Monday, June 29, 2015


Caprichographika (Wermspittle)

Some of the more whimsically-malicious forms of degenerate art, Caprichogrphika are a critically-debased and esoterically-scatalogical assault on the innumerable foibles, follies and foolishness to be found in any of the three civilized societies, as well as from the lingering scientific prejudices, deceitful practices, and blind adherence to outmoded industrial doctrines that customs, ignorance and entrenched self-interest have made dominant forces in the wake of the devastation brought about in the last war.

Most take the form of editorial cartoons, but a surprising number also show up in the form of etchings and graven images printed upon paper manufactured from the sweepings from Killing Floors and using crude, sepia-like inks derived from the offal, leavings, blood and filth likewise gathered in the aftermath of the Butcher's trade. Each is deeply impressed with the lingering echoes of slaughter and are reputed to attract buzzing swarms of Gebrochengeists or even demons.

If the image you have discovered has a more grayish cast to it or perhaps a distinct black edging, if is more likely to be a  Graven Image which is a more specialized form of Caprichographika once popular in Nagrothea and crafted from ground-up funeral cerements, shrouds, and the ashes of the cremated dead, often plague victims, orphans or the unclaimed. These things tend to be more toxic on the whole and should never be left lying around loose, especially near the sleeping or recently deceased as it may well prove significantly detrimental. Take this editor's advice and sell any such Graven Images as you might come into possession of to either a reputable Resurrectionist, a representative from the Barrow Makers and Mound Builders Mutual Indemnity & Welfare League, or even a Metempsychotic if you cannot locate someone more pleasant with whom to make the exchange. Fantomists may also express an interest in your recent find, so perhaps you can negotiate some sort of arrangement with them if you are so inclined, but you'd best act quickly before drawing the ire of the Undertakers. I have been told that there is a lively trade in these sorts of things among certain of the patrons who frequent The Tall Man, a dingy little rathskellar near Skrimm Street.

Yellow Kids will sometimes attempt to slip a Caprichographika into the paper, tabloid or nickel-dreadful of those customers who forget to tip the little scamps. Usually this is only a minor nuisance. In those instances where things escalate well past that stage, it sometimes helps to engage the services of a Necro-Mesmerist or licensed Karcist, certified Phantasmalist, bonded Geisterbeschwörer or similar specialist in such phenomena. You will want to attend to matters sooner, rather than later, before attracting a Fantodic, Hasnamuss, or poltergeist. Myself, I prefer to just over-tip the little bastards and avoid the unpleasantness altogether. It is also the policy of our publisher to feed any unsolicited Caprichographika that comes into the offices to an Ordrang that is kept penned-up in the basement near the incinerator, boiler and generators. We used to bundle the things and sell them wholesale to a group of ungezeifers, but after their third cheque was refused by the bank, we stopped dealing with them entirely.

Lastly, it is never a good idea to fall asleep near one of these foul bits of compressed phantasmal debris and offal. Doing so leaves one vulnerable to all manner of nightmares, highly negatively-charged psychic impressions, and the lingering echoes of fear, pain and death. Your health will suffer. Your sanity will erode. Your life will be in peril, eventually. And while it is tempting to burn these things, this only releases the pent-up psychic filth contained within them, often with explosive repercussions...

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bujilli: Episode 133

Leeja drove off an all-too-inquisitive Purple Spider and then she and Bujilli followed a small almost-path until hitting a fork in the road. One way led down into a marshy area full of birch and poplar trees, the other led upward across and around twisted gray rocks and rugged outcroppings interspersed with clusters of majestic, immense pine trees...

Leeja breathed deep the fragrance of the birch trees in the marsh just below her. The scent was unfamiliar to her, but it reminded her of some of the flowers in a Walled Garden she had raided during her first week as a Forager...before getting hired-on to work in the beast-pens for Unfred. The memory stung her. It felt like a lifetime ago. She was conflicted about what had happened to her former employer. Sure, he had been a petty tyrant and a real jerk at times, but he had given her a place to sleep, food in the winter, and a small source of income. She had suspected his ties to the Corruption Trade or to the Confectioners...there was too much White Powder freely available among her co-workers for Unfred to not be getting a cut of the action. But he had betrayed and ambushed her, seized Bujilli and dragged him off to the Butchers. He deserved to die for that. If he was truly dead. No one who had survived more than a couple of winters in Wermspittle would ever underestimate the perverse horrors made possible by the White Powder. Least of all someone who had toiled in the beast-pens where abominations were made to order for the Arenas.

What's done is done. She told herself. It didn't make it any easier, nor less conflicted, but it allowed her to let go and focus on the task at hand. Bujilli was still dazed and confused; his experience tampering with the mirror-aperture leading to Yian-Ho had taken a toll on his system. He was feverish, but improving rapidly, much more quickly than the last time he had done something weirdly questionable and sorcerously dangerous and extremely unwise.

She shook her head. This outsider with the scraggly beard and mis-matched hands was her friend, her partner...perhaps...she stopped. Something moved off in the distance. Ripples sparkled and shimmered. Trees swayed and groaned, not form any wind, but from something huge moving past them. A Bandersnatch? Some gargantuan serpent-thing? A wallowing Bruthem?

Moss. Glistening and gleaming with a thousand-thousand little wet diamonds of dew, tiny red filamentous whiskers flailing about like guard hairs or antennae; a Moss Whale shuddered and quivered and shoved its massive bulk through the marsh.

Leeja watched the Moss Whale wander past. She considered following it, but the ground quickly became spongy, soggy, treacherous and sucking the farther down the path led. Not more than fifty feet down the slope and the path was flooded with black water. Slim, dirty figures flitted from tree to rock to bulbous growth--Bogles. Whether they were hunting or herding the Moss Whale, or simply following it to see what turned-up, she didn't know. But she did know that there were far too many of the nasty things moving through the area below to even consider going that way.

She led Bujilli away from the softly precipitous edge of the gravelly path overlooking the way down to the marshes. Leeja had decided. They would head towards the rocks and the pine trees. Besides, she preferred the fragrance of the dark green space with the pines to the fetid reek of the stirred-up mud left in the wake of that huge, wallowing beast.

Bujilli's boot scuffed. He nearly tripped. Leeja caught him. There was a shining thing lying there, partly buried by the dirt and gravel. She knelt down and brushed aside the small rocks. It was some sort of jewel or gemstone, curiously cut into an elegant oval, not quite an egg-shape--it was too uniform, too regular for that. It held a tiny flickering blue-green light deep inside...

Niobe screamed in agony. The black-iron barbs dug into her flesh the more she struggled, shifted, flowed. Voorish magic curdled her nerves and assaulted her senses, but she would not submit. Not to these scum. She closed her smoldering gold-green eyes and calmed herself, stilled her flesh, even her hair. Bathurst had given her three vials. The first vial contained a powerful solvent that had dissolved the bloated old Orbiculate that these parasites let prowl around the dried-out moat. The second vial had been a oily-golden solution that put both the Horlas to sleep. The third vial...that one she still had with her, in the soft leather sleeve dangling from her belt. Smiling, she ground her hip against the black-iron constraints. It hurt. Oh it hurt terribly. But finally the vial snapped and the red fluid drizzled down her leg, mingled with her own blood. Her captors wouldn't stand a chance now ...

Leeja wished to herself that Bujilli was more coherent. He might have some idea of what this gem-thing might be, whether it was good to pick it up, or best to leave it behind.

He had told her about his experience with a green gem, one that had whispered into his mind and taught him spells in his dreams, one that had led him into danger and deadly peril in order to get itself into the hands of a more suitable candidate, someone more pliable, gullible, less resistant to the gem's influence.

Not that he hadn't been lulled into believing, into trusting the gem, at first.

But then he had grown up in a sorcerer's yurt, surrounded by duplicitous demons, grinning skulls and worse.

It was a wonder that he hadn't turned out much worse, or become something his uncle.

Leeja stood up. Brushed off her gloves. Kicked dirt and small stones over the gem, reburying it.

She didn't like the idea of something twisting her brain and distorting her mind to serve some implacable, inhuman agenda that considered her expendable.

Looking back there was only a cold, dim gloom and much swirling murkiness...and behind the billowing haze was a deadly desert, a dreary gray wasteland that bled off into every direction and thee were Purple Spiders and farther back, in the deeper reaches of the space in-between mirrors there were undulating-gronking hillocks that grazed along the fault-lines of uncertainties and flocks of twittering masks...and she had no intention of going back through any of that. Not again.

The pine trees gave off a clean fragrance that she found comforting, welcoming.

She'd never seen such a thing as a pine tree prior to her arrival in Wermspittle by way of the Unterrail tunnels from Aman Utal.

They were like fungi, only with better wood and lovely green needle-like leaves all along their gnarly branches and rich with a sticky sap that she was sure would be good for something if she only had paid more attention in cooking class. There were delicate ferns uncurling in the light mist. Dewdrops made the grass shine. An owl hooted overhead. Bujilli tugged at her hand.

He shook himself, shedding accumulated moisture from his beard and tossled hair. His eyes were clearer and getting better quickly. The shock was fading even as the knowledge he'd gained was assimilated and processed. Whatever had happened when he meddled with the mirror-aperture, it had changed him.

Leeja stood there watching as he woke up from his walking slumber. This half-breed sorcerer underwent a great number of personal transformations, almost as many as had been forced upon her during her childhood. Perhaps that was one of the things they held in common. One of many such things, she suspected.

"Where?" He gasped through cracked lips.

"Away from there. Were on a path that leads into a wooded area. Here." She helped him drink some water. They would need to replenish their supply soon. She didn't trust his water-skins; she knew that he had used one to hold some sort of dream-goop and wasn't sure if he still lugged it around, and did not want to inadvertently contaminate either of them.

"Thanks." He handed back the water-skin with a crooked smile.

"Do you want to go back?" She hesitated.

"No." He laughed. Stretched his arms. Took a deep breath. Held it. Exhaled slowly.

"Well?" She prodded, slightly nervous at his stare.

"You could have left me--"

"No. I could not. So let's get moving." Leeja's hair fluttered and whipped about her head as she turned and started walking along the increasingly steep and rocky path.

Bujilli followed. He had the nagging sensation that he had come very, very close to something grand and glorious...but couldn't quite place it. The effects of his recent experiment still blunted his senses and left him disoriented. He was glad to have a partner like Leeja. She wasn't like anyone else he had ever know before.


Leeja stifled a shriek. Bujilli dropped into a crouch, slipping-out his hand-axe and drawing upon his repertoire out of deeply ingrained instinct, sheer reflex

"Tiger?" Leeja hissed.

"Bear?" Bujilli wasn't certain either.

A wounded  Kalidah shambled out form behind some densely-packed mulberry and currant bushes...

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

You Decide!

Synchronocitor Status: Fully Recharged.

Roll for Initiative!
Someone please roll 1d6 for 1) Bujilli, 2) Leeja, 3) The Kalidah, and 4) Whatever lurks off to either side...just in case...oh, and how about 5) Anything that might be following the wounded beast...

Which Direction?
So...they can rush forward to attack the already wounded beast. Or they an try to evade it; maybe hide in the bushes or climb a tree or use a spell like Invisibility. Or they could attempt to scare off the creature, possibly Wrathful Facade would work well for that. Or...hmmm...they could turn around and head back toward the marsh or the swirling murk behind them. Or maybe you have a suggestion for a better option. Let me know in the comments or by email! You Decide!

Roll for Possible Observation.
Please roll 1d6 and let me know the result. If you get a 1, there is a bonus Random Encounter. If you get a 6, then the encounter is from the other side of another mirror-aperture.

Optional Spot Mirror Roll. (1d30)
We'll also need another d30 roll to determine if Bujilli or Leeja spot yet another mirror in the distance. A result of 10 means maybe/it isn't clear, a result of 20 means that there seems to be a mirror in a random direction, but it looks closed/shuttered; and a result of 30 means that they spot a mirror in the distance that might be open and accessible...or at least whatever they are seeing appears that way from a distance. A result of 1 means something else mirror-related happens, possibly some sort of environmental effect or shift in the surrounding terrain...

What Should They Do Next?

You Decide!

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Watch Out For Snails (Wermspittle)

“`Will you walk a little faster?' said a whiting to a snail,
`There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail.'”
Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland​

Snails are subversive little helically-shelled molluscs that have demonstrated a pronounced tendency to congregate on the periphery of Soft Spots and Weak Points, so long as they impinge upon or access a space that the snails consider habitable. They will not be found clustered about an aperture leading to some hellish place, nor are they fond of frozen wastelands or inundated or airless spaces.

In fact, it is this tendency of the various types of snails to designate livable, breathable, bearable places on the other-side of these mutable junctures that has endeared them to Foragers, Scavengers and other explorers. And it is for this reason that few, if any, of these sorts of people will ever willingly eat a snail, even in the worst parts of winter.

There are rumored to be a species of translucent green snails that can be gathered from underneath the eaves of certain disreputable houses in the Burned Over District that are acutely sensitive to the flow of time and can be used to gauge the aging effects of those Soft Spots that have become unhinged or unfixed in time. One merely places a few of the little snails in close proximity to the Soft Spot and watches their progress. If they slither off into the unseen vortex before the count of really don't want to go there.

Another very helpful species of snail is the red-banded snails one finds fairly abundantly in the Purple Glow beneath the Red Weed canopies of the boulevards. These flabby little things will spontaneously melt into a horrid-smelling pink ichor when brought within twenty feet of most types of undead. The sticky syrup they leave behind in their sudden demise has been known to dissolve the subtle bonds that hold all but the most heavily reinforced animated skeletons together, making it a useful commodity in its own right. Small wicker baskets and tin cages holding a handful of these snails can be purchased extremely cheaply just outside most bars, taverns or toll-outhouses.

Of course, not all snails are quite as helpful as others. Carnivorous Snails often prowl the crumbling ruins of abandoned Walled Gardens in search of tasty morsels they might catch unawares upon the many forking paths. Dreamsnails lurk furtively along the shallow reaches of the Oneiropelagic zones to prey upon incautious dreamers and dissolute sleepers alike. The dreaded blood-sucking snails of Liboor seem to be extinct, but one never knows when some enterprising debris-picker or rubble-sifter might come across a degenerate swarm of the things in some dilapidated and half-demolished museum or zoological supply house. Packsnails are sometimes used by those headed down into the Near Dark, but they have become much more expensive since they seem to have gone sterile from constant exposure to unwholesome influences such as delvers are prone to encounter. Similarly, the Ridingsnails raised by various and sundry Little People have become increasingly rare as their numbers have been massively depleted by the recent outbreak of Creeping Crud brought back from Zilesia by several dozen Pruztian deserters. The zombified dire-snails said to infest the less well-mapped sections of the Jumbles scarcely bear mentioning...

Monday, June 8, 2015

Kleinschlosser Bats

"...And on this day was von Hausman hanged from a gibbet in the public square after being convicted on a proven charge of vampirism. and on this same day there did occur the departure of the bats, thousands of horrible creatures which have plagued the city for weeks. And on the night of this same day, February 13 in the year of our lord 1643 was a stake driven through von Hausman's heart and his head cut off with a grave-digger's shovel."

The Town Archives of Kleinschloss

Kleinschlosser Bats
No. Enc.: 5d20 (10d20)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 15' (5')
         Fly: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Hit Dice
Attacks: 1
Damage: Confuse and Bite (Blood Drain, 1d4 per turn)
Save: F2
Morale: 10 [-4 if confronted by open flame]

Special: for every 5 Kleinschlosser Bats in a swarm, victims suffer a cumulative penalty of -1 on their Save versus Confusion. those affected by this confusion suffer a -2 penalty on all rolls to hit, cannot cast spells above first-level, and have their movement reduced by half.
"I have lifted the veil. I have created life, wrested the secret of life from life. ...  From the lives of those who have gone before, I have created life."

When the last of the vampires were exterminated they did not go quietly. They conspired with a duplicitous defrocked surgeon and his coterie of scientist-acolytes and a few demented Gleiben followers to fashion a weapon of vengeance that would persist long after their demise.

Doktor Neimann-Werdegast  is suspected of using three taxidermied specimens of Ahools stolen from the Medical College in Wermspittle, and working in collaboration with a small sect of Lesser Nosferatus that had escaped detection, and thus destruction, by joining a travelling carnival, as well as copious amounts of his so-called 'Neufleisch,' in the unhallowed manufacture of these horrid, hybrid bat-things.

Vile, unclean beasts that gorge on human blood, the swirling swarms of Kleinschlosser Bats are rarely seen these days. Once they terrorized the countryside, slipping past defenses or window-wards and preying upon the weak, the old, the infirm and anyone else who was vulnerable...and in the winter there are always many who are weakened due to starvation, plague or worse.

Thankfully, the Kleinschlosser Bats are almost all gone now. They proved susceptible to a blight that decimated their numbers and bands of outraged villagers and farm children bricked-up any cave, boarded-over every cellar-window, and burned-down any abandoned property where they believed the bats had established a lair. For a brief season or two it became something of an obsession or a pastime in the Low Lands to go looking for the bats and to spoil their lairs. If the things had been good to eat, it would have only taken one season, probably less, but these bats are vile tasting and completely inedible.

Every now and then a small swarm of the things is discovered in some out of the way spot, and there are rumors that a few survivors of the vampiric purges might be raising swarms of these bats in hidden caverns beneath Urgoldt, Runoz or even Wermspittle...but those are only rumors...

Excerpt from A Child's Book of Things Good to Burn or Bash;

...sample of yellow-speckled mold and spread it along the top and sides of a window, doorway or entrance to a cave where you've spotted the bats. Make sure you slather it on good and thick, like the best jam across a biscuit. Give it a couple of coats if possible. Leave the stick or brush there. Do Not Take The Mold Back With You. That would be bad. Your entire family could be made sick, or even die if you fail to heed this warning. You wouldn't want that, now would you?

Secondly, gather-up some of your play-mates and friends and invite them help you nail sturdy boards over the window or to block-up the doorway or cave-mouth with heavy rocks, rubble, or bricks. If you can get some concrete to trowel into the cracks, that would be best, but in a pinch a small amount of quiescent Grout will do nicely--as long as you do precisely as we explained in the previous chapter. Gobbling Grout can be dangerous, even lethal, if mis-handled. If you are still unsure what to do, ask an adult for some help...

Source of Inspiration: The Vampire Bat (1933) which can be seen at Youtube or at the Internet Archives...and a host of vintage Children's Books that just get weirder and creepier over time...


Hit Dice: 1+ (Can gain XP)
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Attacks: 1 weapon (1d6) or 2 claws (1d4+1, 1d4-1) or 1 bite (Paralysis)
Saving Throw: 17
Special:(see below)
Move: 9
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP: 1/15

Foul, fetid and fiendishly disposed to the capture and devouring of all trespassers, Ghoul-Kin form small tight-knit communities around the fringes of ghoulish enclaves, catacombs and redoubts.

Degenerate hybrid offspring of the ghouls and their once mostly human ancestors, the Ghoul-Kin see all non-ghoulish kind as either meat or mates.

Ghoul-Kin receive a +2 bonus to all Saves versus Charm or Sleep spells, unless the spell is cast by a ghoul, in which case they suffer a -4 penalty. Their bite will cause temporary paralysis for 1d6 turns if the victim fails their Save.

If considering a playable Ghoul-Kin character...don't...but if you insist, they usually suffer a -4 penalty to their effective CHAR score with all living beings except necromancers. Their CHAR is as rolled for all undead and most magical beings. They can advance as Fighters, Thieves or Magic-Users, but rarely as Clerics, unless they are Cultists. Details will no doubt vary widely from campaign to campaign, setting to setting, world to world.

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Cthonospheric Compass (Exploring Lovecraftian Zones)

Truly, there are terrible primal arcana of earth which had better be left unknown and unevoked; dread secrets which have nothing to do with man, and which man may learn only in exchange for peace and sanity; cryptic truths which make the knower evermore an alien among his kind, and cause him to walk alone on earth.

by H.P. Lovecraft & William Lumley

Seventeen of this particular type of infernal device have been recovered from the ruins surrounding Wermspittle's third and fourth parallels. The Bureau of Progressive Reclamation forecasts that there could be more than a hundred of them out there for the taking. The Sewer Militia has announced a bounty of seven hundred pound-marks for each of these pseudo-geomantic mechanisms that get turned over to them voluntarily. Verifying the contraband devices has been difficult, as no two look quite alike. At least three fakes are known to have turned-up at the usual places. The Antiquarian's Council is up in arms over this fresh insult to their cherished institutions, leading some to speculate that several more fakes were able to pass through their hands before they were able to properly distinguish the actual from the spurious. But despite all this hub-bub and activity, no one knows where these things come from, or who made them...or why...

Foragers down along Aungier Street who frequent the Tea Swilling Monkey Tavern, many of whom recovered the majority of the documented Compasses, have avoided speculating openly about their findings. Some believe this is because these Foragers are using the Compasses to delve into hitherto unsuspected and hence unplundered spaces, no matter how dangerous or dire they might be.

Perhaps unrelated, a small pamphlet printed on fast yellowing pulp-print has come into circulation within the ranks of the various Foragers, Scavengers, Toshers and the like regardless of their affiliation or level of certification. The pamphlet, simply titled 'Ye Limnally Stratified Stages of Ye Cthonospheric Congeries,' shows a crude illustration of one of the newfound Compasses, a small schematic that purports to display the inner workings of the thing (curiously, this diagram is labelled in an obscure low-dialect of Aklo), and a brief, cryptic explanation of six zones not included in the Common Registry.

The Six Cthonospheric Zones noted in the pamphlet are as follows...

  1. Blue Yan: Possibly a corruption of Yian and suspected of being a subterranean adjunct to the Yianic Peripheries, a theory supported by the confirmed presence of Y'm Bhi and Gyaa-types within the ruins explored by no fewer than three gangs. Seven peculiar rusted metal tablets incised with looping hieroglyphs have been brought back from these preliminary investigations. Each of these tablets reverberate with intense telepathic impressions and warn of some sort of 'Forbidden Zone,' which no one has been able to locate at this time. The metal of these tablets is remarkably similar to the alloy used in the notorious Hound Talismans...
  2. Violet Abyss of Vooric Twilight: Actually several fragmented and disharmonious interstitial transitional zones where sound is distorted into a baffling cacophony, matter takes on a variety of new and heretofore un-examined states, and gravity is essentially meaningless. By no means vacant, these vague twilit regions are crowded with indescribable angled masses of substances that are simultaneously organic and inorganic and yet neither. Horrid Hues and Dread Colors have been reported, as have Orb Clusters and Nebulous Blurs, so it is suggested one proceed with extreme caution. Scholars speculate that this region could provide the means to access any number of incredibly remote locations, if the necessary mathematics can be worked-out.
  3. Red Yoth: A lurid and cavernous region where three deserted cities have been spotted by the initial surveyor-teams. Two Ixaxar Seal-Stones were claimed to have been recovered from one of these ruins by Mondrikus Larim, but due to a sequence of unfortunate events, he has been unavailable for further comment and the Black Seals have gone missing. The survivors of the second surveyor-team returned with the body of a degenerate ophidian creature that has since been turned over to the anatomists at the Medical College for further study.
  4. Black N'Kai: Also listed as "N'keth," "N'Gred," "N'thon/N'Thon/N'Thaan," and "N'Kir." Somewhat lower in overall vibrational frequency to Yoth above, this region is rich in mineralogical oddities and rife with bizarre geological formations that defy conventional expectations and theories. Little is actually known about this region, though it is suspected it might connect to, or somehow be co-terminus with the so-called Vaults of Zin, at least according to one interpretation of the Ghoulscript Codex and the so-called 'transpositional map of the endless black river' that supposedly somehow opens the way to someplace noted as the Gravelands.
  5. Gray Y'Qaa: Interdicted by heavily-armed patrols of the Sewer Militia, this region is designated unclean and all access is by the discretion of the Kommandant. The patrols are equipped with powerful dessiccators, burners and planar-lenses and they have been ordered to kill first and ask questions later. A cryptic Tsalalian scroll has surfaced recently that alludes to this region as being somehow linked to the Polar Ruins of more than a dozen Dead Worlds that have fallen to the Purple Clouds. The Pallid Masters of Aman Utal also have taken an interest in these gray regions below and are rumored to be mounting their own expeditions, regardless of any prohibitions or declarations of the Sewer Militia, which may well lead to another potentially ruinous underground struggle...

The designations of these spaces seems to be somewhat arbitrary and may prove to be inaccurate as it appears to have been copied-over from one or more proscribed manuscripts currently in circulation despite the best efforts of the Ministry of Truth and Understanding...

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Bujilli: Episode 132

Narrowly averting a potentially disastrous encounter with the denizens of Yian-Ho, as well as avoiding running into the shapeless, whuffling, voorish-beast that is hunting after Leejas' scent, Bujilli and his intrepid partner slog their way deeper into the swirling murksomeness of some unnamed interstitial mirrorspace realm...

Whuffling noises drew closer. Something rough and ponderous slouched towards them. The murk swished and billowed all around, making visibility questionable where it wasn't already unreliable or simply too dim to be sensible.

Bujilli felt himself drifting. He was exhausted from shutting down the aperture to Yian-Ho. He had learned a lot in the attempt, but it had also cost him a lot of energy, a lot of his vigor and vitality. Of course, he was lucky to still be alive, let alone thinking his own thoughts. The Arkash-Tal were cruel possessors of other people's minds, bodies and souls.

Leeja took Bujilli by his hand. She saw that he was wobbly, nearly wore-out and too tired to do much more than stagger along after her.

She had no intention of facing whatever the voorish-beast might be back there. Especially not with Bujilli about to drop in his tracks.

With every direction looking as ambiguous and indefinite as any other, Leeja looked for whatever landmarks she could spot. Rocks loomed out of the fogginess, like limestone bluffs in a watercolor painting left out in the rain. She led Bujilli towards the outcroppings.

Something about the resistance, the overall feeling of this place was different now. Perhaps it was some lingering after-effect of the energies Bujilli had released in the course of closing the aperture? She looked back at her partner. A flickering mauve nimbus wreathed his form. It was just at the threshold of her visual perception. It was flowing across her hand, over her arm, covering her as well.

The squishiness shifted below her feet. Grit. Small rocks. Sand drifted beneath the murk. Larger rocks poked through the gloom. Boulders. Tumbled piles of debris. Columns of ancient limestone, snapped at odd angles or pushed over by long ago cataclysms or upheavals.

Her left foot kept going. She pulled herself back from the edge of a precipice. The murk receded slightly. A dry, warm breeze teased her writhing white hair. They were atop one of those limestone bluffs overlooking a flat, gray expanse of bitter dust and forlorn dunes that stretched off into what might as well be eternity or infinity. She'd never know the difference.

Zebra-striped cacti prowled the gray wastes below. Dry, brittle bones clattered in the stingy wind, each one discretely separated from the others by shadowy gossamer strands. Fossilized werms formed rounded and curling, coiling hills half-buried by the slowly drifting sand.

There was no sky above, only a hazy emptiness.

This was a stark, inhospitable region.

Leeja led Bujilli back to the ruined columns. She was unfamiliar with the lesser dynasties of the peripheries, those bizarre little enclaves and empires that grew up along the fringes of the myriad overlapping and inter-mingling Dreamlands, Wonderlands, and other exotic spaces and regions this side of the Nightlands. But she was a daughter of Aman Utal and had grown up learning about the six kinds of Soft Spots and various types of Zones one might encounter when least expecting it.

An three-sided obelisk leaned precariously, the bottom third of it buried in a collapsed heap of crumbled stonework. One side was covered with a host of thin, curling squiggles incised into the limestone as though it had been softened or half-melted at the time of the carving. Insects, mostly scarabic-things, but a few spiders and one armored centipede-thing were depicted at various spots where the curving script formed elliptical non-cartouches that seemed to wriggle slightly. The second side was carved with thousands of little fishes, some cut into the stone, others raised out of it in high relief; the shivery, flowing motions of their shadows formed softly flowing glyphs that changed meaning and placement according to the observer's position. The ceaseless interplay of shadows and the shifting schools of fish gave her a headache, so Leeja stepped over some debris to examine the third side. Triangular shapes formed harsh borders between three sections where bulbous-things with many thin limbs fought and killed and danced free around the angular legs of tripodal things, either machines of living beings. Mucoids.

Leeja was not going to willingly enter the gray wasteland, now would she remain in this place. Her people knew too much about the star-begotten, roving tyrants and their insane campaign to become the masters of all living things. Her brother had been killed by the yellow-masked vassals of a Mucoid triumvirate. They had been furious when they discovered that he had left his body behind, a lifeless, empty shell that they could not interrogate, nor would their mechanisms or apparatus serve to analyze or interpret his flesh, for he took after their mother as she and Niobe did.

Dark, jagged rocks stretched upwards on either side of the little bluff with the tumbled shrine. Gnarled and twisted trees, scarcely more than persistent shrubs, clung to the fractured and weathered stone with tenacious roots. The scrubby brush thickened, grew denser, more distinct, becoming more like a grove of trees. Farther out she could sense the presence of taller, sturdier trees. A forest on either side of her. Good. She liked the woods...

"My what a sweet, sweet morsel!"

Greeshaw sipped spiced milk at the bar, impatiently tapping her steely-nails on the pitted zinc surface. It wasn't like Mondrikus to be late like this. She wondered if the Todtenhilzig had finally got the better of him. The nasty little things had invaded the spaces in-between his room and the neighbors, some deaf old convict-cobbler from Lurzime who boiled rotten cabbage over his rusty stove constantly. Mondrikus hated cabbage almost as much as he despised the little people who were pilfering all his illegal magazines and penguin-jerky. Wait. What was that? A Blue Zoog dragging a leaky burlap potato-sack. She doesn't say a word as the little rat-thing offers her the sack. She knows without asking that her friend's head is inside. She kills the Zoog with her nails. Then she heads out into the softly falling rain to go teach some naughty little things a valuable, if harsh lesson in friendship...

Bloated and throbbing with vast hunger, an enormous Purple Spider  clacked and cleaned its feeding-limbs as it scuttled across the jumbled, broken detritus.

"Come no closer." Leeja shouted. Her hand-axe slipped into place almost as smoothly as she had seen Bujilli do it. Her ivory hair slashed and snapped in anger. She really wished she knew some useful spells, like something to boil uppity arachnids within their own shells.

"Ah Ha! So she dares to command--"


Leeja yanked the blade free of the spider's face, forcing it side-to-side as she did so, in order to split the thing's chitin even more.


Her second attack broke away a section of chitin as a torrent of ichor and fluids gushed forth.

"Go away." Leeja struck it once more, right behind the left mandible.

Screeching profanely and bleeding profusely, the enormous Purple Spider skittered off into the gloom.

Leeja wasted no time in getting Bujilli moving towards the trees.

Any place would be better than sticking around for the spider to send back a war-party of its people hell-bent on exacting revenge for her assault on one of their number. The Purple Spiders were fussy about such things. Their Kings tended to be reactionary. Their Empress was a Terror.

She led Bujilli down the sloping almost path, careful to not steer him into the worst of the loose rocks or gravel. Pine trees formed a fragrant dark green space to the right, birches and poplars spread across the left with the gleam of water just past them...

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

You Decide!

Synchronocitor Status: Fully Recharged.

Roll for Initiative!
Someone please roll 1d6 for 1) Bujilli (-4 penalty), 2) Leeja, 3) The Spiders, and 4) Whatever lurks off to either side...

Which Direction?
Do you want to go climbing the rockier region where the pine trees grow, or take the easier way down among the birch trees and whatever body of water is to be found down in that direction? Or do you want to wait for the spiders? Maybe set an ambush, or attempt to parley with them if they do show up? (Probably not a good idea...unless you think that Leej'a 14 Charsima and Charm Person spell could somehow turn things to her favor...and yes, if it speaks, it is a 'person.') Or maybe you have a better idea? Feel free to make your suggestion or to ask a question! Whichever direction they go, it is up to the readers. You decide!

Roll for Possible Observation.
Please roll 1d6 and let me know the result. If you get a 1, there is a bonus Random Encounter. If you get a 6, then the encounter is from the other side of another mirror-aperture.

Optional Spot Mirror Roll. (1d30)
We'll also need another d30 roll to determine if Bujilli or Leeja spot yet another mirror in the distance. A result of 10 means maybe/it isn't clear, a result of 20 means that there seems to be a mirror in a random direction, but it looks closed/shuttered; and a result of 30 means that they spot a mirror in the distance that might be open and accessible...or at least whatever they are seeing appears that way from a distance. A result of 1 means something else mirror-related happens, possibly some sort of environmental effect or shift in the surrounding terrain...

What Should They Do Next?

You Decide!

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Lesser Umbraclopes

Umbraclopes (Lesser)
Hit Dice: 1d4 hit points
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Attacks: 1 weapon (1d4)
Saving Throw: 17
Special:(see below)
Move: 6
Alignment: Neutral
Challenge Level/XP: 1/15

Mimsy little cyclopean humanoids who are notorious for swarming through smaller, damp and dismal passages that most larger-sized denizens and adventurers tend to avoid, Umbraclopes are considered pests and nuisances even by kobolds

Unlike undead and other forms of feral or free-ranging shadows, the Umbraclopes appear more like sickly gray-green stains and are vulnerable to normal weapons. When they reach 0-hit points they pop like a soggy balloon filled with noxious vapors, leaving a foul stench that lingers for 1d4 days.

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