Monday, May 31, 2010

Penny Black (deity)

The postal service around the country varied greatly for a long time, both in structure, costs and reliability. The town of Horsehead for example had their Whispery Men, a group of people that delivered short, spoken messages within the town borders. Unfortunately, the messages always seemed to transform into something else along the way, making the whole thing quite unattractive to use despite low fees and fast runners. As time went on, the Whispery Men became notorious for breaking up marriages and starting fights between friends.

The situation was similar across the country, although in general not as bad as in Horsehead. Suddenly one day, round boxes started to appear. First in the larger settlements, and then even on the countryside. Billobi remembered the day when he first saw one of these tall cylinders in Badgerbrough. He was on his way home from school when he turned a corner and almost knocked his head against the black metal. Billobi had never seen anything like it before; it stood as tall as him, and the metal was pitch black and warm to the touch. There was a thin slot near the top, for reasons he couldn't understand.

As he ran his fingers over its body, he could feel the presence of a relief:

Time passed, and Billobi eventually found out that the round, black boxes served as letter containers, placed by the postal service of Penny Black, a new organisation that was devoted to the delivery of letters and packages (and actually succeeded in this task, much to the people of Horsehead's enjoyment). "Penny Black never misses a letter" became a famous phrase across the country.

The letter carriers were easily recognized by their black dresses, pale skin and, strangely enough, empty stare. It soon became evident that the letter carriers of Penny Black actually were servants of a deity with that very name. This deity, often depicted as a young woman with long, dark hair and finer clothes, thrived on the servants' satisfactions upon fulfilling a successful delivery. Every single parcel and letter held a tiny amount of contained energy, drawn from the sender, and released upon delivery. Penny Black fed on this, and she never missed a letter.

Being a letter carrier in service of Penny Black has certain advantages, although many would argue that they don't make up for the fact that you have to devote the rest of your life to be in her service.

These letter carriers are easily spotted all over the country, although no one seems to know how to enrol willingly into her service.

If the sender doesn't pay for the letter, the receiver must upon delivery. Otherwise, they're both subject to the Distrain-spell (see below).

The letter carriers are known to possess certain spells, most likely bestowed by Black Penny herself, to ease their duties. Some of these are:

Range: One person (or home)
Duration: Immediate

If payment upon delivery isn't possible (or the sender/receiver refuses to pay), the letter carrier marks the subject with this spell. The next night, Penny Black will try to find a suitable compensation for the non-payment (depending on the size of the package and the distance travelled). In a worst case scenario, Penny Black will claim the person, turning him or her into a letter carrier.

Range: One letter/parcel/package
Duration: Until delivered

All items that are picked up by a letter carrier have this spell cast upon them as soon as possible. It will protect the package from being tampered with until the delivery is completed.
Anyone trying to open a sealed package will be marked in the same way as if the Distrain-spell was cast upon them. The only difference is that Penny Black won't accept any less than their soul (thus turning them into a letter carrier in her service).


  1. I love it. What happened to the whispery men, are they still in business?

  2. Thank you! Yes, they're probably still in business, although not so lucrative. It's probably just a bunch of old men, with bad hearing, that talks about the old times and how everything were better before Penny Black!

  3. Cool. It might be interesting to have a player actually play the role of one of Penny Black's postmen for a while, where they basically suffer from a series of geas spells. It'd suck to have to deliver a letter to a dragon. Excuse me sir! There's the small matter of the delivery fee... Phoom!

  4. Hehe, that's true. And if the dragon refuses to pay, Penny Black will pay a visit during the next night...

    (Scene: the next morning. A cheerful dragon comes strolling down the street in a postman outfit...)