Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bujilli: Episode 128

Previously...
A small red icon flashed in Bujilli's field of vision. a warning from his Counsel. He slowed down as he and Leeja reached the crest of the nearest undulating dune-wave...

The ground reared upwards with a great gronking moan of protest. It was some sort of gargantuan grazing beast. Bujilli and Leeja both grabbed hold and tried to hang on for dear life as the shuddersome bulk rose up into the gloom. For a moment the beast stayed arched in place like a frozen tidal wave of moist gray flesh. Then it crashed down in a torrent of muscles and jiggling flab, cutting short the screams of whatever it was that the gronking-thing had found in the murk.

The huge mass settled back down to ingest its prey. The red icon went to amber.

A series of small vibrations rippled through the beast. It let loose a deeply satisfied sigh from some unseen orifice then slowly resumed its stately prowl.

"Well, we're here...wherever 'here' is; I just hope this thing doesn't mind us hitching a ride."

"I think we'd find out pretty quickly if it had a problem with a couple of passengers. This thing is so huge it probably doesn't even realize we're on its back." Leeja knelt to examine the patch of flesh closest to her. It was extremely wrinkled yet bulging with trapped gasses and overlapping layers of fatty-stuff. She could feel the liquids sloshing and the gasses bubbling beneath the skin as the thing's muscles contracted and relaxed.

"Ever see anything like this before?" Bujilli asked as he slowly turned in place, looking out into the murk to see whatever could be seen. There was a lot of movement, but nothing distinct, save for the quarreling war penguins they'd left behind.

"Some of the Greater Werms, maybe...but this thing is no werm. I'm not sure what it is, exactly, but it isn't a werm. These muscles aren't really muscles..."

"Then what are they?" He walked over and knelt beside his partner. He pulled off a glove and touched the thing's hide. It was pleasantly warm, slightly oily and very wrinkly, much like elephant's belly or something like that. He requested Counsel to identify the beast, if possible.

Counsel: This entity appears to be some sort of colony-organism that is feeding on a second organism that forms a crust of wrinkled nodules along this region. These nodules appear to cluster most densely around Soft Spots and Weak Points.

"Colony-Organism?" Bujilli stood up, pulling his glove back in place. The last colony organism he had crossed paths with was the Muck Raker beneath Zormur's Palace.* That had been a considerable while ago. This creature was, if anything much more placid, easy going...at least for now.

"Oh that makes sense. Like one of the Grondeloi or Pazgurchin. Hmmm....it seems to content to simply flow along looking for its next meal. Maybe we can ride it for a while? It does give us a bit of elevation to better observe our surroundings, such as thy are."

"It doesn't seem to mind us tagging along. It also isn't moving all that fast, but it might discourage some of the predators out there...unless there's something that preys on these things..."

"A sobering thought."

"Yeah, well, spending time in Wermspittle has that effect I suppose."

He looked around them one more time. They were far enough beyond the spot where they entered this place that the mirror was a dim rectangle he could barely discern. The two surviving war penguins were gone, he guessed that they moved on after their grisly meal. Thankfully they chose a different direction.

Bujilli rummaged through his belt-pouches and other gear looking for something to collect a small sample of the murksome soup that passed for ground in this place. It might be worth some study later, under different circumstances.

No bags. No boxes. No sacks or jars or bottles. The wine-sack was still full of tepid water, the other one was filled with wine that was verging on becoming vinegar. He fished through the cartridge case on his bandolier but the only things he could spare from that were some papers used to roll-up fresh cartridges for his manticore pistol. That wouldn't do. For a moment he considered using one of his gloves, but thought better of it. He certainly wasn't going to use one of his boots.

It was at this point that  Bujilli noticed that the apparent speed of the dim behemoth was misleading. The great gronking beast was steadily accelerating...



Meanwhile...
Niobe kicked for all she was worth. The clutching tentacle ripped loose with a series of little wet pops. Her boot was ruined, but she was free, so she ran..



"I wonder who lives up there..." Leeja shifted from her kneeling position to sit on the warm, slightly yielding hide of the creature. It was strangely relaxing. She considered taking a nap.

"Those islands? I am curious about them, but I don't know of a good way to get up there without drawing a lot of attention to ourselves and I think that might be a bad idea, at least until we know more about this place and what all lurks hereabouts."

"Feeling cautious?"

"Damn right."

"Hmmm...that can get you killed just as quickly as taking a few risks, you know."

"We're moving faster--"

"LET GO!" Squawked someone off the left side of the gronking-beast.

"YOU LET GO!" Yelled another voice.

"LOOK OUT HE'S GOT A KNIFE!" Screeched a third voice.

Bujilli moved over to the left in order to catch a glimpse of the quarrelers.

"Jub-Jub Birds. And I thought those penguins were dirty things." Leeja chuckled softly next to him.

One of the birds slashed at the one closest to it; "IT'S MINE!"

"IS NOT!" Protested the bird as it lunged out of the way of the glass knife.

"WE SHARE!" Demanded the third one.

"NEVER!" Screamed the knife-wielder as they jabbed at the other bird.

Bujilli hunkered down and weighed his options. Those birds were built like deranged flamingos or herons. Their legs had tremendous reach and were far more dexterous than he would have imagined. Their beaks were wickedly curved and looked plenty sharp. He was glad they didn't have a quarrel with him.

The glass knife skipped off of the ornate gorget hung about the neck of one of the squabbling birds with a scritch and some sparks.

What had been an almost playful it of posturing suddenly exploded into an all-out tussle. The bird with the gorget drew out a nasty blue poniard and stabbed madly at their attacker. The third bird whipped out a rusty old hatchet and hacked at the other two birds. It was a free for all. Feathers flew in every direction. The three birds raised an incredible ruckus.

The gronking-beast sidled slightly to the right, adjusting its course to avoid the squabbling Jub-Jub Birds.

Bujilli glanced over at Leeja. She was propped up on her elbows, watching the bird-fight down below.

A spatter of blood. Two of the Jub-Jub Birds fluttered and fussed vehemently as they ran away from the crazy one with the glass knife. They ran towards the gronking beast. then they spotted Bujilli and ran even faster as they called out to him to help them...



* See Episode 14.

What should they do next?

You Decide!


Synchronocitor Status: Fully Recharged.


Roll for Initiative!
Someone please roll 1d6 for 1) Bujilli, 2) Leeja, 3) The fleeing Jub-Jub Birds, and 4) The Crazy Jub-Jub Bird.

Attack, Flee, or Try to Learn More?
Time to make a decision. should Bujilli & Leeja assist the Jub-Jub Birds? How should they do that, if they're going to get involved? Cast a specific spell? Use a weapon? shout at them to go away? Or do you think that Bujilli and Leeja ought to avoid these birds, possibly dropping over the other side of the gronking beast and fleeing? Or should they ambush the crazy bird? Or something else? You decide!

Roll for Possible Observation.
Please roll 1d6 and let me know the result. If you get a 1, there is a bonus Random Encounter brought about by the ruckus raised by the Jub-Jub Birds. If you get a 6, then someone or something up above has noticed the ruckus and might be inclined to investigate.

Optional Spot Mirror Roll. (1d30)
We'll also need another d30 roll to determine if Bujilli or Leeja spot another mirror in the distance. A result of 10 means maybe/it isn't clear, a result of 20 means that there seems to be a mirror in a random direction, but it looks closed/shuttered; and a result of 30 means that they spot a mirror in the distance that might be open and accessible...or at least whatever they are seeing appears that way from a distance. A result of 1 means something else mirror-related happens--I'm working on a special table just for that sort of thing and will post it in time for use for the next episode if we need it.

Which Way To Go? What Should They Do Next?

You Decide!

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mirrorcrawling: A Preliminary Table

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."
"I don't much care where –"
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go.”

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll


20 Random Encounters in the Mirror-Murk

  1. A herd of speckle-haunched Raths rumble past in an untidy rush towards what they think is something edible. Thankfully, this time, they seem to not have noticed you.
  2. (1d4) Hollow Ones are furtively stalking towards something you cannot perceive. One of them excitedly gestures to you to remain right where you are.
  3. A Yelg Froth is trapped within a circle of powdered black chalk. Touching the circle inflicts 1d4 damage. The circle cannot be disturbed except by spilling blood on it, then it will collapse into a caustic shadow and release the froth. Of course, doing this will attract the attention of the morlock sorcerer who trapped the thing here for a reason. If instead of messing with the thing, someone actually takes time to study the thing, a fluttering peacock-moth will inquire politely if it might be able to help them. This creature, Baljez by name, is the sorcerer's middle-acolyte and they were tasked with watching over their masters various traps--more of the chalk-circles--that are set-up in the area.
  4. Dozens of Shatter-Cracks lance outwards from a central impact-site within 5d20' of your position. Cold black mist curls through the jagged, angular fractures. Remaining within 300' of this site requires a Save to avoid losing 1 point of WIS every 3 Turns.
  5. Slow-moving Slug-Hulks shudder softly as they slide along mindlessly wreathed in a hazy fog that echoes with the faint sounds of things that no longer exist.
  6. A small Vortex forms for 1d4 Turns. It collapses with a loud pop, leaving behind a gob of Oneiroplasm and possibly 1d4 larval Dreamsects.
  7. Three Jub-Jub Birds squabble over some little trinket until one pulls out a glass-knife and chases the other two away.
  8. A massive Slumbering Spider sways gently in the slight breeze stirred-up by your passing. It whispers in its sleep, spinning strange tales of its misspent youth in bizarre regions far from here. Save or lose 3d6 Turns listening to some peculiar anecdote.
  9. (1d6+2) Contrarials have discovered a modestly-sized mass of flotsam and are setting up their camp. One of them is horribly mangled from a run-in with some unnameable beast.
  10. There is a large Orbiculate coming straight at you. Maybe they want to be friends?
  11. A solitary humanoid figure sits cross-legged atop a small atoll of debris. They are besmirched and befouled by a thick layer of guano. (1d4) immature penguins waddle out of the near-murk to pelt this being with gobs of feces every hour or so. Eventually the Tsalalian ascetic will have achieved the proper state of consciousness and the layers of filth covering them will slip away as a sort of soft-golem to go hunt down the penguins and choke each one to death in their nests.
  12. A mauve-veined chrysalis has been caught in a small trickling current of mirrorplasm.
  13. (2d6) Jewel-Eyed Snails are feeding on the corpse of a gargantuan woman-faced werm.
  14. An Aethyric Eel wiggles past. You get the impression that it is playing coy and that it has spotted you.
  15. (1d4) Cuneiform-incised jars containing Cacozombies in stasis. Feel free to open them.
  16. One of the Shrouded guards a small aperture leading to a lingering aneurismic-niche formed by a necromancer who has long ago forgotten this place they once took refuge while terribly wounded after an encounter with one of their rivals centuries ago.
  17. A dirty and partly burnt Hand Puppet crawls painfully through the murk, leaving behind it the dead body of their most recent victim. Things did not go well for either party, but it appears that the puppet came out slightly better than the dead somnambulist.
  18. Four, no three, uh no--two Hobyahs are fleeing from a Gloomswallow. They are overjoyed to see you and are running as fast as they can towards you.
  19. Jazlin is a replacement killer. They hunt down reflections that attempt to substitute themselves for their originals. She is interested in you only in so far as you might help her locate her current quarry who has taken-on the appearance of a Pruztian Noble.
  20. (2d4) Bogles will offer to serve as guides to you. If you acept, they will lead you deeper into a bog and attempt to drwon you. If you reject them, they will follow you and try to make things difficult for you using spells like Muddle Path, Strange Big Stone, or something else you  might find in our Index of Spells. One of them wields a cheap tin toy trumpet that allows them to cast Procession of the Damned once per day.



In Episode 126 Bujilli and Leeja went through a recently un-shuttered mirror. Now they are exploring a weird wilderness region on the other side and this table is just a sampling of some of the things they might encounter in this new journey...



Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Petty Gods: Another Illustration Done

The last few days have been pretty busy. I took a break from lay-out to wrap-up a few more illustrations for Petty Gods and to complete monster-sketch number 100 in my little green sketch pads. My hands feel better and even though I'm still dealing with some residual pain, I am getting things done and that feels great.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Lemurials



Plate 236b. Lemurial referred to as 'Tailseeker' in the journals of Avram Draz whose expedition to the Gray Wastes was unsuccessful. 

Lemurial
No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 1 (claw, weapon or spell)
Damage: 1d4, or by weapon or spell
Save: F2
Morale: 8

Lemurials are ancient rivals and competitors with the Monikins whom they blame for the loss of their tails. According to Lemurial folklore, they once possessed the most magnificent tails but a wicked cabal of Monikin spell-casters cursed them to become tailless. The Monikins deny this, calling it an obtuse fable with no basis in reality.

Exceptional Lemurials advance as Magic-Users or Thieves.




Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Murkim in Wermspittle



Tall, willowy and silent, the Murkim stare out from under their ragged hoods and ornate masks through unsettling milky eyes that see altogether too much. Twice burned in chains for certain unspecified allegedly abominable practices by the Military Tribunals under the Salavin Governorship and Cortellian Investment, ages before the Franzikaners or Pruztians ever arrived in Wermspittle, the Murkim have learned not to talk to strangers. Now they sulk in the dimly lit alleys and by-ways of this city they so detest and despise, waiting, watching for some sign from Below...

Murkim
No. Enc.: 1d6 (5d8)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 2+
Attacks: 1 (weapon or spells)
Damage: 1d6 or by weapon/spell
Save: M1 or T1 or F1
Morale: 7

Special: Murkim automatically Detect Magic visually and can dowse for magical energy sources at will (treat as Locate Object, but only in regards to magic items, objects, auras, etc.). They also See Auras and Identify Link at will. They also gain the ability to Hide in Shadows and Move Silently as a Thief two levels higher than their current HD.

Murkim advance as magic-users or dual-classed magic-user/thieves (or assassins) and there are rare ranger-types who specialize in hunting & combating either fungal or unbodied opponents.


Appearance
Murkim are taller than average, but exceedingly thin until reaching Middle Age (approximately 600 years old), at which point they tend to let themselves go, becoming rotund masses of mottled flesh that prefer not to move around too much. Murkim have milky eyes with no obviously discernible iris or pupil. Their skins are mottled with splotches of mauve, maroon and several shades of gray. The mottling of a Murkim's skin is believed to be random, however some claim to be able to tell which area a particular Mukim hails from by reading their markings. this is probably errant nonsense, but no one has actually refuted or proven it, so it remains a part of the street cant and folklore along the Low Streets.

When wounded, Murkin do not bleed like other humanoids, instead they exude a reddish froth from the wound, which closes over in 1d4 turns. They can also regain 1 hit point for every 1d4 hit points of blood they can drain from an immobilized victim. this ability cannot be used in combat. It is too slow and requires uninterrupted physical contact with the donor or victim.

The presence of yellow spotting indicates that the individual in question is seriously ill with an extremely contagious form of Yellow Pox that only affects Murkim. Those affected will be shunned by their fellows. Yellow Pox is a form of aethyric-fungal infection that is a lingering legacy of the centuries-long strife between the Murkim and the fungal colonies of Yellowhome. Because of the Yellow Pox, all Murkim tend to have a vigorously negative reaction to all forms of fungi, mold or ooze.


Lore
Their ancestors were known and shunned by the Pallid. The Tsalalians no longer speak their names, the glyph they once used to describe these people has been obliterated, purged from their collective vocabulary. They will tell you that they are older than the Ghouls, that they were here before the founding of Latterkamp. Perhaps it is true, maybe they are lying; all anyone knows is that the Murkim have been in Wermspittle as long as there has been white vapors prowling the lowest of the Understreets, gray ashes that fall like snow in late Spring and black rains in early Summer. It is uncertain if the Murkim are responsible for these things, or associated with them for obscure reasons, or if they are actually to blame for them in some way.

Murkim trade in shadows, simulacra and reflections, among other liminal things that they capture, bind and sell like animals or artworks to be devoured or digested, admired or invested according to the whims and fancies of those who would deal with them. They barter for figments and fragments, shards of old lore, scraps of ancient knowledge, the remnants of times long gone and places long forgotten. They love secrets and whispers, and have been known to buy lies and forgeries as easily and eagerly as authentic relics or legitimate objects. They are alleged to covet oneirical curiosities, feral dream-things and free ranging phantasms. Occasionally their penchant for such things run afoul of the Fantomists and others of their ilk, typically resulting in horrific episodes of sorcerous mayhem and aethyric violence.

The Murkim work with fixed mercury, orichalcum, and other exotic and mutable alloys, most of which are extremely hurtful to the undead or unbodied. It is for this reason that many Geist-Killers and their ilk will travel to the Middle Deeps in search of the most well-respected arsenal-keepers and notorious arms-dealers despite the risks.

Gloomwalk, Murksomosity, Blue Fog, Ill Wind, Electrum Needle, Evaporate, and Umbral Maiming are spells commonly attributed to the Murkim.



Friday, April 24, 2015

Arkash-Tal


Six Minor Boneless Nuisances from Wermspittle


Not every shuddering mound of loathsomeness and filth is necessarily a chthonic spawn or a the oily remains of some one's Vile Transformation. There are a host of minor amorphous creatures and feral blobs at loose in the environs of Wermspittle and as any Jelly Hunter or Blob-Wrangler can tell you, while some are fierce, dangerous things best left to the professionals, the more common types of Jellies tend to be little more than nuisances...if you know how to handle them...


  1. Blobulent. Festering, boneless blobs of flesh that bulge from between floorboards and sag down from holes in ceilings in search of easy prey, these flabby things extrude many mouths filled with soft, fleshy teeth that might fool a green beginner or someone unprepared for them, but the distinctive sucking noise they make gives them away to a seasoned wrangler...

    Blobulent [Minor Blob; AL N, MV 60' (20'), AC 48 [11], HD 1+, #AT 1, DG 1d4, SV F1, ML 6, Special: Immune to Sleep spells, but have no Save against Charm. The inner-flesh is dark bruise-purple and highly flammable, but can be used to distill a peculiar, noxious-smelling liquor rumored to make the imbiber able to operate for more than 72 hours without sleep. Blobulent hides can be worked into some very flexible, pliable armor and is worth a fair bit, if it is completely intact--once it has been punctured the stuff is no good to anyone.]

  2. Jiggler / Aspicarian. Translucent, wet blobs of jelly that slowly dribble down walls, windows and stairs. If you listen, you might hear them gibber softly to themselves ...

    Jiggler [Common Lesser Jelly; AL N, MV 30' (10'), AC 8[11], HD 1+, #AT 1, DG 1d6 (acid), SV F1, ML 8 (automatically flees from open flame), Special: Hide in Shadows 67%, but cannot move without making sloshing noises. All organic matter touched by this thing turns sickly yellow-green, but otherwise seems no worse for wear.]

  3. Gellid / Meat-Heap. Crude amalgamations of random chunks of rancid flesh held together by a thick, viscous mucillage-like substance. Cast off and rejected, these things slither about looking for dead things to incorporate into themselves...

    Gellid / Meat Heap [Common Composite Abdead Blob; AL N, MV 60' (20'), AC 9[10], HD 2+, #AT 1, DG 1d4+2, SV F2, ML 12 (fearless), Special: Can be Turned as a 4HD Undead. Each pound of dead flesh they absorb gives them an additional hit point, but the process takes 2d6 Turns (They are slow eaters and cannot assimilate bones, teeth or chitin). These things often wander mindlessly into a cellar and freeze solid over the winter only to thaw out again next spring. Street Urchins and others will often try to keep track of these things in order to harvest them right before they fully thaw out...but no one will say what they actually do with them, but it might have something to do with White Powder and necromantic alchemy... ]

  4. Offalinger. Piles of offal, blobs of fat, bits of tallow, marrow, and fractured bone-shards, all mingled and immersed within a thick, milky fluid that reeks of spoiled perfume and tainted vinegar...

    Offalinger [Common Composite Blob; AL N, MV 60' (20'), AC 9[10], HD 2+, #AT 2, DG 1d4, 1d4, SV F1, ML 12 (fearless), Special: These unsightly, unfriendly things lob gobs of curdled lard and rancid offal at anyone who disturbs them. They have a range of 10' (plus 1d4' per HD), and they are altogether too clever about using their fatty-residue to spread fires and to make surfaces slippery.]

  5. Ceiling Skimmer. Foragers know to look up every now and then. Those that survive. There are things that skitter and skim along the ceilings of old houses and other places. Nasty things that are just spoiling for a chance to lash out at the unwary...

    Ceiling Skimmer [Minor Amorphic Horror; AL N, MV 90' (30'), AC 7[12], HD 2, #AT 1, DG 1d4+1, SV F1, ML 12 (fearless), Special: Lurk overhead and wait for opportunity to attack with surprise (+4 to hit, plus double damage, as per a Thief's Backstab (see LL p. 12). If their big surprise attack fails to render the victim unconscious or dead, the Skimmer will flee and attempt to find another vantage point from which to hide and await another opportunity to ambush some unsuspecting forager or whatever.]

  6. Fleshpot. Sometimes that suspicious bulge behind a tapestry, or beneath an old rug is not something you want to disturb...

    Fleshpot [Common Lesser Jelly; AL N, MV 45' (15'), AC 9[10], HD 3+, #AT 1, DG 2d4, SV F2, ML 12 (fearless), Special: Touch temporarily liquifies flesh on a successful hit. If the creature is killed, anyone suffering the effects of its touch will find their flesh returning to normal consistency within 3d6 minutes...however, it will retain whatever shape it took on while liquified. A healer or surgeon can mold the flesh back into place with a skill check, otherwise repairing the damage might require surgery or spells. If captured live, these things can fetch a pretty price at the Medical School and from the more reputable healers...as well as among the less scrupulous Grafters or the Comprachicos, if one is foolish enough to attempt to deal with them...]


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bujilli: Episode 127

Previously...
Bujilli and Leeja have gone through a mirror into a strange in-between realm and now they must decide which way to go...

The mirror behind them went black with a soft hiss. An empty rectangular stain in the dark. A smoldering red light seeped into place around the edges of the thing. Hedrard's ward to prevent anything on this side from barging through into Idvard's Keep after they left this spot. Or maybe it was to stop them from changing their minds?

The ground beneath them was soft, pliable, more like cold lard with a thin skin over it than soil or rock. It was cold and resembled a greasy type of near-liquid moonstone or milky quartz. Strange shapes rose and fell all around them, like debris floating on a dozen overlapping unseen seas, all riding waves or tides moving with different rhythms. A thin haze of slowly condensing vapor hung over the stuff, right at the verge of becoming honest fog but not quite. It was saturating his boots, his trousers, his hair.

It wasn't quiet, not exactly. There was a dull throb of some sort vibrating through the 'ground,' and a gently ululating susurrus that shifted position at random intervals and seemed to be circling them at a distance. Or not. The sounds echoed on top of themselves in a peculiar way that made it difficult to tell how far away anything might be, or in what direction.

Bujilli breathed deep in the gathering gloom then reached out his hand. The dimness played games with depth perception, but he grew up crawling through damp and dismal spaces deep beneath the sun-touched mountains of his mother's folk; he wasn't afraid of the dark. He also wasn't going to take unnecessary chances, so he cast Gloomlight and set the glyph to float ahead of him just within reach of his hand-axe. Just in case.

"A dreary place." Leeja smiled. She was quite familiar with dreary places, having grown up in Aman Utal, an underground realm where things walked as men or talked like women but were by no means human.

"Murky. Definitely murky. But we've both seen worse. It appears that we have our choice of direction to go..."

"Hmmm. It feels odd, doesn't it; being able to choose our way and not being chased along or hunting after something?"

"It's a good feeling." He looked out past the bulgy knoll they were on. Some sort of dense object loomed out of the dismalness ahead of them. It tapered toward the top, like an obelisk, but leaned to the side as though mired in too soft soil to support its weight. It moved up and down only slightly and seemed a fairly reliable landmark. Off to the right the Gloomlight shimmered as it played off of a series of swirling eddies in the fog. A Dogfish-like shape lunged up from the murk only to dissipate before it fell back into the murk. The disturbance revealed a copse of trees, dark and dripping with moisture. There might be some sort of a forest over in that direction...but what would they have to cross to get there he wondered.

Behind them, past the red-edged space where the mirror no longer was accessible, the fog grew darker, damper and seemed to billow upwards from a series of irregularly shaped lumps and bumps that reminded Bujilli of weed-clumps in a marsh. He was already wet enough and didn't relish slogging through some brackish swamp with no clear idea of where they were heading.

Off to the left things seemed to be drier, the air was cleaner and fewer random shapes protruded from the fog-draped ground. He thought he saw a series of dunes or smallish hillocks, maybe mounds, but then they wavered and sank only to rise again in a regular rhythm, like waves.

All around them slippery things slithered and skittered and slunk about the place, going about their business. Most seemed to ignore the two intruders.

"I don't like the looks of things over that way," Leeja pointed toward the forest and what lie in-between to their right; "And that thing, that obelisk-thing in front of us feels wrong somehow. I'm not sure what it is about it, but i definitely don't like it."

"Behind us seems to be a swamp of some sort. It just gets darker and wetter and less appealing the farther back it goes, at least as best as I can see in this murk. I'd just as soon avoid wading about in a cold, dark slough with no clear destination or any idea if there is anything worth the trouble over that way."

"That leaves those dunes or waves or whatever they are..."

"Yeah. Some of them seem fairly large, so maybe we can ride them or at least get a more elevated viewpoint from atop one of them. It's worth taking a look."

That's when Bujilli looked up into the darkness overhead.

"Scheiss."

Something extremely large wallowed, rolled them sloughed huffing and wheezing away from them both towards the swampy region behind them. In the brief glimpse he had it appeared to be some sort of gristly blob that combined the bulk of a whale with the snout of a pig and the skin of a zucchini.

"It's leaving. whatever it is." Leeja had her short sword out.

"Look up."



Meanwhile...
Old Man Putney cackled as he set the clamps into place. The Kommandant wanted answers at any cost, so he meant to extract everything he could from the Nosferatu. For all he knew, this lot might be the last ones of their kind he'd get to destroy. That made him wistful and nostalgic, which was a big mistake. These things and their betters had cost him a great deal. He flipped the switch on the galvanic apparatus before asking his first question. It worked just as he'd been told. He tried it again. Again. again. Finally the creature began to volunteer all manner of secrets and information in between its sobs, curses and recriminations...



Islands. A host of islands swam overhead like the bottoms of massive ships. Some trailed roots and vines, others were desolate hulks of broken stone and decaying pillars. A few shone with nebulous aurora-like glimmerings and at least two if not three were wreathed in the lambent glow of ponderous censers or tall trellis-like braziers; like the one drifting past them almost directly overhead.

"What are they?"

"The fog, the 'ground' reminds me of ectoplasm at the threshold of manifestation. It is something like ectoplasm or oneiroplasm, some sort of mirrorplasm or whatever you want to call it. I think that this place not only connects with a host of other places, but it has gotten polluted a little each time as bits and pieces flowed into it across the threshold of whatever mirror or other aperture opened into it. Every time someone came here, they brought along something of their previous environment. Over time this has grown, developed into its own ecology. I suspect that is has grown taken on some sort of resonance with certain oneiric realms or regions of dream..."

"It's so dark overhead...like an abyss."

"Exactly. I think that we'd best get moving before we are spotted by someone on one of those drifting landmasses...or something lurking farther up there in the higher darkness." Bujilli directed the Gloomlight glyph to proceed ahead of them in order to reveal any lurking predators, ambushers or hazards as they made their way towards the dune-wave-things.

Bujilli accessed his Counsel. It detected life of myriad and various types and sorts all about them, but nothing immediately threatening. Their surroundings defied analysis; whatever made-up this place, it was something unknown to the databases of the ancient civilization that had created the Counsel as a gift to all their machines recognized as human as their legacy. It knew a great deal and had many wonderful abilities, but in this place it was as much an observer as its host.

A chorus of grotesquely leering masks fluttered up from the forest making a grievously mordant racket as they screeched and muttered their way off into the distance.

Bujilli glanced at the dark mass looming overhead as he followed the glyph through the murk. It seemed to be keeping on its course as though oblivious to their presence down below.

Three war penguins lurched out of the swampy area by the red-limned mirror-shape. One succumbed to its wounds and fell bleeding before the others who set to devouring their fellow. The largest one, a great bull of a bird let loose with a disturbing warble of a bellow before pushing the other survivor away so it could gobble up the guts spilling out of the still-warm carcass.

Leeja nudged him and they broke into a trot. Neither of them were keen on a confrontation with those dirty birds.

A swarm of jewel-eyes snails slid away through the murk at close to eye-level to quickly disappear into the distance.

A small red icon blinked in Bujilli's field of vision. a warning from his Counsel. He slowed down as they reached the crest of the nearest dune-wave-thing only to have it rear upwards with a great gronking moan of protest...


What should they do next? Which way should they go?

You Decide!


Synchronocitor Status: Fully Recharged.


Roll for Initiative!
Someone please roll 1d6 for 1) Bujilli, 2) Leeja, 3) That gronking dune-thing.

Attack, Flee, or Try to Learn More?
They've reached the dune-wave-things and this one appears to be some sort of organism. should they attack it? Cast a spell? Get off of the thing's back? Try to learn more?

Counsel: This entity appears to be some sort of colony-organism that is feeding on a second sort of organism that forms a crust of wrinkled nodules along this region. It does not appear to be in reaction to being walked upon but is instead responding to some sort of signal, perhaps a call of some sort.

Roll for Possible Observation.
Please roll 1d6 and let me know the result. If you get a 1, there is a bonus Random Encounter brought about by the ruckus raised by the gronking-thing. If you get a 6, then someone or something up above has noticed them.

Optional Spot Mirror Roll. (1d30)
We'll also need another d30 roll to determine if Bujilli or Leeja spot another mirror in the distance. A result of 10 means maybe/it isn't clear, a result of 20 means that there seems to be a mirror in a random direction, but it looks closed/shuttered; and a result of 30 means that they spot a mirror in the distance that might be open and accessible...or at least whatever they are seeing appears that way from a distance. A result of 1 means something else mirror-related happens--I'm working on a special table just for that sort of thing and will post it in time for use for the next episode if we need it.

Which Way To Go? What Should They Do Next?
Taking advantage of the sudden elevation Counsel has spotted something in the distance. I will be posting a table either tomorrow or Monday that you can roll on to determine what has been seen or that has seen them...

What do you think Bujilli & Leeja ought to do next?

You Decide!

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Northport: A Review of Clatterdelve and the Ymid Gets a Make-Over

Denis over at the Northport blog found our blog through Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day and he has really taken to our first installment of the Clatterdelve megadungeon-in-progress, as well as the Ymids, one of the strange creatures lurking in that particular adventure. In fact, he has converted the Ymids over to GURPS at his blog complete with his own interpretation that includes a bonus Hobyah. Good stuff. go click over and take a look for yourself at THIS link, or just click on the Ymid over on the left there.

While you're at the Northport blog, be sure to check out the post about The People of the Pit and some of the other excellent things that Denis has been doing over there. It's good stuff.

You can still download a free copy of our first installment for Clatterdelve via This Link to our Free Stuff folder at Box. that pdf prsents one of the six known 'false entrances' to Clatterdelve...all of which actually do lead into the megadungeon itself, just not directly or easily. A follow-up to this pdf is in the works and will be available after we get the Swords & Wizardry Mini-Bestiary fully formatted and uploaded.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Moundling (Lesser)

Lesser Moundling
Hit Dice: 2
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Attacks: 2 Pseudopods (1d4+1)
Saving Throw: 16
Special: Clinging Crud
Move: n/a
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 2/30

Mindless, blind and disgusting, these subterranean nuisances resemble gelatinous gut-piles with a few smoothly-eroded bone fragments poking out of their pseudopods. They sense vibrations and heat, and are rumored to possess a highly developed sense of smell, which is doubtful, given their predilection for infesting places rife with rot and decay.

Anyone coming within 20' of a Moundling must make a Save or find that their boots, sandals or other footwear is coated with a nasty-smelling clinging crud that seeps into them and begins to fester, swell and develop disconcerting bulges over the course of the next hour or so. Those bulges will rupture to release 1d4 larval Moundlings that resemble squiggly little slugs with only 1 hit point apiece. The larvae will quickly wriggle off into the surrounding darkness to find a suitable spot to take root and begin the process all over again.



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Friday, April 17, 2015

Gargaim

Gargaim
Hit Dice: 4
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Attacks: 2 Claws (1d2), 1 Bite (1d6), or Weapon(1d6)
Saving Throw: 12
Special: Immune to silver weapons, half damage from magic weapons.
Move:9
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 3/60

Fetid and grotesque scavengers who lurk in sewers and dumps and constantly mutter and grumble to themselves in a singularly uncouth language, Gargaim are as ungrateful as they are unwelcome within the communities they feed upon. Narrow-minded and easily distracted, they can be temporarily placated in most instances by tossing them a few copper coins or bits of colored glass. Of course once you pass on your way to better things, the Gargaim go out of their way to stir up any other creatures in the immediate vicinity in order to set them after you...




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Skreecher

Skreecher
Hit Dice: 2+
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Attacks: 2 Claws (1d4), or weapon
Saving Throw: 14
Special: Spell-use.
Move:9
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 3/60

Greedy, cunning and conniving; Skreechers rove the underworld in search of spell-casters to ambush. They delight in torturing captive magic-users into teaching them new spells and they quickly confiscate every tome, scroll, codex, spell-book or grimoire they can beg, borrow or steal.

Skreechers progress as Magic-Users, but require an additional 30% XP per level to advance.




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Yrrzael (Tishga-Drones)

Yrrzael
Hit Dice: 4
Armor Class: 6 [13], 5[14] with shield
Attacks: 4 weapons (1d6, 1d6, 1d4, 1d4), or acid
Saving Throw: 13
Special: Acid, Split attacks between multiple opponents.
Move:14
Alignment: Neutrality
Challenge Level/XP: 5/240

Despoilers of graves and looters of tombs, the Yrrzael are the buzzing war-drones of a maggot-ruled empire that does not claim territory, but rather seizes upon the bodies of the dead. All dead flesh is theirs by decree of the Maggot-Mages and their Veiled Empress. They lay their eggs where they will and feed upon all that die and this has led them into conflict with the ghouls who are as likely as any to fall victim to these insatiable, implacable things...




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Vhyl Katub

Vhyl Katub
Hit Dice: 8
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Attacks: 2 Pincers (2d6+2), 1 Bite (3d6), or acid spray
Saving Throw: 11
Special: Immunities, Acid.
Move:10
Alignment: Neutrality
Challenge Level/XP: 11/1700

The Vhyl Katub are strange, alien beings summoned to guard ancient tombs and reliquaries. Immune to fire, cold and poison these weird worm-things tirelessly slither about their sealed domains along routes that have remained unchanged for millennia. 




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Jirin

Jirin
Hit Dice: 4
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Attacks: 1 Fist (1d4+2) or 1 Weapon (1d6+1)
Saving Throw: 11
Special: Consume Magic, Dispel Magic.
Move:12
Alignment: Neutrality
Challenge Level/XP: 5/240

Powerfully-built hairless humanoids with extremely thick skin that they sometimes fit with spikes or studs, Jirin consume the pages of spell books and scrolls as though such things were the sweetest candy and they drain magic items like drinking wine from a bottle.

They also have a 90% chance to dispel any first level spell cast within 30' of them, an 80% chance to dispel second level spells, 70% chance to dispel third level, 60% chance to dispel fourth level spells, 50% chance to dispel fifth level spells, 40% chance to dispel sixth level spells, 30% chance to dispel seventh level spells, 20% chance to dispel eighth level spells, and a 10% chance to dispel ninth level spells.

Any magic weapon striking a Jirin runs a cumulative 5% chance of losing one of its enchantments or bonuses determined at random.

The Jirin cannot wield a magical weapon unless it is first completely drained of all power. This can be accomplished by simply holding the item in their hands for one hour per magical plus of the weapon and also applies to armor.

Magical potions make them sick and they cannot be healed by magic, nor can they be raised or resurrected, which may explain their intense hatred for Clerics in particular.





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Reptin

Reptin
Hit Dice: 2+1
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Attacks: 1 Bite (1d4+Poison), 1 Javelin (1d4+1), Sword(1d6+1)
Saving Throw: 14
Special: Immune to Sleep, Fear or Charm.
Move:12 (Cannot swim)
Alignment: Neutrality
Challenge Level/XP: 3/60

Some would characterize the Reptin as slow and plodding, but those fools never faced them in battle. Reptin are disciplined soldiers whose ancestors built a vast world-girdling empire long, long ago. But that was before the Great Cataclysm and the treachery of the serpentine nobles. Now they serve as mercenaries to the younger, weaker races.

Reptin wear heavy bronze armor that is riveted in place once they reach maturity and is never removed. They take a very dim view of anyone looting their fallen comrades and have been known to break off in the middle of an attack to go after bands of scavengers that tried to recover some of their armor. The armor of the fallen must be recovered to hand it down to the next cycle of hatchlings, such is the way of their people for uncounted thousands of years.

They preserve the old lore of their ancestors regarding the fine points of bronze-casting and are very likely the greatest experts and artisans who work exclusively in bronze active in the world today. Reptin smiths not only know the secret to making extremely hard bronze, they also manufacture Hepatizon and other more exotic forms of bronze. It is rumored that more than two-thirds of the bronze golems discovered are Reptin creations. They are also quite infamous for their skill in demolishing or dismantling such constructs.

The hidden egg-pits of the Reptin are rumored to be tended by special bronze golems, in order to free the Reptin to wage war.





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Aztil

Aztil
Hit Dice: 2+1
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Attacks: 1 Weapon (1d6)
Saving Throw: 13
Special: Surprise opponents on a 1-3.
Move:12
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 3/60

Sneaky humanoids who live deep within woodland regions, the Aztil are notorious for setting all manner of traps to scare, injure or kill intruders. There is a base 30% chance that any encounter with the Aztil will instead be with one or more of their traps. Snares, pits filled with spikes, and springy tree-limbs fitted with stakes seem to be the most common traps they are likely to use, but there is no end to the perverse ingenuity of these creatures.

Aztil have no spoken language, but instead rely upon gesture and hand-signs to communicate. They also make use of an intricately carved system of runes for recording significant events, their history and lore. It is suspected that the Aztil have developed a form of runic spell-casting, but this has yet to be confirmed.




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Skin Taker

Skin Taker
Hit Dice: 2
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Attacks: 1 Touch (1d4+Con drain)
Saving Throw: 12
Special: Drains 1 Con with hit, can only be hurt by spells or magic weapons, takes over corpses.
Move:10
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 4/120

Completely intact skins of sacrificed cultists that prowl through back-alleys and dismal passages in search of victims. They are not undead; these things did not die in the course of being removed from their original owners and if they continue to prey upon others, they might even be immortal.

The wet, sloppy touch of a Skin Taker drains one point of Constitution on each successful attack, and if the victim is reduced to zero, the Skin Taker will attempt to transform their victim into another of these despicable creatures as their skin is removed through an arcane ritual taking one hour (6 Turns). If the ritual is disrupted, the victim's skin will blacken and shrivel into dust. The remainder of the victim's flesh might be recoverable through some sort of magical intervention, but those resurrected after such an attack often lack their outermost layers of skin. Survivors of a Skin Taker's assault usually regain their Constitution after 120 minutes (12 Turns).




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