Tuesday, June 28, 2016

That's A Pretty Hungry Orc

Fundraising demands spammage!

For the past two years I've thrown a mini-convention here in Maryland called TridentCon - always for charity, always rpg-focused.

This year, in aid of some special guests we're working on, I'm doing a little fundraising.

Witness, the hungry orc:

It's a pig-faced orc of the classic variety, it's great work by David Okum, and you can get it on a t-shirt by going HERE but only until July 15th.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Freakness

Much of Wampus Country is an equestrian society; it will come as little surprise that horse-racing is an appreciated pastime.  While there are varying levels of formality and tradition among races, one odd event of note is the Freakness.

Held biannually, the Freakness Stakes is a horse-race in which the first rule is that one may not ride an actual horse.  Other mounts are welcome: emu, hippopotami, large dogs, clockwork spiders, an animated settee, what-have-you; the stranger the better, hence the name of the race.  Many of the jockeys are wizards, or sponsored by wizards.  So, too, the prize money and the unusual enchanted items handed out to those jockeys or owners who win, place, or show.

This year's third-place winner, Handsome Dan "The Warlock Man" astride his war-ostrich, Penelope.

Below are this year's prizes, each a magic item of interest and particular use.

The Exaggerator.  This belt is made of braided storm giant beard-hair, bound in copper wire; when worn it has the continuous effect of making the wearer the most electrifying person in the room.  The Exaggerator accomplishes this by casting subtle illusions that make the wearer's appearance and actions seem more impressive or larger than they otherwise would.  While wearing the Exaggerator, your hair is shinier, your skin clearer; your pectorals and groin, slightly more bulging.  Further, the wearer seems a few inches taller, and their clothing more fashionable, tasteful, and expensive, even if only slightly.  These illusions may be temporarily dispelled by dispel magic and similar effects.
Effect: wearer has Advantage on all Charisma checks.

Cherry Wine.  This potent potable is more a potion than a beverage, although it began life as a very fine wine made from sour cherries.  Enchanced by a series of physics-altering spells, the cherry wine has one important effect, to wit: the drinker need not remove their armor in order to engage in fun physical activities such as swimming, climbing, jumping, and the like.  The spells in the wine somehow shunt some of the encumbrance of the armor into some other part of the world (possibly generating 'heavy' or reverse-gravity spots on other continents, which is pretty irresponsible wizardry).  The cherry wine intoxicates as normal when imbibed.
Effect: The drinker ignores any penalty to physical activity (marching, swimming, climbing, jumping, square-dancing, whatever) caused by encumbering armor for one hour.

Earring of Nyquist.  Forged in the Sulfurian undermountains by the eponymous sorceror-priest, the Earring of Nyquist has a protective function.  When worn, the earring has the ability to internalize 'samples' of any sonic attack to which its wearer is subject, which has two effects.  First, the earring attempts to produce counterharmonies immediately (although this is often too late).  Secondly, the samples of the sonic attack are then fed into the wearer's next sonic attack of their own (hence this item is really most useful to a bard or audiomancer).  The earring allows the cunning bard to learn from his misfortunes at the hands of those harpies, and channel a piece of that song into his next thunderous assault.
Effect: The wearer has advantage on saving throws against sonic attacks.  After surviving a sonic attack of any time, the wearer has advantage on their next sonic attack (if their attack does not require a roll, perhaps the target has disadvantage on their save).

Yes, the stats are 5e-ish, as I've been running 5e lately.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Mascot Not-Monday: Superb Owl Insanity Edition

In the Long Long Ago, the Owls ruled what is now Wampus Country.  Their empire was sublime, and strange, and superb.

Hear now of the great madness of the Owls.


Requirements: DEX 9, CHA 9

Ability Modifiers: None

Ability Min/Max: STR 6/18 (15), DEX 9/18, CON 8/18, INT 7/18, WIS 3/18, CHA 9/18

Pity the puppymonkeybaby, for it is a freakish and twisted creature of chaos.  A likely product of magical experimentation (an easy enough explanation for such blasphemy), the puppymonkeybaby seems to be a mix of three species - a poggle-like dogfolk, a small simian, and a human or halfling.  Not coincidentally, all three of these races were slave-races to the great and wise owls of the Long Long Ago, if sages are to be believed.  In the wild, puppymonkeybabies live in small familial groups, dividing their time between arboreal recreation and foraging on the ground.

On a good day, a puppymonkeybaby is childlike, happy, and cooperative; on a bad day, it is petty, self-centered, and whiny.  Perhaps it is the poggle in them, or the means by which they were originally created, but puppymonkeybabies tend toward Chaos.  Some few are Neutral, and may even glom on to human "friends", attempting to help them by hand-delivering beverages, but in the end the fickle and childish puppymonkeybaby typically bursts into a rage over some small or imagined slight.  When dealing with human society, some wear kilts or dhotis, but in the wilds of the trees, puppymonkeybabies like to let their stuff fly free, the better to strike horror and revulsion into the hearts of their neighbors.

A "tame" puppymonkeybaby, in use as a serving-lad.
As creatures born of Chaos, puppymonkeybabies are resistant to magic, and some few of them demonstrate the spellcasting abilities of a chaotic cleric.  Puppymonkeybabies are natural climbers and should receive an appropriate small bonus (15%, or +1 in 6) to climbing rolls even if they are not thieves.

Puppymonkeybabies may not use large and two-handed weapons, but they may use weapon and armor as indicated by class.  Nevertheless, some puppymonkeybabies eschew heavy armor in favor of their own natural agility and climbing ability.

Puppymonkeybabies can see in the dark with infravision up to 60 feet.

Puppymonkeybabies in Wampus Country can understand the common tongue, but are restricted in their speech.  Each puppymonkeybaby knows a number of words - mostly nouns and a few verbs - equal to its Intelligence score; the first three of these must be 'puppy', 'monkey', and 'baby'.  Companions of a puppymonkeybaby quickly learn to properly interpret the words used, in context or metaphorically.  For example, 'puppy' might be a command to follow today, but tomorrow the little freak is using 'puppy' to mean 'cute' or 'small'; often the slow recitation of 'puppy, monkey, baby' means 'totality' or 'to make whole', and may accompany the use of a healing power.  This linguistic restriction has no effect on a puppymonkeybaby cleric's ability to cast spells.

Puppymonkeybabies receive the following saving throw bonuses:
• +2 save versus breath attacks
• +4 save versus wands
• +4 save versus spells or spell-like devices
Puppymonkeybabies are creepy as shit, and as such they receive bonuses to defend against magical effects. In addition, their small size grants them a bonus to finding cover and avoiding breath attacks.

Civilized puppymonkeybabies may select from the following classes, with the indicated level limits.

Class Level Limit
Assassin 7
Cleric 7
Fighter 6
Thief 11

Puppymonkeybaby thieves receive the following bonuses and penalties to thief abilities:

Skill Adjustment
Pick Locks -5%
Find and Remove Traps -5%
Move Silently +5%
Climb Walls +15%
Hide in Shadows +0%

"It's a very difficult magical problem, Doctor Wiggins - the sort which, I'm afraid, can only be solved by painstakingly creating some kind of ridiculous and improbable hybrid animal-monster the likes of which future generations will question as completely insane, or deride as the insipid fever-dream of a syphilitic hedge-mage.  But such is the heady responsibility of  wizardry, and we must not shy from it for an instant."

Saturday, January 30, 2016

New Arrivals: Fresh Faces in Wampus Country

As the Wampus Country campaign once again stirs to life - however slowly - it behooves us dedicated Wampus-watchers to maintain an awareness of the movers and shakers, the headline-makers, and the interesting characters locals are talking about.  To that end, the following discussion of several people recently making names for themselves in central Wampus Country, as reported by the ever-reputable fishwrap and cage-liner, the River-Town Gazette.

The Mystery-Solving Pig

The casino floor and swill-halls are pierced by the pitter-pat of pork, and the tenderloin titters about tenderloin!  Some months ago a little piglet appeared on the scene in River-Town, taking work as an inspector-for-hire, recoverer of lost things, and general troubleshooter.  His name is J. Pinkerton Piglet, P.I. (Porcine Investigator), but the gossips and lovely ladies along the river just call him "Pinky".  Witty but fond of the sound of his own voice, Pinky seems to be quite educated for such a young-looking pig, and he has wielded his keen mind to not only solve several interesting cases, but also to evade the violent attention of charismatic criminal Reverend Tater.  Pinky is occasionally accompanied by his slime Friday, a liberal-minded meeb called Gleeble, whose quivering lime-green form has become quite welcome in River-Town since this boneless wonder rescued a pair of Scorpion-priests from the slavering depradations of a ruthless sewer-troll.  They have won our hearts most certainly - what could this strange duo next accomplish?  He's a genius talking piglet, and it's a brawny man-of-jam -- they fight crime!

Pinky's rumored dual pairs of Boots of Striding & Springing make him a formidible parkour badass.

Soiree of the Stylish Sorceress

Skulls spin when sartorially-splendid spellslinger Incantada Impossiblay enters the room not only because of her striking beauty and fashion choices, but due to the meandering orrery of precious stones which seem to orbit her head in a display of cosmic devotion.  After taking rooms at the Sumbitch Hotel several weeks ago, she has come down from the fourth floor only a few times to conduct whispered business with a series of shifty-looking out-of-towners; an unnamed source at the hotel reveals Impossiblay takes but one meal a day in the form of a bowl of clarified butter.  She is accompanied at all times by her presumed familiar, a murderous-looking porcelain doll-homunculus identified as "Mister Tickle-pants".  Another rumor suggests Incantada Impossiblay is the former partner - business or romantic is unclear - of the famed Ruprecht the Hill-Devil; unfortunately since Thunderbolt Black's Action Show is on tour at the moment, the furry trick-rider in question has yet to be interrogated on the matter.  The sorceress carries a wand made of some sort of exotic ivory, and wears long artificial nails of iridescent glass on the fingers of her left hand.  In the last week she has made some discreet inquiries about renting a hall for a party; this randy reporter wonders what must be done to secure a ticket to what may prove to be the most exclusive hoedown of the year.

Incantada Impossiblay, said to have dealings with the twisted fey of the Summerlands.

Too Many Cocks Spoil The Brawl

The swamp-fighting circuit in Frogport is no joke and has made - or ruined - the reputation of many a pugilist.  Recently, however, the masculine punching scene has been suplexed topsy-turvy by the uproarious arrival of a group of rooster-men who have taken on all comers in tag-team events and won a number of individual matches to boot.  They appear to be less natural-born roosters and more men who have become battling bantams via sorcery, but have no doubt that these cocks are game -- wild moves, surprising strength, and impeccable teamwork have put them over the top, and they are winning money wing over fist.  As a matter of fact, the four roostermen are in line to contest and win the biannual "Sweaty Summer Swamp Slappin'" tournament this year, to the tune of $5000 plus possible endorsements - not chump change.  Who are these fighting-cocks, and from whence have they come?  An obtuse source suggests they may be aligned with Baron Von Kluck, that feathered criminal mastermind, but when confronted about a connection or plans to win the $5000 via cockfighters, the wealthy Von Kluck demurred, stating he would not get out of bed for such a poultry sum.

One of the Frogport Roostermen, known in the wrestling ring as "Buck Hardbreast".

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tome Forty-One: Theriospheric Transfigurations Released

Sometimes musical artists release albums named after the age at which they wrote or recorded the material.  In that spirit, I have released a small compilation of Wampus material to DriveThru as a pay-what-you-want pdf in celebration of my forty-first birthday.  Tome Forty-One: Theriospheric Transfigurations contains an assortment of animal-themed material from the blog (including a mess of spells) supplemented by some new material (including more new spells).

Perhaps next year I'll manage Tome Forty-Two; also in consideration, combining material generated by my son (aka The Boy) with some new material inspired by him, and call it Tome Eleven.  

I have a couple other themed article compilations in the hopper, in various stages of completeness.  Of these, I expect the one with the hexcrawl appended to be finished last!

New content in 'Tome 41' includes spells about cows.  You know you need that.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Artifacts from the Cult of Freet

From the wizard-journal of Alphonse the Absurd, traveling sorcerer.  Alphonse's journal is magic-bound to another journal, kept safely in a vault in River-Town; whatever he writes in his leatherbound journal appears in the second copy within several hours.  It is from this secondary copy that we spy upon his meanderings.

It is with no small serving of joy that I am pleased to report that I have uncovered a buried cache of treasure, at the cost of only three henchmen and my green-and-gold waistcoat.  If this expedition to the pine barrens had not borne fruit, I would have certainly been most inconvenienced by the collection-daggers of Reverend Tater's debt-hunters, but now that eventuality has been dispelled.

Beneath an enruned outcropping marking the boundary between two pathetic Freeholder farms, I have located what is surely a noteworthy treasure of the north.  A child-sized golden coffin contained several priestly spell-scrolls, a goodly amount of northern-style jewelry and coin, and not one, but two enchanted items of old which I shall now detail, my investigations being complete.  The coffin also contained human remains, but I have yet to find a good way to monetize these.  All of the other contents seem related to the moribund cult of a godling called Freet, the Lord of the Burning-Deeps, once respected by the ancestors of the Freeholders, according to their own Smultringa Saga.

FREET, Lord of the Burning-Deeps
Presumably counted among the Vicelords, Freet appears to be a minor pleasure-daemon of gluttony and excess, truly a thing that should not be.  Painting himself as a welcoming father-figure, he encourages his followers to consume blatantly unhealthy yet delicious food as a means of worship.  Freet is portrayed in artwork as a relatively formless, lumpen brown mass, sweating oil.  Clerics who swear fealty to Papa Freet are taught all three of the spells below, plus a clerical version of the wizard spell grease; a priest who merely spends a weekend in the debauchery of proper over-the-top Freet-worship may learn one of the spells as a gift.

Ingesting the Abomination
first-level spell
While intoning the chants to Papa Freet that make up this spell, the priest breads or batters a nonliving item of any shape weighing less than ten pounds, then deep-fries the object (obviously a large enough fryer is required).  Once deep fried, the object may be safely eaten, no matter its size or composition.  The object is gently nestled within folded-space in the consumer's stomach, and can be disgorged (process takes 1d4 rounds) anytime within the following four hours.  At the end of the four hours, the gurgitator makes a CON save; if passed, the object is digested as nutritious food of equivalent mass (note that this can still be distressing if the object is large enough).  If the CON save is failed, the object pops out of folded-space and exists inside the consumer's body; this is probably really, really bad, and the GM will adjudicate the results accordingly.

Commanding Rejuvenation of Papa Freet
second level spell
The priest consumes a cup of hot oil (taking 1hp damage in the process).  For the next eight hours, his or her turning ability works against creatures of sucromancy or sweetness in addition to their normal targets.  Whether it's a cupcake golem, a sugarplum fairy, or a peppermint shrike, all sweets are "improved" by the touch of the Lord of the Burning-Deeps.

Freedom Fries
second level spell
The cleric performs a series of ritual cuts on a normal potato, inserts four coins into the potato (because freedom isn't free), then speaks the mystic words of the spell (reported in the Smultringa saga to be "Ia Ia Murka").  All nonmagical locks within ten feet of the potato immediately open.  The coins are consumed in the casting, but the carved potato remains.

ITEMS familiar to the FREET-CULT

The Onion Ring
A golden-brown ring worn on the pinky, this ensorcelled treat allows the wearer to change his or her appearance once per day, as an alter self spell, by slowly peeling off layers of their own skin and revealing the new form beneath (the process takes 1 turn and is pretty disgusting).  The transformation does not wear off; the wearer must re-peel back to their normal form the next day, if that be their goal.  A good proper dispel will return the onion ring's wearer to their normal form.

Aspergillum of St. Poutine
Although it appears to be - and functions as - a flail +1, this item is primarily designed to be filled with blessed gravy.  Ideographs along the length of the weapon can guide any cleric or chef to assemble the proper ingredients to cook up basic gravy sacred to Papa Freet, the Aspergillum of St. Poutine has a further secret.  If the holy gravy is made to contain the bones of a particular kind of creature - a wolf, a manticore, a man - then that batch of gravy, when placed in the Aspergillum, will make the weapon act as +3 versus that sort of creature.  This bonus enchantment lasts only until the gravy congeals within the Aspergillum (1d3 hours).

Druids who pay proper homage to Freet learn this variant of Goodberry.

Sunday, April 5, 2015



Recently completed, Ever-Bright is the gleaming capital-castle of the rabbitjacks of Dawn Valley.  Although most of the valley is quiet farmland, Ever-Bright is crowded and busy, its wending hallways and overlapping briar-bridges always crawling with rabbitjacks and jills hurrying about their business.  Most of the surfaces and edges in Ever-Bright are curved, which gives the city an unreal, dreamy quality.  The byways of the city lead seamlessly to the boulevard-tunnels that run underneath the length and width of the valley; in this way the castle-city of Ever-Bright is an extension of the vast rabbitjack warrens, an intimidating fortress defending Dawn Valley from the forces of the Witch Queen.

What to See
Make the time to visit the Gardens - not the ones replete with oversized carrots and turnips-of-many-colors, but the Crystal Gardens, a sprawling, labyrinthine display of the sort of alien sculpture that reminds the rabbitjacks that they hail from another place.  The installations are myriad: ululating silver wires and ribbons, fractal trees seemingly painted into three-dimensional existence, crystals born inside crystals, and a machine lazily spitting ephemeral soap bubbles which resemble passersby.  Most Wampus folk associate the rabbitjacks with alchemy, but in truth their native technology goes far beyond magical brewing into strangeness such as "portable holes" (several of which are laying about in the Gardens).

Where to Stay
Visitors don't have much choice, being restricted to spending the night in the Super Friendly Hotel; it's the only place in town authorized to host non-rabbitjacks overnight.  It's purely a security issue; Dawn Valley lies so close to the Witch-Queen's Candylands that every visitor is a little suspect.  While staying at the Super Friendly, you should expect to be observed, followed, spied upon constantly, and so forth.  Again, this is for security purposes; it's nothing personal.  Being assigned a covert 'handler' during your stay should be taken as a compliment - they don't do that for your average melon-farmer.

Where to Pray
The rabbitjacks have little in the way of native religion, although they have certain rabbitist philosophies that guide their laws.  The rabbit elders have recently allowed the construction of what they call a Mutual Church in Ever-Bright - a large, cathedral-like space where outsiders are allowed to set up shrines of foreign godlings.  As surely as nature abhors a vacuum, it wasn't long before priests devoted to Taronja, Gloriana, and the Scorpion-God claimed their niches in the building.  Though these clerics are allowed to preach to the intellectually-curious rabbitjacks, full conversions have been few.  A heterodox priest could easily make a living in Ever-Bright by claiming space in the Mutual Church.

What to Eat
All manner of vegetables and greens are widely available in Ever-Bright, some in unusual sizes and colors, and many of them bred to be sweeter than usual to suit the rabbitjack palate.  As such, when you visit such up-and-coming Ever-Bright eateries as Four Leaves or The Parsnip Star, you will be able to delight in such delicacies as maple-glazed blue potatoes, variegated leeks, and a salad of crimson endive, sweet-and-sour chard, and green apples garnished with candied cashews and a grumbleberry vinaigrette.  Meat is just simply not available at taverns and restaurants in Ever-Bright, but can be found in some private homes of non-rabbitjacks.  However, the Cottontail Arms, a private club, serves a remarkable veggie burger slathered in a sweet, spicy pepper and guava chutney that must be tasted to be believed.

What to Buy
Both commercial and hobbyist alchemists offer all manner of potions, unguents, philtres, and brews - some of mild effect which are tried and tested, and others of more daring mien.  In addition, some rabbitjacks have been experimenting with the basics of sucromancy, the better to know their enemy, the Witch-Queen.  Right now the favorite combination for some of the street-vendors are little chocolate bottles filled with potion-liqueurs, typically available in a box of six (different flavors and effects) for around $50.  One of the chocolatiers, the nattily-dressed Zazz Bax, is particularly skilled at sculpting tiny chocolate busts with the likeness of customers (or other faces).  His skill was such that, working from a cameo brooch I wear, he was able to do an entire box of rum-flavored white chocolate versions of my wife, which she enjoyed greatly.

Who to Meet
Inspector Hopalong is the most famous of rabbitjack lawmen; it is he who has the most leeway in Dawn Valley as an independent investigator, and he often leaves the area to pursue fugitives or suspects.  Over time, Hopalong has built up a wide network of contacts - both those who pursue justice, and those who flee it - across the Wampus Country.  Anyone seeking leads regarding organized crime would do well to chat with Inspector Hopalong; he may not know the answer you seek, but he probably knows someone who does (although they may be miles away).  Also worth talking to are any of the briar-jacks - the rabbits who maintain and man the living defensive walls that shield Dawn Valley from the depredations of the Candylanders.  Some briar-jacks have spent months peering at Candyland through a spyglass, and they are wise to the patterns of the Witch-Queen's subjects as well as the appearances of some of the dire sugar-beasts which roam her lands.

Thing to Avoid
There's a nightclub called Hare of the Dog not far from the main drag; it looks like a pretty nice place to drink, or to dance, and has some pretty impressive strings of paper lanterns strung about outside.  Be forewarned, however, this establishment is essentially a creepy rabbitjack swingers' club.  You cannot keep up.