Monday, August 31, 2015

Wild touch victims

When a Tomnt successfully touches a victim at the base of the neck that person or creature is afflicted with the wild mind.
The best way to discover about the wild mind is to meet someone in the throws of it. From the time they are touched until they turn fully feral is 2d6+1 days. First thing to go is the ability to concentrate this is accompanied by vacant stares and  the feeling of having lost ones train of thought this stage also sees grooming habits go out the window. The next manifestation is physical, either hair has started to grow on unusual parts of the body or scales, nails become thick and claw like, this stage is accompanied by a penchant for eating unusually things. At the third stage speech is lost and the ability to make meaningful communication follows close after. This whole process can take between 3 days and 2 weeks. A lucky person has enough time to find a magical healer who has the ability to remove curses. The less lucky person reaches full wildness and condition becomes permanent. Optionally players can make a saving throw to slow down the process: a con save of 12 can double the time the curse will take before fully going into affect.
The rangers' tower contains a victim which can serve as an opportunity to freak the PCs out. Alternatively I can make them tell the table about a person they know and then bring that person into the story as a victim of wild mind that they run into wandering aimlessly in the wild.

Friday, August 28, 2015

NPC: overseer Kolmo

The logging camp on the western edge of the circle of Torenwœl is run by Kolmo. After years of operating the camp for his brothers Kolmo's city manners have been mostly forgotten. Spurning social niceties he's a rough fellow and fiercely practical. For example, though he is neither a scholar or a cleric he wears his beard short, a practice that would have him  ostracized in the city.
The lumber camp is a penal institution meant to provide a way for debtors to restore their place in society. Ever practical, the delvers would balk at the colossal waste of resources inherent in prisons and the dishonour of working with wood makes a term in the lumber camp a suitable deterrent. 
In a way Kolmo's own post at the lumber camp was originally a punishment but his lack of concern for honour and dishonour has made him thrive in the isolated context that would be hell for most delvers.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Yushek's library (continued)

Reflections on Mummery in the great woods- mummery was a dramatic art form predating the urbanization of Torenwœl. A set of repeating archetypal characters would get into one of approximately a dozen scenarios divided into humorous tableaux and spiritually uplifting moralistic skits. This book provides, in an albeit terse academic tone, the most common narrative tropes of this artform. A few examples of theses tropes include: Child finds parents having sex outdoors (spiritual allegory), Doctor accidentally kills patient (comedy), Traveller takes a wrong turn and saves the day (moralistic fable), Country person outwits city person  (high symbolic drama), sisters work together to outwit a talking animal (comedy), a wiley aristocrat is unsuccessful at securing good marriages for their offspring (tragedy).

Magus in the Hedgerows 
This work is a country witch's recipe book for agrarian spells etcetera. 
Chapter one wards for livestock .
Chapter two how to appease faekind.
Chapter three hexes against landowners.
Chapter four wards for hunters.
Chapter five/six the acquisition and maintenance of humunculi 

Recipes for salubrious tinctures 
With this book one may brew potions such as: barkskin, Cure light wounds, bear's strength, a love potion of dubious efficacy and a paralyzing agent for hunters to put on their arrowheads. In the forest there is a 70% chance of finding all necessary ingredients within four hours. Of note is the need for cockatrice gizzard in the barkskin potion, the egg of a lizardfolk female in the love potion, and the spores of the Söpplungr's less intense cousin the dholungr in the paralyzing agent.

Druidry of the four directions 
Unlike the current prevalent pseudodruidry primal druidry is built with a symbolic language based around the four directions. This manuscript was penned by the erudite Father Lanobuck in the prewar generation. Though it is only a cursory work it is a dense read and provides a basic metaphysical underpinning for Oamnic thought in general. The benefit of reading this tome is unclear as of yet.

Possession: a guide
How to trade your agency for favours from ghosts. This work is written in dwarven and has been mostly defaced. The first readable page is about halfway in and contains nonsensical onomatopoeia written in block runic. If a hapless individual stumbles upon this book and reads this page they will experience the indwelling spirit of baroness Glitzbein, one of the original invaders of the third aeon.

Untoward allegories
A series of peculiar tales meant to illustrate the true nature of creation. (Contains no useful information)
Quoth the riddle-man
A gnomish riddle book
Transmigrations of the Inner Soul 
Mystical mantras meant to stimulate past life regressions. This type of book was popular among the dwarven elite late in the third aeon which was partially responsible for a flare up of ecstatic practice which in turn sparked the first dwarven war of religion. These mantra books were outlawed but are highly sought after among the extremely devout.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Monsters: Söpplungr

These uncanny fungal colonies have the bizarre ability to apparently reanimate corpses. For stats of skeletal fungus slaves use the monster manual entry for myconid spores combined with npc stats in the back of the book for bandits.
The spore slaves must only be employed in furthering the interests of the fungal colony, and these are fairly simple. In order to thrive moisture must be provided to the sovereign, as well as crystalline matter and rotting matter. A healthy colony of söpplungr will support a sovereign "Söpp" which is constantly gassing off clouds of entheogenic spores. At the centre of the Söpp sovereign is the heart of the colony, which is a large stone conglomerated as a byproduct of the gassing off and the crystalline matter. This stone is highly valued and few are extant... But beware, to breath the spores and meet the gods may be more than a mind can handle.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Votive breastplates of the devout

Among the dwarven folk the most devout venerators of the ancestors wear votive breastplates hung around the neck. The respective motifs of these breastplates correspond to which figure the wearer has devoted their worship.

Silverbeard devotees wear a plate made of silver often emblazoned with either a bearded face or a shaggy dog or, rarely, Oak leaves. Poor devotees may not be able to afford a silver plate and must use steel instead, for some this is asource of great embarrassment. It would not be uncommon for one of these poorer practitioners to spend a lot of time polishing their breast plate in order to not bring dishonor to the silverbeard name.

Bogomash's emblem is the dragonfly but any flying insect immediately signals his cultus. Bogomashian breastplates tend to be made of the more "flamboyant" alloys such as brass. Bogomash is known as the resourceful, a quick witted prankster whose tales all conclude in irony or surprise.

Gerdagûli is the matron saint of tinkers and is often esteemed by lower class and worker dwarves.  These breastplates tend to be of the less noble materials tin,  pewter, and aluminum. Any sort of tool depicted on a breastplate indicates Gerdagûli.

Méoythr's followers tend to be solemn and contemplative and their breastplates reflect this made of dull zinc without imagery other than a simple rune or two.

The many followers of the more general cult of the council of ancients wear a golden breastplate shaped as a heavenly body. This cult is favoured by merchants and its adherents are not restricted by genealogy. 

 These five groups encompass a large amount of the devout Valeans. There are other groups but only with very small adherence.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Flavour text for Torenwœl

The circle
The circle is the inhabited part of the forest. It is mostly coniferous long needle pines without much underbrush. The ground  is covered in a thick layer of needles which makes for soft quiet pathways. The tree branches don't start until about ten or fifteen feet off the ground making visibility relatively good. The forest has a dry resinous smell and is often permeated by the swishing sound of branches in the wind. Much of the wildlife is of the burrowing variety, large brown badgers, needle-worms and the like. The outer edge of the forest has the odd preditorial dahrérv (a variety of horned wolf) venturing in from the blood plains, but they rarely hunt prey other than the splendour-elk a beast held sacred by the berry pickers of the northern quadrant. 

The Penumbra 
The penumbra is considered the part of the forest which is safe enough for a capable adult to traverse through during the day but ideally it is avoided to spend the night there. The flora of the penumbra is much thicker with brambles and large leafed ferns. The penumbra contains most of the moon berry groves and the Torenwœli berry harvesters will venture out into it at night but only on the full moon and with great trepidation. The primary fear of the penumbra stems from the difficulty of navigation there combined with the large amount of predators.  Bears and strongbeak swarms wander the penumbra by night and the elusive cockatrice is also known to avail itself of this shady region. Often these beasts become afflicted by the moon beetle larva making them unpredictable and even more dangerous. The lizard folk of the south western quadrant are also known to venture into the penumbra in their hunting triads to harvest eggs orother quarry. And while on friendly terms with the human berry pickers they don't often interact with each other.

The Umbra
People don't venture into the Umbra. This is mostly because the foliage is so thick and the vines so congested that it is not feasible to make passage. Here the ferns of the penumbra grow bigger and taller [some as tall as trees] and their large leaves block out any light from above. Legend has it that there are far worse and more mysterious predators within the Umbra but first-hand accounts are hard to come by.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Creatures of the Penumbra

Within the penumbra there are plenty of unpleasant beasties to discourage travel through its shadowy passages. They are mostly natural beasts but often they have been touched by incursions of the Tomntoi or have eaten Lunagrub larvae and have the rage or the wild-mind

Monsters: Tomntoi

When wild land is first broken the spirits of that land which are disturbed in the process must be appeased. These spirits  are called Tomntoi and unless they are acknowledged by the landowner and given small obeisences they cause mishaps and mischief on a scale relative to their power. Often this practice ceases to be necessary when a region adopts a dominant religion and a degree of urbanization. Nevertheless if that structure then falls away the Tomntoi return slowly with increasing power over time. 

Each Tomnt is unique, with varying characteristics and power levels and each with their own name. Stats wise they are similar to the faerie dragon in the 5e mm. This leaves them at about a 2nd level cr with usually one spell slot and a low power attack. They are not evil creatures but definitely mischievous their modus operandi being to rewild further the feral lands.

Another defining characteristic of these creatures is that each one has a secret name which gives a person advantage over them. There may be a list of names somewhere tucked into an old book or under a shelf in a forgotten library which gives the names of some of them. Unfortunately though the list is in an undecipherable script from ancient times, even older than the fisheaters society.

Obeisances: shiny objects, meat, music, the colour red, fast motion, scary faces, milk, salt, bells, fire, alcohol 

The following books contain information about Tomntoi:
Magus in The Hedgerows, contains information about Tomntoi names.
Mummers of the old Woods: contains information about Tomntoi obeisences.
Missives of a Salt merchant: contains information about their spell effects and temperament 
Treatises on the root of two: contains a Rosetta Stone to transliterated the names found in Magus In the Hedgerows

Special attack, wild touch: when the Tomnt touches a creature at the base of the neck they may inflict "wild-mind" upon the creature. To successfully do this there is an opposed check (either strength v. Dex or whatever makes sense) to see if the touch is made and then a con save (cr 18) to see if the victim can resist the attack. If the Tomnt succeeds on its attack the victim animalizes over the course of several weeks until they become fully feral.

Effects of eating Lunagrub larvae

Those who accidentally consume the larva of the Lunagrub (known to infest the salubrious moonberries of the deciduous coastal forests especially dark Torenwœl) dance with doom on this random table:

3D8 are rolled, One for effect and one for duration and one for symptoms.
D8 Duration:
1 instant, lasts d4 minute
2 instant, lasts 4d4 minutes 
3 instant, lasts d10 hours
4 instant, lasts d6 day
5 instant, lasts d4 weeks
6 delayed d4 minutes, lasts 2d10 minutes, 
7 delayed d4 hours, lasts 2d10 hours,
8 delayed 2d10 hours, lasts 2d6 days,

D8 effects 
1 advantage on physical skill rolls disadvantage on mental ones.
2 one level of exhaustion 
3 every four hours suffer a seizure & make a dc 12 con save or lose 2d6 hp until cured.
4 start making death saves.
5 lose the ability to speak
6 paralysis 
7 blindness
8 feebleness, make a dc 10 con save before any move or fall prone

D8 Symptoms
1 bleeding ears
2 black bile
3 face starts to peel
4 golf ball sized scabs
5 itchiness 
6 puss under fingernails 
7 teeth fall out 
8 hair falls out
Exploding dice: if you get doubles roll again and suffer further, if you get triples do it twice more.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Zuziax & Naryam pseudodruids

East of the pseudodruid settlements on the threshold of the penumbra dwell the brothers Zuziax & Naryam. They eke their living by venturing out into the penumbra and gathering various components for resale in the settlements. A variety of entheogenic spores and wild ungulate mites that they can harvest at certain times fetch a pretty penny from aspiring magic users.
An odd looking pair Zuziax is a tall muscular fellow with a grey bristling beard and a vacant stare, Naryam on the other hand is short with a long moustache, a pronounced overbite and darting eyes. They wear long linen tunics tied about the waist thrice with a black cord according to the custom of superstitious woodlanders. On their heads, close fitting raw-hide caps trimmed with ermine (which is also thought to be lucky.) 

One of the brothers has been injured and their guard dog has been killed by a flock of predatory strongbeaks. In exchange for the service of picking up their new guard dog from Yushek the breeder while they heal up, they offer the PCs information about survival in the Penumbra.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sumptuary laws among the dwarven-folk

"A people whose mode of dress instantly communicates rank, status, position and place may spend their efforts on the matter at hand rather than idly jockeying  with introductions and banter" - Melba Magustus magnate of Kêllčeir

The Valean sumptuary laws are too complex for an outsider to fully grasp, they themselves have a difficult time remembering them all. And when one cannot remember the precept it is best to take a cautionary approach, is the commonly held belief. This philosophy of social timidity has effectively created a secondary set of social mores expanding beyond the codified ones. 

Here are a set of very basic guidelines:
The taller the hat the younger the wife in relation to the wearer.
The wider the hat's brim the more husbands.
A sword is only carried by one who us literate.
The colour red is only worn by those in debt.
A veteran of war wears no gold or silver adornment.
A landowner does not go barefoot.
Elaborately styled facial hair is only for  administrators.
One who spends much time underground may display prominent tattoos.
Devotion to ancestors is often displayed on an ornamental breast plate, the breast plate should serve no other purpose.

Monday, August 3, 2015

NPC: Yoik Bluegranite, Valean archivist

Here's a GM character that will serve as a story hook carrier in an upcoming adventure:

Yoik has the unfortunate place in society of, what is ironically referred to as, a "first love". This is the role of a husband whose spouse has subsequently married more men (polyandry is the norm among the middle and higher class denizens) who outrank him considerably. It is a position of marked disgrace  and effectively caps off further social advancement. Not uncommon for a "first love" Yoik has become very devout in the ancestor veneration which makes up the biggest official civic religion in Vali. The ancestor which he has chosen as his patron is none other than the founder of the Delvers' Dominion, known to all the dwarves simply as Silverbeard. Silverbeard's era was the first generation of the third Aeon which is a time shrouded in much speculation and wonder among the Valeans.

Yoik's profession is archivist for the Academy of Dwarven Cosmology. If his career path hadn't been stunted by lessened esteem due to being a first love he would have eventually become an historian. As it stands he will likely spend the rest of his working days in clerical drudgery unless he can distinguish himself through some deed of significance. This is his highest aim: to set himself apart not only in the academy but in the community of Silverbeard venerators by reclaiming a lost relic of the third Aeon. 

The Map: Yoik has aquired a palimpsest of a Oamnic map pulled from an ancient vellum. The map depicts a city called  Onua and Yoik has deduced that it must be the capital city of the Oamnoi from before the fish eaters' war.  According to delver legend this would correspond with the forest city that Silverbeard's troops routed in an epic siege which was the coup de grace of the war. 

The Relic: in the battle, legend has it,  Silverbeard lost his brass helm (rumoured to be a blessed item forged by a devil) when it was knocked from his head as he lead the first charge. When the battle was over his attendants wanted to search the the field to find the precious item but Silverbeard forbade them saying that no dwarf should have any need to wear a helm of any sort from this point forward. Of course, this was only true for twenty odd years before a vicious religious war broke out among the delver clans. If Yoik could recover the brass helm of Silverbeard he feels that all his dreams would be realized.