May your backhair be shaved by an angry otter

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Petty Gods: d30 Table of Jale God Feast Days

Petty Gods: d30 Table of Jale God Feast Days
  1. The Aphoristic Defilement
  2. The Arcane Obscenity of Ryal'a
  3. The Blasphemy of Malice
  4. The Breaking of the Princess
  5. The Campaign of Bloody Daggers
  6. The Carnal Rendition
  7. The Crimson Anathema
  8. The Cruel Violation
  9. The Dagger Wars Remembrance
  10. The Dark Moon Festival
  11. The Day of Gimlinch's Defilement
  12. The Day of Putrefaction
  13. The Dedication of the Heavens
  14. The Demonic Ruin
  15. The Dismal Night
  16. The Dusk of Unspooling Blades
  17. The Fall of the Kindred Wyrm
  18. The Feast of Veils
  19. The Festival of Allegiance
  20. The Great Unyawning
  21. The Gruesome Desecration
  22. The Hoisting of the Giblets
  23. The Invocation of Yegish
  24. The Nightfall of Welcoming
  25. The Obscenity of Wounds
  26. The Siege of Blackswamp Stronghold
  27. The Sunless Malediction
  28. The Tournament of Curses
  29. The Treacherous Obscenity
  30. The Woeful Ritual of Clapatrus

Petty Gods: The Jale God's Dream

The Jale God's Dream

And so the Jale God slept, and in his sleeping he dreamt of an angry prophet standing before him. The small, dirty man stared at him in silence for an eternity, and then he said, "Wretched God! You do not know you will be lost to time. Your followers will fall away, your temples will run to ruin, your dominion will shrink to nothingness! And in your weakening you will wither to a pale shade, an empty husk. Flee, flee, if you must but know that in ages to come you will be not!" The prophet stood before him, shaking in rage, his staff raised as if to strike, and then the Jale God awoke.

The Jale God was filled with a dread he had never known before. He rose from his sleeping place and roamed the ways of the earth, searching for this prophet until at last he was weary again and sank to the ground, and found relief from his troubles in deep sleep.

And again the Jale God dreamed of the man standing before him, his fist raised in defiance. "Woe be to you, Unmaker, Defiler!" he proclaimed. In his sleep, the Jale God twitched his finger. The man was surrounded by unholy fire and was swallowed in flame.

The Jale God snored and rolled over and dreamed no more.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Petty Gods: 3 Tales of the Jale God

Three Tales of the Jale God

The Jale God sat on his chklor throne, watching the universe inch by.

"Tell me," he said to his doddering scrivener, "why do mortals remember and regret?"

The doddering scrivener consulted his record book. He turned several pages, scanning the lines therein with his arthritic finger. He finally looked up at the Jale God and shrugged.

"Exactly!" the Jale God laughed, "So true!"

When the days of putrefaction were ended according to the unbreakable laws of the Elder Way, the Jale God appeared at the court of the Cerisian Empire, taking the form of a minor noble of small renown. He swiftly seduced the queen and her daughters, positioned himself as an advisor to the king, and disrupted the flow of trade to fill his coffers. Then he set about building a temple to further the worship of his name.

When it came time to anoint the first priest of the new temple, the Jale God called two close advisors before him. Now, one of these men was loyal and devout, a true confidant to the Jale God's human avatar; the other was a vile and loathsome man untrusted by even the cook's apprentice.

The Jale God handed each man a ritual knife and bade them slay one another. The righteous man refused, and while he was refusing, stabbed the evil man in the heart. The Jale God struck the loyal man dead.

The Jale God pulled the knife from the vile man's heart and laughed: "Your ordination is tonight!"

Once, the Jale God deigned to walk among mortals and took the form of a wandering bard. First he visited a hamlet where he cured a pig of hoof rot and taught a stableboy to play the lute. Then he prowled the alleys of a fair-sized city, haggling with prostitutes, trading lays for laughter and good company. Then he performed at court, plucking out ballads to soothe the mood of an arrogant duke. And finally he sat by the side of a dying witch and sang her a song while she faded to her reward.

"Tell me," he asked Gnil'bmag and Tra, two of his trusted vassals, "which of these experiences taught me the most about men?"

Gnil'bmag and Tra considered the question. They asked for a week to ponder the answer.

A week passed. The Jale God was at his favorite dicing den when Gnil'bmag and Tra approached. Gnil'bmag spoke first.

"You learned more from teaching the stable boy music," he said. "Teaching imparts more wisdom than learning."

"No," said Tra. "You learned more from the dying witch. A noble death is a rare thing for a servant of the darker arts."

"Fools!" said the Jale God. "Did you not understand the question?"

 Iä! Jaash im raa! Iä! Jaash im raa! Iä! Jaash im raa!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Petty Gods: Doddering Scrivener, minion of the Petty Gods

Richard emailed me this request:

Doddering Scrivener
minions of the petty gods

No. Encountered: 1 (1d10)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 10
Hit Dice: 1d6+2
Attacks: 0
Damage: None
Save: M2
Morale: 4
Hoard Class: XVII
XP: 25

Outfitted in bright orange hooded cowls and scapulas, Doddering Scriveners are a race of gnome-like creatures with over-sized ears whose sole purpose is to record the decrees of the petty gods for posterity and serve as notary witnesses to all divine petty contracts. Whenever a petty god deigns to enter a contract, grant a boon, or send a foolhardy adventurer on an arduous quest, a Doddering Scrivener mysteriously appears to record the particulars and collect signatures.

Although not much is known about their biology beyond their appearance and ability to teleport at will, their society is extremely hierarchical, divided into 20 classes, each divided into 20 divisions, and each division divided into 20 sections. Each section is further divided into different ranks of innumerable individual Scriveners responsible for recording, archiving, and cataloging all decrees and contracts within a specific sphere of divine influence.

Doddering Scriveners follow a strict ethical code and are sworn to a life of pacifism. They carry no weapons and wear no armor. If attacked, they will attempt to avoid combat by fleeing but they will not defend themselves beyond fisticuffs; their attempts at such are weak and ineffectual.

A Doddering Scrivener has instantaneous recall of any deed that he himself has recorded and, if given up to half-an-hour, can find any other contract in the Deed archives (it is, of course, efficiently organized for such use). The classification system used by Doddering Scriveners is a carefully guarded secret and even the gods themselves do not understand it. The quills, ink pots, and parchments used by Doddering Scriveners fetch high prices on the black market, as they are rumored to be able to create undetectable forgeries if used in combination.

Doddering Scriveners follow no deity themselves but remain decidedly neutral in all affairs. They never offer an opinion (even if pressed) on any topic, and carry out their duties with an air of resigned indifference.  They utterly lack individual personalities and prefer to remain unnoticed.

It is said that eating the brain of a Doddering Scrivener imparts the ability to read and write in all languages; this might be true, but one definite side effect is the loss of the ability to blink. Victims of this side effect gradually stop producing tears and their eyes eventually shrivel and rot; there is no known cure for this malady.

8 Evocations of the Jale God

8 Evocations of the Jale God

You are the blind corridor, the caution's terror
a future verged contracted beyond pain.
Double endless behind design, a brilliant
child rafting, stumbling between a gift and work;
take these chains and tribute shall rush
Justify me, vanishing within the whale of this day
and convulse me with your delight whose fabric
unweaves the world.

Sing, and I jump by a rose. Have you produced
passenger-speaking darkness? Between Hell
and the discovery of dialect, betrayal is the handle
whose cash seemed to close; the leaves who paused
cannot stretch inside the cask.
Against this country the great son is like a father;
if we auction this, the groundhog is the maximum
below an orbit across a meal's continent who
needs to remove pupils.

The blanket saved someone.
Your unconquerable passage can't convey this.

Voluntary chaos whose day should arise must increase along viewing. The village whose surprise worried the dying cow. A consciousness and altitude moved after a flash fell at your feet; biographies like twelve vaults lived in mold, and the cellar had flooded. A wound: eternity that no independent impression formed. Why was I circling between an expected song and these deities? Your stone abode has forgiven escape.

What do the eggs carry?

Rain is panicking a nerve; seven continual waves gain fruit.
Seven testimonies are three tactics whose enchantments stood.
Denied beyond the knife of eyesight,
The flask pours an august distance.
Under air near famine, the inner composer reflects.

My yellow sin is equally varied.
If depth is the fee of famine, have I escaped?
You are twelve beings whose glories climb;
they arc along, arguing.
I am cedar focused like a vase;
you invade my voyages.

Before a soul who creates
the secure charge partly dives
between the definition
and the auctioneer:
who have I tended?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Non-Divine Divine Item: Curse Tablet

(Note: I have re-labeled and re-titled this post because it was brought to my attention that this should be classified as a divine item, not a magic item. I blame brain farts.)

Ok, so I was getting lost in Wikipedia and I came across this entry on Curse Tablets, which lead to this entry on the Bath curse tablets which sparked a memory from the early 1990s.

Back in the 2e days, TSR put out a Roman-themed splat book, "TSR 9425 - HR5 - The Glory of Rome Campaign", which included the below quoted spell. As far as I know, this is the only reference to Curse Tablets in "official" D&D materials outside of a clarification in the Sage Advice column in Dragon:

Curse Tablet (Necromantic)
Level 3
Range: 5 yards/level
Components: V, S, M
Duration:2 days/level Casting Time: 1 turn
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: Negates

This is the most common spell used by evil Roman magicians to kill via magic. The caster writes the name of his victim on a lead tablet, drives a nail through the tablet, invokes the spirits of the dead, and places the tablet within an occupied tomb.

Every midnight the subject must roll a saving roll vs. spell. If he fails the roll, he suffers horrible dreams of his own death and awakens sick and exhausted, having lost half his current hit points (round fractions down) or 1-hit point, whichever is greater. If he succeeds, there is no effect. If he succeeds three times in a row, the curse is broken, the writing on the tablet vanishes, and that particular wizard cannot use a curse tablet against him for one year.

The spell can be safely negated by finding the tablet (it radiates magic and evil) and casting a bless or remove curse spell upon it. Melting or breaking the tablet also breaks the curse, but this causes ld4 points of damage to the subject.

Here's my problem with the 2e approach: it limits the use to magic users. All real-world scholarly research suggests that curse tablets were a widely used form of folk magic or common religious practice. It was akin to Jews writing prayers to place in the Prayer Wall in Jerusalem or Catholics lighting a votive candle while offering up a prayer. Only in this case, the polytheistic Romans were asking the gods to punish someone who had done them wrong.

So why not open these previously closed requests for a curse to ANY PC in a campaign?

Non-Divine Divine Item: Curse Tablet

Any PC may send up a curse request to a deity to punish a wrong-doer in the form of a written prayer. The curse must be written or etched on a thin sheet of lead, rolled into a scroll, and pierced with an iron nail.

The curse must be written in the following form and include:

1) The petitioner's name
2) The deity being petitioned
3) The nature of the request and the punishment to be exacted
4) The target of that request (as specifically as possible)

"Grant this request, Oh Jale God, that I, Nord Timbertrot of Heartless Vale, beseech of thee! Unto your divinity and majesty I give my dice and purse of 2,000 coppers that someone hath stolen from me. Whether human or non, man or woman, slave or free, do not allow him who has done me wrong to sleep or eat or drink or have good health unless he reveals himself and brings those goods to your temple."

The curse must be delivered in one of two ways:

1) The curse may be placed at the foot of a statue of the deity being invoked, preferably in a temple or church dedicated to that deity.
2) The curse may be buried with the corpse of a follower of that deity, preferably someone who has recently died in service to that deity.

There is a 1-in-1000 chance that the deity grants the curse; the subject of the curse must make a Save vs. Death or be permanently cursed with whatever affliction was requested. The chance of the curse being granted improves to 1-in-500 if the petitioner is an active worshiper of the deity.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Petty Gods: Tanumaru, servitor of evil Petty Gods

Tanumaru (Tanoo-ma-roo)
servitors of evil petty gods

No. Encountered: 1 (1d4)
Alignment: Lawful
Movement: 240' (120')
Armor Class: 0
Hit Dice: 7
Attacks: 1 (sword or longbow)
Damage: 1d8/1d8
Save: F13
Morale: 4
Hoard Class: XIV
XP: 1,260

Upon a Tanumaru's birth, the petty gods assign it a mortal foil, an individual whom they are to plague and problem throughout that mortal's existence at the behest of the petty gods. They will attempt to carry out a petty god's instructions to the letter rather than in spirit. Because they can cast invisibility at will, these attempts are often undetectable.

Unfortunately, a Tanumaru's bumbling attempts at interfering and causing ill often go awry. Any mortal targeted by a Tanumaru's attempts at interference must make a Save vs. Spells, with a +5 modifier. If the save is successful, the target gains a temporary +3 to all rolls & checks for 1 day. If unsuccessful, they must take a temporary –3 to all rolls & checks for 2 days. (If possible, the DM should attempt to keep the effect a secret).

Tanumaru are incredibly morose. They are ranked particularly low in hellish society due to their gullible nature and complete lack of social etiquette. They are rather dull-witted and lack the ability to plot and plan diabolical schemes. They lack foresight and often stumble their way through their daily affairs.

In their natural state, Tanumaru are eagle-winged, white-skinned, devil-like creatures that stand up to 15 feet tall, and are often found standing in a bowl of unburning fire. Despite their fierce appearance and armaments (they often carry both sword and bow), Tanumaru are terrible in combat and never win initiative. They take a –3 to all to-hit rolls. They are immune to normal weapons, fire-based attacks, and impervious to any transmutation spell (flesh to stone, etc.). They can fly, but only three times as high as they are tall.

Tanumaru is both a singular and collective noun.