlock other arcane abilities...or so it is said.
  17. A pair of well-preserved scent-glands taken from a skunk. They can be implanted in the arm pits or groin, for best effect. You gain a skunk's spraying ability once every hour. You also must make a Reflex Save if surprised to avoid involuntarily spraying yourself.
  18. Sickly off-white mass that resembles some rice mushed into a blob of rancid butter. This gland will re-start the recipient's metabolism, plunging them into a form of secondary puberty during which time they grow larger, taller, heavier, stronger...becoming either an ogre or a hill giant, possibly something similar, depending on which one this gland is--the dealer has gotten them all mixed up. 
  19. A purplish blob with five lobes, this is supposed to grant you immunity to most poisons. You can never really be completely immune to toxins. Someone's always working on new forms of chemically assisted slaughter, and besides you wouldn't want to miss out on the fun of imbibing your favorite fermented or distilled beverages, would you? [Gain +2 on saves versus poison.]
  20. A tiny orangish cauliflower floating in stale absinthe. You won't feel a thing. No one will be able to hurt you ever again. At least not physically.[You become immune to pain, but also unable to sense anything by touch. You can ignore the first point of all damage you take, but you also suffer a -30% penalty on all thief skills like Pick Pockets. All wounds take half again as long to heal as normal, since you keep re-opening them because you cannot feel them. You also are more volatile emotionally and suffer a -2 to all Saves versus Charms, Fear, or other emotional/perceptual magics. Symbol of Pain causes actual damage, but you won't feel it.]

This is just a small sampling of the sorts of things available on any given day. There are many other options available, if one knows where to look and whom to ask

Pricing is, of course, all a matter of what the market will bear and how difficult a particular gland is to obtain.

Haggling is a way of life for these peddlers of illicit flesh. They will often barter, especially for other glands, organs and graftable tissues that they in turn can attempt to trade with grafters, surgeons or others of their ilk.

Freshness might also be a concern to the discriminating shopper, as sometimes an implanted gland goes bad (failed Save, failed CON check, however you like to verify such things), and sometimes the recipient's body proves uncooperative and rejects the thing. There are no refunds in such instances; that's your own damn fault.

Gland-Cullers will sometimes purchase glands and tissue samples from adventurers, but always at a steep discount. Many of them prefer to at least maintain the pretense of knowing the actual provenance of their wares, the rest just don't like to pay for what they can go collect on their own. If it's something truly special, something exotic, like say the adrenal glands of a war ape, the third white node from the brain of an Aegogur, or the like, a Gland-Culler can be extremely generous, after a fashion.


You might like to click over to FATE SF to see another approach to mixing and matching strange glands can be handled using the FATE rules...John's approach is much less icksome...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Irving Would Like to Thank You!

So far, 296 nice people have downloaded the 'Impressionable Young Shoggoth' Class/Race Option PDF for Labyrinth Lord from our Free Stuff folder at Box.

Likewise, there have been 239 downloads of Irving's Character Sheet pdf.
The PNG version doesn't seem to have been very useful, so we'll stick to PDFs for now.

Irving is now our Number Three most popular download, though Tomb of the Forgotten Toad People is neck-and-neck at 288 downloads so far. Not bad for the winner of an asinine adventure contest devoted to unspeakable randomness...back in 2011...when we were still working under the 'netherwerks' banner.


September Short Adventures: Set 1 has had 964 downloads. Sets 2 & 3 got misplaced, but we're recently re-found them, so they'll be available shortly. Set 1 is a series of mini-adventures for Mutant Future. Set 2 is a series of mini-adventures for Labyrinth Lord. Set 3 is a series of mini-misadventures for Swords & Wizardry. After Space Age Sorcery, this is our Number Two most popular download.

Now we just need to get some stuff uploaded to DrivethruRPG...

1970 and counting...

According to the little counter-thingy at Box, One Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy downloads of Space Age Sorcery have been made to date. That's quite a few more than we ever expected. Wow! Thanks to each and every one of you wonderful readers who've downloaded this gonzo little space-grimoire. We would very much like to do another Space Age Sorcery project in the near future, probably through RPGnow/DriveThruRPG, and most likely after the New Year.

Games We Enjoy

We've gone through a few changes over the last few years, but we're still plugging away, building stuff for the games we play and like. Here is a short list of the games we make things for, and that we are involved with in terms of hosting a campaign, running scenarios at conventions, or taking up the role of a player character from time to time.



Labyrinth Lord
We've been building resources for Labyrinth Lord for a few years now. We'll be running some Labyrinth Lord scenarios at Con of the North in February 2014, including a session devoted to the dauntless Cellar Inspectors of Wermspittle. The revised and expanded Zilgor's Repose, Grimoire Vol. I, and two different Bestiaries will all be Labyrinth Lord Compatible products that we hope to release soon. We'll post an Index of all our Labyrinth Lord posts in the next few days. We also plan on expanding things to include Advanced Edition Characters and possibly Realms of Crawling Chaos. Wermspittle is firmly rooted in Labyrinth Lord and the first supplement for this setting will be Labyrinth Lord Compatible.

Mutant Future
Our first set of September Short Adventures featured ten scenarios for Mutant Future. We also offer Pig in a Poke as a Mutant Future Scenario-Seed, several Monsters & Mutants such as the Rilligong and Synthetic Soldiers, and there will be more Mutant Future stuff coming in the weeks ahead.

Swords & Wizardry
We originally wrote-up a bunch of stuff for Swords & Wizardry (White Box), but have since moved on to Swords & Wizardry Complete. Our two Mini-Adventures from S&W Appreciation Day have been revised, edited and expanded into PDFs that will be released very soon. We're also going to be running some Swords & Wizardry adventures at Con of the North in February 2014. More details, including a revised Index of our S&W stuff will be posted to the blog as we get it all revamped and revised. A series of Mini-Adventures are in the works currently, each one taking place in, on or around the ruined necropolis and crumbling villages squatting along the fringes of that region known as the Gravelands. In addition, the Space Age Sorcery sourcebooks are powered by Swords & Wizardry.

FATE & FAE
Yes. We backed a Kickstarter. Our books are on the way, but we have the PDFs and we've been tinkering with some of this newfangled stuff and we like what this system brings out in our stuff...
(It's all John's Fault.)

Isophasmic Light
Incredibly compact set of ultra-flexible rules from Porky. A complete re-think of what rules need to be, and an intriguing system that just simply invites collaboration and improvisation from the beginning.

Rogue Space RPG
Fenway's rules-light Skirmish-level SciFi RPG. You can find our Index HERE. You can download a version of the rules at the RogueSpace Blog. Our first adventure for Rogue Space is going back into revision and editing, we expect it will be available in the new and improved format after the first of the year.


We are also considering one or two more games to add to the mix. You can see our working list HERE.


Currently In Limbo

Humanspace Empires
The Drune's mash-up of EPT and Mutant Future. Amazing Swords & Planet Adventures in a universe inspired by the work of Prof. M. A. R. Barker, only this time things take place prior to the disappearance of over 700 worlds into pocket universes. You can find our Index HERE. The Play-Test version of the rules remain available for download HERE.

Games We're Considering

There are a LOT of new and classic RPGs out there. More pop up all the time. this is where we will keep track of the games that sound interesting to us. With luck we'll get an opportunity to try some of these games out in the days and months ahead. Then we'll see where things go from there. 

Games We're Currently Considering...

Ambition & Avarice
Created by Chubby Funster, the game designer responsible for Cascade Failure and several other games, supplements and resources, all of which are of the highest quality. This game is currently available as a softcover & PDF bundle for $12.42.
From the Description text at DriveThruRPG:
"The entire package is designed to allow quick character generation and presented in a format that is clear and easy to read. The text is packed with explanations of not just the rules, but the reasons behind the rules. It is an ideal choice to hand to a new player who is looking to get into the great game, but turned away by thick rulebooks with byzantine organization. The adventuring mechanics are also OSR compatible and allow easy integration with a variety of old school campaign material. You can pick up this game, grab an old module, and get playing in a very short amount of time."

Beyond the Wall
This is another OSR-compatible, rules-lite rules-set, but this time the game focuses more on the coming-of-age type tales of Lloyd Alexander & Ursula K. LeGuin. That alone makes it interesting to us, but the added feature of the Playbook approach to character creation is simply brilliant. The game itself is $7.99 for the PDF via DriveThruRPG, no word when/if it'll be available in soft/hard cover. They also offer a few supplements, playbooks, adventures--there's plenty of free stuff to get you started. We're thinking about how to do up a few Playbooks for creating characters in Wermspittle...

Blood & Treasure
Another OSR-compatible rules-set, this time from M. John Stater of The Land of Nod. The Complete Game comes in three flavors: E-Book $11.99, Softcover $22.99, Hard cover $35.99. You can also get the rules broken-out into a Player's guide and a Game Master's guide, both available in all three formats. There is an official adventure, errata, supplemental materials and a growing community backing this game. This game combines the features of BECMI and 1st Ed. AD&D with a healthy infusion of newfangled stuff like Feats taken from the 3.x SRD and various Open Gaming Content. It sounds like a total rewrite and revision of 1st Ed. AD&D, but modernized to an extent, and that makes it sound potentially quite cool. We'll see...

Cthulhu Dark
All the rules you need for sanity-blasting Lovecraftian Malpractice and Misbehavior on one page of paper. Genius. Sheer insane genius. We have to do something with this one of these days...

DCC RPG
Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG from Goodman Games. One of most impressive RPGs to hit the shelves and invade the table-tops in recent memory. They were kind enough to mention our old blog in the appendix, for which we're very thankful. The system is full of tons of crunch, especially in terms of the spells & magic. We own a copy, but we haven't had the opportunity to test-drive this game just yet. The icosohedral mapping they use is a very cool alternative to the more top-down approach most of us use. This game has gotten a lot of folks to reconsider some cherished notions and try some new, weird stuff out and that's awesome. It might be fun to convert some of our critters over to DCC RPG...

Diaspora
A wonderfully light, yet thoroughly engaging approach to Traveller-style Hard SF gaming using FATE as the foundation. this game comes in a deceptively small seeming booklet, but it really packs a wallop. There are some amazingly cool sub-systems in this book, like Social Combat, for example. That section alone could become an intriguing and unique game unto itself. The approach that this game uses, having the group develop the setting as part of the game itself, is also very cool. There's a lot of great resources, ideas and tools packed into this book. We're looking at adapting some of the Diaspora Toolset for fleshing out one of our settings in particular.

FATE
We backed the Kickstarter. We have the PDFs. Our hardcopy books are on the way. This is an interesting system. We're still reading through the system and trying things out. Our friend John over at FATE SF has been very helpful in getting us up to speed with this newfangled system. It's a very different approach, another way to think about things we've taken for granted for years now, so this is all fairly new and shiny to us still. Hopefully, we'll get an opportunity to play this game at Con of the North, if not sooner. We'll probably start monkeying around with some FATE stuff on the blog sooner rather than later, possibly converting monsters over to FATE and things like that...

Heroes & Other Worlds
This is Fenway's "Love Note to The Fantasy Trip," and it looks great. We have been looking over our copy of H&OW here at the Hereticlair and hopefully we'll get to run this game one of these weekends. we're still putting together some Metagaming-style Counters (Sword-wielding Octopi!) and some new Paper Minis just for this game. One of our S&W Appreciation Day Mini-Adventures was adapted to H&OW but we haven't seen it yet. It's in an issue of The Cauldron, the official fanzine supporting H&OW.

Monsterparts
Attribute-less D&D where your characters are no younger than 7 and no older than 14...this seems like it might be a perfect fit for Wermspittle-style adventures, especially around Spring, when the children are sent off to the dubious protection of the fortified town up on its bluff overlooking the cursed and tainted Low Lands. The game itself is extremely simple, yet feels very atmospheric. We may just get a chance to try it out before Halloween...

Monsters & Magic
A modern, narrative-meets-OSR hybrid rules-set that promises to let you unlock all your old modules in completely new ways. The License for this system hasn't been made available yet, so we've held off getting too involved. The system sounds interesting, but we already have FATE and numerous other systems that are already out in the Open Gaming ecology. We'll see...

Renaissance
This is a bit of a departure for us--a D100 system--but in this case the rules-set is very well written and ripe for all sorts of development and tinkering, which we find very appealing. This grew out of Runequest and Clockwork & Cthulhu, so it has an impressive lineage. It also features a wide-open magic system that could be fleshed-out with all sorts of weird grimoires and strange rites just like in Wermspittle. We're tempted...

Renegade
Another Rosetta-Stone-type OSR revision of the World's Oldest & Most Popular RPG. It's wide-open, nicely done and it's available as a 'Pay What You Want' product via DriveThruRPG. The entire rules-set has been rewritten from the ground-up to make it as suitable and accessible to new gamers, especially young kids, as is humanly possible. This might be a good game to use for running games for a younger crowd, like at Conventions, possibly...but we're still very happy with Labyrinth Lord and Swords & Wizardry...so this remains a very tentative, very tenuous 'maybe,' someday...

Savage Worlds
Savage Worlds is a fairly robust game engine, with tons of possibilities, especially for Pulp-Style role playing. It also seems to have more life in it than say True 20. Just sayin'. Now that we're actively looking into FATE, this game might have to wait some more...

Tunnels & Trolls
A new edition is on the way and the old ones still work just fine. T&T is extremely well-suited to solo-play. We still have a small stack of old Solitaire Dungeons here, and we've always wanted to draft-up a few of our own...so maybe, what with the new edition and all, we'll take a swing at doing a T&T Solo-thingy. Maybe.

WaRP
Wanton RPG, the engine behind Over The Edge, which always looked cool, but we never got to try-out. This stripped-down system is built for full-contact surrealism and subversive violence at the table-top. It's an Open Game License system, and Trey has been pretty enthusiastic about it, so we're seriously considering it for a very special project...

X-Plorers
Old School D&D In Space. This is a great, light-weight RPG for ray-guns and reprobates. Very Pulp-esque, and wide open for development and tinkering, this game is just begging to be played. Jay over at Exonauts is quite an inspiration for adapting this game and making it even cooler than it was to begin with. We really need to finish our Space Dungeon...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Out Here in the Fields: Autumn Encounters (Wermspittle)

Vintage Ectograph from the 1129 Farmer's Almanac and Crop Concordance
(Published 1128, Old Brenn, Kalfaz. Under Imperial License from the Court at Avrigonne. Removed from sale by order of the Ministry of Censorship and Collective Hygiene. All copies are required to be burned under provision of Imperial Order 27, as stipulated by the Under-Secretary for Conformity and Comity. This order is, of course, in abeyance within the Contested, Disputed and Withdrawn Provinces, and therefore does not apply within Wermspittle.)

Autumn is a grim time in the Low Lands. Winter comes along much too fast to leave anything for the last minute and rare it is that any might get much sleep during the onset of Fall. Harvests must be brought in before the Killing Frosts, the hail or anything else can ruin things. Brewing begins in earnest, as does pickling, canning and every other form of putting up food for the long, dark winter. Hunters head out to the woods in heavily armed groups. The Lime Kilns are started. There is always much more work than there are hands to tend to it all. Bandits might be a nuisance, but they are a small matter compared to the horrific things that are coming with the long, cold nights when ice grips the land and the dead are not content to lie quietly in their graves. Any fool knows damned well that this is the time for all good men to lend a helping hand to one another, lest they all be overwhelmed before Spring.


Twenty Encounters in Low-Land Fields (Autumn)
  1. (3d6) Ractur are out on a raid of the local farmstead enclaves. So far they've lost six of their party. They've managed to 'steal' three gut-piles and a bucket of mushrooms someone left behind. They do not realize that a group of farm-kids are tracking them. Their mothers know several recipes for Ractur.
  2. A large group of children, still too young to be sent off to Wermspittle but not big enough to help with the more demanding tasks, have been sent out to collect firewood and fungi. Each child moves across the fields and through the small copses of trees quietly, almost furtively. They all carry short bows or slings, and knives. They would welcome the opportunity to bring home some game they were able to take down while gathering their wood and mushrooms. Horses are considered a delicacy in these parts.
  3. Twelve hunters, all over the age of thirty, each armed with stout forest bows, sturdy axes, hammers and clubs. They flushed out an Unseen Beast just a mile back and are tracking it. They will warn anyone they pass that the thing is wounded, but they will not waste day-light on strangers.
  4. A rag-tag caravan of Refugees from one of the closer Franzikaner outposts is making its way towards Wermspittle. They bear the black and sickly yellow-green banners of pox and plague. No one willingly has any business with these people. Anyone spotted dealing with them will be shunned as a potential carrier.
  5. A steaming furrow has been dug out from the fields, the track of some large cylindrical object that crashed here overnight. The cylinder is still incredibly hot. The three crew-members inside may be dead. Perhaps they were killed on impact. Perhaps.
  6. A burned-out farm-house. In the cellar is a Weak Point anchored by a strange bit of sorcerous geometry that has been burned into the dirt floor, linking it to some hot, fetid and terribly red place from which a small group of (3d4) Grunters have crossed over. The weird geometry appears to be collapsing in upon itself and the forced anchoring of the Weak Point is only temporary, unless the Grunters can do anything about it. Who would do this sort of thing? Was it some sort of experiment? Where is the spell-caster?
  7. (1d6) Bulbous violet and orange fungi sprout evilly from the ground. These are Crudiv spores. The milky liquid they exude is exceptionally toxic (-2 on Save), but they can be quite delicious if one knows how to prepare them. If left alone, they will spawn 1d4 Crudiv in the next hour or so. Note: normally, these spores are found underground. Someone has either maliciously or ignorantly transported the things here to an open field. If the colony takes root, it will begin to produce quite a few more Crudiv, making it a menace.
  8. (4d4) Farmers are repairing fences and setting heavy, sharpened stakes into pits and ditches all along the perimeter of their enclave. A group of children wearing goggles and wet cloths over their faces are pouring buckets of freshly-burned lime into the ditches and pits.
  9. Eleven children armed with bows, hand-axes and a few spears are following the tracks of a party of Ractur.
  10. A well-to-do gentleman in the torn remnants of a classic smoking jacket, grass-stained white shirt, dirty trousers, partly ripped vest and rather beat up slippers stumbles past. He is armed with a crowbar and six matches. He is in something of a hurry and somehow slips away, as though he were never really there at all. A careful examination of the ground near where he was spotted will reveal a brass lever with an ivory handle.
  11. (2d4) Sickly and mangy Almas driven down from their mountains by raiders who have burned their yurts and killed their elders. They are lost and wandering along the edges of settled areas looking for shelter. They have three times as many children with them as there are adults. Most of them are orphans. All of them are sick, hungry and growing increasingly desperate as the reality of their situation starts to hit home. The adults are poorly armed, mostly some make-shift clubs, a few tools, and a hunting bow or two. None of them has any armor, several are naked. The raiders took everything.
  12. (1d4) Violetics, recently escaped from a slaver they killed in a mutiny. They know nothing about this area, speak only a peculiar dialect of Zurian and are woefully unprepared for the cold weather. But they do still have their chains which they expect to use to defend themselves.
  13. Six merchants are trying to get their wagon unstuck from a very muddy rut in the so-called road. They are on their way out from Wermspittle to Old Brenn, if they can avoid the bandits and beat the first frost. One of the merchants is a host for Gore Worms and another is a rogue simulacrum of the Provincial Mayor, traveling incognito. The wagon is profoundly stuck and all the merchants have managed to do is get it stuck worse, fight amongst themselves, and dismiss their guards in a fit of foolishness. They are about to come to blows, if something doesn't happen, or someone intervenes. The wagon is loaded down with burlap-bound rolls of Yellow Wallpaper, three casks of Black Liquor, two hundred pounds of Hard Candy in plain white 3 ounce packets (stacked inside a set of nondescript cardboard boxes), and the larval form of an Ungezeifer packed carefully in another cask.
  14. Sixteen desperate men in Rahzik black half-cuirasses and scale-sewn leather long coats, each one wounded and filthy, ride along with heads hung low. The horses are nearly spent. They were cut off from their unit and have been wandering aimlessly for the last four days and nights. They've been trying to live off of the land, but the farm enclaves are too well defended and the hunters far too accurate with their bows and slings. 
  15. (3d6) Gleaners and Sharecroppers are making a last check of some of the outlying fields. They have three carts, laden with root vegetables and bundles of other crops that they've been able to collect after the 'real' harvest. These hardworking folk are the ones who do not own houses themselves. They are barely tolerated back in the enclave, but the food they bring back is very welcome.
  16. A random swarm: Consult the Swarm Table. Or perhaps it is a migrating group of black-banded head-taker beetles headed south for the winter.
  17. Three feral children. Each is armed with 2d4 random knives and assorted cutlery. One wears loose-fitting leather armor stuffed with old newspapers to get it to almost fit. They are carrying a bundled-up looking glass that some sorcerer used to trap a Zahj. They expect to get a rich reward for this thing from the Franzikaners or the Geremondry. Basically, they'll sell it to whomever makes them an offer they feel is good enough. Two of them have minor deformities, so they intend to return to Wermspittle to hire a surgeon to fix them. The third member of their group has no particular interest in going back.
  18. Back behind a copse of twisted trees is a Weak Point that opens into a vast field of churned-up gray mud under a ponderously dark and stormy sky. Cold water trickles out from the Weak Point, forming a muddy patch immediately surrounding it. Visibility is very poor on the other side, however there may be mountains quite a ways off in the distant North, assuming that is indeed the correct direction. It may be a Dead World. Or not. Want to find out?
  19. A large group of adolescent workers are hauling blocks of limestone back to be burned into lime at the kilns that their grandfathers have just gotten going again. Each of these young men are deformed in some fashion, sterile and marked by their having lingered too long in the Low Lands. Few of them will live past this winter and they know it.
  20. A pair of Barrow-Men lie dead along the side of the road. Each one has been shot in the back of the head with Dead Lead Shot. One of the corpses still clutches a small pouch or well-tanned Horla-hide that is invisible, as is whatever it contains. In this case it is a crumpled-up map showing what appears to be a barbershop along a twisty Low Street in Wermspittle. Whatever notes were scrawled on the thing are illegible, the graphite smeared and wiped off from rough handling. A careful examination gives the impression that the location this map is for might be somewhere near the White Sphinx.

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