Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sector T-3 Notable Location One: Hex 14.42 (Kepler 22-B, Strange New World)

Kepler 22-B is a Super-Earth that orbits within the Kepler 22 solar system's Habitable Zone (at 0.849 AU). It is one of the earliest confirmed Exoplanets located 600 light years from Earth in the Cygnus constellation. The Strange New World blog is coordinating a collaborative effort to map and explore Kepler 22-B as an environment suitable for table-top role-playing games.

Sector T-3 occupies a rocky, mountainous region with warm Mediterranean coasts with a few large freshwater lakes and is dominated by vast, dense forests that are book-ended by two distinctly different desert regions. We have only begun to explore this region...

Kepler 22-B: Sector T-3
Notable Location One
Northwest Quadrant: Hex 14.42

Free-floating blimp-drones have detected a large symmetrical mass in Hex 14.42. Situated upon a sheer cliff overlooking the mouth of a fast-flowing river there is a very large, almost featureless blister-dome. The area surrounding the Dome is heavily forested, dense with ferns, fronds and thorns. The terrain is rugged and difficult to traverse for tripods and almost impassable for most ground vehicles. Aerial or aquatic transport are recommended.

Blister-Dome (Egg?): Nothing grows upon the Dome. There are no visible apertures. No markings. It appears inert. Yet it registers as a living organism according to all scans. A single living organism more than a mile in diameter...

Lesser Tributaries: On either side of the Dome are a pair of winding and sluggish freshwater rivers that flow into the more brackish waters of the mega-river that extends inland to Hex 20.35. Both of these smaller rivers have muddy bottoms rich with various sorts of bivalves and burrowing fish. More than thirty varieties of ferns and lotuses cover the banks or grow out into the river-bed itself. Red-striped land-krill and yellow-spotted drift-slugs prey upon smaller insect and motile plant species. There are eight-winged insects somewhat resembling mayflies or cicadas that feed upon the land-krill and drift-slugs in turn. Small traces of gold can be detected in the river mud. A species of butterfly unique to this region extracts gold from the mud and deposits it into their wings as an ultra-fine bio-foil.

Cliffs and Caves: This area has a great deal of limestone and dolomite. Sinkholes, cenotes and karst formations are extremely common and serve as habitats for countless animals, fungi and so on. All along the mega-river the terrain drops away sharply in a sheer cliff-face that extends for many miles (at least as far back inland as Hex 16.40). These cliffs are heavily eroded, massively overgrown and extensively riddled with holes, tunnels and caverns.

Mega-River: Blimp-seals and hundreds of migratory waterfowl of every type and description thrive in the brackish waters at the mouth of this Mega-River. Luminous shrimp, aquarachnids and eel-crabs proliferate farther upstream. A sort-of salmon-like fish species competes with voracious 3' long insect larva in the deeper waters. A type of reedy plant has been expanding into the region from a source that may or may not be located in Sector V-3. Nothing can be conclusively established without more in-depth research. The reeds are of interest as they produce a wide array of 'pearls' by accumulating and concentrating various minerals into tightly packed nodules scattered along their extensive root-networks.

Abandoned Settlement-Site: Extending from the promontory across the Mega-River from the Blister-Dome noted above and running down behind a steep overhanging ridge into Hex 15.43 are the cyclopean ruins of a non-human settlement dominated by octagonal slabs of greenish basalt that have been stacked like twisted or spiraling helical sculptures. Carvings and cave paintings near or below these ruins depict six-legged scaly centaurs most often with four arms and either four or six sets of eyes. The creatures are shown in a variety of ritual poses and are believed to have been adept hunters. No bones and no artifacts have been uncovered at this time.

Crystal Cylinders: Several large crystal structures, all of them cylindrical in shape, have been encountered at various points across this region. The Cylinders hover 3' above the surface of the ground or river-bed. They emit a low-level humming noise and appear to be following very precisely prescribed paths. When moved away from their present location, the Cylinders will invariably seek to return to their preferred path once they are allowed to go free again. They are definitely artifacts of some sort. Little else is known about these Cylinders at this time.

Sector T-3 Intro | Sector T-3 Index

Friday, September 28, 2012

Swarms Table 1 (Wermspittle)

"One bee makes no swarm."
Questionable Franzik Proverb
Not all swarms are created equal. Here is a table of unique and exotic swarms for use on those occasions when you want something more than just a mass of biting, stinging insects and such.

Swarms (Table 1: D30)
  1. (3d4) bloated, squishy lampreys saturated in formaldehyde and other fluids are flopping about the floor trying to come to terms with being converted into badly embalmed and inadvertently abdead mockeries. Completely out of their element, the lampreys will seek water or blood, whichever presents itself first. If they escape into the Sewers, there is a slight chance that they may infect/contaminate otherwise normal lampreys lurking within some of the buried cisterns or other underground municipal waterways. The Sewer Militia will take an active interest in the matter, should anyone notify them, like say that girl standing over by the doorway who just ran off...
  2. Five hundred manic black-and-gray swirled marbles roll across any surface, including ceilings, in search of iron-based compounds. They will extract iron from anything they come into contact with (inflicting 1d4 damage per attack) until they achieve satiation (20, 30 or 100 hit points?), at which point they will blink red three times then fade away. The marbles will tend to clump together in order to more efficiently consume iron weapons or armor which they prefer to the messy effort of extracting iron from blood or living tissue.
  3. (4d4x100) Mead-Bees have a hive near here. They tend to strip all pollen, nectar and sap from the local area for use in producing honey and honey-derived products. The Mead-Bees are upset and desperately looking for someone to help them drive off a nasty Brewer's Bane.
  4. A vast flock of Passenger Pigeons descends upon the immediate area. Every hungry person for blocks around is out in force casting nets, firing off home-made nail-gonnes, and otherwise trying to make the most of the sudden bounty of edible fowl. Things quickly spin out of control and even the Street Patrol might not be able to prevent a blood-bath or riot.
  5. (4d20) Spiny Writhers are nervously clustered across the nearest wall. The urchin-like worm-things have been set into wet plaster that has since dried, trapping them here. A Black Liquor Distiller did this in order to discourage unfriendly or nosey traffic.
  6. Rats. Hundreds and hundreds of shriveled and starving rats quickly cover the floor like a dismal tide of scampering eczema-afflicted little bodies all speckled with far too many tiny glittering eyes. They make almost no sound whatsoever.  They bite no one. They are gone nearly as quickly as they appeared. They leave behind a nauseating mess reeking of ammonia and unguessable filth.
  7. (4d6) Giant Albino Penguins burst forth from a ramshackle pen where some damn fool has been giving them bits of Hard Candy. These foul, smelly birds have grown strange, deranged and cannibalistic. Now that they've broken free, they will attempt to eat anything...or anyone...who they can capture, kill or clamber upon enmasse.
  8. At first it was only one or two semi-translucent snails sliding down the window. No big deal. Then a few more snails worked their way down the wall. Then a dozen. Soon it was too many to count. That was when it became clear that the things were bone-gnawing snails, hideous creatures that squirmed painfully past the flesh of their victims in order to grind down the calcium in their bones which the snails use to form their elegant, elaborately-curled shells.
  9. (6d6x100) Silkworms have found their way into a run-down garden overgrown with mulberry trees. (4d20) of the things can be found across all the local alleys and rooftops, searching for their preferred succulent leaves. Most people are ignorant of the potential value of these caterpillars and tend to smash them flat as nuisances. Formal Sericulture is something of a forgotten art in Wermspittle...currently...but once there were several well-established Magnaneries located along the West Wall. Maybe those could be reclaimed and put back into production, once whatever wild beasts or worse that have taken-up residence in them has been driven out. Of course once people discover that the pupae are edible, that might interfere with attempts to develop sericulture, though it could then lead into a gourmet pupae-raising opportunity instead...
  10. A billowing cloud of skin-eating moths. They inflict 1d4 damage per minute of exposure. Each victim must make a Save every time they sustain another 4 points of damage, failure means that the moths have laid 1d20 eggs in the wound. Anyone taking in excess of 12 points of damage from the moths must roll an additional Save at -2 or suffer a loss of 1 CHAR. This loss will become permanent if not properly treated by a Surgeon (using the Removal spell), Midwife (using a drawing salve and a restorative spell or two) or other healer. The eggs will hatch into maggots within 1d4 days. Their constant gnawing will cause 1d4 damage per hour until they are removed or the host dies.
  11. (4d6) Flytaur maggots (1HD each) are crawling over, around and within the messy carcass of a Bruthem that was recently rustled, killed in an alley, skinned poorly and left to rot. The rest of the maggots (6d6) have scattered through the area looking for more suitable fresh meat.
  12. Papermonger Wasps have begun to build a carefully hidden and heavily reinforced hanging fortress of gray-paper behind the crumbling facade of a burned-out building. They send out patrols of 2d6 paper-armored  soldiers for every 3d4 less well-armored hunters who are under orders to collect beetle larvae, caterpillars, maggots and the like. They will trade for nectar when it is available. They secrete a clear liquid that repels ants and some Landlords hire them to spray this substance around their properties to ward off ants, termites and related insects. Inside the hive are 1d4 Scribe-wasps who specialize in bookbinding and scroll manufacture utilizing the gray-paper their people produce.
  13. (4d6x200) Mottled Yellow Ants are marching through the area. They are following the pheromone trail of their scouts who have located a Weak Point that leads to a fragrant rain forest where their Queen believes they can finally begin the next stage of her alchemically-augmented scheme to develop a malleable sub-species of hybridized ant-human centaurs that can then be trained to serve Her insane ambitions of conquest. Any humans these ants encounter will be evaluated as potential breeding stock. They will prefer to buy suitable slaves when possible, but are not averse to kidnapping particularly promising specimens if so ordered by their mad Queen.
  14. The ceiling is covered with dozens of lime-green slugs. The mucus they leave behind them dries into a flaky, light-green film that is incredibly flammable. They spit an exceptionally volatile form of Mercury Fulminate as their general response to anything that gets in their way. A small band of orphans has been capturing and corralling these slugs in this place so that they can farm the green-film for making fuses and torches. When one room in an Abandoned Property is suitably saturated in the green mucus, the orphans then bring in a few salvaged bed-warming pans that they stuff full of damp moss in order to produce a great deal of smoke. The smoke pacifies the slugs. The kids then transfer the slugs to another room. Then they go back and scrape the rapidly-drying green film off of the walls. They either wind it around bits of string or just roll it into plump cylinders by hand. They store their cache in a near-by attic. The orphans have learned to feed the slugs rotting cabbages soaked in a diluted solution of Spectral Brine as well as crumbled cakes of cinnabar that they loot as needed from one of the old warehouses up along the White Zone of the Aerial Concourse where the old airships used to load and unload freight. So far only three of them have lost a finger or some toes to the slug's spittle. They're a bit stumped as to how they might gather the slug-spit in order to sell it. The longer these kids keep herding the green slugs into their hide-out, the more of the things sneak away to take up residence in the surrounding properties. They can be a real nuisance.
  15. (4d100) leg-less mauve scorpions  (they still have front pincers) were once confined to a tin-lined trough intended for torturing and/or executing blasphemers by the friendly cultists who've been rebuilding one of the local Abandoned Properties into some sort of chapel. Somehow the creatures have gotten loose. The cultists would prefer that no one know about this particular aspect of their practice. They will vehemently deny any knowledge or connection to the poisonous insects. They will also be tempted to try to silence any non-believers who they think they can successfully bribe, intimidate, or assassinate.
  16. There is a sizable hive of fingerling wasps near-by. They are perpetually angry, their venom is slightly hallucinogenic (Save or suffer Confusion for 1d4 minutes, cumulative) and does 2d4 damage per sting. They attack all spell-casters for double-damage. The rage that fills these insects is deeply imprinted upon them. Do these things guard some special location? Were they part of some student's applied biology experiments? Why are they so angry and what can be done to placate their furious Queen?
  17. (4d6x100) White Striped caterpillars cover nearly every surface. They seem torpid. More than half of them are already forming cocoons. The milky fluid these things produce can be used as a peculiar, buttery substance when churned with a small quantity of White Powder, or it can be fermented. One of the local tavern-owners is known to pay a fair price for usable quantities of this stuff.
  18. Hundreds of Beautiful Blue Beetles, each one asking the same question over and over again, yet no two of them ever ask the same question. All in the same, monotonous, inhuman voice. This appears to be some sort of idiot-mimicry and not any sort of actual intelligence. Their flesh is edible and the Refugees down along the Low Streets are reputed to steam them or serve them 'popped' by throwing them into extremely hot oil. These beetles are mostly harmless, so even small children will scramble after them to gather up as many as they can whenever they are encountered. The shells give off a sweet-smelling juice that temporarily dyes everything it comes into contact with a vivid shade of blue. Some artists use the shells in formulating paints, some calligraphers prefer inks derived from these beetles, especially for inscribing certain types of spells.
  19. (4d6) tadpole-stage Molgs (2HD, half-power attacks) slither across the walls hunting stray wisps of ectoplasm left behind by a Fantodic that has since been captured and removed by a cabal of Fantomists, one of whom is keeping an eye on the Molgs. She's raising them with an intent to train them as guard-beasts and will take exception to anyone harassing or harming her creatures.
  20. Three inches of fresh blood covering the floor hides the (3d6) Gore Worms wriggling about just below the surface.
  21. (1d4x1000) Tiny orange frogs.
  22. One hundred forty three bowling balls that were painstakingly, lovingly hauled one by one to a carefully-chosen hiding spot over the course of three decades by a slightly demented one-armed Drilg have been set rolling down the nearest set of stairs by a rival. Spazrit's gloating over his mischief didn't last long as the bowling balls broke loose from their make-shift rack which collapsed under all the stress and strain, crushing him under a torrent of bowling balls. The Drilg has left the building in disgust. He's going to go back and rejoin the Sewer Militia.
  23. (4d6x10) Aerial Ferns float past. They are instinctively seeking out suitable spots to deposit seeds as they go along. Typically these things prefer to follow rivers and creeks in order to find marshy regions. No one is quite sure how they got up here in Wermspittle.
  24. Gnats. Countless little flying, buzzing, biting little insects erupt forth from some basement-bog or sump-swamp. They are so dense there is a danger of suffocation from inhaling too many of them at one time (Save or choke, make second Save if first one is failed to avoid passing out). The swarm will dissipate in 1d6 minutes.
  25. (4d4x20) Esoteric Leeches slither along the shadowy recesses, nooks and crannies hunting after their chosen prey: unwary spell-casters and psychics. Individually, these horrid little lavender-gray parasites aren't much of a threat, but in a large group, they can strip several levels of spells from the very brain of a sorcerer or drain the reserves of power from a psychic so as to seriously impair their ability to sue their abilities for a considerable amount of time, in some cases inflicting permanent reductions in the capacity to memorize spells, use spells of a certain level, or even the lingering loss of INT, WIS or CHAR. Junicullo Vesubidar is generally regarded as the miscreant who gave these things the ability to operate outside of the murky waters of the Low-Land Marshes. Many spell-casters burn a small effigy of Junicullo every February and give thanks that he died a miserable, painful death for his incredible stupidity. [If this result falls in February, it consists of a procession of spell-casters carrying their effigies of Junicullo to one of the local plazas or squares in order to burn them and castigate, berate and curse his name.]
  26. One of the upper floors of a near-by Abandoned Property has just collapsed due to the unceasing efforts of termites. Roll on a random Encounter Table to see what might have been dislodged, driven out or trapped by the collapse.
  27. (4d10) Candle-crafter pseudohumans (think halfling-bees) are prowling the area looking for a potential new hive-site. Several of them are wounded and dying due to the incessant attacks of wild dogs, street wolves, and feral children. They are only lightly armed (mostly with mis-matched tools and a few rickety bows or slings).
  28. Zealot Termites have begun erecting a huge cathedral mound behind the vine-hung outer-walls of a ruined manor. They have established a kill-zone surrounding the outer-walls and squads of (4d4) Warriors ruthlessly eviscerate anyone who crosses the pheromone-soaked boundary that they've staked out. Unfortunately for the Zealot-mites, conditions in Wermspittle are less than conducive to their efforts. They have a tough time surviving the harsh Winters. But all that might change now that an enterprising ex-Sewer Militia sergeant has taken it upon herself to negotiate with the Zealots in regards to the location of a unregistered portal that can be used to access a location far more amenable to the Zealot's metabolisms. What the sergeant isn't telling them is that there are three other insect species who have already paid her considerable sums for 'exclusive access' to this portal.
  29. (6d6) Giant Carnivorous Millipedes have been driven up into the city from below by a rogue band of Morlocks hoping to use the creatures to terrorize the rich, upper class estates. Too bad they were working from an outdated and incorrect map and brought their war-beasts out in the middle of the Burned Over District. Dozens of Refugees, Unfortunates, and others have been overjoyed to carve-up the Millipedes into stakes, roasts and chops...
  30. Scores of distorted, discolored mosquito larvae float about listlessly in the stagnant waters of a rusty water-tank atop a deserted building that is about to collapse. Once the metal tank is overturned and the greasy, stinking water sloshes out into the wreckage, the larvae will be freed from the torpor forced upon them by a ward inscribed upon the tank by a Forager three decades ago. If it is Winter, the larvae will either freeze or get hacked into stew-meat. Any other time of the year and they have a better than even chance of becoming large and obnoxious flying pests.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bujilli: Episode 44

Accepting a job from a shifty Triloo librarian to scout-out the lower levels of their new-found Keep on an Adjacent World (see Episodes 40 & 41), Bujilli and Leeja were making quick progress in their discrete survey when Bortho, their ostensible 'guide' abandoned them and ran off down a sloping passage after his missing mate. Following Bortho, they quickly caught-up to him and saved his life before he ran head-long into a small group of Grunters. They sent Bortho running back to the Portcullis Station. But Leeja had no intention of running. In fact she quickly dispatched the creatures. Bujilli noticed that the Grunters were infected with a horrific fungal culture. They ran. Bortho was already lowering the Portcullis (see Episode 42). He was out of his mind with panic...and under the psychic domination of the fungi that has infected the Grunters. Acting quickly and decisively, Bujilli and Leeja prevented Bortho from locking them out of the Portcullis Station (see Episode 43). The psychic link to the fungi twisting Bortho's fear-addled mind was severed. Then came the realization of what might be lurking down the sloping passage...

War Bells reverberated from down the opposite sloping passage. They could be a mile or more away, or much closer. The heavy, sonorous things were intended to vibrate deeply and carry far underground. Grunters were an unsubtle folk.

Bujilli looked at the half-lowered Portcullis. He considered their situation. This was supposed to be a simple, easy job. A lucrative side-trek that wouldn't take more than a day or two at most. Ha!

He consulted his Counsel, the machine-spirit etched into his bones by another machine called a Transveyance. It helped him. It could tell him many things. He closed his eyes and communed with the Counsel, allowing it to operate more quickly, more intuitively in anticipation of his needs and requirements. It showed him how the Grunters had split into three groups at the Domed Chamber in order to explore the sloping passages. It also showed him Bortho's mate. She went down one of the passages only hours before the Grunter scouts. He could see the sparkling motes of a minute trail left behind the...pregnant...girl.

Bujilli snapped out of the light trance. Things were getting complicated. It was supposed to be a quick little job. Nothing to it. Ha!

Leeja examined one of the Grunters' crude black-iron javelins she'd recovered from where it had fallen after Bortho had flung it away in disgust. It was coated in the boy's blood.

Bortho groaned and began to struggle back up on his feet. The bandage on his left leg, where the javelin had pierced him, was soaked with blood. It had been a vicious wound. The javelins had multiple sets of blade-like fins and vanes set randomly around the shaft. No two produced similar wounds, for whatever that was worth.

"You think that you have an idea?" Leeja swung the javelin like a shortened staff or jabbing spear. She seemed to know what she was doing. She was trying hard to not sound too petulant. For now.

"Yes." Bujilli went over to Bortho. The boy refused his help.

"Can you walk?" Bujilli stared into Bortho's eyes. The boy grew just a shade paler. He wavered for a second then nodded vigorously. He had no intention of being left behind, not that Bujilli planned anything of the sort.

"Wound closing. I fight." Bortho gritted his teeth. Sweat poured from his forehead and bare skin. His hair was damp with it. Fever. A side-effect of the boy's mutated metabolism. He was healing rapidly. The blood-soaked bandage slid down his thigh and he promptly drew out a knife and cut it away. The wound in his leg was a pinkish patch surrounded by deep purple bruising. Like all his people, the boy healed incredibly fast.

"Good." Bujilli shook his head. Whatever or whomever had given Bortho's people this accelerated healing capacity, and it was clear to him that they were in fact a designed, manipulated people, this 'gift' was something they were intended to put to use, or perhaps it was deemed necessary for them to carry out whatever aims or schemes they were intended to accomplish. That bothered Bujilli. These people were living weapons. Pawns on a game-board. And he didn't recognize the rules, who the players were, nor even what his role might ultimately be; however the stakes were fairly obvious. But even so, there were too many uncomfortable questions and disturbing implications. He wanted some answers. Answers his Counsel could not give him. He wondered how they might get Idvard to confide in them more fully. The devious old Triloo librarian knew a lot more than he'd shared with them so far. Which was to be expected.

"Your Plan?" Leeja prodded.

"There were Grunter scouts sent down each of the other three sloping passages that run off from the Domed Chamber. We've eliminated one group. We can cut-off the scouts that went down the other two passages by dropping and locking the Portcullis at those Stations. The War Bells will cover the noise, I think. Then we can either try to lock the Grunter Horde out or we can head back and warn Idvard that things are far from safe down here."

"I'm not thrilled with leaving the place open to that Horde. Especially when they could send more scouts or skirmishers through at any moment. Behind us. Not a good option."

"I know--"

"FOOLS!" burbled the severed head on the floor.

All three turned to stare at the thing. It regarded them with baleful, piggish eyes and snorted derisively.


"We don't have time--"


"What?!" Leeja stepped up before the sizzling Grunter-head.



A headless Grunter shambled past the half-lowered Portcullis. Livid purple growths protruded from gaping splits in its horribly abused flesh even as orange pus dribbled down to leave a fetid trail back to where it and its companions had been abandoned.


Another, then another of the fungi-infested corpses staggered past the Porcullis. Bortho stood dumbfounded.

"GO! NOW!" howled the head as its skin flaked away in ashes. It's eyes ruptured. A lambent green flame flickered out from the back of it where the skull split asunder due to the intense heat and pressure from the burning brain. In seconds the talking head was reduced to ashes.

Bujilli looked into Leeja's simmering gold-green eyes. She smiled sweetly. He nodded. They began to jog back to the Domed Chamber. Bujilli grabbed Bortho by the arm and got him to follow along.

They went back along their trail and stopped to watch the shambling cadavers move past them and down the sloping passage towards the War Bells and the Grunter Horde. The grotesque things moved far more quickly than any of them were comfortable with, and they left behind a foul trail of smeared fluids certain to be rife with toxic spores. But somethings can't be helped.

"Which way do we go?" Leeja watched the last of the fungi-possessed corpses go down the passage back to its people. A scout bearing far worse than bad news.

Bujilli waited for the last headless Grunter to move past. He considered dropping the Portcullis to block off the fungus colony...but what good was a bunch of heavy metal bars against something that could spew a cloud of spores--he froze. Ventilation. Why didn't the fungi make use of the Keep's ventilation system to by-pass the Portcullis? He ran back into the Station. There. Along the ceiling, at even intervals all along the upper surface of the walls were gill-like slits. All of them closed tightly. He focused on the Portcullis itself. It was hardened against spells and blocked aethyrial and other forms of intrusion. He could discern layer upon layer of embedded and immersed ward and guarding protocol. Then he saw it. It only made sense.

"What are you doing?" Leeja whispered harshly in his ear.

"What needs to be done." He dropped the Portcullis the rest of the way. It locked into place. The vent-slits above flared open and fresh air streamed into the space.

Leeja looked up at the source of the sudden breeze. She smiled in approval. The fungus was locked out, at least the main-mass was--the infected corpses had left behind a sickening trail that would need to be dealt with, but that was far less hazardous than a full-blown Fungal Tyrant having free and full access to the place while they were busy dealing with the Grunter scouts.

Bortho scowled at them both. He resented their doing what they had stopped him from doing. no matter he might well have trapped them both on the wrong side of the barrier.


"We hunt." nodded Bortho.

"See if you can keep up." Leeja taunted them both.

"This way." Bujilli barked. He knew that they needed to reach Bortho's mate, but she had a lead of several hours. He also knew from his Counsel that she had not been abducted. She had passed through this place on her own. That made him nervous. It smelled like a trap.

They reached the next Portcullis Station and dropped the barrier to the outer passage. It locked down cleanly.

They moved on to the next Station, the one where the sloping outer passage led to the Grunter Horde. The War Bells vibrated through the floor. Bortho struggled to stick with them and not run away. They dropped the Portcullis. It locked. The War Bells became a faint background noise.

Leeja led the way to the last Station. She went to the Control Pedestal. Paused.

Bujilli drew out his hand-axe. She grinned at him. Bortho barreled past at full-speed down the sloping passage. He was going to rescue his mate.

They followed.

The passage ran on and on for more than a mile.

Two miles.


Bortho slackened his pace.

The air grew humid. Warm. Pungent with strange smells, not just rot and mold.

They heard the rumble of waterfalls ahead.

A cavern opened-up before them. The passage debouched onto a walled and fortified platform. Three overturned carts were shoved up against the left wall, just visible in the soft gloom of the place. Off to the right a cluster of angular crystals gave off a sharp blue light. Grunter tracks went off past the crystal-cluster. So did the trail of Bortho's mate.

They followed.

The fortified platform was some sort of depot. It was arranged as a set of three nested octagons. Each narrow-topped gate was wide open before them. More clusters of the angular blue crystals flanked each gate and were spaced along each wall at regular intervals. There was a skeleton embedded on barbed spikes incompletely withdrawn into the wall before the second gate. The place was deserted. Abandoned.

Bortho grabbed-up a section of one of the crystal-clusters as they went past. It came away easily. A translucent blue metal shaft was mounted at the base of the thing. A torch of sorts. He grinned as he pulled two more torches from their resting place and handed them to his companions.

The blue light was sharp. Actinic. Cold. It seemed hot at first, but the crystals were cold. The light provided no warmth. It lit up the immediate area as well as any smoldering stick, but without wavering or using up precious oxygen. Or igniting pockets of volatile gas.

A rounded plaza-like space awaited them past the outermost gate. Three switchback roads wound their way down the steep sides of the cavern.

The right one led down about half-way to the oily black river below before it passed behind a gate-house set into the side of the cavern.

The left road led down less far than the one on the right and continued along a ridge for a considerable distance, possibly half a mile or more until it disappeared at what might be another gate-house. It was too far to see clearly in the gloom.

The middle road led down to the river and what looked like a modest set of three stone piers that jutted out into a cove set off from the river proper. Four or five old hulks, boats that had once plied the dark waters of this river long ago, sat jumbled together, scuttled or their bottoms rotted-out. Except for one.

Bujilli squatted down and brought his crystal-torch close to the ground. He counted six Grunters, two went down along each of the three roads. His Counsel showed the faint sparkly trail left behind by Bortho's mate. It led down to the cove. The piers. The boat.

A squeal of shock came from below. It was cut short abruptly.

A splash. A second splash.

The boat was leaving...

What now?

Run after the boat before it can get up to speed?

What should they do about the Grunter scouts?

Turn back?

Which way should they go?

What should they do now?

You Decide!

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

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

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

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

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Those Aren't Rats In The Walls (Random Table, Wermspittle)

Those Aren't Rats In The Walls...
  1. There are dozens of newly hatched Slasher spawn (3d6, One HD each) back there, cutting their way through the wall with their tiny blade-legs. It'll take them the better part of (1d4) hours to break on through to this side.
  2. Dozens of exotic snakes have created a nest in this wall. They escaped from someone's unlicensed herpetorium and have been decimating the local mouse, rat and vole populations, which has over-joyed the Landlady who owns this property to no end. The snakes are non-poisonous, but the Landlady will be incredibly irate, even spiteful if you disturb her 'little angels.' She has connections to some thoroughly unpleasant people who she will enlist to 'teach you trespassers a lesson,' if necessary.
  3. The squatters and Refugees who have attempted to sleep in this room report strange dreams about a dark, dark place and a voice whispering to them of power...if they would just break through the wall and claim the Green Gem that has been lost there for several decades.
  4. The stench emanating from this wall is nauseating in the extreme. It will only get worse (and require a Save) if the wall is breached in any way. A Vilg was imprisoned behind the wall by a former master who suffered from the unfaithful familiar's gross betrayal one too many times. It might still be alive. It would like to make you a deal...
  5. How did an armadillo ever get inside this wall?
  6. Forty-three penguin skulls have been stacked and packed into a secret compartment in this wall.
  7. A swarm of 6' long blue-and-green-mottled two-headed centipedes has infiltrated the space behind this wall where a small, overlooked Weak Point has lodged. These centipedes have a rudimentary form of group intuition that is right on the verge of becoming some form of shared consciousness. They are incredibly venomous, sensitive to psychic impressions and absolutely hate cats. They originate from a Parallel Realm dominated by a bright, hot, humid teal-and-verdigris jungle no one has explored or named as of yet. Or is that an encrypted diary of some venturesome sorcerer partially merged into the wall by the passage of the Weak Point?
  8. A crippled Perdu was sealed behind the wall by a vengeful ex-lover. His tongue was viciously hacked out of his mouth and his legs are chained to the main support beam. He's nearly insane from having been left here all alone for so long. Every now and then he tries to tap out some sort of signal or moans pitifully in frustration and despair which only convinces the landlady who owns this place that it is haunted or under some sort of a curse.
  9. (4d4) Veilsect eggs are in the process of hatching, now that the wards placed over them have expired. Some fool thought that they could use the eggs as a sort of insurance policy in dealing with the parent. They were wrong. (You could also substitute some Strange Ovum, if you want an alternative to the Veilsect...)
  10. A Little Green Bag has been hidden here. Would you like to look inside?
  11. (6d20) Lesser Violet Ants are busily making themselves a new home within these walls. They are coming through a fractured Planar Aperture to the Paraversal Plane of Vhonj anchored by a brittle violet gem that will crumble into inert dust if disturbed. There are scholars and others who usually pay better than scholars who are interested in such things. Perhaps you might be able to sell the location of this thing to one of the Booksellers or trinket-peddlers or some other Middle-man so as to avoid any 'academic entanglements'?
  12. The dingy gray wallpaper is peeling away from the older, more sinister Yellow Wallpaper beneath it.
  13. The walls have been rudely plastered-over by an ambitious former land-lord. They missed a spot. Perhaps they ran out of time or were interrupted before they could finish the job? In any case, there is a map scratched into the wall beneath the cheap, crumbly plaster. A closer examination of the little bit that is visible shows that it is not only scratched into the wall, it is scorched into it and radiates a dim, fading sense of old, lingering magic. There's a 40% chance of a Student, Sorcerer or Forager recognizing this as a Grobbly-Bonk map.
  14. Someone has inscribed a sigil upon the wall. The sigil encrypts and embeds a slightly modified variant of the Thought Wall spell upon the wall. This is obviously the work of some Student. There are traces of other experimental sigils on the other walls of this room, but not enough of them remain to tell what they might have been. It is possible to study the sigil on the wall, if you can afford to take (1d4) hours and make a Save so as not to disrupt the sigil. Keep in mind that the use of such sigils is a Skill akin to a Thief's Find/Remove Traps, only for Sorcerers and other spell-casters. This is one of the  techniques taught in the local Academy to those who qualify for admission.
  15. The wall is saturated with Yellow Ichor left-over from a recently destroyed Shrouded. A team of Foragers have bribed the land-lord's staff to let the stuff remain in-place as they want to see what sort of Wet Spot it will yield after exposure to a small quantity of White Powder.
  16. The wall is upholstered with a rich, well-dyed leather derived from the victims of the Butcher Boy who lives here with his mother. His apron, mask, cleaver and other such gear is stored in a compartment behind the third panel on the left, the one with the screaming face. No one is supposed to know the identity of a Butcher Boy. Ever. Should this fellow have his ritual identity compromised, the Butchers will react swiftly and harshly. You don't want to be present. Really.
  17. A fossilized Polypous Abomination is thoroughly integrated into (1d4) walls of this room. Someone was deliberately attempting to force the thing to grow through the interstices and spaces behind the walls so as to create a ritual chamber completely enclosed by a living barrier. But why? To what end?
  18. There is a faint purplish discoloration to this wall. Anyone sleeping near it must make a Save or cross -over into the Purple Forest, either (60%) psychically/oneirically or (40%) physically.
  19. A Loathsome Mass has seeped down through the space behind this wall from one or more floors above. It seems intent on reaching the ground floor, as if seeking to escape.
  20. Sporadic tapping from within this wall is neither a poltergeist nor an unfortunate inmate. No. It is a tightly sealed glass jar. Inside the jar is a small (2HD) Corpuscular Sludge.
  21. A contraband Red Token has been hidden in this wall. Most people would have overlooked the viscous seepage of curdled blood staining the wall at that spot. The Red Token is your means to become a collaborator with a 'Scarlet Shadow,' either willingly as one of its disciples, or unwillingly as a victim of 'the Gurgles': the choice is yours...if you decide to take the Token without taking suitable precautions first. There are those who would pay a good price to learn the location of such a thing, but as it is proscribed, most of those sorts of people are already fairly dangerous and unstable, if not outright mad. Maybe there is some sort of a reward for turning this thing over to someone at the local Academy? Too bad the thing is so ethically corrosive and oneirically volatile...anyone holding it will need to make a Save every hour on the hour to avoid becoming corrupted by the insidious, malicious black humor this object inspires in its victims. Of course there are spells that might offer some measure of protection against this subtle undermining effect...but working out which spell(s) to use and how to maintain them long enough while traveling to the Academy, let along getting past the gate-keepers and tracking down just whom to contact, not to mention getting through the negotiations...well...this could prove quite challenging indeed.
  22. Hundreds of roaches are busily consolidating a particularly intelligent and spell-casting Ungezeifer's  unofficial dominion over this filthy, abandoned place. It dwells in the basement. The roaches serve it as henchsects and followers. This creature is a not-so-former rival to Urmigan the Drone-Seller. (See Bujilli Episode 40)
  23. (3d100) small, sealed pots and bottles have been stacked between the braces and cross-beams of this wall, each one carefully cemented into place with a mortar made from a ground-up Type I Gobbling Grout. Each of the containers is filled with a slightly different sort of Spectral Brine salvaged from dozens of different clandestine distilleries and powder-works. Whoever did this was doing it for a reason. Perhaps it has some sort of ritual significance. But what good could ever come from attuning oneself to the waste-products of the Corruption Trade?
  24. The after-image of a large Fantodic has been imprinted upon this wall by some sort of sorcerous photographical technique. The image is mostly inert, unless someone were to expose it to raw ectoplasm or start to meddle with it as part of some magical experiment. Sleeping in this room is a bad idea. Really bad.
  25. The professionally-preserved skeletons of a family of gnomes is packed away behind this wall with an incredible attention to detail. Each one is labelled, named, and otherwise thoroughly described by the tags affixed across each one. The bone-peddler who did this found himself unable to sell the skeletons to anyone back during the onset of a virulently regressive plague that de-aged its victims in spectacularly imprecise and inexact ways. Everyone took one look at his skeletons and instantly thought them victims of the then-current plague and refused to do business with him. So he packed them away in secret, with the hope of finding a buyer after things settled down a bit. Unfortunately he died only a week after ensconcing the bones in his bed-room walls. They say it was a random mugging. But they never did find his killer. Or his head.
  26. The walls are covered with several layers of dessicated and dry verminous insects. A few torpid and disoriented specimens clamber over their dead brethren, but for the most part, they are nearly all dead.
  27. This wall is Oneirically Permeable thanks to the efforts of a former tenant, a disbarred Somnambulist from Istibar.
  28. (2d4) Undead Medical Leeches are trapped behind this wall. They tend to be fairly quiet, even inconspicuous, but that was before part of the floor collapsed out from under the wall and now they are tentatively wriggling forth to seek out fresh blood after far too long a time.
  29. The walls in this place are packed with guano. The space(s) above have been taken over by a huge colony of bats.
  30. Who thought it was a good idea to trap a Withering Mist in the walls by embedding Miasmic Wards into every wall, floor and ceiling around this room?

You may also find the Swarms Table(s) of some interest.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lithus Sector: Mov (05.00)

Mov (05.00)
A Hot (Type sdB) Blue-White Sub-Dwarf star, Mov is still listed as a Red Super-Giant star in many databases, as it has been for thousands of years. Something transformed Mov from one type of star to another in less than a hundred years and completely by-passing and over-writing the normal evolutionary processes. Whatever changed Mov, also stripped-away a vast amount of energy and material in an extremely short amount of time, leaving behind an intensely bright star degenerating into a White Dwarf, surrounded by a highly anomalous Planetary Nebula that is composed primarily of ice and dust. More than one astronomer has likened it to a spherical cloud of ice-fragments or a snow-storm, so to speak. This densely packed and highly symmetrical shell composed primarily of volatile ices surrounding Mov has also been compared to an artificially compressed Kuiper Belt. No one has claimed responsibility for the drastic and inexplicable restructuring of Mov.

What Is Currently Known...
Merellon Corp maintains an active and ongoing crowd-sourced observation project based within the Telajan (06.01) and Lithus (03.05) solar systems, and to a lesser extent within the Tregio Poly-system (00.03). [see Lithus Sector Map] So far all findings and data produced by this project have raised far more questions than anyone save the Orəq might have foreseen.

Mov used to host 27 planetary bodies, twenty of which were dwarf-planetoids. Originally the solar system lacked a true 'asteroid belt.' Instead it had a pair of massive debris clouds that primarily occupied the leading and trailing Trojan Points of Danasku (Mov VI), a Super-Jovian planet that may or may not have been a Brown Dwarf. The debris clouds were locked into an incredibly well-defined Lissajous Orbit and recordings of this amazingly elaborate debris-system are still being used to model complex orbits by AI and astronomers alike. But all that is so much history now. Danasku and the twinned debris clouds are gone, thought to be subsumed into the icy shell surrounding the drastically reconfigured Mov.

Currently there are no bodies larger than a dwarf-planet within 120 AU of Mov.

The Mechapublic Projected Security Cordon Authority at Mov (Coord.: 05.00) has maintained an ongoing monitoring station and forward Sci-Ops Base on a deep orbit at the periphery of the Mov system for the last four years. Two years ago they launched a probe to the Kazix system (02.01) for unknown reasons.

Recent Developments
Achernarian Investors have backed an exploratory mission to Mov composed primarily of Trippies and a trio of decommissioned AI that are in lock-down until the mission reaches Mov. The mission is publicly tasked with mapping and surveying the cloud of icy debris surrounding Mov as well as establishing a network of autonomous beacons that will facilitate further exploration and ongoing telemetry for a swarm of probes that are to be overseen by the AI. Rumors abound in respect to what the mission's private orders might be.

The Brass Council has announced their own expedition to Mov by way of Hypersail. The group, based in orbit around Kaaldu (03.04), intend to reach Mov three days before the Trippies. Their interest in Mov is undisclosed. Durango-Tangier, celebrated hero of the Ponesian Crisis and Special Spokesperson for the Brass Council has remained uncharacteristically reticent as to the nature of the expedition to Mov, which has caused a veritable hurricane of speculation and gossip.

Exactly 14 hours prior to the announcement of the Brass Council's impromptu expedition to Mov, a Big Dumb Object (BDO) estimated to be in excess of 10,000 miles in length was reported by a mid-level AI in the Astronomical Analysis & Assaying Office at Tregio (Coord.: 00.03). Follow-up efforts by the University of Kaaldu's Deep Time Photoarcheology Station currently in operation in an Unclaimed Region (Coord.: 02.03), confirmed the AA&AO report. The object, whatever it might be, is on a course that will take it directly into the Mov system. It remains unidentified at this time.

Immediate Repercussions and Subsequent Events
Someone operating under the cover of the Official Secrets Act in Kilanya Port-Town on PzIII in the Panj system (04.05) has been buying-up shares in so many contract security and paramilitary units that there has been a sort of informal and undeclared holiday in effect for the last six hours. Many are referring to it as the 'Lottery Virus' in commemoration of the centuries-old folktale of the mythical benevolent software package that crashed the economies of three worlds before it was eradicated*. Every Ship Captain within 1100AU of Panj have either gone to running dark or left the system under duress as their life support systems have crashed due to what the Authorities are describing as "...some malicious hacker's little escapade and desperate plea for attention..." Some of those ships carry ultra-hardened systems. News-crews, Stringers, Private Investigators and various Watchdogs have begun to trawl the regions surrounding Panj for any sign or signal from one of these ships in the hopes of getting an exclusive first-hand account.

The Mechapublic Projected Security Cordon Authority at Mov (Coord.: 05.00) went off-line one hour ago. There is no longer any signal coming from their Forward Sci-Ops Base. The official story is that it is just routine maintenance. A freelance datadelver operating from out the Lesser Griesalpen Commune on Lithus Prime (03.05) has released an unconfirmed vidloop consisting of 36 seconds displaying so far unidentified and badly out of focus, but heavily-armed humanoids(?) engaged in executing the 14 biocrew subcontractors attached to the Mechapublic at Mov. Attempts to suppress this footage have failed. It has gone viral.

The Hartley Bequest has been uncharacteristically silent on this matter so far, though their head of PR is scheduled to hold a sector-wide press conference in three hours...

*There are those who believe that the Lottery Virus was never really 'eradicated,' but instead went dormant after having proved its point. They say it is waiting patiently, for the right conditions for it to reactivate. The next time it returns, it will not stop at just three worlds, or so it is claimed by those who whisper the anarchistic gospel that has built-up around the underground believers in this contraband software.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Intro to Sector T-3 (Kepler 22-B: Strange New World)

Kepler 22-B is a Super-Earth that orbits within the Kepler 22 solar system's Habitable Zone (at 0.849 AU). It is one of the earliest confirmed Exoplanets located 600 light years from Earth in the Cygnus constellation. Kepler 22-B is the size of 2.4 Earths in radius. You can learn more about Kepler 22-B from NASA directly:

The Strange New World blog is coordinating a collaborative effort to map and explore Kepler 22-B as an environment suitable for table top role-playing games. If you are at all interested in getting involved in this open and ongoing project, we suggest that you start HERE. The overall Master Map shows the major biomes and keeps track of which sectors have already been claimed. There is also a handy gallery of the various Sector Maps currently being explored/developed.

Sector T-3 Map Courtesy of M. John Stater (Larger version of map available at: Strange New World)

Sector T-3 is a large region 176 hexes wide by 124 hexes high. It is a rocky, mountainous area with warm Mediterranean coasts with a few large freshwater lakes and is dominated by vast, dense forests that are book-ended by two distinctly different desert regions.

Our initial task is to generate an Event/Encounter Table and to detail at least 20 Notable Locations within this sector. So let us begin...

Sector T-3 Intro | Sector T-3 Index

10 Short Adventures for Mutant Future PDF (2011 OSR Challenge)

Last year, Matt over at the Asshat Paladins blog hosted the 2011 OSR September of Short Adventures Challenge which featured the efforts of over 20 bloggers and generated over 300 adventures.

We did three sets of adventures, ten for Mutant Future, ten for Labyrinth Lord, and ten for Swords & Wizardry (White Box).

It was both a challenge and a lot of fun developing a set of short scenarios using Matt's minimalist 'Get Ready, Get Set, Go!' format.

Revisiting these adventures really brought home how good an idea Matt had in using a hyper-compressed format. It really forced us to focus on things with a sense of immediacy that often gets lost in longer, more convoluted scenarios. There is something magic about this sort of format, and we're in the process of coming up with our own alternative approach that we'll be unveiling shortly. In the meantime, the first Ten Short Adventures (for Mutant Future) that we did as part of the 2011 OSR Challenge have now been revised and compiled into a PDF that you can download for free by either clicking on the cover-image below, or use this link to our Free Stuff folder at BOX. We'll also set-up a widget in the right-hand side-bar, but it'll probably slide around the page a bit for the next couple of days until we find a spot we like, and we'll add a link to the Free Stuff folder on the Downloads page as well.

We plan to eventually revise and re-post the two other sets of our 2011 September Short Adventures in another few weeks.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

It Came From You Tube

Recently we were contacted by Andy Haynes. He's part of a group of gamers who are now creating some really funny web shorts explaining various aspects of playing Dungeons & Dragons. Now we're big fans of Bill Cavalier and his Dungeon Bastard series at You Tube, so we were curious about what Andy's group might be doing. The first video we watched was one called 'Attacks of Opportunity and You.' It made both of us laugh quite a bit. Yes, it's about D&D 3.5 mechanics, but it's still really funny and very well done. The group behind this, an up-and-coming outfit named Penfound Productions, have also uploaded a short & silly bit on Alignment, and they have also done an 'Episode 0," as a tentative pilot for a possible series called Rolling High. The Zero Episode looks at Character Creation. It manages to skewer a few sacred cows pretty well...

Here's the Attacks of Opportunity and You video...

We wish Andy and his friends all the best and look forward to their next webisode!
And yes, you might recognize the lead character above from A Light in the Darkness.
Small world, huh?

Maybe the Rolling High Team will do a web short dealing with some Old School faves such as Homebrew Rules, Saving Throws, or would also be fun to have these folks take a look at the Dungeoncrawl Classics RPG...whatever they do, it'll probably be funny, so we'll be watching.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Variant Forms of the Squick and Ickorous (Random Table, Wermspittle)

Variant Forms of the Squick and Ickorous Table
(Jellies, Slimes, Fungi, Molds and related things...)
  1. A discolored patch of writhing wetness that tries to stay out of bright light and prefers to cling to the undersides of rotting leaves, old wooden buckets, and exceptionally unsanitary areas. (1 HD, Attack 1d2, 60% chance of amoebic infection: Save or suffer dysentery for 1d4 days.)
  2. Blue granular masses roughly arranged into crude hexagonal structures grow along vertical surfaces. The colony moves slowly as it develops. It generates a noticeable drop in temperature wherever it takes root. When exposed to blood the primary ridges along the edges of each hexagon rapidly extrude sharp fronds that in time harden into ferrous blades.
  3. Scabrous yellow pus-like matter ringed with olive and black. The whole thing looks like a mass of gangrenous flesh or a free-standing tumorous mass. It gives off a sickly sweet scent that only grows increasingly more nauseating whenever it becomes immobilized or dormant for any length of time. The fluids contained within the central vaguely bulbous mass cause any flesh exposed to it to rot away. Assassins have been known to use glass knives filled with this fluid; when snapped off inside a wound, the fluid causes rapid gangrene deep inside the victim's body, often killing them before anyone can do anything to stop it.
  4. A more viscous and yellowish puddle of slime that wriggles and grows towards the nearest source of bacteria, fungi or yeast. Does 1d2/day to untreated wood, otherwise stats are as above. Upon reaching 8 or more HD, there's a 50% chance that the creature will erupt into a cloud of spores or spatter gobs of wet spore-clumps within a 30' radius when struck.
  5. Pinkish-yellow clots of goo floating within a protoplasmic envelope. (Attack is a form of externalized digestion, no flagella.) This stage of development is much sought after by vivilatrists and others as the 'goo' within the protoplasmic sac is extremely plastic and can be used to adapt, alter or develop myriads of subsidiary life forms, including some of the more common manufactured jellies.
  6. Gray paste that tends to accumulate along ceiling edges. It produces a rancid smelling oily fluid that promotes wood-rot.
  7. Greenish-yellow slime-mold slowly crawling along any surface, usually out of sight. Very wet, often drips or dribbles small bits that will eventually become fully autonomous versions of itself. Prefers drains, clogged eaves, refuse piles, and especially cess-pits. Inflicts double damage on Grouts by way of cellular infiltration.
  8. Faintly luminous pink syrup. Close inspection shows vacuoles and dark little masses suspended in the fluid. The outer membrane is extremely pliable and selectively permeable. Contact with the internal fluids results in 1pt of damage per minute of exposure. Water or milk neutralizes the fluid's harmful properties. Alcohol tends to dissolve the membrane, rendering the organism a toxic, flammable mess.
  9. Brownish clumps. This specimen is inert.
  10. A drizzly yellow-brown collective mass is forming a stalk that will produce a fruiting body within 1d4 days. The fruiting body will explode for 3d6 damage within a 30' radius, spraying spores everywhere. Save or suffer infection.
  11. Rusty curdled lumpy mess covered with a fuzzy coating of thin hair-like tendrils. It looks a little like a caterpillar, and often gets over-looked as such unless carefully examined. The tendrils deliver a virulent nerve toxin and the central mass secretes a dull phlegmy-green poison whenever the slime-mold is allowed to adhere to bronze, which it corrodes and dissolves over time.
  12. Blue-spotted egg-shaped nodules projecting from a frothy mass of undifferentiated protoplasm. Each 'egg' is in fact a glistening mass of tightly packed needle-fine hair-like cilia that will instantly shoot out and skewer warm-blooded hosts that brush up against them or get too close. The cilia-strike is incredibly rapid and the intended victim must make a Save at -4 penalty of be surprised. Failure means that they've been skewered, requiring a second Save (normal) to determine whether or not the spores forcibly driven into their flesh have become active. These spores can remain embedded and inert for decades before conditions are right and they finally begin to devour their host from within.
  13. Green-yellow blobs of mucous-like slime roll around like strange slugs that flatten-out and envelope fungi, mold, or rotting things. Some produce very colorful umbrellas of slime, others look more like squished flowers built up from layers of still-wet oil paint. At least 50% of the time they are poisonous (Save +1).
  14. Lurid blue ooze that numbs all exposed flesh it touches. Exposure for more than a full minute tends to render a limb useless for up to an hour. Prolonged exposure will cause the victim to stop breathing, which is helpful to the ooze which then enters the body via any/all available orifices to hasten its digestion of their prey.
  15. Ochre and tan smears, sometimes they overlap, other times they appear parallel. A crude slime-mold that gives off an odor like stale cheese. It is one of the few truly carnivorous slime-molds in that it envelopes small animals and compresses them so as to suffocate them even as it digests them. There are rumors of large specimens that have grown-up around Distilleries and dump-sites where Spectral Brine and other, similar toxic waste has been allowed to accumulate.
  16. This specimen has achieved a low-order form of sentience and has learned a number of simple tricks. It shows clear signs of fear as it attempts to flee from salt-boxes, other jellies, or fire.
  17. A rancid patch of virulent brown slime. Contact with this thing will discolor exposed flesh/leather, and inflict 2d6 damage. It doesn't move much, but it can emit a puff of toxic spores every 1d6 minutes for an additional 2d4 damage. It is highly flammable, but the resulting smoke will cause 6d4 damage within a 30' radius and linger for 1d4 hours.
  18. Black, tarry slime that is attracted to silver, which it tarnishes by simple proximity as a result of the heavy haze of complex chemistry surrounding the thing. It is feared by members of upper class household staff who are charged with maintaining the heirloom silver in particular. Large specimens have been known to ooze along the outside of pipes used for water distribution or other forms of plumbing in order to gain access to locations where quantities of silver can be found. No one knows how this amorphous slime knows where to go, but it probably has more to do with chemistry than anything psychic.
  19. Amorphous, colorless and incredibly translucent, this gelatinous pest swims along in fresh water hunting small fish, insect larvae, bacterial colonies, and the like. When ingested, it infiltrates its host's body by quickly transferring itself into the bloodstream. The host suffers debilitating pain in the course of this process, but once the parasitical mass has integrated itself into the bloodstream, the fever passes and the host resumes life as normal. Only now their blood quickly becomes a transparent, viscous fluid that progressively transforms their flesh from the inside-out into a translucent, increasingly amorphous matter that bleeds across other forms of space and time than what the host may have ever imagined existed.
  20. Thin (under 1" at thickest), but wide-spread patch of slime-mold has formed a mockery of a vaguely human face. It has randomly determined INT, WIS and CHAR, and will trade information for instruction in spell-casting techniques. It wishes to become a sorcerer. It knows 3d6 Random Rumors.
Note: this random table was extracted and revised from the original which appeared as part of the Brewer's Bane post. We removed it and gave it a post of its own because it is too useful to leave buried under the Myxogastrians.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bujilli: Episode 43

Bujilli and Leeja followed Bortho down a sloping passage. They were able to catch up to the young barbarian just before he ran into a group of Grunters. Then the Grunters came after all three of them. Javelins flew. Bortho ran. Bujilli looked at Leeja. She smiled. Then she ran headlong right into the Grunters, slashing and hacking like a mad woman. Four Grunters died before they really knew what was happening, their heads lopped off and left sitting in the muck. Then Bujilli realized things weren't quite right. The Grunters were infected with a terrible fungi. One that he knew from previous experience as a bad, bad thing. They ran back to the Domed Chamber only to find Bortho was lowering one of the portcullises...

"I'm going to kill Bortho." Leeja hissed. Her white hair lashed and slashed about her like the tails of a dozen angry cats.

"Run!" barked Bujilli--they had to get past the threshold before the heavy portcullis dropped or else they'd be locked out of Idvard's Keep.

They ran through the mud, the blood and the muck. They raced one another to the Portcullis Station. They arrived just in time to watch the ponderous portal descend past the half-way point.

Bujilli gauged the distance and his chances of getting past the thing before it crushed him.

Leeja stopped.

She cast a spell.

He could feel the aethyric vibrations of the thing as it swooped past him. Then he jumped for all he was worth and prayed that his legs didn't get mangled behind him.

The Portcullis stopped.

Bortho grunted in frustration.

Bujilli got back up on his feet and drew his tulwar.

Bortho was stuck. Sticky strands of dimly luminous fibers held him to the wheel-like control mechanism for the Portcullis.

Leeja hissed. She had caught-up to Bujilli.

It was time for some answers.

Bortho struggled against the glutinous strands of Leeja's spell. His nose was running with blood. His eyes were wild with terror.

Bujilli looked at Leeja. They both turned back to the struggling youth caught in the act of trying to lock them out. The Web held him as securely as it fouled up the control mechanism. The wheel would not turn.

"Was this all part of Idvard's plan? Some scheme to eliminate us now that we know too much?" Leeja flexed her claws and began walking towards Bortho.

"Bortho!" Shouted Bujilli.

No response.

The boy continued to struggle against the Web. His fingers were bleeding. He made strange gurgling noises as he tried to tear himself free. No. Not free. He wasn't trying to escape; he was hell-bent to bring the Portcullis down.

Bujilli closed his eyes. There. Almost immediately he could sense the aethyric current flowing past him towards Bortho. It was powerful, but diffuse enough so as not to arouse immediate suspicion. But it was unmistakable. Someone, or something, was exerting a strong sorcerous influence Bortho.

He considered using the Voorish Sign...but that would hurt Leeja and for that alone he preferred to find an alternative. Then it occurred to him. The Gem once taught him a spell that it said was an Essential Protection for those seeking to venture unto some plane or place called Zalchis. It was a spell that blocked all aethyric intrusions.

"Wait." He jogged up to Leeja and touched her arm. Her eyes were slits of smoldering gold-green malice. She intended to carry through, to kill Bortho for what she saw as a clear case of cowardice-motivated treachery and betrayal. She didn't handle betrayal very well.

"There's something back there," He gestured to the sloping passage they had just returned from, "Something that is manipulating the boy. I can stop it, but I need you to keep watch. The spell I need to use is not as fast to cast as your Web."

She glared at him. Her lip quivered oh so slightly. For an absurd moment it looked as though she might actually pout.

Leeja sighed and turned back to keep an eye on whatever was out there past the Portcullis.

Bujilli nodded, if only to himself. It could not have been easy for Leeja to turn aside from her deeply ingrained instincts. She was only partly human, like himself. Part of her was driven by a rawer, ferocious nature that scared her almost as much as it terrified her opponents. It would be so very easy to just give in to such a thing. To become something other. It was a path to power. Liberation. Free of rules, devoid of conscience, outside the bounds of abandon one's become some sort of monster or demon.

Bujilli had faced just such a temptation himself.

It was a difficult thing to reject.

But growing up in the yurt of a sorcerer Bujilli learned early-on the truth about such creatures. They were never ever truly free. If anything they were slaves to their own desires and those of others. For a brief instant the scar over his heart throbbed with the memory of a final, bittersweet kiss.

He scowled. He took a deep breath. He centered himself and cast Auric Sheath over Bortho. Tiny violet streaks of lightning crackled across the floor from Bujilli to the young boy caught in Leeja's Web. The little lightnings swirled and criss-crossed and formed a flickering egg-shaped shell of bioelectrical energy around Bortho. Bujilli tightened the spell's area of effect. The shell hardened, closed-up all the gaps, became a solid violet ovoid glow surrounding the boy.


The connection was severed.

Bortho sagged in the Web, disoriented and confused.

Then the current of will splashed across Bujilli. The impact upon his aura was heavy, dense, viscous. He knew that Auric Sheath would not be enough. He began to cast the Protection spell.

The spell conformed to the space of the Portcullis Station. The embedded wards shaped it like soft wax. Something within the place reinforced the spell. The current of will was completely cut off. Blocked.

"Good." Bujilli released the spell. It would persist for a considerable time with the benefit of whatever it was that was reinforcing it. Not only was this place hardened, it was set up to boost any defensive efforts the long gone guardians were likely to use.

"You've ruined everything." Muttered Bortho.

A black-iron javelin arced into the room from the direction of the sloping passage. It clattered across the floor.

"We have company." whispered Leeja.

"You not know..." growled the en-webbed boy.

"Drop your spell." Bujilli went to the wheel of the obstructed control mechanism.

Leeja glared at him for a moment. She made a curt gesture. The Web dissolved back into so much diffuse and indistinct aethyrial matter just on the verge of materialization where it would drift until it finally dissipated back into the interplanar stratum her spell had pulled it from.

Bujilli reached out to the wheel.

Bortho grabbed his hand.

"No. Don't. We dead if you do."

"What?!" Bujilli shrugged off the boy's bloody hand. His heavy suede and coiled-bronze vambrace was freshly stained with more red that'd turn to flaky brown.

"Grunters she killed--they scouts. Coming back..."

"You mean that those things were on their way back here? Why?" Bujilli quickly looked around for some sort of cover, an exit, anything that might be useful. He spotted the smaller wheel-shaped control mechanism that appeared to control a smaller valve-like door. It hadn't been very interesting before. One more distraction or time-wasting tangent. Now it might come in handy.

"They come back. To others. Rest of Grunters. Many Grunters." Bortho struggled to articulate what he knew. Bujilli wondered how the boy knew any of this--

"To rejoin the main force." Leeja whirled around. She'd been watching the wrong direction. Maybe.

From behind them. Past the Domed Chamber. Someone was rhythmically beating heavy tubular bells with random bits of scrap-metal. It was a horrible racket. Incredibly loud.

It vibrated through the floor.

The sound was jarring, unsettling, discordant and disturbing.

It was also familiar.

Bujilli had last heard it deep within the Blade Maze of Kalkendru.

War Bells.

Another javelin flew out of the sloping passage. This time it struck Bortho. He crumpled.

Bujilli knelt to examine the boy. He was already bloodied from fighting against the current of will and Leeja's Web. The javelin was lodged in his left leg. Bujilli began to help the boy only to be pushed away.

"You go. Kill Grunters. I fix this--" he jerked the javelin free and threw it across the floor. Blood gushed from the jagged wound. Bujilli drew out a wad of clean wool and some rags and placed it over the wound. He had it all bound into place and the bleeding stopped in short order. But the boy had fainted.

Bujilli propped the boy against the side of the Control Mechanism's pedestal.

Leeja was standing next to him looking down at his impromptu handiwork.

She dropped something heavy that spattered blood where it landed.

Another Grunter head.

"While you were busy with the boy here. I took care of the last scout. this one..." She nudged the snouted head with the toe of her filthy boot, "...was not infected by the fungus. I believe he was trying to get back and warn his people."

Bujilli rose. He stretched his arms and nodded. It made sense. They had picked the wrong passage.

"Idiot here took us down the wrong way." Leeja flexed her claws. Her hair shimmered like white hot flames.

"Or maybe he chose better than he knew."

"What do you mean?"

"We know that there is a larger force of these things down here. We also know that they are scouting down the lateral passages. We also know that there is a Fungal Tyrant down this particular passage. One that fears the Grunters."

"How do you know this?"

"The fungus that oozed off of the dead Grunter back along the passage. I've seen that before. It might only be a small opportunistic growth or it could be a massive cluster of the things. They infect or enslave anyone they can capture and convert them into their puppets. Like what they did to Bortho--he was vulnerable and close enough for the thing to dominate him. The fungi saw its chance and it took it. I bet it was counting on sending back those scouts to spread spores all through the Grunter horde. If it could do so so without anyone spotting it or noticing until it was too wouldn't be the first time a would be conquering host found itself conquered instead."

"And this thing fears the Grunters? How are you so sure about that?"

"I was watching Bortho when I cast Auric Sheath over him. He was struggling against being taken-over and dominated by the fungi. The terror that was driving him to drop the portcullis wasn't his, but that of the thing controlling him. I knows that a large group of soldiers is a real threat to it--there's no way it can infect or enslave enough of them quickly enough before they burn it out or destroy it. These things need to work from stealth, attacking from ambush or infiltrating from within.They're not built for face-to-face confrontation, not with an entire army... "

"So do we drop the portcullis? Head back upstairs and warn Idvard that there's pigs in the pantry? What do we do now?" Leeja kicked the Grunter-head in disgust.

"I have an idea..."

What should they do now?

Flee back to the surface and warn Idvard?

Drop one or the other (or both) Portcullises?

Track down the Fungal Tyrant?

Maybe try to strike up some sort of a deal with it?

Go examine that side-passage?

Sit and have a pleasant picnic?

Wait for the Grunters to send another scouting party?

Set up some sort of an ambush?

Go hunting some Grunters?

You Decide!

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

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

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

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

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion