Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Short rope (magic item)

The small, treeless island of Skiff-in-Loch was somewhat of a mystery to Billobi. He always got the same feeling, one that slowly crept up on him as old Badsey's ferry got closer to the small bridge. Maybe it had something to do with the scenery? The sharp cliffs, almost glowing in yellow and red; the bane of many ships. Or the twisting and leaning lighthouse at the south tip; a single talon reaching out for preys? Or the fact that it was inhabited by a single person, who also looked after the island's only pub?

Old Badsey's small ferry gently brushed the old bridge by the side. Badsey was always the first one off the boat.

"ALL OVERBOARD! Just kiddin', no need to jump in, lad!"

A young boy, pale like an egg shell, responded with a nervous smile and got out of the boat. Just as Billobi was about to do the same, Badsey stopped him and said: "Hold on, fetch me that rope. I need to secure the old lady to the bridge."

Billobi turned around and found a piece of rope tied to the boat. He grabbed the other end and handed it to Badsey, who immediately threw it around one of the short poles on the bridge.

"Sheesh, come on", Badsey said irritated while fumbling with the rope. "Bloody 'ell! Get around already!"

Billobi offered his help, to no prevail.

"Happens every bloody time", Badsey cried while trying to stretch the rope a little bit longer. "It's like there are some kind of hemp gods that wants me to suffer! Come ON, you no-good fibres!"

Short ropes are known to be found all around the known world. They're regular ropes of hemp, bestowed with a curse that actually makes them somewhat intelligent.

These short ropes works as a regular ropes, until their length is considered important. When a short rope finds out it's needed, it will adjust its length so it will be just a bit too short. There have been many attempts through the years to outwit these ropes, although it's unclear whether anyone actually succeeded.

Any attempts to dispel this curse will make the rope crumble to dust.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bag of Spending (magic item)

Billobi often thought of his childhood friend Tristan "Hum" Beadle. After graduation, Billobi set out to see the rest of the country while Tristan signed on to the Acorn Afloat, a large sailing vessel that carried both goods and passengers to numerous ports across the eastern sea. His mother worried sick, begging him not to travel with such a large and unreliable construction. "It's against the will of the gods!" she cried, "Man wasn't made to walk upon waters!". Tales of piracy and monsters lurking in the dark blue depths didn't help either, but Tristan had already made up his mind - one week after graduation he left port for the great unknown.

Billobi never met his friend again, but often got letters from him from various places across the sea. He often came across strange items, of one Billobi clearly remembered. It started with Tristan writing home about his new work as an errand boy for a wealthy and powerful old lady in the town he currently lived in. The old lady, apparently too busy for doing her own purchases, hired Tristan to buy new interesting and exotic things every day. At the start of the day, he was given a certain amount of money to spend on anything he thought would make her life happier.

"This is easy", Tristan wrote, "since the old raisin lives in a large, mostly empty, marble palace, with spaces to fill everywhere!"

But, after only four days of commissions, the old lady declared that it was a nuisance to give him gold on an daily basis. From now on, he'd be given gold for the whole week, starting that day. Tristan agreed, and was given an awful lot of coins he didn't have anywhere to stash. So he went to the market to purchase him a sturdy bag to hold all of this wealth.

"It took a while", Tristan wrote, "but finally I found one that could hold the coins easily. It looked like a regular leather bag, only tougher. I paid the merchant, filled it up with the raisin's money, and went home to rest for the night."

The next morning, Tristan woke up to a room filled with things from the floor and up. Forks, knives, birds, colourful carpets, furnitures, wagons, even an elephant! He got up from his bed faster than ever before, just in time for the old lady to open his door and ask about the commotion. Instead, she stood silent and just stared at the pile of things, her jaw at the floor. Tristan hid behind the elephant, trying to come up with some sort of excuse and explanation that could save his face and job.

"She loved it", Tristan wrote. "She'd never seen so many marvellous things in one room, and never in her own home. I didn't lose the job, but the problem now is that she expects the same thing tomorrow, and the day after that - and there's no money left in the bag!"

A Bag of Spending looks and functions as any regular cloth sack, with the difference that it will spend any items of value that is put inside it. It will do this preferable when it's left alone (not under any supervision); most noticeable during sleeping hours.

All things bought by the bag will somehow end up in the same room as its owner. How this delivery works is still a mystery.

It will spend up till 80 percent of the coins and gems inside it, although rumour has it that there exists bags that will spend all of its coins.

The bag will buy things of its own liking, unaffected by its current owner's taste.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sinker (monster)

Billobi always had a feeling that travelling with the small ferry between Ketch-in-Loch and the tiny island of Skiff-in-Loch, could very well be his last one. As long as he could remember the ferry had been operated by old man Badsey, a rugged fellow with an eyepatch. A harmless man, that had a different story each time on how he got the eyepatch.

The ferry was a narrow and old thing, powered by Badsey's slow paddling in the middle. There were a total of four seats spread out evenly: two in front of Badsey, and two behind. This time, Billobi unfortunately got to sit face to face with the old man.

"A fish ate my eye! A FISH!" Badsey said.

"Yes, you told me so last time", Billobi answered bored, although he suspected that Badsey didn't really listen.

"An OGREFISH, yes, that's right, terrible, terrible things...good meat though, yes, yes..."

When Badsey didn't get the awe he wanted, he leaned to the side and faced the man sitting behind Billobi. With one finger pointing at the eyepatch he shouted: "OGREFISH! ATE MY BLOODY EYE! PUPIL AND EVERYTHING!"

Just then the boat hit something, causing Badsey to drop one oar into the water under loud cursing. Luckily, the traveller behind him was able to reach it, handing it over to Badsey again.

"Thank you, lad, yes. Good thing an OAREATER didn't catch it! Nasty critters, eats oars, yes, see this? Caught my eye once, mistook it for an oar he did!"

"Look!" the rough man behind Billobi said with a low voice, reaching into the water. "I bet I can catch that fat fish with my bare hands!"

Looking over the side deck, Billobi spotted the fish just below the surface right next to the boat. It would indeed be possible to reach it.

"Don't touch it!", Badsey cried.

"Let me guess", the man said with a grin, "it will eat my eye... I'm hungry, I'll just take it and cook it later."

Effortless, he managed to get a firm grip around the fat fish. It didn't even seem like it was fighting back. He held it just above the surface, smiling at the rest of the ferry travellers.

"Gotcha! Hmm, it's kind of sticky...hey, its-"

All of a sudden, he fell overboard like if being pulled by his arm, and disappeared.

"He caught himself a sinker", old man Badsey said, and started paddling. "Not much we can do, no, but wait and hope that he can hold his breath!"

The sinker is a surface fish with the ability to excrete a sticky slime through glands hidden beneath its scale. The slime is the first part of the sinker's self-defence mechanism; the second consists of a strange metamorphosis inside its organs, making it a hundred times heavier. This transformation lasts for a couple of minutes, just enough for the slime to dry.

Anyone touching the sinker is guaranteed to get stuck, and potentially dragged down into whatever depths it came from.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Embrace (spell)

Range: Caster's eyesight
Duration: Until dispelled

The town of Ketch-in-Loch is known for many things; it's one of the largest ports on the western coastline, it's built on a slope to prevent over-flooding, it's the only way to travel (safely) across the waters to the tiny island of Skiff-in-Loch, and it was the scene of the Big Hug, a historic dispute between the mayor and one big tree in the middle of town.

Billobi just happened to be in Ketch-in-Loch at the time being, happily taking notes about the dispute. According to the locals, the mayor had decided to get rid of the old tree since it blocked his sea view. When news got out, a small group of people gathered around the town centre and started protesting. But, as the hours passed, the already small group started to diminish even further, until there was but one left; a small yet sturdy woman, with hair as brown as her skin.

When Billobi came to town, the dispute had only lasted a day but were already on the brink of resolution. People were gathered in a big circle around the scene, consisting of the tree, the small woman, and the mayor, both hoarse from shouting at each other.

"'Tis my tree, Chipko!", yelled the mayor, face almost glowing red. "'Tis MY town, MY rules, and therefore MY tree!"

"No one owns this tree, you big piece of ogredumpling!", the small woman responded.

"I own it! 'Tis MINE! And I want it chopped down!"


"I'm warning you, Chipko, step away or I'll have the guards arrest you!"

"I haven't done anything illegal, you...you trollsnot-in-boots!"

To this the mayor didn't respond, as if he hadn't thought of that. It didn't stop his frustration, though. He pointed at the tree with his hand trembling in anger, and shouted: "'TIS MINE! MINE! GUARDS!"

Two men dressed and armoured in typical Ketch-in-Loch equipment, each wielding a kind of weapon that looked like a regular axe stuck on a long pole, walked up to the mayor.


Without hesitation, the two guards dropped their weapons to the ground and approached the woman by the tree.

"This is illegal, and you know it!"

"No! YOU are the criminal!" the mayor responded.

"ME? I'm protesting, and that's not illegal you charcoal-for-a-brain!"

"You...you called me NAMES!"

Just as the guards were to grab her by the arms and lift her to her feet, something strange happened very fast. The woman pointed her right arm at the guards, the left one at the tree, and mumbled something. In an instance the two guards were up against the tree, with their arms spread out around the trunk. It looked like they were hugging it, much to the crowd's enjoyment.

Without moving her left arm, she then directed the right one towards the mayor and said: "Leave the tree be...or I'll make sure you'll never let it go!"

"You... You're threatening me! GUARDS! Get down from there and arrest her!"

"I don' 'noo", one of the guards mumbled with his lips pressed again the bark, "I 'inda 'ike 'tt."

"Me 'oo", the other guard agreed.

"See...? No harm done", the woman said with a grin without lowering her arms.

Powerless and baffled the mayor left her without a word.

The following day the mayor resigned from his post and moved to a small village just outside of Badgerbrough, far, far away from Ketch-in-Loch. The tree still stands to this day.

This spell requires two free hands to be able to cast. Upon casting, the right arm must be directed at the person who shall embrace (the embracee or hugger), and the left at the person or object who shall be embraced.

It lasts until dispelled.

The embracee will then wrap its arms (or equivalent) around the target, unable to break the magical hug. The person hugging will never feel any discomfort while in this state, nor express any wild feelings of lust; he or she will just feel satisfied, embracing the moment.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Playful door handle (magic item)

Billobi loved to travel the countryside in his own pace, taking notes about the surroundings and the people living there. He wrote down everything, and was always in pursue for more strange things in the everyday. Whenever he could, he would ask around the local taverns for any adventurers who would be willing to take him along their next venture into the unknown. Most of the time, they said no after giving him a quick glare (Billobi never wore weapons), but sometimes they'd let him tag along.

On one of the expeditions into the dark underground (some old tomb somewhere next to some even older swamp), the adventurers he was following suddenly made a full stop in front of - what he believed to be - an ordinary door. When he asked why, they hushed him.

One of the adventurers, a man with beard and pointy hat, was examining the door thoroughly; his hands up in the air, his nose close to the door, he seemed to be inspecting every fibre in the wooden door. All of a sudden, he stepped back and said: "Step back. I know what this is. This door is locked."

Billobi almost dropped his sharpened piece of charcoal. Did the wizard actually suggesting that a locked door in an old tomb was something to be afraid of? Before he could ask, the wizard continued: "I believe we just need to shake hands, and it'll let us through!"

The man in beard and pointy hat stepped aside and showed the door handle for the rest of the group; it was a hand, slightly larger than the average, attached to a round brass base. The skin resembled leather, both in colour and texture. It writhed slowly.

"Let's say hello!" said the wizard and grabbed the hand firmly, as to introduce himself. A second later, he lay on the stone floor twitching in pain.


The rest of the adventuring group decided to head back to town and leave the tomb, never to return. Billobi departed from the adventurers miserable, since he thought he'd just witness something strange and magically that he'd never see the likes of again.

Some years later, Billobi was seeking shelter for the night and came across an old farmer that lived all alone on the hillside. During supper, Billobi asked how it was to live all alone this far from the city, especially with only one working hand.

"It's wonderful!" the old farmer replied. "No need for formalities and such nonsense. People say they're afraid of ogres and whatnot, but I say: let 'em come! I'd rather be attacked by an ugly troll than have to endure the constant pain and horrors of handshaking!"

A playful door handle is one strange device to put on a door. It's a magical hand that is used instead of a regular handle or knob. To open the door, one must merely play rock-paper-scissors against it and win best out of three (ties doesn't count). Upon winning, the hand will tie itself and unlock the door. When the door closes, the hand will stretch out its fingers and lock the door, eagerly awaiting its next game.

It's useless to try and dispel the hand.

Any other attempts (such as shaking or touching it) will anger the hand, and it will immediately try to break any fingers it can grab.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Old quarrels never rust (adventure)

One of the stories that Billobi remembered from his childhood was the one about the three old men who always fought. They all lived next to each other, and were constantly bickering. He didn't quite remember how the story ended, but probably with some sort of moral that you shouldn't live next door to people you don't like - or something like that...

It wasn't until much later in his life, on a journey through unnamed woods to the port town of Ketch-in-Loch on the western coastline, that he realised that the old tale wasn't all fiction. After a long trek through bushes and thicket, he suddenly came to a clearing where the ruins of three houses stood.

Approaching slowly, he could hear three distinctive voices yelling at each other - archaic curse words, or just random nonsense. Faint glowing could be seen from each of the three buildings.

All of a sudden a rat came flying through the air, missing Billobi by a foot. A translucent head peeked out from one of the houses, and shouted: "Whatcha lookin at, you snot! Scram!"

Billobi parried yet another rat before fleeing into the woods. If this really was the origin of the old tale, he didn't want to stay for too long.

"Old quarrels never rust" is a small adventure with ghosts, fist fighting and something that throws rats at you. The zipped archive contains the adventure as a single PDF, along with one larger map (also as a PDF).

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-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Get the archive here.