Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Entries for Gorgonmilk's Hyborian Age Obscure Facts Table

For another group-think experiment over on Gorgonmilk's blog:

click to embiggen

1. True Shem is a meter wide strip of land between Near Shem and Far Shem.

The people of Far Shem believe their nation owns the True Shem. The people of Near Shem believe the people of Far Shem to be heretics, as all Near Shemites know that True Shem is ruled by Near Shem.

Neither Far Shemites nor Near Shemites may pass through True Shem without the proper prayers and petitions and performing the intricate, sacred ritual of Ear Purging. Because of the demands of this ritual, Near Shemites and Far Shemites do not trade with one another. Thus have Korsh-Emish and Near Stygia profited by encouraging both Shems to pursue their claims against one another on the field of battle.

2. Each of the Baracha Isles worships a different aspect of Barach, Petty God of Sacrificial Goats. One island worships The Black Goat, one The White Bleat, one The Mottled Liver, one The Marbled Eye, etc.

On the high holy feast day of Barach, islanders from every island gather in a great flotilla in an isolated bay. of the largest island. Each island's representatives slaughter 100 goats, the sea turning red with froth. The high priestess of each isle drinks a tanked of the bloodied sea and prostitutes herself to the crews of other islands' ships. Any children of these matings are pledged to Barach's service.

In this way, peace between the isles has been maintained for over a thousand years.

3. King Conan's harem is said to be filled with at least two women from each of the nations of Hyboria, but he prefers one of those who come from the wild tundra, as she reminds him of the first woman he ever laid with in his youth.

4. The Vilayet Sea was not always a sea. Vilayet was once a lush and fertile valley, a vast nation-state nestled between the Hyraknian Mountains and the Turanian Highlands. Vilayet was known throughout the world for its exotic fruits, fine-woven tapestries, and a particular breed of horse called the "fire mare," said to be able to speed across the lands faster than wildfire. Alas, a volcanic eruption in the northern part of Vilayet triggered a series of earthquakes that unleashed a previously unknown underground freshwater sea, and the waters rose to fill the vast nation-state's valley in a matter of days. It is said that the great treasure-house of Faroun El-D'hab, last emperor of Vilayet, still rests beneath the waves in one of his palaces in the capitol city.

5. The mothers of Bossonia wean their children with radishes, so that they may get used to the bitter taste of war.

6. Brythun'a elite calvary rides fearsome porcine mounts.

7. Every Prince of Corinth'a who wishes to be king must convince a coterie of nobles of his worthiness by undergoing various feats of strength. The nobles are drawn from states allied with Corinth'a and the nobles themselves design the challenges. It is said the current king stole an item from a petty goddess's boudoir to win his current position.

8. Zaporoska refuses to allow ships of other nations to dock in its ports. Any ship not flying Zaporoskian colors is immediately impounded and its crew sold into slavery--usually to slavers bound for Vendhya.

9. Vendhya has the busiest slave market in all of Hyboria.

10. Keshan's annual calendar begins at harvest time. Each harvest moon, the priests of Keshan burn a great effigy of the current Queen in an elaborate ceremony, during which the Queen cuts the throat of her current consort. A new consort is chosen from among the gathered priesthood by casting dice on the bloody hide of a recently flayed leopard. The elected is then stripped bare, scourged with whips dipped in the venom of the jubjub vine, and then wrapped in a blanket woven of nettles. The queen and consort publicly consummate the beginning of the new year on an altar in the capitol city's square constructed for this purpose each year. They then rule together for the following year. At the end of the year, the consort is clothed in finery and stuffed alive into the Queen's effigy to become the sacrifice for the coming year.

11. The Border Kingdom is not an actual kingdom. It is a representative republic, and the vote is given only to those who can afford to pay an annual tithe to the Temple of the Undying Sun. Only exiled nobles from other lands who pay an annual tithe to the Temple of the Undying Sun may run for office. It is said that the Goddess of Light is pleased with the current state of affairs, but may be persuaded to support another system of rulership for the right price--which is rumored to be the death of her rival Goddess, The Lamentatress of All Flesh.

12. In the Black Kingdoms, there exists a ziggurat built upon an ancient temple built upon an ancient holy site built upon the remains of a giant tree. To the surface of the giant tree clings a phosphorescent colony of sentient, psionic bacteria, organized as a hive-mind. This creature controls the local population for a three-mile radius around the temple. The only humanoids immune to the bacteria's psionic control are goblins, who have been waging a slow-simmering, unsuccessful effort to destroy the temple for millennia.

13. Zarkheba is a matriarchy ruled by women warrior-priests. The ruling council openly welcomes and shelters pirates, buccaneers, & privateers along its treacherous Southern Scurvy Coast.

14. Kuthchemes is a rugged, mountainous jungle terrain. In the deep reaches of a distant mountain valley, it is said the most beautiful bird in the world makes it home. The bird is said to be larger than a man and it is reported to be flightless, living in burrows it digs beneath the rich jungle loam with its powerful talons. No one has ever brought back so much as a feather from its plumage, as the bird is rumored to be poisonous to the touch and possesses the ability to saw a man in half with one chomp of its massive beak.

15. In Zamona, every rug merchant is also a member of the Assassin's Guild.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Community Project: Map of the Decaying God

EDIT 2: Well this idea went over like a lead balloon. That's fine. I'll just have to write this up myself--which is probably what I should have done in the first place. I'll see if I can flesh this out in the coming days/weeks.

EDIT 1: Hey, all you looky-loos from YDIS--put your monkey where your mouth is and fill out a location. What's the matter? Afraid that someone will make a silly 'toon out of your entry? Awww....it's okay. You can still hide behind your anonymity so no one will know you're using your mom's computer while she's making you a sammich. It sure is fun to make fun of other people on the internet, isn't it? It sure makes you feel pretty powerful, like when you let your Decepticons win all the fights against Voltron and the Thundercats. Mmmmmm.....Thundercats.

On some planets, when the gods die, their bodies fall to earth, wreaking weird and horrible havoc to the land as they decay. A god's digestive system creates nightmarish landscapes of Boschian heights as divine digestive juices seep into the ground and break the bonds between the planes, creating rifts in time and space.

click to embiggen

Pick a location and describe the horrors within that await any fools stupid enough to tread through the bowels of a fallen god.

1. Mouth
2. Salivary glands
3. Pharynx
4. Esophagus
5. Stomach
6. Small intestines
     a. Duodenum
     b. Jejunum
     c. Ileum
7. Liver
8. Gallbladder
9. Pancreas
10. Large intestine
     a. Caecum
     b. Colon
     c. Rectum
11. Anus

(Illustration by Arthur Lidov for LIFE Magazine, December 7, 1962.)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Entries for Gorgonmilk's D30 Unnatural Resources

Here we go again!

Here are my entries for this table so far; I'll update this if I come up with more entries.

3. Pickled Goblin
In some parts of the underworld, highly acidic minerals have leeched into goblin burial cairns, effectively pickling the goblin corpses. These rare specimens are highly sought after, as they make excellent light sources when burned. The unique minerals somehow preserve and transform the goblin corpse into a wax-like substance that can burn brighter than the light of six torches for hours on end. It is said a single pickled goblin finger was used to map the entire five levels of Solomon's Cave, including the underground reservoir.

An entire pickled goblin once went for over 1,500gp at auction at Haversham Sons Auctioneers in Taverntoss. However, most dungeoneers consider it bad luck to remove a pickled goblin from its final resting place and settle for breaking off just enough to meet their needs.

5. Driftstone
Found in rare caches within the underdark, usually near underground rivers which flood their banks in storm season and move massive amounts of rock. Driftstone is considered prime ammunition for slings and slingshots due to its nearly perfect spherical shape and aerodynamic properties. Shaped in the tumbling torrents of the underdark waterways, driftstone is heavier than normal shot but flies at twice or sometimes triple the speed and goes thrice the distance with the same effort expended. Driftstone is shatterproof; the stones will not break or crumble under even the most excessive force.

The strange properties of these rocks has been the subject of many treatises at alchemical colleges. It is said that driftstone is formed from the remains of a fabled magical mountain that was destroyed by an Elder God long ago, before the Cataclysm that shaped this world; others believe that it was the magical waters of the River Fey which enhanced the stone. Whatever the true origin may be, driftstone is highly sought after by expert slingers, who will pay top gold for even a small handful of the stones.

10. Fizzy Pebbles
Naturally occurring pea-size gravel composed mostly of calcium carbonate. When wet with wine or vinegar, they will bubble and fizz and melt away, letting off a slight noxious odor that grants a +1 to WIS for 1d4 hours per 5 pebbles--but this requires a special hookah-like instrument in order to get the full effect. Highly sought after by apprentice mages cramming for exams.

11. Ambersilk
The fossilized remains of giant spider webs, usu. found in underground petrified forests. Pale yellow in natural light, they glow with green iridescence by torch light. Extremely rare and highly sought after for their curative power; when ground and inhaled, these grant 1d24 HP recovery per day. An even rarer find is ambersilk with fossilized prey trapped inside. It is said that one lucky adventurer once found a trove of ambersilk with the corpses of nine long-lost princes of the Corwinian bloodline trapped inside and received a handsome reward from the then-ruling king.

12. Hag’s Curtain
Officially known as watermoss by most herbologists in the realms, this grey, stringy moss gets its nickname from its resemblance to a witches’ pubic hair. It grows chiefly near underground waterfalls close to volcanic fissures, and thus is fairly rare in the upper levels of the underdark. Hag’s curtain is primarily used as an ingredient in Mummy Tea and other potions used to ward off the greater undead. A poultice of hag’s curtain, fizzy pebbles, and red wine is widely known to halt the spread of gangrene, and in some cases may cure it altogether.

13. Chicken Salamander
Often found in underground lakes and streams, the chicken salamander resembles a small, slimy, plucked chicken with a long, prehensile tail; they are about the size of a human hand. They use their tails to propel themselves through the water in search of blind fish, cave frogs, and other food sources, which they then grasp and strangle with their tails and swallow whole.

The chicken salamander poses no known risks to adventurers. More than one adventurer in need has dined on a satisfying dinner of chicken salamander--mixed with pickles and a diced hard boiled egg, it is said to make an excellent impromptu meal. Oddly, chicken salamander is considered a delicacy at several royal courts throughout the realm; for example, Prince Albert in Haverford has a standing bounty of 5gp per live chicken salamander. Unfortunately, they tend to die rather quickly when exposed to sunlight, as their slimy covering reacts poorly to ultraviolet light.

14. Hohboy
Every summer and winter solstice, billions upon billions of these tiny, hermaphroditic, hardshelled insects gather for annual mating rituals deep in the bowels of the underdark. Although they only live for a maximum of three years, they make their way back to their spawning ground each solstice to partake in this most ancient of insect rituals. There are roughly twenty known hohboy mating sites, but given the ubiquitous nature of the hohboy in every clime and terrain, it is obvious that hundreds if not thousands of these sites must exist throughout the known world.

Normally resembling dull grey pillbugs with housefly wings, hohboys turn a sparkling, iridescent blue in mating season. This blue only lasts until the hohboy has mated six times during a solstice gathering. When they gather in such great numbers, their mating appears as wave after wave after wave of churning ocean trapped upon the surfaces of the cavern.

Hohboys are a crucial ingredient in the formulae for blue dyes used by wizards and alchemists to color their potions. Live hohboys in rut are fed a special concoction to enhance and sharpen their natural iridescence, then are boiled alive to separate their carcass from their shells. The shells are then ground to a fine powder and mixed with other stabilizing ingredients to create a rich, blue dye that imparts a sweet tang to any potion.

Wizards will pay top gold for live rutting hohboy: 5gp per bushel.

15. Bitch’s Brew
A thin, runny, milk-like substance seeping from some pervy elves (see dungeon slang entries here) in the lower levels of the underdark. Drinking six mouthfuls of this fluid grants the drinker the ability to see in the dark in the complete absence of light for 1d6 days, but renders them blind in the presence of a light source. Often bottled and sold by unscrupulous rock gnomes to unwary adventurers as “Infra Vision Potion,” bitch’s brew is best imbibed fresh from the source. No one knows how it got its name.

16. Chalk Gum
A strange, white, tar-like substance that leaks from some underground chalk deposits, chalk gum is prized for its ability to seal burns and bleeding wounds with only a slight amount of discomfort. Chalk gum itself is not a curative, but only a long-lasting, skin-like bandage. It is also edible (yet flavorless), and is often used in small amounts to settle sour stomachs. While not rare nor in high demand on the open market, chalk gum is nonetheless recognized as a useful tool in any healer’s arsenal and demands a reasonable price of 10gp per pint bottle.

19. Stirge Guano
In some areas of the underdark, especially in areas near a relatively stable troglodyte population, stirges can be found in numerous numbers--and where there is a stirge roost, there is a thick supply of stirge guano. In some caves, deposits up to 75 yards deep have been reported.

Stirge guano is a crucial ingredient in many magical powders and explosive charges, as it is rich in nitrates, ammmonia, phosphates, and magnesium, and is also slightly magnetic due to the iron-rich stirge diet. Fresh guano is slightly less desirable than dried guano; fresh guano sells for 5gp a bushel, while dried guano goes for up to 9gp per bushel.

Elves are highly allergic to stirge guano; any elf even breathing in a slight bit of dust from such a deposit suffers –5 to CON and -3 to STR for 1d4 days. Drow usually construct warning sigils at the entrance to known stirge roosts.

20. Hell Snot
Found only near volcanic rifts deep in the underdark and by all appearances to be small, thin stalactites, hell snot it actually a large colony of thick, mucus-like, highly acidic bacteria. These organisms are chemosynthetic, feeding on the volcanic gas and whatever water vapor drips down from upper cavern levels, and emit a highly toxic acid as a waste by-product, which then serves to protect the growing colony.

Hell snot is highly corrosive to all metals save mithril; even enchanted weapons are not immune to its effect. Anyone touching hell snot must Save vs. Poison or suffer 1d6 acid damage. Sentient weapons which come in contact with hell snot must also make an appropriate save or suffer psionic damage (the specifics of which are left to the DM’s whims).

Hell snot is known to be one of the only substances toxic to rust monsters.

Due to its hazardous nature, hell snot is sought by many alchemists and necromancers, who will pay up to 50gp for a mere beaker of the stuff.

21. Fireclay
A geological formation usually found immediately beneath a coal bed in some caverns. It is heat resistant, easily processable, and provides protection against all forms of magical fire. It is in high demand for making fire bricks for chimneys, forges, ovens, wizard towers, etc. However, due to its weight and wetness, it is difficult to transport by hand; mining operations are most prepared to deal with fire clay as a profitable sideline. A tonne of unprocessed fireclay normal sells for roughly 50–75gp, depending on the quality of the deposit.

22. Wetcoal
A dense,semi-consolidated deposit of carbonized organic matter (plant material, spores, algae, ancient animal life, etc.) found in stagnant or standing bodies of underdark water. It shares similarities to both peat and semi-bituminous coal, as it is a damp, brittle semi-coal with a high fuel ratio and burns without smoke. Wetcoal is extremely rare, and only a few known deposits have been uncovered by rock gnomes and dwarven miners.

Wetcoal burns with an intense green flame. This flame is anathema to the undead, turning all lesser and greater undead as if a 15th level cleric. Additionally, being exposed to burning wetcoal dampens the ability to use infra-vision for 1d6 hours.

26. Spoor of Rhan-Tegoth
Deep in the bowels of the elemental earth reside the wastings of Rhan-Tegoth, the Great Old One. Deposited by the sphincter located in each of Rhan-Tegoth’s tentacles, the spoor are perfect oval of dense, nonluate* matter. Preserved by the dry air of such deep caverns, the spoor nodules are often as fresh as the aeon they were shat.

The spoor nodules are often found only one or two at a time, and rarely in more than groups of three, spread about the deepest of the deepest of the deep. A large cache of spoor was once found in a sprawling underground temple of Rhan-Tegoth in the frozen wastes of the Northland, but that cache is said to be no longer accessible due to a minor cataclysm, according to the records left by its supposed discoverer, Roger of Orobona.

Spoor of Rhan-Tegoth is highly prized by psionics and soothsayers, as it provides the ability to see all the infinite outcomes of an event 1d4 days in advance; the soothsayer must concentrate on a specific action while ingesting a spoor nodule or inhaling its dried remains. Only a highly talented prophet can select the correct strand of events (99% chance of failure) without divine guidance. The spoor is known to cause incurable madness in those not gifted with psionics or the gift of prophecy; Save vs. Insanity or be forever, incurably insane. The last known spoor nodule sold for over 7500gp.

*nonluate: like jale, ulfire, and dolm, nonluate is a color out of space and time that defies normal descriptions. It is said to be “so outside the spectrum we are meant to perceive, the best the human eye can manage is to temporarily perceive a more familiar color” (Guest Giantbat, first rank adventurer, who once glimpsed a Carcosian rainbow and survived madness to write about it). In that regard, nonluate is described as a painful chalky white tinge of silver that is lush, bountiful, and fertile.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Underworld Lore mirror

Just a quick note to say that I've got a mirror of Gorgonmilk's zine. I've un-rar'ed them and zipped them for easy decompression:

Underworld Lore

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Underworld Lore Slang by My Students

I teach a creative writing course and a digital narratives course at a community college. On my birthday, I tossed the regularly scheduled programming and had my students write classfieds and dungeon slang. Here is the third and final post presenting their creations. I've edited them a bit in terms of place names to make them fit with the setting I've developed over the course of the classifieds. All typos are my errors and I will correct if found.

Dumblesnort. Deep, obnoxious laugh, usu. coming from a large, hairy man.

Dumbsel. A stupid, in-bred royal princess, esp. one whose rescue is the subject of a quest.

Frogsicle. Frozen frog on a stick; favorite summertime treat of many ogres in thrall to ice wizards.

Gratch. A homely girl from the grasslands, esp. one whose rescue is the subject of a quest.

Gleer (-ed, -ing). To smile in an intimidating or horryfing fashion; most notably seen on goblins and trolls before devouring a victim, i.e. "Did you see that!?! The bloody bastard gleered before he bit Hav's ankle! Hand me my bow!"

Gricker. An ogre that sculpts with or crafts weapons from bones; a bone-smith. Ex.: "Talk to Glark. He's a great gricker! He made me this shield and these bookends from nothing more than an owlbear ribcage!"

Harving. To collect items by slaying monsters.

Krelby. A meat and grain stew made with makeshift ingredients and served when it's "good enough." Ex.: "We hunkered down with a bowl of krelby made of blind cave fish, shoe leather, and bonemeal. It wasn't much, but it put something in our bellies."

Juicey. A wife or husband married while under the affects of a love potion.

Juicer. Administer of a love potion with pretense of marriage.

Jackster. People devoted to looking for magic beets.

Jayber. Person placed under a curse to start every sentence with the same letter.

Merril. A shady male psychic; i.e. "Avoid the merril at the gypsy tent; he can't shuffle a tarot deck to save his life."

Morgret. Any land or area hidden with magic used for secret trysts; i.e. "Nice work, Wally! It looks like your spell revealed Von Vorgut's mistress's mogret! Can you believe that contraption over there?"

Onwooree: Sound of someone falling down a slope, cave, mine shaft or cliff directly towards your location. Hearing this sound usu. means you should move or become someone's soft landing.

-Ryan S., Madi H. Nikki D., Noah M., Michael B., Evan L., Stephanie W.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Underworld Lore Classifieds by My Students, Part 2

Part 1 can be found here.

I teach a creative writing course and a digital narratives course at a community college. On my birthday, I tossed the regularly scheduled programming and had my students write classifieds and dungeon slang. Here is the second in a series of posts presenting their creations. I've edited them a bit in terms of place names to make them fit with the setting I've developed over the course of the classifieds. All typos are my errors and I will correct if found.

Here's Part 2:

DAMSEL WANTED. Adventurer seeks bride. Will not traverse dragon-infested castles, dragon-filled swamps, dragon-inhabited forests, or dragon-owned caves. Damsel must not have poor relations (i.e. evil stepmother) or employ dwarves. Please respond in kind to this publication.

DRAGON DEBUNKING! Have a dragon that needs slaying? Call on Dragon Debunkers! We'll slay it for you! Our knights are specially trained to debunk any dragon. Note: Not responsible for loss of princess to our knights. Additional fees required in the even of dragon devouring knights.

MISS RICHET'S MIRACLE MIXTURE. Threatened by evil sorcerers? Rejected by damsels? Stymied by quests? Come to Miss Richet's hovel in Witch Woods for a draught of her Miracle Mixture to get your wishes granted! Note: not responsible for misfires caused by lack of specifics.

--Stephanie W.

MISSING: Elros Hawklight, half-elf ranger. 18 hands high, light brown hair, green eyes. Last seen in Nonwyhn Forest, one fortnight past. Please leave information at 12 Hunters St.

Are you a poorly equipped knight looking for a damsel in distress? We have the solution! Our new Elixir of Mighty Growth will increase your stamina, stature, and vigor for the long haul. Send 5sp handling to 9 East Circle for a free sample of this miracle product!

Come on down to the WearWolf for the best in lycanthropic fashion! 18 High Moon Street.

WANTED: 2,000 giant rat corpses for elementary necromancy classes. Willing to pay up to 1sp per carcass. Contact Wixard at the Taverntoss Wizard & Culinary Academy.

AMAZING ELIXIR OF REGENERATION! Regenerates any limb* with one application! 25gp each! Send order and payment to 3 Wort Road, Hawkthorp. *Does not regrow any head.

MISSING: Head. Was not screwed on. Blonde half-elf zombie in appearance. If found, please deliver to Amity Graveyard, Hawkthorp, at midnight. Ask for Lerch.

HIRING: Thugs, lackey, bruisers, and other assorted hench-persons for debt collection and press gangs. Please inquire at 22 North Alleyway, next to the pile of drunken guardsmen. Must bring your own club.


--Jason A.

DESPERATELY SEEKING SOOTHSAYER. Need for quest via ship; need monster predictions, future only please. Does not provide food, pays well if we find the treasure. Inquire with Captain Jack on the Rummy Maid, dockside, Haverford.

CALLING ALL RAKES! 636 y.o. witch seeks promiscuous and daft nobleman, must love potions and curses. Contact Auntie Winnie, two turns past the giant gnarled oak, Nonwyhn Forest.

LOST CONNECTION. We met at the S.S. Neptune shipwreck last week. You were wearing a burlap sack; you helped me find my hand axe after the narwhal attacked. Did we have a moment? Are you dead? Please leave note with this publication.

--Ryan S.

MOTHERS! Want to get rid of that fat, bratty consequence to that one time in the hay with the "hero" who swore it was true love? Wicked Witch Industries will pay top dollar for your unsightly offspring! Don't let the brats tarnish your reputation! Come by our hut today! Six turns left and one turn right past the old gnarled oak in Nonwyhn Forest. No refunds or returns.

Large exotic spider seeks companion. Food included. Must be willing to resort to cannibalism. Please respond in kind to this publication.

Virgins wanted for pet dragons. Males acceptable. Contact publisher for details.

WANTED: Village idiot. No need to actually be idiot. Contact Dorf at the main gate, Taverntoss.

--Madi H.

FOUND: Cape of Invisibility. If owner, see Vlack the Assassin behind the palace in Haverford at 2:00 today to claim. Please be prompt.

LOST: Hand-drawn blueprints of a palace. If found, please destroy immediately. Notes about sneaking, stabbing, and running are gibberish and should be disregarded.

WANTED: Minstrel to inspire adventurers during battle. Must be able to distinguish silent sneaking from battle. Come to the Whispy Tavern, Haverford, to apply.

NOTICE: Due to excessive sampling, Railette's Spices and Herbs' in-house wares have been interspersed with DEADLY MOONLOCK. Sample at your own risk.

LOST: Infamous pirate Black Dragon. If found, please return to royal gaol. He's good with a sword.

FOUND: Half-finished manuscript. Beginning to read aloud darkens the sun for a few moments. Please claim at Wixard, Battletoad, Harpish, and Lout, Licensed Necromancers, and explain your intentions with this spell.

--Tim M.

FOR SALE: Hand-and-a-half bastard sword used to slay idiot king and his stable of useless knights. Slightly rusted due to encrusted blood still clinging to sword; will need a good pumice scouring. Will sell for no less than one's mortal soul. Come to La Fey Mansion for more information.

WANTED: Young gawky boy with bowl cut between the ages of 10–13 for squire work for Sir Dilamont. Must be able to recite Sir Dilamont's exploits and skills from memory and withstand cold climates. Report to the Fat Friar Inn in Haverford for auditions next full moon.

ATTENTION: Effective immediately, all witches must report immediately to the Department of Flight Control in Haverford to register their broomsticks in conjunction with the newly instated No Witch Left Unaired program. Any witches flying without proper permits will have wand impounded, warts removed, and broom de-bristled.

--Noah M.

WANTED: Greedy, talented adventurers to enter a cursed cave, where people who enter never return, to flush out the unknown danger inside. Contact Farmer Fizgurt at Barren Farms for this breezy adventure.

WANTED: Selfish warrior willing to back stab group he has been traveling with for years to plan an invasion of a dwarven kingdom ruled by King Graduruc II. Go to the Books & Book Library, Taverntoss, and meet with Prince Graduruc III to begin your betrayal today!

LOST: Rags the Orc. Rags is a powerful half-orc barbarian wielding a dual-handed axe. May be traveling with a pet roc named "Roc". You will know him when you see him, as he'll most likely swing his axe at you. If found, please contact The Adventurers, LLC, at The Only Bar in Canterbury.

--Nikki D.

WANTED: Sidekick willing to gallivant through dungeons. Must be a skilled dancer. Must have left hand intact. Must be able to interpret fox speech. Please apply to P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sidnietown.

FOR SALE: Potty trained, obedient, guaranteed not-to-bite-your-children Sword of Swording. Inquire with Merk at The Only Bar in Canterbury.

--Catelyn A.

ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH? Looking for a headstrong, burly man for my wonderful daughter. Apply to Farmer Fizgurt at Barren Farms. Warning: you should probably be desperate and preferably blind. Disclaimer: Not responsible for any discomfort, regret, or horrifying experiences the two of you have together.

EVER LOSE YOUR DRAGON? Fear not! Come see Ishmael at The Only Bar in Canterbury to learn a new, improved way to always find your dragon! Free sigil-branding for all baby dragons. Note: Sorry, but town regulations forbid meat-eating, city-burning dragons within city limits. Please contact Ishmael to negotiate home visit rates to tag your dragon.

--Crystal W.

GOT MILK? WE DO! We have an arsenal of wet nurses with constantly inflamed breasts to help take care of your little burden of joy so you can concentrate on what's more important, whether that's planting seed, running your shop, or important matters of state. Come talk to Elvira at the Wet Nurse & Nanny Guild, Haverford, today!

--Evan E.

FOUND: AMULET OF APATHY. Inquire with Reeda at the Onion & Talon, Taverntoss. Or don't.

WILL BUY USED LOVE POTIONS! Just used one sip of your love potion and won your true love's heart? Not sure what to do with the rest? I pay top dollar for half-drunk bottles of love potions! If interested, just hold the bottle and whisper my name three times and either I or one of my wives will materialize to negotiate a reasonable price. Mxxyzzplyxx, Wizard of Love, Hawkthorp.

Slightly worn shield for sale. Only used in battle once. Great for blocking round objects. Hole in center good for looking at enemies. Please send inquiries to this publication.

CASTLE FOR SALE! Gravecurse Castle for sale. 2sp OBO. Inquire at Amity Graveyard, Hawkthorp, at midnight. Ask for Lerch.

LOST: Sense of humor. If found, please return to Sir Haya Plats.

--Michael B.

ASPIRING ARCHER needs target practice. Looking for squat, rotund creature who can balance an apple or other spherical fruit on their head. Prefer non ogres, but will train right ogre. If interested, send your messenger bird to 438 South Durban Corridor, Hawkthorp.NOTE: not responsible for any mental, physical, or emotional damage resulting from being speared by arrow.

BONES WANTED. Calling all grave-grubbers, corpse crunchers, etc. We need bones! Glatch the Gricker, Grailcave Hill, will pay top dollar for bones in good condition. Prices negotiable.

Lonely witch seeks wizard lover; must have long scraggly beard. Contact Auntie Penny, two turns past the giant gnarled oak, Nonwyhn Forest.

--Emily M.

Long hair? Don't care? We do! Come on down to Rapunzel's Hair Salon and let us tame your tangled locks! 34 Braided Circle, Taverntoss.

Wanted: One room mate to live with Ogre. No donkeys. 13609 Swamp Lane, outskirts of Hawkthorp.

--Evan L.

ART THOU HUNGRY? Terrible hunter? No work to be found making a petty pound? Come to Airdale Castle today to become King Winthrop's personal food taste tester! Three meals a day and no hunting required. Candidates must be in excellent health.

WANTED: ASS HAT. Seeking molded headpieces to protect a donkey of good size from falling boulders, dragon fire, etc. Come to Brindler's Pub, Canterbury, and ask for Durgat.

--Samantha R.

Underworld Lore Slang, Part 2

Hello there folks coming here from Facebook! I'm not on the big blue F, so I'd appreciate knowing why there's a sudden interest in this post. Please drop a comment below, and then take a look around at the other stuff I've posted here by hitting up the popular post link on the left over there (<---) or the pages list over there on the right (--->). Thanks for dropping by!

More dungeoneer slang for Underworld Lore. I tried to get all the way through the alphabet, but ran out of steam:

Arseclench. A small, fist-sized passageway connecting two caverns; "Well, I can see the room through this here arseclench, but we can't get in there from here unless you got a shrinking potion or something."

Beandipper. One who eats only beans while dungeoneering and thus makes the rest of the party suffer their unending flatulence; i.e. "Next time, Wankle can be the doorman. That beandipper is driving me nuts."

Crassling. Any party member who can't stop cracking jokes at another party member's expense. Ex: "Tara's getting sick of that crassling's comments about the size of her treasure sack."

Dwarven Glory Hole. Any crack or crevice in a natural cavern that contains easy access to a flaky vein of insignificantly minor amounts of mithril, silver, or gold. Usu. considered derogatory. Example: "We spent three days down there and we don't even have enough coin to fill a frumping' dwarven glory hole!"

Erf. Hollow-sounding natural cave walls that aren't actually hollow; i.e. "I've checked this whole wall for a secret passage but it's nothing but erf."

Frumping like Framkin. Running into an unexplored cave, assessing its occupants, and then immediately turning around and running out to hide behind the adventuring party. So named after Framkin Framlish, a legendary 0-level human hireling who lived to be 76. Example: "I knew that mummy had to be shambling somewhere around the main tomb, so I frumped like Framkin through those halls."

Gnockersquee. the sound a goblin makes when it's cut in half by surprise, e.g. "That one sure let out a loud gnockersquee before he died, didn't he?"

Handsome Jack. Stalagmite, esp. one resembling a phallus (see also Pervy Elf).

Hrrbrr. The low, pulsing sound of a giant purple worm tunneling nearby.

Irby (plural, -ies). Naturally occurring cairn-like piles of round, potato-sized stone, i.e. "Right inside the face, you'll see about three or four irbies; make sure to take a stone or two for luck before heading down into the cave!"

Jaxon. Rabbit bones used to flavor stews. Ex. "Put a few of those jaxons you saved in the pot; the marrow'll flavor up the beans right nice."

Kloon. The inexplicable appearance of an above-ground feature in a dungeon, i.e.: "Don't think about why the tree is here. It's a friggin's kloon! Just think about how nice it is to finally find some firefood."

Kobold Squats. Stomach jitters caused by a near miss, usu. accompanied by the desire but inability to void one's bowels; i.e. "I've had a bad case of the kobold squats since that rock slide."

Lichlick. Any naturally occurring salt deposit: "Scrape some salt off that lichlick--these beans need a little flavoring."

Marlosh. The mushy, not-quite-mud, not-quite-watery quicksand-like substance that makes up the binding agent in an owlbear's freshly regurgitated waste pellet. Named after Harkin Marlosh, who surprised an owlbear in mid-vomit in Quaston's Caverns back in 823.

Nice Easy. Any level, flat floor clear of debris and obstacles.

Oompah. Pipeweed that can be scavenged from corpse and still be smoked. Ex.: "That halfling's corpse had a nice wad of Bertleshire oompah tucked in a vest pocket--it'd be a shame to let it rot down here."

Pervy Elf. Stalactite, esp. those resembling a phallus (see also Handsome Jack); i.e., "That part of the cave is nothing but handsome jacks and pervy elves for about fifty feet before it clears out to a nice easy."

Quersh. To loudly attempt to hush the party;  "Framkin tried to quersh us, but instead he only attracted the attention of the head priest--talk about ruining the element of surprise!"

Reeltoo. Any improvised device used to wind rope or cord.

Swedow. An acronym for Stuff WE DOn't Want. Any goods deemed of little value or not worth the effort of hauling to the surface, even in massive quantities. Ex.: "Sure, there were six whole pantries full of tinned iron rations near their expiry dates. But you and I both know that's all just swedow."

Terk. To slam one's head into a low ceiling by standing up too quickly, i.e.: "I terked myself good in that exit tunnel from Trotman's Crypt."

EDIT on 2013-11-13: Finished it this morning!

Ulander. Any native underground denizen; i.e. "We ran into a motley pack of ulanders on our way out--a couple of bugbears, a goblin or two, and, believe it or not, a stair stalker. His name was Frank. Nice fellow, actually."

Vlark's End. Any crippling injury suffered by a dwarf while exploring an underground passage. Named after a drunken dwarf who wandered away from his party, fell down a crevasse, and bled out after breaking his ankle. Ex. "Stiggurd here almost met Vlark's end in that rockslide back there!"

Wank Cheese. Any non-poisonous, non-edible, non-animated lichen, ochre, jelly, or fungus growing in a dungeon. Ex. "Don't worry about that spongy shelf--it's just a bit of wank cheese."

Xvart's Kneecaps
. Small blue gemstones of little value mainly used for ornamental decoration: "Don't bother with those xvart's kneecaps--go for that ruby eye up there!"

Yngwie. Loud music lacking a visible source which appears to emanate from rock formations, usually in proximity to large patches of erf. Music is usually of rhythmic drumming accompanied by screeching, cultish chants. Often occurs in areas where there is no known cult activity. Explained by gnomes as a natural geological phenomena involving certain stone density and proximity to underground rivers. Ex.: "After you get through the earwasher, you should hit a room were the yngwie is loud as hell. Don't worry, though--that means you're getting close!"

Zelda's Purse. Derogatory term for a goblinoid prostitute, esp. one who services human clients.

Why Was the Player Character Missing Between Game Sessions?

Gavin at City of Iron came up with this idea of a table to explain a character's disappearance between gaming sessions. Here are my contributions:

25. Turned into a guard dog with same number of hit points as character in normal state. If spellcaster, can only cast single-finger somatic cantrips using tail.

26. Character disappears and is replaced with life-size parchment cutout illustration of the character.

27. Turned into a turnip and placed in the cook's supply bag.

28. Transmogrified into eight year old boy in short pants dragging stuffed tiger, both of whom refuse to speak with the party.

29. Turned into inanimate statue melded to floor. Any attempt to chip away at statue will result in appropriate damage to character's feet next game session.

30. Turns out the character was never with the group to begin with--it was all a dream.

31. Turns into a hat. Hat may be worn by another party member and provide an appropriate AC bonus equal to one third the character's normal AC (round up).

32. Accidentally frozen in magical ice by Wixard the Wise, absent-minded professor of dungeon physics, who was experimenting with spell sending using a scrying crystal and hit the character by mistake (he thought the area was deserted and was aiming for some nondescript feature of the room).

x x x

97. Ate a bad pork rind; took sick to bedroll.

98. Sliced artery whilst trimming beard; off seeking medical help. Party cleric(s) refused to heal because, really, who trims their beard?

99. Stumbled upon flail snail mating ritual and was so absorbed lost track of time.

100. Off churning the buttermilk, if you know what I mean.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Underworld Lore: Contributions to the D12 Brands of Root Beer, Potions and Booze Found in the Underworld Vending Machine

Greg asked again. It's gone beyond the initial d12 table to become a d20 table as of this writing. Who knows? Maybe it'll be a d30 table soon. Here's my initial list. Leave your additions at the link above.

1. CHERRY FEYGO. Made with real virgin fey teardrops! Grants 1d12 bonus to all CON checks for 1 day.

2. GRAPEWINE FEYGO. Made with 100% organic grape leaves fermented in recycled fey urine. Provides +2 to attacks with clubs and maces.

3. ORANGE PHANTOM. Pure, refreshing, bottled phantom blood mixed with the juice of unripened bleeding doughfruit. Save vs. Poison or suffer 1d4 days of the runs; afterwards, skin is suffused with unnatural glow visible by creatures with infra vision for 1d4 days.

4. RUSTY NAIL HOPTOIT PLUS PIPEWEED EXTRACT. All natural fortified root beer flavored with a hint of vanilla and extra virgin pipeweed extract. Provides all the nutrition of iron rations but makes you hungry for more all the same. Provides double overnight HP recovery per bottle.

5. SERGEANT VERNER'S SPICED GINGER HONEY MEAD. Made with gnomish ginger for an extra kick. Causes 1d4 hours of highly flammable flatulence, but also cures gout and bursitis and is said to dissolve corns and calluses when topically applied. Dwarves are highly allergic to this drink, as ginger makes them break out in hives.

6. DR. GRANDMA'S CRAMPACOLA. Highly sought after for its purgative powers. Made with a blend of 16 secret ingredients plus oregano extract. Causes vomiting within 1d4 minutes of imbibing. Anyone consuming the vomit gains +3 to STR for 1d6 hours.

7. LICHORISH FIZZ. A bubbly, fruit-punch flavored, blood-ochre gel sold in double-sacked sausage skins. Rumored to contain real lich droppings. Grants ability to speak to undead for 1d6 hours. Also cures dandruff if used as a shampoo.

x x x x

19. MOONDROP CITRUS BURST. Only sold in half-pint bottles, MCB boasts a sliver of silver in every bottle to help protect against lycanthropy. Refreshing lemon-lime-grapefruit taste provides instant energy in the form of a +2 to STR for 1d6 hours.

20. MYKLIN'S NON-ALCOHOLIC POMEGRANATE CIDER. This is the unfermented version of the world-famous Myklin's Hard Pomegranate Cider The cheapest version of the cheapest brew in all the land, it's been said MNAPC is nastier than drinking the slop from a hellspawn's latrine. A pint bottle costs a half-copper. Since it’s so cheap, folks keep drinking it, even though it packs a wallop: –2 to STR for 1d4 days per bottle. Also makes an excellent degreaser.

x x x x

EDIT: I came up with a few more after some other contributors posted, just so that it rounded up to a d30 table as of this edit.

24. DIET LEMON. Half of a rotten lemon floating in a stoppered beaker of spring water. No special powers.

25. BUGBEAR JUICE. Freshly squeezed bugbear venom mixed with two spoonfuls of salt in every bottle. Grants +3 to Saves vs. Poison for 1d6 days.

26. CRUSTY OWLBEAR. Favored by wizards everywhere, Crusty Owlbear brings the delicious flavors of arsenic, lace, and dandelion wine in a non-alcoholic concoction. Provides +2 against flame attacks and grants the drinker a personal one foot sphere of silence for 1d4 hours.

27. MOM'S OWN® CHICKEN BROTH. Just like mother used to make, only fresher! Made with 100% real crypt cockerel and seasoned with a special blend of vipervine extract and extra-virgin chokecherry juice. Grants +3 to CON and +1 to DEX for 1d6 days.

28. GINGER DJINN. Someone at the vending supply company mixed up! One totally smoking hot red-headed 2,000 year old female genie will materialize in a roil of smoke when the bottle is opened, passionately kiss the bottle opener, and grant up to five minor limited wishes. There is an 80% chance the genie falls in love with the bottle opener and will follow them around attempting to solve their problems in ways that create madcap hijinx.

29. AZURE DJINN. Someone at the vending supply company's quality control division really screwed up! One totally buff studly beefcake of a 2,000 year old male genie will materializes in a roil of smoke when the bottle is opened, passionately kiss the bottle opener, and demand the opener marry him immediately. If the opener refuses, there is an 80% chance the genie will turn the PC into a genie and stuff him or her into the bottle, restock the bottle in the vending machine, and dematerialize to another plane.

30. EMPTY BOTTLE. Someone should really lodge a complaint with the vending supply company.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Underworld Lore Classifieds by My Students

I teach a creative writing course and a digital narratives course at a community college. On my birthday, I tossed the regularly scheduled programming and had my students write classifieds and dungeon slang. Here is the first in a series of posts presenting their creations. I've edited them a bit in terms of place names to make them fit with the setting I've developed over the course of the classifieds. All typos are my errors and I will correct if found.

So, here we go:

Are you sad and lonely? Do you just want it all to be over? Do you have fangs and consider yourself a vampire? Not to worry! Witchtiles has you covered! Come participate in our study and earn up to two gallons of blood a night! Participants must be between 600–900 years old, a healthy weight for size and not O+ drinkers. If this is you, don't miss out on this exciting opportunity. Come visit Witchtiles in Walthamthorp TODAY!

--Catelyn A.

WE'LL BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR! WISH CONSULTANTS. Supernatural Law Office, J. Mortimer, Esq. Helping wish makers around those pesky dual meaning wishes! Evil genies, monkey paws, deals with devils and demons our specialty! Foolproof wording for specific outcomes. Don't make another wish you'll regret again. We'll be careful so you don't have to! Marketsquare, Walthamthorp, above the bakery shoppe.

-- Felix C.

WIZARDS HATE HIM! Learn to perform complicated magic in several easy steps. Send 10sp and a self-addressed Sorcery Box to the former House of Usher on the mountainside, Hawkthorp.

Have you lost all your valuables to greedy pillagers? Are you sick and tired of being beaten to a pulp for your wares? Would you like to do something about it? Join us this month for an informational meeting--we can help. Ad paid for by the Greedy Pillages Recruitment Council.

Are you handy with an axe? Do you know how to properly hand a wand? You might be just the gal we're looking for! Apply in person for the Buxom Beauties Burlesque. Located in the Gender Superiority Complex on Big Ot Lane, Taverntoss.

Seeking O.T.M. Wagoneers! We are looking for skilled drivers with either cattle class or mule class certifications. This is a full time position with minimal risks*. Apply at the job board on the wall at the Herald Guild, Walthamthorp. *Minimal risks include but are not limited to possible bandit or other robberies, mythical creature attacks, falling rocks, and jovial remarks at your expense.

FOR RENT--Slightly used squire. He'll do all your knightly parchment-work for a nominal fee. Find me at the tavern. Any tavern. Omnipresent Joe.

Knee pain? Come get the best! Warlock Taffeta's Joint Panacea. Arrow pain is our specialty! Available at fine alchemist shoppes everywhere.

Left handed? Do you suffer Severe Southpaw Syndrome? We have the cure! Come on down to Jefferson's Axe and Miniature Guillotine Shop, Walthamthorp.

Get stoned without getting stoned for it. See us at the only shop between the borders -- Jurisdictional Freedom House.

Hungry? Get all the gruel you can eat for a pittance and a bit of jostling. We may be crowded, but we're the only ones with this much gruel! Harny's House of Gruel, Hawkthorp. Not responsible for unsavory ligaments in the gruel--we certainly didn't put those in there.

Learn to use your staff the right way! Contact Sleazy Malbet in the alley behind the other alley. First visit FREE!

Make a fortune by finding a larger fortune! Bring the larger fortune to me and I will give you a smaller fortune. See me at the castle. Prince Albert, Haverford.

--Jeremy F.

I quit my job and now I am earning 40gp an hour just by sitting at home doing repetitive tasks! To learn my secret, visit Bot's Shop on S. Pam Road, Taverntoss, today!

Are you a young man with a penchant for smashing pots and other small objects to see if there is anything inside? Do you often find yourself unable to speak with words and instead use loud guttural noises and people still respond normally? You are showing the first signs of Adventurism, and we can help. Contact the Anti-Adventurism League, Hawkthorp.

--Bob D.

Wanted: Charismatic leader. Must be visionary and good with minions with disfigurement. Goatee preferable. No need to send resume, but must pass performance interview. Dark sense of humor required. Direct all questions to Dark Citadel Institutes, Inc., Number 26 Dastardly Way, Hawkthorp.

Found: Single left Boot of Remorse. I never should have picked it up. I'm sorry! I promise I'll change my ways! If this boot completes your pair, seek out the sobbing troll outside the Grousing Goose in Ank Morpork. Please, please, please, come take it back. The sobbing is bad for business.

OFFICIAL NOTICE: Per Royal Edict #99.578, all unregistered necromancers must apply for practice permits and document animations performed this year. Please report to the Royal Registry in Haverford under pain of death.

Will buy Dungeon Loot, no questions asked! Sticky fingers? Cavernous pockets? Inexplicable bag of holding? Come on down to Hoarder's Hoard Emporium in Walthamthorp where you will always get top gold for your goods. Problems looting? Drop by our help-booth "Hands-Off" for assistance with your kleptomania!

Now Hiring: Unseen University, prestigious School of Magic in Ank Morpork, seeking new headmaster. Inquire within.

Available: Troll need new bridge. Will protect bridge for bones. No goats please -- Mogrop the Troll.

Lost: Staff of Clacking. Last seen in possession of travelling troupe of players. If found, do not return. Send self-addressed, notarized claim of theft to Mrs. Emrys, Hawkthorp, for reward.

--Stephen B.

Wanted: Grave Diggers! Need 5–8 able-bodied men for digging mass grave near nondescript cave. Earn 100–1000gp per week, plus food, shelter, and food! Lots of food! Payment will be given after completion of project. Bring your spouses! Bring your kids! We'll feed them, too! Nondescript cave, far enough from town that screams can't be heard.

Missed Connection: We met at the abandoned castle last night. I thought we had a moment when your eyes met my eye sockets as I was biting into your flesh. HMU! Dungeon of Castle Needsmor Ruum.

Calling All Skeletons! Do you wish you could feel again? Do you miss thoughts? Dreams? Being able to read with your own eyes? Or being able to read finger signs? WELL NO MORE! At Morgan's Skin Shop, we can give you some of your previous life back! Using new, state of the art arcane knowledge, we can graft skin, muscle, and yes, even complete organs on to your shambling, creaky frame! At our low-cost rates, you can look like a dignified zombie that even a dark lord would be proud to call his own! Special rates if you supply your own adventurer carcass! Morgan's Skin Shop, 23 Deerhorn Lane, Haverford.

ADVENTURER NEEDS LOVE, TOO.! LVL15 WAR SWM Advr. seeks LVL15 SMN SDEF for fun and questing. Must like dungeons and manacles. Must include stats and parchment of your likeness in reply, care of this publication.

OFFICIAL NOTICE: Henceforth, ALL adventurers must apply for an Adventurer's Permit -- in person -- with Princess Donna. Adventurers with high stamina and large swords will be sent to the front of the line. Please bring your own shields for inspection. Castle Stables, 1 bell after nightfall.

FOUND! Dead advr. No ID, tags, nor inscribed items. Nor sure if crow eating out his eye was his. If this sounds like your human advr., please come to under bridge outside of town. Alone.

MISSING! Dark lord missing his sworn enemy. If found, please bring the coward to 50th floor of my dark citadel. Quick death shall be your reward. Or eternal torment for my amusement; depends on my mood.

--James H.

Bonemeal and fishguts needed for potion said to cure my nocturnal blood thirst. Seek me out at the old witch's hut deep in the mysterious woods. Ignore all signs asking you to turn back. Apples are a plus. Have no money. Can pay with mortality.

Looking for group of experienced adventurers to stand around aimlessly in a low level constantly asking others to duel. Overpowered mages welcome. Send inquires courtesy of this publication.

Turning red? Beginning to grow unsightly horns out of your forehead? Do you have random outbursts of anger? Contact Wacky Worely Wizards Active Anger Management Academy (WWWAAMA). We will allow you to see if you're cooler looking with a blue hat, angel wings, and halo. Send application to post boxes found everywhere.

Need brave adventurer to retrieve Ring of Burden in bottom of well. Will give life savings if ring is successfully retrieved. Contact Psycho Tierman at The Only Well, Taverntoss

--Evan S.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Even More Classifieds 3

WANTED: Trustworthy hobbit rogue seeks patron. Must be rich. Contact Harbot at the Talon & Onion. I'll buy you a pint with your own purse if you don't spot me first!

LOST: Legendary birthright to ancient empire. If found, please contact Captain Lance Arlot, Walthamthorp Keep.

IF YOU ARE DOWN IN THE DUMPS then you need a dose of MAGNANIMOUS MARVIN'S ALL NATURAL PICK ME UP! Our special blend of herbs and flavorings will give you the energy you need to get through your day. Non-addictive and easy on the stomach. Available at all fine apothecaries in the realm.

I WILL BLESS YOUR WEAPONS IN THE NAME OF ARGUD THE GOOD. Helps kill goblins and orcs, and useful against vampires, werewolves, and other shape-shifters. See Brother Dormond at the Church of the Smiting Finger, Taverntoss. Small donation required.

LOST: I have lost horse. If you see horse, please bring to me. I give money for lost horse. Horse name is "Horse." Is brown and looks like horse. Find me in wood by bridge in Nangoat. Call out "OGREBILL" 3x and I meet you.

FOUND: Heart-shaped locket. Dirty, dirty, dirty! Inquire at the Talon & Onion to get it back. Ask for Reeda.


MISSED CONNECTION: You, a down-on-his-luck adventurer. Me, a down on her-luck-adventurer. Our eyes met, you looked away, when I looked back I saw four of you and I couldn't speak. You left the bar but I couldn't follow. You stole my voice, you bastard, and I want it back. Meet me back at Ursula's Rusty Nail this Marketday or I will hunt you down like the dog you are.

MILDLY ANNOYING CURSES CAST. Annoy your frenemies! Freak out your pet monkey, cat or rabbit! Tim the Apprentice seek practice in the art of evil enchantments. I'll pay YOU to let me practice on those you love! Come see me at Grailcave Hill near Castle Antioch, Caerbannog.

UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP. Yaga Babba's Bakery Shoppe, provider of breads and biscuits, pies and pastries, and flaky cakes of all kinds, is happy to announce our grand reopening under new management! Come talk to Ginger Anniebread about having us provide the provender for your next feast or wedding! Conveniently located in Marketsquare, Walthamthorp.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Today is my birthday. And also Donutsmas.

credit: James Stowe

I am 43 today. Celebrate by eating a donut in my honor.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Underworld Lore Slang, part 1

Greg asked for it:

Crapout. A dead-end passage, esp. one filled with dirkle.

Dirkle. Calcified feces of unknown origin found in abandoned lairs; e.g. "Bah! What kind of hoard is this? 'Tis nothing but a handful of coppers and dirkle!"

Earwasher. A narrow, low-ceiling water-filled passage which must be crawled through while dragging one ear in the water and one on the ceiling in order to pass; e.g. "When you hit the big pool, head to the left and take the earwasher through to the treasure room!"

Frump. To explore or enter previously unexplored underground passages, e.g. "We somehow frumped our way into a flail snail mating cavern--it was horrible!"

Frumping Canary (also Frumping Thrush or Frumping Fool). The person taking point and leading the way through a previously unexplored underground complex.

Goosh. Water-softened rations warmed over a lantern or torch and thus sooty and foul-tasting; e.g. "Gimmie some of that there goosh, Artrec--don't hogs it all for yourself!"

Knobby Goblin. A quickly improvised ladder using rope and any convenient rungs lashed to the rope by any at-hand means. E.g.: "It was too far to jump down, so we made a knobby goblin out of some rope and our spears and quickly made the descent."

Snuffler. An extremely narrow passage that can only be traversed naked and by not inhaling.

Uulate, most likely derived from the Gnomish ewlatte, the first breath of a new-born gnome. The low, incessant hum pulsing from the earth in the deepest, darkest parts of the underdark when one stops, stands still, and breathes. No one has discovered its true source, but rumors abound that it is the breath of an Elder God or deity of Goetic Magic that has been trapped between planes.

Winsler. A vertical shaft in a mine or cavern that appears to lead to the surface but merely bridges two levels. Example: "There we were six levels beneath Crackton's Tower and I saw a light up the shaft right above us. It had to have been the way we got down there in the first place, so I hit myself with a Fly spell and took off up the shaft only to slam my head into the top of that damn winsler!"

Winkie. A fraying rope, esp. one fraying while lifting or lowering a heavy load; e.g. "Hurry up and drag Balton up here--that rope is a winkie and we don't want him making any noise if it lets loose!"

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

FFG's Fireborn Freebies

Another Fantasy Flight Game post, this time in regards to a non-d20 RPG, Fireborn.

This was a weird RPG where you play two characters at the same time in different ages: a dragon in a mythic age and that dragon's human reincarnation in modern London. Yeah. weird. I wonder why it didn't take off.

I've delved the FFG site at the Internet Wayback Machine to bring you a whole bunch of files related to this game. The setting is rather interesting, but the adventures are probably more adaptable. You can probably run a one-shot game using just the GM Preview and the GM Screen reference sheets and do just fine.

You can download the files listed below from my Dropbox.

  • Character Sheets: both editable and non-editable for the 3 character types.
  • GM Screen: Three art files and a reference sheet file--all you really need to run the game are the ref sheets and the GM Preview.
  • FB Lost Lore Errata.pdf - lots of Q&As
  • FB Slang.pdf - nice little guide to British slang
  • Fire Within Preview.pdf - intro adventure preview, mostly setting
  • Fireborn GM Preview (low res).pdf - 37 pages of setting & rules goodness!
  • Players Handbook Preview.pdf - just a smidgen of setting info
  • Secrets of Fire 02 - ET-On the Eve of Exodus.pdf - setting details
  • Secrets of Fire 02 - ET-The Fall of Empires.pdf - setting details
  • Secrets of Fire 03 - Slake.pdf - creature/NPC
  • Secrets of Fire 03 - The Tower of Babble.pdf - adventure
  • Secrets of Fire 05 - NE-Tethys 1.pdf - setting details
  • Secrets of Fire 06 - NE-Tethys 2.pdf - setting details
  • Secrets of Fire 07 - NR-Brood Bidding.pdf - new rules
  • Secrets of Fire 08 - NR-Lost Legacies.pdf - new rules
  • Secrets of Fire 09 - Lock, Stock, & Three Smoking Souls.pdf - adventure
  • Secrets of Fire 11 - Betrayer.pdf - adventure
  • Secrets of Fire 13 - Beyond AR5 1.pdf - new rules
  • Secrets of Fire 14 - Beyond AR5 2.pdf - new rules

Monday, November 4, 2013

FFG's Midnight Setting Freebies

(EDIT @ 2013-11-04: I fixed the link to the Dropbox. Sorry about that!)

Up until 2009, Fantasy Flight Game produced one of the most successful third-party settings, Midnight. It even spawned its own low-budget movie, Midnight Chronicles.

I've delved the FFG site at the Internet Wayback Machine to bring you a whole bunch of goodies.

You can download them here via Dropbox.

FFG Midnight:

  • 2005-07 Midnight 2nd Edition Errata & Clarifications.pdf
  • Forge of Shadow Preview.pdf - nice setting preview, includes three major NPCs
  • Hand Preview.pdf - Prestige class
  • Midnight - The Heart of Erenland (excerpt).pdf - adventure sampler
  • Midnight Character Sheet.pdf
  • Midnight Chronicle Web Trailer.mov - the movie trailer in QuickTime format.
  • Midnight Map.jpg
  • Midnight Preview.pdf
  • Midnight Spell List - Channeler.pdf - see the preview for this class
  • Midnight Spell List.pdf
  • Midnight Web Extra 05 - 2 Prestige Classes.pdf
  • Secrets of Shadow 01 - The God of the Dell.pdf - setting
  • Secrets of Shadow 02 - Death in the Night.pdf - creature
  • Secrets of Shadow 03 - Shades of Grey.pdf - one-shot adventure
  • Secrets of Shadow 04 - Search and Destroy.pdf - adventure
  • Secrets of Shadow 05 - Slivers of Steel.pdf - setting/NPC/Monsters
  • Secrets of Shadow 12 - Knowledge Is Power.pdf -GenCon 2005 adventure
  • Secrets of Shadow 13 - Signs In Shadow.pdf - GenCon 2005 adventure
  • Secrets of Shadow 14 - Errata (2005-11-08).pdf
  • Secrets of Shadow 14 - Shadow Servants.pdf - NPCs
  • Secrets of Shadow 15 - Shadow Servants.pdf - NPCs (same as #14, but with an extra blank page)
  • Secrets of Shadow 16 - Howls in the Night.pdf - adventure
  • Sorcery and Shadow Preview.pdf - new spells
EDIT: Link & files removed on 2015-03-05. I figure if you haven't grabbed them by now, you aren't going to, and I need to clean up space in my Dropbox account. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Even More Classifieds 2

WANTED: Experienced pack mule in good condition. Must have less than 5,000 leagues ahoof and a white patch on left haunch. Willing to pay decent amount for the right one. NO JENNYS. See Reeda at the Talon & Onion in Walthamthorp.

UNLEASH YOUR HIDDEN POWERS! Become a mental superman overnight! Free scroll! Windorf, 27 Market Wayside, Hawkthorp.

OUTHOUSES CLEANSED AND DEODORIZED. Why dig new when you can refresh for less? Just mix our dry powder with water and pour into shit-hole. Safe, non-poisonous formulae dissolves normal waste in just hours! Griswold the Minor Laboratories, Wizard Tower 1 -1/2b, Hawkthorp.

NOVICE CULTIST WANTED. Did you just join a cult? A curious seeker has questions. Come convince me your god should be my god. Ask for Reeda at the Talon & Onion in Walthamthorp.

EARN BIG MONEY! Learn to weave invisible threads in the comfort of your own home! Contact Wanted Weavers, Castle Tower 2, Taverntoss.

CAN YOU EARN 50sp a week writing classifieds? Enclose 1sp for free scroll! Windorf 27, Market Wayside, Hawkthorp.

RIGHTWAY CARTOGRAPHERS WANTS YOU to hire us for your next expedition! We are expert mappers who won't slow your party down whether you delve beneath the sands or beneath the surf! Never get lost in a hedge maze again! You'll be amazed at our 85% accuracy rate while sketching on the run! Come see us before you leave for your next adventure. Reasonable and negotiable daily rates. Rightway Cartographers, Bedlam Lane, Walthamthorp.

NOGBLOOD'S GOBLIN SCRUBBERS. We'll clean your dirty bugger, no questions asked. 42 Grifter Square, Taverntoss.

WE'LL GROOM YOUR ASS FOR FREE. Applethumb's Tack & Feed will groom your pack mule for free when you stable two horses with us for at least two nights. Reasonable daily rates. We can also re-shod your horse while you wait. Haymarket Circle, Taverntoss, across the way from Ratcatcher's Smithy.

WANTED: Fighter with scary-fast sword skills. Come see Reeda at the Talon & Onion in Walthamthorp. Women need not apply unless willing to shave head.

SELL MIRACLE NOWOOLON! Looks, feels, like wool, wears four times longer and outwears linen 7 to 1. Acid-proof, fire-proof, and quick-dries in twenty minutes after a good river dousing. Amazing profits can be yours! Contact Wanted Weavers, Castle Tower 2, Taverntoss.

ATTENTION SHIELD-MAIDENS! Your shield may be sub-par! Let Lance Corporal Leechy Snickel (ret.) test your defenses! Trained by Baron Walthamthorp's royal armorer in the fine art of shield craft, Leechy is renown throughout the realms for servicing shield-maiden's particular needs. As Leechy always says, "A shield that thrusts is a shield that busts." Come on by Leechy Snickel's today for a free shield adjustment. Never let your guard go down! 16 Armor Circlet, Hawkthorp.

LIVE BABY INDIGO WORMS! You can hold a hundred in the palm of your hand! Feel the tickle and watch them squirm! Amaze your friends and gross out your parents! Send 5sp to Windorf 27, Market Wayside, Hawkthorp.

MAS. edoc terces rou ekorb sutciR. adeeR ffo ti llaC adeeR.

GOT A TOWER FULL OF JUNK? A dungeon full of funk? Call DIAMOND MORT, THE CLEANING WIZARD! Mort will clean your home or hovel until it sparkles and smells like new. Fully trained and supervised cleaning goblins on call at all hours. 19 Grifter Square, Taverntoss. Note: Diamond Mike is NOT a real wizard.

WESLEY'S MINTY PURGATIVE: a discrete solution to all embarrassing bowel problems. Available at most respectable apothecaries in the realm. Ask for it by name. But whisper.

WANTED: Half-orc to lift heavy stuff and kill scary things. If you can read and are not afraid of taking a few risks on a dangerous journey, come talk to Reeda at the Talon & Onion in Walthamthorp.

NOTICE: SOAP CARVERS LOCAL GUILD 2112 of Walthamthorp now offers FREE soap carving classes for all interested parties! Come join the profession that has unlimited growth potential! Must provide own carving tools; a limited number of basic carving kits are available for 10gp purchase. Classes start this Marketday!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Remember Iron Heroes?

Remember Iron Heroes? Of course you don't. It was a variant 3.5e Player's Handbook published by Malhavoc Press that was then handed off to Fiery Dragon.

The nice thing is that because it was d20, it's pretty easy to convert the material to any D&D-type ruleset.

Malhavoc and Fiery Dragon even made a handful of free stuff for the setting back in the day. And I've gathered it here in my Dropbox for you.

Here's what you'll find in that folder:

from Malhavoc:
  • GenCon 2005 Demo, in both Microsoft Word and RTF formats
  • The King Must Die! introductory adventure, plus a pdf of pre-gens and a pdf of tokens
  • Borgnok's Raid, a free web enhancement for Mastering Iron Heroes

from Fiery Dragon:

  • Bloodwood campaign setting
  • Glacier Keep adventure for 4th level characters

All of these come courtesy of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and doing a Google site-specific, file-type search (i.e.: typing "site:foo.com filetype:pdf" into Google's search box, minus the quotation marks, of course).

EDIT: Link & files removed on 2015-03-05. I figure if you haven't grabbed them by now, you aren't going to, and I need to clean up space in my Dropbox account.