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A Dated and Annotated Catalogue of Horrors of the Unknown

GOBBOS


Goblins all have an abnormal capacity for regeneration. Not enough to notice on the spot; they’re not going to stand in front of you swinging their intestines around until their stomach seals shut, but given a little time they can bounce back from most anything.

They don’t always heal right though. They’re like walking talking cancers. They reproduce by budding.

Sometimes before a wound closes up completely, a bulbous growth sprouts and keeps expanding and forming bits until a half-grown lumpy goblin drops off within a week, full-grown within a month.

 

It’s why they’re so fucking joyous about violence, it’s sex for them.

A goblin wearing armour is like someone wearing a condom: most of the fun while avoiding the reproductive consequences.

 

Some goblins are just a little too fertile, once they start budding they don’t stop, they swell up over time into an awful bloated self-important goblin mountain of flesh, forever sprouting crops of new goblins.

Goblin colonies un/lucky enough to get a Broodmother usually find themselves all wearing armour, either through enthusiasm for the Broodmother or from constant nagging and berating.

Sometimes goblins go sterile, their regenerating flesh out of control, sped up, growing into big warped crooked hulking things. Then they’re called trolls. Now you’ll notice their regeneration on the spot: about d8hp per Round’s worth of reconstituting viscera.

Mild brain damage tends to make them a bit deranged, not as smart as goblins, but if anything they lose some of their unbridled lust for violence: it’s not sex anymore.

Fire will wound them permanently, or at least until they can scrape out the seared flesh. If you kill them but don’t burn them they’ll regenerate in body but not in mind, with all of the strength and none of the capacity for reason, just a frenzied regenerating meat wagon with a desire to tear things in half.

 

Goblins learn fast but not well; when a goblin gets interested in magic it’s the worst.

They kind of know how to make armour. They kind of know how to make weapons. Everything is just super shitty looking. It’d be pretty funny if they weren’t stabbing you to death.

 

Most of them have a lifespan of about a year, Broodmothers are practically immortal until a frustrated goblin stabs them in the back, but trolls will only last a month or two before their bodies eat themselves.

If you could somehow isolate a colony without a Broodmother, with nothing to fight, it would die out within the year. They tend not to hurt themselves, it’s like public masturbation, frowned upon.

 

 

So fighting is goblin sex, a war is like an orgy, a lot of the time they probably don’t even have any ill-feeling towards you, this is all just really fun for them.

Combined with their short lifespans, it also tends to make them fairly impressively reckless.

It’s not uncommon to see:

  • Trolls wearing baskets full of spike-armoured goblins on their backs, shooting them out of misshapen hand-held iron cannons coughing black smoke.
  • Goblins sliding around inside herded slimes, eventually trying to squelch their way out before their bodies dissolve completely.
    Whether it’s because of their regeneration or just the way they taste, they can last at least an hour inside slimes and puddings before being wholly digested.
  • Rickety wooden spiked deathwheels and murderballs full of dizzy bruised driver teams plowing towards you, ready to be thrown everywhere amongst the shrapnel when they crash.
  • Half-grown goblins armed with knives and tiny flails strapped to the end of pikes, charged around by teams of goblin pikemen.
  • Goblins riding on makeshift platforms attached to armoured braindead rampaging trolls, trying not to get plucked off and eaten.
  • Piles of goblins launched through the air by cracking bending catapults.
  • Goblins holding onto half-wild pigs by fistfuls of hair and skin, trying to direct them by food dangling from the ends of their spears.
  • Cage flails full of spiders or burning pitch swung around by goblins that can barely handle the whirling weight.
  • Pig-drawn chariots with spring-loaded floors rigged to launch the charioteers forward if the wheels stop turning.
  • Goblin alchemists running around jangling with clicking ticking grenades full of altered expanding trollflesh and god knows what else.
  • Trolls leading knife-wielding goblins by chains attached to cages around their heads or torsos, swinging them around like gobbo flails.

 

If they worship anything it’s probably something they call Nurgleskop, a thing of pale orange and pink flesh like a misshapen warped monolith rising out of of a bulbous mound still clinging to its sides. It lies in a cavern open to the sky within the Marrowmorne Mountains, people don’t go there, there are rumours:

  1. The black woods around it are full of witches sick of the taste and feel of goblin flesh, they yearn for something new.
  2. Beneath the Nurgleskop is a sleeping boy who fell into the cavern and dreamt the goblins into existence.
  3. The abandoned villages dotted around it weren’t sacked by the goblins, the people living there went into the woods to become the goblins.
  4. The earth is so saturated by goblin filth that if you return home with a clump of dirt clinging to your boots, it will sprout a goblin overnight to knife you in your sleep.
  5. You can only find your way to the Nurgleskop if a goblin leads you. If you’ve made it there without one you can be sure one of your companions is a goblin/goblins in disguise.
  6. The bellies of the fat, uneasy birds of the Marrowmorne woods are full of gold coins, stamped with the face of an ancient king.
  7. The Nurgleskop is an egg fallen from the stars.
  8. Licking the sweaty dew from the Nurgleskop is the fountain of youth.
  9. An entire race of people laid down to die in the Marrowmorne Mountains, shifting themselves beneath the earth, and the Nurgleskop is nothing more than the fruiting body of a mycelium mass that has been feeding and growing on their remains over the centuries.
  10. The black river flowing out of the Marrowmorne stems from a great wound split in the mountainside, tainted lifeblood spilling from its ruby heart.
  11. When the moon is full over the Marrowmorne the goblins become beautiful young girls who run out into the night to tempt the unwary back into the woods.
  12. There is a black church hidden in the woods inhabited by an old man who will not die. Forbidden tomes and terrible artefacts are locked in the vaults below, protected from the world.

 

On the other hand some goblins practically worship filth, wallowing around in the worst shit they can find because it makes them heal completely wrong and they think it’s funny, twitching humps and extra arms and exploding stomachs and fingers that are far too long. Expelling toxic gas from various orifices and melding themselves to trolls and budding goblins that are little more than balls with tails and teeth.

While they’re around you should be playing this album on repeat.

 

Goblins goblins goblins.


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PETTY GODS // DELVERS OF THE GOLDEN VEINS


So Petty Gods is being re-revived, and here’s one of my awful entries.

 

Text from a year or so ago, art from a few days ago.

 

//

 

Hidden away in the mountains, living in whitewashed caves, away from the prying eyes of those who would call themselves holy.

Their god is a walking mountain of flesh, all-consuming, ever enduring.

 

When the stars are deemed right, worshipping before an idol carved into stone wall, when their ululations reach fever pitch one of their number is blessed with transformation, alchemy of the soul and body. Their limbs atrophy and their back bends, their torso expands to the floor like a dropped sack, skin grows dark and pocked, their flesh is doughy and pliable, it is forbidden to touch during the transformation. Their head rots and retreats into the body, new pink-flecked quivering orifices open on their belly and across their sides, dissolving anything placed before them into atoms and breathing in the spore cloud.

 

Holy manifestation of their god, the Atmungsgebirgshund is carefully moved to a dais, carved from a crop of stalagmites, fed and adored. As it feeds, the Atmungsgebirgshund’s body becomes ever more stone-like, fracturing, forming peaks.

When the stars again proclaim the time right, crowning spires of light grow from the pinnacle of the Atmungsgebirgshund’s spine hill, and the Delvers fall upon it with pick and hands. They drink deeply of the golden blood that flows as they break away the shards of its flesh, and they are once more blessed to live long in worship amongst the mountains.

 

Their god does not exist. Their god is communal. Their god is them.

If they were destroyed, so would their god be.

 

Their number never exceeds 40, breeding is only permitted when another member has been lost, either by violent death or ascension.

Memories of persecution have rooted deep over the ages, and any intrusion into their caves will be seen as an attack. The Delvers are non-violent, their god is not. Some will delay the intruders, throwing their bodies upon the blades, others will fall against the Atmungsgebirgshund in supplication to be consumed.

 

Cracking shards of primordial blue light extend from the Atmungsgebirgshund’s belly, roots worthy of a mountain god, the orifices penetrating its side expand and howl like rushing wind, every Delver sacrificed on its body increases its HD.

 

You will see a mountain walk, you will see your flesh drawn across the room like pollen on the wind.

 

Name: Atmungsgebirgshund
Alignment: Lawful
Movement: 120′ (40′)
Armor Class: 0
Hit Points (Hit Dice): 8 (1 HD + 1 per self-sacrificed Delver)
Attacks: Special
Damage: Special
Save: M23
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: The Delver’s art may be worth something to the right person
XP: 2000 x HD at time of death

 

Once the first Delver has been sacrificed on its side, the Atmungsgebirgshund is able to digest the flesh of one creature within 4′ at the rate of 1hp per round. Every additional sacrifice increases the range by 4′ and allows another creature to by consumed simultaneously.

Every round there is a 10% chance of fragmented spikes of blue light bursting from the earth, impaling the unlucky creature above, consuming them from within in floating blue sparks that rise as the spikes retreat. Save or Die.

 

If anyone other than a Delver attempts to drink the golden blood of the Atmungsgebirgshund roll below.

 

d6Effect of the Blood of the Atmungsgebirgshund
1Your torso turns to stone, brittle internal walls crack and break, you're alive as your body splits in half and stone organs spill across the floor.
2An atomising black hole forms in your belly, consuming you from the inside, lasting another hour after you have disappeared, affecting anything that comes within 10'.
3Roots of molten stone seep from your feet and embed deep into the earth, your legs petrify up to the knees. Better find a hammer.
4For the next 4 days you gain no nutrition from anything you eat, you grow weak, but a solid gold nugget is forming in your belly, worth 2000gp if you can pass it.
5You can hear the Breathing Mountain, you weep at its glory, you remain in the caves to rebuild its family and live forever. Slay any who would stand in your way.
6The blood of the earth fills your veins, you will never age, decrease your Dexterity by 1 every year that you do not drink the golden blood of the Atmungsgebirgshund as you slowly turn to living stone.

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Mystical Migrations of the Mythical Menagerie


Aside from handling word slaves in the last Secret Santicore, I also fulfilled a couple of requests.

Here’s an orphan one that I rescued.

 

The Request:

 

Nature on the move. A table of magnificent and/or terrifying migrations. Would ideally contain:

 

1. What the creatures are

2. What sort of impact this migration has on the world

3. Who hunts and/or preys upon the migration

 

20/50/100 your choice Santicore!

 

 

Nature on the MoveThe Impact of Life
d20
1The Many-Faced or Dividing Leopard Worm
A creeping mass of black-spotted yellow fur, voids gaping within the bunched mess of a head, bristling teeth like oily black quills. 15ft long tails thicker than your thigh drag behind the bulk before splitting away, hair separating, contracting and slithering with a mouth all their own.
Skinwalkers take the pelts as barbaric armour. The venom delivered by the caterpillar-like hairs that stand on end along their backs causes muscle spasms that can last for days. Older worms can eject hairs right out of their backs when threatened. The fibres alone contain enough venom to incapacitate ten burly men; if you take the pelt with the venom glands intact and keep them alive it will last indefinitely.
The worm mass doesn't really divide, it is made up of individuals moving together like a brood of Spitfire Grubs, but their faces do, split into even quarters bristling with quill teeth to better drag you down their gullets.
Beyond defence and hunger related deaths and cripplings, the only thing left to mark their passing are the flimsy abandoned silk nests spun around large trees just within the woods, temporary shelter for a few days' hunting before continuing their journey.
Due to the hairs woven amongst the silk, the only thing you'll earn by collecting it is a week of convulsions.
2Spiders of Gushmora
Exquisite neglect creeps in like rising waters, stranded wisps hanging from flowers turn to phantasmal curtains of translucent silk, undulating in the wind.
The brood mothers can only walk upon silken threads, and so a tide of their thousand children spills out before them, draping webbed paths over grasslands and trees until their spinnerets run dry and their bodies break, replaced by siblings birthed during the journey.
The Korhari Silk-Weavers follow the migration, gathering silk with long, pointed implements of bronze to be fed onto spinning wheels nestled within their gaily painted wagons, ornate and many-coloured behind a sea of white.
The few months spent following the spiders will provide them with everything they need for the rest of the year, producing fine Korhari silks to be sold to the highest bidder. Killing any kind of spider before a Korhari is invitation to violence.
Absorbed by the ravenous hunger of the journey, the passing of the Spiders of Gushmora effects near-extinction upon insect populations caught in their path.
In the weeks preceding the arrival of the migration, many animals will flee to other hunting grounds. First you notice that the birds no longer sing in the morning, then the rodents disappear from your larder, you hear predators padding away in the night. Many plant species will take months to recover with nothing left to spread their seed.

The bite of the Spiders of Gushmora causes an accelerated rot, swollen wounds burst and spill decomposing flesh with an iridescent sheen much like the spider's exoskeleton, all fuchsia, purples and black. When the swollen boils appear across their chest and arms the victim will know they endured the amputation of their leg for nothing.
Korhari assassins often travel ahead of the migration, ending those they find preparing to defend their lands.
3Ignis Fatuus Floris
Ethereal points of blue light float through the sunless dark, dancing on the wind. When the luminous seeds settle they sprout dark-stemmed flowers topped with thick bulbs, scored like a spiralling vortex. The feathery pink petals that sprout astride the spiral flutter in the breeze, until a strong enough wind blows in from the right direction and the pods violently ejaculate the next generation of seeds into the air in an unfurling explosion, one step closer to their destination.
The Moulting Priests of the Seeping Dissonance seek to destroy the Ignis Fatuus Floris, why they will not say.
They have been within reach of the flowers only twice, causing them to explode into an errant wind, thwarting the priests but setting the flowers back on their journey.
For the species to survive the flowers must survive. When the seeds first enter the soil they excrete a toxin that causes all plant life in the immediate area to wither away, eliminating any competition for the nutrients needed to grow.
Unfortunately for the flower, the same toxin that kills flora causes intense hypnagogic hallucinations in fauna. If their needle-like thorns fail to deter wanderers or thrill-seeking boars hoping for a transcendent experience, the damaged flowers exude a chemical warning that causes the remaining flowers to disperse their seed into the nearest wind, regardless of direction.
4Eels of the Nighted Depths
None know where they come from or where they go, only the swarm of oil-slick flesh that undulates over the land, toothless, wrinkled maws stretching wide to consume creatures twice their size, slipping onward while the hapless beasts howl from within their stretched flesh, slowly succumbing to digestion.
Apothecaries and Dabblers of the Black Arts lust for the flesh of the abyssopelagic nightmares. A piece of their blubbery leathered skin will buy a week's debauchery, their rock-hard sightless eyes would fetch an honest man's yearly wage, for a living intact specimen your very heart's darkest desire would be fulfilled.
Upturned ecosystems, lost pets, lost loves, insane bearded men kicking down your door demanding to know which direction the eels went.
5The Periphery
As people walk there seems to be a shadow not their own moving beside them, seen in their peripheral vision and absent when they turn.
As the phenomena ceases in one settlement it emerges in another, trailing across the land until the reports finally cease after several months.
The Scholars of the Seventh Seal seek any and all information pertaining to what they call The Periphery. Shared knowledge will be rewarded, false informers will never be found.
A lingering feeling amalgamated of dread and rapture, the subtly unnerving presence of the Scholars weeks after the event.
6Xanthous Locust
It begins with bands of gregarious wingless nymphs, a hopping carpet of bronze-tarnished mandibles, but when their density reaches fever pitch a flavescent metamorphosis takes place that sees their carapace harden into grotesque studded plates of rich yellow armour, glittering wings unfurling in the light.
Their omnivorous plague migration sweeps over vegetation and flesh, a flying wall of hooked limbs and eager squirming labial palps.
Communities with Forewarning often plant large crops of Mandrake before the oncoming swarm, a fragrance irresistible to the locusts, tearing roots from the ground after gorging upon the leaves and flowers. While it will not kill them, ingesting Mandrake renders the locusts lethargic and uninterested in pursuing further sustenance for at least a day.
At night roosting locusts may be caught up in nets and baskets. Fried Xanthous Locust is said to be an unsurpassed delicacy.
Devastated crops and shrubberies, flesh chewed straight from the bone while you're still screaming and flailing, an abundantly delicious crunchy food source for those smarter than you.
7Fog Walkers of the Broken Isle
Magnificent striding things on slender multi-jointed limbs, symbiotic creatures hanging from their shaggy pelts with bright eyes and wicked little hands. The mottled fur of the creatures makes them nothing more than mossy discolouration among the grey coats of the Walker's short, stocky bodies until they move with alarming speed.
The fog that seems to have carried away from the Broken Isle to surround the Walker's body is in reality a cloud of minuscule insects, feeding on the blood of the creatures before being sucked into the Walker's facial ducts for nourishment. What sustains the creatures is as yet unknown.
Too sure-footed and strong of limb to be cut down from the ground, Companies of Landsharpuniere carefully select Walkers to bring down with harpoon and rope, protected by pikemen and foot soldiers from shrieking creatures in descent.
The Fog Walkers always seem to be accompanied by grey skies and light rain, as if their very presence had seeded the clouds.
Vegetative growth after the rain is strong but somehow subtly wrong, vaguely reminiscent of the Broken Isle if you stare long enough.
8Abysslodira
Clacking pyramidal shells amble out of the sea encrusted with lustrous blue barnacles, their long hibernation in the depths at an end. Tortoise-like creatures the size of absurdly large wolves on a slow plod through whatever falls in their path.
When confronted by another creature their small hard skulls raise high on startling long necks, pudgy grey skin stretching tight and regarding the stranger through glassy white eyes. If they perceive danger their head and limbs retract completely within nigh-impenetrable shells until the threat has passed, if there is no threat they renew their slow plod straight through you, smooth featureless faces rotating to stare all the while as you fall to the side.
Various Birds land on the Abysslodira as they walk, dislodging barnacles from their shells with surprising ease and feasting where they land. The parasite they have eaten will cause the birds to fly without rest to the nearest suitable body of water, plunging into its depths to drown and decay, birthing a strange algae-like ooze from their feathered corpses.
Undeterrable from their path, the Abysslodira will plod over mountains and through battles with the same measured lackadaisical step until a cavalry charge causes them to drop to the ground, a wave of horses breaking over their blue-jewelled shells.
Towns that find themselves host to the migration of the Abysslodira would be best advised to clear all obstruction and make them feel welcome, because it will take weeks for them to move out of the streets if some slight offence or threat causes them to retreat into their shells.

The algal bloom bears a semi-sentience that sees it infect water supplies and drown animals before moving on to sample the next set of organisms it finds again and again before finally being swept back out to sea.
9Caustic Sludge Crabs
A plague of black carapaces spills from the protection of the Moldenwood in order to reach the Hollow Sea to spawn, crawling over the land in a blanket like a swarm of mites over a corpse.
Within the woods the crabs are without predators, rock hard shells containing their liquid flesh, in the open air birds swoop amongst them in an attempt to carry away lone crabs before being dragged down amongst the swarm.
Albino Ibis close a nictitating membrane of the same unhealthy pink as their wrinkled faces over their eyes to ward off snapping claws as they descend. After escaping with a crab they will lay it on a hard surface and peck a hole in the armour of its belly to expose the oily sludge beneath. Caustic to most creatures, the Ibis dilute it with their own vomit before sucking it up through long, curved beaks.
Little will stand in the way of the crab migration. Anything caught in their path will be pulled beneath by claws too numerous to count, bones picked clean in their wake, and a smashed crab will easily melt through armour with its spilled liquid flesh.
10Diasporea
The stranger moves towards you in slow, gliding steps, their body hunched inside a great coat covered in dry leaves and sticks and rotting plant matter. Metal trinkets and bones hang from the gnarled branches extending from their head like horns. A powdery whisper accompanies them as they move closer, and a low thrumming voice like rain asks where your dead grow.
Light washes over the stranger’s coat as they move into the glow of your lantern, and you see the gaps amidst the sticks and filth. You see fungal sinew strung inside, like the forest floor caught in a web. A thick mass of lichen veil hangs in the hooded space below the stranger’s antlers, and ever more unexpected mounds and wooden horns are illuminated across their back. Small stout yellow round-capped mushrooms in jagged rows beneath its throat and chest quiver and begin to thrum against wood and bone, forming the words that politely ask again, “Where do your dead grow?”

Colonies of fungus and mould that cobble debris together to gain a locomotive form. They will talk to you, they’ll even trade, but they have no empathy. They won’t understand why you’re so upset that they dug up your daughter, pulled her corpse apart, and placed the pieces amongst their body. Fragile but hard to kill permanently, and the spores that erupt from them in times of stress end up everywhere, and your flesh is ever so fertile.
The Diasporea have no predators or prey, only those ignorant enough to try to kill them then scream in horror at the release of their infectious spores.
If you're savvy enough you may find yourself in possession of time-lost artefacts at the cost of a dead dog or an ancestor's corpse.
11Cancerslugs
As long as a man, putrescent yellow flesh glistening under thick layers of mucus as they emerge from swamps during the wet season, smelling of stale semen and broken drought.
Generally placid, violent in short sharp bursts that you never expect. Their wounds bubble out in pink masses of vivid new flesh, deflating into yellow normality over the coming days.
The Flesh Crafters continue to obtain samples of slug mucus for experimentation, but since the successful capture and confinement of a live specimen within their labs six years ago have shown no interest in further capture, in fact they show an aversion verging on disgust at the thought.
Gold-Banded Broodsac Larvae attempt to invade the slugs, carried as sporocysts until they develop into Broodsacs as the slugs near settled areas or forests. The Broodsacs push into the slug's eyestalks and secrete chemicals that induce a compulsive need to climb the tallest thing it can find; an ancient tree, a belltower overlooking the town square. At its height the Broodsacs squirm and pulsate, golden Rorschachs glinting in the open sky until a bird of prey descends to tear it from the slug's head, the next stage of its life cycle begun.
With the majority of its brain torn out the slug will fall to the earth, impacting in a disintegrating shower of yellow flesh bubbling regeneration even in death.
Sudden maddening irritations befall bare skin exposed to the thick mucus trails left in their wake, progressing into lesions and worse. Those unlucky enough to discover an allergy will spend the rest of their lives swaddled in cloth to hide the horror they have become.
12Powder Deer
Herds of them, white fur so pure it nearly glows. The female of the species, and the herd is almost entirely female, bear branching antlers as fragile as glass, shattered and disintegrating on impact. Semi-parasitic young hang from their backs, pink pupal piles of them with pliant manipulable bones that curl around their brood sisters and into their mother's fur.
Monolithic among the herd is the Husband, black furred with a compact, upright body like a giraffe, its powerful chest supporting the thick, muscled neck that stretches up to a magnificent head crowned by twisting spires of horn as tall as its body, piercing the sky.
Packs of Predatory Beasts try their luck harrying the migration, but lone predators would never dare. Before they disintegrate completely the Deer's shattered antlers fracture into splinters, leaving wounds full of powdered glass where they pierce the flesh.
In dire situations the Husband tramps through the herd like an icebreaker, all discordant howling and rage, any shred of self-preservation lost. If the Husband perishes another Powder Deer will undergo a transmutation to take its place, but such things take time.
Their powdered antlers fertilise the growth of both bacteria and vegetation. Lush foliage and crops sprout where there has been conflict, but any wounds contaminated by the earth or even the plants themselves are likely to fester within mere hours.
13Copulatorum
Less a migration than a minor incursion, men and women bearing the faint scent of carnal knowledge arrive at secluded cabins, farms, taverns, palaces. The method of their approach and petition for solace varies, but invariably ends in an enticement to lay with them.
Where their advances are rejected they leave with apology. Where accepted, people report seeing either a heavily pregnant woman or an obscenely obese man with a pendulous gut leaving in the small hours of the morning, while inside the homes are all torn flesh and a madness of blood and bile.
Respected and Disregarded Organisations are all in consensus that the reports are utter fallacy, only lone eccentrics and outright lunatics seek out incidents of Copulatorum, though not all for the same reasons.
Jilted lovers, subsequent suspicious deaths, absurd stories and hangings.
14Bowelbird
Flocks of inky black birds with eyes like fresh-spilt blood alight on rooftops and concentric patterns in fields, named for a habit of digging amongst entrails after a slaughter, the Bowelbird is possessed with a desire for objects of the colour red, not gore.
At each rest they erect crimson piles of thievery in ensanguined cairns, incomprehensible shrines which will be destroyed by various breeds of Simian if they happen across them, reproachful shrieks echoing through the trees.
Carcasses strewn open, crimson veils carried away, roses a-snatched mid-courting.
Something much more were the cairns altogether allowed to stand.
15Ulcerate Vermis
Loathsome grey masses emerge from the sewers and water systems of the cities, slopping and rolling clumps of tentacles that make their way to the nearest patch of bare earth beyond the city walls, seemingly melting into the dirt.
The majority of their migration takes place beneath the ground, but when it begins to rain they will emerge through shifting clumps of dirt, tumbling and running chaotically across the land amid the spattering drops.
Apathetic Gastronomes savour them as a delicacy, and Various Unseemly Bookish-Types would rather like to get their hands on a specimen.
The light touch of a tentacle when you get too close to them opens a painless ulcer in your skin that will heal within a few days, but while it persists you remain mildly irritated over nothing. They often evade capture simply because those around them are too busy arguing over meaningless drivel.
16Nightshade
Unseen in the light of day, slinking through the night, melting into shelter when something is near. Beneath a tree you raise your head to the night sky to find a dark shadow towering over the leaves, staring down at you with furtive reflective orbs.
One-Eyed Stygian Herbbalists have an unwholesome interest in the movements of the Nightshade.
Unearthly beautiful blossoms unfurling their shimmering black petals in the morning light provide the only marker that a Nightshade ever passed.
17The Crawling Rot
They emerge from their burrows, decaying with splitting flesh in the sunlight, undergoing regenerative transmorphosis throughout the night, an ever-shifting parade of warped flesh and cancerous disease.
Every Being With a Sense of the Sanctity of Their Own Existence or Self-Preservation will avoid the Crawling Rot at any cost, even the carrion vermin know better than to meddle with their flesh.
You will know their passing by the rotting remnants of shed antlers, teeth, eyestalks and splitting jaws, twisted arms, segmented legs, tentacles and gore, you will know them by the smell.
18Somnolent Broodmite
Transportation is what they need; human, animal, they don't mind. The anaesthetic saliva of their bite renders the host unaware as the mites enter their body through holes bored in the legs, populating through the body, consuming everything non-vital to their needs over time. Somnambulance is induced when they reach the brain, carrying the Broodmites towards their desire.
If they absolutely must be stopped, a human host will speak with others, but it won't make sense, like a lover waking you in the middle of the night during a dream.
For the most part no one will ever know that the Somnolent Broodmites have passed, but some may find the target of their hunt or planned thievery suddenly split apart by their attack, spilling piles of bloody mites in search of new transportation.
19Jewelled Mounds of Ur
Shambling masses of flesh little more than a delivery system for the rose-tinted crystals sprouting in clusters from their skin, hobbling on pairs of bony arms like crutches and cloven-footed hind legs.
They travel towards the Valley of the Nine Streams and the anchored egg sacs already laid by their females within the sapphire waters. When they reach the stream's edge their unheard voices raise in a harmonic reverberation, bursting their fragile crystals over the water, releasing pink seed to fertilise the eggs. After this release the males will die, their corpses waiting food for their unhatched young.
Uneducated Would-Be Jewel Thieves have sometimes killed Mounds in order to dislodge the giant crystals from their flesh, only to be rewarded with a burst of honey-thick semen for their troubles. The Mound's seed also happens to hold remarkable mutagenic potential, a property that makes it rather valuable to certain other parties.
Apart from theft-related mishaps, fish and amphibians that spawn from the Nine Streams during the same period are abundant in number and girth, even if their flesh does taste unnaturally salty, and their entrails form strange patterns amidst too-many bones.
20Ash Spider Colossum
Spread fractal shadows beneath them as they pass, light clouds of dust motes shaking free from segmented legs that stab the earth with every step, stretching straight up to lightly suspended plateau bodies bearing black monoliths that scratch the sky like lightning-struck trees.
Shivering Bare-Fleshed Zealots worship the Ash Spiders as gods, climbing to their backs to partake in an endless liturgy amongst the monoliths.
Blue-Bloat Bore Grubs infest the colossal limbs, burrowing tunnels as they feed.
Zealots crawl over the Spider's legs as they walk, digging out melon-sized grubs to gorge on succulent blue flesh.
Madness sprouts in their wake, a religious fervour erupting in settlements that drives the afflicted to scale their new gods and worship at their peaks, replenishing the ranks of Zealots that have climbed within grasping mouths, food for the gods.

 

Want it in PDF? Well how about you download it in hyperlinked gorgeousness along with about 190 pages of other free content from from this link right here.


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This Place is Crawling with Tables


It all started when I found the old AD&D Lankhmar supplement, which features this gorgeous map right here:

See all those white boxes? The supplement contains neighbourhood geomorphs that you randomly insert when the players move off the main streets and into the ‘burbs, and even suggests changing the geomorph if the players don’t go back there for a while to make the city feel more alive. I know, it’s wonderful.

 

Around this time I was also having chats with the also wonderful Jeremy Duncan about mapping Cörpathium and his own Galbaruc, and the trouble of figuring out how much is too much, what to nail down and what to keep loose. Because as pretty as the above map is, forget that.

 

Really what I want is to capture the sprawling mutability of cities like Viriconium and Ambergris, something you experience by running around in it rather than poring over a lavishly drawn map, with just enough grounding to make it work as a game.

 

 

OKAY SO WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST SMART GUY?

 

Map your main streets. That gives you a framework, points of reference, clever/punny street names for players to remember. Everything else though? Doesn’t matter until it matters.

 

When your players want/need off a main street drop a d4 and a d6 (try to use a d6 with sharp corners, you need that random bounce). If the numbers match, there aren’t any reachable exits.

 

Otherwise, treat the d4 as the player’s position on the street, facing the way you are. The number is how many alleys they can see, and the points of the dice show the rough direction they’re in. Add them clockwise from whatever point is closest to the d6.

If there are 4 alleys put the 4th wherever.

You might prefer to drop the dice directly onto the map instead, do whatever makes you happy, I’m not your mother.

 

There’s also this roughly where the d6 landed:

 

1.  Someone left their door open

2.  Public house

3.  Sewer entrance

4.  Way to climb onto building

5.  Lesser street

6.  Intersecting lesser street

 

So if you rolled like below, there’s four reachable alleys; one back off in the direction of the 2, one ahead in the direction of the 1, one directly off to the right thanks to the 3, and another one wherever takes your fancy. The d6 came up as a 5, so there’s a lesser street leading away back on the left side of the main street.

 

 Okay so now we’re running around in alleys, fun!

 

Every time the players enter an alley, drop the d4 and d6 again and generate the exits like before, using the tables below. If the numbers are the same, there’s a complication.

 

 

AlleyCrawling
d4Points of Diced6
1Alley.1Back door.
2Alley.2Darkened nook.
3Alley.3Boarded-over alley.
4Alley.4Way to climb onto building.
5Reachable window.
6Alley complication.

 

 

Read the rest…


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Horrors of the Unknown: The Family Man


The thing shambles at you out of the dark, its phallus half hard and bobbing before it as it walks, heavy testicles churning beneath its girth. Something viscous seems to be slowly dripping from its tip, until suddenly it sucks back inside. As you brace your shield and unsheathe your blade similarities to a snail’s eye occur to your subconscious. The thing shudders and retches on itself and the base of its cock swells to triple the original girth and continues to inflate until something you cannot fathom emerges from the tip. The beast wails in pain and terror and collapses to the floor.

 

Have you seen the snails infected by mind-controlling worms? Like that. Something that enters your penis and takes residence in your scrotum after consuming your testicles, it needs the room, it is not small. Penises can be surprisingly elastic, but fuck it hurts. But you don’t process that. The chemicals it’s pumping into your bloodstream just make you want to mate. Make you want to woo. It is always looking for the perfect host, someone pleasing to the opposite sex. It needs you to find a mate. It needs it to be consensual and loving. It needs your mate to care for the offspring once you have passed away from a mysterious wasting disease, right up until hundreds of its kind emerge from her womb amidst screams and blood and madness.

 

It is not completely averse to you engaging in same-sex relations, it has found that to be a very convenient way of entering a handsome new host.

 

Cocks can be both invaded and invading. NO ONE IS SAFE.


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Horrors of the Unknown: There Was a Fungus Among Us


Diasporea

 

The stranger moves towards you in slow, gliding steps, their body hunched inside a great coat covered in dry leaves and sticks and rotting plant matter. Metal trinkets and bones hang from the gnarled branches extending from their head like horns. A powdery whisper accompanies them as they move closer, and a low thrumming voice like rain asks where your dead grow.

Light washes over the stranger’s coat as they move into the glow of your lantern, and you see the gaps amidst the sticks and filth. You see fungal sinew strung inside, like the forest floor caught in a web. A thick mass of lichen veil hangs in the hooded space below the stranger’s antlers, and ever more unexpected mounds and wooden horns are illuminated across their back. Small stout yellow round-capped mushrooms in jagged rows beneath its throat and chest quiver and begin to thrum against wood and bone, forming the words that politely ask again, “Where do your dead grow?”

 

Colonies of fungus and mould that cobble debris together to gain a locomotive form. They will talk to you, they’ll even trade, but they have no empathy. They won’t understand why you’re so upset that they dug up your daughter, pulled her corpse apart, and placed the pieces amongst their body. Fragile but hard to kill permanently, and the spores that erupt from them in times of stress end up everywhere, and your flesh is ever so fertile.


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Horrors of the Unknown: A Familiar Face


Time-worn faces adorn the surface of a clay relief set into the wall like a door. It cannot be moved, it cannot be broken, but something in its centre gleams in the torchlight. Thin layers of clay have fallen away over time, exposing a blood-red gem the size of a man’s fist. The sculpted faces seem to be twisted towards the gem in sorrow.

 

If a character removes the gem, ask about those they hold most dear, of friends, of family, of lovers. Make a list of 2d6 of them. The clay seal soon crumbles and falls without the gem to bind it.

Long limbs that emerge and contract carry a bulbous mass of flesh from the space beyond in a shambling riot of locomotion. The whole surface of its skin writhes with the faces of the only people the character cares about, they moan and cry and beseech as it crashes forward with grasping appendages.

If it catches hold of a character it will pull them in towards the distending mouth of the person they care about most. A lover, their mother, a mentor, the quivering lips wrap around their body while the creature’s gnarled hands struggle to push them further in until they are gone.

Once someone is within it, the creature will flee if it can.

 

The creature’s limbs constantly wither and re-emerge, removing them does nothing.

Successful attacks against the creature’s body will instantly destroy a random face, cutting deep and silencing their pleas, black muck spilt from limp hanging skin like a burst blister.

The amount of damage caused determines the affect on the person whose face was imitated.

 

1They disappear in the night and are never seen again, though the PC hears whispers in the darkness when no one else is near.
2They develop an unrelenting irrational hatred for the PC.
3They grow pallid, their hair falls out and their limbs atrophy.
4They become zealously devoted to the Ninth Cult of the Black Dawn, plucking their eyes from their head, seeing life anew.
5They lose all memory, left with the mental state of an infant.
6They fall deep in lust with one of the PC's most hated enemies.
7Their belly swells as if pregnant, but in the 8th term their stretched skin grows sour, sores open and putrefy, after another two weeks they birth a brood of black hounds.
8They dissolve into a pile of reeking filth. They keep appearing in the middle of the PC's dreams, off to the side, unrelated, their back turned and weeping. They want to find a way back.
9They are murdered and cannibalised by their closest relative.
10+They go out late at night. Local children disappear. They refuse to be seen without clothing. Their body is not what it used to be.

When the last face has been destroyed the creature will instantly collapse, devoid of life. Anyone that was swallowed in the last hour can be cut out from its mass, apparently unharmed, but over the coming weeks the lesions on their torso come more and more to resemble the faces of people dear to their companions.

If no one was swallowed, the person whose face was last destroyed grows ill, their body swells, they constantly ask after the family of others, and their limbs grow spindly, disconcertingly long..


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