Saturday, October 14, 2017

Dungeon Hobo Slang

 
From the Hobo Museum of Britt, Iowa

Anderson – A paladin

Angel – A soft bed, a warm meal, or a hot bath

Beaky – A doctor

Chrit – A crippling injury

Devil gold – Bad money or a bad deal; treasure not worth the cost of getting it

Dice, the – Fate, luck, odds of success

Dinnercan – A suit of armor or a kettle made of such; a knight (derogatory)

Dungeon Pie – Pancakes consisting of acorn or corn flour, filled with meat (usually monster) and whatever spices can be gathered

Faffer and Connie – Nicknames for people from afar; barbarians, people from outside of civilization.

Freshwater – A new hobo

Funhouse – A wizard’s abode; a high-chaos, high-magic dungeon

Gary / Dave – Old, successful hobo. Wise, respected by his peers. A made man. (Alt: Gale / Dani)

Gob – A gag, a pun, a joke; an ugly or foolish person (affectionate)

Golden Rosie – The kind of prostitute you boil up for (alt: Golden Roy)

Gone to see Gary – To retire in wealth; to die, euphemistically 

Gran-Gran – A witch or headwoman

Grog – Old, experienced hobo. A grumbler, a traditionalist, often hidebound. Often used in jest.

Hack – The solution to a problem; sharing or crafting equipment

Handyman – A cleric

Hatjob – A wizard; a task involving or requiring magic

Hidenbite – A mimic

Ick – An ooze or slime

Lankh, the – A city, civilization (alt: the Ankh)

Lily-White Boys – Elves (Singular: Green-ears)

Lions and Hearts – A deck of cards or other game set (usually chess)

Meatbox – A notoriously deadly dungeon.

Meshi / Meshy – The communal mulligan pot. Monster stew. (alt: mess, mesh)

Molefool – A greedy hobo who delved too deep

Mousehole – A crawlspace

Mouser – A thief

Old Goose – A dragon

Post, the – A listing of services a hobo can offer. Usually symbol-based. Often painted on shields, printed in promotional pamphlets, or sewn into clothing. 

Razortip – A hobo gone bad; a murderer, thief, cheat, rapist, etc.

Red Hat / White Hat – The two classical dungeon hobo trades. Red Hats are more exploratory and combat-oriented, while White Hats are more about and offer more specialized skillsets. Well-off hobos will often carry their tools in a wooden box of the appropriate color, as further advertisement.

Red Stamp – A sign indicating that the hobo is permitted by local authority to certain jobs that will kill men.

Roughers – Cannibals, mutants, etc.

Scarlinik – Serpentman

Scrap Trick – An unorthodox solution to a problem; a moment of genius or madness

SkinnerbookA lawyer, someone who follows someone else’s rules

Spook – A minor undead, of the sort often commanded by Spooky Sam

Spooky Sam – A necromancer, lich, or other powerful monster

Stickerpig – A trap.

Strong Paul – A dwarf

Tatertop – A halfling

Tenner – A ten foot pole

Won the fiddle – Made out with a fortune, usually against a crooked patron, by cunning and guile

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

50 Dungeon Hobo Signs

Click for full size
I threw in some real hobo signs to go along with the dungeon-specific ones, since the basic needs of an itinerant worker are pretty stable across the board.

In-game, I'd say that any previously-delved dungeon will have some of these carved or drawn on the walls. Some might be misleading, some might be no longer accurate, but they should be true enough that they can be an aid to players' navigation and help them in making choices. Compare "there are passages to the north and west" to "north passage is marked 'ooze territory / safe campsite'. west is marked 'disabled trap / monsters can be reasoned with / don't look behind you'".

They're pretty helpful on the DM side too if you need quick ideas for rooms.

Monday, October 9, 2017

It's October 9th

Someone had to.
Festivities
  1. Tag-team axe-juggling
  2. Speed sideburn-braiding
  3. Horniest helmet competition
  4. Miss Chainmail shieldmaiden pageant
  5. Rocket ski-jumping
  6. The mead flows
  7. Catch-the-greased-and-angry-wild-boar
  8. 300-meter boat-carry
  9. Troll-kissing booth
  10. Flyting tournament
  11. Whale-wrestling
  12. Oh shit, it’s Grendel
Who Killed Whose Brother, Again?
  1. Skorri the Big killed Skeggi Half-Hand over a pretty girl.
  2. Gizurr Ice-Breaker killed Hrafn Horse-Lord while deep in his cups.
  3. Gunnlaug Fire-Braid killed Flosi Nose-Picker by accident.
  4. Thengirr the Bear killed Vulbrandr the Puke over an insult.
  5. Blue Vigfuss killed Ari Arm-Breaker over a stolen goat.
  6. Hallthora Never-Kissed killed Jolly Thorgils over a theological dispute regarding the relation between the Old Gods and the New.
How Much Mead has Everyone Drunk?
  1. Lots of mead
  2. Copious quantities of mead
  3. Gods, that's a lot of mead
Is Loki Screwing Around?
  1. Yes
  2. Absolutely
How is Loki Screwing Around?
  1. Turned into a goat, farts loudly during important conversations.
  2. Stole all the lutefisk from the shrine of the Lutefisk God.
  3. Released the ice giants. Again.
  4. Annoying everyone with offers of timeshares in "Green Land".
  5. Slipped the ravens a speedball
  6. Cheating at hnefatafl.
  7. Potentially angered a volcano.
  8. Peeking in the women's hot spring.
  9. Decided to hold the Rainbow Bridge Pride Parade on the exact same day despite everyone agreeing eight months ago that it was going to be the next weekend.
  10. Now there are two of him.
from Vinland Saga

Friday, October 6, 2017

The HAUL Reviews: Hubris




Mike Evan’s Hubris is a book about horrible people living in a horrible world. It’s bloody, grody, dark, deadly, brimming with grimy effluvia, patently absurd, and a terrific piece of RPG writing.

(I recommend queuing up the LISA: The Painful / Joyful soundtrack at this point. I think it fits quite nicely.)

First, the setting: It’s a blast. A crashing chaos that manages to form a coherence of its own terms by finding an image / voice / theme, knotting everything up, and running with it. A strong current of black humor (wet and American, rather than dry and British) maintains a thematic throughline throughout the book. Things are horrible in Hubris, and the land is filled with horrible people, but it revels in its horribleness rather than trying to persuade the reader that it is Incredibly Serious Stuff.

There’s a giant robotic dog with a city on its back. Every single location sounds like the name of a high concept metal album (ex: Slavering Maw of the Heathen Below, Metallic Fortress of End Times, etc.) The most pleasant god to deal with is literally called the Stillborn Unwanted Child. The magical item table can come up with things like “Dehydrated Bugle of the Lamentable Baboon”. There’s a spell that turns people into furniture. On and on it goes: there’s nothing boring in this book, nothing wasted. I know exactly as much about Hubris as I need to know, and everything I learn is something I can use.

I’d like to propose a sibling to “keep it simple, stupid”, and that is “make it usable, dingus”. Hubris embodies both with flying colors. Everyone else (read: people outside the DIY-sphere) should take note: I have spent FAR too much money on RPGs that buried all their good ideas beneath a godawful puzzlebox of wonky mechanics and overwrought lore.

This segues into the second part of the review, which is the design beneath the setting: the book is useful. It’s possibly even too useful. It works as a single work, but twice as brilliant is the ability to open to a random page and instantly find some way to use what you find there. Pull out a spell, a god, a location, a monster., a class, a background, a race, whatever. The random tables are potent and fast and have the same punch as the rest of the book.

My favorite piece of all is the addition of “Lay of the Land” tables. A simple enough concept (“here is what is in that hex, as an alternative to a direct encounter”), but beautiful in its simplicity and effectiveness. Anything the characters run into on the Lay of the Land table could be turned into an encounter, a quest hook, or even just a memorable image-moment. It’s all about what you see, rather than what you have to stab, and so wading through hex after hex of intractable swamp doesn’t have to be boring. You can just admire the scenery as the disease-carrying mosquitoes eat you alive.

It’s a hell of a ride, and for my part I say that the Ennie was well deserved.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Magical Sewers

The Crossness pumping station
 
O Cloacina, Goddess of this place,
Look on thy suppliants with a smiling face
Soft, yet cohesive let their offerings flow
Not rashly swift nor insolently slow.

People out in the countryside have a privy out back, with last year’s almanac nailed to the wall. A distant king might be proud of the hot water running through the lead pipes of his palace. Bears shit in the woods.

They are barbarians and fools, the lot of them. Civilization – real, honest-to-gods civilization – is built upon the porcelain back of the Merde Grande.

The Building of a Merde Grande

The creation of a modern magical sewer is a work-intensive process, but the methods of Dr. P. T. Krappier have remained generally unchanged since their introduction over a century ago.

First, a live donjon must be acquired. Most cities of healthy size (and many of unhealthy size) have at least one spare keep going unused. If the city donjon has died, it is possible (though often prohibitively expensive) to transplant one from the wilderness, though those structures have an even higher chance of being long dead or having gone to rot.

Second, the donjon is refurbished (for they are often ruined even if still alive) and consecrated to Cloacina. This change of metaphysical nature will shift the donjon’s root system into something viable for the movement and processing of waste. This was, and in many ways still is, a revolutionary technique; wizards that are willing to dabble in the affairs and powers of the gods of man are few in number, and gods that are willing to put up with wizards are just as rare.

Third, surveyors and excavators will disperse throughout the city, planting markers that will attract the donjon’s roots. Once the major points have been set up, citizens can purchase minor markers for their own dwellings for relatively low cost.

Fourth, the combined workforce of priests and wizards will populate the sewer-donjon with the necessary enchantments, constructs, and beings for it to function: animated water, enchanted pumps, domesticated oozes, wards against gas buildup and clogging, waste-eating beasts, bacteria cultures. After the floodgates are opened their duties will be overseeing and maintaining the Grande.

The end of all this is threefold:
  • A complex maze of layered, tangled additions and recursive expansions exists beneath the feet of thousands of people who ignore the fact that it’s there.
  • An incredibly important, powerful, and wealthy faction that can potentially bring a city to its knees is always sitting there behind the scenes.
  • Easy access to hot running water and toilet paper.
Hellboy on the left, Pokemon Sage on the right

Cloacina, the Cleanser

Cloacina is the doer of dirty deeds (not always dirt cheap). Her image and variants thereof, in icon and idol, are common throughout the world. In places where her sewers have not reached, she tends towards her classic patronage of cleanliness, aqueducts and the sexual act in marriage.

She is immensely popular. An approachable, down-to-earth personality does a great deal, but more important is that Cloacina doesn’t take anyone’s shit. She doesn’t put up with shit. Cloacina deals with shit. Cloacina gets shit done.

Most importantly, Cloacina has the skill, know-how, and immaculate, infinite patience to deal with your shit.

Yes, even that.

When the toilet is clogged, you don’t call on thunder gods. When there’s intestinal distress, you don’t go asking for the god of war. When you hit up the wrong curry stand and have lived to regret it, it is Cloacina that you seek.

She’s a practical goddess, for practical problems.

Nightsoil Priests and Shitwizards

The clergy of Cloacina are difficult to distinguish from academic wizards, and the opposite remains true. The two factions have been forced to work together for so long that they have more or less merged to the point of interchangeability.

They are integral to society, and they know it. Unlike the overwhelming majority of wizards, they demonstrate little desire to lord it over other people – they’re important by default, there’s nothing to prove. Everyone knows it already.

Plus, it’s difficult to be full of shit when you’re dealing with everyone else’s.

Nightsoil priests and shitwizards are easily discernible by their garb, as follows.
  • White jumpsuit marked with sigils of protection against poison and disease.
  • Images or samples of Outhouse Mrytle, a plant sacred to Cloacina
  • Heavy rubberized gloves and boots, the latter of which are often part of overalls or hip waders.
  • A hood (in the case of priests) or a pointed hat with brim (in the case of wizards), with attached mask and goggles in the case of poisonous fumes.

They also instinctively know how to navigate the sewers without getting lost, no matter the city.

The actual Cloaca Maxima

Random Encounters in the Sewers

Sewers, like all donjon-derived environments, tend to develop their own niche ecosystems. Each city’s sewer will be different, but certain creatures can be found nearly everywhere.

  1. Rat-faced Bastards A non-indicative name, as they are actually rats with the face of men. They are disgusting creatures, can grow up to the size of a dog, and breed excessively. It’s a common prank for drunkards to give one of their friends a sword and send him down collecting rat tails.
  2. Alkahest Ooze The strongest of the varieties of janitorial slimes employed in the sewers. They are called in to clean out clogs, undo blockages, and have a tendency to dissolve almost anything in their path. Hedge alchemists will pay a shipload for samples, as the creation of alkahest is guild property.
  3. Methane-Eater Little gasbag creatures that glow with a faint phosphorescence. They are harmless, but a good indicator that the air in a region might be dangerous to breathe.
  4. Cloagator There are, in fact, alligators that live in the sewers, feeding on blind fish and wayward adventurers. Scraggle-feathered birds with hooked beaks pick shitshrimp out of their teeth. The lack of decent food has made them astoundingly patient, and terribly emaciated.
  5. Merde-morloc – It’s very easy to get lost in the Grande, and these unfortunates have made the best of it. Sure, it’s best not to ask what they eat or how they entertain themselves, but just because they’re pallid inbreds doesn’t mean that they’re evil. Often cannibalistic, but then again, who isn’t sometimes?
  6. Cleaner Crabs Colonies of these hardened crustaceans feed on the slime molds and bacterial mats that coat the walls of older sections of the Grande.
  7. Maintenance Zombies Nothing much to see here, just the boys from the 509 Local. Sometimes accompanied by a priest or wizard on their rounds.
  8. Digesticative MawIt has to go somewhere, doesn't it? Processed waste is excreted on the surface.
  9. Fatberg An ambulatory mass of hair, grease, feces, used condoms, and the occasional corpse. Tend to weigh dozens to hundreds of tons. Always hungry for more.
  10. Sewer-stalker Stiltlike legs and claws like carving knives, eyes bugging out of their sockets as if ready to bursting and a crook-hooked beak. Runs too fast, for something that never seems able to take a steady step. A distant figure at the end of the tunnel, a moment in the light, then it runs.
  11. Someone who isn’t supposed to be thereThe sewers are a good place for bad people.
  12. THE BULLWORM It fills the entire tunnel with its bulk. Coming out of nowhere, going into nothing, an ouroboros with no destination but the endless crawl through the dark.

Traveling in the Merde Grande

When using the Grande as a means of transit between surface locations, treat it as a wilderness environment instead of a dungeon. Random encounters happen, people can get lost, but you don’t need the room-by room breakdown.

If the players do get lost, there is a 1-in-6 chance of discovering an exit. This will, of course, be in a completely different district of the city, but it will be an exit.

It is entirely possible for the roots of the Merde Grande to go too deep. Feel free to break out the Veins of the Earth here.

A pool at Hearst Castle

Shitwizard Spells

Honey Pot
R: 30’ T: Area D: Indefinite
Cleans the area of blood, feces, ooze, slime, grime, gristle, gunk, rust, dust, detritus and effluvia, storing it in an enchanted jar or other sealed container. This container can store [dice] uses of this spell before it can be used no further. The jar can be thrown as a grenade, doing [dice]d6 damage and spraying its contents everywhere.

Cleaning House
R: Sight T: [dice] persons D: Instant
The target is cured of disease, but must succeed on a CON or Poison save. On failure they will be cured by violent expulsion and take a -2 penalty to all checks until the next morning.

Unblock the Path
R: Touch T: Material D: 1 hour ÷ [sum]
A material obstruction is removed from a path, passage, or doorway. This takes 1 hour ÷ [sum] and dispersing the matter makes significant noise.

Fertilize
R: 10’ square T: Plants within AOE D: Indefinite
Plants within the effected area grow at an unnatural rate. Crops mature in minutes, trees grow gigantic, plant-based creatures gain [dice] HD.

Gasmask
R: Touch T: Piece of cloth D: [dice] hours
When held over the mouth, the affected material provides immunity to airborne toxins.

Rites of Cleansing
R: Touch T: Person D: [dice] charges
Target gains advantage on saves against poison, possession, and disease.

Drain Snake
R: N/A T: Rope D: [dice] x5 minutes
Conjures an animated rope of [sum] x10 feet. 50% chance of being a tapeworm.

Dowsing
R: ½ mile T: Self D: 1 hour
Target can find a lost item within the sewers with [dice]-in-6 odds. Requires another item owned by the same person to work.


(The poem up top is traditionally credited to Lord Byron, though there's no hard evidence for that.)



Sunday, October 1, 2017

Orca

By Aaron Blaise

Queen of the Black Waves and White Whales. Lady Leviathan. Mistress of the Deep Places. Orca collects titles like barnacles. Her reign is unquestioned and unchallenged by god or man, and has been as long as the stones can remember. Smart men fear her, wise men respect her, and fools come to learn why.

Orca is like an old queen cat: Her house, her rules. Follow the rules, and she doesn’t much care. Bring a petition forward and she might listen, but she probably won’t. Break the rules and she will suddenly care a whole lot.

The first rule of her house: dead of the northern seas are hers by right.

Sailors in the north pay their souls to Orca in advance: a measure each of blood, oil, and ambergris before each season begins. With the payment made, a man might ply the queen’s territory in her good graces until his heart is content and his purse is full. When he dies (and each of them shall die – the good graces of the Queen will protect them only from her anger, not her apathy), he shall be taken down beneath the waters to the Queen’s cold, black domain and join her legions of dead. If a sworn man dies upon land, his body must be returned to the sea by the night after next to uphold his part.

It’s a fair enough trade as anyone can tell you; A man can provide a comfortable living for his family on a whaler’s income, and Orca’s shade of undeath is not particularly dreadful in comparison to others.

Those who forgo paying the cost of their souls up-front pay with their lives later. Either Orca’s servants will hunt them down, or they will be killed and offered up to her by more sensible people. Orca is not above sending an entire nor’easter to claim a single man, so a little human sacrifice is not too great of a moral conundrum for those in the hard-bitten north.

Someone foolish enough to cross Orca must have a death wish, after all.

While other oceans have a great many rulers, any competition Orca may have had was long gone by the time man settled in the north. Since no power has stepped forth to claim they were exiled, it is safe to presume death.

by Nonparanoid

The Illhveli

Orca has four children, the illhveli. Unlike their mother, the hell-whales are not so apathetic towards mankind, and act with gleeful cruelty towards ships in their path. Orca provides no protection to her sworn men, but likewise she provides nothing for her wayward sons if some inspiring men wish to hunt them down. So far, none have succeeded, and many have been driven mad in the attempt.

The illhveli are:

Keel-Breaker Oldest and wisest. White like snow. Shark-tooth necklace. Stone-cold killer. Willing to attack the shoreline.

Squid-MasherLonesome and bleak. Dives deep, returns with trophies. Wears a mantle upon his head like a bishop’s miter, tentacles tied under his chin. Believes himself to be mother’s favorite.

Scar-Bearer – Old wounds like a net of knotted ropes. Teeth broken on rudders, a crown of shattered harpoons. Wildest of the four.

Biter Youngest by far. Vicious and condescending when alone, cowardly and submissive when in the presence of his brothers.

from Darkest Dungeon

The Dread and Dead Servants of Orca

Worms – The body of a hagfish, the head of a man. This is the punishment for not paying the proper respect. They will eat fish shit forever.

Dregs – The souls of those who have reneged on their oath and were not given to the sea by night after next. Shattered bones, bodies half-buried in silt. Movement is possible, but only with incredible pain. Their graying guts are bloated with burrowing Worms.

Draugr – A sworn man of Orca. Pale hair floating in a ghostly halo. Flesh gone white and doughy, but strong as stone. Barnacle armor. Those who die aboard ship are marked with a tarred club and a sailcloth robe: those who drown are tinged a royal blue and carry stones.

Beyond the dead of the northern seas, Orca is served by a motley array of other beings: leopard-selkies, darkwater nymphs, rusalka, bergmen, frilled serpents, great albatrosses.

by davesrightmind

The Black Amazons

Orca’s cult is maintained by the black amazons of the far north. Few other humans will worship her, in the same way that the sight of a man with a sword is rarely a reason to light incense and chant litanies.

The black amazons are still human, despite the vast differences in appearance: they stand around eight or nine feet tall, with a broad build and protective layer of blubber. Their skin is jet black and hairless, with white upon the abdomen and flanks. Their noses are smoothed down and protrude only a little. To the unskilled eye it is difficult to determine that they are female at all.

The black amazons raid settlements across the north by both land and sea, seeking honor, tribute, and wives. Their souls are given over to Orca from their conception, and as part of her blessing they are returned in the form of ambergris eggs, ready to be incubated and reincarnated. With no fear of death so long as their mistress lives, the amazons throw themselves into combat with songs of black humor.

Men are rare among the black amazons – animic leftovers that occasionally resurface in the eggs, with a slightly higher but still slight chance when hatched by another amazon. Those that are born are sickly albinos rarely surviving birth or the years to follow. Those that do manage to survive are made eunuch-priests, who handle interactions with the dead and Orca’s other servants. Every need and desire of theirs is met, but they are not permitted outside of their people’s strongholds. Many live from birth to death within the same temple chambers, never stepping outside.

Captives taken in raids are treated relatively well (by enslavement standards – we’re still talking about “don’t damage your property” as opposed to “people who aren’t us have the right to not be enslaved by us”), but the tradition paints them as a threat to all but a few neighbors.

However, the amazonian concept of battle-cost acts in the favor of those who are victim to their wars: with the loss of life a temporary setback, wars are fought for material goods, and may be ended when one side pays the other a mutually-agreed-upon amount. This is a lopsided trade when fighting against non-amazons (as you will still be down however many men are killed), but a spirited defense might see captives released and supply stores returned. Things get complicated when the amazon tribe in question has already paid a town’s booty to another tribe before a second round of combat. (The tale of Utte Hamvardr is a good illustrative point here, as he had to fight his way through five amazonian tribes to recover his wife)

Outside of war, the black amazons are known for fermented fish snacks, elaborately-woven carpets, comedic bardic traditions, bear-boxing, and a sleek breed of landwhale called the shumaoo.

The black amazons name themselves the dhorch’maeh, the empire of Darvatius named them the orcinae, and in much of the world now they are called by a twice-removed mispronunciation: orcs.

A final note

Drunken whalers in Tin Jacob’s Town claim that she was once married to Mundo the Seal. Mundo says it's true, but he's a lying bastard. He's also always honest. Asking Orca about it is considered a bad idea.

Monday, September 25, 2017

20 Spells From My Playlist

Not much to see here, folks, just a practice run at making GLOG spells using the ever-effective Araki Method of Power Naming

1) Knights of Cydonia
R: 20’ T: Point D: [sum] rounds
You summon [dice]-HD worth of rust-armored warriors from distant Cydonia and Tharsis. The rounds of activity are shared among all knights summoned.

2) Toxicity
R: Touch T: A container of liquid D: [dice] hours
You turn the liquid murky and foul for the appointed time: anyone drinking or touching it must save vs. poison. If [sum]>8, the change is permanent.

3) Get a Hold of Yourself
R: Touch T: Person D: [sum] rounds
Breaks target out of fear. They will resist fear for [sum] rounds.

4) Gold on the Ceiling
R: 50’ T: Gold and all other valuables D: [sum] minutes
Any item within range worth at least 1 gp will fly up into the air and become stuck on the ceiling. If no ceiling is present, the items will hover 30’ in the air until the effect expires.

5) Get Along Gone
R: 50’ T: [dice] persons D: 1 minute
[Dice] people are enveloped in a cloud of smoke, accompanied with a bright light and loud bang, permitting escape from combat.

6) Landsick
R: 20’ T: Person D: [sum] rounds
Target is overcome with powerful nausea, vomiting if 2 dice or more are invoked. Effect will only take place if the target is on solid ground; they will be immune if in the water or on a water.

7) Destroy the Past
R: Self T: Self D: As long as you can hold your breath
You are transported to the same location at a specified point in time within a range of [sum]x10 years. This will last as long as the player can hold their breath – breathing will result in returning to the present. All changes to the present will be applicable after the caster returns.

8) Promises of Sanctuary
R: Sight T: House or other shelter D: Until dawn
Target building is protected against evil intrusions of up to [dice] HD. If [sum] > 6 there will be fresh firewood, if >8, warm bedding, if >10, a hot meal, if >16 the Sanctuary Nymph will reveal herself.

9) Walk like an Egyptian
R: Self T: Self D: [Sum] rounds
You are rendered two dimensional upon a surface you are touching. You cannot move between adjacent objects unless 3+ dice are invested.

10) Whiteout Conditions
R: 15’ x [dice] T: Person D: [dice] minutes
Target is enveloped in a blinding snowstorm, centered on their body. The storm will follow them, though anyone else trapped in it will be able to escape normally.

11) Burn Burn
R: 20’ T: Book D: Instant
The targeted book goes up in flames. This fire is limited to the book and will not spread elsewhere. If a spellbook is burned, the caster has a [dice]-in-6 chance of learning a new spell if the ashes are eaten.

12) Obey the Beard
R: Touch T: Beard D: [sum] minutes
The target’s facial hair is awakened, and those listening it will be compelled as if under a Command spell. The awakened hair will always have the same identity, being that of Big Jimbo Holhms, a lumberjack known for his over-excitable imagination and love of activities that cause concussions.

13) Body
R: 30’ T: Person D: [dice] hours
Target’s body is separated into component parts, organ systems, and other structures. These might be safely moved about without causing harm to the target. Target will be aware of what is going on, but will feel no pain. There is a [sum] in 10 chance of summoning 1d4 alternate-universe versions of the target’s mother as observers.

14) Hang ‘Em All
R: Touch T: [dice] corpses D: Until released or decomposed completely.
The corpses, if strung up from gallows, will act as an oracular chorus to passersby: delivering warnings, compliments, advertisements, musical numbers and trivial information.

15) Word Crimes
R:10’ T: Visible Text D: 1 hour
Affected text will be changed so as to reference significant criminal behavior (usually of a humorous nature. If 2+ dice are invested, any individual of a criminal profession (thieves, assassins, drug peddlers, lawyers) will give great respect to the individual possessing altered text, for as long as the effect holds. After that, it’s up to smooth talk.

16) Fly Me To The Moon
R: Touch T: Person D: Instant
Target is instantly transported to a visible location on the moon. Any additional items beyond clothing and small objects requires an additional die of investment. Don’t use it on a new moon.

17) Way Down We Go
R: 30’ T: Multiple Persons D: [dice] combats
All effected persons have advantage for checks against fear, morale, or stress (as applicable) for [dice] combat encounters. This spell is only effective the first time a specific dungeon is entered.

18) Ventricide
R: Touch T: Person D: Instant
If 4+ dice are invested, the target’s heart explodes.

19) Coalescence
R: 20’ T: Corpse of ooze D: Permanent
The caster will create a rainstorm within the effect area, which will wash the remnants of the ooze to the space in front of the caster, ready for harvesting.

20) Hallelujah Money
R: 30’ T: Person D: [sum] rounds
Target is beset by seizures as an angel appears and showers them with [dice] x1000 false gold pieces, and scraps of paper bearing the visages of long-dead kings. The target must pass a WIS check to resist the urge to cease their current activities and founding a religion with a healthy appreciation for tithing.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Florens and Hauflins

By Akela (as far as I could tell)
In Liang Bua, it’s traditional to leave out bowls of rice wine and baked sweet potatoes by the family shrine every full moon, so that they might scare off evil spirits with the sound of their happy feasting.

In Warchest’r Shire, the first bottle of a fresh batch of garum-sauce is taken out past the old stone bridge and left in a basket at the edge of the woods, as payment for saving the life of the good king Wenceslas’ infant son.

In Old Alegh, soldiers on patrol always keep a few marbles or dandelion heads in their pockets to put in the crooks of old trees’ roots, to make amends for the blood shed at Crowshead Creek.

No matter where one goes in the world, there will always be the Little People. Hauflins, florens, halfamen, puckwudgies, hobbledehoys and halflings. Half the size of a man, or just about the size of a child, folk say they live up in the mountains, deep in the jungle, just over the next hill.

They exist, there’s no doubt about that. The people of Liang Bua wake up to find their wine and potatoes gone, and are untroubled by wicked spirits. The garum factory in Warchest’r will find broken tools mended overnight. The forests of Old Alegh are a place of rest for men tired of the wars past the mountains.

Many men confuse them for Folk, but this is not true. They are Folk-friends, perhaps the most so of all the races of men (Goblins in particular, as they share a puckish humor), but men they are to the end; The Little People know the Humble Art, and remember when Mother and DOG led them through the snow, as befitting an elder race of man.

Few ever directly cross paths with the Little People: their villages are hidden by geography and subtler arts, and they themselves are quiet as shadows. They rarely travel abroad, and in those rare cases it is usually because they have been roped into some adventure or another by someone else. This is occasionally referred to among their villages as being “off to see the wizard.”

Playing as the Little People

Your HD, XP, saves, and class abilities remain unchanged. The following traits may be added.

Hauflin Hole

There is a village out there that your heart calls home. The world of bigmen is good for an adventure or two, but in time you will return to the place you were born. Roll below:
  1. A comfortable, clean warren beneath a hill, among the roots of an old rowan tree. Guarded by a one-eyed badger named Old Battleaxe.
  2. A temple complex overtaken by the jungle. Tents and huts set up among the statues of devas and boddisatvas. The serpent who lives in the reservoir could eat a water buffalo whole.
  3. A longhouse in the mountains, at the end of a path erased by a landslide. Memories of smoked fish and warm furs, skiing down the slopes and riding the goats back up.
  4. A wooded island in the middle of a placid lake. You spent your days fishing with your grandfather.
  5. A cave behind a waterfall, at the end of a valley. The stream above was glacier runoff, meaning that any home
  6. Just over the next ridge of hills. From the top of the church steeple you can barely make out the willows by the river and the apple orchards by Miller Tad’s.
Out of Sight, Out of Time

For all the simplicity of their lives, the little folk have a tendency to collect objects that don’t seem to belong to the place, nor the time: a pocketwatch, a newspaper, a telegram from one’s aunt, an umbrella, a booklet of stamps, licorice candies, mothballs, rubber galoshes, and so on. You will have at least one of these items in your possession upon leaving home, and might find another during your travels. (If the original is lost, or every other level as desired)

Riddles

The Little People adore riddle games. Your opponent must pass an INT check to guess your answer (or you can try and stump your DM), but you must write your riddles yourself.

Example:

Off playing chess near a red velvet field
White king lost his crown and knelt there to yield
His hair’s all turn’d black
By the shock of attack
And pain now the kingdom’s been deal’d.

On My Mother’s Side

The Little People have large families, and so you most certainly know someone, or you know someone who knows someone, who is relevant to whatever is at hand. You can use this to get a piece of information, a helpful tool, a translator, or a guide, once per adventure.

This place is apparently an actual pub now. Probably overpriced as hell, but I appreciate the effort.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mapping the Distant Lands of DIY

Click to Embiggen

Modular design is great. You find something you like, find a place for it on the map, cross it over with something else, and eventually you have your own personalized sandbox adventure world.This map was all pieced together in Hexographer under the auspices of Sunday afternoon and is filled with a wide variety of stuff I like. I might use it in the future, I might not, maybe someone else will - regardless, it was a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Also, there are way too many talented people out there. This map features:
  • Vornheim, A Red and Pleasant Land, Maze of the Blue Medusa (Zak S)
  • Corpathium (Logan Knight)
  • Fire on the Velvet Horizon, Deep Carbon Observatory, Veins of the Earth (Scrap Princess and Patrick Stuart)
  • Fever-Dreaming Marlinko, Slumbering Ursine Dunes, and Misty Isles of the Eld (all by Chris Kutalik)
  • Hubris (Mike Evans)
  • Gathox Vertical Slum (David Lewis Johnson)
  • Strange Stars and Mortzengersturm, the Mad Manticore of the Prismatic Peak (Trey Causey)
  • Tales of the Dungeonesque and Grotesque (Jack Shear)
  • Yoon-Suin (David McCrogan)
  • Perdition (Courtney Campbell)
  • Against the Wicked City (Joseph Manola)
  • The Chaos Gods come to Meatlandia (Ahi Kerp and Wind Lotimer)
  • Under the Waterless Sea (Zzarchov Kowolski)
  • Hot Springs Island (Jacob Hurst)
  • The OSR Palace of the Silver Princess (a bunch of people)
  • The Ghoul Market (Vacant Ritual Assembly 1)
  • Death Frost Doom (James Raggi)
  • Anomalous Subsurface Environment (Patrick Wetmore)
  • Goblin Town and Lethlygon (Arnold K)
  • Tomb of the Serpent Kings (Skerples)
  • Halls Untoward (Michael Prescott)
  • Broodmother Skyfortress (Jeff Rients)
  • Blood in the Chocolate (Kiel Chenier)
  • Troika (Daniel Sell)
  • The Guild Dogs (Michael Raston)
  • Carcosa (Geoffery McKinney).
Unknown Kadath and the Plateau of Leng are there because Unknown Kadath and the Plateau of Leng should always be there. More love for the Dreamlands, I say.

This is technically challenge 28 from the #DIY30 challenge.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Great Discape: Bestiary, 3-of-3

(Bestiary Part 1 and Part 2)

Second from the left senses something amiss with this bread.
Grancia

Locals: Grumpy, damp peasants.
Wrestler: Sheriff & Hood – Heel / face tag team ordered by the king to work together.
Encounters:
  1. Band of pilgrims – We crossed paths with a sizable and rowdy company, and the meeting was agreeable all around. A member of their party was going on and on about writing a grand story about it all, though he did not seem a particularly reliable character to me.
  2. Hedge Knight & Squire – With the war dragging on, it was not uncommon to find deserters and masterless knights plying their services for a few coins.
  3. Holy Fool – They are, save some hooting and hollering at your expense, harmless. It is best to agree with their jeers, laugh along, and perhaps leave them something to eat. Good treatment of one of the mad innocents goes over well in the community.
  4. Questing Beast – Head of a snake, body of a leopard, voice like a pack of baying hounds. An ever-popular target among knights errant and eccentric. I met many who had gone out is search of it, and the contraptions and techniques they utilized were singularly mad.
  5. Termagant – No one I have spoken to is quite sure what this creature is, but all agree that it is some terrible man-eating beast worshiped as a god in foreign parts, wherever that may be. Claws like swords, burning eyes, and teeth like shields are also agreed upon.
  6. A very clever goat – I swear upon Skarl’s red drum this goat was following me. Three towns I saw it in, and each time it was standing alone in the road ahead, staring at me!
  7. Sword Naiad – Native to freshwater lakes, they are boisterous and combative, and love throwing swords at people on the shore. They will avoid doing so for young girls, and instead hand them the swords directly.
  8. Snail Errant – Two and a half to three feet tall at the shell, they get into places that snails are not meant to go. One might find them stuck to the ceiling of a cottage, crawling through the pews in church, or saddling up to joust.
  9. “Dragon” - The king’s spectacular trophy was, alas, little more than a stuffed and mounted alligator. I declined to tell him this, as he was as giddy as a schoolboy about it.
  10. Actual Dragon – A majestic creature, and made all the more majestic by putting significant distance between myself and it.
Everyone here is tripping out of their minds.
Adura

Locals: Sex, drugs, rock-and-roll; bloodthirsty, entitled, deviant.
Wrestler: MAXIMUS MAXIMUS – Craven crowd-pleaser and town bicycle.
Encounters:
  1. Beast with Two Bellies – These perfumed chimeras wander the streets, offering their many services for coin. Unlike most in Adura, they are free from masters or obligations.
  2. Tortured Oliphaunt – Long years in the Colosseum had broken this magnificent creature. Even its retirement now to a nobleman’s garden could bring no relief, as passersby find it amusement to throw trash into its enclosure.
  3. Devil-Worshipper – Devil cults come in two varieties: those that shed blood to avoid notice, and those that shed blood to be noticed. They love nothing more than fighting each other, as it one side is dying for the sake of the other no matter how it’s looked at.
  4. Slave Neonate – People recently and forcibly invested in a mystery cult. Utterly obedient to their superiors, cruel and violent when left to their own devices. Eat a specialized diet soaked in mind-altering substances. Eyes lack pupil or iris, being an ever-shifting mix of colors. Popular among the nobility as servants and guards of their latifundia.
  5. Escaped White Lion – Its eyes rolled with desperate panic as it tore through the marketplace. I could see the gashes in its hide where the demons possessing it had begun to leak.
  6. Deserter Legionnaires – Deserters are everywhere, and hunted often for sport as much as law. Several of the bands claim to wear their old colors in loyalty for a supposed heir building strength out in the wilderness, but that is unlikely as clean or as clear as claimed.
  7. Underpaid, bored mercenaries – The noble houses of Adura tend to hire from Terc, Grancia, and Carabrandt, offering promises of gold and narcotics. They deliver on their promises, but never enough.
  8. Unbound House God – Chaos-banking practices have left the a great number of fabulous villas to rot. Without a family to tend the hearth, the inhabiting lares inevitably go mad.
  9. Equine Senator – The madman made his horse a senator, and the beast is the best statesman in the country. I spent an entire afternoon listening to a horse make whinnying noises to a crowd in the forum and I cheered.
  10. The Emperor, mid-assassination – As I heard it: “The emperor passed by an oracle one day, and was warned of the day of his death. He took the warning to heart and has been leading his assassins on a chase for the last forty years, or thereabouts.”
Somewhere inside, books are being thrown and a senator is being hit over the head with a chair leg.

Nam Pheiroc

Locals: Straightlaced, stubborn, proud, puritanical, loud, varied.
Wrestler: The Founding Father – beloved political pastiche character.
Encounters:
  1. Doughboy – The Republic used these homunculi as foot soldiers a generation or so ago. Most have retired now: you’ll find a few still as soldiers or police, but more often I saw them as handymen, farmers, or day laborers.
  2. Tyrannocygnus Rex – There’s no beast nastier in all the Great White North. Their migration south leaves a path of destruction made worse by the return trip – livestock devoured, trees torn up, shit everywhere. The government pays a bounty per head.
  3. Baron Blue Aurochs – Along the frontier it’s common enough to see wagons the size of houses pulled by these beasts. They are surprisingly well-tempered, leading to their usage as mascot for logging companies and inns up and down the Tinnemank Line.
  4. Melon Heads – According to folklore, they are the inbred offspring of some of the first colonists and the Locals. Potentially true, though I am uncertain. Less uncertain is that the meanest witches in all the Republic hail from their mountain villages in the backwoods of coalmining country.
  5. Jersey Cow Devil - The cow stood up on its hind legs, let out a shriek as if a woman dying, and beat in her farmer’s skull with a hoof. By the time Hans and Harold had run out of the barn she had already flown off on blood-slick wings.
  6. Montauk Monster – A hairless, beaked thing that will wash up on riverbanks and beaches. After a few hours of apparent death, it will animate, grow black and gray striped fur, and trundle off into the woods. I have yet to find one dead of natural causes.
  7. Minuteman – A sort of embossed metal plate with a ghost trapped inside it. They are equipped with saber and musket, but can only maintain their form a minute at a time after they have been triggered. Used during the forming of the Republic.
  8. Thunder Eagle – Primarily white, with brown and red stripes on the flight feathers. Produces thunderclaps when it beats its wings.
  9. Appleseed Giant – Tall, broad, ruddy, bearded. Allies of apple dryads, they plant orchards wherever they wander. If you hear singing over the hills regularly interrupted by spitting, it’s most likely a Red Johnny.
  10. The Cracked Bell – The original is enshrined in the capital, but replicas can be found in courthouses and church steeples across the Republic. The tone they make when hit is alien to the nature of musical arts: I was struck by a painful headache and a bloody nose upon hearing it for the first time, though no one around me seemed to be effected. No symptoms occurred the second time.
From the Würm RPG.
Pleistos

Locals: Swarthy, stout, hirsute.
Wrestler: All-Father – Longtime, well-respected veteran. Mentor of heroes.
Encounters:
  1. Fighting Irish Elk - A rowdy beast, always looking for a good scrum. They practice their secret cervine battle-arts constantly, awaiting the next fight for territory and mates. I have even seen them attempt fisticuffs! (Though their gigantic antlers make this difficult).
  2. Glacier-Clinger – Their limbs are hooked, to provide purchase on the icy cliff face. A long beak is used to drill into the ice to seek the red bacterial bleeds that serve as their primary source of nourishment. They can glide short distances on flaps of skin.
  3. Paraceratherium – Domesticating one is a task only a few can manage. Success, however, is marked with a great and lasting honor to their clan. I met with an old man whose grandfather’s grandfather tamed one, and still the chiefs of other tribes honor him with gifts.
  4. Pyroestatic – Mastery of fire brings a greater power with it. The spirit is set ablaze: the eyes burn, the voice sparks, what is old and dead is burnt away and there is only the light of reaction. Ah, freedom! Joy and life!
  5. Sabretooth Stalker – A tusked lion that walks on its hind legs. Many of the local tribes believe that a witch can transform into the beast (and the other way around), so as to lay bloody curses on their neighbors.
  6. Moss Mammoth – Their fur is heavy with green from the plants that call the gentle beasts home. In the spring the flowers bloom pink and white, making a most beautiful sight as the herds pass by. A crown of moss mammoth flowers is often considered an offer of marriage. 
  7. Murder Bird – Flightless birds that adore the act of killing. They will plan out their attacks in advance, for it is the only thing that gives them pleasure. Many make games of it, developing signature methods or calling-cards left for the grieving.
  8. Eaters of the Dead – The dead are interred in sacred caves, so that they might not rise as these gray-skinned, yellow-toothed monsters. The woods at night are filled with their glowing eyes. It is common knowledge that killing one without destroying the heart in fire means that the cannibal’s spirit is free to possess another.
  9. Story-Keeper – A man can only store so many stories – the greatest of the keepers have learned how they might hold onto a story when it is no longer in their head
  10. Great White Buffalo – The goal is to hunt, to chase, never to kill. To seek it means to become greater, to be made wiser, to hone skills, to go beyond the horizon. Once a generation, certain young men and women go out from their homes to track it, and return with all the glories of kings.
All that's left after.
Lucabiel

Locals: Famished, diseased, clinging to life.
Wrestler: Big Oil – Heel. The man who sold the world.
Encounters:
  1. Child-eater Rats – The protections are many – guard dogs, poisoned wastemeat, sigils and signs and talismans, armored cradles. The rats are too clever by half for these tricks.
  2. Plague-Mold – Flooded buildings become breeding grounds for this particular rot. If the spores enter the lungs, one can look forward to a long future as a half-dead “blackspittle man”. The infection never kills outright, but it leaves in the victim a new voice, and song’s plucked out of memories not their own.
  3. Abandoned Relief Worker – When the NGOs pulled out, they did so in a mad rush and piecemeal panic. Leftover supplies were scavenged and spent, leftover people found themselves with little to lose.  Their baby blue helmets and once-fine firearms are a varnish of the forgotten past over the barbarism they have embraced.
  4. Arcology Crawler – The extraordinarily wealthy retreated into personal paradises when disaster struck, and took all of their treasures with them.  These armored eggshells are followed always by a crowd, either begging for scraps or howling for blood.
  5. Dopamine Slug – The only source of joy and release from pain in this land. The slugdens are the center of the community; providing, food, shelter, guards, whores, and the daily fix. The slugfarmers are fantastically rich willing to pay handsomely for new breeds or a rival’s secrets.
  6. Abbatoiran – Trained to cater to the richest of palates: panda foie gras. Tiger-eye soup. Manta-fin steaks. Mermaid caviar. Unicorn burger. With their clientele gone and their stocks vanished, they are left only with their knowledge of the knife
  7. Favela Wobbegong – Children quickly learn to toss stones into flooded gutters before trying to cross, less they lose a foot. The sharks’ camouflage is a fine imitation of garbage.
  8. Feral Designer Pet – Paradoxically, these freakish, shivering, bugeyed creatures have survived well in the absence of their masters. Perhaps they jumped ship to order rodentia, or they are simply too absurd to die.
  9. Raggy-Man – Devil-figure of the local folklore. A man and a woman; the woman is described as once-beautiful, wearing a tattered evening gown, but now twisted so that her head faces the reverse of where her feet point. The man wears a hooded patchwork jacket, and bears a beard and eyebrows that cover everything of his face but his nose and too-wide mouth. They are seen in distant ruins, laughing, dancing, copulating, and always offering gifts of the past at terrible cost.
  10. Pollutitan – Nameless fetus of Lucabiel, screaming for toxic pap, shuffling towards the City to be born.
Whisper to the Meat.

Carnesarx 

Locals: Red, pink, white. Fleshy, soft, strong.
Wrestler: The Butcher – A giant with a strange accent. Sells meat to the audience while in the ring.
Encounters:
  1. Daggermite – They have a single sharp tooth by which they gouge out a burrow in beast-flesh. The locals use them as tools, though poor preparation or training leads to a knife that turns on its owner.
  2. Leukocyte Ooze – Internal guardians of the Beasts and perpetual banes of bloodwells and marrowmines. Those who dig too deep are greeted with a flood of devouring white antibodies.
  3. Lord of the Ring-Worms – The typical worm might range from the length of a finger to a hundred feet or so. The lords, dormant for millennia, grow to the rang of tens of miles in length. The one at Obrol-Duul is attracting cultists from all over the country, hoping to see its waking.
  4. Saucemeister – A spongy creature on four stumpy legs that oozes a tangy brown substance – perfectly edible and quite tasty. Possibly a leftover wizard’s pet.
  5. Gristle-Grinders – These creatures are mostly mouth and very little brain, with rows of teeth that spin like sawblades. If provided with food or some entertainment, they can be domesticated as guards or tick-hunters.
  6. Bloodletter Nymphs – Their right arm is a slender blade of bone, which they use to carve open beastflesh so that they may lap up the blood. Their mouths and necks are stained red, and their breasts are dotted in scabs.
  7. Leathercloaks – Traveling tanners, forever shrouded in their veils of hide. Many folk consider them untrustworthy, unwanted, and even semi-human – none of my interactions implied anything of the sort.
  8. Acne-Imp – A fat, oily little pustule-puck. Grievously disgusting and proud of it. Personal punting record: 0 yards, on account of their propensity to burst.
  9. Vegan Sabateurs – The introduction of invasive vegetable species to the local environment can wreck havoc on the local economy and society: tick farmers find their grazing lands decimated by broccoli, meatminers have to deal with veins of potatoes and carrots, haruspexes have no idea how to read omens from corn, and so on. As such, it is a favored tool of political agitators, who are often found hung by tendon-nooses declaring them as “leaf-eater”.
  10. Rotwight –  Regions of sepsis create all manner of putrid undead, but the worst is by far the rotwight. A soul severed from its body, it is submitted to an effectively infinite amount of spiritual decay (being without matter, it cannot ever fully rot away), and the the result is an ever-fouler monstrosity.
01001001 01110011 00100000 01100001 01101110 01111001 01101111 01101110 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 01110010 01100101 00111111
Kybern

Locals: Pale, black plastic carapaces, dark and wiry hair.
Wrestler: The Database – Gimmick is jumping between bodies.
Encounters:
  1. Maintenance Drone – The autonomous arm of the Central Processing Authority. They are fractal-finned spheres of black or white, with a red cyclopean eye. They float a few feet off the ground and might repair machinery under their glowing gaze.
  2. Squatter-Killer – Residence outside of CPA-approved districts is a punishable offense, executed by sanctioned hunter-killer units. Shiny black tigers, eight legs and a gun-barrel head.
  3. Datavore – I was repeatedly warned to host multiple backups of my work, in case the local antibodies failed. While paper was safe there was little to be had, the Kyberni computational machines have yet to shake off their self-evolved disease. I made do by writing very small.
  4. Cablesquid – It does not require water to live, instead making its home inside air vents and duct work.
  5. Pistonbird – They hunt for bugs by tapping their blunt beaks against pipes and server-frames, driving prey out of hiding. The tip of each flight wing bears a glowing white dot.
  6. Fileworm – The other bane of record-keeping here are the worms – instead of simply devouring information outright, they will corrupt and impregnate it, and the spawn will continue the cycle.
  7. Black-Cap Hackjaw – They use their powerful underbitten jaws to crack open server banks and eat the innards. Their heads are so large and heavy that they can easily be thrown off balance.
  8. Orb-weaver Pirate – The pirate-spiders were the most reliable source of supplies and news from the outside.  They’re referred to by knowing locals as “my three problems”. Finding them is the first hurdle, affording them the second, and returning before the monitor drones notice your absence the third.
  9. Rust-Eater – A scavenger of dying machines. The locals treat it as a sort of psychopomp, and so you will often see the placid beasts festooned with strings of lights and artificial garlands as they meander through the streets.
  10. Servant Node – The CPA’s network does not reach everywhere in Kybern, despite claims to the contrary. These columnar servitors act as remote way-stations, powering and housing fleets of drones working in outlying regions.
O-wea-oh, whoa-oh.

Carabrandt

Locals: Elaborate dress covering up ecstatic self-mutilations
Wrestler: Maniac Machion – Gibbering lunatic, tore out his own eyes upon viewing his art.
Encounters:
  1. Gilt Gargoyle – Misshapen monsters that lurk on eves and buttresses, with skins of gold leaf and pigeon shit. They know all your sins and love to remind you. On rainy days they take spit-shots at congregants on the steps below (with exceptional aim).
  2. Formaldehyde Saint – The church keeps its virtuous dead in glass tanks, posed in poses of benediction. Impossibly valuable. The greatest cathedrals might have dozens of them. Children are often taught their mudras under a saint’s unseeing gaze.
  3. Flagellant Atavist – Pain has stripped these hunchback’s minds down to the most reptile remnants. The priests officially denounce their actions, but make no moves to stop their preaching nor the growth of their movement.
  4. God-Bearer – Virgin births are so commonplace that enterprising young women have set up support networks, where they meet weekly for coffee and to discuss the business of expecting divine beings: throwing up fire in the morning, prophetic dreams from the unborn, episodes of glossolalia, dealing with all the new and ridiculous titles men shower them with, and so on.
  5. Prophet of Horns – Horns are a sign of divinely-granted insight. The fasting stylites cultivate them until they can no longer walk under the curling weight of their own inspiration.
  6. Canonic Chirugeon – When they find a disagreement between the world and their law, they will change the world. Those who act contrary to the text must be pruned back into place. They dream of an eternal Orthodoxy, and would shift the Discape itself to create it.
  7. Divine Cannibals – Their god made itself flesh (or was it imported from Carnesarx? The record is unclear) and they feast upon it. They commit their acts jovially and with decorum, but they maintain that there is no hope for the soul without it.
  8. Tabernacle Moth – The interior of the cocoon is a site of transubstantiation. A man is put inside with the grubs, and months later is reborn anew. All wrongs remitted, all flesh cleaned.
  9. Church-Drake – Sleepy, serpentine, and large enough to curl all the way around a cathedral until the doors are framed by the tip of its nose and the tip of its tail. Vibrant blue scales with a gold underbelly.
  10. Knight-Absolver – They are sworn forever to mercy, and so may never injure. If they strike, they strike to kill. Their armor is ivory white, often muddied by slum-mud from their ministrations to the wretched and poor.
But what does it mean?

Jahan

Locals: Clean, chipper. White robes with splashes or shapes of primary colors.
Wrestler: The Visionary – Nice guy, cult following that might be a real cult.
Encounters:
  1. Studio Familiar – Halfway between a lemur and a rabbit, about nine inches tall, can float through the air with ease. Seem to live for holding palettes and fetching brushes.
  2. Eggshell Anklebiter – Sleek, white, hairless. A more refined form of a general pest. Personal punting record: 10 yards.
  3. Dancing Silhouette – The shadows on the walls beckon me to join them. I admit, I did so for a time, dancing to the unheard tones of a band only they could hear. There is a loneliness to these creatures, trapped as they are in their walls.
  4. Ear Worm – A slim parasitic worm that roots itself in the ear canal. Triggers the nerves there to create the illusion of constant music.
  5. Gallery Shuffler – Placid, saggy skinned quadrupeds that are found mostly in rented warehouses and studio apartments. They feed on leftover ideas and are terribly incapable
  6. Interpretative Monster – It has no set properties, changing in means and meaning depending on the observer. Each specimen has a mildly variegated appearance, meaning that not only will it possess different attributes to two different people, but no single person will encounter it in the same way twice.
  7. Deconstructor  - Whatever they touch is broken down to fundamental parts. Signs are removed from their signifiers, chemical bonds dissolve. It appears as a black cloud of agitated vapor, occasionally swarming around the corpse of the man that released it.
  8. Polluckite – A tornado made out of paint. If there was any body at the center of it I did not see it, having been blinded by most of a tube of Salubrious Seafoam No. 4.
  9. Memeovore – They eat ideas, plucking them right out of the brain. This is quite interesting to watch, as they are able to mesmerize their victim, saw open their skull, pick out the ideas with the specialized grabbing fingers of the right hand, and safely-reattach the cranium in under three minutes.
  10. Abstracticon – A collection of bright shapes arranged in the vague form of a flattened, cubist giant. They can only move sideways, being trapped in two dimensions, but yet can move sideways in any direction.
And that's the end of the bestiary. 270 / 270 entries.

(Image sources are, in order: Bayeux Tapesty, Pollice Verso by Jean Leon Gerome, Wikipedia Commons, Würm, aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Scorn, Procession of the Flagellants by Goya, and Composition with Yellow, Blue, and Red by Mondrian.)