Monday, February 27, 2017

Warning Signs (Wermspittle)

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

H. P. Lovecraft

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 24, 2017

Little Encounters Along the Way...

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

A Few Little Encounters...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Along the Trade-Roads...

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 23, 2017

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

Designation: Brightleak
Status: Active, Peripheral, Erratic

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

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

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

Designation: Winterwisp
Status: Unstable Secondary Phenomena

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

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

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

Friday, February 10, 2017

A New Series of T-Shirts

I'm in the process of colorizing a series of 36+ images similar to the one I posted earlier. Each of them will become a T-shirt design, as well as featuring in an Adventure/Resource pdf of some sort, most likely for Labyrinth Lord.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Work-In-Progress: A Little Color...

Experimenting with some coloration. My elbow is still a little stiff, but it's getting better everyday. What do you think of this panel? I have a whole series of these sitting on my desk. Think I'll color-up a few more...

FYI: Zazzle site-wide discount

Zazzle is having a big sale with 40% off stickers, magnets, labels and that sort of thing. They're also offering a site-wide discount and some other deals. See the "coupon page" for details.

Here's a T-shirt that's currently on discount, for another day or so. Even if you don't particularly want any of our stuff, there are a lot of other designers and creators over at Zazzle, so now's a good time to take a look and see if there is something that strikes your fancy.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Thanks To You All!

Thanks to all you nice people who have purchased some of our T-shirts or other products at Zazzle or elsewhere we were recently able to pick-up a few new T-shirts for ourselves. for instance, we just received a nice new Irving T-Shirt. Thanks again for all your support and encouragement. Last year was a rough one for quite a lot of us, but so far 2017 is looking much improved. We are working on a slew of fresh, new T-shirts and other things and you can keep up to date by checking here at the blog, at our Zazzle shop, RPGnow or Drivethrurpg storefronts, or at our new Hereticwerks Facebook page.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Bloop for Labyrinth Lord

No. Enc.: 2d6 (4d6)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 30' (120')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 1 (bite) or spell
Damage: 1d4 or by spell
Save: MU4
Morale: 6

Miniscule moistened miscreants, the Bloop are tiny, cold-blooded fish-things the size of gnomes who prefer to dwell in marshes and sluggish river channels. They usually only ever come onto the land to spawn, but when they do these little horrors are incredibly vicious and murderous.

Consummate memorizers of minutiae and trivia, the Bloop have no spoken language but they do make use of an elaborate written language that resembles geometrically-aligned clusters of overlapping scratches. They make no weapons or complicated tools, aside from using some bones or bits of shell for needles or pins and crafting simple utensils or containers from the husks of crayfish.

Bloop are notorious for poisoning wells, springs and their own lakes in order to drive off intruders or enemies and it is for this reason that many of their neighbors set traps for them or send out hunting parties to exterminate any Bloop that might be in the area.

Bloop advance as spell-casters, but require twice the usual XP to advance to the next level and their Saves are two levels higher than their level/hit dice. They cannot use weapons or any magic items other than enchanted gems, rings or jewelry. Bloop also have access to a number of special spells that they might be willing to pass on to another spell-caster who earns their respect...but one shudders to think just what sort of heinous atrocities that might entail.

It may be possible to contract with a Bloop to serve as a familiar, but aside from a few apochryphal scribblings in various disreputable journals the means for achieving this dubious aim remains a matter of the individual's ingenuity and creativity.

Spells and Secrets of the Bloop
The following spells have been verified as being known and available to the Bloop: Detect Air Pocket, Protection from Algae, Pervasive Dampness, Toxicity, Red Touch, Resist Lightning, Transfer Stinging Cells, Charm Craykind, Remove Charm, Still Current, Murksomeness, Churn Mud, Taint Waters, Fetid Mist, Clog Gills, Gill-Grant, Hasten Bloom, Sink, Saturate, Torrent, Glimmer, and Rigidity.

The popular comic strip 'Grinny Grimguts' has led numerous adepts to believe that the Bloop possess some means or method for improving a spell-caster's memorization abilities but most reputable spell casters consider this to be so much spurious nonsense promulgated by an irresponsible cartoonist.