Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pruztian Five-Pence Piece (Wermspittle)

Blood, iron and compressed Red Weeds are all used in the manufacture of these coins. They carry a lingering, bitter taste that only a fool would ascribe to the strange crimson metal filaments derived from the noxious Red Weed alone. The iron is said to have been harvested from battlefields, but that may be a bit of poetic license. The sort soldiers are most susceptible to, and that the better officers tend to ignore. The blood has to come from somewhere, of course, but no one really knows whose it is that gets used. It's enough, for most, to know that somewhere, somehow, some one bled over these coins as they were minted. The fear, pain and suffering imprinted upon each coin is faintly palpable, even in broad daylight. Or so goes the idle talk of war-wounded veterans and deserters, and others.

Brutal in its clean lines and efficient design, the Five-Pence piece carries none of the usual trivial and redundant markings of lesser coinage. No extraneous stampings or frilly, pointless imprints. No denomination is noted as none is needed. The only decoration, aside from a slight beveling of the edges, is the impression of a single eye gazing sullenly -- or perhaps somberly? -- from the center of what is presumed to be the front or face of the coin. This image is seared into the coin by a process involving Black Smoke and is completely indelible. Old soldiers claim it is the same process used in preparing the rubberized-leather Trench-Armor issued to the front line troops at Kalinigrav. Seeing as the process is considered a State Secret in Pruztia, no one knows if this is true or not. The soldiers don't much care.

Scratch it all you want, you cannot remove or deface that Eye that continually stares at you, considering, calculating, judging. The Eye depicted on the face of the Five-Pence has intrigued numismatists and scholars ever since it first appeared less than a decade ago. Whether it is meant to be the sign of some deity, Sorrow or Fate or Necessity Herself perhaps, or some representation of a more worldly power such as the Archduke, or perhaps the Hierarch if you listen to the muttered imprecations of the downtrodden refugees fleeing the out-lying Pruztian territories, no one really knows for certain. Ever since the assassination of the Minister of the Treasury there have been no new coins minted and no answers forthcoming from Pruztia in regards to such idle speculation.

Each Five-Pence carried into battle absorbs a tiny bit of the fear and pain experienced in battle. Exposed to enough such impressions, a single coin will sometimes take on a very rigid, mightily proper Pruztian attitude and bolster the courage of the one carrying it, granting them a +1 on their Saves versus Fear and related effects. Some coins, it is alleged, have seen so much bloodshed and misery in the field that they make those who carry them practically fearless. Such coins are indeed much sought after by many diverse hands...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Gunpowder, Treason and Plots! (November Blog Carnival)

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is being hosted by Nearly Enough Dice, The theme is 'Gunpowder, Treason and Plots!' How could we resist? Here are three short and bittersweet tables loaded with scenario-seeds, rumors and background details fresh from Wermspittle, just in time for the Carnival...

  1. Less than a dozen years ago simple possession of Green Powder was a capital offense in most civilized countries. Then someone figured out how to pack the stuff into artillery shells and all hell broke loose. Now ordnance officers are expected to set aside a portion of their green-brass shells in order to let the gunpowder inside 'age properly' into Green Powder from prolonged exposure to the Plattnerized brass. That used to be a court martial offense itself. Now it's standard operating procedure. Even in Pruztia and especially in what remains of Nagrothea.
  2. Achromic Powder used to be bad enough, especially in Salted Shot. Now there's a new thing showing up on the battlefields. They call it Wermshot. The damned musket balls have been hollowed-out and packed with vermin-eggs. Sometimes they mix-in a little White Powder, just to make it that much worse.
  3. Blackened Powder is a very nasty mixture of gunpowder and Black Smoke residue; corned, caked and then re-ground into a coarse-grained, almost gritty powder. The stuff is best used in grenades or petards. It'll ruin your rifle or musket worse than dropping it into an acid-bath. The Franzikaners use this stuff in their landmines. It isn't any good in the rain though. Small favor.
  4. Dead Lead Shot was issued to all the regiments serving on both sides of the Trenches at Valdrume. Not that it did much good. The mindless hordes overran everything. You just couldn't shoot, let alone burn them fast enough. In the end it took a coordinated effort from both sides to finally salvage things. But it was too little, too late for the Coastal States. All those cities on fire. The screaming. That was the worst. Who knew the dead could make such a fuss? Pour me another shot of Black Liquor. There's things best forgotten; that's one.
  5. Gunpowder Grubs can make a fellow rich, if they don't catch the blight or get set-off prematurely by a spark from a faulty lamp or anything like that. Quite a few enterprising souls set up grub-farms in the attics of their squalid tenements and refurbished old houses back during the days right before the Midwive's Rebellion. That's how there got to be so many blackened and blasted ruined places all over the place. some says that's how we ended up with the Burned Over Districts. That and the airship bombings...
  6. Those foreigners, those masked ones with the thick accents and thicker robes; Fantomists, yeah, those guys--they've been making noises about some new sort of gunpowder that they're trying to fob off on the Wall Guards and Street Patrol. So far the Officers-in-charge aren't having any. But a few of the boys have accepted samples. No harm in a few freebies...

  1. Six dead Puritans lie dead in the alley. All were shot from behind. their bodies were then mutilated in a manner clearly calculated to send a message to anyone who knows the initiatory secrets of the higher-ranks. Their commanding officer suspects it was one of their own that led her men into that ambush. But how can she find the culprit, let alone prove their guilt? Perhaps she will seek the help of a discrete investigator. But it will be difficult to get anywhere without her being able to reveal the inner secrets of her group to an outsider.
  2. A group of Refugees from Yattrim were led into the Baffles and left for dead by unscrupulous brigands. They've been camping-out in the dead gray mud for weeks now, completely oblivious to the treachery of the false guides who took all their money. Only one of the Yattrimese knows the truth of the matter. They refuse to speak-up. this seems like a suitable penance for his people's treachery against the Sanctified King in abandoning their homeland to come to this place. Better they had all succumbed to the plague. Little does he know; they were infected by agents of the King before they were allowed to leave. Those yellow scarves each one was given were not just tokens of goodwill. They were a death sentence.
  3. A pair of former freedom-fighters from Yudrabek make their way across the rooftops. Then the bomb converted from an old Yorish landmine planted at the rendezvous site detonates prematurely. Their old friend isn't much of a friend any more. Won't get any too much older either, if they have their way.
  4. Five soldiers from the Wall Guards have abandoned their posts at the Western Ramparts. They are all under the influence of a Hasnamuss operating from behind a small steel mirror that the sergeant carries with him. The connection is tenuous and will be disrupted if the mirror is exposed to bright light. The Hasnamuss is working for an undisclosed foreign power. This is not the first group of Wall Guards that they've led astray as part of their behind-the-lines efforts. The Hasnamuss takes special relish in leading otherwise dutiful troops into the snares and pitfalls of misconduct and treason.
  5. The Pruztian Ambassador Karlush Bezwenger has been having second thoughts about our young mister Dalazig (Takers, No. 8). Something he said recently just wasn't quite right. The Ambassador has tended to overlook a few things, here and there, military courtesy and all that, as Dalazig distinguished himself in battle. Or so everyone was led to believe. The young officer's story has shifted about in the re-telling a bit too much, however. The Ambassador is in poor health and dreads making a terrible mistake in naming Dalazig as his successor if he is i fact an impostor. Whom can the Ambasador call upon to look into the matter, quickly, quietly, carefully and set his mind to ease once and for all?
  6. A young boy is trying to sell the secrets of his step-father's Low-Land Farm Enclave to anyone who'll help him find his way out of this place. The kid is getting nervous. He has no wish to spend another winter in this place. He says he knows the way past the lime-pits, deadfalls, and other taps and barriers. He's even offering to draw a map, if offered enough money. There are those who are keeping an eye on the child. Some may even consider paying him something for his troubles.

  1. Three Nagrothean Whisperers have been seen entering the bombed-out and gutted remains of the old Franzikaner Military Governor's Palace. What could they want in that place?
  2. A Somnambulist has been asking peculiar questions of anyone they suspect of having anything to do with the last caravan out of Dukirzia. They were expecting a shipment of teak-and-ebony cabinets. A special order. The caravan-master he'd contracted with was killed on the Spring trip into Wermspittle. Their successor is proving uncooperative and unsympathetic, possibly because he's already sold-off the cabinets to one of the Comprachico Families who paid him a far better price.
  3. A small, but select group of scholars from the Academy have imprisoned several Cacozombies in the attic of a deserted shop overlooking Plover Lane. They've been attempting to distill the psychic filth of these things into something usable as a weapon. Their leader, Professor-Doktor Kauzey is rumored to be in the pay of the Gruzikan Army, or perhaps one of the other City-states. One of the good Doktor's co-conspirators is working for Pruztian Military Intelligence. Another is in the employ of the Sewer Militia. The whole operation is under observation by a very old, very crafty Ungezheifer that is biding their time. A small shipment of Achromic Powder has just arrived...
  4. The projected consciousness of a Philosophic Mold has been captured in a glass cage by an experimental investigator seeking to build a reliable defense against Predatory Projections. It isn't working, despite his best efforts. The Philosophic Mold sees what he's getting wrong, but hasn't decided whether to politely point out their error(s) or to just keep quiet and keep watching. Then an inquisitive Interstitial Insectoid discerned the peculiar emanations given off by the glass cage mechanism and decided to investigate...
  5. Four Morlocks and a Grood are running away from some Abandoned Property. Nobody cares. Until the place blows up. They were looking for an old entrance to the Sewers, probably to do a little light salvage. someone had warned them about a Lesser Nosferatus that used to lurk down there. So they brought alone a galvanic torch. There was an old ammunition dump in the cellar. From back before the Five Winter's War. Someone slipped on a slick patch. They dropped the Torch. Dozens of crates and boxes of unstable old ammunition got set on fire. Boom. They still don't suspect that it was a friend of the Nosferatus that sold them the faulty Galvanic Torch in the first place.
  6. Glindeng has been raising Stranglemasses in her spare room for years now. Ever since the nurses in the old sanitarium taught her how to take care of a garden...

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bujilli Takes a Holiday

Our daughter is coming home today. Since Bujilli is written live every Thursday, I'm taking the day off to be with the family. So Bujilli will continue next week. Thanks for understanding. Have a wonderful holiday, and safe journey to all who are traveling to and from the various festive gatherings.

Thank You

Thank you.

We truly are very thankful for all of our followers and especially our Readers. Your continued encouragement and support, your comments, feed-back and fan mail is all very wonderful and greatly appreciated. This last year had a few unexpected curve balls thrown at us, like an unplanned 3-month hiatus, but we have survived and we're moving forward once again. Thanks for sticking with us, for not forgetting or forsaking us, or for coming back around and giving us another chance. The best is yet to come.

Thank You.

Jim & Jody,

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Takers (Wermspittle)

Some, maybe, they will train to hunt us..."

The War of the Worlds, Book 2, Chapter 7: The Man on Putney Hill

  1. Baljesk never liked the Imperial Franzikaner Navy. The 'discipline' just never caught-on with him, though he did rather fancy the officer's coats, with all those shiny brass buttons. Left for dead after a particularly brutal flogging (he'd more than earned it), Baljesk roused himself before the corpse-carters could fob off his worthless bones on the port-town ghouls. He murdered the carters, escaped the ghouls and stole a small boat only to succumb to a vicious fever. He must have been delirious when he took the boat down that cursed river. The stinking thing ran aground upon a River Clot and sunk as he passed beneath Wermspittle. He barely missed drowning. Now he prowls the darkened warehouses around the High Pier watching, waiting for an airship to take him away to some exotic locale. Preferably somewhere warm. In the meantime he oversees a rag-tag band of misfits whom he refers to as his 'marines.'  They prey upon ignorant Refugees and unwary Foragers, mostly. Slavers, Comprachicos, Butchers--even resurrectionists, viviesectionists or clandestine surgeons--Baljesk doesn't care whom he deals with, so long as they pay a good price. Lately he's getting the best offers from representatives he suspects of working for the Mucoids, not that it really matters to him.
    Baljesk [(1), Franzikaner deserter, AL C, MV 120', AC 5 (Heavy War-Coat), HD 6 (34 hp, suffers from wracking cough due to exposure to Black Smoke), #AT 1, DG 1d6 (Rifle-butt), SV F6, ML 6.]

    Baljesk's 'Marines' [(2d4), AL N, MV 120', AC 6 (Studded Leather & Shield), HD 1, #AT 1, DG 1d6 (make-shift blunt objects), SV F1, ML 4. special: most are afflicted or infected. None can swim. They will desert their leader if at any time it appear that he might lose to a stronger opponent.]
  2. Glisk left Dush'Ivra, the infamous City-State of the Red Pearl, within a week of hatching. He'd been taken by a sailor on an airship. It had been a good life, clambering about in the rigging, handling freight, hunting harpies and the rest. They left him here. In this wretched place. Years ago. When the rum runs out Glisk runs down anyone with a price on their head. He isn't picky. For those who pay extra he'll bring back more than just the head. He is horribly scarred over two-thirds of his body with the irregular striations of the warrior-cult of Gashmal and is immune to all pain/sensation spells or fear effects. Glisk had a place in the Near Deep where he hibernated through the worst of last Winter. Or at least he did, until a group of Feral Children discovered it and trashed the place. Now he needs to make new plans, find a better lair, and winter, as always is coming. He's considering capturing some of those rotten kids for the Comprachicos.
    [Neuter Yellowscale reptillian humanoid, AL N, MV 60' (20'), AC 5 (Lacquered-Rope Cuirass), HD 4 (32hp), #AT 1, DG (1d4+2 Bell-Mace/1d4 claws/1d4 bite/60% chance to trip with tail sweep), SV F4, ML 11 (4 if drunk/suffering flashbacks). Special: Glisk has 18 STR and a 6 CHAR.]
  3. Dulin woke up in the mud, just outside the Eastern Rampart. The Wall Patrol found him. He was a mess. Lost most of his left leg and arm, half the fingers on his right hand, all the toes on the right foot. But he survived the Grood field surgeon's ministrations and the replacements he received have all grown-in and fleshed-out reasonably well, though he does have a limp and his left arm is a tad longer than the right. They could rebuild his shattered flesh, but they did nothing for his broken mind before turning him out onto the streets. One soldier gave him the trench-knife he still carries. He wanders the back-alleys, the low streets, through the shanty-towns and impromptu encampments of the Refugees who flock to this place. When he gets a good opportunity, he abducts whomever he can and delivers them to whomever will pay. It never occurs to him to ask questions. He doesn't even know when he began doing this, nor even how he learned to do it. He just does what it takes to survive.
    Dulin [Male, Forsaken, AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 5 (rusty, muddy trench-mail), HD 5 (45 hp; regenerates 1hp per hour), #AT 1, DG 1d6+1 (Trench-knife) or 1d4+1 (Red Creeper Constrictor-Snare), SV F5, ML 6. Special: Base 20% chance to recognize someone whom he might have known before whatever happened 'out there.' Dulin tends to be ruled by instincts, not rational thought.]
  4. Sarmus Bonjay gave himself up to the Soulless just under a hundred years ago. Now, at this late date, he has acted upon his growing regrets and disaffection for the cult and left them after stealing away what he was sure was the Opal that held his own soul. Unfortunately it wasn't. His former liege tricked him with a spell. The Opal he carries belongs to another. If Sarmus does not find a way to recover the correct Opal, his own soul is in dire jeopardy. So far, his liege has either not noticed his defection, or perhaps they are cruelly toying with him. In either case Sarmus has found himself forced into a most distasteful trade; he now tracks, captures and returns runaway slaves. Having no conscience helps, however even devoid of principles, he cannot avoid the obvious hypocrisy of his situation.
    Sarmus Bonjay [Male, Soulless (Interdicted), AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 4 (Banded-Mail), HD 7 (62hp), #AT 1, DG 1d6+1 (Inert Black-Alloy Morningstar: ignores magical 'pluses' on defending armor), SV F7, ML n/a (Immune to Fear, Charm, Emotional/Sensory magic). Special: As a Soulless, Sarmus cannot benefit from clerical healing (unless administered by an atheist). They also are currently Interdicted, meaning they have been cut-off from all their spells and will receive no support or acknowledgement from any other Soulless. See Soulless II for more details.

    Slave-Takers (3d4) AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 6 (Leather), HD 2, #AT 1, DG 1d4/1d6 (misc. weapons), SV T2, ML 9. Special: +4 when attacking with surprise, strike from behind X2 damage, try to immobilize/incapacitate, not kill...unless pressed.]
  5. Yavnik Uloshigon Arrived in Wermspittle three years ago, just before Winter. He lost his left hand to a chance encounter with a Butcher Boy. He sold the boy's body back to his masters and found himself gainfully employed that winter. Refusing to undergo the rites and assorted other unpleasantries associated with entering into the service of the Butchers, and his seasonal dispensation not carrying over past that first winter, Yavnik abandoned his association with the Butchers and instead fell in with a group of Attic-Pickers. In the course of examining one particular attic he discovered a sect of Mucoids. Now he serves them. Bringing them fresh victims for their transfusion-tubes. They've rewarded him well. He has a new hand. Even if it is a make-shift Mucoid-hand.
    Yavnik [Demi-Mucoid, Male, AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 4 (Coil-Mail), HD 4 (26 hp, can regain 1d4 by immersing left hand in victim's wounds up to 3/times per day), #AT 1, DG 1d6+Stun (Galvanic Prod) or 1d4x2 (Mercury-filled Club), SV F4, ML 5. Special: Suffers a -2 penalty on all Saves against poison or infection, but has a +2 bonus on Saves versus spells or petrification). Yavnik has a 16 CHAR and is looking to attract and train-up a few good henchmen to help him in his work.]
  6. Lucheevra Delavara was once a great beauty among her coterie of glamorous courtesans. When a depraved ex-monk ruined half her face with acid, she abandoned her former life. She wears a half-mask of yellow metal set with glistening black stones over the still-beautiful part of her face. Her ruined eye has been replaced with one drawn forth from some distant plane by a sorcerer she is rumored to have murdered once the implantation was complete. Lucheevra hunts debtors, runaway whores and anyone with a suitable price on their head. She hates everyone equally. Though she does seem to prefer hunting down ecclesiastical rebels, rogue clericists, heretics, and especially monastics who've abandoned or illegitimately repudiated their vows in particular. She doesn't care what religion or faith, nor even if the charges are true or valid. She just likes to make these sorts of pigs squeal. Before she guts them.
    [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 5 (Fighting Gown), HD 4 (21 hp), #AT 1, DG 1d6+1 (+1 gladius), SV T4, ML 10. Special: Discern Ley Line, Discern Magic, See Invisible at will. Commune with Jurodask, Lord of the Verdant Cube once per week (as Commune with Other Plane spell.) There are rumors that Lucheevra is attempting to learn how to cast spells from her other-planar mentor. She prefers to use man-catchers, nooses or other subdual-type weapons to capture her prey, but will use her gladius at the first real sign of trouble.
  7. Mal'kithrik escaped from a chamber of horrors, the one maintained by Bairini's Big Top just over a month ago. He fell in with a small band of highly unlucky mercenaries who sort of adopted his as a sort of mascot. They're all dead now. Killed on the Round Road before reaching the South Western Rampart. Mal only survived by dint of having fallen into an especially deep puddle of mud. He nearly drowned, but he escaped the worst of the Black Smoke that took his friends. Not being particularly bright, Mal took it as some sort of punishment from his Creator, so he returned to the Chamber of Horrors and now serves his master very earnestly and diligently. He is sent out into the low streets every few nights to gather living specimens, what his master refers to as 'volunteers from the audience.'
    Abhuman Amalgam-man [(1), AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 4 (Padded-Mesh), HD 5 (45 hp), #AT 2, DG 1d4+3 (fists) or 1d6+3 (heavy mace), SV F5, ML 11. Special: Gains second Save when failing first attempt due to unnatural vitality.]
  8. Kambru Dalazig rode out of his last big battle on an officer's horse. Crossing over at the North Eastern Rampart the horse stepped on a mine. He rolled free just in time. His stolen long-coat warded off the worst of the blast. He walked the rest of the way. A deserter falsely claiming to be both a commissioned officer and a Pruztian Noble, Kambru hunts down other deserters under a special warrant issued to him by the Pruztian Ambassador Karlush Bezwenger. It's a good thing that the rails and the mails have all been so disrupted. So far no one has recognized him, nor called him out as a fraud...but that day is coming, of that Kambru has no doubt. He just hopes that he's ready when it comes about. The ailing Ambassador trusts him. There's a good chance that the old man will name Kambru as his successor, should he become unable to carry out his duties. Then his little charade won't matter...neither will his little arrangement with the Mucoids. So far no one seems to have missed a few deserters.
    Kambru Dalazig [Pruztian Cavalry, AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 4 (Demi-Cuirass and Mail), HD 4 (30 hp), #AT 1, DG 1d6+1 (Pruztian Catchmen's Lance: mandible-guard can be triggered to snap closed on target) or 2d6 (Horsemen's Double-Culverin) or 1d6 (Sabre), SV F4, ML 5. Special: wields a lariat fashioned from Red Creeper fortified hemp. ] 

    Barrier Troops (1d4) AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 6 (Blackened Leather), HD 2, #AT 1, DG 1d4/1d6 (misc. weapons), SV T2, ML 9. Special: +4 when attacking with surprise, strike from behind X2 damage. They hate Dalazig and suspect him for a fraud. They do not intend to sacrifice themselves on his behalf.]
  9. Urneeva Hald makes her living ambushing would-be abductors and other Takers. She learned the trade from her Morlock grandparents. Good thing she gets her looks from her mother's side of the family.
    Half-Morlock/Half-Eloi [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 5 (Elegant Lorica Segmentata), HD 5 (28 hp), #AT 2, DG 1d4+1 (Dagger) or 1d6+1 (Short Bow), SV T5 ML 11. Special: 5th level Thief abilities, with a focus on setting traps, backstabbing and ambush tactics. She is adept at setting up dead-falls, snares, pit-traps, and the like. She also sometimes uses a wire garrotte from behind with surprise, when the situation warrants.]

    The Lady's Own Ambushers [Morlock Scouts/Thieves (2d4) AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 7 (Studded Leather), HD 3, #AT 1, DG 1d6 (Wire-Loop Snare--Spear or Soft-Clubs), SV T3, ML 11. Special: +4 when attacking with surprise, strike from behind X2 damage.]
  10. Dridigar Pensk grew up in the Arenas. He was sold-off to that life by his old gang once he grew too old to lead them any more. Feral Children are funny that way. He understands. Doesn't hold a grudge. He's wouldn't want such weak sentiment getting in the way of his job. Retired from the fighting end of the business these days, Dridigar prowls the Burned Over Districts scouting out new talent for the stable-masters. He has a way with those Feral Children who do not immediately recognize him for the Taker-Man that he has become. The best damned Taker-Man there's ever been.
    Dridigar Pensk [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 3 (Plate-Mail), HD 7 (62 hp), #AT 2, DG 1d6+2 (sword, mace or catch-pole), SV F7, ML 11. Special: 18 STR. Cast Charm Feral up to three times per day.]

    Catcher-Crew (3d4) [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 5 (Chain-Mail), HD 3, #AT 1, DG 1d6 (Blunted-Spear or Binding-Clubs), SV F3, ML 11.]

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Don't Look Under the Bed...A Random Table for Wermspittle

We are never so vulnerable as when we fall asleep. What dreams may come, nightmares that prowl and stalk through the frenzied brains of the fearful, un-pretty things that go bump in the night; many are the terrors and wicked delights to be warded or warned-off if one has the money or the means. But not all such hazards seep in through the hastily-secured walls or wriggle past a lapsed shutter-ward. Some things prefer to lurk quietly in places most tend to overlook...

What Could Be Under the Bed?
  1. A well-gorged Brain-Snail, sluggishly digesting its most recent meal.
    [(1) Brain Snail, AL N, MV 30', AC 7, HD 3+1, #AT 1, DG 1d4 or Poison (Save or paralyzed for 2d4 turns), SV F2, ML 8. Special: Suffers a -2 on Initiative due to being bloated with last meal.]
  2. Dull brown toadstools have sprouted from what appears to be a recent blood-stain. They exude a pleasant-smelling musk that will promote very sound sleep in anyone spending more than an hour exposed to them.
    [Save or experience effect equal to a Sleep spell. Incur a cumulative -1 penalty for each consecutive hour exposed. If disturbed the toadstools will wilt into a nasty, worthless black sludge that reeks of rancid meat.]
  3. Three slightly-moldy dried-out Ourang fingers wrapped loosely in blue thread. It's probably not a back-scratcher. For some reason Ourangs suffer a -4 penalty on all Reaction Rolls in regards to whomever holds this item.
  4. A small Weak Point has lodged down there. (2d4) Giant Ants attempt to push their way through every couple of hours. That'd be the scratching noises you've been hearing.
    [(2d4) Venomous Giant Green Ants, AL N, MV 180' (60'), AC 3, HD 4, #AT 1, DG 2d6+poison (Save or paralyzed for 1d4 turns), SV F2, ML 7.]
  5. That's quite a pile of broken shells from some sort of Exotic Bivalves. They're all picked clean. Wonder what has been sneaking in here in order to eat the things?
  6. The gnawed and splintered bones of at least six different victims of some clandestine carnivore, perhaps the former tenant? They're not all animal bones, either.
  7. Lots of dust. Save or sneeze fitfully for 1d4 turns.
  8. The mummified remains of a dead Harpy Tormenter. She made her nest under your bed a long, long time ago. Something must have killed her in her sleep.
  9. Something glints ever so slightly back in the far corner. It's some sort of amulet or medallion stamped from a curious gray-purple alloy, heavy as lead but very hard. There is some sort of winged hound depicted on one side, a skull-faced king (or is it an ugly queen?) in a crown of bones on the other side. There's a base 40% chance anyone seeing this thing will recognize it as a cult-object associated with ghouls. Even the Jaladari trinket-peddlers won't touch the thing.
  10. A reanimated skeleton, missing the skull, wrapped in black chains.
    [Headless Skeleton (1), AL C, MV 60', AC 7, HD 1, #AT 1, DG 1d6, SV F1, ML12. Special: Lacking a skull, this skeleton must make all attacks at random and all attackers gain a +2 bonus to hit it. The Keepers of one of the Sanctuaries, Shrines or Chapels might be interested in seeing this...]
  11. Someone's well-worn and slightly blood-stained pocket journal. Each page is crammed with the same word repeated endlessly: Ligeia.
  12. There is a Sallow Stain left-over from someone's Vile Transformation into a Loathsome Mass...most people will tell you to forget about it, try not to let it get to you. This sort of thing happens all the time. Especially in Winter.
  13. Sixteen bottles, all but one empty. That last one holds a rolled-up manuscript written in Vrilyinese detailing a cipher used by the underground resistance movement during the Second Franzik Occupation. Possession of such a thing is currently proscribed and punishable by death. But it is probably worth a good deal to the right collector.
  14. Three dud Black Smoke cylinders. The kind meant to be launched from a crossbow. Careful examination will reveal that they are not just duds--they were deliberately emptied. Handling the things with bare hands requires a Save, fail and suffer 2d6 damage, succeed for half. Those who've spent time around the Baffles, served in the Trenches or fought against the Tripodal Hussars at Avernalle, know to douse the things with water or steam before doing anything else. Hard won knowledge. Best heeded.
  15. A sealed jar of green-tinted glass. Inside is a small Gray Ooze. It has been left here for years, ever since the Jelly-Hunter who captured it left to buy some more jars, never to be seen again.
    [Gray Ooze (1), AL N, MV 10' (3'), AC 8, HD 1,#AT 1, DG 1d6, SV F1, ML 6. Special: This particular oozelet has suffered from its isolation and on a positive Reaction Roll it will attempt to bond with whomever releases it, effectively becoming a sort of pet.]
  16. A slightly-damaged taxidermied sea snake.
  17. Bulging and writhing, it's a very large spider's egg-sac with only minutes to go before it hatches forth a lot of spiders.
  18. (3d6) dead striped-back bats. Someone closed-off the hole in the wall after repairing the chimney, trapping them in here.
  19. The armless, headless body of an Almas Glandculler has been stuffed under this bed. It's starting to smell.
  20. The spleen of a vampire, pinned with excruciating care into the correct position inside some sort of anatomical mannequin, very much like a smaller version of those used in teaching anatomy at the Medical School. The spleen is wet, and seems to pulse every now and then. The whole thing is part of an elaborate ward-mechanism meant to repel Sanguinovores. Perhaps it might even work. Care to try it out?
  21. The half-eaten carcass of a Blue Eel was wrapped in yellowing newspaper and stuffed down there quite a while ago. Unwrapping it would allow you to determine just how long, by finding the date on the newspaper. But...did the thing move just then?
  22. Yellow Mold (LL. p. 103). Leave it alone, it'll probably leave you alone. Probably.
  23. That strange shaped mass of burlap and canvas? It's a whaling gun. A bit rusty and in dire need of polishing, but it ought to still work. There are three heavy harpoons wrapped-up alongside it. The gun itself weighs over two hundred pounds, comes mounted on a pivoting truss and still has a working reel assembly for handling the specially-treated rope that usually gets used with these things...too bad there's no rope in the pile.
  24. A crudely-scratched treasure map, courtesy of a Grobbly-Bonk demon, awaits the curious. Is it a legitimate map, or is it more of a trap? Only one good way to find out...
  25. The severed head of a gargoyle, mounted on a malachite and black oak pedestal. Those who feed the thing blood can ask it three questions in the light of a full moon.
  26. One of the boards beneath the bed is quite atrociously warped and distorted, not from moisture or any sort of spell, but somehow there is a person's leg protruding from it. The leg itself is more like wood than any sort of flesh, but it is not carved. It appears to have grown from the wood.
  27. Eight pieces of Dead-Lead Shot in a small paper box.
  28. Corpse. There's a 30% chance that it is an Indwelling Predatory Projection. Otherwise it isn't much of a conversationalist. You might want to get rid of it. Just saying.
  29. A cracked and slightly blackened lens still holds a tenuous link to a Lens Flayer. The lens was stolen from a local artist by a trained monkey working for a small-time burglar who has since met a messy end falling into a cellar illegally converted into a cess-pit by an unscrupulous land lord. The monkey ran off and is lurking in the rafters of some Abandoned Property, unless something else ate it already.
  30. A Gloomswallow is squeezing through the floorboards by way of its innate Passwall ability. It is attempting to flee a small group of Contrarials or Simulacra that are intending to harvest the thing's hide to make leather armor. Unfortunately it has slipped their bonds and is desperately making its escape, right under your bed.

We offer several other Random Tables that could be appended to this one. For example there is a table for Swarms, another for Strange Ovum, and of course one of our favorites; Those Aren't Rats in the Walls, as well as the You've Got Demons in the Closet (or something) Table that will be coming along shortly.

You may also find the Low End Loot, Good Things/Small Packages, or Found Objects tables of use as well.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Glushigon's Mask

Glushigon's Mask

Psyche:  6, INT:  11, Willpower: 20 , Morale: starts at 3 (see below)
AL C, AC 4, HD 4 (withstands 22 hp damage before teleporting away in a cloud of Black Smoke)
Communication: Telepathy (only with wearer).
Languages: Aklo, Samakt, Ardushaim (Middle), Vruskive (Formal), Choft, Indruge (runic form), 1d4 random, additional languages picked-up from former hosts.
Detection Powers: See Invisible, Detect/See Magic, Read Languages, all at will, while mask is worn. Wearer cannot attack or perform spells while using these abilities.
Spell-Like Powers: Resist Black Smoke (special), Condense Black Smoke, Craft Black Ink, Cause Fear (twice per day), Sottrix's Six Clouds (once per day).
Other Powers: Wearer is rendered immune to Fear Effects.

When first encountered anyone inclined to attempt to take-up the Mask must make a Reaction Roll as though they were a potential retainer. A negative result causes the Mask to remain inert and disinterested in the character. Any further attempts (limited to one fresh attempt every week) will require some sort of sacrifice or offering before-hand. All subsequent failures at this Reaction Roll will result in the Mask spewing forth a toxic cloud of Black Smoke with a cumulative 20% chance of it teleporting away.

On a successful Reaction Roll Glushigon's Mask will allow the character to don it. The Mask grants the wearer AC 4, as though clad in fine Chain-Mail, whether they wear armor or go naked; it is of no matter to the Mask. While wearing the Mask, one need not fear the Black Smoke, as the Mask grants a limited immunity to it as well as a sort of mastery over the dreadful stuff. The Mask consumes Black Smoke, causing it to condense into a glossy black fluid that the Mask transmutes into a magically efficacious, but no less highly toxic Black Ink. The Mask will, if requested (and perhaps offered some sort of incentive), teach the wearer some version of a spell that will mimic one or more of its spell-like powers, including a means of crafting the Black Ink.

The Mask is notoriously fickle and will require regular 'readings*,' as well as occasional fumigations in the smoke of dried cave-squids, the rendered fat of octopoidal-beings, or equivalent substances derived from similar creatures...or by immersing it in a cloud of Black Smoke. The Mask suffers a -1 penalty to Morale for every day it feels 'neglected.' Each 'reading,' or fumigation will restore 1d4 all-too temporary points to the Mask's Morale. Even on the best of days, the Mask suffers the loss of 1 Morale point, mostly due to its innate pessimistic outlook. Should the Mask's morale drop below 3, it will teleport away in a cloud of Black Smoke.

Should a wearer of the Mask discover themselves suddenly an ex-wearer, they immediately suffer 3d6 points of damage as the accumulated traces of Black Smoke saturating them is released. They retain any spells taught to them by the Mask, but suffer a permanent -2 penalty to all Saves versus Black Smoke or other, similar Vaporous Horrors or gas attacks.

*By 'readings,' the Mask is referring to scrolls or texts of copied and transcribed spells that are given over to it. By 'reading' these spells, the Mask consumes them, effectively destroying the scroll, or removing it from a spell-book. These spells are permanently lost, though it is conjectured that the Mask does in fact retain the spells deep inside itself, but no one has unlocked a reliable method for getting the thing to share any of these spells, despite several fairly clever attempts.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Summary: 11/17 to 11/23, 2013

Here's a quick summary of what we've posted to the blog for the week of  Monday 11/17 to Saturday 11/23, 2013.

The Twelve Lesser Servitors of Kudara presented both a new spell and a dozen new minor monsters for spell-casters to summon up at lower levels. This is a companion of sorts to the Ten Wicked Little Things we presented last week.

We revealed quite a bit of detail regarding the Black Smoke and the horrifying impact it has had on Wermspittle...and the surrounding regions.

The Twenty-Fourth Entity of the Thirty-Six Configurations. This is another in a series of unique, summonable entities as detailed within a disreputable grimoire currently in circulation in Wermspittle as an underground manuscript. We revealed the Ninth Entity previously, and will eventually work our way through the remainder, as we uncover more details in the course of our studies.

Bujilli: Episode 69 Kicked-off Series Five with Bujilli recovering from his drastic confrontation in Episode 68. We also got a chance to see some old friends and acquaintances. Things did not sit still in Wermspittle during his absence. Now Bujilli must prepare for what comes next. But should he ready a spell? Put on his new armor and take up a weapon? Or something else? You Decide!

Things Found on a Morlock's Tool-Belt. Another random table from Wermspittle. This time you get one hundred tools, trinkets and strange things that only a Morlock would carry in its tool-belt.

Soulless in Wermspittle delves into the background and origins of one of the major villainous factions behind the Corruption Trade and a great deal of the suffering and bloodshed that keeps Wermspittle just the way they like it.

Next Week...
We're still working on clearing out some older posts from the queue before they fossilize into something unmentionable. There should be a few more tables, monsters and spells in the mix. Possibly a monster from the Kalaramar Drifts. Maybe a map. We'll see what gets through the editorial process in what order, especially with the holiday looming large on the calendar...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Soulless in Wermspittle

You who will read this when I am dead -- if indeed I allow this record to survive, -- you who have opened the box and have seen what lies there, if you could understand what lies hidden in that opal!

The Inmost Light, by Arthur Machen

So Many Secrets...
There are secrets too dangerous to eliminate, too potentially destructive to not hold on to in case they are needed on some dread and distant day. These are indeed dreadful days, by no means distant enough any longer...

Like all such things, it began as a calculated risk. A discrete policy that proved effective. The practice grew over time into something of an unspoken tradition. It became the way things such as these were to be handled.

Some potentially embarrassing or incriminating things cannot be ignored, nor easily destroyed. Other things are best left in obscurity, lest they reveal far more than just their mere existence. In some cases that alone would be enough to ignite scandals, inquisitions, depositions and worse. Such things can always get worse. All things made have makers, and it is sometimes best for those in power to not have their involvement in sordid undertakings or failed experiments known. Reputations are such delicate things. Often in need of repair. Setting aside the detritus of failures most foul and things best not discussed is but one step in this process. Sending such things into the care of mute monks, prisoner-librarians, scribes and archivists locked away in obscurity, out of sight, out of mind, could work wonders.

There are occasions when it is necessary and prudent to retain such unfortunate records and dubious remains, if not for posterity's sake, then for some possible use or advantage in the great game of innuendo and blackmail that goes on underneath the cloaks and the daggers of more conventional forms of espionage and subterfuge. Banned books and the unpleasant evidence and remains of illicit medical experiments, as well as the unexpurgated diaries and journals of the once intrepid experimental investigators who delved into things forbidden, unwholesome, dangerous -- these sorts of things were sent -- discretely and secretly -- to Wermspittle. Things best not discussed, let alone left lying about, have often been secreted away in the depths of various private archives, locked behind the triple-gates of nondescript book depositories, buried in the stacks of obscure libraries open only to a very peculiar elite. Where better to hide such damnable things than in the midst of the damned themselves? Stricken from the record, removed from circulation, all sorts of crates, boxes and bundles of things concealed behind such bland and banal labels as 'books,' 'records,' 'files,' and the like were shipped off to this vague and mysterious place not marked on any of the usual maps. They sent these things away in order to forget. To put some healthy distance between themselves and the unfortunate events, the questionable excesses, the blasphemous digressions best not brought to light any time soon. They sent these things to Wermspittle and left them to fester, rot and ferment in the dark. And good riddance. Or so they thought.

I am no dealer in unproved theories; what I say I have proved for myself, and at a terrible cost. There is a region of knowledge which you will never know, which wise men seeing from afar off shun like the plague, as well they may, but into that region I have gone. If you knew, if you could even dream of what may be done, of what one or two men have done in this quiet world of ours, your very soul would shudder and faint within you. What you have heard from me has been but the merest husk and outer covering of true science -- that science which means death, and that which is more awful than death, to those who gain it. No, when men say that there are strange things in the world, they little know the awe and the terror that dwell always with them and about them...

The Inmost Light, by Arthur Machen

Duplicity and Revelations...
Amid the crowds of curious heretics, unscrupulous skeptics, the condemned exiles, insane geniuses and those who feel themselves beyond the reach of the scathing rebukes of the established faiths, the reach of the so-called Great Powers, or even conventional morals and propriety for that matter, there are those who seek out the deliciously bizarre, the outre, the savory secrets of others. Some do it for personal reasons, others for personal gain. Secrets are a form of currency in this dismal, dreadful place. Secrets are valuable. Some secrets are worth their weight in fresh meat in Winter. Other secrets have a use, a utility; they grant those who know them power. So secrets are much sought after in Wermspittle. Unearthed by desperate spades, lifted out of their sarcophagi-like cases and vaults like the dead plundered from their tombs. You work with what you have at hand.

One such suppressed secret was the formulation of the Opal of the Inmost Light. The so-called 'Gem of Souls.' For many years the secret remained safely ensconced in the storage cellar of a bankrupted private repository that had sat boarded-up and abandoned for decades. The roof had been damaged during the night bombings of the Great War. Red Weeds, specifically a rather unhealthy species of Red Creeper had infiltrated the stones of the back wall and dragged them down into a jumbled pile that blocked the alley behind the place. Hundreds, if not thousands of manuscripts were lost to the ravages of wind, rain, illiterate harpies and the cooking-fires of squatters. Foragers and Scavenger-Scholars picked their way through the mess in a determined competition that was mostly hidden behind muffled knife-fights, though sometimes things escalated, as when a particularly good trove of undamaged books or unopened boxes was uncovered and spells and gonnes took the place of knives and stealth.

A box was discovered. Changed hands five times. Each time through bloodshed and violence. Until it reached the desk of a disreputable scholar, a defrocked professor of galvanic chemistry kicked out of the Academy for his retrograde theories regarding the Violet Ray. An obsessive and a drunkard, the scholar was known to piss away his funds for obscure bits of arcane bric-a-brac no one else knew what to do with. So he ended-up with the box. It sat for several years. Neglected. Ignored. Lost beneath the untidy mound of rat-gnawed scrolls, broken-spined ledgers, oddly stained journals and other esoteric impedimenta accumulated over the wayward course of the scholar's last few years.

Eventually the money ran out. As it always does. One apprentice, his favorite, sold the scholar's blind-drunk body to the Butcher Boys one Winter. The rest of the traitorous apprentices divvied-up the remains of their former master's vast repertoire of scripts, tomes and such. They each carried off as much as they could carry before word got out and looters, scavengers and foragers showed up looking for an easy score.

One apprentice, Dubrezk is the only name they've since allowed to be recorded, wound up with the box that contained the notes, diagrams and details regarding the alchemical formulation of the Opal, and the ways and means of using it to capture and hold the Inmost Light. He, or she, (it is not recorded and indeed it is suspected that they were Eloi, and thus capable of switching genders as they wished), wasted no time in attempting the replicate the process outlined in the papers they had so fortuitously liberated from obscurity. The technique worked. All too well. It was the third subject that turned the tables and extracted Dubrezk's soul. Or so the story goes.

In that work, from which even I doubted to escape with life, life itself must enter; from some human being there must be drawn that essence which men call the soul, and in its place (for in the scheme of the world there is no vacant chamber)--in its place would enter in what the lips can hardly utter, what the mind cannot conceive without a horror more awful than the horror of death...

The Inmost Light, by Arthur Machen

Something too awful, too terrible to be allowed to remain...
Acting quickly, with a confidence and surety that the young apprentice had never demonstrated previously, Dubrezk gathered-up a bare minimum of personal belongings and disappeared. Some say that they were taken by agents of the Comprachicos, or that they fell afoul of the Corruption Trade. It is uncertain, unknown. None who might know about this will speak about it. The matter of the Soulless in Wermspittle is one that is best not discussed openly, especially in public.

Dubrezk may or may not one can call the state of being rendered soulless 'living.' What is known, or at least believed by those who have attempted to make a study of the matter, is that Dubrezk had tampered with the original process after their initial success. Emboldened by the results of the first extraction, the former apprentice set about modifying the process. The second extraction had to be destroyed. No records survived that attempt. However the third extraction did succeed, only not in the planned and expected manner. Dubrezk was subjected to the extraction process personally. And they survived. After a fashion. In any case, someone, or something, calling itself Dubrezk is credited with having founded the Soulless.

They may have begun as a small cabal of apprentices, a circle of those who'd undergone the extraction process under Dubrezk's personal oversight. That is one theory. They might have built-up their power-base as a secretive cult operating on the fringes of the Academic community. No one is likely to ever be really certain. But one thing is very clear; the Soulless have become a force unto themselves, a faction that has seized upon a dark and awful power and made themselves the masters of a terrible science that they make available to those they deem a horrific cost.

For one night my wife consented to what I asked of her, consented with the tears running down her beautiful face, and hot shame flushing red over her neck and breast, consented to undergo this for me. I threw open the window, and we looked together at the sky and the dark earth for the last time; it was a fine star-light night, and there was a pleasant breeze blowing, and I kissed her on the lips, and her tears ran down upon my face. That night she came down to my laboratory, and there, with shutters bolted and barred down, with curtains drawn thick and close, so that the very stars might be shut out from the sight of that room, while the crucible hissed and boiled over the lamp, I did what had to be done, and led out what was no longer a woman. But on the table the opal flamed and sparkled with such light as no eyes of man have ever gazed on, and the rays of the flame that was within it flashed and glittered, and shone even to my heart. My wife had only asked one thing of me; that when there came at last what I had told her, I would kill her. I have kept that promise...

The Inmost Light, by Arthur Machen

A Shining Path into the Unnameable...
Opals. Gleaming and glittering with internal flame. There is no mistaking the Opals of the Inmost Light. They are unlike any other gem or stone known to lapidary, alchemist or sorcerer.

The elders and leaders of the Soulless collect the Opals of their subordinates. In effect they hold their follower's souls hostage, mounting the Opals in increasingly ornate jewelry, usually circlets, tiaras and elaborate crowns. The Soulless consider themselves to be Lord of the World. And they act accordingly.

Calculating and cruel, the Soulless have forsaken their humanity, sacrificed their own souls to the pursuit of personal power. Worldly power. They reject the afterlife, spurn the doctrines of transmigration and the like. Instead the Soulless have seized upon a process that others leave to blind chance, capricious gods or hungry ghosts and they have made it their own. They have subverted their own souls, uprooted and transplanted their vital essences into the synthetic Opals produced as part of their dark arts, and entered onto paths through darkness and mystery no others can apprehend, let alone ever hope to understand. The Soulless are not like anyone else. Their motivations are inscrutable, unknowable.

They are cunning, these secretive sorcerers. Heedless of bloodshed, immune to the pain they cause, unburdened by the pangs of conscience or morality. They have gazed deeply into the abyss underlying all life and allowed something foul and primordial to enter into the vacated shells of their flesh, to take up residence in the house of life itself. Their brains are remade along devilish lines. Their hearts are hardened, pitiless and inhuman. They despise humanity even as they build their own empire in the very midst of their most hated hosts.

To look into the eyes of the Soulless is to look upon something dreadful and indescribable. They harbor a nameless horror deep within. Something timeless, shapeless, ambiguous and amorphous. A black seething corruption that claims their bodies in time, leaving only the glimmering, gleaming Opals to go on, enduring beacons of wickedness eager to lead the unwary astray, to work their wills upon the lesser intelligences, fiercely unwilling to go quietly into the great good night.

His face was white with terror as he turned away, and for a moment he stood sick and trembling, and then with a start he leapt across the room and steadied himself against the door. There was an angry hiss, as of steam escaping under great pressure, and as he gazed, motionless, a volume of heavy yellow smoke was slowly issuing from the very center of the jewel, and wreathing itself in snakelike coils above it. And then a thin white flame burst forth from the smoke, and shot up into the air and vanished; and on the ground there lay a thing like a cinder, black and crumbling to the touch...

The Inmost Light, by Arthur Machen

Friday, November 22, 2013

Things Found on a Morlock Tool-Belt (Random Table)

 sudden thought came into my head as I stooped towards the portal. For once, at least, I grasped the mental operations of the Morlocks. Suppressing a strong inclination to laugh, I stepped through the bronze frame and up to the Time Machine. I was surprised to find it had been carefully oiled and cleaned. I have suspected since that the Morlocks had even partially taken it to pieces while trying in their dim way to grasp its purpose....
The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells

A Morlock Tool-Belt usually comes in one of three varieties, though sometimes they are empty. The tools and things found on an Apprentice's belt will be significantly lower quality than those on a Journeyman's, and a Master's belt will typically yield the best-quality tools.
  1. Empty. It is a nice belt, though...
  2. Apprentice (Roll 1d4 times. Each item has a 30% chance of still being useful.)
  3. Journey-man (Roll 2d4 times, or roll 1d4 times and double the quantities of each item. These items have a 60% chance to be useful or intact.)
  4. Master (Roll 1d6 times. Each of these items all have a 80% chance to be in perfect working order.)

Things Found on a Morlock's Tool-Belt...
  1. Yellow-metal pry-bar. Makes a decent mace in a pinch.
  2. Ear-Plugs. Protect against loud noises, vocal effects (+2 on Saves).
  3. Rusty bone-saw, with three replacement blades.
  4. Three varieties of pliers. One in particular matted with hair and blood.
  5. Scalping-shears. Recently cleaned.
  6. Titanium-alloy ice-pick. Equal to a +1 to hit, normal damage stabby-knife.
  7. Self-adjusting spanner.
  8. Pack of adjustable grommets.
  9. Forty-seven human teeth.
  10. 2d4 tubes of binary epoxy. Half blue, half red. When mixed, they form a purple glob that quickly hardens into a hard, waterproof seal.
  11. Bronze-alloy hammer (non-sparking).
  12. (6d6) Black foil ties. Once twisted they won't come free, unless you know to tap the tip three times.
  13. One-foot wide roll of thin green metal film. Unrolls out to 100', goes rigid when tapped on edge. Re-rolls to whichever end gets triple-tapped first. Can hold up to 4,000 pounds without buckling.
  14. Pack of 3d6 ultra-absorbent rags.
  15. Air-tight can of hand-cleanser.
  16. Tongs. Handle locks if you know how to twist the grips. Especially if you don't.
  17. Inert dull red cylinder. Completely harmless unless broken open or exposed to open flames, then there is a  40% chance they'll explode, inflicting 3d6 damage on everyone in a 20' radius.
  18. Water-purification filter-tube. Use like a straw.
  19. Utility knife. 3d6 replacement blades in handle. Does 1d4+2 damage.
  20. Telescoping yellow-metal blow-gun, with a packet of 3d6 poisoned darts.
  21. Red Lamp. Emits warm red light that does not interfere with infra/dark vision. Has a 30' radius, unless you squeeze it twice, then it sines in one direction to a distance of 300'.
  22. Nose-plugs.
  23. Cardboard box of borax.
  24. Waxed-paper pouch of dried jerky.
  25. (3d4) delicately-carved small-animal vertebrae. Make nice dice.
  26. Squeegee.
  27. Emergency spray-bulb. Squirts water over a 10' radius in case of exposure to Black Smoke, etc.
  28. One-handed pick-axe.
  29. Small pack of very fine tools. Could be adapted to serve as Thieve's picks.
  30. 5d100 washers in a variety of sizes.
  31. Blunt mercury-filled hollow hammer and 1d4 cold chisels. (Hammer does +1 damage, but has a -1 penalty unless wielder is used to the shifting weight.)
  32. Pouch of 5d20 rivets.
  33. Filet knife. (+1 on damage.)
  34. Stylus that separates or seals most metals depending on direction it is drawn. Completely harmless to living tissues.
  35. (4d6) random crystals.
  36. Black disk with a luminous needle suspended in center. The needle glows faintly in a different color to indicate direction of nearest Ley-lines, magnetic fields, poison gas pockets, Weak-Points, and other phenomena. Used to hang on a lanyard, but that's gone now.
  37. Climbing axe. The haft unfolds into a tripod with a pulley system attached at the center.
  38. Palm-sized black mirror. Reflection is emitted in the infrared.
  39. Sack of random fish-bones.
  40. Sewing Kit.
  41. Malfunctioning Mucoid blood-transfusion mechanism.
  42. Pack of 3d4 blades for a hack-saw.
  43. Small tin of snuff.
  44. Horn-working kit. Comes with folded brochure that displays steps in shaping a lanthorn from animal horns. Last one-third of back page is missing, but at least you can still see the diagrams through the bloodstains.
  45. Empty metal cylinder.
  46. Duct tape. Of course.
  47. Three mis-matched wrenches, each one from an entirely different set.
  48. Galvanic torch. Has very limited range, but could inflict 3d4 damage if used in a fight.
  49. Blue rod wrapped in grayish foil. Emits Darkness in a 30' radius if uncovered.
  50. Climbing Winch, self-rewinding, excretes up to 500' of translucent hair-fine silk-line with a tensile strength able to hold 6,000 pounds dead weight.
  51. Rebreather mask. Allows wearer to breathe underwater for up to two continuous hours at a time. Requires ten minutes to recharge/clear after every 30 minutes of use.
  52. Screwdriver; the tip automatically adjusts to fit.
  53. Cold Cutter; narrow blade of white metal that maintains a very low temperature while cutting through dense materials.
  54. Very nice bone-carving and skrimshaw kit.
  55. (3d4) Slug-Repellent Salt-spikes. Inflict 3d4 to slugs, snails, etc.
  56. Heavily-creased cheat-sheet showing detailed sketches of various highly poisonous fungi.
  57. Gloves made from what appears to be cat-hides, with the fur turned inside.
  58. Slick black poncho-with-hood. Stinks like filthy penguin-hide.
  59. Leather-working kit. With three additional tools you don't immediately recognize.
  60. Twist the handle it's a hammer, twist again and it's a hatchet. Some versions have more options.
  61. (1d4) Eloi Memory-Rings. Wiped, ready to be reformatted and reloaded. 
  62. Socket-set in it's own, water-proof case.
  63. White card covered with flowing script and small image, possibly of the former owner of the belt.
  64. Black cylinder, precisely 3" tall, 2" diameter. Extends out to a highly rigid ten-foot pole when properly triggered.
  65. Rat skull fetish adorned with cracked bearings and burnt wire.
  66. Goggles. Lens-housings twist, clockwise enlarges things, counter-clockwise shrinks them down. Not sure what the squiggly green hieroglyphs are all about.
  67. Scraping tools. No good as weapons; too flexible.
  68. Machete. Twist the dial on the handle and it becomes a shovel, rake or grappling hook.
  69. Plumb bob with 600' of thin cord that glows faintly in the dark.
  70. Spool of metal wire.
  71. Small can of reddish lubricating oil. Leaks a little.
  72. Empty leather sheath.
  73. Small black wallet, unfastens into a complete clockwork tool-kit.
  74. Flensing knife. Could make a good potato-peeler.
  75. Medium-sized hand-drill with 3d6 bits.
  76. Hacksaw. No blades.
  77. Fine-mesh gloves, resist extreme heat or cold, acid and alkali.
  78. Grooming kit. Never used.
  79. (2d4) Replacement lenses for something that uses 3" diameter convex lenses made from some clear blue material that isn't glass.
  80. Shop Steward Pouch. Contains 3d10 complaints, grievances and time-off requests, all written out in sloppy swirly black curlique-script. Might contain a hidden pocket for bribes.
  81. Folding spade.
  82. 23 assorted gaskets and a hand-drill with no bits.
  83. Random repair manual. Saturated in oil or some other, indeterminate nastiness, and thus unreadable.
  84. (2d4) Brass tokens from some carnival.
  85. Trowel. When activated, it molds concrete like thick butter for 1d4 turns before going inert.
  86. Assorted files and rasps.
  87. Metal polish and rags. (Poison: Save or suffer intense vomiting for 1d4 minutes.)
  88. Chitin-working tool-set, including an expensive-looking burnisher.
  89. Three disparate clamps, one without the bottom pad.
  90. Pruner and trimmers used for tending fungi-gardens.
  91. (2d6) Cracked ceramic magnets. Half of them burned or scorched. None of them very magnetic anymore.
  92. Some kind of gauge mounted on a stubby stick. Maybe it isn't working any more.
  93. (2d4) Random machine-parts. Most are still greasy, having been recently removed from some apparatus.
  94. White cylinder. When activated, it provides clean breathable air for up to 4 hours, slowly turning black as it releases the gasses bound within it. Will not work underwater.
  95. Wire-cutters.
  96. Folding steel yard-stick. Last two sections rusted shut.
  97. Level. Middle section cracked and oozing green fluid.
  98. An assortment of small springs of various lengths and strengths packed into a paper bag and stuffed into one of the pockets of the belt's main pouch. Underneath is a dull pencil.
  99. (6d4) Sheets of varying grades of sandpaper, (1d4) wads of steel wool, and a hand-carved block of dried fungus slotted and pinned to serve as a make-shift sanding-block.
  100. Three drill-chucks, a dozen drill-bits, two spare handles, but no drill.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bujilli: Episode 69

Bujilli has lost a great deal in the course of his confrontation with his maternal Uncle. His tulwar was ruined. One of his oldest friends, even if it was a ghost, was destroyed. He nearly died. But he survived, with a little help from his friends. He still lives. Once again reunited with his partner Leeja, Bujilli finds himself returned to his room at the Academy in Wermspittle...
Bujilli awoke to the taste of blood in his mouth. He hurt in places he didn't have names for. He cracked open his crusty eye-lids. Tried to sit up. Fell back upon the feather bed. He woke again, minutes, hours or days later--there was no way to tell. He was thirsty. Weak. Alone in the dark.


He was not alone. Someone sat nearby. He could hear their gentle, rhythmic breathing. It lulled him back to sleep. But not before he caught her scent.


She had found him. Somehow. Someway. He fell into a deep dreamless slumber, knowing that his friend, his partner was watching over him.

The fever broke. Delirium drained away. The pain faded. Bujilli healed in body and mind, spirit and soul. A long night ended once and for all.

He sat up. This time he managed it. Barely. His hands were shaky. She handed him a mug and helped him to sip from it.

Cool water. It reminded him of ice-melt. The sort of thing he had grown up drinking over the harshest months of winter in the high country of the Almas.

He remembered.

Darkness receded. A tide rolling back out. Leaving behind memories scattered like sea shells along the shore of consciousness.

"I still live..." Bujilli's voice came to him like the rasp of a half-strangled crow. He laughed. That hurt. He slumped back onto the pillow. He'd never had a pillow before. It was nice.

"Yes." She whispered. Gold-green eyes shone at him in the dimness. He took her hand in his. Passed back into blackness with a smile upon his cracked and bleeding lips.

It was good to be alive.

Dreams flickered and flitted through the internal darkness. Bujilli slept deeply. Soundly. Healing. Always healing. Leeja tended to him. Made sure he drank clean water. Then broth. He began to recover more quickly.

Voices woke Bujilli from a strange reverie.

Arguing. They were arguing. Leeja rose and went to the door. Opened it.

Two young girls were blocking Gnosiomandus from entering Bujilli's room. Gudrun and Sharisse. They should be killing one another, he thought. It was a surprise, even something of a shock to see Sharisse standing there holding a sabre and a hand-axe at the ready, as though she were prepared to do violence to the old man. She had changed considerably since first crossing Bujilli's path. She was still free of the Werms. He hadn't wasted his time in ridding her of those insidious things. Even if it had earned him an implacable enemy in this place. He remembered the first time he had met Gudrun. So much had changed since any of that. He wondered momentarily what hat happened to Lemuel. Best not continue with that particular line of inquiry. Not just yet. He wasn't ready for what that would stir up. He needed to get himself back together. Healed. Ready for what came next.

"Let me pass you stupid little trollops." Grumbled Gnosiomandus.

"Watch your tongue old man." Cooed Gudrun, her scalpel glinting nastily.

"Thank you Gudrun, Sharisse. Bujilli is awake. Please let Master Gnosiomandus in, so he can help our friend to recover more fully, more quickly--you both know how important it is that he be ready as soon as possible." Leeja motioned for Gnosiomandus to enter. Both girls nodded. Went back to their very vigilant guard duty.

The door closed. Locked. A lambent blue glow filled the cracks, sealing it with a spell. They were not taking any chances.

"Awake then? Good. You've made good progress my boy. Damned good progress. Just not fast enough for what's already in motion is all."

"I...don't...under...stand..." Bujilli croaked.

Leeja made him drink some more broth. She administered some waxy sort of ointment to his cracked lips. It smelled of mint and hyssop. He liked it. His lips felt cool and smooth for a change.

"But of course you don't understand--you've been off having adventures. That was a difficult battle there, at the end, between you and your Uncle."

"You saw it?"

"Of course. How else could I have known where and when to send Leeja to help you out as best we could?"

"You watched me?"

"Yes. But I was blocked from directly interfering, much as your Counsel has been blocked."

"Counsel? Blocked?"

"Yes. You've been interfered with on a very deep, subtle level. Your machine, that thing etched into your bones, entered into a sort of dialogue with your dreams, a sort of way for it to remain unobtrusive, in the background, so to speak, so wouldn't keep getting in your way. Normally, having the mechanism connected to you through your dreaming self might even be a good thing, but when you ran afoul of Sprague's schemes...he took advantage of things and quietly suppressed the connection to your Counsel. He's a crafty, sneaky bastard that one."

"I...never...noticed." Bujilli took another sip of broth. It was hard to talk. His throat was sore. But his body hurt less than before.

"You weren't supposed to notice--that was the idea boy. Sprague rarely does anything out in the open, not if he has half a chance to do it behind the scenes or in secret or through proxies and catspaws."

"Sounds...familiar...Fungal that..."

"Yes. They do, don't they. Interesting parallel. Sprague is many things, most of them fairly rotten, but he's not a fungus...not that I know of. Might have to check that."

"Danger?" Bujilli sank back onto the bed. The covers snuggled in over him of their own volition. He felt comfortable, as much as he could, considering. It smelled friendly. He felt drowsy.

"Yes. Yes indeed. We need to get you back on your feet quickly."


"Well, first we need to take all those...stitches...out of you."

Bujilli looked down at his chest. Arms. Legs. He was covered-up, wrapped in some sort of web, a white cocoon. Those weren't covers keeping him warm. It was Leeja's hair.

He raised his arm. Glistening tracks showed where he'd been cut by Yeren weapons or his Uncle's spells. Each one tightly stitched closed by the white hair of his partner.

"Are you sure?" asked Leeja from slightly behind him.

"Yes." Gnosiomandus nodded. He patted Bujilli's hand. Smiled.

Something was happening. Snipping sounds. Movement. something small. Shiny. The little Slasher that had adopted Leeja back at Idvard's old place. It was severing the stitches. Deftly and precisely cutting-away her hair.

"The stitches have, my hair has, been in-place too long. It has fused with your flesh. I cannot withdraw it...not without potentially killing you."

"So now some part of you is a part of me..." Bujilli closed his eyes. Lay back on the bed motionless. Let the little insect-thing do its job.

"It was the only way..."

"I would have died otherwise."


"Thank you."

She was crying. He didn't dare lift his hand to try and comfort her--the little Slasher was busily slicing away at the hair entangled in his wounds.

"That takes care of the easy part. Now--"

There was a knock at the door.

Gnosiomandus looked to Leeja. She must have nodded.

He opened the door. A dishevelled hag bustled in past the girl-guards. Both of them recognized the old crone and gave her a wide berth.

"Where is he you old bastard?!" Sceeched the hag.

Gnosiomandus stepped out of the way and allowed Hedrard to go directly to Bujilli. Only a complete idiot would have tried to gainsay the fearsome hag.

"Dread Lady Below--what have the bastards done to you now?!?" Squawked Hedrard. She didn't wait for a response, but went right to work inspecting the stitches, examining Bujilli from head to toe, clucking her tongue and scowling ferociously.

"You done well girl." She grudgingly conceded. "Well enough to save him. Now it's my turn to do what I can for the boy." She narrowed her eyes in consideration of the situation. Hummed what seemed like a dirty limmerick to herself. Began to work on his wounds, from inside him, from the bones outwards, or so it seemed.

A liquid golden fire cascaded though his body, mind and soul. Thousands of lingering black tendrils flashed away into nothingness. Less than nothing.

He sat up. His limbs moved freely. He could breathe through his nose again. It had been clogged with dried blood. But no more. He looked at his new scars. Each one outlined in white, but fading into his flesh. His hair was a mess. Especially across his chest and limbs. It would disgrace most self-respecting Almas. He snorted. good thing he was only half an Almas.

Bujilli twisted himself around. Dropped his legs over the side of the bed. Let the dizziness subside before going farther.

"Easy now. you've been through a lot..."

"I've been through hell, you mean."

"Ack--don't be an ass boy. Never mistake your personal hell for one of the real things. There are far worse things than a rotten childhood. especially here in Wermspittle. It can always get worse."

Bujilli thought about that. It made sense. But it didn't make him feel particularly special. Like growing up--it was something everyone did. Hopefully. Another cherished notion fell away. Outgrown. No longer useful.

He nodded. The hag Hedrard was a wise-woman in more than just name.

"Thank you..."

"Of course. Of course--I wouldn't dream of not coming. Besides, Lemuel insisted on it."

"He is...better...?"

"He is making progress. In his own fashion, on his own terms, even as you are. He felt that he owed you a debt, for your efforts on his behalf..."

"He speaks now?"

"No. Not yet. But we understand one another well enough."

"I'm glad that he is making progress."

"He'd be just another corpse, less than that, if it weren't for your stubbornness..."

"I did what I thought was right."

"And one of these days he'll have reason to be thankful, not just feel a burden of indebtedness. Should we all be so lucky."

"Thank you." Bujilli reached out and took the hag's hand. She looked away shyly. It was a ridiculous gesture. But heartfelt.

"You're healing will continue for a bit. Rest would do wonders. But of course you won't stay in your bed. Not even with one like her holding you down with her writhey-white hair. So feel free to get up and start stomping around. Just try to avoid getting hacked to shreds for a while. Now I have to get back to work. You're not my only patient."

Hedrard grimaced. It might have been a smile. Then she left. Totally ignoring the ward on the door.

A tall, raven-tressed woman in a fighting gown slipped past the hag. Mistress Eberhard. Her eyes were a warm red-gold now, not dead black. She looked down at Bujilli.

Thud. Clank.

She dropped a large, heavy satchel. Nodded sternly. Left.

Not a word was necessary.

He knew without opening the satchel that it held clothes, armor, boots, and weapons. All selected for him personally by the Mistress of the Arenas Herself. Personally.

It was her way of repaying a debt. It was he way of wishing him well.

Bujilli smiled broadly as he got to his feet. Beatrice Eberhard would not have dropped off these gifts if he wasn't ready to put them to good use. Or needed them. Right now.

So he opened the satchel and began to get dressed.

He hoped he had enough time to get ready before---

First, we need someone to roll 1d6 for Bujilli's Initiative (he gains a bonus of +1 to Initiative due to Dex).

Then we need another roll of 1d6 for the initiative of whatever is encountered.

You could also roll Initiative for Leeja (She gets a +2 bonus), Gnosiomandus, and the Two Girls outside the door, if you like.

Anything you readers don't roll for, I will roll for myself...and a few random d20 rolls would also come in handy!

Once that initiative business is taken care of, we need to consider Bujilli's next move(s)...

  • Should he bother getting dressed, or prepare a spell instead?
  • Should he get dressed and armored, get a weapon or two in his hands and await what what comes next? (Yes, his short-bow is still in the room.)
  • Or should he get Gnosiomandus to help him un-block his Counsel first and foremost?
  • Maybe one of you has a better idea--feel free to make suggestions or ask questions in the comments!
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