Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Great Laughing Stones (magic item)

In the far northern part of the country lies the three Ogreprovinces in a row, from north to south; Ogrenose, Ogrebelly and Ogresole (locally referred to as The Nose, The Belly, and The Sole). Billobi travelled through these parts many times, and recorded endless amounts of scorn and derision between the three. The Nose had something to say about The Belly, who wasn't too fond of The Sole, who didn't care for any of the three, and so on.

Ogrenose was named so because of the mountain range that runs through these parts of the country (the Talltops). According to well-renowned cartographers, the mountains form a soft triangle, heading south-west, which could be taken for a nose (given the right amount of imagination).

Ogrebelly consists almost entirely of forests and other overgrown green areas, something the first locals apparently associated specifically with the bellies of ogres. Billobi never did find out whether there existed some sort of green ogres native to the region.

And lastly, Ogresole, named for no good reason at all (although The Nose and The Belly often implied that it was named after the sweaty and smelly people that lives there). But despite the lack of an impressive mountain range or even any forests, The Sole has one famous monument that can't be found in any of the other provinces: the great laughing stones.

The great laughing stones of Ogresole resides in the town centre; three large rough pieces of rock, unmoveable due to their sizes. In the town archives Billobi read about some troubles the first town settlers had with an old hermit, who lived in a small hut near the stones. Just like any other hermit she just wanted to be left alone with her "audience" (the archives clearly stated that she was all alone, and that no known towns or villages was to be found in the vicinity).

When asked about this audience of hers, the hermit presented herself as the last of the Lonesome Comedians, a troupe originating from all over the country. Her job and call was to entertain, but always in solitude. She then slowly walked over to the stones, and began performing what the town settlers believed to be her repertoire.

(Much to his disappointment, Billobi didn't find any records in the archives that reproduced this. A good pun never ages, he always said.)

The town settlers waited patiently for the old hermit to tell all of her jokes, until one of them lost his temper and ran up to her to grab her, but stopped immediately when he heard something giggling.

"Wha'cha gigglin' 'bout?", he yelled at the woman, to no response. Instead, she carried on with her performance.

And suddenly, just when he was about to ask her again, a loud and unmistakable choir of laughter almost knocked him over.

"'Tisch them schtonesh", she whispered to him softly. "They can't reschischt a good gag. And can you really blame them?"

According to the archives, this was the starting point for the town of Ogresole. The town settlers decided to build the town around the magical stones (only slightly because no one could move them), and make the old hermit honourable member of the town council.

Billobi visited the great laughing stones every time he passed through The Sole, to listen to promising comedians and regular people trying out their material on the stone. He never got tired of hearing that genuine laughter of the stones - when they heard something funny, at least.

The three boulders known as the great laughing stones of Ogresole are a bit of mystery; are they intelligent creatures, or just rocks that someone long ago placed an enchantment upon? Evil forces have tried to rid them of this said magic numerous times, without success - the stones just keeps laughing at good jokes.

No other form of communication has been found to work; either you tell a good joke and make the stones laugh, or they just remain silent.

Particular good puns may actually cause a blast of air to hit the storyteller (and anyone around him), and knock him prone. This is considered the most valued of laughs among the locals, a proof of superb comedy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Consume Key (spell)

Consume Key
Range: One key within reach
Duration: Instantaneous

After a couple of years of travelling, Billobi concluded that the best way to meet new and interesting people was to stroll the countryside without actually looking for anyone. He even came up with a theory of sorts, that said that while searching for anybody always gives you nobody, searching for nobody always gives you somebody. The hard part, he added, was to find anyone interested in this theory...

One time, while picking mushrooms in the old forest of Ogrebelly, he found an old brick house standing there all alone. It had a small chimney from which small puffs of greyish smoke could be spotted against the green scenery. When he came closer he saw that the windows were decorated with potted plants and various herbs, and there was even a fat cat gazing back in one.

He circled the house and found an old man in a pointy hat just outside the front door. He had his eyes closed, and seemed to be mumbling to himself with his fists tightly closed.

Billobi said a gently hello so as not to disturb him.

"Are you the locksmith?" said the old man without looking up.

"No?" answered Billboi. "I was just picking mushrooms. Did you lock yourself out?"

"Most certainly not! How could I, without a proper lock?"

He stepped aside and showed Billobi the lock - or more accurately, the absence of a lock. There was just a door handle, but no keyhole.

"So...there's no key, and no lock, and you haven't locked yourself out, but still you can't come in?"

"No no no!" the old man said annoyed. "There's a key for sure. I just can't remember it."

"Ah, so you've lost it?"

"No, I forgot it."

"Pardon me?"

"I drank it, and now I've forgotten it. And that fat cat is too stupid to open. YOU HEAR THAT, MR. BIGGLESWORTH? YOU CAN FORGET SUPPER TONIGHT! Stupid animal, I should have kept that imp. At least they have proper fingers."

"Well, couldn't you just..."

"Break a window? Kick down the door? And then what? Would you sleep here, in these woods, with an unlocked door, or broken window? Or are you really suggesting that I should put my trust in Mr. Bigglesworth? Can you picture him fending off a pack of ogres? YOU ARE QUITE THE KING OF THESE WOODS, AREN'T YOU MR. BIGGLESWORTH? YOU'D KILL THEM WITH YOUR TIRED EYES, OR WEAR THEM DOWN BY TAKING ONE OF YOUR NOT SO PRODUCTIVE NAPS, WOULDN'T YOU? He's quite the killer, Mr. Rustfoot! Bah!"

Since any further attempts to help the old man was out of the picture, Billobi said farewell and continued on his hunt for mushrooms. He took one last look at the house, and could've sworn that the fat cat in the window waved at him.

The Consume Key-spell turns any key into a spell, which is then bound to that key's particular lock. The lock will close, regardless of material, and thus keep the object in question closed by all means.

To cast this spell, one must place the desired key into a container of some sort such as a glass or mug, and focus upon that while casting. The spell will turn the key into a warm liquid. When consumed, a new spell will be recorded in the magic-user's spell book.

Anyone drinking the liquid without having a spell book, suffers 1d6 points of damage, and the key is lost forever.

The lock will close up either way.

The new spell recorded will be named according to its purpose, and will be of a spell level that corresponds to its (overall) importance. For instance, if the caster decides to consume the key to his personal diary (not of great wordly importance), he places the key in an empty mug and casts Consume Key upon it. When he drinks the warm liquid, a new spell named "Open diary" (or similar) will be written in his spell book. The new spell can only open this particular lock.

On the other hand, if the king does the same thing to the key of the royal treasury, it will most likely be a very high level spell. The decision is up to the referee, as always.

Locks affected by this will have a natural high magic resistance, to fend off any (magical) attempts to unlock it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Tomb in Horsehead (adventure)

After one of his many visits to the town of Horsehead, Billobi one day stumble upon an odd fellow in the surrounding forest. They were in fact two; one sturdy dwarf, and one thin and wiry boy, although the boy didn't say anything.

They were standing next to a worn and presumably very old iron fence, surrounding an even older stone platue. A narrow staircase was carved out of it, and descended steeply into the ground.

"Hail, traveller!" the dwarf growled with a big smile. "And what have we here, hmm? COMPETITION PERHAPS?"

He laughed with a deep voice and gave Billobi a friendly push.

"But seriously", said the dwarf and stopped laughing, "this ain't no place for wee lads like yourself. See this fence? Gives me the creeps! Just think about what horrors that lingers down there..."

He took out his axe and gently brushed the fence.

"'Tis one of them Horse Men-tombs, you know? Strange fellows, nobody's seen them for ages. Everyone's scared of them. Well, except for me and this young fellow! Ain't that right!"

The young boy responded with a strained smile. He looked nervous.

"That's the spirit!", the dwarf shouted. He turned to Billobi again, and said: "I picked him up in Horsehead, quiet little fellow, but someone's gotta help me carry all that gold!"

Billobi asked if they weren't afraid that there would be old spirits protecting the tomb.

"Naah", snorted the dwarf. "I've got my two lifesavers right here: me old axe..." - he kissed the small axe - "...and this ring from me father. It's magical, you see. It lets you part water, so you don't have to get wet. I hate water. You can't even control your body in it! I bet it's worth a fortune, magical an' all, but I ain't selling it. Never. You'd have to chop off my finger, or steal it in my sleep - either way, you'd end up with me axe in your back!"

The Tomb in Horsehead is a small underground adventure. The zipped archive contains the adventure as a single PDF, along with several maps in various sizes and formats. The original Word 2003-document can also be found inside the archive, if you want to tinker with it and change anything (or everything!).

I believe it's fairly system neutral, although I had Swords & Wizardry in mind when I wrote it.

It's released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence.

Get the archive here.

Cloud of Hunger (spell)

Cloud of Hunger
Range: One normal sized room
Duration: 1 day

The town of Badgerbrough, located on one of the larger trade routes in the country, was constantly hosting tired adventurers from all over the place. The inns were crowded and the pubs even more so. Tales of bravery, horror, and treasures would fill the smoky halls of every tavern within five miles - all of questionable veracity, of course, but a good story is a good story nevertheless.

One night Billobi heard the story of how a party of four adventurers from far north just barely managed to get out alive from an old tomb they were "investigating". The tomb seemed to be completely empty when they suddenly met a pack of - as they described it - "humans with rotten bodies".

These human-like creatures shuffled across the stone floor towards the party, with their arms stretched, but suddenly stopped. One of them slowly opened its mouth, and spoke with a hissing sound: "Nooo...sooo full...noo mooore..."

The party stood dumbfounded. "No more - what?" they asked, but the human-like creature just repeated what it had said, and shook its head slowly.

"Fools!" echoed suddenly an eerie voice from the darkness behind. "When I command, you obey! Now EAT them!"

"Nooo..." repeated the creatures again while shaking their heads. "Sooo full..."

"Why, oh why, did faith punish me with this imbecile army of undead oafs...", sighed the eerie voice. "Very well then! Taste my anger - and then the intruders!"

A thick smoke suddenly filled the room, which caught the party off guard. They tried to hold their breath, but to no use; their lungs were already filled with the ghastly smoke. But to everybody's surprise, nothing seemed to happened.

Unfortunately, when the smoke cleared, the human-like creatures were on their feet again, moving rapidly towards the party. They managed to knock over and kill the first two creatures, but then the creatures swarmed around the party's newest recruit and started eating him alive. The rest of the party decided to run for their lives, and didn't stop until they hit Badgerbrough.

Billobi thanked for the story, and went home for the night. When he came back to the pub the next evening, the four of them were there again, drinking and eating. They recognized Billobi and gestured wildly for him to come sit with them, but prior experience had taught Billobi that certain types of people - adventurer's mostly - likes to tell the same story over and over again. Despite how much Mr. Rustfoot enjoyed a good tale, he only wanted to hear it once. He waved and smiled back, but went straight to the counter instead.

He asked the bartender if he'd heard their story by now.

"Not once, actually", he answered somewhat busy. He suddenly lowered his voice and said with a big smile: "But I gotta tell ya, they're the most lucrative customers I've ever had. They've been eatin' now for almost two days straight!"

Cloud of Hunger fills a normal sized room with a thick, white smoke. Anyone breathing the air is affected by the spell, and immediately starts craving for food. They don't necessarily glut, but their hunger isn't satisfied.

The smoke smells different depending on the person, but will always reflect their most delicate food memory.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Faithful cart (magic item)

It wasn't until his later travels that Billobi met old Pimbleman, the legendary brewer from his home village of Badgerbrough. And what a sight! You could spot him miles away, pushing his cart over the hills, gathering whatever he found along the way. When he came closer, you could almost read the adventures in his rugged face.

Billobi met old Pimbleman by mere accident while strolling along the road between Horsehead and Woostershire; a strange bird caught his eye for a second, just enough to get hit by Pimbleman's cart.

"Sheesh! Wacha step, young fellow! Thisch cart ain't stoppin' for no one!"

He helped Billobi to his feet without letting go of the cart, and offered him anything from the carriage as compensation. But when Mr. Rustfoot approached the cart, a deep snarl echoed from the very same.

Billobi quickly backed away, and looked at old Pimbleman for an explanation.

"No need to panic, young man", Pimbleman said with a sigh, "'tis cursed you see. Stupid piece of wood, schould never have touched it, I tell you!"

Pimbleman told Billobi about how he found the cart in a ditch, many years ago, on his way home from the brewery. He was overburden with things that he needed to repair at home, and took the finding of the old cart as a sign from whatever deity that could've watched over him. So, he dropped all of his things, got into the ditch and pulled up the cart, only to discover that he couldn't release it.

When he released the grip on his left hand, the right hand wouldn't budge. But if he grabbed the shaft with the left hand, the right hand would come off as expected - but now the other was stuck.

"You schee... I'm tied to this schtupid cart. At least I can pick up things with one hand..."

Billobi asked him if it wasn't possible to remove this curse, and rid him of the cart. To this old Pimbleman answered: "It might very well be scho, but over the years I guess I've just...grown accustom to it. 'Tis my only friend alive, you schee."

With that he said farewell and continued on his journey, with cursed cart and all.

The Faithful cart works like a normal cart and can be loaded as such, but is bestowed with a special curse. The first person touching its shafts gets stuck, and may only use one of his hands at any time. To switch hands, he must first grab the shafts with both hands, and then release the hand he wish to use.

It's safe to touch the cart after it has attached itself to someone, although it is known to snarl at anyone not under the curse.

The curse also works on another, not too obvious, plane: it slows down the ageing of the person currently attached to it. Apparently, the cart wants its new owner (or "friend") to live as long as possible. Exact how much seems to vary from person to person. The curse is lifted upon death.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Butlerhood of Jeeves (deity)

The Symbol of Jeeves
During one of his travels along the eastern coast some miles south of Horsehead, Billobi Rustfoot stumbled upon the small town of Woostershire in which he came to learn about the Reginalds, also known as the Butlerhood of Jeeves.

The whole town of Woostershire was built around a big church, that didn't in any way look like any church Billobi had seen before. It was built as a regular, rectangular two-story building, much like his old school. The church was in fact a school, dedicated to teach the words of Jeeves. Billobi had never heard of this deity, although he admitted that he wasn't much of a believer.

The followers of this deity were called Reginalds, and their mantra was "To serve". To become a Reginald, one must fulfil the biddings of his master, to constantly strive to be the best of butlers. This is the way of the Reginalds, written down by the Great Servant Jeeves. The Most Loyal Servant (the highest of titles in this church) even let Billobi see their most sacred artifact, the Linen of Jeeves, a white piece of cloth upon which three spells were written down, along with several commandments. At the bottom of the linen two words where engraved: "To Serve".

The three spells written down by the Great Servant Jeeves were Make Bed, Hold Tray and Recommend, all cleric spells.

Make Bed
Range: Touch
Duration: Immediate

"The bed of your Master, may never be left a disaster!"
- from the Linen of Jeeves

This spell simply makes someone's bed, preferably when it's empty.

Hold Tray
Range: Caster
Duration: One evening

"To help thee fight gravity!"
- from the Linen of Jeeves

This spell helps the caster avoid fatigue in his arms while holding trays during banquets.

Range: Caster
Duration: 1 hour

"Wine and dine!"
- from the Linen of Jeeves

This spell let's the caster suggest the right type of wine to any kind of dish, with local specialities prioritized.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lie (spell)

Range: Touch
Duration: Until dispelled

As often as possible, Billobi Rustfoot and his best friend Tristan "Hum" Beadle skipped classes. They went on adventures in the nearby forest, fighting dreadful monsters and casting legendary spells - at least in their imagination. More often though, they just went fishing.

One hot summer's day after returning to school, the head master caught them by surprise. He was furious and wanted to know what it was that was so important that the two couldn't attend their classes. The head master turned his head to young Rustfoot.

Billobi was at this time no stranger to bending the truth, so he told the head master that his aunt was ill and that he had to help her. Furthermore, this aunt lived deep in the forest, alone.

Right about then Tristan's older brother Brisan came walking across the school yard. When he saw his younger brother standing in front of the furious head master, he hurried up to them and - to everyone's surprise - hugged his little brother hard and long, while mumbling something. One nod to the head master later he was gone.

The head master now turned his head to Tristan. Billobi feared that Tristan, being the notorious bad liar as he was, would blow their cover. But to young Rustfoot's surprise, Tristan told the most beautiful and trustworthy lie he had ever heard (and he had heard a lot of them). When he stopped talking, the head master left them without a word.

Billobi turned to his friend and said joyfully: "That was the best lie I've ever heard!"

And Tristan answered him: "What are you talking about, that was no lie!"

One long and frustrating day later, Brisan finally rid his brother of the spell.

This spell causes the targeted person to lie constantly, unless a successful saving throw is made. The spell lasts until dispelled, something that has to be done by someone other than the affected person (since it would be a lie if the caster tried to dispel himself).

The effect of the spell isn't cumulative, so nothing happens if cast twice upon the same person.

Chug (spell)

Range: Caster
Duration: Immediate

As a not so inspired pupil at the school of Badgerbrough, young Billobi Rustfoot found the local pub to be a more comfortable place than his class room (although he didn't drink anything). One particular night he managed to overhear some of the older students talking about the pain of being thirsty and short of coins. Suddenly one of them started waving his hands and chanting something with a low voice. At the end of the casting, he fell backwards in his chair with a big burp and a satisfaction in his face. He had just had the best mug of ale that evening, and it didn't cost him a copper. Soon everyone around the table was doing the same thing.

The Chug-spell is infamous among pub owners around Badgerbrough, and anyone who is caught casting this inside that kind of establishment is banned for life.

Chug fills the caster's stomach with fluid equal to one mug (12 oz. / 35 cl.).
The exact type of fluid is random and cannot be predetermined, but is almost always alcohol based.

Chug is reported to work all over the known world, but strangely enough the liquids never change; they're always the same local (to Badgerbrough) beverages, probably due to the origin of the spell.

If cast a second time within 2 minutes, the caster must make a successful saving throw or be prone to violent vomiting for 2d6 minutes (unable to act).

Die Roll





Horsehead’s Stout (beer)


Pimbleman’s Cut (wine, red)


Ogrenose Pint (strong ale)


Pimbleman’s Teeth (wine, white)


Horsehead’s Best (mixed spirits)