Friday, November 28, 2014

Oh Frabjous Joy

Above is a photo of our dining room table right before we kicked-off our new game set in Wermspittle...or at least it begins in the vicinity of there. On the upper-left you can see the raw 'mark-up-at-will' copy of the map of the surrounding countryside. The more finished version was posted previously. Toward the middle along the top of the photo you can see most of the raw outline-map of the Cave where Joy went exploring for her very first adventure. We used one of the cave-maps I scribbled into a smaller Moleskine sketchbook a while back as part of a One Hour Challenge. We marked-up and filled-in the map as we played through the place and the fleshed-out version of the map will be included in tomorrow's post. Off to the right is a bottle of Schell's Snowstorm. Good stuff. In the middle are a bunch of dice, including the purple-green set we bought for running games at conventions, the infamous giant black d20 (a suitable counter-part to the very big ivory D20 we gave to Chirine a while back), a D30, A new-fangled 'hit location die,' we picked-up at The Source last summer and most of the crappy old dice that came in the old blue-box basic set that have managed to not get ripped-off after all these years...

All that plus pens, paper and imagination...and we were ready to get started.


First we determined Joy's Age. I gave Jody the option of either picking the age category, or rolling for it on the following table.


1. Very Young.
2-5. Adult.
6. Very Old.


Jody opted for Very Young (1), she then rolled 1d10 for her starting age. She rolled a 10. There are some other tables pertaining to age, but we'll skip them for now. Suffice it to say that Joy just barely avoided going to Wermspittle this year and most likely would get sent off next Spring, in order to avoid the perils and pitfalls of going through puberty in the Low Land regions where lingering toxins make that a horrible, or even sometimes fatal experience.

Since her character Joy would be starting their adventuring career at a Very Young age, this meant that Jody rolled 3d6 and discarded the lowest result for her initial stats. She has the ability to improve any of her stats by 1 point per 100XP up to three times, after which the costs goes up to 300XP and no ability can be raised past 18 unless there are some rather extraordinary circumstances, but that won't be anything to worry about right now.


Joy's Initial Stats: STR 6, DEX 10, CON 7 , INT 10, WIS 19*, CHR 6. Hit Points: 4


For Background Jody selected Odd and for her Heritage she took Mostly Human.

Being Odd gave her a Wisdom of 19 and granted her three special abilities; Intuitive Learning, ESP/Perception Manipulation, and Latent Spell-Casting Talent. Joy can learn new languages and skills very quickly, adjust her senses to suit her surroundings, and she has the capability to cast spells should she have the opportunity to learn any and we decided to handle spells in-game.

Being Mostly Human means that there might be some sort of blood-kinship between Joy's family and perhaps Eloi, Morlocks, Tsalalians, or some other group, but since she had not yet come into her powers, Jody opted to let things develop through play. She'll need to discover the truth about her Heritage in-game. We also discussed the general outline of her family and rolled for the number and type of siblings, relatives and the like. Spell-casting runs in the family, so that influenced some of the random tables I set-up for her such as the one for Books that might get found in the course of her exploring the now abandoned farmstead. Her mother may have left-behind one of her earlier grimoires for Joy to find.

She has not yet committed to a particular class and we'll handle that in-game as well. There are a lot of options for her to consider and she might find a mentor, enroll in formal training, or knock about a bit on her own until she figures out what she really wants to do. She begins with some skill in hunting, hiding and hitting things with her sling and not a lot else just yet; again this is being left open for development in the course of the first session or two of actual play. Oh, and we know that she is literate in at least one language, possibly more--she might find some handy resources in the course of investigating the old farmstead that affect how many and which languages she knows or can read.

So, with a fairly minimal outline of a character in-hand we jumped right into the first game session.

Joy started her first adventure with a suit of (light/hand-me-down) Leather Armor and a hunting bow, knife and sling. She went off to visit a Little Cave she had discovered on her family's property. It was a fine Summer day when she entered that cave...but Jody can tell you more about that when she posts her Actual Play Report tomorrow.



Joy in Wermspittle

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanks

We're taking Thanksgiving off. We hope all of you who celebrate today have a wonderful holiday and everyone else has an excellent day as well. We also want to say thanks for all you great people who've been very supportive of our efforts. We appreciate it!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Few Good Books for Joy

Joy could probably use a few good books...



Some Good Books
  1. Six heavily-annotated cook-books. All of them stiff-spined from not having been used in years.
  2. A picture-book demonstrating where the wild things are, what their dens look like, and how to read tracks, sign and spoor.
  3. A rolled-up poster depicting one hundred of the most common yet dangerous (or at least nuisance) forms of vermin.
  4. A Child's Winter Reader. All the things a good child needs to know not to fall prey to the wolves, mobs or biters when the cold times come back.
  5. Don't Let Them Get You. A child's book on how to hide and evade pursuit by nasty things including some good advice on avoiding Thumblings and fooling Todtenhilzig.
  6. A Guide to learning four basic spells: Protection From Bad Dreams, Scary-Face, Trudin's Little Raft, and Red Dart. (All are First-Level).

A Few Better Books and Documents of Interest
  1. Gram's personal herbal. Contains many remedies, recipes and instructions for curatives, purgatives, ointments, salves, and so on, including an extensive section on poisons and antidotes.
  2. Mulberry-paper scroll detailing your great-grandfather's pact with the Moss-folk.
  3. Discharge paper for some cousin who served as a corporal in the Sewer Militia nearly fifty years ago.
  4. A partial genealogy that hasn't been updated in thirty years.
  5. Green-Peter's Thoroughly Useful and Concise Compendium of Low-Land Lore.
  6. Pact-scroll for a clan of Jentil represented by 'Vagoo the Shaggy.' Counter-signed by every head of household for the last sixteen generations.
  7. Your mother's real cookbook. It's wrapped-up in a silk sack and was meant as going away present in the coming spring.
  8. Every Home's Handy Reference. A guide to basic to advanced carpentry, plumbing, fortifications, siegecraft, mining, and related disciplines aimed at the self-reliant farmer.
  9. Colonel Bob's Guide to Dueling, Debating and Dirty Tricks. A packet of letters, a friendly on-going correspondence between Colonel Bob and one of your uncles is bound in red thread and attached to the book. This was left for you by your uncle, just in case.
  10. Schiller's Guide to Trapping, including the section on Winter Ambushes that was left out of the revised edition.
  11. The first six books in the Little House on the Moors series, in Nagrothean. Each book has a secret spell that can only be learned by reading the whole thing at night, alone. The first spell grants the reader the ability to read Middle Nagrothean, which is necessary to read the rest of the series.
  12. Butcher's Red Book. Suited for use with all manner of beasts. There is something perversely fascinating about this book's incredibly detailed diagrams and the reader gains a +1 bonus to all damage they inflict with bladed weapons just from casually reading through the thing. The majority of the text is in Rotsprecht--Red Speech and will cause great discomfort and worse if one attempts to continue reading it without first undergoing the proper rituals.

Special Books, Papers and Such
  1. Jelly-Handler's Manual. Third edition, with copious notes in the margins.
  2. A set of A-B-Cs in six languages.
  3. Maps to the rat-warrens beneath Kalusha-vardo. Whomever made these used blood mixed with lamp-black as their ink.
  4. An out-of-date text-book on Modern Galvanics.
  5. Detailed instructions on how to assemble a fodder-golem.
  6. The middle-section of an old Low-Lander's Almanack with all the moon-sign tables for about thirty years ago.
  7. Mail-order catalog for scratch-paper and you know.
  8. Picture-Book of exotic animals lovingly inscribed by both your parents from your eighth birthday.
  9. A Child's Guide to Slumberland.
  10. Your mother's first grimoire from when she was your age containing 6 first-level spells and a variety of notes, recipes and observations that might be of interest or use.
  11. Tattered copy of an old Pruztian Folklore-Fieldbook (Drezdar, 1126) detailing various types of Little People known to dwell within the Low-Lands with special instruction on how best to kill each variety.
  12. A fish-bone scroll-tube containing a small translucent roll of material on which is inscribed the words to a charm meant to grant one free and fair passage over an Ianalei's bridge.


Joy in Wermspittle

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Beginning Armor and Weapons for Joy

First things first, Joy starts-out in her family's mostly abandoned Farm-house, a type of fortified manor-baserri in the Old South region of the Low-Lands. Before she goes anywhere, she'll want to sort out what armor and weapons she might want to claim...



Armor Options
  1. Leather armor. Waxed, with elaborate knot-work along seams. Wearer gains +1 to all Saves versus acids or other contact-damage substances. A pair of thin gloves and heavier mittens are attached to the sleeves on red cords. The hood can be pulled over to serve as short-term face-protection, but the breather-kit is missing.
  2. Bruthem-Hide cuirass (+2 to AC against all piercing/slashing attacks).
  3. Woodrunner Leather. Wearer gains 20% bonus to Move Silently and Hide in cover while in the woods, all year-round--the stuff changes with the seasons.
  4. Silk Cord Armor. Very lightweight. On a successful DEX check (gains +1 bonus), any attack not hitting on a natural 20 gets re-rolled. 
  5. Wicker and hive-paper apiary-armor. Wearer gains +4 to Reaction Rolls with Bees and related creatures as well as a +2 bonus to all Saves related to stings.
  6. Quill-reinforced ladies' field corset with razor-lace and six hooks for attaching a variety of skirts and the like. Three pairs of fish-scale gloves and a shield-parasol are included.
  7. Gram's old-fashioned fighting gown. Wearer gains ability to spend 1 hit point to effectively 'dodge' any attack that would otherwise score a hit so long as it was not a natural 19 or 20.
  8. Full-set of man-sized chain-mail in Jasqueni-style; octagonal links of iron-bound bronze. Heavy, won't respond if you can't address it properly.
  9. Crab-chitin and velvet armor. Wearer takes one less point of damage from all blunt attacks and can move freely in water. They also receive a +2 bonus to Reaction Rolls with aquatic/amphibious things.
  10. Morlock Scalp-and-Hide war-harness. Grants -4 on Reaction Rolls with all non-morlock humanoids. Spontaneously casts Dispel Magic once per day, but requires contact.
  11. Half-plate armor, custom-fitted to a young boy. The leather-bits are all rotted or crumbled into dust. The main torso-covering armor could be made to fit with some work.
  12. Reinforced Carpet armor. Exceptionally well-made suit all decked-out with a variety of tassels in a style that hasn't been popular in over a hundred years. It looks as good as it did the day it was purchased and seems to resist stains. Wearer gains +2 to all Saves involving Stains or similar unsightly blemishes. Prone to water-logging, all movement reduced to 1/4 normal if the suit becomes soaked or soggy.
  13. Bone-studded leather armor. Wearer gains +1 to Saves versus all immaterial attacks.
  14. Antique Gloomleather item.
  15. Lamplighter Armor. Wearer gains +2 to all Saves versus fire.
  16. Fishscale Leather. DEX bonus to AC is doubled.
  17. Badger-pelt armor. CON bonus doubled, suffer -2 to Reaction Rolls with woodland beasts.
  18. Blackened Leather Armor. Wearer gains +2 on Saves versus Black Smoke or other aerial/gaseous/miasmic attacks. Also grants +20% bonus to Hide in Shadows.
  19. Studded Leather. The inside is lined with three layers of wermsilk.
  20. Spider-Carapace Armor. Leather +1. Wearer moves through webs freely, but incurs a -2 on all Reaction Rolls with arachnids until they forge a proper pact.

Weapons
  1. Dozens of daggers, knives and assorted cutlery. (10% chance of finding something with a +1 bonus to hit or to damage for every half-hour spent sorting through it all.)
  2. Scores of Short Swords, the preferred weapon of choice for most of your family.
  3. Bastard Sword with half-basket hilt or a child's training flamberge.
  4. Short Bow. Composite, and rigged for winter-use. +1 to damage.
  5. Long Bow. Suffers no 'to hit' penalty out to extreme range despite weather, smoke, or other conditions.
  6. Hand-Axe. Well-balanced, can be thrown (+2 to hit) or used as a parrying weapon (all incoming attacks suffer -1 penalty to hit and damage). If used to bludgeon opponent the blunt-end does double subdual damage.
  7. Light Prod-style crossbow with thirty hand-made 'bullets,' and an assortment of stones. Yes, marbles will work as well.
  8. Short-hafted window-trident.
  9. A large random selection of spears, javelins and pole-arms. Name it, you'll find it in the stacks, piles, racks and so on.
  10. Slingshot. Dozens of varieties.
  11. Wire-garrotte loop-staff.
  12. Mooring pins, make-shift clubs, furniture legs, other bludgeons and spiked weapons. (30% chance of a Jentil spiked-club or a Basagun heavy morningstar.)
  13. Man-catcher. The left-tine sticks.
  14. Maces, hammers, military picks of all sorts, types and sizes.
  15. Hunting bows of all types.
  16. Caltrop-flinging sling with three dozen caltrops of varying sizes.
  17. Brass-plated Fighting Syringe.
  18. Puffer/Lobber. (Hollow tube fitted with air-bladder and bellows, used to loft clutches of small darts, needles, powders, fluid-filled sacs, etc.)
  19. Long Sword or Airship Cutlass in battered scabbard, neither look like much but inflict +2 bonus to damage, with normal chances to hit.
  20. Trench-Knife that has been in the family for generations.

Special (1d10)
  1. Jelly-Jabber. Spatulate spear with splash-guard meant for use against Jellies. Immobilizes all blobs on a natural 19 or 20 for 10 rounds. Jellies suffer -2 penalty to hit wielder.
  2. Climper. Beetle-shaped dagger with a bifurcated blade that snaps closed when triggered--this causes double damage, but the weapon remains attached to the victim and the wielder must then grapple or release the thing. It will inflict an automatic 1d4 damage per round for next 6 rounds unless it is removed prior--tearing it loose inflicts 3d4 damage. If you know the whistle command, it can be made to release without doing further damage.
  3. Rosgin's Petard. A relic left-over from one of your ancestor's brief stints in an engineering battalion. This bomb has six legs and will walk toward any designated target if you give it proper commands in Low Kaznik.
  4. Jory-Bottles. (2d4) heavy glass bottles fitted with strange assemblies of needles, tinsel and vanes. They explode causing 2d4 damage within a 20' radius per level of spell they capture.
  5. Long Rifle. Ivory-inlaid, with richly engraved barrel--a presentation piece given to your great grandsire for some heroic feat no one ever told you about. The rifle is extremely accurate (+4 to hit, out to extreme range), but not particularly powerful (inflicts 1d4+2). The case, powder horns, and other gear altogether make this a very valuable antique and perhaps some collector might make you an offer for it.
  6. Heavy Flail. Three-headed, each one a screaming gargoyle-figure. Once per day the wielder can command the figurines to attack an enemy out to medium distance. Each figurine can make up to three attacks as a three HD monster inflicting 1d4+2 damage per claw, then they revert back to bronzish figures. They remain chained together the entire time and if 'killed' they cannot be animated again for one week.
  7. Glass Scimitar. One any natural 20, the wielder gets an additional attack at +2 to hit. Yes, the effect stacks. If exposed to moonlight, the blade will become insubstantial for the next month.
  8. Kenril's Prodd. A goatsfoot-style Prodd-crossbow that is +1 to hit. Three times per day the weapon can cause any projectile fired from it to burst into gray flames causing double damage, triple versus all shades/shadows.
  9. Iron-Fist Hammer. Does 3d6 plus double STR bonus against all undead, otherwise it's a normal heavy war-hammer.
  10. Brace of three pistols with all necessary gear and ammunition. Taken off of the corpse of a bandit-chieftain by one of your uncles. If visible, will incur a -2 Reaction penalty with bandits. 


Joy in Wermspittle

Monday, November 24, 2014

What They Left Behind [Random Tables for Joy]

First things first, Joy starts-out in her family's mostly abandoned Farm-house, a type of fortified manor-baserri in the Old South region of the Low-Lands. Before she goes anywhere, there're three floors worth of rooms (not counting closets and pantries), the Attic, and the Root-Cellar to go explore and gather-up whatever gear, armor/weapons, or supplies she might want to take with her...



What They Left Behind (1d30)
  1. Assorted old knives, choppers, and poky-bits. Includes a few well-made daggers, filet-knives, grass-knives (sickles), and a few folding-style jack-knives and at least one very good hunting knife that used to belong to one of your great-aunts.
  2. Cauldron. It weighs three times what you do.
  3. Six large burlap sacks rolled-up tightly and bound with twine. Each one holds four smaller sacks, if you open one up. They are water-proof and hold twice as much as they ought to hold.
  4. Broom. Makes a reasonable torch as last resort.
  5. Case of 22 bright-wick candles. Made from tallow mixed with bee's wax. You can eat these, if you have to; they taste like candy but more than three bites will give you a sore stomach. As you remember all too vividly from past experience.
  6. Flint and steel in a small leather parfletch.
  7. Woodsmen's Axe, also several smaller hand-axes, hatchets and a couple of hammers and a mallet that still has a wobbly handle.
  8. Seven ten-foot poles. Also eight fourteen-foot cane poles for fishing or dangling.
  9. Harness for Dodoes. Hasn't been used in decades.
  10. Wood-working tools. Three complete sets, but all of them scattered about the place and the tool-boxes are all gone, except for one rickety old thing that needs to be repaired.
  11. Twenty seven pairs of heavy wool socks stacked neatly on a small table next to the fire-place.
  12. Fire-place poker. The tip becomes red-hot or freezing cold on command.
  13. Various tongs, scoops, shovels, spades and similar general tools in all sizes, shapes and types.
  14. Three one hundred pound blocks of rock salt.
  15. Two empty barrels.
  16. Anvil. You're not sure why it is in the middle of the sitting room.
  17. Riding crop from your Uncle's time in the Western Counties. The bottom screws off and reveals a nasty little knife.
  18. Two cases of assorted nuts, bolts, screws, nails and the like.
  19. Block and tackle, missing the chains.
  20. Sixteen cans of heavy axle grease.
  21. Two mildewed tarpaulins.
  22. Seventeen blankets, twenty-seven random rugs, an assortment of curtains and drapes, as well as a few knit draft-blocking tubular pillows and a pair of sachets packed with fresh mint.
  23. Tiny Tripod Lantern.
  24. Someone's antique watch. The inside lid holds a faded photo of some unknown relative and an inscription in Korlish that seems to be a blessing.
  25. (2d4) Assorted hand-made Dowsing Rods.
  26. Half of a hand-carved chess-set. All the Green pieces. The board is missing.
  27. Spinning Wheel. This one looks ancient. The wood is blackened and the needle is sharper than a hornet's sting, so watch out.
  28. Small wooden box full of old dog collars, leashes, chokers and muzzles.
  29. Two string-sacks of root vegetables were left at the foot of the staircase. Another three sacks up at the top.
  30. Four plugs of red tobacco.

Other Useful Things (1d20)
  1. Three gallon can of light blue lamp-oil.
  2. Sack of random rags, fabric swatches, patches and some red-cotton batting.
  3. Twenty-three skeins of assorted yarn.
  4. Knitting needles (6d20+20), with assorted paraphenalia.
  5. Sixteen pounds of raw un-carded wool.
  6. Five decent zinn-plated traps suitable for small game Badger-sized or smaller.
  7. Spindles, carding-brushes, and assorted fiber-working tools.
  8. A pair of coachman's gonnes (blunderbusses). One is missing the lock-assembly, the other one needs the stock adjusted or replaced.
  9. Mother's sewing supplies.
  10. Stack of old clothes to be torn-down into rags and such.
  11. Dozens of wicker baskets of all sizes and shapes.
  12. Three good buckets, two zinn-plated pails and a container for hot ashes that got left somewhere other than where it belongs, again.
  13. One mis-matched boot.
  14. (3d6) Small cooking pots and pans, all light-weight and meant to be used over an open fire.
  15. Assortment of cooking spits, roasting pins, long-handled tongs and fork, and other utensils for cooking outdoors.
  16. Fishing tackle. All packed-up and ready to go. Includes your Uncle's old filet-knife and scale-scraper.
  17. Four hundred feet of rope in fifty-foot sections.
  18. Old Air-Gonne. Franzikaner-style, from some relatives' time in the Empire way, way back. The seals are still moist and the thing works, but it is a hand-pump model, not one of the fancy new electric-pump models. The assorted tools, ammunition, replacement seals and owner's manual (in Franzik) are all packed inside a bandolier and belt harness that is kept in the main down-stairs closet.
  19. Anchor and (50') light chain from old fishing boat.
  20. Twelve rough-cut hawthorn stakes and a bundle of garlic, wolvesbane and other herbs.


In the Kitchen & Pantries (1d10)
  1. (1d6) Cases of stale Hard-tack.
  2. One big stinky cheese, coated in red wax.
  3. Six smoked ducks, tightly trussed and wrapped in waxed brown-paper.
  4. Three jars of home-made jelly. Your favorite, according to your Gram--it's not.
  5. Four jars of jelly. The good stuff, left by your Mum.
  6. A hunter's pack loaded with enough dry fruit, jerky, and other stuff to last you two weeks.
  7. Three flat-cylinder Jorish-style field canteens. Two are filled from the house well, the third holds Grampa's hootch.
  8. Fourteen pounds of dry beans in an old flour sack.
  9. Three wine-skins red wine. Two wine-skins white wine. One bottle very potent brandy.
  10. Four stout jugs of cooking oil. Two sealed jars of reserved oil. One can of rancid oil.


Up in the Attic (1d20)
  1. Three stuffed animals, two old pillows, sixteen blankets--all of it smells musty.
  2. Old Miner's Pick, handle is rotten.
  3. Hobby-horse.
  4. Three boxes of assorted dolls including one Guignol Petit Mal that somehow has gotten loose from its cage. The vile little thing has a lot of pent-up resentment for one of your relatives.
  5. Spyglass in leather sheath. Twist the brass ring and it is a kaleidoscope.
  6. Sack of marbles. There's a hole in the sack where a mouse got in to steal a few.
  7. Saddle from Yazmik Terror-Bird Cavalry.
  8. (3d6) Bunches and bundles of dried herbs hanging from rafters.
  9. (2d6) Dried and/or smoked meat tied to rafters.
  10. Hunting decoys. One is actually a disguised flask filled with berry-infused vodka.
  11. Snow-shoes. Four pair that are too small, three pair too big and one pair that might fit...if you take time to replace the bindings.
  12. Steel-runner sled. Slightly rusty. Left-runner is bent from hitting a tree.
  13. Skis. All the wax is gone. Maybe you can use grease?
  14. Wagon missing one wheel. Behind is is a box of good, clean white sand packed with (3d6) Plow-Grubs. They ought to be torpid...
  15. Assorted broken toys waiting to be repaired.
  16. Forgotten box of Galtzas--impish little construct-things in red pants with ridiculous hats.
  17. Trunk containing a full set of Jelly-Hunting gear, all the armor, masks, gloves, boots, waders, catching-basins, buckets, siphons, pumps, and syringes.
  18. Steel crossbow set-up for killing gargoyles. Case of twenty heavy bolts next to it.
  19. Sewer Militia member's work-detail jacket, all insignia removed.
  20. Dozens of boots in a box. They all are a bit chewed-up by mice. At the bottom is a civil-defense helmet deeply pitted from exposure to Black Smoke.

Down in the Cellar (1d10)
  1. A barrel of crackers dating back to the Athkabsian Revolution (more than a century).
  2. Roll once on Questionable Trinkets & Trash Table II.
  3. Three half-carved scarecrows in need of heads and a bit more.
  4. Post-hole digger, stuck in a partly-dug hole.
  5. Three sacks of cement.
  6. Four buckets of gray-lime grout with trowels and mixing pan.
  7. (1d4) Mousefolk. They've dug their way into the cellar while you've been away.
  8. Many jars of preserves, all coated in dust, with a base 10% chance to pop, break, leak or otherwise prove inconvenient. There's a reason these got left behind.
  9. Roll once on Questionable Trinkets & Trash Table IV.
  10. Roll for Initiative--there's a Vicious Slime down there!


Joy in Wermspittle

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wandering Monsters & A Few Encounters Around the Farm

After finding a Golden Ticket on her pillow, Joy must decide what to do next and whether or not to stay down on her parents' mostly abandoned Farmstead, run off into the Tulgey Woods, or hit the road either to Wermspittle or off into the wider world beyond.

Whatever she decides, whichever way she goes, here are some encounters she might run into (or that might cross her path) as she's just starting out...



Wandering Monsters (1d30)
  1. Ragamuffins (2d6) have destroyed three scarecrows in the nearby fields and now they're heading this way. They horrid little things are starving and will pursue anything that they think has bones they can chew.
  2. Fighting Trees (1d4) Guard the rusty gate to an ancient orchard that was walled-off centuries ago. They do not remember why it was done, only that it is so and it is their duty to guard it from trespassers.
  3. Dodoes (1d4) waddle along the nearest road or trail in search of suitable accomodations for the night. They each carry 4d40 silver coins in their bulging purses. They absolutely refuse to stay anywhere penguins might be kept. Each of them wields a sword disguised as a walking stick and they each wear a differently tinted monocle.
  4. Bandit Marmosets (2d4) in chain-mail and wielding crossbows. They are interested in finding some camels to ride into battle, but have not had any luck locating any. Their leader Huudrin was lost beneath the Purple Glow of an especially large patch of Red Weeds in Wermspittle.
  5. Meat-Moths (1d4) dangle from a willow tree in glistening cocoons. They'll be ready to tear themselves loose in another 1d4 days, if the weather stays warm.
  6. Green Monkey (1). It really is a Prince trapped in this shape by a wicked spell. He speaks fluent Aklo, but nothing else. His manners are impeccable.
  7. Alraune (1). She is headed back to Wermspittle after carrying out a secret mission on behalf of her mistress.
  8. Refugees (2d6) or possibly an Arriviste. (Refugee Table nearly ready)
  9. Monikins (2d4). They have left the service of their former masters and they are not going back.
  10. Feral Children (3d4) prowl the area looking for things to eat, torment and kill. The leader carries an undead rotting boar-head impaled upon a glaive that speaks to them in blasphemous whispers urging them on to wicked things.
  11. Bush Tribe Hunters (2d4). Fierce illiterates, they have been quietly stalking the book-buying Borogove with the intent to burn any books she might discover.
  12. Moss-Folk (1d4). They are very shy and try to avoid most big people. Their pet mole was injured by some Feral children who pelted it with stones for no good reason.
  13. Glimmerpedes (1d6+2) are moving along through the leaf-litter in search of anything they can eat. They are driven to gorge themselves now, in preparation for hibernating through the winter, making them incredibly dangerous right now.
  14. Screechers (2d6). Bestial Winged Monkeys hunting for grubs, slugs or other easy-meat.
  15. Vinksers (2d4). The survivors of a hunting party that was ambushed by a Jabberwock.
  16. Borogove (1). Wounded and disheveled after having been plundered by a band of roving mercenaries, she is in search of rustic books and scrolls of the sort best found among the Farmsteads...but she no longer has the means to pay for such things, unless one is willing to accept a promissory note or perhaps accompany her back to Wermspittle.
  17. Stixin (14). Owl-folk hunting after a wounded Bandersnatch.
  18. Kalidah (1d4+1). A mother and her cub(s) looking for a suitable new place to set-up a fresh den after having escaped a band of Feral Children who smoked her and her mate out of their den. Her mate was killed. She hates bipedal children.
  19. Spirks (1d6). Lost and looking for a way back to the garden from which they escaped on a dare by their play-mates. 
  20. Wanderers (3d4). Mama Rudta's Band on their way back to the mountains. 
  21. Eloi Sharecroppers. (2d4) One of them might be a Pretty Young Thing.
  22. Peddlar (1) on his or her way to or from Wermspittle.
  23. Murkim Fungi-Gatherers (2d4) collecting seasonal mushrooms and other edible things they intend to take back to sell in the Low Markets. They wield quill-darts lobbed from light prod-bows. They have no intention of spending the night out in the open, but have not yet located a suitable camp-site.
  24. Nomads (1d4+1) mounted on goats; they 'acquired' six barrels of brandy and a few hundred pounds of salt, spices and herbs. They intend to sell it in Wermspittle, but something has been following them ever since the ambush and they are growing less certain of their chances of reaching the city, let alone realizing any profit from their ill-gotten loot.
  25. Weirdlight (1) flickers across the lower places in-between the trees and hedges. These things draw off the essence of those they lead into traps like quicksand or pits.
  26. Voormis (3d4). Out hunting dogs.
  27. Takers. Run!
  28. Moonshadow (1). Can only survive in the dark-spaces during day-light hours, it moans and calls plaintively into the evening breeze as it searches for a willing host.
  29. Red Weeds have taken-root in the area, raising a formidable hedge-maze made-up of randomly grown sections interspersed with dead trees and toppled ruins, including a fallen shack that used to house someone's still.
  30. Giant Owl (1). Her mate was killed by a pair of grave-diggers. She took care of them both.

Unusual Things (1d20)
  1. There's a large, but mostly stagnant Scabrous Froth trapped in the pit beneath one of the old out-houses.
  2. Mousefolk (3d6) are out flying kites hung with small chimes and bits of tinsel in an effort to figure out a suitable defense against hawks and owls that have been preying upon them ever since they came to these woods. Their singer was injured recently, and they are growing desperate.
  3. That Heap is moving.
  4. A Quack in their wagon is stuck in the mud. They were making their usual rounds of the local farmsteads when they ran afoul of the recent wet weather.
  5. A large, very pregnant Unseen Beast sow is noisily rooting around in the nearby marsh.
  6. That's not a stump...
  7. Blue Zoogs (3d4) have taken-up residence within a very large, old oak tree. They've staked-out a dead cat as a warning to all trespassers.
  8. Interesting Weather we're having...
  9. A semi-pickled Gloomswallow trapped in a jar of high-grade hootch. It's a small specimen, left-over from some old farmer's youthfully indiscreet days as a traveling side-show barker.
  10. Greediguts (1d4+1) are prowling the woods in search of the Zoogs who killed their mentor, a plump tabby cat with one purple eye. (see 7. above)
  11. There is a clump of Dreaming Nettle-Jellies in the marsh.
  12. A patch of not-quite-mature Stranglemass has taken root nearby.
  13. Something has disturbed the Plow-Grubs that ought to be sleeping packed in sand in their boxes in the rafters.
  14. There's a Frume out by one of the sheds. You can smell its stench, even in day-light, so you know it is close.
  15. You were always told to avoid Zeb's Shack on account of his damn fool use of Yellow Wallpaper in the upstairs bedroom. Everyone thought they had burned all the Yellow Creepers in that place, but it turns out that there might be one still left in there.
  16. Watch your step: there's some Vicious Slime over there. Good thing you spotted it. This time.
  17. There's some kind of Swarm down in the holler, near the little creek. It wasn't there last week. Maybe it has not had time to build a full nest yet.
  18. You were always told to watch out for Tunnel-Rats along the South Ridge. Well, now they're keeping an eye on you.
  19. Why would a Rothaube steal your kitchen herbs? Maybe one of them is ill?
  20. Grozt (2d4) Hunchback spell-casters are making a survey of the area with the intention of locating one of the last remaining hidden graves of the vampire Karlessi or any other such revenant they might discover. They are licensed and sanctioned by a notary back in Wermspittle, so it is all proper and legal.

Special Encounters (1d10)
  1. Alzik the Dead Dreamer lies restlessly in a half-exposed bronze-and-lead casket that was supposed to have been buried near a crossroads before the Equinox. The Barrow-Men hired to perform this duty took his money and left the job only partly done. To be fair, they were driven-off by a pair of giant owls that they disturbed with their constant bickering.
  2. Moundfolk (1d4) have just discovered a cache of Gunpowder Grubs in the old root-cellar under an abandoned farm house.
  3. A vivid teal-blue Irrlicht trapped in a bone-and-horn lanthorn. The Luxer who trapped it fell down a poorly covered well-shaft with their neck broken. The luminous nasty-thing whispers venomously to you, demanding to be released. It is furious at having been captured by so clumsy an oaf.
  4. A huge, old Tripod stops to examine one of the local Roadside Attractions then moves on. It is heavily damaged and leaking copious amounts of green smoke.
  5. (3d6) Cans of White Wash covered-over by a rotting tarpaulin. One is leaking.
  6. A Weak Point that opens into a dead realm of flat gray dust and crumbling ruins where only a few leathery flat-leeches lie in wait for prey that never comes. A pair of enterprising Ractur have been digging-out dry bones to sell in the city. They are greedy, but increasingly nervous, especially since they started telling one another ghost stories around their little camp-fire last night. A terrible idea.
  7. Beware the Babes in the Woods.
  8. Curdle-Milk (1d4) are seeping into the hay stored in the barn.
  9. Paldrim the Precise, an Octoscholar with extensive experience in the greater metropolises of various and sundry Slumberlands, Dreamlands and similar such Oneiric Realms has been beaten, stripped, robbed of all his possessions and left dangling from a dead tree by a trio of grotesque black-and-green-striped spiders who've decided to become highwaymen. He is exceptionally erudite and well-versed in twenty-seven languages and a wide range of spells, charms and formulae that he will gladly trade for some assistance in his current difficulties.
  10. Koponu (1d4) are looking for a place to settle after having fled captivity. They are being pursued by a one-eyed Lurm who intends to regain his 'property' and sell the Koponu as living light-sources in Wermspittle.


Joy in Wermspittle

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Joy in Wermspittle

This weekend we're launching a new campaign set in Wermspittle.

We'll be using Labyrinth Lord & The Advanced Edition Companion, with a few house rules and modifications. The house-rules document is still pretty rough, but once we get it cleaned-up a bit better, we'll make it available if anyone is interested. We'll also be posting a few things pertaining to the new campaign and there will be regular play-reports and updates as we go along.

To begin with we'll be focusing on the solo adventures of Joy, a very young, fairly Odd girl from one of the Low-Land Farmsteads surrounding Wermspittle...

Joy was not quite old enough to go into Wermspittle for the Spring Revels, but everyone expected that she would be big enough to go to town the coming Spring. So this has been her last Summer of childhood to prowl and explore the old farmstead. In the course of investigating a cave Joy lost her footing and slid down a steep incline into a chamber that still held some traces of Soporific Aether. She fell asleep for several weeks.

While she was sleeping, her family searched all over the farmstead, but they could locate neither hide nor hair of the girl. They kept up the search for as long as they could, but Summer came to an early end and with the onset of Autumn they had to abandon the search for the missing girl.

Heartbroken over the loss of their daughter, Joy's parents had signed-on with a caravan headed to the Eastern Reaches, in the hopes of starting over. Despite her mother's pleas and her siblings' best efforts, the caravan would not, could not wait for the girl to be found. Autumn had come early and they had to leave before winter set-in trapping them in this place. Reluctantly Joy's family left her behind and set off to the East. Her uncles both vowed to return to continue the search for the girl once they got everyone settled in the Eastern Reaches.

When Joy woke up, she was incredibly hungry, so she cut short her investigation of the cave. She thought it might be some ancient tomb or crypt left over from long ago, but did not have any torches with her so she climbed back up the steep incline and headed back to her home.

She found a note on the door telling her that her family had gone to the East. Her mother had insisted on leaving behind some supplies just in case her girl returned. Not enough to get through a Winter all on her own, but plenty to get her to town before the worst of the cold weather began, if she left right away.

Joy ate some canned peaches then took a nap. When she woke up she found a Golden Ticket on her pillow. All she had to do was wait and someone would come for her to take her away...or she could gather-up her gear and head off through the Tulgey Woods towards the Cold Road or head for Wermspittle on her own. It was still early Autumn and she knew the way...


To Be Continued...


Joy in Wermspittle

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bujilli: Episode 111

Previously...
Welcome back to Wermspittle...there's frost on the windows and Franzikaner Soldiers braking down the door...

"Where's Hedrard? she was supposed to be with you..."

Then Shael spotted the cocoon surrounded by the whispering, jostling, restless band of Morons. She began to cry. This was not what she had expected...

The door Sprague had just left though exploded in a slow-motion cloud of green smoke and wood splinters that spun and swirled through the air like lazy snow-flakes. The herd of Morons screamed, howled and knocked over furniture as they panicked.

"Scheiss!" Old Man Putney swore as he staggered into a side room and slammed the door.

Four infantrymen in Franzikaner uniforms rushed into the apartment wielding unfamiliar-looking fire-arms; long rifles with strange cylinders and flattened canteen-like things attached to them by hoses, nozzles and tubes. They wore strange battery-harnesses that were linked to the guns by heavy cables coated in gutta percha. Acrid gray blue smoke and tiny sparks spumed irregularly from a sort of venting apparatus strapped to the frames of their field-packs. Whatever they were, however they operated, the weapons were at least partly electrical in nature.

Leeja simply ducked behind the woodwork arch that separated the sitting room from the vestibule. She drew out her stiletto and began to weave her particular version of a Web spell into readiness.

Bujilli went over all the phrases he knew in Franzik and tried to come up with something suitably intimidating or questionable that might take these soldiers off-guard. Sometimes a good bluff can work wonders. But he wasn't quite sure what to say. His grasp of the language was not exactly fluent. He did not want to botch things. It would be all too easy to get it wrong, to say something stupid or nonsensical.

He was intensely curious about their weapons, but not particularly interested in seeing them put to use against him. He began to prepare himself for casting Gestural Globs even as he slid out his hand-axe. Just in case.

Before he could speak Headmistress Shael glared at the intruders and demanded; "What is the meaning of this?"

Two of the infantry-men took up positions on either side of the door while a third began to investigate the rooms. The fourth one, an officer by his heavy gold braids, overly-polished buttons and ornate helmet, strode past the destroyed door and surveyed the place with a haughtiness that would rival a Pruztian's disdain for the lesser folk. He ignored Shael and unstrapped his breathing mask. He had the solid black eyes and deep ebony features of one who had Tsalalian ancestors, only livid purplish tissue pulsed and writhed across his left-side; Mucoid tissue that had been crudely grafted into place.

All four of them bore the insignia of the Imperial Third Tripod Tactical Triplicity. It was the badge used by a unit of deserters from the Red Army that had entered Wermspittle several Winters ago and set themselves up as bandits who lorded it over a small section of the Burned Over Districts. They were said to have two mostly-working Tripods.* Hedrard had told Bujilli about these notorious mercenaries in response to his telling her about his more recent adventures prior to coming to rescue her, and Lemuel, from the Gormenstille.

The officer folded-up the straps and closed the flaps on his breathing mask then replaced it into its belt-mounted carrying case with the crisp punctilliousness of too much practice.

AAAAARRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH! Thud.

Six Morons scrambled to get away from the door Old Man Putney had disappeared behind  as it slammed shut again. Blood began to puddle outwards from under the door. There was no sign of the soldier sent to reconnoiter the apartment.

The Officer raised one eyebrow askance then gestured abruptly, crisply, and one of the other two soldiers stomped over to the door, their triple-cleated boots tearing the old carpets into shreds with each step.

She slung her rifle-weapon and drew out a wickedly serrated short sword.

The door burst open and a fat gray-black rat flew into the soldier's still-masked face.

Old Man Putney never went anywhere without a few of his friends along just in case.

He lobbed another rat at the Officer.

BANG!

A triple-barrelled trench-gonne was in the Officer's good left-hand. The rat was spattered across the ceiling, a mess of shredded meat and still-twitching paws.

"Ooooh you bastard. Shouldn't ought to have done that!" Old Man Putney jabbed his own short sword into the guts of the soldier struggling with the rat scrambling across his face and shoulders.

The rat ripped free one of the straps and began to gnaw the soldier's face. He screamed, as best he could, with blood gushing from his mouth and crumpled to the floor.

Leeja began to move but one stern look of disapproval from the Old Man held her in place. For now.

Bujilli moved over to Shael. It got him out of the way of ant more rats getting lobbed by the Old Man and gave him a chance to possibly out-flank the Officer.

All around the apartment, the Morons that had followed Bujilli and his friends through the Synchronocitor's vortex busied themselves trying to position themselves behind any available cover. All the while the four priestess-attendants and six honor-guard warriors stood stock still as they formed a human barrier in defense of Hedrard's red cocoon. The priestesses made furtive gestures and the warriors stoically allowed their fingers to extend into sharp, black owlish-talons.

Shael struggled to sit upright. It hurt her terribly. Tiny trickles of blood dribbled from dozens of spots where her spell-twisted flesh gave way to glass. Her left hand might be immobilized, but her right one still worked fine and she used it to call forth a golden trapezoid wreathed in violet flames: "Tell your remaining soldier to stand down and I'll let you live long enough to explain yourself."

The Officer stared at her with his emotionless solid black eyes. A slight nod and he re-holstered his trench-pistol and gestured to his subordinate to stand down. For now.

"I did not promise any such thing." Grumbled Old Man Putney who kicked the dead soldier's body out of his way. Two more very large rats had joined their fellow to dine on the corpse. One of them reared up on its hind-legs and made a rude gesture with its fore-paws before nuzzling back into the gore next to its kin.

"Mercenaries don't invade senior faculty member's rooms in the Academy without good reason--I want to know who sent you and what you were paid to accomplish. Now!"

"The subject of our seizure is not present. I presume he has indeed fled the premises after all. You have dispatched two of my men and I do not flatter myself that you would have much trouble eliminating myself and this one with equal ease. There's no profit in following such a course of action. Our patron wanted us to secure and convey a harmless academic to them at haste, hence our forced entry...though now I doubt that any attempted subterfuge on our part would have worked any better."

"No. It would not." Shael shuddered from the pain of holding herself up. Bujilli replaced his hand-axe and adjusted her cushions to better support her head and shoulders. She gave him a brief look of appreciation, unable to nod her head, just talking caused her a great deal of discomfort.

"So. Our mission is scuttled. Are we to be held as your prisoners?" Already the Officer was calculating reasonable ransom amounts, possible exchanges, options he could put forward in the negotiations he expected to facilitate according to established protocol.

"I have no interest in prisoners." Shael gestured disdainfully. The golden trapezoid flew through the Officer's torso wrecking havoc much like a cannon ball might, then it killed the other soldier before flaring into a small violet star that simply winked out and was gone.

"Damn it woman--how do you expect us to find out who hired these bastards?" Old Man Putney growled.

"They were after Gnosiomandus and did not know for sure whether he had already left the city or not. Whomever hired them did so as disposable cats-paws. I disposed of them. We don't need the distraction."

"Cold blooded much?" The Old Man shook his head and took a bite of something like reddish tobacco. He seemed to be grinning.

"First Frost has come early and hard upon the Low Streets. My husband has turned out to be a dark reflection of the man I thought I had married...a man who now detests me and distrusts me. I've been cursed by the Privy Council and sentenced to a slow death for having had the temerity to try and change things, and not having had the power to back it up adequately. I've been abandoned, not just by the monster I married; more than half the Senior Faculty are missing, disappeared or indisposed and the Academy stands in danger of being broken once and for all as our enemies are making their moves. If anything I'm not nearly cold-blooded enough." Shael closed her eyes. A single tear of blood ran down her cheek.

The morons began to whimper and sob softly in response to Shael's distress.

"We leave now." All four priestess-attendants spoke in unison...in Hedrard's voice.

"Yes. Of course." Shael waved her right hand in farewell.

"Bring her to us in three nights. We'll do what can be done." The priestess-attendants spoke directly to Bujilli.

He nodded in agreement.

The warriors took up positions in front and behind the priestesses and a few hangers-on who helped them to carry the red cocoon. They left.

"It's a fine mess. Indeed. Ah well; such things make for excellent opportunities for folks like myself. Whatever happens, my friends will certainly dine well in the days and nights ahead. not many can say such a thing with Winter coming on like it is..." Old Man Putney clomped over in front of Bujilli and proffered his grimy, questionably-soiled hand.

Bujilli shook the aged scavenger-scholar's hand.

"If you want to talk some time, just let one of my friends know. They'll pass on the word and we'll see what we can work out. In the meantime, I intend to go on living."

"As you always do." Shael tried to smile. Winced from the pain.

"As I always do. Despite all the other bastards." The Old Man left. The rats scampered after him, causing the few remaining morons scattered about the rooms to cry out in disgust and alarm as one after another of the large dark rats ran after their friend. The soldier in front of the bedroom door was mostly bones and chewed-up gear. the one that had gotten snatched lie on the bedroom floor, also mostly bones. The rats had not bothered with the Officer or the third soldier by the ruined door. They were not greedy. They trusted their friend to provide. He always did.

"We can't stay here." Leeja held on to her stiletto as she came over to her Aunt.

"No. We can't. But I have been informed that you two have a friend who might be able to offer us shelter...if you're willing to lend me your assistance. They've revoked my standing, abolished my office and removed my authority as Headmistress...even as they've done this to me." Shael removed the tattered quilt from her left side, exposing the hand that was more milky-opaque glass than flesh any more.

"But--"

"We can discuss the 'why' of it all later. You've been marked by powerful forces..." Bujilli considered the situation. He knew all too well what it felt like to be at the mercy of circumstance and the whims of people who did not care about him. He always swore he would not grow up to be like that. Now he had to ask himself if that was still the case.

"I understand if you don't wish to help me now..."

"No. It is not whether or not we want to help you--it's really up to our friend--if you're referring to whom I think you might be." Leeja sensed some of his inner turmoil, having gone through somewhat similar experiences growing up in Aman Utal. Shael was her Aunt after all...

He looked into Leeja's green-gold eyes and they both laughed; "Idvard."

"We do have a standing invitation to visit him**." Leeja mused.

"But do we want to return to Idvard's Keep?"



What should Bujilli & Leeja do next?

You Decide!


* Actually only one mostly-working Tripod after the events of Episode 98 when Bujilli wrecked the other one.
**As of Episode 49.


What to do, what to do?

Bujilli and Leeja need to decide if they are indeed going to help Ex-headmistress Shael get to Idvard's Keep, or try something else. They might try to follow Old Man Putney or they could try to follow Hedrard's entourage. Or maybe they would prefer to stay put to see which of Gnosiomandus' various enemies or rivals show up next.

Whatever happens, we'll need a few D20 rolls to handle any combat or encounters that might take place. A couple of d6's for checking on possible Wandering Monsters would also be appreciated.

So should they head off to Idvard's Keep or go somewhere else? They could take her to Bujilli's room to wait things out a bit, but there's no point in waiting for classes to begin. From the sound of things, there might not be any classes and possibly no more Academy in the near future, unless they do something. Of course helping Shael out now will certainly draw the wrath of those who have marked her for a slow death...though maybe Hedrard might do something about that in three night's time...

So what will it be?

What do they do next?

You Decide!

Previous                            Next

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


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

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

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

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dust Collector by Emilie & A New Blog Begins

Dust Collector by Emmy

We recently received a wonderful note from one of our readers who have not only introduced the insidious white powder into their home game, they've adopted one of our stranger monsters as a recurring villain. We both really love this new interpretation of a creature we thought was all but forgotten. Maybe we can collaborate with them on a few other monsters and things...

I've been using your Dust Collector for a few months in my D&D game as a kind of amoral, exterior figure to the sorcerous politics my players are immersed in. I did a drawing of one and I thought I might as well send it along to you.

The party have been caught up in a plot to use the white powder to assassinate their master's rival which has gone Very Badly and now she's synthesising it and dealing it to their community. The Dust Collector seems to have an interest in the stuff so they keep running into it. This one wears a veil over its vestigial head organ, I wish you could have seen the party's reaction when it pulled the veil back and rattled its 'head' at them like a snake.

Regards,
Emilie

You can find a larger version of Emilie's Dust Collector at the newly inaugurated Sarcophagi of the Ash People blog. We're looking forward to more session recaps from Shailanu and A Billion Stars Underground!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Golden Ticket



Spring has passed and Summer is gone, the cold rains of Autumn have returned and Winter is not far behind. Already the Ometto and L'Omino, twisted little dwarfs with comical faces, criss-cross the countryside in their gaily-painted little coaches. They always know where a Golden Ticket might have been found. Perhaps their tiny capuchin companions whisper each such location to them as they careen and dash from isolated hamlet to nearly-deserted village through the desolate wilderness surrounding Wermspittle. Many believe this to be the case, though some few claim it has something to do with the bats instead, that the little people have some sort of treaty with the bats who flutter through the might skies bearing the infamous tickets in their little rodent-feet.

Wherever a Golden Ticket is found, the coachmen are not long absent. They offer each child Hard Candy, Turkish Delight, mugs of warm nutmeg-laced Korova Milk (liberally spiked with bandy), and other treats with which to tempt and to trick their intended passengers into coming along with them to visit the Land of Toys. It is a fabulous place, a wondrous space, where all manner of toys are to be had, and all the lucky children chosen to come there always have plenty to eat and never have to do chores ever again. All they need to do is leave behind their familiar beds and ride along in the little coaches and everything will be taken care of forever after.

Once long ago, before the bombs and the wars and the plagues, or so the old ones claim, there really was a Land of Toys and it truly was a fantastic, phantasmagoric place filled with toys and candies and all good things...but those days are gone now and the Ometto who were raised to serve the old factory-owners, those funny little people who were grown within urns and deliberately shaped in such curious ways now serve less-agreeable masters who are best not named.

Some children who receive a Golden Ticket run away before the little coachmen come for them. Those with families and kin to defend them might refuse the summons of the child-takers. But those who are alone in the world, who have been left behind by parents who have succumbed to the plagues or whose families have been driven off by roving bands of mercenaries and brigands (nearly all the same thing really), those poor lost ones who cry themselves to sleep with no supper, who shiver in the cold, in the dark...they can't help but to wonder if such a thing might be real...if perhaps there was a better place waiting for them if they only dared to use their Golden Ticket...



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bujilli: Episode 110

Previously...
They had come here to rescue Hedrard and Lemuel. One had run off and was wandering through the lower-levels of the Gormenstille, the other was wrapped-up in a vegetative cocoon recovering from the effects of the Mucoid's heat rays. It had not gone quite as he had hoped. But they had managed to reach a place very close to the roof-tops and in a couple of hours Bujilli could attempt to use the Synchronocitor to take them back to Wermspittle. In the meantime, the band of Morons were celebrating and dancing wildly around Hedrard's cocoon working themselves into an ecstatic frenzy...

Bujilli went to the nearest of the eight evenly-spaced massive internal buttresses along the sloping walls of the chamber. There was a modest access panel at the base. The covering came off easily to reveal a yellow metal grating which swung open at the touch of his fingers. There was a corkscrew-style ramp leading upward. To the roof.

He checked the Synchronocitor. They had a couple of hours to go before he could try to use it again. The marching morons had led them to a place where they could access the roof-top levels of the Gormenstille. If there was a chance of escape, this was it. He hoped. He considered exploring the yellow-metal ramp that corkscrewed up to the roof. He didn't trust the morons to scout ahead. He wasn't even sure if they understood anything he said. They just nodded, smiled and went on with whatever they were doing. It was Hedrard whom they listened to, whom they served. And she was trapped inside a cocoon, healing, changing...transforming in ways he didn't understand.

Ever since they had freed the hag, she seemed to have come to a decision of sorts. She had mentioned something about no longer having to observe previous restrictions or something like that. whomever had abducted her and tried to sacrifice her and Lemuel to the Purple Clouds had made a big mistake. Or maybe they had not taken into account that Bujilli and Leeja would come here to rescue their friends. Rescue. Ha. They had liberated three other victims chained to the old stones alongside their friends. One, a Nullgarian cavalry officer, was taken by the walls and lost to them early on. The roof-runner had tried to help out, but in the end they were too damaged to really ever be free again...and the Ignoble was so deeply twisted by having grown-up in this place that they could not cope with the thought of leaving. Both had run off into the darkness. So had Lemuel. But in Lemuel's case, he had charged towards a swarm of Varn-spiders to give the others a chance to escape...but then something strange had happened and Lemuel lost all interest in leaving. He was on his way down into the deep places of the Gormenstille and he was happy. Truly happy. Bujilli could feel the boy's hearty elation through their link. Lemuel had no interest in returning with them at this time. Maybe someday. But not now. He had found out things about himself...things he could not explain, thing that Bujilli could only sort of feel in a vague stream of jumbled impressions...mostly good things...he hoped. It was an adventure. It was his very own adventure. Bujilli would not interfere. He wished the boy good hunting and let the link fade into the background so it would not be a distraction. To either of them.

Leeja stood next to the access-panel, keeping watch over Bujilli. He was smiling for the first time in what felt like ages.

He still wasn't entirely sure that the Synchronocitor would work up here, but he would do the best he could. Perhaps Counsel could help him learn how to use the strange device. Maybe. But they had hours left before he could make the attempt and Leeja was smiling at him.

They joined in the festivities. It was good to laugh again. There would be time enough for tears when they got back to Wermspittle.

If they went back...

They lost themselves to the dancing, the drinking, the increasingly wild carrying on--the Morons danced themselves into a frenzy as they spiraled around the red cocoon of the hag. The liquor wan't as good as gapf, but only the Almas knew how to brew that stuff.

Bujilli tripped over a couple locked in a deeply intimate embrace. Leeja tugged him back to his feet and they danced along with the mob until they found themselves close to the outer-edge again. She led him away from the folicsome host with a troubled look on her face.

"What are we doing?" she hissed.

"I..." The question, her vehemence, shocked him sober. "Scheiss. We've allowed ourselves to get sucked into the midst of all this..."

"But to what end? I have a bad feeling about this..." She came from a place were paranoia was institutionalized, regulated by mandates and laws, her childhood, what he knew of it, was a constant challenge to the prevailing laws and mores...Leeja had been as much an outsider as he had been growing up, possibly even more so. Yet here they were fitting right in with the Morons and their festivities...their celebration...their ritual.

"This is all Hedrard's doing. It must be..." But why? He was stymied. Ever since releasing her from her chains and thwarting the plans of the Purple Horde, Hedrard had acted strangely. Different.

"Whatever her plans are, she has not felt like confiding in either of us--"

The dancing exploded into a riot of violence and screaming. A loud buzzing vibrated through the wailing, the yelling and the babbling. Then Bujilli saw them. Giant Blue-Speckled Hornets. At least six of the things had descended upon the revelers and were proceeding to skewer one after another with their wicked stings. One had three Morons impaled, one after the other, and was struggling to extricate itself. Bujilli had his hand-axe out and charged the burdened hornet.

His first blow cracked one of the thing's hind-legs and it ceased trying to shake-off the still struggling bodies of its victims. It turned away from the source of pain and faced Bujilli. He used Julidi's Darts, sending a stream of sizzling silver missiles through the hornets over-large eyes, exploding its head.

The hornet's now headless body bucked and thrashed insanely. Two of the morons slid free of the sting but the third remained transfixed. He had to hack open the thing's thorax, revealing its heart and spattering sticky fluids everywhere before the massive insect fell to the floor dead.

Bang! Leeja used her hand-gonne to blast a hole through the thorax of another hornet. It skittered along the floor and crashed into one of the buttresses where it buzzed and kicked, but could not rise again.

Bujilli rushed the nearest hornet. A lucky strike snapped off a two-foot section of sting. A gout of mucousy-yellow venom gushed from the ruined stump. He leapt for its back, but misjudged the rapid blur of the thing's wings and was knocked backwards. The impact dazed him. He staggered, dropped to one knee and another hornet's sting slammed through the space where he had been standing only a second before.

Leeja was swearing in Dendo. Her crystal stiletto had gotten stuck in the joint of a hornet's leg when she had been aiming to hit it's mid-section, hoping to sever the abdominal mass from the thorax. A quick flip of the hand-gonne provided her with a sturdy club to pummel the thing back and away from her.

All around them the Morons rushed madly to and fro, some still danced heedless of the turmoil, the band played on, and a few busied themselves dissecting the wounded hornets for possible use in making new ornaments.

Bujilli caught another hornet in the eye with his hand-axe. It jerked upwards  suddenly, lurching him off his feet and carrying him upward toward the peaked ceiling as he dangled from his weapon stuck in the creature's eye-socket.

Leeja barked out three sharp words and a glimmering white mesh of translucent tendrils flashed into the air trapping three hornets. Their rapidly vibrating wings quickly tangling the Web spell around their bodies and limbs. She retrieved her stiletto and proceeded to remove the thing's limbs and to sever their heads where she could get at them.

A small crowd of Morons started cheering and prancing about waving the pieces and parts of the hornets even as one of their number was impaled on another hornet's wicked sting.

One of the smaller children shrieked and pointed at the impaled member of their herd and as one they swarmed over the insect and tore it to pieces.

Bujilli wrenched his hand-axe free only to over-compensate and loose his grip on the hornet. He fell backwards, striking another hornet that broke his fall, then sprawled onto the floor. He slid into the pool of venom and only barely managed to roll over to avoid the worst of it.

He was flat on his back with venom gooped across his left-side. Then a hornet landed atop him. It seemed to stare into is eyes with an implacable insectoid malevolence. His hand-axe was gone. He reacted instinctively and cast Light as far inside the hornet's eyes as he could force the spell.

The hornet shot away from him, hitting the nearest buttress with a loud crack. It slumped to the floor, it's head a glowing mess of brains and broken chitin.

Then is was over.

All the hornets were either dead, dismembered or struggling through their death-throes.

Bujilli sat up. Slowly. He was sore where he had struck the floor from his fall, but nothing was broken.

Leeja gave him back his hand-axe.

He got to his feet.

The morons were busily making fresh new ornaments from the carcasses and body-parts of the hornets. A few were arranging the dead into sensitive tableaus.

"You're covered in venom. you know that, right?"

"I know. It isn't a problem. not unless I get cut. Their venom works on the blood, it doesn't seem to have much effect if it's only on the skin. At least the green-striped hornets I grew up with worked that way. I knew a crazy old Almas who collected their venom, but from smaller specimens, and lathered himself in it before going out to hunt Yeren, If the things grabbed him, there were scores of small hooks and blades all woven into his matted hair and he'd wriggle and twist and do everything he could to draw blood from them. We all thought he was crazy. Maybe he was. But he managed to kill over a dozen Yeren that way. Before one caved-in his head with a rock."

"Still it might be a good idea..."

Several young Morons came over and began to wipe away the venom from Bujilli's hair and clothes. They carried on a chattering pseudo-conversation with each other as they went about cleaning him off but never acknowledged him beyond serving as the target of their cleaning efforts. One of them splashed wine over the worst globs of venom, another scraped it away with the backside of an ornate hair-comb.

"Is it time yet?" Leeja seemed impatient with the impromptu ablutions and grooming.

"We can try." He extricated himself from the crowd of morons busily cleaning the venom form his hair. Several of them had begun braids. One was trying to work beads into his whiskers. He closed his eyes and felt the Synchronocitor near at hand. It shimmered into place, into solidity once again.

The Morons backed away in superstitious awe at the sudden appearance of the device.

"Come on." He led Leeja back to the access panel they had opened before and headed up the corkscrew ramp toward the roof. One by one, then by couples, then in small groups the Morons followed after them; a dedicated contingent carried Hedrard's cocoon. They left the mutilated hornet carcasses behind.

Bujilli felt the Synchronocitor adjust to its surroundings, and to him. It was not a sentient thing, not in the same sense as he or Leeja were sentient. It was filled with memories and information accumulated over centuries, but it was not capable of making decisions on its own. It needed to be wielded like a sword or a key.

The ramp ended beneath a blister-dome of hexagonally-bound glass at the top of a tall, tall tower. It was night, with roiling gray clouds obscuring most of the sky and threatening rain.

He walked along the edge of the dome looking out upon the world of New Chillon and letting the Synchronocitor adjust to the current situation. Leeja strode along beside him. He knew that no matter where he went, she would follow. It was a good feeling.

He turned back to the ramp exit. Dozens of Morons stood looking around them, mouths agape and gesticulating extravagantly as they observed all the trivial details of the dome and the vista beyond.

"What do we do about them?" Leeja said before he could.

"I'm not sure..." He wasn't keen on bringing a herd of Morons back into Wermspittle. It wouldn't be doing anyone any real favors.

Thigh-bone trumpets sounded and tambourines rattled as a procession entered the room. Hedrard's honor guard and the four priestess-attendants brought the cocoon up the ramp, surrounded by prancing and jostling Morons waving banners, juggling random objects, riding unicycles and playing their various musical instruments.

It appeared that they were not going to be given a choice in the matter.

Bujilli shook his head--he had no idea what Hedrard had in mind, but he wasn't going to block her. Not in this. He trusted her. For now.

He held out the Synchronocitor and felt his Counsel flow into the thing, linking with it, giving him access to it far more fully and cleanly than previously. He was getting better at this sort of thing.

A lambent purple glow flickered outward from the staff-like Synchronocitor. The weird-light spread out to fill the domed chamber. He could smell the scent of blackberries just on the verge of ripeness, the bitter tang of duik-bark, the warm frothiness of gritty stout like they served at the Grampus-and-Krampus. The purple light swirled, began to twist, to rotate.

All around him a cavalcade of landscapes spun into view then were gone after only a brief glimpse. It seemed like looking outwards through a tornado at hundreds of disjointed places that didn't connect to one another except through the swirling light, the vortex produced by the Synchronocitor.

Dark caverns ornately carved into grim likenesses of even grimmer queens. A forest of bone-like trees clattering in a vile red wind. A rich, brown sea of tall grasses that ran off to the horizon and beyond. Blue sand frozen into harsh angular shapes beneath a dim green sky. Gelatinous bogs that wound about the feet of needle-peaked black mountains where no trees could find a purchase and the rains never quite ended. Crystalline badlands fuming with scalding milk-white pools of mineral-dense water and sulfurous formations that didn't quite resemble flowers. Ruined cities half submerged beneath rising waters and cooling lava, mounds of rubble stretching onward into the unrelenting blackness of a centuries-long night. Red sands forming wind-sculpted dunes beneath a weakly pinkish sky--columns of pitted stone and dull metal rose overhead, each one topped with a crystal egg-shape--a whiff of ozone--Someone--SOMETHING--was watching them!

Bujilli instinctively twisted away from the mental compulsion assaulting them, but not before dozens of Morons had already leaped past the bounds of the Synchronocitor's zone of effect to be lost to the Red World.

SNAP.

Thud. A large old chair toppled over next to him. It knocked over a small night-stand beside it. Tea cup, saucer and spoon crashed to the carpeted floor. The walls looked strange, all bare and denuded of books and all the other stuff Gnosiomandus used to have crammed into every nook and cranny.

The room had been haphazardly and hurriedly emptied of all books, maps, documents and other scholarly materials. Everything else had been left behind. Maybe the old man meant to return someday. More likely he had some sort of agreement with his land-lady. For all he knew the apartments came already furnished. That would make sense; Gnosiomandus was not very focused on day-to-day matters or trivialities like dishes or furniture.

"Where?" Leeja looked about the room. Morons were already scrounging about for bits and bobs to make ornaments with; two of them were busily sawing tassels off of a lamp.

"This room used to belong to Gnosiomandus..." It was where Bujilli had first entered Wermspittle...how long ago had it been? It felt like years.

"There's frost on the windows. If we're lucky it's still Autumn and it's just an early frost...otherwise..."

She didn't have to say it. Otherwise it was Winter. the worst possible time to be in Wermspittle.

"Bujilli?" a woman called to him from the next room.

It was Shael. The former Headmistress of the Academy.

He pushed past the curtains, antique temple tapestries from Jashqua, if he remembered the distinctive pattern from his time before coming to this place.

"It is you. Good." Shael was propped-up on a couch. Her left hand was stiffened into delicate semi-opaque glass. There were raw, glossy streaks radiating up her neck and across her throat that made moving her head stiff and painful.

"What happened?"

"I've been punished for exceeding my authority..." She looked away.

"She knew that you'd come back. to this place. I did not believe her. But she knew." Sprague came into the room from the kitchen. He was carrying a steaming tea pot.

"But why?"

"This is the one you told me about?" Grumbled a scrawny old man who wore a baggy set of coveralls that had armor plates riveted into strategic sections and cinched with a Morlock tool-belt around his waist.

"Who?"

"Now that he's here, I intend to go. I have work to attend to, revenge to carry out, that sort of thing." Sprague set the tea down on the table before Shael and bowed slightly. There was something bitter and wistful between them Not entirely distrust, not quite betrayal, but something strange and unsettling and mutually unsettling.

"Go run off to your bed then. The rest of us have our own fighting to do." Growled the old man.

"Rest assured. I will be fighting no less fiercely than you. I intend to sell my life dearly if it comes to that."

"Be that as it may. I intend to go on living."

"Like a rat? That's no life--" Sprague scoffed half-heartedly.

"None the less, I'll outlast the bastards, just like my kind have outlasted all the other bastards before them." They shook hands. "Good hunting to you cousin."

"And good scurrying or scampering or whatever it is you do down there." He laughed as he went to the door and left.

"So are you lot coming with me, or staying here top-side so you can get scorched into ashes by the Tripods or caught in the Black Smoke?"

"Where's Hedrard? she was supposed to be with you..."

Then Shael spotted the cocoon surrounded by the whispering, jostling, restless band of Morons.

And she began to cry.

The door Sprague had just left though exploded.

Four infantrymen in Franzikaner uniforms rushed into the room wielding unfamiliar-looking fire-arms...


What should Bujilli do next?

You Decide!



Now What?
We need to roll Initiative (P. 50, LL) by rolling 1d6 each for 1) Bujilli, 2) Leeja, 3) The Old Man, 4) The Squad of Infantrymen, and 5) The Morons. Because of her condition, Shael goes last and does not require a die-roll.

Bujilli and company need to decide if they are going to attack the soldiers, or attempt to flee, or try something else.

We'll need a few D20 rolls to handle any combat that might take place.

Should they cast some spells, draw weapons and charge, attempt to parley, bluff their way through the encounter by demanding to know the meaning of this intrusion, attempt to escape, or something else? 


You Decide!

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


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

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

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

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion

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