Thursday, April 4, 2013

Luxuria Enervat Vires, Effoeminat Artus

The thing about treasure being equivalent to experience and experience being equivalent to temporal power is that it turns everyone into Pizarro or Cortez. Bloodstained gold becomes the only thing in the world that it is worth pursuing. It reduces all decisions to decisions about despoiling the world and exploiting whatever resources are available to destroy whatever gets in the way; to flood the dungeon, or to cave it in and excavate the remains or to smoke it out with noxious vapours or send in condemned criminals and diseased wolverines. It kinda makes the game a bit stupid and I like that.

From the Fells Table ( I don't like hex maps much because of their prescriptive hexagonality, I haven't yet concocted an ingenious device for imposing geographic consistency upon the world but I may yet do so);

37. a spagyrist cooking something detestable in a hollow stone peel-tower bespattered with birdshite. He seeks flasks, pots and receptacles of any description that he may continue his work on the transcendence of materiality. He has about him a luminous feculence.

He peddles devilish combustibles and suchlike alchemical blasphemies;

Three gold and purple striped Incendiary Battle-Rockets three feet long that unleash shrieking purple hellfire (2 rds to prepare, 40’ range -5 to hit, 3d6 dmg, misfire on a 1 for full dmg to user)

80 groats apiece

Brimstone Grenadoes - Iron spheres which explode with appalling force and smoke and shrapnel (2d8 dmg to those within 10', misfire on a 1) those killed by grenadoes will scream dismembered and burnt for 1d4 hours before they die. Healing magic cannot save them.

120 groats apiece

An Aqueous Humour of potent corrosive virtue in a stoneware jar sealed with resin and marked with a glyph of impenetrability. It melts most things (including the seal in 1d6 days, 1d10 dmg).

50 groats

Pulverescent Emanation: from this silvery powder shimmers an uncanny febrile radiance. It flares into blinding light when thrown with force into the air (save vs. paralysis or blind for 1d6 turns, 20’ radius, drains 1 Con point per day from its user due to its virulent wrongness)

60 groats per little black pouch


Legendary Treasures should change the structure of the campaign to some extent (and probably kill the character wielding it)

Exempli Gratia: Leofric’s Horn, a battered hunting-horn a cubit long and decorated with tarnished silver cunningly wrought in the form of linden leaves, and with seven bloody garnets. Sounding the horn requires a soul steeped in the lore of the Lowlands and a mighty set of lungs (Strength 16+). The sound is exceedingly harsh and grating. Within an hour Leofric’s milky-eyed and odious Ormhunde will come a-loping from afar. It is like unto a dog the size of an ass, wiry-grizzled and scarred and prodigiously ill-tempered. It will only obey the bearer of the horn, and then only for an hour before it returns to its distant lair. Its very aspect is daunting, causing hirelings and foemen alike to muster their resolve or hastily retreat (automatic morale check for anything under 5th level/Hit Dice within 30').

The Ormhunde: AC: 3 HD: 5 hp: 30 MV: 300’ (100’) Dmg: 2d8 ML:12

The beast may lick its wounds at will, with the effect of healing 1d6+1 points of damage per round. Woe betide the whosoever should seek to benefit from this himself. The horn may only be sounded once a week or dire consequences may result.

Its worth is considerable and certainly more than 5000 groats


Because this stuff is a bit thin on the ground Imma image dump yo ass.
Faerie Rades should be cavalcades of abominations
Dule Tree. Dule is etymologically related to doleful and dolorous so this is essentially a tree of woe.

Barlowe's hellish imagery is more interesting than his aliens

Grunzel-gullets gain the hit points of whoever they devour - has anyone done that monster yet?

 I'd have this guy illustrate a book if I wasn't sure he's five centuries dead.

This is a beautiful image

Have you noticed that things like this only happen to those starving in the wilderness? That's why they are starving in the first place. Not so they can be the most zealously penitent for having biological urges and being, like, alive and shit. No, they're in it for the visions, but this dude's having a bad trip. 
If you go searching for gibbets on the web you'll be disappointed at the range they have available

Note the explicit details of this Brueghel print dealing with the perils of luxury. D&D is so tame by comparison to the majestically fucked-up imagination of its cultural roots. Show me the supplement where anyone is mentioned to be cutting off their own penis and I'll eat my words.


  1. This is in response to Scrap Princess' post on treasure yes? I'm somewhere in between. I think it's funny for PCs to get their murderous greed on, but it's also nice if they're able to do interesting things without wondering where the gold is.
    Love the idea of something that will burn its way out of the container and onto your bod if you don't use it soon enough.
    As for penis cutting Raggi had a dilemma with Better Than Any Man and how to make a horrible thing about male genitalia that is actually horrible rather than juvenile when things like penile bifurcation actually exist.
    My thoughts revolved around something squeezing into your cock and.. actually I saved it in my 'do this later' folder:

    "The thing shambles at you out of the dark, its phallus is half hard and bobbing before it as it walks, heavy testicles churning beneath its girth. Something viscous seems to be slowly dripping from its tip, until it suddenly sucks back inside. As you brace your shield and unsheathe your blade similarities to a snail's eye occur to your subconscious. The thing shudders and retches on itself and the base of its cock swells to triple the original girth and continues to inflate until something you cannot fathom emerges from the tip. The beast wails in pain and terror and collapses to the floor.

    Have you seen the snails infected by mind-controlling worms? Like that. Something that enters your penis and takes residence in your scrotum after consuming your testicles, it needs the room, it is not small. Penises can be surprisingly elastic, but fuck it hurts. But you don't process that. The chemicals it's pumping into your bloodstream just make you want to mate. Make you want to woo. It is always looking for the perfect host, someone pleasing to the opposite sex. It needs you to find a mate. It needs it to be consensual and loving. It needs your mate to care for the offspring once you have passed away from a mysterious wasting disease, right up until hundreds of its kind emerge from her womb amidst screams and blood and madness.

    It is not completely averse to you engaging in same-sex relations, it has found that to be a very convenient way of entering a handsome new host."

    Penis cutting might end up being a well thought-out and reasonable solution?

    (And I don't know about Grunzel-Gullets but one of my Petty Gods grabs you and absorbs you into its flesh to gain another HD)

    1. You weird freaky Novocastrian! I have this dream for a setting called the Uttermost South in which such abominations of Bio-horror would be standard. It'd be set in a kind of 17th century conquistadire-penal-colonised-tasmaniac-amazonia vast continent called Terra Incognita and the PCs arrive like jetsam on the shore and try to survive but the land just fucking devours everyone with a kind of rapturous cannibalistic fervour and no-ones seen one of those before and there's something wrong with Prendergast's prick.

      Such a setting would be a way of tying in my own tramping round the bush with snakes and centipedes personal experience into the game but I know distraction weakens me and the possibilty with which the beginning of projects shines is a terrible temptation to me that it is best I avoid.

    2. Oh it would be so GOOD though. Maybe just avoid it until after you've been forced to finish a Middenmurk book.
      The setting I'm putting together for my folks is actually a bit conquistador jungle itself, but less feral, more of a frontier land with a few populated cities that were always there and current history has passed 100 years or so, but the sword-whores are still here looking for a good time.
      My girlfriend actually did a lot of amazing cannibal research when she was finishing her art degree and she wants to get back into that, so hey, free research team!

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. I think we all did a lot of cannibal research while finishing our art degrees.

  2. What do you call this kind of post where you want to come across as learned and dumb at the same time?

    "It kinda makes the game a bit stupid and I like that."

    1. What has laziness to do with it?

      You are not alone in sprinkling posts with cultural references and then in panic clawing back your readers with some version of the, 'We are all kinda dumb together' D&D communal prayer.

      Being 'dumb' or 'stupid' does not mean 'cool' or 'relaxed', it means now, as it always has, that there are lots of things, ordinary things, which can't be understood.

      Im just curious if you have an insight into your own mentality which is common in the osr.

    2. You make a mistake in generalising too readily in terms of people's relationship to the OSR. In my idiolect there are a lot of different meanings to "kinda stupid". In this context I am invoking stupidity in a jocular sense and simultaneously invoking the idiotic machinery of the universe that grinds along merrily whether we like it or not and simultaneously not really giving a fuck because I am as interested in a kind of rhythm of information density as much as I am interested in making sense.

      Because I like language and more particularly the aesthetics of language (which you will no doubt understand was old Tollers' motivation) I don't really care if I make things which are playable as much as I care that I juxtapose syllables in such a way as to occasionally fire a few neurons in other skulls that maybe leads to some sort of aesthetic experience akin to the appreciation of being alive.

      Being clever has no intrinsic value. Cultural references bereft of context ennoble nobody. The "we are all clever together" communal prayer leads nowhere neither.

    3. Im not generalising from you, you are just another example. Rients is the arch-priest of trying to appear learned and dumb at the same time. Zak has read one literary author, Pynchon I think, and offsets constant references to this magnificent achievement by pooling the creative talents of the 'kinda dumb' and the 'a bit stupid' of the osr (the least creative people in the US) to create vast mosaics of worthless elements.

      I just don't know why D&D gamers feel compelled to appear both smart and stupid. Here's a theory:

      They are motivated by wanting to appear smart, but being really clever is like having an anti-social siren attached to one's head and so the ever-present juvenile self-deprecation. In addition the low brow asides are evidence of a lack of seriousness of intent just in case their posts are exposed by people who are genuinely bright (in the real world).


      >>"Being clever has no intrinsic value."

      >>"Cultural references bereft of context ennoble nobody"
      Sententious and irrelevant.

      >>"The 'we are all clever together' communal prayer leads nowhere neither."
      There is no such prayer. You have to be clever all by yourself; understand things all by yourself. The 'We are all kinda dumb together' D&D communal prayer is a resentful protective huddle.

  3. Why would anyone care if their posts are exposed? You are projecting a lot of assumptions onto disparate people's behaviour that there is little or no evidence is present. Could it merely be the case that they are writing with fondness to others sharing similar experiences? I don't believe the conscious desire to try to appear clever is a particularly strong aspect of this silly little fragment of a hobby. It seems more about sharing enthusiasm, sometimes the refined enthusiasm in subtly beautiful things, sometimes a kind of throbbing punk-rock enthusiasm in things that are more earthy and immediate.

    This thing you do seems more driven by an agenda. What is it that you are hoping to achieve by exposing OSR bloggers? What is this thing you have about Zak? There is a school of thought that signalling behavior is to a very large extent testicular, that whatever it is you are saying you are really waggling your peacock's tail in an attempt to display your capacity to pass on good, strong, smart genes and to intimidate rivals. This being mandated by an evolutionary algorithm deeply embedded in the molecular structure of what you are made means you do not have to be aware of this thing for you to be in thrall. If this is the case (as I believe, to an extent) then Zak is a superfit genius of absurd proportions, his signalling behaviours have landed him a very comfortable life doing precisely as he pleases, and you yourself are like one of those pariah lions challenging and failing, challenging and failing.

    It seems there is little else going on with you save coy references to cultural icons which you have included in your game - bereft of context. Info-dump it. Participate in shared enthusiasm. What is there to huddle resentfully from?

  4. I can't understand what you are saying beyond a lingering impression that for you the osr is a kind of homosexual commune.

    I asked you a direct question, namely, why do you and the likes of Rients and Zak, obvious middle brow types, lace your discussion of D&D with kindergarten talk?

    The melange of pretentiousness, hero worship and cuddles in your previous comment has at least helped confirm that asking you questions is pointless.

    Thanks for taking the time to assess my game though!