Monday, June 13, 2022

Quarter Hour of Writing Challenge: Tattoos

A branch, fallen
The soaring bird.
From dirt, plucked
The mighty bear.
On pyre, burnt
The roaring lion.
Its soot, gathered
The charging bull.
With water, mixed
The wise owl.
Our blade, sharpened
The hunting shark.
Blessed ink, stirred
The leaping hare.
Over skin, drawn
The canny fox.
New scars, made
The howling wolf.
Old tales, remembered.

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“The Zarati practice what I regard as a most curious form of glyph-based magic—rather than seeking to inscribe script into objects, or even working it in the air as on Pharron, they choose to carve it into their very flesh, with the use of blades and ink. In contrast to the more outwardly-focused languages of Teragia or Aeregard, Zarati glyphs instead endow effects directly upon their bearer; the granting of new abilities and the enhancement of existing attributes most frequently. Their forms are flowing and spiralling, often working to cover much of the body in the case of those most accomplished. They insist on using only the plane's native ash-leaf to craft their ink, a tree regarded with great reverence in their faith. I have found it a challenge to obtain what little information I have on their Art; the nature of the forms and the associated rituals are matters of much secrecy among their communities.”

An excerpt from Medarin the Magnificent's Compendium of the Planes, regarding the aetheric Art of the Zarati people of Keora'ana 

*    *    *

As described by Library of Attnam.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

d100 Food Found Foraging in the Bayou


The swamps and bayous of the Ontarachie are ancient—far older than New Alores, older still than any written record. The trees stood when people arrived, and they will stand long after people leave. Layer upon layer of decay and growth and renewal they lie, ever-flourishing on the corpse of the old. On these layers stand the villages of the fungus folk, the Archangel's cathedral, His Resplendent Majesty's great city; all the marvels of artifice made material by mundane hand. New Alores stands resplendent, yet beyond its borders lies something greater—something primal, something verdant. In the Ontarachie, everything is simply more—life abounds, teeming under every surface; its waterways and passages twist and turn, as gnarled and dense and crooked as the branches of any tree; there the lotus truly blooms.

1-10: Mundane mushrooms. On 10, truffles instead.
11-20: Onions. On 20, they're riddled with odd holes.
21-30: Thistles. On 30, they ooze a dark liquid.
31-40: Shrimp. On 40, they're bright blue.
41-50: Rabbit. On 50, it has wings.
51-60: Swooprat (bat). On 60, it bristles with spines.
61-70: Pitch-dark pecans. On 70, sickly-sweet walnuts instead.
71-75: Crawfish. Just crawfish.
76-80: Frog. On 80, it glows.
81-85: Small elk. On 85, it has a crab-like shell.
86-90: Catfish. On 90, it has horns.
91-95: Slugs or snails. On 95, they continue to squirm on the way down.
96-99: Wild pig. On 99, it's coated in spores.
100: Reroll. That, but giant.

An Eralou-related post. Expect more... eventually, perhaps.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

13 Superstitions for Sci-Fi Space-Farers

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Sailors are notoriously superstitious; does it not stand to reason that the same would be true for those who sail the stars? Here's 13 folk beliefs among the travellers of wildspace, from the crews of the greatest star-galleons to the smallest dragonships, free to a good home.

1. Always take a leak before you launch.
2. Every ship should have a cat, and every crew should trust their cat.
3. Nep'Thulir, the Great Wurm Who Roams the Sea of Endless Stars.
4. The Gravitas, a famed ghost ship, forever damned to drift on the solar winds.
5. If you don't knock twice on your way out of the airlock, what comes back in won't be you.
6. Make sure any new ships are correctly blessed by a Priest of the Seventh Sun before their maiden voyage. 
7. No praying in the Warp, lest you attract a jump-beast.
8. The Void. A vast emptiness, devoid of a single star, meteor, or speck of dust. None pass through it.
9. Moon-madness; never stay too long in the orbit of a moon without a waystation. Nothing good awaits.
10. Always wake up the machine spirits through shanties, prayers, or music before you fly, lest your equipment fail.
11. Hold your breath while passing through a ship graveyard.
12. Never carry change in your right pocket.
13. Idle minds open the way for thought-feasters.


Saturday, March 19, 2022

The Mists Upon the Moor (Patron: The Fae)

For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.
—W.B. Yeats, 'The Stolen Child'

A prince of the Autumn Court, a luchorpán, the Wailing Washerwoman; a denizen of the Otherworld, that half-forgotten realm of mists just beyond the borders of our own, the place below the barrows and beyond the Ironwoods. Inhuman all, with motivations as inscrutable as their nature, the Good Folk live at the fringes of the mortal realm, descendants of those who lost the war for Heaven yet escaped Damnation.

By Jakub Rozalski

Perk: Can see through darkness, and always sense the way to the nearest gateway to the Otherworld.
Drawback: People can tell there's something off about you. Normal mortals are always keen to distrust you.

The boon of your pact looks rightfully not of this world—deeply unnatural colours, just-off proportions, a scent it shouldn't have, &c.

Whether you fell asleep aside a barrow mound, danced too close to the Midsummer bonfire, or followed the fairy light into the heart of the forest, those sworn to one of the Fae are left... changed. You are marked by...
1. Eyelids that close sideways.
2. A forked tongue.
3. Pointed ears.
4. An uncanny stare.
5. Scarlet-red hair.
6. Six fingers on each hand.
7. An unnaturally sing-song voice.
8. A constant sickliness.
9. A permanent, too-wide smile.
10. Each of your eyes is a different, inhuman colour.

Mishaps:
1. 1d6 damage to you.
2. MD only return to your pool on a 1-2 until sunrise.
3. You lose all benefits of your boons for 1d6 rounds.
4. Illusions overtake your mind for 1d6 rounds on a failed save; you see things that aren't there, swiping at nonexistent enemies and dancing to a nonexistent tune.
5. You begin to scream for the next 1d6 rounds; on a 6, so does everyone who can hear you.
6. You lose your voice until you next rest.

Dooms:
1. Your eyes are now white as snow. You cannot keep a secret from those who know your name.
2. Your hair is now white as snow. You cannot disobey those who know your name.
3. Your skin is now white as snow. You feel an overwhelming *itch* to go back to the Otherworld. Home.


Another warlock patron; see this post for context, and either of these for further content. Bits taken from a variety of sources; deus ex parabola's Oberon and Titania most significantly.

STORM HERALD (GLOG Class)

You wield the primal powers of wind and sky, nature's fury shaped by your will. You are a tempest of righteous rage, a swirling storm of steel, adrenaline flowing through your veins like lightning.

A GLOG-ification of a 5e Barbarian subclass; Berserk stolen wholesale from deus ex parabola.

Start with: a medium or heavy weapon of your choice, medium armor, an impressive amount of scars, shredded pecs, an animal-hide cloak, an uncanny sense of coming weather 

A: Berserk, Sheltered from the Storm
B: Raging Storm
C: Whirlwind
D: Furious Storm

Berserk: You possess a pool of rage points, starting with 2 at A and gaining another at each level. You may expend a point at the beginning of combat to receive half damage from all sources for the duration, or when performing a feat of strength to automatically roll a 20. A crack of thunder accompanies each expenditure.

Regain a point whenever you eat a big meal and get a good night's rest, or when you go without food or rest to brood on your many enemies. While your pool is full, make a Save against flying off the handle whenever you face disrespect.

Sheltered from the Storm: Extreme environments have no bearing on you. You move unhindered through harsh weather, suffer not the effects of severe cold, and may breathe underwater. Your claps sound as loud as thunder, and your steps may shake the ground.

Raging Storm: Whenever you enter a rage, the air around you now ignites. You may call down a single lightning strike anywhere you can see, inflicting 1d8 damage to everything adjacent to that spot. Clouds gather overhead, wind begins to howl, nearby doors and windows slam open. The storm continues to rage as long as you do.

Whirlwind: Each round, you may make an extra attack for free; alternately, you may forgo all other attacks in a round to strike each opponent you could reasonably hit a single time.

Furious Storm: You have become one with the spirit of the storms. Now, whenever you enter a rage, your lightning strikes instead deal 2d8 damage to those effected. While raging, all of your attacks deal an extra 1d6 to those they hit. Your wounds have no impact on you until the fighting's over.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Dave's Motel and Diner (Location)

A location, inspired by chloe's BUCKETS OF BLOOD setting.

the vibe

DAVE'S MOTEL AND DINER is everywhere. every interstate turnoff, every rural town just barely clinging to its last vestiges of life, every big city in the middle of the desert. the signage is old, the paintwork chipped. the tables are sticky, the floor stained. the food all tastes the same. no matter where you're coming from or where you're headed, you can stop off at dave's, so long as you know where to look. dave's is never full—why would it be? you don't go there if you have a choice. the waitresses are polite, though never speak more than a sentence or two at once. their shadows always seem to draw long behind them, no matter the time of day outside. there's a rusted gas pump out front, an eighteen-wheeler parked around the side. never more than one. the décor blurs together; all pastel blue and once-clean whites, grimy chrome and crappy neon signs. the bathrooms never seem to be cleaned, always bearing the stench of a corpse. there's always someone at the counter, nursing a cup of coffee. they never seem to leave. the rooms are bare; a steel bedframe and lumpy mattress, peeling wallpaper left unadorned. 

no matter where you came from in the world outside, things always seem the same. the same design inside, the same atmosphere of unwelcome. you've never seen anyone enter ahead of you. the few times you've spoken to other clientele they've always claimed to have come in from somewhere else. sometimes, even, you find yourself thinking as you leave you've come out somewhere completely different from where you came in. that doesn't make any sense though. if you didn't know any better, you could swear every dave's was the exact same place.


d6 reasons Dave's might be the way it is:

1. the original location was built atop portal to Hell. the souls of all employees remain trapped within.
2. it's the Platonic archetype of a motel-diner, filling in the gaps where things should be but aren't.
3. it's a meeting point for time-travellers, warping reality around itself.
4. it's the setting of a classic horror novel that has permeated the collective unconscious—every time you enter the diner, you enter the book.
5. the diner is Hell—for its employees. part of Stan's latest outreach program. 
6. "Dave's" is, in fact, a prison for the pretender Bacchus, crafted centuries ago by Dionysus as a dreary hell for the false god of wine. he wanders from diner to diner in torturous sobriety, finding only places devoid of revelry. the diner's nature being exploitable by mortals is entirely incidental.


regardless of where you enter Dave's, the diner within is always the same place. no one knows quite why or how—no one willing to tell, at least—but you can always find your way to Dave's if you need to. the clientele are eclectic; it's hard to end up there if there isn't something odd about you. it's a waystop for weary wizards, a safe space from the Feds; a useful meeting point, for those inclined. enjoy! (entries in the above table stolen from, in order, chloe, purplecthulu, Everythings, chloe, Sylvanas_iii, and Ro-Man!)