kingtycoon: (Default)
The moon rises over the river while the houses burn behind us. I tie the mayor up & Bismuth cuts off his hands. Kisa keeps him alive. He comes to with the three of us standing over him and by the light of his burning house we address him. “The town’s safe, now pay us.”

Earlier that day we took him out to the island which wasn’t probably the best idea. He didn’t believe us about the ruined castle full of skeletons. “Not just skeletons. They jump up and try and get you. They’re living skeletons.” None of us particularly good with words or talking or knowing anything about ghosts. Well, the castle – we heard it was full of ghosts. Back on the first day. Well… Maybe I should go back to the beginning.

Kisa, who I call Swampy, cause of how she is. Me, who everyone calls Baker, cause I can cook & grew up as a baker & Crazy, who’s name is supposedly Bismuth. Parents should’ve called her Batshit though. Nuts. The three of us are Grakky Legion – mercenaries from the companies down south. This mayor Reynolf or Randolf – (Can’t pronounce these northern names) sends word & money that he needs fighters to protect this dam he’s building. So they weigh his coin & command sends him us 3. We head up north to the town.
Maybe a week ago we show up – so Day 1 –
th

Meet the mayor & the locals. Town doesn’t have much – they crow on about how rich the land is but the inn doesn’t have coffee & the room’s just got one big bed for every traveler. They never even heard of coffee. The story we get is that there are bandits out in the marsh who want to mess up the dam. Doesn’t make any sense but sense isn’t really part of this, when I think about it – the mayor had to be pretty dumb to hire us in the first place. Now that I think about it. Anyhow- bandits out in the marshes – that’s what we hear so we go investigate.

On the first day we run into some kind of giant with two ugly heads. This thing seemed pretty crazy – but we came to find that the swamp was all but full of these kinds of freaks. It sure pissed of crazy who went berserk on it with her axe - me and Kisa helped & it got shot down with I think 4 arrows in its necks. Crazy Bismuth decided on keeping the teeth. Said she knew a guy who’d buy them.

Then, there’s bandits, we find ‘em, Kisa counts coup – pinkiess this time – she gets weirder every time we go back to the bush. Pinkies say we got something like 12 of them. I thought there were more but these swampbillies are dumb as rocks. I got one of them sword to the throat “Where are your friends! Where are they!” I’m yelling at him, bloode everywhere there’s just two left and he’s in this stinking tent in a buggy marsh crying and dumbshit can’t even come up with a lie to save his life. I think Crazy’s battle-chant had gotten to me cause I killed him & then his buddy – they couldn’t even make up a story to try and trick us. I don’t have any regrets.

Then when we’re camping out, getting ready to head back and get paid we run across or anyhow this little girl comes running up on us in the night. Bandits again, they got her whole family, she’s been trapped for weeks – just finally escaped. We try and keep her out of it, but she wants to follow – we find more of them & they go down like the others. After this we figure there’s more up in the marsh & Swampy thinks she can find the rest of them. We meet with this boatman who dropped us off in the first place at the appointed time. We figure we’ll send the little girl down the river with him and have him send our report to the mayor.

Well the kid doesn’t want to go with him & Crazy gets all attached, real fast, real crazy. She wants to hug her and pet her and… Kid hates the boatman for no reason - he’s just some guy with a boat – she bolts. This makes Crazy crazy and we try following – but even Swampy is stumped. We keep hearing her cackling from out in the trees – and these trees – they’re all moss-hung right? And still pools of water, and frog noises & crickets & on and on – it’s not a nice place – no matter what Swampy wants you to think. I say – this is all gonetohell and we all rally & decide to just go back to town with the boatman. Meantime – down the river we keep seeing the girl show up from behind trees & jumping up out from behind rocks. Suddenly it’s real supernatural. Crazy doesn’t care & still wants to get the girl – so we get the boatman to put in so we can go talk at her. Me? I got it figured out – she’s a witch. I say so.

The swamp had a lot of those twig-dolls – you know, like you hang up from trees? Swampy says they didn’t do that where she grew up. Anyhow there’s a lot of those & the witch-girl changes so she’s like a big elf lady & turns all the twig-dolls to life. This, I hate.

The witch turns out to be made of wood or something – you sock her with an axe or whatnot & it’s like cutting down a tree. We about dulled our axes by the time we brought her down – and no thanks to kisa who got so scared by her wicker-men that she ran off & didn’t even really help. Me and Crazy hacked the witch to bits & then Crazy – being crazy took her head to keep. Meantime the wicker dolls & killed the poor boatman.

So Day 3 –
We’re sleeping in the inn & telling everyone we meet about the witch in the woods. The witch said all kinda nonsense – this is what Kisa tells us cause she understands swamptalk. Supposedly this dam the mayor is building is going to make it so that the island with the ruined old castle won’t be separated from the mainland. This is a big problem, the witch says, because of the evil on the island. Sounds like the kind of thing a witch would say to keep you from hacking her head off to me, but that was my first witch, so I can’t be sure. Witches. Town is all aflutter because this pretty girl got stolen out of her house.

I don’t like mentioning it here but I’ve been having all kinds of weird dreams. Spider-ladies in the attic & so on – Crazy says she’s having dreams like this too – but I don’t say squat about it – bad for morale, bad for our image. Crazy doesn’t care – she’s out in the street selling giant teeth & spouting off about the dreams she has with the river full of eyes. Bad dreams – I don’t like this town.
Anyways, there’s this girl in the town called Pretty – that’s what they named her, pretty girl. She got robbed or run off in the night. Me? I think she kidnapped herself. Run off with some boatman y’know? We go look in her house – the fat old mother is after us “please please my baby!” so we’re looking around – find a false wall in the girl’s bedroom – we break that down – find a trail of blood – it goes down the side of the building. So Kisa tracks her to the river – looks like someone drug her over to that island the witch was on about. Someone loans us a boat and we go.
Over the island it’s all forest – after a minute we run into this thing… Ugh. This thing is big & green & has like fingers growing out its arms & boils all over it. You hack it to bits & the bits keep growing back. We cut this thing to ribbons & it would not quit. We decided to try burning it up & that worked okay, once we’d chopped it apart the head started yelling about hating fire and how that hurt it or whatever – so we made sure to keep up with the fire. Worked.

At the castle we find the girl – she’s up in the one still-standing tower – but there’s a whole mess of skeletons in the courtyard – just laying there – but still, they jump up lively & mean as soon as we get close & then it’s a fight. We’re outnumbered so we head for the tower- it looks like we can hold it. Crazy has a time trying to break down the door & finally just cuts it to bits with her axe. We get in and I do what I can to barricade the hole – this after the skellys all but creamed us. I hold the door while they get the girl – she’s upstairs & waiting for someone to save her. Me and Bismuth lower Kisa & the girl and then Crazy & then me – rappel down – almost got by the skellys. Craziest thing I ever saw. We run back to the river & boat it back across.
Baker
Now – Crazy keeps giant teeth & foams at the mouth when she cuts off witch heads. She’s crazy. She notices that Pretty has bites on her neck and says she’s a vampire. Which is, if you didn’t know, a type of guy who lives forever by drinking people’s blood. I’ve been a cook my whole life - there’s all kinds of people who eat blood all the time – they usually have bad BO – but I never knew one to live forever. Supposedly it’s because of eating people’s blood. We put our heads together and none of us know much about any of this. Crazy says they die in the sun – but its midday without clouds so I don’t think the girl is a vampire. We take her home & tuck her in – the mother pays pretty good.

Day 4 –
Again they wake us up to start complaining – stupid town without coffee.
The Gravedigger & town priest are on hand to piss us all right off with jibberjabber and nonsense. I duck out of this bullshit to go to Pretty’s house and look around. There’s a secret place behind the wallpaper where there’s this painted on door - or burned in door-picture that was hidden. It has a keyhole & I’m pretty annoyed & puzzled to see it. Stupid magic door. Turns out Pretty has a key stashed in her jewelry box. I give it a thought, take the key. Pretty & her servant are all “Buh Buh Buh!” About me tearing up their wallpaper but they give me the key when I ask kinda nice. I figure it’s a magic key for some kind of magic door & so I pitch it in the latrine. Thought about the river but that whole bit Crazy kept saying about the river full of eyes made me reconsider.
We figure we’re up against some kind of magic guy which freaks us out. My thought is – maybe we can find something out at the witch’s house. This is all I’ve got to go on besides the town charlatan & this lunatic gravedigger who are after us about nonsense. The two of them probably couldn’t find their own asses between them – but they’re all on and on about curses and the old mayor who used to live in the castle. I believe in Swampy so we figure, let’s go back to the swamp, let her figure out where the witch house is – then we’ll see if she knows something – cause she seemed like she was upset about that island an all before we killed her. So we go to the marsh again – but Swampy is stumped. I get the idea that we spin the witch’s head and go where it points – since its magic and all. Magic stuff… Man I don’t know? I don’t get paid enough for that.

Luckily Crazy keeps the head on hand with her other collection of trophies so we spin the head on a flat stone to see where it points – figuring that’s the way to find the house. First spin & the head starts yelling and screaming – making all kinda noise. This sets Crazy off and she shakes it by the hair till it shuts up. We go in the direction it was pointing though. Supposedly the head kept breathing – that’s what Bismuth says – Me? I think she’s doing it somehow cause she’s crazy. I caught her doing some kind of puppet show with it before. The Marsh & the town & the dreams – they have a bad effect on people I guess. That’s my opinion.
Troll
We wander off and end up getting ambushed by more of those fire-hating things we saw before. A lot of them. One was almost too much for us & against 20 we decide trying to talk is the thing to do. Well, I do. I’m the best at talking so I get tapped- plus it’s lucky these guys speak Giant which I’m familiar with. The main one has two mouths growing out of its face & neck, says he’s Grishgrash the grampa of trolls – which is what these guys are. So what I get out of them is that the witch was Grishgrash’s wife or maybe all of their wife? Or mother- they get real weird about it. I tell them that there’s a problem on the island and we need to check on her house for clues cause there’s a magic guy who’s evil or something.
They decide that they’ll take us to the witch house & then eat us after. We go in, where they won’t follow & I get the idea that I’ll cook for them. I say to Grishgrash – he’s making bad choices eating raw people – I know how to cook something that’ll curl his toes nice. Luckily the old witch had a chicken at her house – one of those scaly ones that bites – I’ve cooked with them before- they’re tough but they take to spice easy. Takes three whacks to get its head off and it bit like the dickens – but I get to cooking while Kisa and Bismuth sack the house for cues.
Kisa comes up with a chest that’s locked – there’s no key… Whatever – let Crazy break it open. I’m not going to even think about keys ever again. You ask me from now on? There is no such thing as keys.
kisa
Chest was full of witch-swords & we take them. I do a good job at cooking & the trolls seem to like it – they say we can go & Grishgrass gives me a fingerbone – says if I break it the trolls will come to help out. He wants to learn cooking but is scared of fire – I let him know you can get meat to ‘cook’ if you soak it up in juice – he says they’ll try that out. Old trick – southern style cooking is an art, I don’t mind spreading out this way.

We get back to town just in time for everyone to be going on about how Pretty & her ma & pa are dead.

Day 6 – Crazy Bismuth is all on about this dream she had about Pretty’s house being haunted & bad, and how in her dream the door that I found was trying to open & then there were monster-demon things tormenting her and she kept fading in and out of existence & how she saw me there, in her dream. Maybe she did. Maybe I had a dream like that too. But I have the sense to keep shut about it. Nobody likes hearing about your dreams.

Still no coffee so I start with whiskey. The mayor is all “there are no such thing as skeletons that jump up on you in abandoned castles.”
I lay it on real professional. “You hired us as contractors & we are telling you there is a problem. If you don’t want to listen that is fine, but we are professionals so job done.”
He says well maybe there are skeleton castles. Agrees to go over with us so we can show him.

Of course there’s no skeletons at all when we get there. The door Crazy broke down looks just like it did before she ever put an axe to it and the mayor is acting like we’re idiots. Except then we see Pretty up in the window. Now me – I think – the stupid broad kidnapped herself again. I go to say just this to the Mayor after we go and find her and then he starts laughing like an asshole and flies right out the window. He’s a fucking witch too. Magic guy turns out to be the mayor! Who was evil as hell or something.

Pretty’s all wrong & starts biting & clawing poor Kisa & who tries shooting down the mayor out the window. Crazy & me go after her & she walks out the back window – like, just walks on the wall all no-good at all. Like a spider.  All the while Kisa is freaking out about something outside.

Turns out the mayor conjured up all the dead guys the first time and now the courtyard is full of them. He flies up to the window and whammies us with some kind of magic cold that all but killed us. Kisa calls on nature to save her & the vines in the courtyard grow up around the tower door – Crazy runs down to hold the door against these things as they march through thorns getting all torn to hell. Kisa shoots out the window again and says she got the mayor – I’m not taking chances – I jump out the window and get Pretty between me and the ground – I get her head off and she turns to ashes – too late to break my fall – the rocks hurt like hell – but I get on my feet and start running for where the mayor fell or landed. Magic guy. Fucker.

We run to find him – Kisa’s faster than me – and find him – but it’s not a real guy at all – some kind of ghost figure with fake money! He’s got tricks. We realize Crazy is fighting off a few hundred dead guys and run back to get her. I climb up and in and head downstairs where she’s going berserk on these dead guys with her magic witch sword. I’m starting to think about breaking the magic finger and hoping the Trolls weren’t just playing some shitty joke on me – but I tap Bismuth on the shoulder so as not to get killed by surprising her while she’s having her battle-fit. “We’re going out the upstairs window.” I barely finish telling her before she grabs me and runs me up the stairs – the dead guys are chasing up behind us and I catch it in the face when a really big one uses a little one to hit me with. We dive out the third story window & run to catch up with Kisa – run to the boat and then find it gone. Of course. The Mayor!
Evil Mayor
We swim back to town & the mayor is having some kind of torch & pitchfork meeting to try and pin all this bullshit on us. Kisa sneaks on up ahead in the shadows while Bismuth helps me out – she’s got eyes like an eagle. I get two arrows into the Mayor before he can say boo and Crazy runs up to make sure he’s really dead this time – the magic sonofabitch. She gets up there in time for him to come awake just briefly and then… Well he blows the fuck up – Bismuth is down all her eybrows & hair – townsfolk are running away from the fire & the houses are all going up like tinder. I see this… devil, I guess, shoot out of the explosion & I get a couple of arrows into it just as it goes and stings Bismuth – that’s the thing that finally brings her down – after the skeletons, the cold, the undead, jumping out windows & finally getting blown the hell up – she just can’t take anymore and is KOed. I dot the devil-things eyes with a couple of arrows and it goes up in fire & bad smells. Kisa’s on hand to use her nature-whammy to bring Bismuth back – when there’s The Fucking Mayor- again. He starts like he’s laughing at us or something acting all scared – so I let Bismuth get a little revenge- he goes down again and starts bleeding out – I realize this is against our contract – so I say to Crazy Bismuth, as she’s going for his head, to cut his hands off so he can’t do magic on us anymore. We tie him up and Swampy does her nature juju and he wakes back up.

That’s how we saved the town.
kingtycoon: (Default)
So if you don't understand, let me explain - a little. I made this Game - The Game of the North (You'd love it). Now, if you know about RPGs you might know that the player's guide traditionally comes loaded up with long, long lists of spells. I, personally, hate that - its lame to learn all the spells in the book, it's tedious to have to study them all for exploits & so on. Plus maybe a lot of the time you don't play a spellcasting character - so a waste of time/space for everyone.

My solution was to come up with a system for making your own spells using a few guides & indicators. I really thought that would appeal to people - in particular the thing I wanted to address was this: As the GM, I run the game and work on it when I'm not running it - I straight up love that shit, I really do, it's one of the main things about me that I like doing. Now, as a player I find, I like having something to do between sessions - hence my old Spellbook Project -

My assumption in putting together the Game of the North was - give people things to do away from the table - let them engage a deeper way. Now. That's not for everyone. Which is, whatever, a shame? A shame for me anyhow. In playtesting it seems players want to have spells explained & made for them. So I'm using the neato rules I came up with and I'm making up spells. But I think, it's probably worth it for me to assemble my spellbook pictures & whatnot into some coherent element within this - just so I can put 'em in a book and people can have it as a possession - so I'm working on that! Anyhow The Blue Book is the example section for casting magic spells about summoning. Here's the whole explanation of that:
Read more... )
PAZUZ
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Pazuz2
Pazuz1
Pazuz4
Pazuz5
Pazuz3
ASTARAT
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Astarat6
Astarat5
Astarat4
Astarat3
Astarat1
Astarat2
kingtycoon: (Default)
Here's the first part of The Blue Book
Conjuration of Mot: You call into existence the god-thing of the Qlp of Azure Mot, the demon of accidents & destruction. The world-shaker, typhoon maker, the implacable trickster of destruction. Mot is the chaos of catastrophe personified. It appears when commanded & unleashes its bizarre stochastic harms upon your adversaries. Mot is a being of curses, destruction & pain. It appears, when commanded to, as a gaunt man with numerous obvious injuries, near death but laughing. This being has an unspeakable power in the world and so a Wizard that is not suicidally reckless only summons the barest shade of Mot – thus it appears ghostly and indistinct in the world when called. Mot must be compelled to obedience during its time in the world but it does not struggle or evince any kind of resentment so long as it is allowed to unleash its terrible curses at will. The conjuration of Mot requires that certain signs & incantations be uttered but otherwise is cast in a single round.
Level: 2 Duration: 2 Rounds
Effects: The ghostly manifestation of Mot appears for two rounds and it attacks on all of its turns using its curses. It has 1 HD or 2 HD if called by a chaotic wizard.
Mot Pasxionixta XAOSI
HP – 5 (1HD) AC – 12 Saves – 18 Initiative 16 Chaotic
Attack: The Shade of Mot uses spells to attack. It is the manifestation of the magical power of Curses and only uses curses to attack. Gaze of Mot – Deals 2d4 damage to a single target. Scream of Mot – Inflicts d4 damage to a 10’ area. Curse of Mot – Inflicts Blindness or Deafness on a single target. Mot’s Galvanic Curse – Deals 1d4 to one target, and then 1d4 to another target irrespective of line of sight. Mot’s Phlogiston Curse – Deals 1d4 damage to a single target which bursts into flame.
The Shade of Mot is a weak shadow of the real being behind it, this aspect is indistinct and barely real, but this belies the vast power that exists behind the being. If a chaotic caster (i.e.: one willing to risk great danger) summons the being – all damage dice that Mot inflicts using its curses are increased to d6’s.
Bluebook
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Conjuration of Shammat: You conjure demons from the dark side of the Blue Moon, the Qlp of the Pasxionixta XAOSI. Shammat is the general of the XAOSI and commands many, many legions. When summoned Shammat appears in the form of a great rider, a warrior riding upon a dragon, clad in armor & wielding a dozen weapons in its twenty hands. Shammat is imposing, but it does not unleash its own martial power upon the world, it is too responsible & benign for that, rather, the conjurer must impose upon Shammat to release the least of its warriors upon the world for a brief skirmish in aid of the conjurer. Shammat cannot be bargained with, will not be threatened, and cannot be defeated by anything short of its true contenders – that is, other Mondragora, Gods or Titans. Shammat’s legions must be tested in war often in preparation for the foretold battles that will end the universe. As such he is pleased to lend his warriors to the world to determine which of his warriors are fit for this great battle. Shammat appears, when summoned, gives a piercing cry and releases these soldiers. The warriors of Shammat come in the form of metal-bound humanoids, beings bound in iron, bronze, silver & gold each according to their ranks in Shammat’s legions. When Shammat is called he makes an accounting of the battlefield and determines which of his units to deploy. In this respect, Shammat manifests the magical discipline of Summoning.
Level: 4 Duration: 4 Rounds
Effects: No mortal wizard has ever been able to summon Shammat itself. Instead a token communication is offered to the Demon-King and it responds according to its own wishes by granting one of the following effects.
Ironmen of Shammat Pasxionixta XAOSI
HP – 5 (1HD each) AC – 14 Saves – 18 Initiative 16 Chaotic
4 Ironmen are summoned
Attack: The ironmen are armed with a pair of swords each. On their initiative turns they rush at opponents and make two attacks (+3 to hit, d8+1 damage).
Bronzemen of Shammat Pasxionixta XAOSI
HP – 10 (2HD each) AC – 16 Saves – 16 Initiative 118 Chaotic
2 bronzemen are summoned
Attack: The bronzemen are armed with a pair of shortbows each (they have 6 arms). On their initiative turns they fire two arrows apiece. (+5 to hit, d8+2 damage)
Silverman of Shammat Pasxionixta XAOSI
HP – 20 (4HD) AC – 18 Saves – 16 Initiative 20 Chaotic
1 silverman is summoned
Attack: The Silverman has 6 arms and makes 3 battle-axe attacks per round (+5 to hit for d10+2 damage each)
Goldman of Shammat Pasxionixta XAOSI
HP – 20 (4HD) AC – 18 Saves – 16 Initiative 20 Chaotic
1 goldman is summoned
Attack: The goldman uses a huge bow that requires all six of its hands to properly use. It attacks once per turn the arrows launched by the goldman are huge & have a difficult time striking individual targets, however they are very destructive to buildings & fortificaitons, the goldman can breach walls & collapse small buildings with its attacks.
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Conjuration of Adon: You conjure a manifestation of the being Adon – worshipped in the most ancient ages as a god, though it is no god. Adon is a spirit of beauty & vanity whose weakness is ornamentation & wealth. It has power over the magic of Transformation & makes a fair teacher. The manifestation of Adon is 4 HD & lingers for a few hours before departing. It uses its actions to cast transforming magic at everyone it sees altering their appearance to suit it. The Manifestation of Adon regards all beings on this plane of existence as its lovers and uses its magic to create them as brides. Adon can be talked to and reasoned with exclusively in the Vada language. The summoning of Adon requires 10 minutes to cast & an offering of 400 Sp worth of jewelry, clothing or other finery has to be proffered. No control is exerted over the demon once he is summoned, he can only be entreated, usually by offering him riches or sexual gratification.
Level: 4 Duration: 4 Hours
Effects: Summons the 4Hd (3hd for non-chaos summoners) Demon Adon.

Adon Pasxionixta XAOSI
HP – 24 (4HD) AC – 16 Saves – 10 Initiative 18 Chaotic
Attack: Spells, Adon casts level 4 or lower Transformations once per round & knows some of its own Transformations (which it may teach). It favors a few spells: Make Delightful – Transforms any person, object or creature into a more beautiful (to Adon) version of itself. This is a permanent transformation of the plain into the beautiful. Bride of Adon – This transformation causes a target to become immediately fecund and for an unmovable ring of gold to appear on their finger. Their clothing & accoutrements change, becoming gaudy, garish & fine. Warform – Adon changes itself into another creature – usually into a warrior-type PC of 4HD or fewer. It retains this form for up to 4 rounds. Jewelfood – By some alien means Adon consumes jewels & treasure – transforming these into a part of its own body. Doing so destroys the jewels but invigorates Adon – this technique is peculiar to the demon & has little in the way of practical use.

Adon1
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kingtycoon: (Default)
Fabcity Title

Catalat wakes & starts dreaming, these are her days. She wakes & starts dreaming in the great garden of her family's home. She sometimes sees her parents, the servants say that they are her parents & she believes the servants, who have after all raised her and have never been deceitful. They have been misleading though. She wakes in her huge ornate bed, in her huge ornate room in her huge ostentatious house. It's the only place she's ever been but it is obviously both huge & ostentatious - even to one who's never experienced anything else. The manor spreads over the land a marble & crystal monstrosity.

When she sleeps she is aware - conversations are had over her supine form, discussions involving her, and she is asked questions which she answers, though asleep. Though asleep she experiences the realities of her life. When she wakes she begins dreaming.

One day she wakes not in the huge ornate bed, but rather on the grim folding cot in the cramped grim room full of cots & other sleepers. She does not know any of them. The servants enter the cramped grim room, which is after all, only a canvas tent. These servants wear long knives & animal skins, they are not gentle. They take Catalat & the others out into the sun, out in the sun there is a camp in a rough clearing surrounded by a tropical forest, surrounded by snowy mountains on all sides. A river flows nearby. In the middle of the camp is a concrete pylon with thick cables attached to it, they rise into the sky at an angle and are lost to sight somewhere off in the misty skyward horizon. A ship is moored at the pylon, it is held in midair on the cable.

The servants load the ship which has a bank of mechanical doors on its side with unmarked wooden crates. Catalat & the others watch this happen and are held back by the armed servants. Then, when the crates are loaded, she is pushed onto the ship along with the others. They are not gentle, but they are not cruel.

The servants drive the passengers up the back stair, a spiral stair of bronze grillework which lies beyond the banks of wooden benches with their blown out wicker caning. The ship is old & tattered but has an element of faded ostentation about it. On the upper deck there are more chairs still. She sits & so do the others. She can see through a window that the ship attaches to the cable by a mechanism made of bronze & iron. It is held aloft by many brazen fists, each as big as her head. She sits patiently because this is her principal occupation, having been raised to the task of calm patient waiting.

The fists begin to move & clack, the ship lists and judders and climbs the cable into the air. This is frightening & thrilling. The other passengers all start & mutter, none of them speak a language Catalat knows. The ship climbs into the clouds, there is a heavy mist in the air within the ship, a clammy fog that conceals even her hand in front of her face. Catalat falls asleep & still does not dream.

FUC Humors
Her body changes in her sleep. She feels it happen. Her face & limbs, hair & teeth, everything about her becomes more symmetrical. Her shadow grows, longer & longer, her hair & eyes loose their pigment & become part of her own shadow. Her flesh becomes more taut on her bones, which grow stronger & lighter. She is aware, without knowing that her physiology is gaining another layer of expression, that this transformation was within her all along.

When she wakes she begins dreaming, she can see that the others have changed themselves, they resemble themselves all the more. One man steams with a burning inner heat, another with a tremendous internal cold. One casts light from her eyes, another is taller & more rigid, anothers' face is a muddle of mismatched pieces, and another sweats & salivates freely, dripping wet.

The ship is descending through the sky into a vast, unknowably vast city. It spreads out, titanic buildings & plazas, forests & waterways in every direction - it is immensity itself. On every horizon plumes of fire & smoke rise and the city has no boundary, save the sky, through which the ship descends.

It comes near to ground in a great plaza surrounded on all sides by towering buildings of various descriptions. Below the car, where it settles at it's pylon, is a great thick skin of red glass - a circle of heavy glass that must be a hundred feet across. The servants come, they are wrapped in scarves, they gather the altered passengers and push them from the ship. Then push out the crates. Then the ship departs, leaving for the sky.

Fabcity Traincar

The plaza is surrounded by four buildings, one is a gigantic cube rising high into the sky, ten or twelve stories, it is a bare concrete edifice with regularly spaced windows, between the windows are a fringe of Red Circles, the barest decoration. She takes a wooden crate and pushes it across the glass toward a bank of immense glass & steel doors that fronts the building. Inside, there is a small forest of beautiful tropical plants lying across a plain of smooth polished concrete. A wide lobby with a single concrete desk, the plants dividing out the interior of the building from this great portico. She examines the plants in the dim interior - they are silk, and between them there are concrete stairs that descend further into the building. Another of the passengers has dragged a crate behind the rectangular concrete desk.

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The stairs descend into a sunken lounge with a very large circular bar in the center. scattered throughout, lying on thick red carpets are circular sofas, also red. Catalat finds that the red of the room gives off a faint illumination, a slight smoldering that allows her to see as if in dim twilight. She finds in the cardinal directions of the lounge that there are stairs to other lobbies, through silken plants, and between these cardinal edges there are spiraling stairs that climb up to a raised mezzanine, and then beyond, into a ceiling. She takes her articles from the Crate, including a live hen, and ascends the stairs as far as they will take her.

She finds herself in the corner intersection of two hallways with walls painted different shades of red, the floor made of shining white tile. A series of doors lies on the righthand wall of the righthand hallway and the lefthand hall of the lefthand hallway. She takes a sinister approach and looks a the first door on the left. The mechanism that keeps the door closed or would have has been broken & dismantled, the door opens into a bright room full of mattresses & sofas all upon thick red carpet amidst enameled white walls. The windows are broken out & a cooling breeze is upon the room. Two doors lie to the left and two to the right. From her left she hears the bleating of a goat and the squealing of piglets. Through those doors she finds a pair of rooms, one a strange elaborate bath wherin a goat is tethered. The other is an elaborate, fanciful kitchen, in which a sow & her piglets is installed. These chambers are all a strange blend of exotic fancy cluttered with the modest implements of a rustic living. It is jarring & peculiar. Dust & rubbish is everywhere. Catalat decides to tether the goat, her hen rides on the nanny goats horns as she begins to lead them out of the room. As she does so, activity outside draws her attention.

Another ship has descended on the plaza below, the red-circle plaza which the window looks out upon. This ship has no servants however, it has enormous men, like gorillas, or apes like men - Ogres, huge brachiating figures dressed in metal & rags they descend on the plaza and attack the few passengers who remained there, snatching up the crates and then departing in their ship leaving behind the mauled body of the one passenger who attempted resistance, a tiny, futile figure streaming light from its eyes as it was crushed by indifferent giants. The ship leaves and a trio of black forms descends from another building framing the plaza. These fall to the ground like the shadows of mantas, huge & with a visible mass, and as these dark pools fall over the red glass circle they attain another dimension become the forms of standing figures, preening birdlike, they surround the body of the dead man. Catalat sees that they are physicians.
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She rushes back to the plaza to see what they are doing - finds that the man has been flayed, his organs drawn out to some unknowable purpose. The Krow-Doktors talk to her in stilted complex voices that grind in the air. "We've taken the essence form it that we need take all else as you require." And they fly back to their perch, hidden on the nearby roofs. Catalet falls asleep & begins to act without dreaming. She takes the one whole arm that remained from the body's autopsy and removes the bones, these she modifies and alters, creating a series of interlocking bone fragments that can be arranged as a puzzle with the final form being a weapon. Armed with the Bone Puzzle Sword she feels safer and goes back to dreaming. She returns to retrieve her Hen & Goat and goes about exploring the rest of the Red Circle Tower.article-0-183AA43900000578-777_964x938


On the fourth floor she finds another unlocked suite which faces out down an alleyway where the Red-Line-Cable-Car had traveled, she can see it bumbling off in the distance, as well as the roof across the street where the Krow-Doktors linger, counting their vials. As well she can see the iridescent, barely present cuckoo-men who have been lurking in the room, looking out from hiding! She has broken their cover and they whistle & shriek at her.
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They are almost translucent, the Cuckoo Featherhood being all but intangible, their mass diffusing around them - the pair are surrounded by halos of dust. They shriek their bird-muzzles, whistle incoherently and are immediately angry for Catalet has stolen their goat! It seems there will be a confrontation, but the Tangbile Hawks are cowards. They leap out the shattered windows and drift, one up, one down to other portions of the building, crying out their inscrutable yelps - "Thief! Thief!"

The Krow-Doktors offer arbitration - a whole jury & prosecution of birdmasked strangers. The Krow-Doktor Bensalem says resolute & certain in three voices at once (since who knows how many mouths or throats lie on the other side of his mask) that possession is the only law known, the only rule enforceable, here, in The Fabulous Unknown City
kingtycoon: (Default)




Dimension Door

 

Dimension Door 1
Dimension Door 2
Dimension Door 3
Dimension Door 4
Dimension Door 5
Dimension Door 6
Dimension Door 7


Dimension Door
Magic-User Level 4
Duration: Instantaneous
Range: 10’
This is a minor version of the Teleport spell, allowing the caster to instantly transfer the
Subject from its current location to any other
known spot within 360’. The being always
arrives at exactly the spot desired by the caster Unwilling subjects are granted a saving throw.
An unknown or unseen place may be specified. For example, 100’ south and 20’ high, but if the destination is already occupied by a solid body, the spell fails.


Prismatic Spray

 
Prismatic Spray 1
Prismatic Spray 2
Prismatic Spray 3
Prismatic Spray 4
Prismatic Spray 5
Prismatic Spray 6
Prismatic Spray 7
Prismatic Spray
Magic-User Level 7
Duration: Instantaneous
Range: 70’
This spell causes seven shimmering, inter- twined, multicolored beams of light to spray from the caster’s hand. The beams are inter- twined in a “fan” of light that is 70’ long, 5’ wide at the origin and 15’ wide at the terminal end.
Each beam has a different power.
Creatures in the area of the spell with 8 Hit Dice or less are automatically blinded for 2d4 turns. Every creature in the area is randomly struck by one or more beams, which have additional effects that are identical to the same color of the globes produced by the Magic-User spell Prismatic Sphere
Roll Color Effect
1 Red Deals 10 points damage
2 Orange Deals 15 points damage
3 Yellow Deals 40 points damage
4 Green Poison
5 Blue Turns to stone
6 Indigo Causes Insanity
7 Violet Creatures Sent to Another Dimension
8 Two Colors Roll Twice, ignoring this result


One thing about these rules that govern what spells you know and can cast is that your intelligence limits your highest level casting. 7th level spells require a 17 Intelligence - out of a possible 18. I personally presume that I'm at about a 16 on a good day, though others have suggested I'm smarter than that. Now, I've generated my list up to 9th level, meaning that I'd be up to an unnaturally high intelligence score, and that's something that I think would be... Attainable - through uncanny effort.

As it is, I'm telling a tale on myself - because my system for generating these lists put a 4th level spell in my 7th level slot- Dimension Door. Not that it isn't a pretty great spell. Portals, vanishing, teleportaion! aggressive teleportation - "I send you to a place in the sky!" That's mean right there, that's terror. Plus I can, what, Nightcrawler around, go where I want, be anywhere. Rob all the vaults, sneak into all the movies! Of course teleporting has all kinds of existential questions associated with it and those would be fun and instructive to parse out, experimentally. Do I lose my scars when I go through the door?

Besides that I've got Prismatic Spray. I haven't had a real fuck you spell since 1st level and Magic Missile. Sure I can do all kinds of weird gross things already - I can sicken people and make them love me, I can even talk to your houseplants- or teleport you to the middle of the sky. But Prismatic Spray - even when it goes easy on you, when I get you with just that one perfect shade of red - it stings. Now, let's say I hit you with the green color - and remember, that I'm attacking you with upsetting colors - how nuts is that? - but if you get zapped with the green one, you're poisoned, to death - and if I zap you with the blue you're stone now. Statue, stone - decorative. That's if you avoid me making you just go Crazy. Dirty stuff right there - "Be Schizophrenic now, I'm the worst ever enemy!" Of course the violet ray - you look into that violet ray and there you are, in another dimension. No bodies, no evidence, nothing, you're away. Will you ever come back? Can you? Do I care? Better than that even - let's say I snag you with two colors well fuck you your made of rock and also insane, or just, I dunno, singed and also in another dimension - Experience that fucker - Go to another dimension and be hurt there!
kingtycoon: (Default)
It's been hectic and weird so recaps haven't been a top priority for me - still, shit has Gone Down for the party in their third and fourth days in the Fabulous Unknown City.

So session 4 was kind of a wash - I misapprehended who would attend and built a jumping/climbing puzzle for players who didn't actually even show up. Still they did get to meet B. Bones - who appeared at the temple of the Being of Nothingness to treat with the ghoulish priestesses there. B. Bones brought them the twisted bodies of the dead - people who looked like they'd fallen from a great height. He introduced himself - "Billy Bones!" "Bollinger Bones!" "Bruce Bones!" And spoke like an aged scat-man. His deal was that he was obviously dead - broken bones, twisted up and smashed, levitating an inch off the air and his limbs flailing around ragdoll style. He asked them for a favor and demonstrated strange knowledge of secret facts.
onion_news2343_jpg_250x1000_q85 He also was very encouraged about having a cane and made some jokes - he noticed Wincey the Alchemists cane and said: "I got a new cane, it's my Nova-cane! Now I have two canes, they are my Co-Canes!"
The he sang this song:
and in fact I did sing this song at the session and it was awesome. I am not great at singing though and we had to simulate B. Bone's abilities by dice rolls - fortunately the die showed a 20 and the party joined his cause.

His cause was all about 'turning on' this special bridge. The special bridge, a metaphorical bi-frost made of fog pouring from a fountain - the fountain had to be turned on so that the fog would solidify and the bridge, a great viaduct over the city - would turn to solid rainbows and be traversable. This meant a lot of jumping and climbing and having fierce toucans bite your fingers as you tried climbing the tall mist-fountain - their nesting place. This was painful and took a long time - dice wise, it got very grindy because the poor players couldn't catch a break from their 20-sideds. They finally did succeed after reconfiguring their humors through alchemy and just in time too - for down the road (a road of golden grillework with empty coffee-stands and the like - like an abandoned boardwalk paradise). autumnspadaro282-1a Crossed with a golden fire-escape and a toucan infested fountain shooting off mist.

So running through here is Pro-Spender - a fat man in a green velvet suit with a frog mask who they've met before - it seems his gang got sidetracked and trapped in the strange twists and turns and ended up in Silver/Steel/Iron Monkey territory. ape
These guys were pretty terrifying/intimidating their move is that they stand totally still, partly meshed into the corrugated steel surroundings and then jump out suddenly and terrible - like a slasher from a slasher movie - and then karate the hell out of your face. This happened a lot and the Frogs and the Apes got into a big turf war with the PC's handling both sides with equal contempt. A Crow-Doktor-Alchemist was on hand to teach Wincey how to extract the Frog Draught from the "Human crucible of the ineffable substances" and the Iron Monkey Dose from the "Distillery, the flesh that mixes." There's a lot of meyhem in that game and it's fueled by alchemically active drugs that are everywhere and constantly available.
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Having defeated a couple of gangs the party takes a breath before continuing down into the Steel Monkey's foundry. There, it's hot and dangerous and full of variant steel-monkey types - pouring metal, striking hammers - robots and crazyness - they deal with it and win, victories and suffer no setbacks. This session involved a lot of traps and themed encounters with rhythms that had to be observed and managed- they did that all pretty skillfully. In the end they found a couple of mechanical hearts that were operating the bellows and the heat of the foundry - so they decided that it would be great to have the alchemist cut open one of the sorcerers to pull out his heart and stuff the ever-hot white-steel one in there. So there was drug fueled heart transplanting on the dirty floor of dark steel mill - and after the sorcerer was killed and revived a couple of times, he came back able to spit fire and endure harm.

Which gets me to today...
Untitled What should I do?

Well, the first act is almost up - they've encountered a bunch of the groups and confronted part of the nature of the city - hints have been dropped, gods have been killed and they've listened to a song sung by a ghost. They turned on the rainbow bridge and dealt with fierce toucans and performed heart transplants. In the grand tradition of my exceedingly Over The Top style of game running they're at a place where I need to simultaneously bring things to a climax and give them some respite so that they can actually plan their interactions with the primary groups and have a base from which to plan. They'll consider the foundry - but I'll talk them out of that pretty fast in the opening of the next session. What they'll face instead is...
 This.
They've been facing these violent, crazy gangs of people who are ruled by the different humors and seasons - Steel Monkeys (winter) Green Frogs (spring) Red Fox (autum) and so on. And they've faced a couple of different teams of people involved in the metaphysical planes- death ladies and basement priests - they're getting acquainted, a little. Now they're going to face the Fleshy Pig Monsters - these fucking things own this paradise-like farm that's probably really similar to a parking deck and water slide. These are people who are pig-infused maybe? There's going to be straight up call-backs to Animal Farm - just as in the foundry I threw down Bleak House quotes. Maybe that's the theme this Campaign has been looking for - lit-rature? Could be. Anyhow these pig guys are a mess - they're all fleshcreatures who burst open in a cross between Tetsuo from Akira, The Xenomorph, John Carpenter's The Thing and... Pigs? I guess pigs, Napoleon and Snowball. Once they're eradicated the team can have a sweet base to operate out of and I can throw them a big, fun straight up fight for most of the session - which will gratify a few of them.
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kingtycoon: (Default)
The players, having journeyed up the strange cable-car into the mists, have spent a single night in the Fabulous Unknown City, meeting a few members of some strange gangs - the bird-masked surgeons of the Sanguine Execution Gang, the brachiating brutes of the Yellow Hexagon Line & the Fox-Masked Summertime Fire Degenerates.  Mostly though, they spent their first session getting to the City and camping out overnight - expending all the stores and supplies of trade-goods that they'd been sent with..
Entrypointfinal
They'd arrived at the Yellow-Hexagon terminal - though they'd never come to find that out themselves.  They'd never call it by that name in their time there - they'd simply understand it to be a strange & terrifying new place to meet strange and terrifying new people.

The Fabulous Unknown City serves most often as a gulag in the empire, a prison for the most dangerous and undesirable people. Sometimes a deposed noble or an extra bastard of a high-house gets sent there, and sometimes there are explorers and surveyors - but the party all chose to be criminals and mercenaries.

Eyonon - fresh faced and boyish!  A naive sort without much experience or sense.  A sorcerer of the Flower Court
Barnaby - a stone killer, a hardcore prisoner that no jail yet has held.  Rogue of the highest degree.
Wincey - the Nervous, Mad Alchemist & Inventor
Edard - the lunatic sent away by a hostile world - a sorcerer of the Dreamer Coven
Vulcanus - the half-trulk mercenary, the steel-toothed marauder who was asked to go and not sent, and who went, for the sake of going.

Vulcanus, wandering off in the night binging on the drugs sent along as trade materials - vanishes by the light of dawn.  Fortunately he is replaced by another refugee from the cable-car - Diodenne - the bravest woman of all - who went to the prison out of love and duty.  Together they explore the suddenly desolate region outside these grand abandoned structures.

(I should point out that I kept using 'Tower City' & 'Pubic Square' & 'Windermere Station' as size references for them, but none of them got it - suburbanite car-drivers!  They've no sense of the scale of things - and so, the mat and the tiles were brought out.)

Inside the yellow-glass 'barn' the great Yellow Hexagon terminal is the spare, but pleasing and airy open structure - of a multi-story building composed of steel and glass and open within like a vast atrium - or, Birdcage- as named by Wincey - who spotted one of the surgeon crows going in and who wanted to pursue.

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It had seats like these all over, but with yellow hexagon patterns

Once inside they could not but overhear the loud carnival barking and the rising cheering mutter of a crowd gathered at the farther end. A great large building - twisted and filled with soft furnishings and disturbed kiosks - the terminal is by a far margin the largest building any of them have seen. Without too much hesitation they approach the raucous scene.

There is a tall circular desk, high, so that the tallest among them cannot touch the top - and mounted on the desk is a spinning wheel with numbers marked upon it, colors and an arrow - it is some kind of a game. On the chalkboard surface that covers the outside of the desk there are names and wagers noted - being noted by a Large & Boisterous man, walking with a limp and a heavy spear as a cane, he calls all to the wheel to gamble. "Chance! And Fate! Chance & Fate! Will you, dear guest in this borrowed house, will you? Will Chance favor you, will you be beloved by luck? Or does fate have a quest for you to fulfill? Will you be governed by fate and destined to win or lose? How can you know if you do not play? How can you know if you don't test your mettle against Chance & Fate!?" He's pretty persuasive this Lucien Yellowhay Arcingspray (one of the Sons of the Kannyltine, dressed in a military uniform, like finding a soldier dressed in confederate grays). The other players, of the game-within-the-game are present and ready, they've put in their secret stakes ("Your stake is secret but you can't stake a secret, here we game according to the rules of the pentacle - we only wager what you can carry in your pocket, and what've you got, what's you gots in your pockets?") The players are so:

Profligate Spender – AKA Pro Spender (Spring-Frog Gangster Leftennant) In his huge green velvet suit and huge green frog mask, accompanied by his huge gang of enforcers and bodyguards.

Numis Aurr (Cable-Car Warlord of the Red-Triangle Line) A big man, and a hard one, he's got the teardrop tattoos in the red-triangle pattern. Does he fear to tread on the Yellow-Hex line? No he does not, he carries his railroad-mace and swaggers with his thigh-sized brachiating forearms flexed prominently. His 5 member gang all the same, but meaner and quieter, they growl less and mutter barely audible curses, eyes on the windows.

Fabulyo Drunkletes (Homesteader, an old lady, wiry & with a wheat-sprig dangling from her mouth) She's been around for a long time, in the game for to take her chances and should chance decree - take home a new pig or goat.

Sunday Pentacles (a Zero - when they ask where she stays she points at her boots - long and lean, strong and clean, to her there is no in-between). Maybe she's got a heroic streak, and maybe she just behaves like any woman who grew up in a prison. Immediately she likes Eyonon and takes him for herself, there's a good deal of inappropriate touching and groping as a man born in the forest courting a woman raised in a prison are bound to have ludicrous misunderstandings and farcical fumblings. She slaps a bracelet on him and declares him her prize. They are together now.

Morts Vigrous (Sanguine Crow - they followed him in, he plays barely at all, and is not spoken to or engaged at all, just the way he likes it.)

Yellow Hexagon Station

The game has some rules is determined by the roll of the 20 sided - there are more chances for the house to win than the players - and desperate and without much goods to wager (my error, but theirs too - they never did try to gather loot) they only wager for the first round and never do quite win. Wincey starts a feud with Pro-Spender and it's only kept from bloodshed by the intervention of the many, many guards and heavies in the room. Edard - the only player in the second round manages to lose his stake - the party's supply of water - and finally recalls his mage-hand spell when he tries with his last secret wealth to participate in the 3rd round of the game. Foolish, foolish players... Indeed, when Sunday & Eyonon together win what is behind door #1 (a giant's corpse, 12 feet tall at least and decked out in martial finery - a huge sword and axe & all - and more than that, mummified in honey & wax (they find it to be full of bees - a giant armored beehive)) and Edard is given the choice of Doors #2 and #3 - he utterly spaces on the Monty Haul problem and summarily wins a goat!

Of course, in the City, wherever 10 or more are gathered, So To are the Priests of Below, the Basement Torturers, The Pontiffs of Pain! Up from the basement they come - and the assembled gamblers groan in dismay - "There they come, to break up our fun, let's scatter and go." This idea is a winning one, or would be - but for the sudden reappearance of the Yellow-Hex monorail gang! They arrive on the cables hand over hand and their cable-car comes screeching up the line, bristling with warriors, the way out is no way out now!

A melee ensues- the players have a good deal of trouble with the whipping, muttering priests from the basement. They're entangled and harassed and poor Wincey ends up retreating to behind one of the prize-doors to rock and mutter, fingers in his ears, hopeful of not being called to the darkness. For the unutterable muttering of the priests from the platforms below, from th winding marble stairs has in it a terrible compulsion - "come into the dark and take your beating." It says - and the vicious brutality of institutional authority prevails over Dodenne and Barnaby and Sunday - who all choose to descend and all choose to be whipped and harmed - this despite their valiant efforts at fighting off the priests - indeed Barnaby is a stone-cold slayer of men cutting them apart with his prison-shiv swords - and yet, he knows his place is in the prison, so down the stairs he goes.
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In the end they are absconded off - body-surfed to the electric canal. The lower platforms house canals, watery through-ways that are charged in some fashion with an electrical force. The priests take the players and NPCs in turn - giving them the DC baptisms. They're held to the water by the current and bend hideously and twist in agony - Fabuluyo, Sunday and Edard take their time on the Electrification Penance - The Railroad Trinity of 3 in the 1 watery rail. The others snap out of it and fleeing, along with poor, solitary Numis - the Red-Line-Rampager - they overcome the last of the priests (all dressed in tight gossamer robes of red and wrapped in chains and filled up in their guts with barbed wire) leap onto the canal - which somehow, miraculously holds them aloft and spirits them down the tunnel-road. Numis, taking his railroad mace with him, does likewise, vanishing in another direction.
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Wincey - fleeing the upstairs, hoping to at least die in company rather than alone in a closet - finds a metallic sled, steel on the bottom, vinyl cushion on top. It's hard to manage, but Dodenne is good at riding, she steadies it nice and they all ride the magic carpet of the electric canal to the place where it ends - at a tunnel collapse. There, they find a way up and out - a broken wall which leads to another chamber of different stone and different color, a basement broken into.

Sunday and Fabulyo - both electrocuted and whipped, but remaining with the party know about this - a little. They lay out some exposition, at last, and the party is given some knowledge to keep. Fabulyo is a farmer and part of a farming league - it's hard work traveling by foot - because somehow the surface roads switch and change in the city - the lines and the canals all stay the same, but they're owned by violent, insane gangs, so she doesn't lightly leave home. Meanwhile she recognizes Sunday - "You used to stay at my farm, when you was a little'un." "I think I did, maybe more than once." They play a little game (NPC on NPC being a conversation I do tend to avoid) about who they know in common - turning out to be a large number of people- the City is big, but not well populated. They together claim that the basement and the realm above looks like it belongs to the Dusty Sisters - the Queens of the Boneyards. "Not too mean, but they're a lot nicer if you bring 'em a body to et." Says Fabulyo, knowingly.

And there we prepare for round #3.

Tonight!

Apr. 9th, 2014 10:30 am
kingtycoon: (Default)
Entrypointmos

Tonight we set about our Journey to the Fabulous Unknown City!

When they arrive they'll be confronted with the strange new place which is... still largely undocumented by me.  The plan here is that I am creating a series of randomized cards, and once they leave one area they'll go through some confusing trouble and arrive in another - each is a map like the one above, randomly populated and created on-the-fly.  It's going to be a pretty special amount of improvising on my part but I think I'm ready.

I should really come up with their opening scene though.  They come out of the cable-car in the mists, they find themselves in a strange, broad plaza, the cables of the cars overhead spiderwebbing around a great pylon.  The cars open, the guards toss out several crates, hurriedly, militarily, then, they start tossing out the captives/prisoners/pilgrims/adventurers.  And then the cars go back, into the mist, down and away, down and away.  The players have only moments to look through the crates before the hexagon-plaza comes alive!  Bandits and madmen converge on the scene in a rush.  Ape-like men with huge arms brachiate along the cables, they carry great mallets with heads in the shape of bronze fists in their feet.  Masked men and women, dressed in ragged tatters and others still, stranger still, all emerge on the great, cracked glass hexagon and all do battle over the crates - they are terrifying and their calls and howls shake everyone to the bone.

From here I hope they can scatter to the empty buildings and look for or find things & people in the strange ruins.  I'm going to come ready with some descriptive turns of phrase to set the tone...
Dirty street with dust & trash windblown to one side, drifting up against doors & walls

  • Bricks from the road pulled up & repurposed for some unwholesome alter - still standing - but abandoned and stained with gore

  • A street of leaning buildings, stories high, braced at the peak by a squashed cable-car that looms overhead

  • A street of many shrines, elaborate and simple alike all with untouched cult statues of unknown monstrous gods.  The incense and candles tell that some still pray here

  • A carpeted street, rugs lying in layers - feet thick over cobbles - mouldering & lovely with some unseemly & damp writhing below

  • A street full of hanged bones, decayed and eaten by birds, the remnants of ten thousands of ancient executions or suicides

  • A viaduct looming over a road covered in crawling, climbing things - legions of ants & armadas of roaches, spiders, crabs and every other scuttling thing, the noise is incredible

  • A street full of broken minarets and lined on the sides with stacked bells of every imaginable size, broken from their mounts & precariously positioned

  • Streets covered in broken blades & axeheads a sound of metal striking metal over and over emanates from somewhere deep below

  • Structures pierced by great fruiting trees, giants of their species, the sky is cielinged by a long procession of every-type of bird.  They are uncannily silent

  • Seats, chairs, pews and sofas are arrayed out in the street, as if a great performance was given, long-long ago on the roof of the building at the end of the lane.

  • A gushing fountain gives a horrible, poisonous smell, what pours from its many spouts is white and caustic. There are many bodies

  • A series of animate statues that bow & move & genuflect - their mouths working mutely.  From elsewhere there is a long stream of sound - some barking, doglike language

  • The roads are ripped up & the underworks are exposed below - layers of huge tunnels, pipes & whole encampments in successive layers

  • A series of signs is marked throughout - they each lead from one location to another in a series of halfhearted riddles - at the end of the puzzle there is a dead man, the body has been used as a toilet

  • The doors & windows are all just cracked & fading facades - painted over disconcerting steel structures - steel cables & platonic shapes all solid and rusting

  • A series of collapsed bridges & viaducts have squashed the buildings, they are functional ramps- easy to climb as they are overrun by thick green vines

  • Several pendulums swing from a spiderweb of cables overhead, some are huge, some small, fist sized - they gyrate endlessly & never seem to touch

  • A gigantic bonfire unlit.  It stands many dozens of feet high, looming terribly, shaky & unsteady

  • Beads of glass - some burned, many colorful. They cling to all surfaces as if sprayed out or exploded.  There is almost a pattern to be found in there.

  • The persistent smell of woodfires but no smoke, no ash, no charred remnants.  The long palm fronds scuttle across the ground dried and fallen.

Exposition beyond this will be spotty and unclear.  They'll have to find their way out.

Still - I think I need something pleasing for them to have or get, some handy place to hide and find a way to 'safety'. 
kingtycoon: (Default)
abandoned_castle_by_ferdinandladera-d5q0690
So I'm getting ready to run a new game come April! It's exciting. I found a bunch of players all champing at the bit and I'm going to run the Fabulous Unknown City.

I always start with the people, places and things - try to come up with static locales and people to inhabit them - and then from there - evolve motivations and plan interactions. So this is the main design document for this game. To be manipulated and referenced in an ongoing way. Fun.

The Zeros - (AKA - NPCs and PC draw-pool)
The unaffiliated, shipwrecked & exiled.
The Lost & Never Found
- New arrivals in the F.U.C. They're possibly available to join the PCs - Not sure if they'll be made up - depending on my desire to put together pathfinder characters they'll be statted and created.

Unorganized pockets of contemporaries- those who've been sent to the Fabulous Unknown City in recent memory

Main Locale – The Botanic Gardens & Bazaars – greenhouses & the abandoned easy to access places, easy to enter simple to maintain, porous and impossible to defend. And as well all the places in between, the unclaimed nothing-places. - I guess that the Botanic Garden, one of them, will be the 'spawn point' where the players appear for the first time in the F.U.C.

Notables -
goya.incantation
Zero2
3W – The Iron Tree Proficient – Man on the Mission (Expert/Rogue? Some devised class)
2C – The Mission-Man – the Rescue operator – here for his lady-love & lost (Paladin/Crusader?)
10C – Perfect Hero – the Kingtycoon – who's come to see for himself (Barbarian/?)
2W – Cartographer – The one who tries to measure the bounds (probably another Iron Tree guy)
PW – The Revolutionary in Exile – trying to organize (Three Family Village Represent)
AS – The Summoner of Birds and Lightning – the Singer of Best Songs (Trudo? Can I bring back old NPCs? He's pretty swell)

Alchemists of Execution
Experiementers – Mad Physicians, Capturers & Surgeons of Terrifying Surgeries
alchemy crows

Remnant Inheritors of some forsaken science mission. They hunt those who are here to experiment upon – hideously. Renniasance physician masks – crows & ravens (HUGS!)
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Main Locale – The Hanging Plaza, the Meathook Forest, the flaying grounds. Abbattoirs – impromptu & dedicated as well.

Notables -
QC – The Gentle Lady, The Nurse With the Wound, the Anaesthetic Angel
Alchemy nurse
2S – The Healer of the Mind's Torments – the Lobotomist
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3S – The Weeping Man, the Ceaseless crying scalpel man
AC – The Master of Blood – the Bleeding King
AW – The Man on Fire
8W – The Nerve-Man, the synaptic ninja, the quickest snicker-snack man
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Cemetery Queens
Mistresses of Corpses, Ghoul Mothers, Flesh-eaters **
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The carrion-eaters of the anthive cannibal mother, descendents of the most hopeless and outcaste – the real remnants of the foundational proles. Tribunicians of the Dead.

Main Locales – The Boneyard, the quiet grove, the still-still cemetery – the Necropolis or the family tomb.
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Notables -
KC – Houseboat of the Feaster on the drowned
HS – The Sleeping King's Valet
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5S – The Defeated Man, Crucified and wailing, the failure messiah
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KW – The One Who Refashions the Ancient World. My Avatar, the Pradeheharadim
KP – The Subway Captain
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The Faerie Titans
The old-guard, the elementals and the spirits, the kings and queens of prehistory, the remannt djinni summoned once and trapped forever
Leonora Carrington - Tutt'Art@ - (19)
They were brought by the will of ancient people and moulder here still, governed by ideas and ideals, they guard the ancient notions

Main Locales – The field of honor, the old courthouses & arenas, the places of high ideals and judgment, the police station.
Ruins
sunset_in_abandoned_city_by_sophiiiii-d3cnkck

Notables -
PC – The lady in the lake
lady
8S – The man with no arms
5S – The chaotic man who attempts
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KS – The wild huntsman
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4W – the great architect – the Urban Planner

Sons of the Kannyltines

Descendants of the ancient crusades, the lost company, the brigadooners

Weird orthodoxy of the ancient imperial schools, they are obsessed with the soldier's vice of gambling.
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Main Locales – The casino, the gambling lands, the houses of chance & folly. The brokedown log fort

Notables -
QS – The kite-flyer
10S – The Desolater, the Breaker, the old campaigner & destroyer
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9S – The Defeater – the Conqueror, the brutal, angry warrior
4P – The Winner, the Winner of the Games, the Contender
KS – The Blimp Commander
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SW – The Champion, The ruler of the Games of Chance, the old Champ

Torture Priests

The Haters of Gods, the Temple defilers, the madman god-kings of a lost and fallen age.

Whatever ruling classes once governed the city are now the most degenerate of the powers of the city, the most wicked and hateful.

Main Locales – Dungeons. The underworks, the basement, under your bed.
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Notables -
PS – The Howling Wind Woman, the Screaming Lady in the tunnel
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2P – The Rebuilder, the helpful hand, the house-elf
AP – The God in the Basement, the dusty man, the Earth Elemental

10W – The capturer, the enslaver, the Tyrant God
KS – The Howling Commander – the lightning striker, the Thunder
9P – The Dragon, the man in the vault
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Homesteaders in the Ruins
The Hopeful, the escapees, the hopeful ones, the wishers of humble wishes

Castoffs of the more extreme sects, they just want to get by, they just want to make the city live again. They are devotees of the city, their loyalty lies with it.

Main Locales – The fallen palaces, the broken towers, the shattered remains. They huddle in once grand places.

Notables -
QP – The Kindly mother, the plow mistress
6P – The Successful Man
3P – The Hard Working Man
3C – The Cornucopia lady
KC – The man who controls the Dam
7C – The faker – the one who pretends to have all of the success but has none


Cable-Car Riders
They ride the cables, they govern the city as raiders and ruiners, they're the madman berserkers that ride the cars and spread the ruin of the city.

Madmen who've grown the most dysfunctional and have lost all sense of sense, they're ruthless barbarians with no agenda beyond destruction, no ideology beyond the brotherhood of ruckus

Main Locales – the transit stations, the power-house, the radiant center-of-the-plex. The energy & cables, the transmission of all force through the city.

Notables -
PP – The Warrior of the Echoing Hills Station
8P – The Wise Warrior, the Sage tactician
5P – The brokedown rider, the cable-cutter
5C – The dissolute addict, the drug-fueled maniac
KW – The rider on the burning destroyed cable-car
9W – The Ogre Goliath


Warriors of the Seasons
The Hermetic Warrior Gangs, Earth, Wind, Water & Fire – the abundant turf-seekers. The bile-armies

Gangsters and go-betweens, they rule the streets, and master over the coming and going between the wards, they boss and bully the others they rule and protect & wreck.

Main Locales – The 4 Gates, the 4 Seasonal Centers, the Sundials

Notables -
10P – The Miner King, the Moleman Dragon
7P – The one who has it all and nothing
8C – The dam breaker, the acid rainer
6C – The Happy man, the cackling madman
7W – The Fireman

The Secret King
The Unknown Ancient Master The One who lost it all who ruined everything and remains as punishment

He and his cohort linger at the pleasure palaces, they swing on the abandoned swingsets, they go down the slides. They care nothing for anything, their dreams were crazed and their realizations have stunned them.

Main Locales – The playgrounds, the abandoned disneyland, the holodeck

Notables -
QW – The Burning City Queen
6S – The one who made it happen, the great mind
9C – The Glad, Rich Man
4C – The Video-Game Player
5W – The shit-stirrer
kingtycoon: (Default)
Untitled
It's almost December, I don't know what I expected.

It's the cold legs and wet feet that are getting to me now. Knowing that for the next few months that's what it'll be cold legs, wet feet, scratchy skin, man I'm drying up. Dusty.

It is, however, Bitches, Payday. Everything is alright when you're flush right? I'm right, it's better on payday, you kiss harder, sleep easier, step livelier.

Today I'm remembering about something I was working on the year before this year. This has been a long year, and a pretty good one, I started up on my spellbook idea, and that's satisfactory - but I kind of left a lot of other things in the wind. Here are the things I did accomplish: Came up with most of a pretty good OSR style game- I think it's going to be pretty slick. Then, I ran a very strong campaign which I think is shaping into a publishable form. I painted a little and I learned a whole hell of a lot about electronics. Meantime, I remembered the other day about my aspiration to put together a satisfactory space-opera game, planetary romance with some harder SF edges and I was reading up on my old files. I like reading what I've written, but usually, only after it's sat for a year or two. Once I've forgotten it. I do like it, there's always a congratulatory laugh or grin - some turn of phrase I'm proud of myself for having used or some idea I'm excited to remember having had. Timebombcapsules.

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This laminated reminder was stapled up at my bus-stop - I can't get enough of it. Is it advertising? "Eat. Turkey. Dinner. Period." You'd think someone at the print shop would mention that - you know what? Maybe we should put an address, at least a phone number, maybe a URL. Something. Nope.

Please make sure you eat a Turkey Dinner this week Wednesday at 6:00 PM. This will please Odin, who never ordinarily has Turkey dinners. Because of Thor and Abe Lincoln.

I need to go home, I need to cash my check and go home and be glad about things and tidy up my domicile.

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Everything's crooked.
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Except when it isn't.

I'm not proud of my appearance today. I sat through a 3 hour meeting and am barely functioning on a human level, but I will keep up my tradition.
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Many ideas about planets that need to be collected more fully )
kingtycoon: (Default)
Yes, this again.  Yes.  I mean, YES!  If you didn't know, I've been concocting my spellbook, as if I were somehow a D&D wizard in contemporary North America.  I guess.  I guess that's what I'm doing.  Sure, why the hell not.  Anyhow, I'm up to level 6 spells and this has been a strange period for me.  Level 1 was all the good stuff, the adventurer's toolkit.   I must have done okay because I lived to cast Level 2 spells, which come at like, character level 3 - don't...  let's not get into why the game is convoluted with all it's nuanced sub-systems, it's just this way and has been.  So says Gygax, so say we all (with a lot of muttering and foot dragging of course).  Kept it going, somehow, and made it to whatever arbitrary level I got my 3rd Level spells at - and things started to change for me.  None of the really big ones, no Fireballs or Lightning Bolts, I learned to see, really see then.  By the time I was throwing down my 4th Level power I guess I'd grown bitter, weary maybe.  But powerful, dangerous- maybe a threat to the others...  I abandoned ship, decided I'd go my own way and start a new - Monster Civilization with Monsters and Blackjack.  And...  Well, I'm guessing that got old, real old.



Which is all to say - I finally made it to (I think, if memory serves) 11th Level, which gave me 6th Level spellcasting ability.  Pretty handy, sure.  You'd like it, good luck surviving that long, but sure, it's fine.  Fun.  I'm getting a little distant now, strange  - removed.  You see, I think I'm learning - not just about the world anymore (but certainly about that, I'm learning about that in a big, big way) but about myself, and about other things, things that I hadn't thought about before.  I guess I'm mellowing, or maybe turning toward a new path, maybe I'll seek some eldritch power from out of the past, or maybe I'll learn some hidden truths about the cosmic realms beyond.  Maybe.  Maybe I'll just spy on people like a grinning, weird creep.  Who's to say?




Legend Lore


LL 1
LL2
LL3
LL4
LL5
LL6
LL7
Lucubration

Lucubration1
Luc2
Luc3
Luc4
Luc5

Glass Eye


GE1
GE2
GE3
GE4
GE5






GE6

Now... I guess these will do.Personally I'm a little stoked about the Legend Lore / Glass Eye combo-move.  I mean, Legend Lore (despite the nerfy text) is basically ultimate psychometry and glass eye lets you see the bones in the walls and the dinosaurs beneath you.  What's more legendary than a dinosaur?  So...  Like, time travel, kind of.  It's weird - when you get used to seeing with your mind's eye all the things around you through the eyes of others?  Remembering their memories?  Well, things get pretty abstract - you start getting confused - you accidentally make a 6 page spell into a 7 page, or do you?  Or do your magics become intertwined?



Straight up I'll tell you that I left an easter-egg in this thing.  Well.  I've left a few, and now I know how to see through objects and whatnot - I can...  understand, see colors not meant to be seen, there are words beneath words!  There's the hidden text within the text!  There's a lot to know, all around us, and now I'm getting to know it.  We shall see what becomes of me next.



P.S.:  It'll be a goodly while before I get back to this - I just got home from Vacation - and I still have NaNoWriMo to overcome this month.



P.P.S.:  Send Coffee.
kingtycoon: (Default)
What’s happened! Maaaan… Okay, so I’m late in recapping and I need to recap because tonight we roll again.



Mostly, I’ve been kind of internalizing the end of support that’s rumored to be coming for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, the game I like to run. It’s pretty wonderful and goony, and I’ve come to love the whole idea of the Old School Renaissance- to the point where I’m working on my own version of the thing. I think it’ll come off nice when it’s done. When it’s finally done. Someday. I’m also at work on my spellbook – which is tricky, because I’m up to my 3 6th level spells which means 18 pages… It’s tough being a wizard!So when last we left Tyron and Bron and Sin and Xiavan and Ral had been on the shore of the salty stream where they encountered some giant pigs being fought by giant housecats. The cats won, but were driven off – food being scarce the team took up the pigs and had a big barbecue. One of the cats was put to sleep – magic, Tyron the Elf dandy having called on the magic power of dreams to rub the cat’s belly. This particular cat had a great big jewel encrusted collar.
The collar interested them, but when Tyron tried to talk to the cat, using his magic again, he got no answers.



The Cat was just a cat – I might have a weakness as a DM here, owing to my dislike of… animals generally. You know – about the animals I think of what Herzog said – about Nature being full of murder, desperation and evil. At a bar the other night a guy called me Herzog- that was really a high point for me. “Calm down Werner, we’re trying to have a drink!” Probably one of the best things I’ve been told. Anyhow – Animals, they’re dumb murderers and I play them that way. “I’m full, so I’m not a murderer right now.” Says the cat, why’s it got the collar? “Someone put it on me, thanks for taking it off.” And who put it on her? “Some two-legs that I ate.”
Anyhow, whatever, they cat goes away without any more bloodshed and I start to be sorry that I gave that dude the speak-with-animals spell. Because he wants to speak to them all the time, and again – I have a… Realistic opinion of animals.



salt-river-image

While camping Bron discovered that the Map given him by the Astrologer Gomez had some instructions and guides on it – notations indicating where food and shelter might be found. This, of course is the main purpose of the party in their current incarnation/journey – so they took his word for it and boated on down the stream. Finding themselves in the drained valley – what must have once been a deep lake, now gone to salt & seed, it’s a dusty section of canyon with a clear, flat expanse of shallow muddy water, maybe 5-6 feet deep. In the middle of this bowl of water are some big, big pylons- tall obelisks that are connected one to another by great metal chains – webs of chains, as if woven by titanic spiders. In the chains are old shipwrecks – held aloft above the desert playa in the thick rusty chains. And surrounding the Bowl? At the very cusp, a mile above the water, are four great towers of steel and glass, looming over everything. This, Gomez would have it, is the place.
After some misadventure and a lot of bad luck they find some old amphorae of honey in one of the shipwrecks, some sealed up, maybe still good cooking oil and some other amphorae of what is best thought of as a Vinegar-Brandy hybrid. They take it all, just to take and then decide to try one of the towers, the red tower is closest and the players quickly put aside any doubts I had about them by figuring out that under the dust-crusted exterior the 4 colors of the tower matched the 4 colors of the visible moons. Proud.
The Red Tower seemed easiest to get to, so they got to it, spending most of the day scaling a cliff was hard work and they all felt it.



At the summit they were dispirited to find that there was no ground entrance to the tower – as if the inhabitants of the place (if there had ever been any) could fly . Fly to the perchlike balcony at the peak of the steel-glass tower 100 feet above the already high mesa. An arduous day, but not liking camping out of doors when they can help it, the party decides to follow Xiavan, the best climber among them, who found for herself that the building had a kind of utility-ladder built in, cereal-bowl like depressions cut into the exterior at regular intervals, making climbing trivially easy – compared to scaling a cliff-face. Still, the sheer amount of climbing going on was pretty wearying overall. By the time she got to the top the sun had set & unfortunately for her… the man in the tower had begun to stir.
This guy had an immediate, disturbing air about him, instantly attractive – his eyes were like limpid pools, he hypnotized her, drawing her forth, toyed with her briefly and mercilessly and then started in on the draining of her blood.

Clio


This was pretty weird and difficult – especially to reasonably adjudicated – since the party had chosen to split like fools, and Xiavan couldn’t succeed on a saving throw literally to save her life. Now – this Vampire was the result of a randomly generated encounter and I’ve got a rule about not being totally murderous to players in a random encounter – not totally. At the bottom of the thing the other two players were just hanging out, stumbling into the nests of giant rattlesnakes. Not a good time for them either. Anyhow – finally overcoming his hypnosis, and drained of better than half her blood, Xiavan tries to escape the vampire by… Running right at him to get to the stairs behind him. Players man. Players.



By now, the rope that Xiavan had tied had helped Bron and Tyron at least get up the tower – of course the vampire saw this coming and dropped Xiavan on the ground to prepare himself for these others – who he couldn’t outwit – in the end he leapt onto the ceiling, revealing his gross clawed hands and feet, but still, his beautiful eyes called out to Xiavan. Now… That was weird, because the lady who plays Xiavan is someone I’ve periodically had carnality with and it got kind of weird because of playing out the intimidating vampire-man at a girl who’s kind of used to and… I dunno, sometimes on board about my dracula-sex-antics was a little embarrassing – just cause, you know, the other players are watching!



Still, all ended well – the vampire turned to a mist to try and escape, and then a bat, flying out into the night – only to be finally struck down (at this moment in the game I was thinking about how I could turn this guy into a recurring villain, someone who would hunt them down and find them later, etc… I decided his name would be Dalrymple). Anyhow, with tremendous good luck on the dice (finally) Xiavan whipped a silver dagger at the bat and dropped it out of the sky, hundreds of feet to the lake below, the burning body of Dalrymple crashing into the chain-nets they’d been climbing on earlier in the day.



Oh – about the chains – the Obelisks were written on in the old language of the land – which it turns out most of the party could decipher – they went on to decipher that the obelisks were used to measure the flood depth of the river, which was, once – long ago, very substantial – they could see that the maximum depth of the river was 30-40 feet greater than current levels.



Okay, this is getting tedious – I can, and sometimes even do write out these events in a more artful fashion, but this is just a rundown, meant to keep track of what’s happened, I’m circling back on myself and rambling pointlessly.
In the Red Tower they found the Red Book (I don’t know if they’re getting the pun, a cool prop I was happy to make. And as well, they found a bunch of quill-pens made of copper that sprouted flame when the engraved magical word was spoken – scholar-lightsabers. Yes.




The red book

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Exploring through the tower they found some strange things going on, and then started calling out – as if they wanted nothing more than for there to be a monster attack – and so I obliged them, naturally.
On the random table I have a few things noted – things like Vampire – with no real explanation it falls on me to come up with the Vampire’s backstory and rationale for being in the Red tower just at the moment – which is fine, I did, he’s part of a sect of these scholar monks (they’re tweedy!) who were studying the Red Book and the Red Tower and so on, and then got turned into a vampire by something in the basement, and then ate up all the blood of his friends – somehow, turning them into the next enemy that was randomly generated: “Spider Hulks” I really don’t know what I was thinking when I put that down on a chart, but the results were pretty weird –



Dead guys, split open, navel to neck and out of the dry holes are dozens of great big long scary spiderlegs. These guys climbed up out of the lower levels of the dungeon (after the party started hollering for attention) and their dead, lolling heads, suddenly snapped into a kind of life! They moaned, just slightly and then disgorged vast, impossible quantities of webs that bound the adventurers and clogged the area.
Which was the cliffhanger (cliff-sticker?) that we ended the session on. We’ll resume tonight, better, stronger, more complete.
kingtycoon: (Default)







Recapping – Not something I particularly enjoy doing – but I’ll
make my apprentice effort if only to keep myself on track at least somewhat,
and so I can explain how it’s worked from last time’s posting.  I’ll try and have the next session blocked
out beforehand so that I can keep up doing this set it up and spell it out
cycle.  






Hermit-city-5But Huge.  Also, Dead.



So this rundown will, by needs have to be in-media-res.  We spent the better part of the summer and
some of the spring solving some problems in the crazy patchwork quilt of world
I’ve devised.  In the end the team had to
flee on the urbanized back of a titanic hermit crab during the greatest hurricane
that the world has ever seen.  The
Hermit-Crab-City – certainly capable of ambulation under the waves proved very
unsturdy outside of the supporting weightlessness of water.  It stumbled for leagues under the typhoon
winds, struggled mightily against what could barely be made out and possibly
understood as a Dragon, or perhaps a titanic mecha from the ancient past – a monstrous
thing that haunted the ruins of the fallen cities of the North.  Finally the poor creature was spent, far off
track, on the banks of an unknown river in a strange, unknown territory. 





There were many, many refugees gathered to the crab-city by
the kindly, capable dwarfs that rode it out of the sea.  These dwarfs – the Kin of Mirin Ecter – had
long ago been exiled (for unknown reasons) from their northern fastness –
deigning to avoid all contact with the sun and danger, they’d donned
pill-bug-like exoskeleton armor stillsuits and gone to live at the bottom of
the ocean – presumably where they’d tamed the giant hermit crabs and built
their pavilion-laden city on its shell. 
Mirin Ecter – the hero of these dwarfs, referred to by them as their
Lord&Savior, had denounced the ocean trenches and gone to land to retake
their mountains at the furthest northern reaches.  This has been an ongoing subplot for the
party to…  accept, digest, maybe even
deal with a little – but so far, just something that’s been happening.  The dwarfs are not all ready to take off
their ocean-floor survival suits, having all (mostly) lived all their lives
inside of them, so they approach the land in stages and take on special
counciling until they’re ready to make the transition to air breathing ,food
eating and land walking – it takes a long time and there are many stops along
the way.  But regardless of their speed,
all the dwarfs are compelled to head north to follow Mirin Ecter  -so when the story begins, most of these
dwarfs have already marched on, leaving behind their rotting carcass of a city
to be scavenged by the precious few remnants of the last adventure series.  About a thousand people, all told, living on
the briny banks of the salty mineral river. 
Food is running out, and the sky is blotted out, often, by the endless
waves of buzzards and condors that have come to feed on the mighty crab
city. 





Deciding to brave the city ruins in search of materials are
our adventurers – Bron From the Ghost Ship (resembling Abraham Lincoln, but
with blue-skeleton armor), Tyron, the one-legged elf dandy (who dresses in the
finery gathered from shipwrecks and who sort of led a kind of cargo-cult – for symmetry,
he has one lobster-leg attached above the knee, where a giant lobster ate his
leg off).  There is also Sin Silverseeker
(one of legions, he’s lost a kingdom that he gained by misadventure, his
cloner-father having been displaced, Sin looks and acts like a Veronese swordsman
who may or may not be hunted by thousands of duplicates of himself).  Not appearing in this session are Ral – Bron’s
sidekick, the corn-fed thick-limbed head-breaker and Xiavan, the girl from
under the earth, studded all over in iron spurs, like a porcupine wearing a
chain-link prom dress, she is, lik Ral, presumably resting.





Tyron, who fancies himself a friend to all – man or beast –
casts his elf-spells and goes to speak with the buzzards – the buzzards are
bird brained indeed and he only succeeds in suggesting to them that if they
somehow kill him, they can eat him, as well as the giant crab.  Run off – he gathers his wits and a small
gang of refugee/survivors to help him. 
Some Libras (his cargo-cult priest sect) remain, as does a witch, a few
scattered warriors, a pair of tatty, scarecrow looking, naked elfs and a plucky
Halfling with a take-charge attitude – Chester Kegtapper.  Chester persuades Tyron and Bron and Sin to
attempt to climb back into the hermit-crab city which now stinks horribly and
lies perpendicular to the ground. 





The going is tough but the party is tougher, they find some
strange, elastic rope – probably made of eels, and discover in one of the many
open-air plazas decorated with horseshoe crab shells a strange portal – a mechanical
lens cut into the ground.  Operating it
is a cinch for Bron & co and they find inside it a pair of large, heavy
kegs wrapped in tar & wax.  Reasoning
that heavy things might contain valuable materials they lower them to the
ground and then continue searching.  Only
Bron prevails at climbing the sheer surfaces of the perpendicular city and he
discover three underwater dwarf axes – which have trident-heads instead of
axe-heads and are made of a strange alloy with veins of gold woven in.  He distributes these while young Kegtapper is
ordered to try and open the strange sealed casks.  Tyron remembers just a moment too late that
he knows the Dwarf language and goes to speak out just as Kegtapper cracks the
thing like you’d open a bottle of maker’s mark. 
Peeling off the string causes the keg to go pop – the pressurized air
filling up the balloon made of whale-guts and squid-skin.  Under water the balloon might have risen up,
carrying the keg and its tools and some evacuees away.  On the land it throws Chester Kegtapper
across the hill like a rag doll, stunning him utterly.





Our heroes gather up the goods inside – survival rations and
some useful hatchets, flints, tinder, all the things you might need to survive
on a deserted island for a few weeks. 
Sin, thinking quick realizes that the whole affair can be repurposed
into a boat, of a kind, and sets about assembling it with the help of the
available cronies. 





Meantime things are happening.  The party rolls to determine if a random
encounter from the tables is generated & one is.  They are on the grassy hills at the southwest
of the map, the large patch of ruins.  Nearby, it’s explained to them by their friend
and the leader of the refugees Sweet Kendo, that some people have been seen,
outsiders, who are battling giant rats (apparently.  Sweet Kendo swears a lot in a loveable, crazy
way that the players can’t get enough of, he’s got a really weird accent and
they love him).  The party volunteers to
go & check out the fracas while their minions build the boat according to
Sin’s specifications. 






Mohave Desert near Barstow in low evening light; California, USA Covered with Astrologers and Prairie Dogs



What they find are some astrologers fighting a city of giant
prairie dogs.  These astrologers look
like cartoon wizards – they’ve got star covered robes, pointy hats and
ridiculous beards, they’re all carrying big leather bags like and old-time
doctor and they’re being run off by these bear-sized prairie dogs that keep
popping out of the hillside like whack-a-mole. 
Tyron, game to try again, does his magic and goes to talk to the
gophers.  They don’t trust him – noting that
his eyes point forward and he must be a predator, they nevertheless accept that
he’s too small to eat them and that anyway – he and the others will just camp
out overnight and why not, they pledge to keep any real predators away.  The prairie dogs consent, but demand that at
dawn everyone leave.  The astrologers
seem happy – they’re not able to communicate with the party – speaking a
language that no-one on the team quite knows – but which sounds strangely like
another language they’ve heard before – like music from an outer room (I tell
them, like a weirdo).  Still, they pantomime
their wishes successfully and are wizards enough to be able to understand what
the party is saying.  The whole group of
about 20 astrologers and the 4 players all set up on the hillside and presently
one of the astrologers prepares and casts the tongues spell.  Fire stretches between his extended index and
pinky fingers and then flies into his mouth so that when he speaks it flicks
out like a jack-o-lantern.  They all
understand him as speaking their own native languages. 



2prairie-dogs 


 But Bear-sized



He tells them that he is Gomez and that he and his friends
serve the living goddess Urania – that they are trying to map the night sky in
her dominion and that by doing so they think they will be able to approach her and
ask their questions, it is said that she is very dangerous and that none of
them have yet seen her.  Gomez and the
other Astrologers get out their orreries and spyglasses and maps and charts and
prepare for the sun to set.  The party
decides to hang out and learn some more from these astrologers (they discover
for instance that some of them are women and that their crazy beards are false –
some kind of uniform).  Since they’re
staying I have them roll again and they get another encounter (they rolled
pretty badly all night and got a lot of encounters – the map is going to fill
up quick).  The encounter says “Sinister
Color” and I determine that this will go along well with the astrologer
angle. 





They’re all set up on prairie-dog hill to see something
strange – I tell them – a peculiar even that is scheduled for the evening –
some kind of meteor shower, best viewed from the spot.  I explain that as the sun sets there’s a
weird flash – like a green-flash over the ocean, but not green, some other color,
some other color they’ve never seen.





At this point in the game one of the old veterans from Lake
Geneva was walking by on the way to the bathroom or just eavesdropping (I
sometimes get a little audience) – and he piped up – “Is it Dohlm?”  to which I reply “no, it’s Jale.”  And if you don’t get this joke, then you
should use some google for yourself because it was hilarious and also proved
that I am smart as hell. 






6a01310f4a6c79970c01901ebe389e970b-800wiBut Jale - and Coming out of the sky



The flash didn’t dissipate – but rather seemed to fall out
of the horizon, like a claw – like some kind of slowly closing trap, like
cobwebs falling all around them.  It
changed in size, density – becoming almost human in size –but still somehow
distant – like a shadow cast by a far off giant – this color, unknown – it reaches
for them, the shadows it casts chill them to the bone, rooting them to the
spot, but when the radiance touches their flesh it burns them, scalding, it
cauterizes their pores.  They begin to
try and struggle against it.  At first, aimlessly,
swinging weapons, recklessly they don’t make contact – the color is a
color.  “How can we battle a color!”  Sin screams in dismay, trying with his silver
saber to cut down the tendrils that had frozen his legs.  I explain that the flash of reflection from
the saber seems to disrupt the color, firelight seems to pierce it, he takes a
moment to consider how he can weaponize this effect.   





Meantime Tyron goes for a flaming brand,
hoping to ward off the color – which seems like the indistinct shade between
the blue and the orange of a match-flame, like the horizon at midnight.  Bron, though, has incorporated into himself,
into his character – the determinations of the stars.  He has a vital spirit within him that he can
call upon in danger –The Bones of The North power, which allows him to
intimidate his foes by making his bones glow through his skin, a ferocious –
terrifying x-ray.  He summons the
chi-of-earth into himself and, cruciform, radiates the radiation with his inner
color – critically succeeding on the 2d6 roll he performs the effect at maximum
power.  I explain that he can feel
the  color around him, that they can all
do so – it becomes solidified, somewhat, and they can pierce it with
reflections, damage it with their own light. 
Tyron, eventually recalling that he has a magical, glittering handshake,
begins gathering the stuff up – it peels off the air like wet crepe paper with
a strange crunching viscosity, like gathering slush into a snowball, but
hot.  In short order they’ve dispatched
the deadly color and gathered it up in their bottles.  Meantime the meteor shower that the
Astrologers had set up for begins -  and
the traces of the color that streaked the sky are cut apart by falling
stars.  It goes on for some time and is
both hypnotic and beautiful – they lay on the grass watching, and even the
prairie dogs come up from their city to give it a look, it’s purely beatific. 





In the morning they keep their word to the prairie dogs and
go – letting the itinerant astrologers go their own way.  Their boat has been completed and the hungry
refugees bid them go and find some food and maybe some shelter.  They take off in their saturnish ball-boat down
the salty canyon river – and once again they roll an encounter.





This time it’s some giant Princess Mononoke style boars
being hunted by some bigger-than-tigers tabby cats.  The cats win, the party has a little hand in
it, Tyron magically rubs their bellies and one remains on shore, asleep.  They note that it has a beautiful, huge,
diamond collar.  They make camp eat some
giant boar and we stop for the night. 

How I Do

Sep. 25th, 2013 10:44 pm
kingtycoon: (Default)

So you want to be the dungeon master.  It’s a weird title, sure.  I remember, when I lived with Melchior – he
was watching some true-crime special on teevee about some kind of murderer that
they kept calling the dungeon master and we were all incensed.  “That’s our word!”  We shouted at the teevee.  And sure, it’s got weird, unwholesome connotations
(I guess, I apologize for nothing) but it’s just a job, an avocation – like any
other you might have.  I’m a dungeon
master, this means that I make up co-operative stories with my friends who
interact with settings that I contrive to amuse and challenge them.  It’s like writing the crossword puzzle – but so
much cooler.  Let’s say that you want to
be the dungeon master.  There’s a few
things you can do to be good at it, some things you can do to be great at
it.  Being good demands preparation,
writing and imagination.  Being great
demands that you completely disabuse yourself of notions of dignity and become
willing to do voices, act out romances with people you aren’t attracted to and
finally – be willing to murder your protagonist.  That last one is the hardest I think, that’s
the difference – ultimately, between good and great.  If the hero, and there’s always one at the
table – there might be 10 players but there’s only one hero, at a time anyway –
if he or she thinks that they’re invincible? 
The game is bullshit – everyone dies, pointlessly and badly – it’s up to
them to outwit you and stay alive despite your efforts.  Now –a shitty dungeon master is like a
murderer – they’ll just aim at killing people, players, they’ll amuse themselves
with it – but in my experience the more murderous the DM, the less they’ve
prepared, the less they’ve made out with a lady and the less desirable they are
for human companionship – bloodthirsty DMs are often misanthropes and shouldn’t
be regarded with any affection.  Now,
murder –that doesn’t imply bloodlust – the execution murders people, and it’s
cause they have it coming.  If you want
to be good -  just lay off murdering, if
you want to be great – think of it as execution.  Sometimes they just have it coming. 





Planning is the most important.  For me, a plan falls into a geographic scope –
you have to have a map.  Usually I put
together a map before I ever plot anything- 
geography is history after all, geography is destiny.  So I plan the area that I expect players to
spend their time in.  This is tricky
because wise players can shut you down – they’ll go off the map and try to do something
else.  You can always overcome this by
giving them what they want.  You can plan
ahead three steps like a chessmaster and know what goes on in the next map over
– or you can be sneaky.  You can just
reintroduce the same stuff with different names in a new location – give the
players agency, but don’t discard your plots just because they think they can
escape them.  Sure as you can’t steer a
train, you can’t change your fate – but if they players don’t want to be on
rails (and who can blame them) then let it seem like they can get off the train
whenever – just keep in mind what you’ve devised for each of the stops and
repurpose it for the next one.  Players
are always impressed by a lot of preparation, they’ve goddammed mystified by
capable improvisation.  Get good at
improvising. 








So the first thing I do is I make a map – and then I make up
a theme.  Recently my theme was the
zodiac – I had all kinds of different tribes and nations all based upon the Babylonian
zodiac.  Currently I’m planning a series
of adventures based on 4 of the Muses and Riddles and Sphinxes.  Sometimes your theme could be something
banal, like buried treasure or warfare, sometimes it can be something really
high-minded and esoteric – like engaging the lightning path of the tree of life
or some-such.  You can do straight up
Kabbalah if you want, and you can do straight up dragonslaying for profit if
you want – but you (as the DM) will have a better time, if you’ve got a theme
in mind.  It will center you and keep you
focused and help you to populate your map. 
You’ve got a big empty map with a lot to describe, and it’s hard to know
what to do with it.  In this map, I
decided that I would have the Grand Canyon – but with Sphinxes.  From there I came up with the Muses idea, and
settled on 4 of the 9 to use for my purposes. 
I decided that each of the sphinxes would be the incarnation of one of
the classical muses and that they’d be in service to a local divinity (Jupiter
Indiges) who would be the ultimate goal of the players.  Now- getting them to believe that is
important, and you have to have that angle. 





Sphinxfalls



I like using Hexographer to create maps.  I like the old-school hexmaps because they imply danger and adventure - to me at least



This adventure – or ‘Module’ comes second out of what will
probably be 6-7 modules.  In the first – which
was the first Act, the players became acquainted with one another, the setting
and the expectations, and at the last moment they were confronted by the
villain of the story.  Because I decided
to pull out any stops and be a complete madman – I determined that the main
enemy would be Death itself – when it appeared it did so singing a crazy song
about death in a prog-rock falsetto – which I unashamedly replicated at the
table.  Afterwards they had to run away
and escape using the strange city of the undersea dwarfs that was built onto
the back of a colossal hermit crab that was later injured and finally died
after fighting an ancient mecha (or Dragon if you prefer).  If that sounds preposterous, then you’re not
understanding the role of the dungeon master. 
If that sounds like a game you’d like to learn more about – then you’re
getting it. 


So they’ve ended up stranded in unknown lands with the gross
carcass of a colossal hermit crab under them and a bunch of Dwarfs who speak in
Appalachian accents (I channel my grandparents for this, my Tennessee
grandparents – Dwarfs are mountain people and I…  don’t care about Scotland).  Now the players have to find some direction
in life.  It’s up to you to set a scene –
somehow make the image of the Grand Canyon (but with Sphinxes!)
compelling.  You have to introduce these
things slowly, give them a reason to abandon the stinking hermit-crab city,
maybe a few bits of material, some food and water to go on, the whole
thing.  You have to prod a little so they
don’t want to stay in one place or leave or do nothing.  The provocation here is that they may learn a
thing or two about beating their ultimate adversary – in this case Death, so I’ll
paint that picture-  there are wise
seeming monks, who mention that they’re mast has great wisdom over many matters
and certainly has overcome Death (immortal sphinxes) and so the players will
have a reason to be interested in them. 
Now you have to think about what’s between where they are and where they
want to be.  This is where you can really
shine if you’re good at improvising. 
First – look at your map.  Think
of the different terrains, the different scenes and vistas, think of some
phrases and descriptors you’d use as shorthand to describe them.  The Wine Dark Sea, The Endless Waves of Grain
– something evocative that as you repeat it, gets cornier and cornier – until it
becomes canonical.   Again – you have to
avoid shame here.  Don’t hesitate to come
up with something crazy, the craziest thing you can imagine, and then really
push it in, repeat it over and over – make it like a mantra.  The Wine Dark Sea is pretty, but I doubt that
people thought so the first few dozen times they heard it.  I bet there were jokes about white vs. red
and so on.  But now?  Literary canon.  Just… 
well don’t be shy, just try, hard. 


encounter1



I imagine a Venom Oasis to be like a desert mirage- but real - but also - made of poison, like that episode of Star Trek.



Once you’ve got the evocative scene set you’ll have to
populate it.  Because it’s gaming, you’ll
want to do this interactively by making the players roll dice.  Look at the map and see all the terrain
features.  Now, look at the table – you have
to create some kind of encounter-  some
kind of scene for each of the features, and then you have to consider what kind
of nonsense you want to happen in those areas. 
I use a percentile table-  which
is a 1-100 roll created by rolling two ten-sided dice.  At the top of the chart you can see the rate
at which an encounter will occur.  3/8
means – that 3 out of 8 times an encounter will happen – generated by rolling
the percentile dice.  You can accelerate
this if you want  - say that every
hexagon that the players move through increases the chances so that, if they
walk through 8 consecutive hexes of the same type, well, they’re due an
encounter. 


encounter2



Carpmen are probably goinng to be awful, I wonder what they'll sound like - I can tell you that Wastelanders have spoken in an Austrian accent and were uncannily fond of cuddling.



Pacing is the hardest thing to really master.  If you’re autistic.  Usually, if you’ve got some empathy you can
see when players are getting bored, getting tired, losing interest  - you have to make things happen when you
start to see this, and having the tables at hand will help you.  My preference is to keep the players wary of
encounters but eager for new revelations – so I like to hang out there that
there is secret knowledge that is available (you too can beat Death and live
forever) while putting obstacles in the way. 
If it seems that the players don’t have an interest in the reward,
change it up – offer treasures, different secrets, true love, whatever – figure
out what gets to them and offer it, and then – put it at the end of a long road
full of whatever the hell you can imagine.





You can see – if you follow the charts here, that I’ve come
up with a region full of apes-  gorillas
and sasquatches and yetis are all over the place -  I imagine there will be ocassional encounters
with them  that will place them in the
geography – the geography will react to the rolls made and the map will be
populated.  If the players roll well and
are lucky – they might wander the whole map and find it empty, if they roll
poorly – they might discover a map full of Gorilla cities and giant housecat
prides all furiously hunting for human flesh. 
But in either case I’m prepared to improvise and establish memorable
scenes – I’m eager for my players to get away with crazy nonsense, to survive
and fight and win – just as I’m eager to kill them by vigorous application of
Tarantula-Dragons. 





I’m not even sure what Tarantula-Dragons are, but I’m sure
they’re horrible beyond description.  I
bet they pop up from a trapdoor and spit webs and have a dozen furry legs and
eyes.  Furry eyes.  Maybe the players will befriend the sasquatch
warriors, will engage the services of the Gorilla-knight army.  Maybe they’ll tame the giant snakes with hard
stares and hearts tempered with love – I’m ready for anything they chose to
do.  And I’m ready to note the map,
populate the world according to their choices and set up the real, true
encounters for when they arrive at those points on the map that are labeled –
about which – more next time. 
kingtycoon: (Default)
My only 5th Level Spell is a pretty good one. It's not major creation, or Contact Outer Sphere - which are probably the coolest, but it's damned useful.

Telekinesis 1
Telekinesis 2
Telekinesis 3
Telekinesis 4
Telekinesis 5





Telekinesis


Magic-User Level 5


Duration: 1 round/level


Range: 120’


By concentrating on
nothing else and taking


no other actions, the
caster can move objects or


creatures by concentrating
on them. A total of


20 pounds per caster level
may be moved 20’


per round. Living beings
may also be moved,


but they are allowed a
saving throw versus


magic.


And there it is - five pages about how to move some stuff around with your mind.  I like that the level dependent stuff here is kid of in my favor now - now that I'm 9th level you understand.  I get 90 minutes, a whole movie's worth of telekinesis and I can move around what 180 pounds of stuff - 180 pounds of rocks or swords or guys or furniture just by thinking about it.  Think about the brain, think about the brain.  You know I think...  I think I must have gotten bored.  What with my monster kingdom that I've got going on.



Or maybe, you know - maybe my monster friends are terrifying?  Maybe I'm more than half a prisoner?  Maybe I can only really get around to doing some surreptitious things around the Ogres and Trolls, I have to act in secret, I don't want them knowing, or suspecting!  Maybe they're really servile though, maybe I'm just growing lazy, what with their obedience?  Maybe I sit around thinking about having things come to my hand?  Maybe I just mind-shove people off of cliffs as part of our gang initiation?  Or as part of some kind of trial - like in that scene from Farewell to Arms?  I loved that scene - I guess?  Maybe monster-reprisals?  Maybe I stack weights on the enemies of monsterdom to test their mettle, their virtue?  Maybe I really am just bored.  I mean it was interesting adventuring, and monster overlord has been working out pretty well - but I just put one spell in the old book - so maybe I need something new to challenge me?



I'll knock all their huts down on top of their heads, provoke them into fighting each other, maybe I'll keep the best ones with me and then I'm going, gone - looking for the real stuff - the Big Magic.  True Power, you know?  It's the wizard's way.
kingtycoon: (Default)
Third level spells. You know - normally, this is where the Wizard, excuse me - The Magic User really becomes superhuman. Some of the spells he throws up to that point - they're ersatz versions of what a more... robust adventurer can do. Magic Missile is basically a crossbow that runs out of arrows really quickly, and Charm Person can be replicated with actual charm and a little money. Heck, the Floating Disc is a shoddy version of a donkey! Even Shield is just... Well it's almost as good as an actual shield. Sure, they're magic, but it sure is giving yourself a hard way to go, all that studying and learning just to do stuff that you could do with a little bit of money and practice. The payoff though. The payoff is supposed to start with the 3rd level spells. That's where Fly and Fireball are, and Lightning Bolt. The Big Ones. Of course I didn't get any of those. I got much more esoteric and, in the end, I have to admit, more interesting spells.
Dispel Magic
Dispel Magic p1
Dispel Magic p2Dispel Magic p3


As a Magic-User grows in knowledge and
power, he becomes able to dismiss magic as well
as conjure it. This spell empowers the proper
forces of existence to expel the foul energies
known as magic as if they never were. The spell
affects a 20’ cubic area. All spells in that area
that are currently in effect are automatically
negated. If cast on the same segment in combat
as a spell from an enemy combatant, Dispel
Magic can be used to disrupt and negate that
spell.
All magical items within the area of effect are
temporarily disenchanted. They regain their
enchantment after 2d6 turns, but one-use items
such as potions and scrolls (but not spellbooks)
are permanently nullified.
There is one important exception - a Magic-
User’s Dispel Magic has no effect on Cleric spells.
Dispel Magic negates magical curses or diseases
for only 2d6 turns.

Clairvoyance
Clairvoyance p1
Clairvoyance p2
Clairvoyance p 3
Clairvoyance p2.5
Clairvoyance p3.5



Clairvoyance is a means of seeing events in a
distant location. There is no effective limit to
the spell’s range, but the location must either
be familiar to the caster or be obvious, such as
the top floor inside a tower the caster can see,
or just beyond a dungeon door. The spell cannot
penetrate metal; sheets of any type of metal
between the caster and the target area will
prevent the Magic-User from being able to scry
upon the area. The caster will be able to hear
sounds in a 10’ radius of the spell’s focal point
even if the area is dark. If the area is not dark,
the caster will be able to see as if he were
standing at the spell’s focal point, for a normal
distance but in all directions at once (for the
vision is in his mind’s eye).

I reasoned that Dispel Magic-  since it's so recursive, so self-aware and metamagical, that it would be much more technical, formulaic and difficult.  I figure Op-Art kind of sums that up.  There are steps and procedures and there's a gloating bit of triumph.  Dispel Magic won't help you get it over a pack of wild animals, some angry townsfolk or even a very aggressive priest.  But you know who it does beat?  Other Wizards.  I like that it's the competitor's spell.  The one you go to if you're trying to outplay the chessmaster.  Sure it's brute-force, sure it's sometimes more science than art and sure it's a technical and arduous spell to get down and memorize (cripes...)  But it wins, it wins the battle and the war - the ones that matter, the ones against your peers.  I like especially to that an enemy wizard might buff and enchant and fix himself up all fancy and strong, all glammered and buffed and in a moment you can take all the wind out of him, knock his stuffing out and let the fighter have at him.  "Goodbye to your fancy flight, your silly illusions, goodbye to your fireball and your enlarge and so on, I dismiss them, I am the teacher and I dismiss your nonsense."



Clairvoyance is a whole other animal.  I cheated a little, and by cheated I mean - just did something I think I would do if I lived in a magical universe where I had to write these things down for real and memorize them daily and carry this nutty book around and be the obligatory scrapbooker of the party - and that's embellish preposterously.  Sure I added an additional semi-transparent page!  Of course I did.  Transformative thinking!  That's the Magic-User's whole M.O.  And really, by the time I got to here, big level 5, I think I'd be pretty pleased with myself and rather stoked about my biggest and heretofore best spell.  Clairvoyance is another not-too-flashy, not-so-glamorous spell that straight up wins.  Sure it's viscerally pleasing to lightning bolt a line of kobolds into ash.  Sure it is.  It's more useful still to be able to look into their tunnels and find their treasure in advance of ever having to go and menace them.  You can figure out who's who and what's what - and with my other crazy spells, I can just go in and pose as one of them and charm the dickens out of their leader.  Intelligence gathering.  Sure, you're going to see a lot of things you probably would have preferred not to see, and sure!  You could be a giant pervert and just remotely-view bathrooms and sorority houses.  You could also learn the combination to the safe, the whether your neighbor is sleeping and where he keeps his valuables.  You can solve the whole puzzle in advance of everyone even knowing there is a puzzle.  It's another chessmaster spell - but you don't beat other wizards with it (of course you could) you beat the whole silly world.
kingtycoon: (Default)
So the idea was this- make a spellbook.



A satisfying enterprise!  I got 5 first level spells and here they are.




First up -


Magic Missile

Magic Missile

A missile of magical energy shoots forth from
the caster’s fingertip and strikes its target,
dealing damage equal to 1d4 per level of the
caster (so a second level Magic-User deals 2d4
points of damage). The missile strikes unerringly,
even if the target is in mêlée combat or
has less than total cover or total concealment.
Specific parts of a creature can’t be singled out.
The caster can throw the full force of the
missile at a single target, but if the caster is 2nd
level or higher, may divide the dice of damage
between targets as he wishes. Dice must be
assigned to targets before any damage is rolled,
and targets of these divided dice are allowed a
saving throw versus magic, with success
meaning the target takes half damage.
Each Magic-User’s Magic Missile is unique in
appearance and always looks the same. When
the caster writes a scroll, the resulting Missile
looks identical to the normally cast version.
When using a scroll written by another Magic-
User, or memorizing a spell out of another’s
spellbook, the resulting spell will look like that
other caster’s Missile. Each different ‘signature’
for a Magic Missile must be researched and/or
transcribed as if it were a different spell.





Identify

Identify
This spell allows the Magic-User to discern the
magical properties of an item. The spell
requires one uninterrupted day in a laboratory
worth at least 1,000sp to cast. At the end of the
day, the Magic-User will have successfully
determined one magical property of an item.
The character will not know if there are additional
properties unless the spell is cast one
more time after all properties have been discovered;
this “wasted” day will confirm no further
properties. Note that a cursed item will not
identify as cursed, but as the item it pretends
to be. This spell does not reveal command
words. Each casting of the spell, successful or
not, requires the expenditure of 100sp worth of
ingredients.   





Shield




Shield
Magic-Users are masters of matter and as such
can command objects racing towards them to
stop. The objects are sometimes impertinent, it
is true, but this spell will protect the caster from
many attacks which would otherwise harm him.
Against missile attacks, the spell grants the
caster AC 19, and an effective AC 17 for all other
attacks. Even if an attack hits, it does one less
point of damage than it otherwise would have.  





Charm Person

Charm Person
The Charm Person spell makes a single subject
utterly enamored with the caster and desperate
to please him if the saving throw versus magic
is failed. This is not mind control, as the subject
retains their personality and controls how they
act but for their utter fascination with the
caster, and the caster must articulate their
desires if they expect the subject to fulfill them.
Any request which is not against the subject’s
interests or personality will be followed. Any
request which is against the subject’s interests
or personality triggers a saving throw to refuse
the request (but this will not break the Charm!).
If the caster promises the subject something the
subject is normally inclined to want, then this
saving throw is not necessary and the subject
will comply.
This spell works on all humans and human-like
creatures (except Elves); other (non PC class)
humanoids are not affected if they have more
than four Hit Dice. Abuse or neglect of the
subject will trigger another saving throw to
negate the Charm, and murderous violence
triggers a save but with a +5 bonus to the roll.
The subject, if intelligent, will realize they have
been victims to mesmerism 





Floating Disc



Floating Disc
The caster creates a slightly concave, circular
plane of force that follows him about and carries
loads. The disk is 3 feet in diameter and 1 inch
deep at its center. It can hold 500 pounds. If
used to transport a liquid, its capacity is 2
gallons. The disk floats approximately 3 feet
above the ground at all times and remains level.
It floats along horizontally within spell range
and will accompany the caster with an equal
movement rate. If not otherwise directed, it
maintains a constant interval of 6 feet between
itself and the caster, and will follow the caster
without prompting to maintain a minimum of
6’ distance. When the disk winks out at the end
of the spell’s duration, whatever it was supporting
falls to the surface beneath it. 




 You know - I'm happy with these, I can see that it would take a long time to really commit these to memory - but I just can't imagine that I would ever possibly forget something that cost me $100 every time I used it.  And really-  while Charm Person is maybe the coolest and most useful of the first level spells, I bet it'd be really hard keeping up with all of my acolytes and hangers-on if I started using it all willy-nilly (note:  Do not prepare Magic Missile or Charm Person when you know you're going out)  



Truthfully, in civilization, the handiest spell I have is probably floating disc - which is spectacularly dull - even if it is really spectacularly overt.  "I made a magical disc of force that follows me and carries my stuff!"  Impressive.  



Ah who am I kidding.  I'd charm every politician and celebrity - just to see the looks on their faces afterward 'The subject will realize that they have been victims of mesmerism' - Dick Move
kingtycoon: (Default)

My Spellbook – a new project

From the Lamentations of the Flame Princess Rulebook:

A spell is a fairly standardized effect that has

been repeatedly created by many Magic-Users.

While every Magic-User must use a spellbook

to store their magical knowledge – mortal

brains are not structurally designed to hold this

information – there is no “formula” for any

particular spell. Take the spell Magic Missile, for

instance. It is a very common spell, especially

for traveling and adventuring Magic-Users. But

if you looked at the spellbooks of one hundred

Magic-Users which all contain Magic Missile,

none would look the same. Each spell notation

is a combination of reference notes, philosophical

debate against the universe, and gibberish

scribbling, all of which serves one purpose: To

trigger dream-state understanding within the

Magic-User’s mind. Nothing contained in a

spell book is a “how to” guide so much as an

individual recipe for self-induced hypnosis.

The Project – I think I’ll randomly generate spells for myself and then generate an actual spellbook – through arts & crafts techniques. For my project, I’ll use a 100 page composition book, so I need to figure out 100 pages worth of spells. A spell uses a number of pages in your spellbook equal to its level, so a 2nd level spell uses 2 pages, and so on. For the calculations and random generation of how many spells and what levels they’ll be – I’ll turn to my old pal, excel:

Spell Level

Number of Spells

Pages used

1

5

5

2

3

6

3

2

6

4

3

12

5

1

5

6

3

18

7

2

14

8

2

16

9

2

18

If you want to do this yourself (you seriously should by the way, we can scribe each other’s spellbooks) I can give you a hint about how to make old Excel do this for you. But you’re a wizard too no? You know the ways of random number generation.

So now I know what spell levels I have, now to figure out which spells I actually have in my book. LotFP helps out with this by having spells per level conveniently coincide with the more commonly rolled dice. So here’s the list I got:



Level 1

Ø Magic Missile

Ø Identify

Ø Shield

Ø Charm Person

Ø Floating Disc

Level 2

Ø Ray of Enfeeblement

Ø Detect Invisible

Ø Change Self

Level 3

Ø Dispel Magic

Ø Clairvoyance



Level 4

Ø Speak With Plants

Ø Protection From Normal Weapons

Ø Charm Monster

Level 5

Ø Telekinesis

Level 6

Ø Legend Lore

Ø Glass Eye

Ø Lucubration



Level 7

Ø Prismatic Spray

Ø Phase Door

Level 8

Ø Maze

Ø Demand

Level 9

Ø Shapechange

Ø Temporal Stasis



So… I have a pretty neat spell list. It’s nice to See Magic Missile, the Mage’s friend, and dear, sweet old Ray of Enfeeblement - I’m not scared of no fighters. Nosir. But I have to say, what with Charm Person, Charm Monster and Shapechange – I’m set up to be kind of a bastard. Plus – Clairvoyance and Phase Door and Glass Eye all make it so I’m kind of a sweet detective. I did get a little boned on my 3rd level spells though. No Fireball, Lightning Bolt or Fly. I’ll take Dispel Magic all day long though, it’s not quite ace, but I guess it is the thinking-wizard’s 3rd level go-to. Really the worst I did was Floating Disc and Speak With Plants – although, heck I like plants and often move a lot – so I’d take them. I’ll work on spells a I see fit, and fill up my spellbook and post about it as I finish it up.

kingtycoon: (Default)

Taking Tiger Mountain

-        an interlude

taking tiger mountain

Having come to the peak of the untried mountain, the lone peak at the brink of the River Shrike, the adventurers were confronted all at once by many strange realities- true facts as confirmed by the senses that defied all sense and normal awareness.   The facts – unassailable true facts, as noted by brash-bold Glib Ladrón :

1 – Some people are mostly Tiger, not people, not tiger – but a mixture of the two that could not possibly bear any relationship to natures intentions.

2 – Sometimes some kind of sickness or malady overtakes these tiger-people and arm-length silverfish fall out of their mouths – along with an unhealthy quantity of blood.

3- Some people are fortunately capable of not only tolerating these turns of events, but actually thrive in these circumstances and do not hesitate to act.

Such people are called Adventurers – and Glib Ladrón is very pleased to have found within himself that he can be counted among their number.

What transpired on the sun-parched peak was this: The people (not quite yet actually adventurers – for they’d not at that point accepted the shift in perception and acceptance required to be so known) had gone up the mountain owing to the vaguely allied motivations for money and knowledge and excitement. Said Glib Ladrón – “No one has yet returned from attempting the hill, so at the very least whatever they’ve left up there is ours for the taking.” Said Ib the Erythraean: “I trust my Buster Sword against any danger on that hill.” Said Map Rith: “A ghost dream done spoke in my guts once and I heard tell that at the high points is the realm whereat the dream goes down and teaches.” Said Submot Jon Duilin: “Perhaps there are answers to be found?” So with an uncertain diffidence they’d gone up the hill, not prepared exactly, but equipped with luck and resourcefulness – they attempted to do what was said to be undoable- go up and the hill and come back again.

          At the sun-parched peak they became adventurers. Confronted at first by the peculiar abomination – men with tails, whiskers, fur and stripes, tigers with hands that walked upright, that spoke barely-human language. This was strange, but merely strange. A danger, for certain – they approached, ready to fight for their lives, the tiger-men symmetrically arrayed – ready for death and killing. By good fortune the Tiger-men’s language was near enough to the dialects of Erythraea that stalwart Ib could – in fits and starts – carry out a halting conversation. Truce was declared.

Nearly as suddenly though, the peculiarity of the tiger-men was diminished by the much more extravagant strangeness of whatever afflicted them. Sickened- Ib’s interlocutor doubled over, heaved once, twice – and blood and gore poured out of his mouth – along with a dangling, living thing- a parasitic insect looking like a gigantic silverfish. With a quick blow of his Buster Sword Ib the Erythraean held himself in the highest account – ending the tiger-man’s misery and crippling the parasite in a prelude to stamping it’s life out on the dust of ancient ruins.

Such demonstrations of course were sufficient to cow the tiger-men to appropriate timidity – realizing at once that the ones who had comme to them were in fact Adventurers – bold and daring, who would not quietly die and who would not shrink before the threat of danger. So, they took them all to their camp.

The Tiger-men though, are and were more tiger than man. They could, with coaxing and demonstration, be made used to the comforts of a camp, the warmth of a fire – but in their native state – they shunned the accoutrements of even rudimentary civilization. And yet they had a camp. Not theirs – but captured, taken. By force and strength and brutal murder the Tiger-men had taken the camp on the hill from the previous denizens – grave-robbers. Inheriting the grave-robbers camp, they likewise inherited their prisoner – Stark Merriweather, wizard and passable linguist.

Having lived for a time among the brutes, Stark had some intelligence to relay – and was not sparing with the details:

“The Tiger-men had come among the ruins for reasons that they themselves could not fathom. They explained these things in their own terms – relating to the challenging scents of rival packs, of the game trails, of the pleasing sweet water from the river and the drought of the highlands. They have no reason for being here, and yet they wish to go to across the river. They came here and killed and ate my previous captors – a gang of grave robbers who were defiling the graves, those graves – over there. Once they’d killed and eaten the robbers they took some notice of me, but I could understand and speak to them so they accepted me, immediately – they’re simple creatures, but very dangerous – do not provoke them.” This last warning advice he offered as he left the mountain with the Wizardess Ekaterina – making for the river and Hundown beyond – taking with him all the grave-robbers’ plunder – of which the tiger-men had no use or awareness.

But the circumstances relating to the tiger-men were interesting enough a puzzle to compel Submot Jon Dulin to stay a while among them on the peak. More than that, the creatures were sick, mostly ill and suffering – apparently from whatever malady caused their fellow to cough up a monster. He prayed for insight, such being his normal recourse.

          Glib Ladrón though was compelled, not by the tiger-men – who after all were just big kitty-cats, harmless if treated appropriately – rather he had his eyes upon the ruins themselves. An ancient place built by the elf-kings of old an ancient, extinct culture – rumored to be rich. He busied himself among the graves, searching out treasure, considering the facts of life – that coin ensures autonomy, that money sustains life.

          Map-Rith, the cursed Halfling did his own reconnaissance – finding the deep square pit in the middle of the ruin, the echoing, cold depth beyond, something beneath the earth that answered calls with a familiar, dull ring, that spoke back to him. His own ghost? In the pit? Perhaps? He cried out again and again – questions begging an answer. The tiger-men crept close as he did so – expecting something. For long minutes the calls remained unanswered and then? Bursting from the stillness came a fluttering and a whirlwind – dozens or hundreds of moths – butterflies – something – burst from the hole – each as big as Map-Rith’s fist. He caught one just as the tiger-men leapt to gather them in their mouths, eating them with gusto. The thing – not a butterfly but a fleshy polyp – like a tadpole, but with six broad tails – fluttering like dragonfly wings. No face, mouth, nothing resembling eyes – only a squishy transparent green frog-flesh – the guts swirling inside. Knowing well enough his own limitations Map Rith brought the thing to Submot Dulin “Is it a taboo food or a right food br’er Dulin?” With tempered wisdom the Submot crushed the thing beneath the butt of his jinglestaff. “Don’t eat it.” And so he was granted the wisdom he had prayed for.

          And Stalwart Ib? Favorite of the tiger-men? He had gone aside with them, left the camp for the pleasant basking rocks under the sparse trees where they could speak together uninterrupted. The Raksasha of Gotra-Hinsra-Purūa was a noble creature, a very large tiger with two human hands- curled up and backward on its forelegs – to enable it’s nimble clambering on all fours. It spoke to him and gave no name – for the Gotra-Hinsra-Purūa do not follow that human practice. The Raksasha, matriarch of the pack explained to him her purpose and the needs of her people, their history and their lineage.

          “long ago,” she said, purring and shoving her great cat’s head under his palm, all the two-legs races left the North. When the crace leaves but some remain are they a part of a race? They did not think so. Some among them were witches gifted with the power of shape-changing. These chose new breeds to join and became Hinsra-Purūa and Kīmatī-Rūvā and Bhāva-Sāpa and others, the More-Than-Three. Their two-legs ways would not leave their blood though and some among their progeny began to become the Gotra – So the More-Than-Three came to be – all shades and aspects of the beast-man path. “

          Satisfied, Ib went to consult with the others only to discover Jon Dulin, performing his priestly incantations over the sickened and failing Hinsra-Purūa bringing them back, one by one, from their mortal peril, saving them, one by onne, from their grizzly fate. “Tell them to stop eating those butterfly things from the ground Mister Ib – that’s what’s made them so sick.”

A few nights, on Tiger Mountain were required for Submot Jon Dulin to see to the afflictions of all Gotra-Hinsra-Purūa. Time the submot spent in serious prayer, inward contemplation and the laying on of hands. The Erythraean Ib, mastering the Raksasha of the Gotra by force of his overwhelming potency, his stoic patience – came to learn more and more of them and their ways, simple-minded, straightforward. Complex in turns but unambiguous. They pleaded with him gently, as they grew in trust, to help them cross the river. They had tired of the mountain and the thinning game, they could not turn away from the West, which compelled them – somehow – but they feared the river and had not met its like in the life of the Gotra.

          Map Rith and Glib Ladrón though, they had to choose their own way of whiling away their time on the mountain. Go back to the village? Not yet, too light in the pockets still, go down the hole? Not without a wizard, not yet. Dig up the bodies of the fallen, ancient elves? Perhaps a little. Explore the ruin, find the secrets? Why not, sure. Climbing the crumbling walls and venturing through the ruined upper levels was not difficult, but it did, certainly, offer its own danger – a fall would be deadly, a collapse likewise. Yet, among the elf-hall’s ruins there was an amount of worthy loot to be had, among the graves as well there were… items, wrapped in the skeletal elf-remains. “Enough to survive a while longer, sure, but not enough to retire on, no.” Glib Ladrón ’s pronouncement. I suppose we’re adventurer’s now though Map my lad – we’ll need to get gear enough to keep on the path, and gear means town and town means people – we’ll go back to them, but I don’t mind telling you – I’ve figured out a thing or two about them, the people.”

          For among the ruins there were hints and secrets about the townsfolk – graffiti and remembrances, signs of the townsfolk’s comings and goings among the elf-ruins – which they’d after all said – none had returned from. An old diary of Almond Sister – the apothecary, a few broken jack-o-lanterns, rotten and charred in the halls leading to a vaulted, open chamber – and in that chamber? A great – tall carving – a cult statue – as confirmed by Submot Dulin. A woman, all covered in fur, well carved and statuesque, sprouting from her head – some ten feet aboe the dais – great huge antlers like the largest of the northern moose. And draped over her horns there were garlands of popcorn, and woven braids of cornsilk and at her feet were stacked the denuded maize-cobs, dried and shaped into human-like dolls.

          “What do you think it means?” Jon Dulin asked, having been brought to the eerie shrine on the fourth night.

          “They been dreamin the bad dream or the good but nones the wiser. If they got a ghost in them then it must come out and be playtiming with the horn-lady.”

          “My friends, the way that one wins in a negotiation or similar interaction is by knowing something about the other party that they do not know that you know.”

          “Asymmetry in force deployment is like asymmetry in knowledge – it does not mean victory Glib Ladrón .”

          “Oh, but it helps out doesn’t it Ib?”


kingtycoon: (Default)

The Haunted House –

A Brief Interlude

interlude1Moonless nights and dark happenstance – the link between the two is not lost on Ekaterina nor Stark – for they have been raised up and wrapped in omens and portents, trained in the unfathomable path of wizardry.

In his shambolic moments of transport, when the ringing quiet vibrates most sublime – Stark can sense, like a sound heard in his back teeth – the very motion of the stars. He can hear, for he has been taught to hear, the breath-stealing chorus of the fading stars – whispering in the chasm of space. The chilling song is quieted by the motion of the moons in the heavens, but on mid-season nights, when the Verdant and the Cyan and the Carmine moons are far off below the horizon – and the Samnite moon has turned Fulligin in its sinister aspect – touring across the sky widdershins – then the merciless tones of the of the ancient stars booms like an organ and he feels the knot of comforting terror bulge up from his stomach, finding its proper place in his throat.

Likewise Ekaterina, a witch governed by the tides of blood and season feels the absence of the moons like the absence of breath, like waking to a stillbirth, she is comforted, briefly and only just, by the familiarity of the grotesque loss, such agony her longtime companion. A now she is consumed by strange forces that have withered and revivified her in equal parts unequally and is full up of feelings, feelings of doom and catastrophe and terrible endurance.

The two wizards have gone off the path in Hundown after dark, broken the unspoken taboo - with the wizard’s foresight they took with them the talisman that keeps at bay the worst of the night’s stalkers – the Jack-o-Lantern, lit to provide the barest light in the moody, shifting dark. The Lantern bears only a little light and at its periphery the monstrous presence from across the hill – the fiend-thing that is seen from the corner of one’s sight or not at all darts and shambles – a confusing, even sickening juxtaposition of the youth’s skipping gait and the ancient’s hobbling step. It cannot approach and so it calls out – it’s voice a terrible thing redolent of the stars and the earth’s own movements. The call pierces poor Ekaterina, now used to it’s strange caress – it firms the ground beneath her feet, makes her skin taught, her wrinkles and scars vanishing. And at once her hair recedes into her scalp, her nails withdraw into her fingers and toes – youth has come, time has shifted for her – and she is left writhing in the dirt.

Stark – to whom such music is an old companion – is undeterred and calls upon the starlight to limn the specter. It glows with the faerie fire and the wizards can see that it is a patchwork of old and new, young and old, all in motion, all changing. The light startles it and it flees into the night – back, they hope, across the river.

So now their initial exploration has turned into a necessary mission – to find shelter. Fortunately Hundown in its present state is overfull of empty homes and they, with little effort, enter the stone cottage they had meant only to examine. The cottage was once, likely, pleasing and good, a home – perhaps for many people, for generations of a family raised and buried on the banks of the River Shrike. Now it is vacant, the door hangs drunkenly and rotten hinges, the shuttered windows rattling where they are still intact.

Within the house they are confronted by the once-comforts of a once-home. Mouldering carpets are piled thick in the entryway, the larder is empty now but the shelves are thick with grime and rot and everywhere there is a thick film of undisturbed dust. Mold has grown and died – the home having become the residence of the darkling life that thrives in ruin, only to be dispossessed in turn by time’s inexorable turning. Now the house is solid, a rock building with an intact roof, with decayed but enduring furniture. They slump to rest on the abandoned beds, falling at once asleep, neither fearing death or savoring life. If they rise with the sun it will be by the same miracle that makes the sun rise.

When dawn comes a cheery light cascades through lacunae in the thatched roof, the rooms for all their decay are not without their own color. The house, is pleasant after all – a forgotten shrine to some domestic life denied to adventurers and forbidden to wizards. Nevertheless Ekaterina and Stark take their moment to enjoy the decayed and rotten rudiments of home life that their professions allow. The rain barrel is full, the water is clean and good, there are chine dishes, crystal goblets, easily cleaned and sufficient to provide them some homely comforts. They sit on the musty sofas and begin to admire their home. It is full of damaged books, bird nests, mouse bones and mushrooms, the walls are smeared with a strange and growing slime, the hanign paintings have blistered so that they seem to depict diseased monsters – in short, it is the perfect hideout for a pair of traveling wizards.

They turn their thoughts to inspect the grounds – feeling after so much rest, and at last in beds well, good even. There is a smashed and rotting gazebo, that shelters the saplings that are destroying it from within, there is a well, and wide porches, a fire-pit and there are graves. 11 graves and six of them share the same year – a plague year. Only one has no death-date carved – but what transpired here is no mystery – for the corpse of the last resident lies atop the undug grave – a skeleton in tatters surrounded by the skeletons of dogs and rats – no doubt the pestilence that killed the man was sufficient to end the lives of the creatures that came to feed off of his remains.

The two contemplate the body, briefly, and then consider their house. They take their moments, retrieve their supplies from Hundown’s shops, set themselves in order. The weird call of domesticity – alien and unavailable to wizards has taken hold – like a strange invitation, like the memory of something from within the womb. Meals. They cook, they relax on their sofa, begin to read the rotting books – which all make excellent sense, nevermind that they are falling apart, their pages scrubbed clean by time and weather. They find dust in the old jars, but it is good to eat, they cook it over the cold ashes in the fireplace. They fall asleep in the mold encrusted beds – again and wake, again – rested. They are a family now – they’ve known it, since childhood – they grew up singing those same songs? Didn’t they.

It’s a confusion – Ekaterina looks, to Stark, like a sister he remembers having, once – and Stark, for all his peculiar quirks has always been a brother to Ekaterina, she remembers his first tooth, his first words. They gather water from the well, pick fruits from the orchard – garnish their meals with cobwebs and dust. They exist in this state of mundane domesticity for days, or a day – for some time beyond recognizing.

And when the Sabbath day comes they know to go and pay respects to their lost loved ones – mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, and on – they come from a long line. But there is father’s body – lying on his grave. He’s trying ever so hard to dig his way down, to bury himself. Of course he can’t – digging only with his bare skeletal fingers, the bones cast off so his hands are just a rattling collection of bones- like so many dice. How can he dig? And yet he tries and tries. They think to take pity on him, invite him back into his house, put him into his bed, read his favorite stories. Give him a taste of the comforts of home – for he’s slept out here on his own grave for years now, for so long.

The two wizard-siblings lift him up, carry him inside and as he crosses the threshold flesh returns to his limbs, his face returns – stern but kind, a gentle, genial man – he’s always been fair to them, always been good. They fix him dinner and sing to him, and he goes to sleep in his bed, again.

In the night the two of them confer. They know what they must do. They are wizards after all, and it is their right and their authority to change their histories, to write new chapters for long-lost days, to play a part and wear the mask – but now that father is sleeping Ekaterina looks at Stark and he at her and they know that they are not kin – they remember themselves and their purpose. And so, lamenting, only briefly the imaginary lives they led, all in service of the unseen powers of life and death and ineffable magic – they go into their not-father’s room – they find the man, sleeping and they draw their knives and scatter his bones, peeling them out of his flesh – not flesh – but a dream of flesh, illusion. They draw out his viscera, it puffs away into air as they do so, and all along he screams and cries and pleads for mercy. They hush him and assure him – this is mercy. For a keepsake they each take a knucklebone – and in the morning they bury him in his grave.

The haunted house at the edge of town is theirs now, the rite completed, the restless dead laid to slumber.

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