28 February, 2011

Starting Spells

I've used many different methods for determining what spells magic-users (and sometimes clerics) have scribed in their first spell book when they enter the game. Sometimes it's all first level spells, sometimes it's just one, or one plus their INT modifier. Sometimes it's according to the (surprisingly restrictive?) table on page 8 of the Greyhawk supplement. Sometimes the spells themselves are picked by the player, or randomly determined, or sometimes a mix of both.

In your campaigns, what do 1st level magic-users get in their first spellbook? Please let us know!

25 February, 2011

Gren post 15

Asmon already had his sword drawn, and he began walking in the direction of the voice. He could make out a tiny robed man, framed about by the massive dark passage opening. The old man was motioning him forward hurriedly.
"Yes, I know, you've got a lot of questions... they always do... that's not important now, hurry over here."
The old man was glancing toward the titanic portal to the outside, but looked at Asmon more closely as he neared him.
"Ahhh... you're one of them! Or one of him, I suppose you'd say. Excellent! Hardly expected, but excellent nonetheless. Now this way, quickly!" He turned to head down the dark passageway, then looked back. "Don't walk anywhere I don't! And you won't need that... not in here, anyway."
The tattered once-white robes were disappearing in the gloom before Asmon began walking after the old man. He didn't sheath his sword, but also didn't voice any of the questions he had. The passage suddenly grew bright around them, revealing only the plain pearlescent walls of the hall they'd left behind. Looking back, his eyes met an unbearable brilliance, apparently belying another break in the clouds outside.
He quickly lost track of the turns the passage made. Infrequently, he saw doorways and archways, most about twice his height, carved in the walls. Knowing what he did now, he assumed they were actual portals, merely waiting for something to bring them to life. The only other variation present in the stone was the deep wear in the passage floor. The proportions had stayed constant as well, thirty feet wide and sixty to the featureless ceiling. He now had no clear idea where the illumination was coming from.
Asmon spoke, uncomfortably breaking the silence of their footsteps, and hesitating for a moment before continuing. "I seek.. an audience with Veer-Jhavhan. I was told by an Olnivernian that he might help me."
The old man laughed, but continued walking, and said "well, you have it!" After walking on for a bit, he turned his head slightly back, and said "I am Veer-Jhavhan. And I suppose virtually anyone might help you... The real trick is finding someone who will help you!" He laughed, almost more to himself than to anyone else, and turned his attention back to the passageway before them.
He had been occasionally muttering unintelligible words as they walked along, and taking sudden odd sidesteps here and there. Asmon continued to follow suit while he considered this latest revelation from the old man.

Location e of Entero Island

e - the breakwater
This narrow strip of wet, icy, rough black rock presents a considerable movement hazard, providing the characters have no means of flight. Swimming would result in checking for hypothermia, as well as the 3-in-6 risk of being dashed against the rocks for 1d6+1 damage. Even if flight is available, the characters will have to contend with high winds. Clambering along the rocks, the characters will progress at ⅓ their usual movement rate. Unless the characters come up with a means of safely traversing the rocks, for every 100 yards traveled they will also need to make a dexterity check or a dexterity based saving throw (DM’s choice - the saving throw will allow higher level characters to make use of their experience in navigating obstacles) to avoid falling and tumbling down the jagged rocks for 1 point of damage. Rolling a 1 on the save (or a 20 on the check) will result in the character tumbling into the rough, frigid water, with the risks mentioned above. For every 2 turns spent on the breakwater, the DM also rolls for waves. The waves will be 1d12 feet in height, with a 2-in-6 chance of damaging ice chunks. Ice chunks will do 1d6-1 damage to everyone on the breakwater (0 pts. min.) with a dexterity based save allowing half damage.
At the point labeled ‘e’ on the map, there is a submerged cave. It is home to 2d6 crabmen. In the cave there will also be a number of females equal to twice the number of males, young equal to the number of males, giant crabs as pets equal to ⅓ the number of males, several sandy areas of buried eggs, and 1d6 individuals undergoing molting. The molting crabmen (and/or women) are currently soft-skinned and buried up to their necks in sand for protection. There is an area of trapped air inside the cave, which includes the sandy molting area. If characters fall into the water near here, crabmen guards will take them to the trapped air within their cave and revive them with a distasteful but effective algae dish. They are distrustful of humans, due to the nature of the villagers, but will return kindness with kindness, potentially providing provisions (fresh water, oysters, mussels, lobster, mushrooms, and a nourishing but bland unbaked kelp & algae ‘bread’.) The crabmen are familiar with the evil influence of the Sea Mother, and wish she and her brood were not on the island, but they have so far avoided confrontation.
If met randomly on the rocks, the crabmen will be cautious, but if befriended can guide the characters safely along the breakwater (they will be guided through areas blocked in one way or another from wave action, and will only need to roll one more save or ability check.) They will be accompanied by giant crab pets equal to ⅓ their number. They will warn characters against the wisdom of visiting the ‘haunted tower,’ but will point out the old rowboat grounded on the rocks at the end of the breakwater if the characters are determined to go out there.

breakwater random encounters - 1 in 6 chance, rolled every turn
1 - 2d6 crabmen (Fiend Folio)
2 - 1d4 giant crabs (Blackmoor, Monster Manual I)
3 - giant clam
4 - small pool, 50% for poison urchins
5 - strangleweed (Monster Manual I)
6 - bits of old wrecked boat, 25% chance for lockbox/treasure chest
7 - driftwood
8 - angry seabirds, diving and pecking forces an immediate falling check

18 February, 2011

Tekumel 8

Yikes, 8 days?! My apologies! Been focusing on my PbP games and offline complications.


You pull the nest-like mass out of its chlen-hide box. As you do so, some of the slick, brightly colored strings and ropes fall away from the nest. Placing it on your head, you could use two or more of the dangling pieces to tie it on under your chin. It doesn't seem to be intended for this purpose, but you could probably get it stay in place without too much effort.


Scooping a bit of the musty dirt into the viscous green fluid, it sits on top for a moment, then slowly settles downward. After reaching the center of the box, the dirt begins (with about the speed of a crawling beetle) to disperse evenly throughout the entire volume of fluid. It does not dissolve, but is suspended.


You pick one of the raisin-hearts and deftly toss it at the scintillating cabochon. It vanishes just at touches the surface.


Our energetic shen capitalises on momentum, and pitches the now-empty nest box and the dirt box at the gem as well. They vanish without incident. He is about to follow through with the green fluid, when a chlen-hide box top suddenly appears, charred and blackened, in front of the cabochon, and falls to the table, smoking.


While most of you ponder this odd development, the shen heads over to the pile of refuse in search of fabric. It doesn't take long to find a couple of old leather straps and some cloth which can be fashioned into a harness capable of carrying one of the boxes. Taking the materials over to the table in front of the cabochon, you begin fashioning a sort of pack. The work is unusually easy as you find yourself drawing upon the inspiration of dozens of different crafting traditions.


As you work, a small charcoal-like object appears in front of the gem and falls to the table, odorous black smoke rising from it. It was once the raisin-heart. Soon after, a box appears from thin air, looking melted and warped, and falls onto the table heavily. It is full of hot, smoking dirt. As you move this box closer to see the contents, another appears, even more melted and blackened, and falls lightly to the table. In the bottom of this box some of the few remaining nest-bits have been melted flush into the material of the box.

10 February, 2011

Locations c and d of Entero Island

c - the lookout
This is the only place from where the shipwreck at location ‘g’ can be clearly seen, due to the wreck being almost entirely submerged, though shallowly, and its view being occluded by underwater rocks. Six feet of the wreck’s mast extends above the waves, and can be barely seen from the shore northwest or southeast of the hills. It cannot be approached by shore, however, since this part of the coast consists of steep 75 foot (on average) cliffs, extending from 250 yards north of ‘c’ to 200 yards east of ‘c.’

Unfortunately for any viewers, this is also the location of a yeti cave. There is but a single yeti, the last member of a nearly extinct population. This condition has done nothing to help his already sour disposition. His simple cave is littered with goat bones and giant crab shells, though he has no treasure. The treasure usually associated with his kind is instead subsumed in the booty within the sunken ship at ‘g.’ 

d - the grotto
At the very back of a deep fissure cut into the cliffs here, down 100 feet from the top of the overhang, is the entrance to a sizable cavern. The entrance lies mere feet from the surface of the sea, and at high tide the briny water intrudes into the lowest portions of the cavern, leaving tidal pools in the first few low yards of the floor. This natural cavern is a wet, dark place of sharp black obsidian and basalt. It is roughly in the shape of a triangle, one point being at the seaward entrance. The distance from the entrance point to the base of the vague triangle, at the back of the chamber, is 60 feet.

Ascending the sharp rocks of the interior, one enters the demesne of the Sea Mother. The upper half of her body is that of a 4 armed, voluptuous, full-figured woman. The lower half of her body is similar to the enormous rear thorax, abdomen, and tail of a gigantic blue lobster. The gradation from walking legs to swimmerets is so gradual, and their nature so similar in her case, that functionally she glides about repulsively on 16 disturbingly insectoid legs. Her colouring ranges from blue to iridescent green across her entire body, and in place of hair, she has upon her head innumerable prehensile eels.

She fully utilises her 4 arms, allowing her to attack once with a weapon, and cast one magical spell, both in the same round. She has 3 hit dice, and fights as a 3rd level fighter. She casts spells as a level 3 magic-user, as well as a level 3 cleric. All her spells are contained in her ancient spell books, separated by level and class, and securely stored here in her grotto. For this reason, the DM is encouraged to choose the Sea Mother’s spells to fit his or her unique campaign, as her spellbooks constitute a good portion of the treasure gained through her demise. She employs as her main melee weapon a +1 short sword. The blue-green sword is ornately designed with a flowing-shaped iridescent blade and a hilt in the form of a mermaid. It continually ‘sweats’ saltwater from the surface of the blade when drawn from its sheath, and can produce up to a gallon of liquid per day in this fashion. It will do an extra point of damage per hit to fire-based foes, but one point less to water or ice-based enemies.

Additionally, once per round her head-eels may attempt to turn one of her opponents to stone. This is an active attempt, so not only must the target be looking at the Sea Mother, and be able to see her, but she must also roll to hit them for the glowing green-white beam of the eels’ combined energy to strike and penetrate any armor. The target is further allowed a saving throw vs. stone to avoid the effect if hit, being slowed to half movement if successful. This petrification is cured if the resulting statue is entirely submerged in seawater for 1 round.

Accompanying the Sea Mother in her grotto are 6 brood minions, less if any have been killed at the stones of location ‘b.’ They are similar to the Sea Mother in appearance, but are all male, bald, and have only 2 arms. Also, their 8 walking legs are distinct from their smaller swimmerets, with their abdomen and tail being carried slightly aloft behind them. They are armed with spears and have 1 hit die, but possess no independent spellcasting ability. Depending on the strength of the party, the DM may consider increasing the brood minions to 2 hit dice, as well as providing them with shields.

Also within the grotto, in a prominent position near the high back of the chamber, is a large, irregularly shaped black obelisk. Despite the best efforts of those examining it, they are unable to determine if it is a projection of the native basalt, or if it is some later addition. Concealed behind the obelisk (but not a ‘secret door’) is the opening to the tunnel leading to the secret door at area ‘b.’ If approached from this direction, the only possible random encounter within the tunnel are the black garbugs.

At the north corner of the chamber, in a narrow vertical crevice, are several small natural ledges and a collection of giant clam shells crammed into the rock. These hold the Sea Mother’s spellbooks, as well as her treasure. They are not split apart, but rather connected at the joint, and arranged so that the top half will lift to allow access to the inside. There are 4 of these, with the largest one at the top. This one contains all her spellbooks, and is trapped with the spine of a sea urchin. Anyone springing the trap will begin feeling numb and die in 6 rounds, unless a save vs. poison is made, or unless some other measures are taken to neutralize the poison. The remaining shells and the ledges contain the rest, consisting of: 900 silver coins; 500 gold coins; 2 large pearls (50gp ea.); 3 small pearls (25gp ea.); 10 pieces of tableware including goblets, cups and plates, of both metal and glass (10gp ea.); a silver fork(5gp); a gold comb(20gp); a silver mirror(30gp); and a spyglass(50gp). There are also numerous other items commonly found on boats and ships, but all are broken and worthless.

Grumpy Eberron - an NPC on 'Forged

Lieutenant Albrecht Jung is a young officer in the Karnnathi military. Currently, he is an artificer specialist assigned to the military garrison in Vulyar. He was brought in after the end of the Last War with an assistant and two sections of ten warforged. Their job is to assist in repairs around the badly damaged county.

"Frankly, I don't think the captain even believes thinkers exist. I've only been at Vulyar for a year. I came with my corporal and two sections of warforged to assist in the repairs. I didn't fight in the war with these men.. I've been trying hard to.. well, fit in with them. As an artificer, it is always difficult to be seen as an equal with experienced fighting men, and there is little room in my duties for my theories."

You are touring the work sites around the outlying areas of Vulyar. As you travel, Albrecht, who you realise is probably not much over 20 years old, begins to speak. "As an artificer, it is part of my vocation to understand and work with the arcane motivators of the warforged. In addition to being a sort of complex clockwork, a warforged is suffused with an enchantment which serves as its engine, which brings it to life, so to speak. These things are not completely understood by any artificer I have met, though we base our work on manipulating this. For those who produced the warforged during the war, I believe it was much like the farmer who may grow bushel upon bushel of grain, though he knows not how the seed functions."

"Anyway.. I believe that the thinkers result when various different parts or factors common to all warforged within their minds, certain opposites for example, come together in a sort of agreement. This is, perhaps, what allows them to become unique.. a thinking individual.. that these separate factors are incredibly numerous, and have come together in a unique way in each case. I have done certain experiments.. " He pauses and looks at the three of you in the party still on the wagon. "Experiments which even my assistant, Corporal Meier, does not know about.. which suggest I may be correct. Yet, I have no proof, and so far no real success."

09 February, 2011

Tekumel 7

You remove the lid from one of the boxes and peer inside. It takes a moment to process what you see, at first appearing to be some sort of reddish brown, oddly shaped roots. You then realise the box is full of mummified hearts. To the distaste of many of the identities within, the shen has to fight down the urge to devour several of them when he realises they are undoubtedly no longer good to eat.


Another box, carefully opened, reveals musty, odd smelling dirt. A third box contains a thick but semi-transparent green liquid. The liquid moves viscously within the box, but with what seems to be a disturbing delay of one or two seconds. The fourth and final chlen-hide box (in this part of the laboratory) contains what at first glance appears to be a multi-coloured bird's nest. The nest, or nests, fill the box, and the pieces making it up are long and flexible. They have a dull shine, not unlike chlen hide. At the ends of at least some of the strands are small metallic rings and needles.


Taking a precautionary step backward, you gently fling the last box top toward the large buzzing ornament. The instant you hear it contact the great central cabochon, the box top vanishes. Its disappearance is completely without spectacle - it simply and instantly ceases to exist.


What do you do now?

08 February, 2011

Motor City - This is What We Do

I was just thinking earlier today about how many bloggers and others in the osr are in the Detroit area. I know of 2 or 3 already, but I thought I'd ask.. how many of you out there are in Detroit metro? Do you have a regular DnD group?

Location b - the stones

b - the stones
In the midst of this area of grass-covered hills, on top of a hill somewhat shorter than those surrounding it, lies a group of large, rounded, heavily weathered stones with a number of large glyphs deeply incised upon each of them. These boulders are roughly 3 feet in height, and generally measure about 8 feet long by 4 feet wide, with a variance of about a foot in either direction. There are 8 of them, arranged at the points of the compass. Around the bottoms of each of these stones are a number of blunt projections, appearing somewhat like stunted legs. In the center of the arrangement of boulders is a large, circular stone, the Focus Stone. This central stone is about 12 feet in diameter, and is flat and flush with the ground. It is deeply carved with complex glyphs and long, sweeping lines and curves.

If the players are unfortunate (or unwise) enough to find themselves waking up bound to these stones, the function of the blunt projections is clear. They will be tied, immobile, with heavy woven-grass ropes to the stones, with the projections used as anchors or tie-offs. From the moment the first PC awakens, they have 1d12+10 minutes before the Sea Mother appears! She will be accompanied by 1d4+1 of her inhuman brood. They will arrive via a secret opening in the flat central Focus Stone. If the PCs have not managed to free themselves before this time, they are at least not gagged. However, they will have to be glib indeed to dissuade the Sea Mother from her intended course of action, which is, quite simply, the ritual sacrifice of all the PCs, one at a time.

The ritual begins with 1 round of casting, involving not only the Sea Mother, but all her accompanying brood as well, gathered in a tight circle around her at the center of the Focus Stone. At the end of this round, a brilliant (even if it happens to be daylight) green-white pillar of light will audibly blast upward toward the heavens, out of sight. The minions are now free to guard her, or undertake other actions, but will default to standing around the circumference of the circle while events proceed. If left to her designs, the Sea Mother will then begin using a large ceremonial knife to uncomfortably dispatch the PCs, beginning of course with any hapless henchmen or hirelings. With each sacrifice, the glyphs of the poor unfortunate’s stone glow with bright greenish light. A brilliant green-white shaft of light then springs horizontally from the blood-soaked boulder to join and strengthen the pillar of light at the center. If she completes the ritual, and some PC is somehow yet left alive (perhaps watching from a nearby hilltop, the coward!) the Sea Mother grows 3 feet in height and length, grotesquely sprouts yet another pair of arms, and gains 2 hit dice.

At the DM’s option, one last chance exists for each of the PCs as she, in turn, tries to send their souls to her dark god. If they can make a dexterity-based saving throw, they manage to interpose a woven rope between their flesh and her glittering blade. They thereby free a limb of their choice, and may begin a desperate last-ditch struggle for survival.

If the PCs arrive at the location in more agreeable circumstances, they have the usual chances to discover the secret door. Opening it will require dripping fresh blood (the door is not picky about whose) into the shallow, 6 inch bowl-like depression in the center, then using this liquid to trace 8 small glyphs on the surface of the Focus Stone. Each of these glyphs is near the perimeter, each one ‘aimed’ at one of the surrounding boulders. (Remember, the Focus Stone is bare to the elements, making any blood stains terribly faint) The Focus Stone will then grind open, iris-fashion, revealing a very steep, time-worn and lichen encrusted stone stair. The stair leads to a tunnel, which then snakes its way through the earth to location ‘d.’

The only random encounter possible in the tunnel (unless the Sea Mother knows strangers are on the island, in which case a lone brood minion may be patrolling) is black garbugs. The chance is 1 in 6 for every 30 minute period. Roll a d30 to determine when (and thus where) the encounter occurs.

07 February, 2011

Location a - the village

Entero Island
Entero Island is located in the more frigid reaches of the Sea of Os’r, and is quite cold year-round. Ice can often be seen in the surrounding waters, and the prevailing current comes from the north. There is only a single village on the island, and it is self-sufficient in its needs for food, clothing and shelter. Due to the proclivities of the inhabitants, no luxury goods find a market here. Thus, due to these factors, the tiny island is not a destination for traders or their ships. Once upon the island, adventurers without other means of travel at their disposal could find themselves in for a very long stay indeed.

a - the village
If the village once had a proper name of its own, it long ago died of neglect. The residents do not travel, do not speak of other lands, and live but in this single locale. The few items which cannot be produced on the island (there is no metal-bearing ore, for example) are well cared for, and passed down as heirlooms. They live in yurt-like but stationary huts, in family groups of 4 - 7. There are currently a total of 37 adults in the village, living in 15 huts.

Due to their arduous lifestyle, all the adults are at least equal to level 1 fighters, with a handful being equal to level 2. This hardiness can easily be scaled upward by as much as 2 levels, depending on the strengths of the adventurers. None should be above level 4, however, and all will be equal to a fighter.

The solitary domestic animals on the island are the herd of goats, which belong in common to all the residents. These goats are largely left to roam the island as they see fit, with only a few of the females kept in simple pens around the village for milk.

When approached, these people will not seem overly surprised by new arrivals to their island. Neither will they be hostile, but they will not seem friendly either. Their most common form of social intercourse with strangers will take the form of leisurely assessing stares. If pressed, they will speak as succinctly as possible, though preferring mild grunts (“hmmm..”) shrugs and nods. Although they have personal names, they will not use or share these in the presence of strangers. Overtures of friendship will meet with vaguely distrustful indifference, even from children, while threats and acts of violence will generally meet with measured, calm flight.

Under their quiet veneer, all the residents immediately see any strangers (and their gear) as a mere resource to be exploited. All that remains is to determine how best they might be used. As soon as they can get away unnoticed, a group of 1d4+2 adults will go to area ‘d’ in an attempt to get advice from their Sea Mother. If unmolested, they return bearing her dire wisdom in just under 2 hours.

If their plots proceed apace, the player characters will be treated to a feast of shellfish, crab, a richly tasty goat cheese, a large white root (similar to yucca) baked under the open fire and served like a baked potato, unleavened bread, and even a heavy chowder made from the preceding. All this out on the beach, in front of a roaring fire of driftwood. Nonetheless, the countenances of the many gathered villagers, upwards of a dozen in attendance, remain as before - slightly wary, unemotional and watching.

The goal of the villagers here is to put the player-characters soundly to sleep, their bellies full of heavy provender, cozied up to a roaring fire on a chilly beach. If none stay awake, they next find themselves secured to sacrificial stones at area ‘b.’

If, on the other hand, the adventurers always maintain at least one person awake, the villagers will continue to bide their time. They will provide space in one of their dwellings for the player-characters to sleep, but at least two villagers will be inside with them at all times. The feasts will continue for the next two nights before another group of villagers goes back to area ‘d’ for more advice. This further advice should be determined by the DM, as based on the remainder of this information and the progress of play up to that point.

06 February, 2011

Entero Island - Sea of Os'r

Here is my map! I'm now working on filling in the key, as well as wandering monster charts for different areas, details for the village and its residents, and all the naughty bits. Click for a larger version, if you wish.

05 February, 2011

The Devil Sack

A Grumpy Greyhawk magic item - For all intents and purposes this seems to be a typical magical bag of holding, and even an identify spell will indicate this, although the caster of such a spell may get an 'odd feeling' about the item.

In fact, on the night of the next new moon, one object held within the bag will become possessed by a devil. If the DM must, a random roll is acceptable, but the devil does have a choice of which item he or she wishes to inhabit. Additionally, the devil can make use of what they've learned about the carrier of the sack from the time it was picked up 'til the time of possession.

The type of devil may, as well, be determined randomly, but will never be a unique sort, such as one of the princes or dukes.

Although the possessor has no inherent way of knowing this without some type of research, destruction of the sack will make the possession irretrievably permanent, but destruction of the item (no longer as simple a matter as destroying a mundane apple, extra shirt, ten foot pole or whatever the possessed item is) will release the fiend into the world.

Ephemeromancy

"First of all, this isn't a new class. It's merely a different method of casting for a magic-user. In most of my milieu, there are dozens of different casting systems by which a worker of magic can cast their spells. Generally, characters will start out with a very basic system, much like or identical to what is detailed in the rules, and will then discover other casting systems as they travel around and experience the different cultures of the world, or worlds." - me
The system below is, obviously, a familiar one. However, it is presented here mostly in the context of starting with another system and discovering this one in the course of the campaign. If this is the case, it may be entirely appropriate to greatly increase the difference in power between spell levels, with even the first levels being of considerable power, while lowering the number of each level which the mage can commit to memory at any one time.
In my worlds, this form of wizardry goes hand in hand with the sort detailed in the works of Lovecraft. While anyone might dare to peruse the pages of the Necronomicon or the Book of Eibon, and attempt to cast the spells therein, the vast majority do so at the great peril of their mental stability. There are a handful of masters, however, who have painstakingly learned the techniques of ordering their minds in such a way that the howling chaos of raw magic may be safely contained within their conciousness... for a time.

Ordered chaos is the defining character of an ephemeromancer. Through practised forms of intense concentration, he can partition a prison against madness within his thoughts. He then populates this bastion with the same spells which would erode other mens' sanity. Then, as the memories are utilised, the inverted fortress shrinks within his mind, allowing his normal psyche more breathing room.

The wizard, after allowing his serotonin levels to normalize through sufficient sleep, can then once again enforce this neuroplasticity on his mind, rebuilding his asylum of chaos.

As befitting those so learned in ordering chaos and rigidly controlling their psyche, ephemeromancers have developed a complex system of power level assessment through which they catorgorise the known spells. As one advances in power, he will know precisely how many spells of a certain power he has the skill to confine within his mind.

However, woe be to any who dare look within the ephemeromancer's books, for if they chance to understand the ancient languages in which the arcane instructions are scribed, it is sure to have a lasting effect on their sanity. Although, they may also attempt the thaumaturgy themselves, but to potentially inexpert ends.

This system of magic can use any of the multitude of published sources which divide spells into levels of power, and which then specify how many of each level may be remembered at any one time by the mage, then to be wiped from the mind upon use.

01 February, 2011

Tekumel 6

The fingers of your left hand are closing about the clasp which holds the dusty old tome shut before you realise it. The grey-white cover, scribed with symbols you almost recognise, reminds you of something. As you open the book, the warm scent of cinnamon reaches you. Your eyes rest limply on the first pages. There are those within you who desire desperately to read the words, to speak them as they once did, but they are as yet too far below the surface.


Closing the book, you pick it up to take it with you. You will need a pack of some kind to carry it very far. The dark doorway you now see at the back of the laboratory suggests that such things might lie up the curving stair, now barely visible among the deep shadows. First though, one of you (LoneIslander) demands their earlier desire to investigate the buzzing noise be addressed.


Searching through the cluttered environs of the laboratory, following the sound which has now returned to the front of your thoughts, you believe you've discovered its source. Clearing away several chlen-hide boxes and instruments from a high table, you reveal a remarkable device. A large diamond shape of heavy golden metal, beset all around with ornate spines, curves and lattices of strange black iron, looms against the wall. A complex circular base lies behind the huge golden diamond, as wide as your own chest. On its nearer face, and surrounded by lesser stones, is a massive, smooth cabochon, too large for both your hands to cover, glowing in shifting colours from beneath the tracery and lattice of iron. It is set into the wall at the back of the table, apparently directly into the stone, and the vibrating noise emanates from within, seeming, as you gaze at it, to vibrate the very fabric of the air between it and yourself.

It Began in a Farmhouse

Hannibal aimed his matchlock at the farmers wife and pulled the trigger. The plaster wall behind her blossomed with bright colour. He watched the pattern on the wall slowly change as he reloaded his pistol. Quickly he made sure the match still showed an ember, as he could hear the older boy running toward the house.

The door burst open, and, somewhat predictably, the tall boy stood three steps inside, holding a pitchfork. The pitchfork told Hannibal the boy had discovered his father in the barn. Hannibal allowed the boy to charge forward before raising the pistol, a motion which appeared to engender a short-lived quizzical reaction rather than caution or fear. He pulled the trigger. Hannibal then sat back down at the table, laying the matchlock next to his plate before finishing the breakfast the woman had prepared for him.

When he had eaten, Hannibal retrieved the pitchfork from the floor. He found the younger boy in the second room along the short hall. The pitchfork took longer than the matchlock, but proved equally effective. Nonetheless, he left it in the now brightly-coloured room, and walked out of the house, heading southeastward through more foothills toward Norridge.