Monday, June 26, 2017

Straw Troopers

My life has been so short that I really know nothing whatever. I was only made day before yesterday. What happened in the world before that time is all unknown to me...

Strohtruppen (Straw Troopers)
[also referred to as Mulltruppen (Junk-Troops)]
No. Enc.: 3d6
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40'0
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d6 (Weapon)
Save: F4
Morale: 12

Strohtruppen, or Straw Troopers, are soft automatons constructed from the uniforms of the fallen, captured regimental banners, bloody bandages, blanket-rolls and then packed with straw, moss, rags, more bloody bandages, tent flaps and anything else that can be scrounged. They are equipped with whatever weapons are to be found, usually pole-arms, bayonets, broken rifles, make-shift clubs and the like. No one expects them to do anything except follow whatever orders they receive without question or hesitation, no matter the danger or the stupidity. They have no true intelligence and can only carry out the simplest of commands and then only if they are delivered at high volume, as these things tend to be hard of hearing. They also cannot see much farther than 200', though they can see as clearly in the dark as they do in the daylight. In addition they are unaffected by Hold, Charm, Sleep, ESP, most forms of glamer or illusion and Fear effects. There are rumors that a specialized form of Hold spell has been developed by the Franzikan Military College, but if this sort of thing does exist, it is not in open circulation at this time.

Straw Troopers are so very similar to the crude Fodder Golems and Corn Dollies crafted by farm communities in the Low Lands that most scholars agree that these things are essentially the militarized, modernized versions of those more humble, rustic forms of soft automatons.

Commandant Zulmer of the the Wall Guard has come under intense criticism for allegedly approving a plan to bolster the units along the Inner Ramparts with an unverified number of Strohtruppen and salvaged Fyters. Some of the most scathing condemnation has come from the ultra-conservative Black Rose Coalition who control nearly a third of the Security Council. Representatives of the Black Rose demand that instead of resorting to such inhuman things as Straw Troopers to reinforce the ranks of the seriously depleted Wall Guard units, that they instead return to the time-honored practice of utilizing undead soldiers...

Soft Automata include Fodder Golems, Bannerbearers, Leatherim, Corn Dollies, Teerkinder, and others. They lack the inherent toughness of traditional automata and are most often employed in a short-term, disposable manner.

Source of Inspiration: The Scarecrow from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, as seen through the lens of Mr. Frazer's The Golden Bough, with a touch of Arthur Machen: " is my belief that an awful lore is not yet dead."

Friday, June 23, 2017


Hit Dice: 1 to 3
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Attacks: 1 (eye-beam for 1d4+1)
Saving Throw: 14
Special: Limited ESP, Telepathy, Telekinesis, Suffer Double Damage from Poison.
Move: Innate Levitation
Alignment: Neutrality
Challenge Level/XP: 5/240+

Equally at home underwater or the surface world, Illardin are intensely curious beings who are fascinated with all aspects of magic and spell casting. If the Illardin recognize someone as a spell-caster of any sort whatsoever, they will attempt to convince this person to become their mentor. Anyone agreeing to teach the Illardin must Save or fall under the effect of a Geas making it impossible for them to advance any further within their primary spell-casting class until such time as they have successfully taught one spell to the Illardin. Successfully teaching a spell to these creatures eliminates the Geas, however there is a base 30% chance that the Illardin will recommend the player character's services to their friends and family, resulting in more 'students' appearing every few weeks.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Arctic Fireballs

"An Arctic fire-ball had traversed the sky, showering abroad, a sulphurous glamour over the snow-landscape. Before the intenser blue of its momentary shine had passed away, I saw Wilson stagger forward, and drop. And him and his lantern I buried deep there under the rubble ice."

The Purple Cloud,
by M.P. Shiel

Arctic Fireballs
(Polar Irrlicht)

No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Movement: 360 (120)
Armor Class
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 1 (constant / area effect)
Damage: 1d6 (20' radius)
Save: MU6
Morale: 8

Special: Anyone looking directly at one of these creatures must make a Save or go blind for 1d6 Turns. Repeatedly gazing into the searing blue light incurs a cumulative penalty of -1 on all subsequent Saves. Failing a Save three times in a row results in the blindness becoming permanent.
Damage inflicted within its area of effect alternates randomly between extreme heat and extreme cold.
When reduced to zero hp the creature explodes as an Incendiary Cloud (75%) or Ice Storm (25%).

Shimmering immaterial horrors from beyond the Arctic Circle, these effulgent orbs of preternatural azure flame plunge headlong through the night leaving trails of sparks and sulphurous fumes in their wake. Unquiet beasts of uncertain provenance, they make a fearful and easily distinguishable roar in their travels. It is described as being something akin to a stuttering sort of thunder one feels in their bones more than it assaults the ears, according to the accounts of various survivors. Even before the uncanny sound might be heard, a searing blue light will sweep across the landscape evaporating shadows and blinding any foolish enough to look too closely into the source of this weird radiance.

Unnatural things, intrusive forces from some Parallel Realm or malign sphere of existence few know anything about, there are many unanswered questions regarding these mysterious, sinister creatures and too few definite answers...

There are those who would reward any intrepid investigator who successfully uncovers a clue as to the actual identity of these things or any facts regarding their ultimate nature. Divinations and prognostications do not work on these things necessitating the gathering of intelligence by the time-honored process of discrete pursuit and patient observation...

Recent Developments

  1. An Ill-Advised Attempt at Binding one of these things has resulted in the death of four students, leaving three others horribly burned and their Student Advisor Miss Kalisham missing and presumed either Displaced or possibly disintegrated. The Board of Inquiry is seeking the advice of anyone with what might pass for a reasonable amount of credible knowledge in these sorts of matters i.e. direct, personal experience in dealing with malevolent Irrlichts and related things.

  2. Mandival Kosrigand, a nearly destitute disgraced scholar with a penchant for exotic forms of Black Liquor claimed to have captured a specimen of what he prefers to refer to as an Effulgent Azure Orb, if only to annoy his detractors and rivals. When a group of his peers broke down the door to his study all they found was his charred corpse and what remained of his papers scattered in total disarray. Perhaps his method worked and someone moved to snatch it away before he could share it with anyone else. Maybe he was the victim of spontaneous combustion and there's nothing more to the matter. All that is certain is that someone would do well to take a closer look at things, just in case some sort of sorcerous skullduggery might be afoot...who knows who might be the next victim...

  3. A lone Forager who was presumed lost for three weeks reappeared just recently telling a bizarre tale about a strange series of caverns where all the exposed surfaces were vitrified to the point of being nearly glass-like due to the efforts of a '...radiant blue sphere of corruscating flame wreathed in a halo of sulphorous fumes that resented all intrusions upon its secret domain.' Allegedly the Forager was able to escape, but became lost in the Middle Deeps and was forced to wander through numerous unmapped areas before finally stumbling across a Sewer Militia Antekeep on the banks of a deep, cold river. They've only just left the custody of the Sewer Militia and word of their misadventure has spread quickly.

  4. Nasigallir of Greft, renowned for her research into photovoltaic phenomena has put out a call for research assistants and support staff, including a contract with a notorious fully licensed band of Pruztian deserters mercenaries...rumor has it that she intends to hunt down and either capture or destroy a number of Arctic Fireballs as part of her ongoing efforts at weaponizing various forms of Irrlichts under her grant and Letter of Patent & Marque bestowed upon her by Baron Ludrivarca Bollingern, master of one of the 'violently independent freeholds' that have seceded from the Empire now that the War has descended into anarchy and chaos. The Baron is not a man who abides chaos. At all.

Inspiration: The quote from M. P. Shiel's The Purple Cloud was the starting point for this nasty luminous horror that was somehow brought back from the Arctic by some ill-fated expedition or another. Perhaps it is somehow connected to the Inner City at the Two Magnetic Poles and the Dno-Hna Formula or is it one of the ancient and shining foulnesses that fester between the angles of Yr and Nhhgr? Possibly...

Monday, June 19, 2017

Zinn Soldiers (Combat Automata of Wermspittle)

The Soldier is a splendid manWhen marching on parade,And when he meets the enemyHe never is afraid.He rights the wrongs of nations,His country's flag defends,The foe he'll fight with great delight,But seldom fights his friends...

Bad translations of the surviving interrogation transcripts leaked by Yellow Journalists during the collapse of the First Pruztian Occupation have led to many inconsistencies and much speculation regarding the origination and derivation of the various forms of combat automata known as 'Zinn Soldiers,' so-called because of their special alloy-plating.

Zinn Soldiers (Conscript Demi-Automata)
No. Enc.: 1d4
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 3 (as Plate Mail)
Hit Dice: 2+
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d6, or by weapon
Save: F2+
Morale: 11

Special: Unlike Fyters, Zinn Soldiers gain experience in their respective class(es). Most are Fighters, but some are more specialized and a rare few are dual-classed. Also Zinn-plated portions of these soldiers gain a +4 bonus to all Saves versus acid, corrosion, Black Smoke, Purple Vapors, etc. However Zinn Soldiers still need to breathe, even if their face or head has been reconstructed, thus they remain at risk from poison gas and can drown or suffocate.

Zinn Soldiers are conscripted troops that have been rebuilt from the shattered remains of badly wounded and dismembered soldiers recovered from the battlefield. Originally the process was something of a progressive and aggressive replacement of lost body-parts with cheap zinn-plated prosthetic limbs. Zinn Soldiers usually retain some portions of their original human bodies whereas Fyters never had any experience of the flesh, having been turned out as fully functional automata from the factories.

Those troops, including a few higher echelon officers and the like, that have only received a simple replacement hand, foot, arm or leg were returned to their units with little fanfare. Those unfortunates that required more extensive efforts on the part of the battlefield surgeons lost more than just their human appearance as they were summarily conscripted into special infantry units made-up entirely of survivors like themselves, all of whom were now relegated to permanent service with no chance of release until after the cessation of hostilities, and even then only by special dispensation in recognition of outstanding service. These units, while often small in number, served as shocktroops and kommando units, often being the first ones in and the last ones out, especially if things went badly. Having already been documented and listed as killed in action, these troops were seen as eminently expendable by the High Kommand.

In the last months of the Great War a number of Zinn soldiers refused obviously suicidal orders, opting instead to either desert or rebel against their commanders. As more and more of the Zinn soldiers became troublesome and rebellious, they were replaced by Fyters, combat automata that had never known life of any kind and lacking sort of flesh or remnants of humanity. The introduction of the first Fyters resulted in a majority of Zinn Soldiers withdrawing from the field of battle to either go back to their homelands or to march off in a random direction in search of some place they could claim as their own. Not being at all sympathetic to their once-loyal troops, the Pruztian High Kommand condemned these traitors and set specialized units of Maschine Killers the task of hunting down and destroying disloyal Zinn Soldiers.

It is rumored that many Zinn Soldiers have since found aid and support among the Borderland Keeps and other Pruztian settlements located outside the Imperial City and those enclaves directly connected by Unterrail or other means. A sort of outlawry has arisen along the frontier of the Empire with Zinn Soldiers taking over various Lakeside Manors and other fortified locations and engaging in acts of banditry and subversion against the Nobility and their lawful representatives and agents. Some few are making names for themselves as disciplined units of Freikorps and perhaps they shall one day redeem their reputations and force some sort of reconciliation with the empire. Others wantonly destroy everything in their way as they wander across the wilderness, rootless and aimless and ripe for some well-spoken warlord or other such opportunist to set them to nearly any sort of mischief.

Based upon actual reports from the battlefields and given unofficial sanction by certain highly placed individuals who spoke under condition of anonymity, lurid horror stories concerning a few flawed individual Zinn soldiers, possibly damaged in combat, caught in the attempt to replace portions of their zinn-plated limbs or internal systems with bits of flesh taken from corpses or in some cases still-living victims. Nearly all of those aberrant individuals were summarily executed upon discovery of their hideous acts. Thankfully this seems to be a relatively rare thing, but all manner of macabre rumors and horror stories are in circulation and fill the pages of Nickle Dreadfuls and less reputable scandal sheets.

Since the end(?) of the War few specialists have the skills or knowledge to construct Zinn-prosthetics or to attach them to still-living human remains. Those few who do possess this specialized knowledge tend to be kept under close watch deep within the most heavily-guarded and fortified sections of the Imperial City or one of the major redoubts used by the High Kommand.

There are of course numerous rumors of undead Zinn Soldiers, but there has been no verifiable proof of their existence and the High Kommand strenuously denies that any such thing is even possible...

Zinn is an alloy (98% tin, 2% lead, antimony, and other elements including a trace amount of Green Powder used in the Plattnerizing process) that is highly resistant to acids, poisons, fungi, mold and to some extent even the milder forms of Black Smoke. The exact formulation of Zinn was classified as a state secret by the Pruztian High Chancellery and knowledge of the formula was strictly limited on a need-to-know basis for more than fifty years and zealously guarded by the descendants of the Baumhoffer family until some agent or agents unknown managed to steal the notebooks, records and original test samples from the Baumhoffer family vault. The Prustian Imperial Laboratories have never been able to successfully duplicate the original formula for Zinn, though they have come up with a number of other useful alloys and compounds.

Inspiration: The Tin Woodman of Oz by L. Frank Baum which is available at Project Gutenberg, Wikisource or at Open Library.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Yellow Brick Roads

"It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour."
Charles Dickens

Yellow bricks do not seem all that threatening, except perhaps in the midst of a riot when someone might lob one through a window or something, yet the yellow brick roads leading to and from the Jumbles, the Barrier Woods, the White Orchard, the Inner Ramparts, and especially the Eastern Rampart are a lingering source of dread and an ever-present reminder of the implacable, ever encroaching, inhumanly patient things that rule over the ruins of more than one Adjacent World.

After the bombs stopped falling and people got on with the hard work of surviving and re-building things no one gave much thought to the yellow bricks they dug out of the wreckage and ruins. Even fractured, chipped and half-broken bricks were put to use in reconstructing hearths, homes tenement walls and market stalls. No one realized that the bricks were infected, no one would have cared that all the roads paved with these bricks led back to centers of pestilence, hotbeds of disease and infection. By the time anyone started to ask questions about something as commonplace and ordinary as bricks and the old roads originally built from them, it was well past the point of doing anything about it.

The old roads had been there before even the Three Camps were first established on the plateau where Wermspittle was in time founded. The yellow brick roads were older than the mounds where the rocks are cut with spirals of Aklo. Only the Blue Walls deep below are older, according to the descendants of the Etrurian outcasts who interred their honored dead and kept the Mystery Rites of their people in the outer caves. A few academics quibbled over increasingly esoteric and rarefied theories as to who built the roads and why, but for the most part people just took them for granted.

Crude, rectangular blocks of some dense, yet porous and highly durable unglazed ceramic; the old yellow bricks had endured millennia of exposure to the elements and to the ravages of all out war. It was only natural that the survivors put the bricks dislodged and torn loose by the bombs and artillery barrages to work patching their walls and shops and homes.

It wasn't until after the rebuilding effort was well underway that something terrible happened at the Eastern Section of the Inner Ramparts. The Guardhouse is surrounded by blazing pyres and quarantined under penalty of death. The survivors have all been issued flame-throwers and a small group of Puritans have been welcomed to assist with the constant burning of whatever has infected the lower levels of the all-but-abandoned Guardhouse.

Commandant Zulmer has sent scouts along the winding, twisting lengths of the various branches and by-ways of the old yellow brick roads. The way leading into Wermspittle from the Eastern Keep has been closed to all civilian traffic, unless they are transporting loads of 20 gallon glass jars of acid back toward the Guardhouse. All through the city yellow bricks are beginning to soften and to seep a sweet-smelling fluid with the unmistakable aftertaste of corruption and decay...and people exposed to the fluid began to chuckle until their mouths bled, their faces contorted in a hideous rictus that was somewhere between a scream and a smile. The lucky ones died well before their bodies blossomed into wet fronds of long dormant fungi...

Inspiration: The Yellow Peril by M. P. Shiel provided a meaningful (if slightly sordid) detour through some troubling history that was actually more than a little pertinent to this stuff, even if it isn't necessarily immediately obvious; Mister Sardonicus and The Man Who Laughs both contributed a little to the proceedings; Mr. Lovecraft's The Shunned House; Ambrose Bierce's An Inhabitant of Carcosa; Mr. Chambers' The King in Yellow,..and of course L Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of well as a certain song from 1973. And Yes, there is a definite, distinct connection between the Yellow Brick Roads and the Sickly Yellow Phantoms and Yellow well as the Inner Ramparts.

Monday, June 12, 2017


"Writing fantasy lets me imagine a great deal more than, say, writing about alligators, and lets me write about places more distant than Florida, but I can tell you things about Florida and alligators, let you make the connection all on your own."

No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 60' (20')
Armor Class: 5 (as Chain Mail)
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 1 (Bite or Tail-slap)
Damage: 1d6+2 (bite), 2d4+2 (tail-slap)
Save: F6
Morale: 6

Special: On a natural to hit roll of 20 the creatures' Bite does half damage but it then locks its jaws and begins to roll or thrash about causing 3d4 automatic damage until it is dislodged. Likewise on a natural 20 to hit with the Tail-slap the target must Save or be knocked flat.

Vicious pernicious predators that slither and skulk in shadows and sewers, the Palegator is one of the more fearsome beasts that the Sewer Militia must face on an all too regular basis. The record for largest Palegator encountered to date is 27' at over 1,800lbs. Larger specimens are believed to lurk within the Middle Deeps or lower regions.

Heavy Leather armor fashioned from Palegator hide is much sought after by non-commissioned officers within the Sewer Militia mostly due to the legends and lies that have grown up around their regular encounters and hunting efforts. Many of them have sustained grievous wounds or injuries in the course of hunting, trapping and killing Palegators and so have taken to wearing the hide as a mark of honor. It is also worth noting that Commissioned Officers who have never actually been involved in one of these hunting expeditions are 'informally banned' from wearing this particular type of armor as it is seen as an insult by most of the rank and file.

A smaller, more agile sub-type of Palegator is to be found exclusively within the White Orchard. These creatures are notorious for ambushing unwary visitors who allow themselves to get dazzled or distracted. A small number of these beasts were recently acquired by a small clique of sorcerers who are rumored to be attempting to breed these things so as to create miniature varieties that might serve as either familiars or servitors. Of course this is all based upon the statements of a group of disgruntled adventurers who claim that they were not adequately compensated for their efforts. The sorcerer's identified in this claim have made no official statement.

There is a thriving market for Palegator eggs, especially in the Autumn and Winter months. Hatchlings are notable for their mottled coloration and while less desirable due to the attendant risks and hassles of handling them will still fetch a modest price year round. However, a hatchling that is nearly devoid of all markings is worth a great deal to some spell-casters, certain cultists and a few collectors of peculiar things. Should one encounter such a thing, it is best to remain discrete lest one tempt some interested party to resort to cheap and quick violence instead of haggling with opportunists...

Source of Inspiration: "Boys shoveling snow into a manhole discovered a 6-foot gator trying to make his escape from the sewer. The boys lassoed the sickly saurian with a clothesline and dragged him up to street level. Because the gator snapped at the kids (and thus convinced them he could indeed be dangerous), they attacked him with shovels and killed him. Speculation was the gator had fallen off a passing steamer, swum to shore and found the entrance to the sewer."
The New York Times, February 1o, 1933. More such urban gator-tales at Snopes.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Obscure

While fame impedes and constricts, obscurity wraps about a man like a mist; obscurity is dark, ample, and free; obscurity lets the mind take its way unimpeded. Over the obscure man is poured the merciful suffusion of darkness. None knows where he goes or comes. He may seek the truth and speak it; he alone is free; he alone is truthful, he alone is at peace...
by Virginia Woolf

There may be three or perhaps only five scholars and connivers who have achieved true Obscurity. Free from oversight, devoid of any restrictions, they relish their intellectual and personal autonomy. They walk through the halls of academia unnoticed and unacknowledged. Their watch everyone, observe everything, always quietly keeping to themselves and not getting involved. They are patient in their plotting and deeply resentful of their co-conspirators. It is disconcerting to know that one is not alone after all, that they each share their subtle anonymity with others, no matter how few in number.

Years they have wasted, each attempting to thwart the other, to derail the plans or machinations of their fellows...but always at a safe distance and under completely deniable circumstances. They have falsified records, hidden evidence, planted rumors like seeds sent forth on the wind, always working diligently from behind the scenes, uncredited and unsuspected.

No one noticed the deaths of their fallen colleagues. Even among themselves they remained only vaguely conversant with the rude outlines of one another's efforts, more an inferred presence than anything verifiable. They only started to pay attention when they realized that there were other players operating under other rules, others who were intruding upon the dawdling game among academics. The Unseen were very jealous of their position, the Murkim were apprehensive of their reputation, the Perdu would suffer no challenge to their prestige. No one noticed how one obscure academic after another met an untimely, unfortunate end. At least not until one of them attempted to speak out for fear of their life...

But who would listen to such a story? Who would care? Who could they turn to?

Perhaps a group of player characters...

Source of Inspiration: Orlando by Virginia Woolf, which you can read about at Wikipedia, or actually read the thing yourself for free via Project Gutenberg Australia, or purchase a copy via Amazon or watch the movie with Tilda Swinton...

Monday, June 5, 2017

Pale Shadows

A shudder through the silence crept
And death athwart the noonlight swept…
Graves closed round my path of life,
The beautiful had fled;
Pale Shadows wandered by my side,
And whispered of the dead.’

Pale Shadows
No. Enc.: 1d4
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90' (30') [Cannot traverse areas of magical Darkness]
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 1
Damage: Special
Save: MU2
Morale: 10

Special: Cannot be Turned. Can only be struck by Blackened/Darkened or magical weapons or spells. Darkness destroys them.

Pale Shadows are encountered occasionally near the Jumbles and certain disreputable shrines, sometimes within the Glowfield, but mostly they are to be found within the White Orchard. Fragile, ephemeral things, they are sometimes confused with figments, oneirical fragments or other such sorcerous residue. In truth they are more akin to phantasms or very weak hauntings, only barely meriting mention among the rolls of the undead, Pale Shadows are most often dismissed as minor nuisances, easily ignored or dealt with by even the most incautious adventurer. But perhaps it would be worthwhile to listen to these whispering, wandering spirits who recount the deeds and exploits of those long gone and forgotten.

The Book of the White Glyph is purported to include spells for binding Pale Shadows into carved ivory lanterns and other such objects so as to encourage the spirits to focus upon specific deeds and particular long deceased individuals.

Fantomists are known to pay a small bounty for Pale Shadows delivered to them intact and unharmed...but they never explain precisely how they intend for this to be done, preferring it to be left to those who already know how to accomplish the task before revealing any of their trade secrets.

Some Wanderer families will barter good silver or salt for a set of candles that somehow seem to attract the attention of Pale well as other things. Their only words of warning are to never, ever under any circumstance take these candles into the White Orchard, let alone actually light one there...

Source of Inspiration: Noon, by Sarah Helen Whitman.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Spell: Galvanic Grip

Galvanic Grip
Level: 2
Duration: 1 Round per level of caster
Range: Touch

This spell infuses the caster's designated hand with a coruscating current of electricity that crackles and sparks very noticeably, as well as emitting a distinct smell of ozone. Upon a successful attack, the caster grabs hold of their victim and inflicts 2d4 damage per round (plus either INT or STR bonus), for the duration of the spell, during which time they cannot relinquish their grip upon their victim.

The victim of this spell is required to make a successful Save in order to have a chance to attack the caster.

The caster can extend the duration of this spell by 1 round per 1d4 hit points of damage they choose to sacrifice.

Monday, March 13, 2017


"I don't care how much they offered you for it--get rid of that damned thing!"

The first Wermilith was discovered just prior to the Second Cloud Incursion, although there is an unverified allegation that was put forth by Gnosiomandus that one of his students uncovered a Wermilith prior to the First Cloud Incursion. Since Gnosiomandus left Wermspittle some time ago and is not expected to return any time soon, if ever, there has been no progress whatsoever on ascertaining the veracity of this claim and it has been deemed academically spurious and inconsequential by the Council of Unnatural Affairs.

What Is Known
  1. The myriad 'eyes' covering each Wermilith seem to be similar to Purple Amber. In fact the first ones to be examined were mistakenly thought to be simple votary carvings and when an 'eye' was removed it was discovered that these things are in fact some sort of fossil or pupal-state living creature.
  2. Wermiliths have so far proven to be impervious to acid, fire and electrical discharge.
  3. Anyone sleeping within 300' of one of these things tends to be harassed by nightmares that defy description even by trained oneirosophists.
  4. All conventional divination and prognostication magics reveal only that the Wermiliths are deeply enchanted, oneirically toxic, and do not originate on any of the Known Worlds nor any of the common Adjacent Worlds. More than that cannot be reliably verified as those attempting deeper inquiries suffer various and sundry backlash effects including but not limited to madness, being rendered comatose for weeks at a time, or loss of all memory.

What Might Happen Around Wermiliths...

  1. Roachers appear to be drawn to a particular Wermilith, entering into a strange trance-like state as they mindlessly skitter around it at a distance of 30' to 90'. Masses of up to a hundred of the creatures have been reported and they are doggedly persistent. Only extremely bright lights, actinic weapons or fire has so far driven them off, and that only temporarily.
  2. A nearby Wermilith has attracted the attention of an Ungezeifer who has sent (2d4) Cacozombies to retrieve the thing. If the Cacozombies are destroyed, another (3d4) will follow in under an hour. If necessary another 3d4 Cacozombies will attack whomever possesses the Wermilith every 1d4 hours until, after the fifth wave, the Ungezeifer will come calling personally.
  3. (1d4) War-Grubs of Nhorr guard the entrance-way to a mostly abandoned tenement where a spell-caster has been experimenting with a recently discovered Wermilith. It is unclear whether the spell-caster summoned the war-grubs or if they came at the service of someone...or something else. Could the Wermiliths have some sort of connection to Nhorr?
  4. An Interstitial Insectoid wishes to sponsor a small group of dedicated professionals to recover a Wermilith from a rival Thysanurian anti-librarian. If the group could be so kind as to eviscerate the Thysanurian in the course of the recovery effort there will be a bonus. Unfortunately the Thysanurian not only knows the group is on their way, it has known for at least a week and has taken what it feels are appropriate counter-measures...
  5. A local sorcerer and collector of peculiar antiquities, Julixian Vall, has discovered that his recently purchased Wermilith is in fact a fake. Now (1d4) Octovoidal Transvectors are hunting him with bad intent. He didn't look closely before, there wasn't time, but glued inside the remaining fragment of his fake Wermilith is an octagonal talisman cast from some sort of gray metal. Perhaps the creatures will leave him be if they are offered the talisman? Will he willingly part with the new-found talisman? Will your group leave him much choice in the matter? [The creatures will attack anyone who attempts to assist the targeted sorcerer.]
  6. One of your group has met a pretty young thing who does everything in their power to convince your group to help them retrieve their master's rightful property...which turns out to be a Wermilith...and the Eloi is actually an infected thrall in service to a Fungal Tyrant.

What People Are Saying: Rumors
  1. Wermiliths are some sort of weapon sent into Wermspittle by the Purple Hordes to prepare the way for their masters to finally claim the city for the Purple Clouds.
  2. These are some sort of secret Pruztian counter-measure originally meant to be deployed against some other secret Franzikaner uber-weapon during the last war.
  3. These things are the vengeful spawn of some hideous god-thing that is a rival to the Purple Clouds...either that, or they are residual fragments from the Nightlands.
  4. Wermiliths have no connection to the Clouds, but rather are semi-living relics of some lost civilization yet to be discovered out past the boundaries of the established camps in the Purple Forest.
  5. Everyone else is completely wrong, these things are merely astral anchors intended for use in plumbing the depths of the Violet Abyss and were crafted by some long forgotten cult that was wiped-out decades ago.
  6. These aren't werms at all. They are in fact seeds. Unreal seeds that will eventually sprout into horrid things that will seek to kill or enslave us all.
  7. Some disgraced Franzikaner Noble bred these creatures as a way to preserve the souls and memories of his lineage in the face of the Revolution and one day soon the Wermiliths will awaken in order to facilitate the return of these despicable aristocrats.
  8. These are merely the precursors of an invasion by forces never before seen among the Known Worlds.

What People Are Doing...
  1. The Council of Unnatural Affairs has posted a reward for the recovery of any further Wermiliths, Details of the reward are vague and subject to negotiation, but the Council has a reputation for being generous to a fault, so this does little to dampen anyone's enthusiasm.
  2. Curiosity Seekers have started to scour the less-traveled and picked-over areas of the cities looking for Wermiliths. So far only a few have disappeared.
  3. Three Verminista warlords have denounced the Academy and its puppets for attempting to thwart the will of their so far unidentified benefactor. Each of their stories conflict significantly, so few take them seriously at this time.
  4. So far every Nomad that has seen as much as a photograph of a Wermilith has closed-out all their accounts and left the city as quickly as possible.
  5. A band of Cuckoos has taken out an ad in the Whisperer to announce that they've uncovered a cache of no less than six Wermiliths. They are attempting to set up some sort of auction to determine who will get access to the newly uncovered Wermiliths.
  6. There have been reports of a Deep Purple Smog prowling the Near Deeps close to Schroedinger and Cave's shop. Local Authorities claim it is an entirely unrelated incident, but others aren't so sure...

"If coming events are said to cast their shadows before, past events cannot fall to leave their impress behind them."
Helena Blavatsky

Friday, March 10, 2017


"...[untranslatable]...dwelt in the steaming fens of the newmade Earth: a mass without head or members, spawning the grey, formless efts of the prime and the grisly prototypes of terrene life . . . And all earthly life, it is told, shall go back at last through the great circle of time...[end of fragment].
Excerpt Six from the Yvvonik Book,
as compiled by Ruther Valdrix
for the Second Polar Expedition,
Imperial War College,

Fantomists cultivate this fetid, foul-smelling corruption of primordial life in their deep defiles and buried redoubts. The undead seek it out as though it were some sort of necromantic balm to ease their agonies. Mediums, Lichtmongers and Gleambringers seek out wild patches of Ectolichen left untended behind tumbled walls or well-shielded from the sun's blasting light by the ruins of the Jumbles, the overgrown plots of de-commissioned cemeteries or the crypts left cratered and shattered after the last war; venturing into dangerous areas for a chance to harvest even a small amount of the stuff for it is incredibly valuable to them in their work. Mannikinnieri, Geppetorre, Pupeteers and their ilk have been known to use Ectolichen in some of their worst creations. There are Distillers and Candymakers reputed to include small amounts of the stuff in their more potent concoctions. Seamstresses and Gardeners are also interested in this stuff, but no one is sure just why, all anyone cares about is that they will sometimes pay a good bit to take delivery of a small quantity of Ectolichen. It used to be a hanging offense to distribute Ectolichen to a Miasmister or any of their sordid brethren, but times change, old laws go out of vogue or get replaced with new ones, and while hanging is no longer condoned as a form of execution thanks to the Midwives and their Alraunes, it is a question for the courts whether the old restriction still applies beyond a few old fashioned vigilantes and the occasional mob armed with pitchforks and torches. Discretion is, as always, a professional virtue among those who seek to make a profit subverting the old laws.

Cold and dewy, one would never suspect that this stuff is related to various strains of pseudo-plant colonies that arrived from one or more of the nearer Greenhells, or possibly there is some [so far inconclusive] evidence to suggest a slight connection to the fungal infestations of Yellowholme, as well as a form of lichen brought back from one of the ill-fated polar expeditions. No one is entirely clear on where this stuff actually came from, whether it arrived in Wermspittle in its current form or if it was in fact modified, twisted or somehow deranged from its natural state by some unregistered tinkerer, clandestine Chymist or [as some have whispered] a Comprachico renegade.

Wherever it came from, whatever its provenance, Ectolichen is a valuable commodity because it exudes ectoplasm that is unlike anything produced by any other living thing; it is somehow undifferentiated and free from the lingering imprints and emotional pollution that taints all other forms of the stuff.

But not all patches of Ectolichen are clean and clear of untoward influences; indeed most are contaminated or spoiled by contact with rats, vermin, or scavengers...those that aren't sabotaged by vindictive rivals or vengeful cultists or other meddlesome, bothersome agents of destruction. Many patches of Ectolichen spawn twisted demi-spectres, aberrant apparitions and misshapen phantasms or worse...and there is always worse to be discovered in Wermspittle. Some patches of Ectolichen seem to produce Irrlichts and Weirdlights, which has led some scholars to surmise and hypothesize that this stuff might give rise to various forms of these types of entities...or perhaps it has some other role in the pseudo-life-cycle of these things. No one knows as yet and wherever there are argumentative, inquiring minds, hastily-assembled expeditions and academic skullduggery is never far behind.

Efts, Blupes and Figments, Low Shades, Gloomswallows and Gloomshadows have been known to prowl or congregate around patches of Ectolichen in order to feed on the ectoplasm. Small clutches of Zoogs, usually the Blue variety, will also sometimes nest near a patch of Ectolichen in order to suckle their young on the ectoplasmic miasma that surrounds the stuff. There are many creatures, animals and beasts that have reason to visit these patches, or to lair near them, or to hunt around them for those others drawn to these places...but the most numerous sort of creature or entity attracted to these sites are the immaterial, the insubstantial, the wisps, geists and all their ilk.

Those without material form, the wandering spirits of the forlorn dead, the lingering vestiges, the lurking shades and hungry ghosts and all the other innumerable forms of undead and unborn and all things in-between descend upon these devil-ridden, demon-haunted, wellspings of raw ectoplasm as though they were some sort of oasis in the midst of a vast, harsh wasteland and in their conflicts and contentiousness render these once placid spaces into centers of pestilence and virulence.

Beware even the slightest outcropping of this seemingly innocuous stuff, for it portends horrors and terrors best left unseen, unmet and left to their own devices unless one is properly equipped, suitably trained and well prepared to confront unnameable, unspeakable things...

“To destroy wonder and mystery, is to destroy the only elements that make existence tolerable.”
Clark Ashton Smith

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The White Orchard (Wermspittle)

But it is here that all concerns of men go wrong, when they wish to cure evil with evil.

Sophocles, The Sons of Aleus

Once it was just another small memorial park, one of those quiet little places wrapped around by a wrought iron fence and with those obligatory stonework gates at each of the three entrances. You know the kind; stout, ponderous and oh so very Pruztian and blocky. Even after the ironwork was stripped away during one of the Occupations or the ornamental statues were broken during the Siege, those heavy stone columns remained steadfastly in place, solemnly marking the boundary of their tiny domain.

Originally it was called 'The Alesian Gardens,' but no one calls it that any more. The old garden beds were overrun by Red Weeds after the Franzikaners abandoned Wermspittle. The Pruztians burned the place to the ground and planted an orchard on the site. The Red Weeds returned, but by then the Pruztians were too busy pulling out of the city to do much about it. Due to an all too common bureaucratic oversight the place was left to its own devices for several decades until an outbreak of the Porcelain Plague forced the local authorities to bury hundreds of unknown, unregistered, unclaimed bodies in the neglected orchard.

Perhaps that was when it all began. Many people think so, but there are other factors to consider, such as the unwholesome influence exerted upon the Orchard by its proximity to the Glowfield. Others like to point out that as part of the original plan for the Memorial Garden there was supposed to be a modest gazebo placed at the center of the place so all the pathways would intersect neatly and all visitors would be confronted by a bronze statue of a warrior holding aloft a glimmering fragment of what is described in the records as 'a fragment of a meteorite's heart.'

It remains altogether unclear whether the statue was ever completed, let alone installed. Despite some measure of curiosity among various academics, not much more is known about this obscure, mostly deserted place.

One minor note; it is said that the trees in this orchard are as restless as the plague-dead tangled up in their roots.

"Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places."
Motto on the Vault of Disreputable Texts

Monday, February 27, 2017

Warning Signs (Wermspittle)

"The uncertain bridge now before me was posted with a warning sign, but I took the risk and crossed again to the south bank where traces of life reappeared. Furtive, shambling creatures stared cryptically in my direction, and more normal faces eyed me coldly and curiously."

H. P. Lovecraft

Whether they are stamped out of cheap sheet-metal by the hundred according to exacting Pruztian specifications, molded from zinn by hand by the apprentices of master craftsmen in the traditional Franzikaner style, or are simply peel-and-stick decals issued by the Registrar of Transitional, Transgressive or Invasive Spaces, the yellow diamond-shaped Warning Signs are a very familiar sight to anyone who has been in Wermspittle for more than a few hours.

Scavengers, Foragers and others of their ilk post these signs wherever they discover a Weak Point, Soft Spot or similar such site of intraspatial bleedthrough. They warn of nearby Maelstroms, Vortices, Black Zones, and locations where Transitions and/or Transpositions are more likely to happen, such as around the perimeter of the Glowfield, along the fringes of Abingdon Grove, or at every known entrance to the Jumbles where Sickly Yellow Phantoms watch over the fallen monuments and rampantly overgrown Sybelline Grottoes as they perform endless series of unasked for divinations and unheeded oracles in eerie silence.

Under no circumstances should the Six Yellow Signs known to the Phantoms ever be mistaken for the Warning Signs designating dangerous, strange spaces. Yes, they are yellow, but that is the fault of some nameless faceless bureaucrat and despite the best efforts of well-meaning civic-minded mobs and delegations this has not changed in over six hundred years, nor is it likely to ever change.

The Warning Signs placed about the Inner Ramparts are all much more sturdily-constructed than the civilian versions found elsewhere, in order to withstand frequent exposure to Black Smoke and other forms of eldritch ordnance.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Little Encounters Along the Way...

And here are some little encounters to go with the map of the are surrounding the farmstead. This is a supplement to the Wandering Monsters previously posted. Each of these Little Encounters are intended to help flesh-out each of the regions...

A Few Little Encounters...

The Enclave. The oldest section was built into the hillside and connects to at least six small, zig-zaggy tunnels that run out to the old hop yard, the Still Shack, the Old Owl's tree, the edge of the Pastures and one or two other well-hidden and trapped exits. The second-story protrudes out over the ground floor forming a flagstone-paved porch area where a series of heavy old manlets and shutters can be pinned into place before the first hard frost. Around the main manor-structure are a number of apiaries, trellises, herb gardens, a pumpkin patch, some out buildings and roofed-over wood-piles--all the things you'd expect on a working farmstead. The main well is located at the base of the three-story stone-and-timber square tower set to the back of the main structure. The family have managed to defend this place through many a hard winter.
  1. Geese (2d6)
  2. Scarecrow
  3. Scrabbling Hand
  4. Bats (3d6) [only at night] or Croaker-Crows (1d4)
  5. Mousefolk (2d6) [Trying to be very, very quiet]
  6. Mandrake (Lesser)

Briar-Lands. A natural barrier of dense black thorns, nettles, brambles and purplish-black, yellow-green, and red roses. The family have a pact with the roses and the plants form a tough barrier every autumn that both hinders travel and makes the main Farmstead more difficult to locate.
  1. Roselettes (2d4)
  2. Mossfolk (3d4)
  3. Thornlim (1d4)
  4. Bramblemanter
  5. Borogrove skeleton
  6. Pink-Banded Slugs (2d4)

No-Go Mound. Joy's mother told her to never-ever go near the old mound for fear the Moundfolk might take her.
  1. Bandits (2d4)
  2. Moundfolk (1d4)
  3. Morlock Elder
  4. Screechers (2d4)
  5. Refugees (1d6)
  6. Pack of wild bush-pigs

Cave. Joy discovered this cave just this Summer and she has been thinking about exploring the place one of these days...
  1. Bats (1d4) [only at night] or Red-Crested Hawk
  2. Mud Crabs (1d4)
  3. Jentil Children (1d4)
  4. Standing Stone [Wasn't there before...]
  5. Centipede (Green-speckled)
  6. Bone-Foam or Biting Snails (1d4)

Bear Hill. A Medium-Sized Bear dwells somewhere under this hill. The Bear used to trade old books and other things it brought with it from its time in the city for honey, molasses and grampa's hootch in the Summer time. Joy's father always set aside a portion of maple candy for the Bear each Spring as a special treat.
  1. Medium-Sized Bear
  2. Giant Bees (2d4)
  3. Mad Wasp
  4. Lost Peddlar
  5. Mossfolk (1d4)
  6. Black Woods Dog [solitary and badly wounded]

Rubezahl. Sometimes a small group of the very tall folk from the Southern Mountains would come this far north in search of their favorite mushrooms. They also engaged in a little extortion or banditry along the Trade-Road if they thought they could away with it. One of Joy's grandparents drove them off more than thirty years ago and they still won't go any closer to the farmstead.
  1. Bandits (2d4)
  2. Rubezahl
  3. Spitball Fungi
  4. Voormis (2d4) [They are on a pilgrimage to the Mound, but they won't admit it...]
  5. Refugees (1d6)
  6. Pack of Black Woods Dogs (2d4)

Black Trees. There are some gnarly old trees toward the South who spend their days complaining and grumbling about the good old days when thieves were hung from their branches and the crows came round to gossip. A few of them are so old and venerable that they still have a shield or some piece of armor embedded in their trunks from the times when knights and nobles were ambushed by peasant-gangs and their corpses were bound into the trees to hide the evidence from the sheriffs.
  1. Fighting Trees (1d4)
  2. Black Tree
  3. Shade-Tree
  4. Twiglins (2d4)
  5. Stickmin (1d4)
  6. Pack of Black Woods Dogs (3d4)

Spiderwood. Huge spiders and their kin have held dominion over a small, but very fiercely defended copse ceded to them by ancient kings no one remembers any more. Over a hundred years ago all the wolves were driven into this copse and the spiders finished them off, hence the absence of wolves in this area until just recently. The Spiders eagerly hope to receive a petition from the local land-holders proposing another wolf-hunt.
  1. Large Red Spiders (2d4)
  2. Little Green Spiders (3d4)
  3. Blue-Banded Spider
  4. Spidertaur Knight
  5. Drained Husks (1d4)
  6. Web-Trap

Feral Orchards. Twisted old apple and pear trees that have been left to grow wild ever since Vizri ran off to Wermspittle quite a long time ago. The apples can be bitter or sweet, depending on the time of the year and how well you bribe the tree. There are some very strange purplish apples in the orchard, but they only seem to be found during the dark of the moon. The Western edge of the orchard has been overgrown by thorns and roses, so there are some strange fruits in there as well.
  1. Jub-Jub Bird [70% chance it's drunk on sour apples]
  2. Werm-Fruit
  3. Gnarled Grabber
  4. Poison Apples
  5. Deer (1d4)
  6. Feral Pigs (1d4)

Old Owl's Tree. A majestic oak older than anyone can rightly say. This tree was old before the Farmstead was first settled and there has always been an owl in this tree. If you know how to make friends with it, the owl can teach you a spell or two.
  1. Unwise Owls (1d4)
  2. Old Owl
  3. Thrash-Brambles
  4. Sinkhole
  5. Small Cache of Shiny-Bits [roll on a Trinkets & Trash table]
  6. Grinkitty

Some-times Bridge. There is a low stone bridge that crosses the stream here, but it can only be seen or used during certain times, like during a Full Moon in Autumn or high noon in Summer. Some-times the bridge leads to somewhere other than just across the stream.
  1. Bandits (2d4)
  2. Deserters (1d4)
  3. Iarlei
  4. Putti (1d4)
  5. Refugees (1d6)
  6. Blupes (2d4)

Lamiak's Stream. A small family of Lamiak have lived near this stream for longer than anyone else has been here. They were nearly exterminated by vigilantes who blamed them for the crimes of a Iaralei that drove people mad with its singing, but one of Joy's ancestors intervened and protected the duck-footed marsh-folk. they are reclusive, shy people, but they still feel gratitude toward the family and will help anyone descended from Good Steven to safely cross the stream.
  1. Lamiak
  2. Deserters (3d4)
  3. Blue Coach
  4. Ometto-driven Little Coach
  5. Refugees (2d6)
  6. Pack of wild dogs

Tartulo's Cave. Amidst many massive, overgrown megaliths and standing stones is a cave that leads deep under a hill where an old one-eyed Tartulo resides. He has been a shepherd and something of a hermit living peacefully here on the northern edge of the Pastures for many decades. He raises several varieties of sheep and has traded wool and mutton to Joy's family ever since he settled in this area. He is very fond of Joy's mother's knitting, especially her socks and mittens and the extra-long scarf she made for him. Joy's family have a Pact with the Tartulo and he helps defend the Farmstead by re-directing travelers, misdirecting officials and scaring off nosey-types. He also fought beside the family a few years back when a large group of bandits passed through the area looting, pillaging and burning as they went. He hand-crafts excellent pipes and other household objects from bone and horn.
  1. Tartulo
  2. Lost Sheep (1d4)
  3. Goats (2d4) [Unhappily penned-up in side cavern]
  4. Thumblings (2d4) [On secret mission]
  5. Refugees (1d6) [They hope to negotiate some sort of arrangement with the Tartulo.]
  6. Sheep (2d6)

Pastures. Gently rolling hills and meadows mostly given-over to the Tartulo's flocks. Bitter-clover and a few other herbs grow here that can't easily be found elsewhere, so children were often sent here to gather such things as they came into season.
  1. Sheep (2d6)
  2. Poachers (1d4) or Tartulo
  3. Meadow Clam
  4. Weak Point
  5. Hexcat
  6. More Sheep (3d6)

Hop Yard. Always a fragrant green place in the Summer, everyone always had to pitch-in to collect the hops once they were at their peak. Then the old-timers could get to work brewing fresh batches of beer for later in the year.
  1. Dead Bandersnatch
  2. Swarm of Stabbing Moths
  3. Greenkin (1d2)
  4. Mossfolk (1d4)
  5. Greenfinch
  6. Fuzzy Green Bees

Jentil's Lands. A tribe of Jentils, large hairy folk who raised spiral-carved dolmen and standing stones very different from those set-up by the Tartulo whom they avoided and distrusted because he killed and ate sheep. The Jentil know a great deal about the local herbs, plants and growing things and have taught various members of joy's family quite a number of secrets, recipes and lore. The family have a Pact with the Jentil who have long come to their aid and defense in times of trouble, and like the Tartulo, they misdirect and scare off would be trespassers to the best of their ability. They are very gifted wood-workers and vine-crafters and are quite fond of the family's hootch which has attained a legendary status among the Jentil who zealously guard and defend the old still as though it were a holy them, it might well be.
  1. Jentil Foragers (2d4)
  2. Jentil Children (1d4)
  3. Vinebinder
  4. Fighting Tree
  5. Thornkinder (1d4)
  6. Babes in the Woods

And Along the Trade-Roads...

Trade-Road to the West. This heavily-rutted and poorly maintained track leads past the  No-Go Mound through Jentil territory and on towards the Desolate Western Hills. It doesn't get used much any more but lately there have been sightings of Tripods and Refugees using it as they head South, though a few groups of desperate people have left the Trade-Road to cut cross country through the Briars, Black Trees and Spiderwoods to try and reach the Trade-Road that leads to Wermspittle. A few of them make it. The road splits just before it reaches the foot of the old Bear Hill. No one uses the road leading South-West.
  1. Waste Walkers (2d8)
  2. Gauntlim Raiding Party (2d6)
  3. Tomtir Spider-Riders (2d4)
  4. Gravel Gulper
  5. Refugees (1d6)
  6. Tripod

Trade-Road South. This rocky, steep-sloping trail leads off to the Southern Mountains. It cuts through very dense woods and crosses at least two other Trade-Roads and passes by an abandoned trading post before reaching the banks of a great river. nomads and merchants use this route to go to the West until that road connects with another route that leads towards Wermspittle far to the North. It is a long detour, but it is easier than cutting through the dense woodlands and many of them prefer not to take the more Southerly route but tend not to say why.
  1. Bandits (2d4)
  2. Rubezahl
  3. Spore-Cloud
  4. Stranded Cart
  5. Refugees (2d6)
  6. Pack of Black Woods Dogs (2d4)

Trade-Road East.  This route leads East though a vast forested region that is dotted with marshes, small lakes and criss-crossed with streams and creeks. The way gets very twisty and splits several times before finally reaching the Eastern Reaches and the campsites of the various would-be settlers looking to claim and establish new farmsteads.
  1. Bandits (2d4)
  2. Deserters (1d4)
  3. Farm Family enroute to Eastlands
  4. Ometto-driven Little Coach
  5. Refugees (2d6)
  6. Takers

Trade-Road North. This way leads to Wermspittle, eventually. It is the direction all Joy's older siblings and cousins have used, as well as most of the rest of her family who have had to make the trip before her. Few of them came back that way. There is a coach that travels along this route from time to time, but it is not reliable and the driver always seems to be in a great hurry as though fleeing pursuit.
  1. Bandits (2d4)
  2. Wolves (2d4)
  3. Blue Coach
  4. Ometto-driven Little Coach
  5. Refugees (2d6)
  6. Pack of wild dogs (Plague-carriers)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

From The Zones: Images From An Abandoned Camera (2)

Designation: Brightleak
Status: Active, Peripheral, Erratic

Brightleaks are most often encountered along the perimeter of other more stable Zones and it has not yet been conclusively determined whether or not these phenomena are in fact Zones unto themselves or some sort of secondary effect. According to the reports of survivors certain wavelengths of light take on a fluidic sort of quality and behave somewhat like napalm as the fluidic light is incredibly sticky and builds up a tremendous amount of heat when in contact with organic matter. It is recommended that one avoid contact at all costs as there are no reliable means of counter-acting Brightleaks other than immediate amputation, but only in cases where contact is limited to extremities and the heat-effect has not yet reached full incandescence.

Designation: Slurry-Sludge
Status: Semi-Spontaneous, Erratic, Limited Duration

Another peripheral phenomena Slurry-Sludge has a tendency to be preceded by a trickle of foul-smelling fluid seeping through otherwise dry concrete. This trickle effect can persist for up to an hour before Slurry-Sludge floods across any horizontal concrete surface such as an alley-way, parking ramp or warehouse floor. The noxious sludge is most often a mixture of heavily-polluted water and/or untreated sewage, various industrial effluents and what appears to be medical waste. A typical episode of Slurry-Sludge tends to last for less than ten minutes on average, during which time the turgid waste water swirls and crashes through restricted spaces with a booming roar that can be heard for miles. Exposure to the sludge, or its residue, produces rampant infections and disease symptoms extremely resistant to all known pharmaceutical resources. In at least one instance the sludge proved to be extremely flammable and was responsible for the destruction of over eleven city blocks and the loss of three survey teams.

Designation: Winterwisp
Status: Unstable Secondary Phenomena

Relatively mild temporal inversion that only appears when ambient temperatures exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21.1Celsius). When the Winterwisp effect is triggered, an area of up to a square mile is subjected to sudden blizzard conditions and the ambient temperature drops to 70 degrees below zero or even lower, with a recorded wind chill factor of 150 degrees. Winterwisps are not considered to be Zones in and of themselves, but are instead unstable peripheral effects of Zones with pronounced temporal distortion effects in play. Duration appears to be random. Snow produced by Winterwisp events has been determined to contain traces of mild hydrochloric acid.

From the Zones is a community project hosted by John Till over at the FATEsf blog. This community project is inspired by the novel Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, which was the basis for the movie Stalker.

There is a handy index of the current Field Reports from the Zones that features posts from across the Blog-o-sphere, as well as a nifty guide explaining how you can participate in this ongoing Community Project.