Monday, July 27, 2015

Yellow Kids (Wermspittle)


"When you're different in a society, you're funny."
Will Eisner

Yellow Kids
No. Enc.: 1d4
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 60' (20')
Armor Class: 9
Hit Dice: 1* [Advance as dual-classed Magic-User/Thieves at 30% XP penalty]
Attacks: Spells or Signs: See Below
Damage: By Spell or See Below
Save: 7
Morale: 6

Special: Yellow Kids have the ability to make use of one of the Lesser Yellow Signs once every hour at will. They will sometimes also wield magical weapons such as wands or staves, but cannot use scrolls, potions or rings, and never wield mundane weapons. They also regenerate 1 hit point per round unless exposed to bright light. Their flesh dissolves into an inert gray goop that ceases to regenerate when exposed to acid. All Yellow Kids seem to share some form of group empathy/telepathy the parameters of which have yet to be determined.


The Six Lesser Yellow Signs

  1. Drallift: Imposes a -1 penalty to Morale, to Hit and Damage rolls as Bless (Reversed), affecting up to three victims at a time. Multiple exposures have been known to unhinge some people; there is a cumulative 10% chance to develop temporary insanity each time this sign affects the same person.
  2. Bellig: Putrifies all previously edible food within a 30' radius and turns water yellow with nausea-inducing spores that persist for 1d4 hours. Anyone consuming the spores suffers intense fever, hallucinations and cannot eat, drink, sleep or recover any hit points for the next 36 hours. Once these toxins have run their course, the victim must make a Save to avoid losing 1d4 WIS or CON (their choice), which can be regained normally.
  3. Zagaftl: Produces Fear as the spell, but with the added distinction that the victim incurs a permanent -1 penalty on all future Saves vs Fear effects.
  4. Jovlom: Causes an intense and pervasive form of apathy to take hold of the victim. Those who make their Save lose the next 2d6 rounds doing nothing in particular. Those who fail to Save lose all memorized spells, automatically fail all Initiative checks, have their Morale reduced to 3, and lose one minor item, weapon or object of their choice over the course of the next 3d6 rounds.
  5. Hully-Gee: The victim laughs uncontrollably at anything, especially things that are not funny at all. This effect lasts for 2d6 rounds.
  6. Wot-Wot-Wot: As Confusion spell (LL p. ), only those affected simultaneously babble incoherently while attacking anyone within range (except for the caster) for the next 2d6 rounds.


Pudgy and soft to the point of being best described as mushy, their flesh has the texture and feel of cold oatmeal packed loosely into a sausage-skin. Hairless and boneless, they can squeeze themselves through small openings or gaps between fence-stakes and the like, an ability they put to good use when evading capture or escaping from those who would do them harm.

Clad in hand-me-down robes, nightshirts and rags, these illiterate little degenerates seem to be almost ubiquitous in the alleys and Low Streets. They prefer the shadier areas, where they can stay out of the direct sunlight, and will seek to avoid bright lights whenever possible. These whispering, giggling and japing jokesters sell every kind of word, phrase and bit of prose or writing available, even a few forms so obscure or peculiar as to be unfathomable, but they themselves are completely illiterate, unable to read anything at all, especially their own signs and posters.

Scandalmongers and peddlers of prevarications and out-of-date propaganda, corrupting fictions and banned political cartoons, bizarre manifestos and caprichographika,Yellow Kids are the fruiting bodies of much larger, more pernicious forms of fungi that somehow survived the purges and pogroms and riots that followed the last war.

Perhaps they are in league with printer's devils like the Puritans claim, or they might serve the Repairer of Reputations as a legion of gossips who sometimes spread the truth mingled in with the more salable half-truths and fabrications one can find scrawling and crawling across the pulpy paper their Nickle Dreadfuls, Broadsheets and other publications are printed upon. No one really knows and few people really care; Yellow Kids are comical little waifs who mispronounce and reduce everything they hear into a weird sing-song pidgin that quickly becomes all too personal and increasingly more disturbing if you listen to it closely. They are best ignored, if you can manage it, otherwise one is advised to toss them some coins or tokens, take the periodical they proffer and keep moving. They will accept nearly anything that resembles a coin including bits of tamped sheet metal or washers. It isn't the value of the thing exchanged with them, but the act of exchange itself that they value.

Before the war various scholars were doing in-depth research into the nature of the Yellow Kids. Only one ever published anything on the subject; Gnosiomandus. His notes, sketches and observations were collected into a special monograph that was originally only available in a hard-bound limited edition of one hundred copies, but has since achieved a strange sort of underground notoriety as it has been copied and re-copied and distributed in a much looser, manuscript form filled with dozens of notes and diagrams added-on by previous readers. It is commonly held that there is no longer any single definitive edition of this work available any more. Perhaps one day an enterprising editor will collect all the various pieces and parts and assemble it into a definitive work.

The only cadaver of a Yellow Kid that has ever been studied, if only briefly before it was forcibly reclaimed, was reported as being snaggle-toothed, with distorted ears, beady eyes, and only the most vestigial of internal organs leading less cautious or sensitive members of the medical community to declare some sort of kinship to the Vinkin, or possibly Fungal Tyrants. This alleged link has never been conclusively proven, and indeed most reputable Unnaturalists would dispute the claim as irresponsible and something of a regrettable rush to judgement, especially in light of the so-called Yellow Scare or Yellow Peril during which time hundreds of these creatures were seized and burned by panicked mobs.

When the oily green-black smoke cleared and the mess was cleared away by sweepers and order was restored, as much as it ever is any more, the Yellow Kids greeted the tired and exhausted individuals as they made their way home after the rioting was over with their own special edition of the evening news. No one has burned another Yellow Kid since that night.

Yellow Kids automatically flee from cats, but have an abiding hatred of dogs and pigeons. They also seem to dislike Zoogs, possibly because the little folk are rumored to have perfected a method for distilling a particularly potent form of alcohol laced with psychotropic compounds reminiscent of the best absinthe from the corpse of a Yellow Kid...of course that is probably just a rumor...

Yellow Kids advance as Dual-Class Magic-User/Thieves and have access to a number of unique spells. We'll be detailing some of those spells in a follow-up post...

These creepy little things were inspired by the infamous Yellow Kid created and drawn by William F. Outcault, with a touch of Robert W. Chambers, Alfred E. Neuman, the Newsboy Legion (gone horribly wrong), Charlotte Gilman's Yellow Wallpaper got squished into the mix as well, and a wee bit of preternatural fungality more in line with William Hope Hodgson or perhaps Jeff Vandemeer than HPL, and of course M. P. Shiel who gave us the original Yellow Peril (as well as The Purple Cloud), and the classic comic book character The Yellow Claw...and while some of their predecessors were incredibly distorted projections of rampant vilification and demonization of particular peoples during a time of war...these entities are not projections so much as extensions of  something entirely inhuman and seemingly irradicable...and yes, those 'Sign' these nasty little things use as weapons are not just weird symbols derived from their connection to unmentionable, unthinkable, unwholesome forces, they are literally little yellow hand-painted hand-bills and other types of signs that they will sometimes leave lying around...

4 comments:

  1. Perfect! :)

    There's a Kid in Yellow in the City, too.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! There might be versions of these things in nearly any city, but I really like the version that shows up in The City. Love to see more new installments of stuff from that setting someday...

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    2. For sure. Maybe one day there could even be some kind of Wermspittle-City collaborative crossover pamphlet..? That would be magical. It could be a brief guide to some of the more likely potential overlaps and encouragement for campaigns to take in the both of them.

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    3. Right now I'm working on getting some smaller things done so they can go out. One of the current projects is the long-gestating Yellow Tome that the Yellow Kids and a few of their associates like the Sickly Yellow Phantoms are m ore fully fleshed-out, as it were, with loads of new spells, items and the like. But first Trinkets, and I need to get back to T'Zugri as well...

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