March 23, 2023 writing invective theory

Bullet Points vs Prose

Because reasons, I’m working on rewrite of Behind Closed Doors. A lot of this involves de-bullet pointing the text. Below I’ve given a side-by-side for each. Obviously (hopefully?) I’m a better writer than I was three years ago, but I think it’s worthwhile seeing the same material both ways. Obviously, even my bullet-points are more prose-based than a lot of other examples I’ve seen. I find this only exacerbates my issue with them.

1) Entrance Hall
This wide room, the floor hidden beneath a mouldering bearskin, is dominated by a huge portrait of the late Lord Howard von Deiter. He appears domineering and batrachian, seated in an indeterminate void. Beneath the stairs, hidden behind inconspicuous doors, are five sets of coats with matching shoes. One set is made of much finer material, and cut to the style of the distant cities. Two are child-sized.

  • Entrance Hall - dominated by a portrait of the late Lord Howard von Deiter - domineering and batrachian.
    • Five sets of various sized boots with matching coats.
      • Highlight: one set nonlocal look and material.

2) Drawing Room
Filled with chairs and low tables, lined with dusty bookcases. Much of the floor is covered with plain, simple rugs. Beneath these rugs are fresh scrapes and marks, made with knives and forming no pattern. Chalkdust is abundant beneath these rugs. One of the bookcases is slightly less dusty than the others - several holy books number amongst its collection. Each has been subtly defaced throughout. Between them, scant few ruddy hairs can be found, coarse to the touch.

  • Drawing Room - filled with chairs and low tables lined with dusty bookcases. Austere rugs cover most of the otherwise plain floor—used for tuition.
    • Fresh scrapes and marks beneath rugs
    • Abundant chalk-dust in corners and beneath rugs
    • One book-case is less dusty:
      • Highlight: Fibres of rusty-red hair on the shelves - matching the beastman hair found in Althufe.
      • Several holy books are subtly defaced.

3) Dining Hall
This chamber is bisected by a dining table far too long for the room, requiring a shuffle to get around the edges. This barren waste is set for five, spread equidistantly around the table. Above the head of the table, the family crest leers: a stag, head pierced by three arrows. Each is labelled: honour, duty and humility.

  • Dining Hall - dominated by the family crest and a comically long dining table.
    • Set for five
      • Those exposed to nobility know staff eating with a family is highly unusual.

4) Kitchen
The old bricks of the kitchen are stained black with soot. The smell of cold grease fills the air, despite the gleaming cookware hung upon the walls. The knives are old and cared for lovingly - each sharp enough to go through bone.

  • Kitchen - the cold hearth’s bricks are stained soot-black. The smell of cold grease permeates.
    • All items are meticulously cleaned and organised—yet the smell remains.

5) Servants Rooms
Filled with eight cots and chests, all but one are clearly unused. Belonging to Matilda, the only occupied bed is kept tidier than the rest bed. Within the chest are her clothes, a series of shiny stones threaded onto red string and a much wider strap of leather set with tiny silver bells.

The other, partially hidden behind a sheet hung from the ceiling, belongs to Johan. On the inside of this sheet are sewn devotional hymns, dedicated to the spiritual benefits of hard labour. Hidden beneath his pillow, a fine silver letter-opener, sharpened to a razor edge. Inscribed upon the blade, For Service and Sacrifice - HVD

6) Butler Room This room” in separated only by a sheet nailed to the ceiling, creating a false wall. Within, the walls and sheet are covered in devotional hymns, dedicated to the spiritual benefits of hard labour. Atop a nightstand, a fine silver letter-opener, sharpened to a razor edge. Inscribed upon the blade, For Service and Sacrifice - HVD. A small polishing cloth rests there too. A chest contains three immaculate sets of clothes, each identical - and identical to the clothes currently worn by Johan.

  • Servants Rooms - a series of cots and chests - two aren’t vacant.
    • In the corner, Matilda’s cot
      • Highlight: Within the chest :A passable love poem, written by Leffe
      • Curio: shiny beaded stones.
      • Folk Instrument: A strap of leather with tiny silver bells
    • Behind a privacy curtain: Johans cot
      • Devotional hymns of labour nailed to the walls
      • A fine silver letter-opener, keenly sharpened
        • For Service and Sacrifice - HVD

In this instance I split the single room up, just to note.

7) Pantry
Much of the pantry is filled with a pair of deer, hung from their hind legs. The shelves are reasonably supplied with good quality ingredients - nothing is obviously missing nor anything unusual present.

  • Pantry - decently supplied, dominated by a pair of deer hung by their hind legs

8) Wine Cellar
The stink of fear fills this claustrophobic, unlit space. Within a cage squats Bets, awaiting judgement. Left alone without light, the dark has rushed in and filled him up. Something inside him is broken. Around this scared, lost child are generations of fine wines, many thickly coated in dust.

  • Wine Cellar - a dark space, stinking of fear
    • A caged Bets awaits judgement. In the dark. alone.
    • Surrounded by generations of fine wines accumulated by the (sober) Von Deiters.

9) Master Bedroom
A transplant into the mouldering shell of the house, the walls of this room are rich, dark wooden panes - installed professionally, and showing no sign of decay nor age. Much of the chamber is filled with a huge four-poster bed, the sheets all rich fabrics. One set of pillows is fresh and seemingly unused, whilst the other is heavily crinkled with a restless nights sleep. Two wardrobes sit against the wall - one filled with aging clothes in the regional style, whilst the other overflows with imported fashions from the heart of the realm.
A large dressing table sits before the window, with two locked drawers. Within them is 250sp worth of jewellery in gold and silver with low-value stones. One piece with a large central stone is hinged - the main stone opening up and revealing itself to be hollow. Within this is set another stone, carved deeply with the Sigil of Seeking - used in occult circles to indicate a desire for tuition.

  • Master Bedroom - a spot of luxury in the crumbling, aged house—rich, dark imported woods line the walls
    • Dominated by a four-poster bed
      • Examining the pillows reveals only one was recently used
    • A wide dressing table against the wall
      • Locked Drawers:
        • 50 GP in unremarkable jewellery.
        • One piece’s silver chased central gem bears a strange sigil deep within—research or occult knowledge discloses it as a Sigil of Seeking: worn by candidates for deeper induction into the mysteries.
    • Wardrobe filled with quarter-century outdated noble fashions.

10) Study
Austere. Uncurtained windows let the gloomy light of Drinshire illuminate a huge, pitted desk of black wood. A veneer of dust sits upon a large collection of papers - all detail the minutiae of managing an estate. Taking the time to read through them, one thing is clear - the family von Deiter are destitute.

  • Study - austere and spartan filled by a single heavy pitted desk.
    • Desktop papers concern management of Althufe and it’s surrounds
      • These papers haven’t been touched in a week

11) Bathroom
A claw-foot tub sits the centre of the room, kept meticulously clean. A candle-holder sits upon a small table nearby - the candles themselves absent.

  • Bathroom - dominated by a huge, central, bronze claw-foot tub.
    • Candle holder lacks candles

12) Twins’ Room
No physical barrier divides this room - but a stark contrast exists between them. The left is filled with candles as if by some waxy fungal infestation, clustering atop stacks of books detailing aristocratic heroes - many of whom make unsavoury deals for the good of their bloodline. The candles are in all different hues, and show signs of heavy use. The right side of the room is filled with canvases, paints and sketches, organised meticulously. The art would be good in an adult - promising in a child. The most recent pieces are landscapes and family portraits - notably including Grigoret oddly fusing with Tabitha, their colours running into one another.

Beneath both beds, discarded and forgotten children’s toys.

  • Twins Room - room is cleanly divided by aesthetic, absent any physical barrier
    • The Sophia’s (left side): filled with books, candles and small knick-knacks
      • mostly fiction books concerning aristocratic heroes and subtle imitations of dark bargains
      • A pandemonium of multihued candles (some scented) sprout like fungus from every surface.
    • The right side - Brunhilde’s - is filled with art and art supplies.
      • Impressive art for a youth.
        • landscapes and figures from the Manor—Grigoret and Tabitha tend to be oddly fused, as if painted as a continuation of one being
      • Beneath the art are discarded and seemingly forgotten children’s toys.

13) Guest Room 1
The smell of slow, dry decay wafts through the devastation of this chamber, filled with piled stacks of detritus - each stacked in such a way that any disturbance is sure to bring the entire edifice down in a huge crash. Nothing of value is within them. At the foot of the bed is a large locked travelling chest. Within it are 4 heavy theological works, filled with marginalia noting deviations from Primal Worship.”

  • Guest Room 1 - used by Grigoret is bursting at the seams with clutter.
    • A huge (locked) travelling chest sits against the South wall.
      • Contains numerous serious theological works
        • filled Grigoret’s marginalia decrying deviations from Primal Worship”

14) Guest Room 2
Pristine, kept in readiness despite the decay of the home. A small, tasteful landscape painting sits upon the wall. Beneath the bed, a small locked box of iron. The interior of the box is split in half - the left side containing a handwritten grimoire, bulging with inserts. It details many heretical magical experiments, passages copied from dark tomes in alien alphabets. !!new spells. The right side has a collection of magical components - newt eyes, frog hearts, crow beaks, dessicated earthworms, red beastman fur, corpse-salts, liars tongue and more.

Smashing open the box has a 60% chance of ruining the contents.

  • Guest Room 2 - pristine and spare—bed and a small tasteful landscape painting
    • Beneath the bed, a small locked box:
      • Split Interior:
        • Left side: a fat handwritten grimoire
          • Details heretical magical experiments with diagrams and copied passages in strange tongues, all in a mix of inks but the same handwriting. The language is incomprehensible without magical assistance.
        • The magically gifted know these are spells of some strange providence, unknown to conventional schools of magic.
      • Right Side: filled with sorted small magical reagents and components
        • Newt eyes, frog hearts, beaks of crows, dessicated earthworms, the rusty-red fur of a beastman, corpse-salts, etc.

Lord Harald von Deiter (38) - A hard, cruel man. He still remembers his life of frivolity and thrill-seeking, abandoned a decade ago when his father died. Despite this, his love for his daughters is genuine, although he harbours a deep ambivalence about his wife. He offers 500sp to any willing to determine the truth of the murder - during which he was meeting with Bjorn to discuss rumours of activity in Arnake Forest.

  • Lord Harald von Deiter - 38 - a hard, cruel man who abandoned a life of thrill-seeking and frivolities a decade ago when he inherited the estate.
    • Deeply loves his daughters
    • Is ambivalent about his wife.
    • he offers travelling bands questioning him about the murder 100GP ( Holy Writ or no) to determine the truth—such strangeness is beyond his ability to resolve.
    • During the murder he was meeting with Bjorn, discussing the rumours of activity in Arnake Forest.

Lady Tabitha von Deiter (36) - Born in the interior of the empire and raised in a metropolitan city, she is filled with boredom by rural living. Her fancies have been many over the years - slowly converging on the esoteric and occult. This was noticed by powers malign, and after a year of searching she found Grigoret, filled with promise and power. She immediately had him replaced Artur as the children’s tutor - an excuse for him to stay as he further inducts her into the mysteries. Her loyalty to him is total - she reports everything to him at the first opportunity. If questioned about the murder, she is genuinely concerned about the effect it might have on Sophia - but shows little concern for Brunhilde. She shows even less for the victim or Bets, to the point of forgetting their names.

  • Lady Tabitha von Deiter - 36 - born in a far grander foreign city, rural life utterly and completely bores here. Hence her exploration of anything to escape the drudgery—increasingly esoteric and occult matters. She was noticed by servants of such dark powers and, a year ago, Grigoret appeared, making the secret signs Tabitha had learnt would liberate her from boredom. She insisted he replace Artur as the children’s tutor as Grigoret slowly inducts her into the deeper mysteries.
    • Questioned about the murder, she convincingly pretends to be distraught, worrying about its effect on dear Sophia. She will forgets the victim’s name, and avoids being pressed for the name. She demonstrates disregard for Brunhilde or the ramifications amongst Haralds men.
    • After questioning, she relays all interview details to Grigoret.

Sophia von Deiter (10) - The smaller of the twins, ever given to flights of fancy and filled with the arrogance endemic to noble lineages. Showing a stronger aptitude for Grigorets heretical teachings, her aristocratic pride was transmuted into loathing for those ungifted and unawakened to the occult nature of reality. She bewitched Bets into murdering Roger, keen to use her newfound powers. If asked, she bursts into tears and claims to have seen nothing, her back turned. Calmed, she does mention the Brunhilde has always been jealous of her friendship with Bets.

  • Sophia von Deiter - 10 - the slightly smaller twin, Sophia shows a stronger aptitude for Grigoret heretical teachings. He quickly transmuted aristocratic pride Harald instilled into loathing for the ungifted masses. She bewitched Bets into brutally murdering Roger with one of his sorceries.
    • She bursts out into tears and claims to not have seen anything having had her back turned.
    • If calmed, she notes Brunhilde was always jealous of her friendship with Bets.

Brunhilde von Deiter (10) - Taller and more serious than her sister, Brunhilde pines for the liberties of adulthood. She has shown no aptitude for Grigorets teachings, but is jealous of the attention heaped on Sophia by their tutor and mother. Left to her own devices, resentment festering, she paints. Increasingly, she paints Grigoret and Tabitha fusing into a single being, although she cannot say why. She believes Bets could never hurt anyone - to those she trusts, she mentions only that she no longer trusts her sister. She did not see anything, but knows a little of her studies.

  • Brunhilde von Deiter - 10 - slightly taller and somewhat more serious, Brunhilde has shown no aptitude nor interest in Grigoret’s teachings—although jealous of the attention Sophia receives from Grigoret and her mother. In absence of proper tuition, she spends time painting. Her subjects vary wildly, although some seem to be of Grigoret and Tabitha fusing into one. She cannot articulate what any of the paintings mean.
    • She professes Bets’ innocence—he could never hurt anyone.
    • She does not know the truth but suspects Sophia’s involvement.

Matilda (19) - A maid, hailing from Drinharrow. She took this job to escape the brewing political upheaval, sending some small packets of money to her family in !!. She despises Johan, thinking him a brown-nosing lickspittle. She throws herself into her work to not think about the murder.

  • Matilda - 19 - household maid from Drinharrow. Throwing herself into work to avoid thinking about what’s transpired. Despises Johan.

Johan (50) - Severe and dour, laconic in speech, the epitome of butlering. He has run the household since Harald was a boy, and in truth despairs at the steady decline of the property and family. He would never admit to this. If questioned, his priority is to protect the family at all costs - even personal humiliation. If sufficiently convinced that the investigation is for Harald’s best interest, he reveals inconsistencies” in the sleeping arrangements between the Lord and Lady, as well as strange odours lingering after Grigoret’s tuition of the twins.

  • Johan - 50 - the butler and head of the household since Harald was a boy. Severe and dour, the absolute picture of professional butlering.
    • Will deny knowledge of anything and everything—protecting the client at all costs.
    • If sufficiently convinced the investigation is good for Harald, reveals inconsistencies” with the sleeping arrangements as of late, as well as strange odours lingering after the Twins tutelage under Grigoret.

Grigoret (270, appears 60) - A warlock, soul cut up and parcelled out to the Powers Beyond. He seeks a new vessel, his decrepit body twisted by sacrifice and sorcery and time. He allowed himself to be found by Tabitha, knowing her curiosity could not resist what he offered. He has no interest in her - Brunhilde, however, is perfect for his requirements. He deliberately ignores her, stoking the flames of jealousy to make her more easily manipulated. He plans to transfer his mind into her body, denying his unspeakable masters their share for another generation.

When warned of Witch-Hunters, he takes no chances - fleeing for a month, claiming a death in the family which must be attended to instantly. He hides in Drinharrow for this month, laying low.

When unable to flee, he moves quickly. Using foul sorcery, he changes his appearance to that of Harald von Deiter, instructing Tabitha to murder the original, allowing Harald to take his place. He feigns at illness until the Witch-Hunters leave.

Caught unaware and questioned, he claims to be a travelling tutor of the Old School”, lucky enough to find work here and intending to stay here til the twins have finished their learnings. He happily explains his heritage from a lineage of librarians from the distant West. In truth, he remembers nothing of his origins. Regarding the murder, he only expresses sadness at the wasted potential of a young man so clearly bewitched by his own mother.

  • Grigoret (270, appears 60): a warlock, soul blackened and parcelled out to Powers Beyond. He seeks a new vessel, his decrepit body twisted by sacrifice and sorcery. Seeking out those unfulfilled with their lot and found Tabithia— herself of no use to Grigoret; Brunhilde, however, is perfect. He deliberately ignores her, hoping to inflame her with jealousy, opening her up to manipulation—shaping her to become his mind’s new vessel and cheating his unspeakable masters of their share for another generation.
    • If warned of Witch-Hunters, he takes no chances fleeing for a month claiming he must attend to family matters in the West.
    • If not warned, he moves quickly. Using a spell to consume Harald Von Deiter instructing Tabitha to murder him with Grigoret taking his place. Feigning illness and playing at being bed-bound until he feels the coast is clear.
    • If caught unawares and questioned, he claims to be a travelling tutor of The Old School,” who found work here and intends to stay. He claims descent from a family of librarians from the cities of the West. Truthfully, he has long since discarded any memories of home or family.
      • He speaks of great regret and wasted potential regarding Bets. Noting the child was clearly bewitched by the absentee mother.
    • If cornered, he assails the Cryptdiggers with his full magical arsenal.

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March 21, 2023 play report pariah playriah

Pariah Session 8 - Play Report

Use the tags to find previous and for some more details.

This session mostly consisted of a dungeon - a localised solid” in the sea of the Beyond.

Their companions set to guard their forms, the Band imbibed the puffball tea once more. Each felt their skin dissolve layer by layer, their muscle fibers unspooled and their bones ground to dust before being reconstituted after an age in a void broken by only pinpricks of cold burning light. Between each member of the Band was a vibrating silver thread, connecting each to one another. From Blue Grove extended another thread leading away and into the darkness - intuitively, he knew it would lead them home.

Amongst the stars, they saw a globe of solid reality, seemingly cast by a campfire. Gathered around it were six figures, human at first. As they approached, they saw each was skinless, raw and bloody, draped over with skin stolen from various entities known and unknown. The band negotiated with their leader, draped in scaled hides and calling themselves Lizard-Skin. It revealed that they had been severed from their silver threads, and wished to return home” - in exchange for travelling home with the Band, they promised to lead them to where Idle-Quiets name - and a piece of their soul - was being stored. Using a nonchalant walk, they penetrated into the darkness and took the band with them.

They found themselves in a narrow corridor of flat grey stone, unmarked and ageless, unbitten by tools. The Skin-Wearers promised to guard the Bands silver thread, leading to a confrontation - they were unwilling to trust such strange beings. Eventually, they were convinced to accompany them into the complex of chambers and corridors.

Within, they saw found two directions - one with walls made of a material resembling a black plastic bag filled with meat and bleeding a dark silvery serum, the another stone corridor terminating in a flat surface, split vertically by a thin crack. Checking the floor, they found strange dog-like prints leading towards the stone corridor, and elected to follow them. As they approached the split stone, it slowly ground itself open, acting as a door allowing entry in a large chamber. The ceiling of the room was lost to darkness, strange pillars simultaneously bending and straight reaching upwards as if seeking something. To their left, another intrusion of the strange plastic-bag-flesh formed a passage, whilst opposite them was another door. Electing to continue following the tracks, they found a chamber filled with fleshy aquatic stumps, each about knee-height. Each was crowned with finger-length tentacles ringing a fist-width opening. The Band elected to work their way around the perimeter of the room carefully, aiming for another door opposite their entry point.

As the door slid open, Purple Point peered through. Within were four creatures resembling mobile anatomical diagrams of dogs - two walking on their hind legs, heads held high, whilst the other pair walked on their front, bodies hanging above them with the heads limp. From the opened chest and bellies of each a plethora of entrails and organs acted as limbs, caressing one another and their environment. Purple Point tried to give them meat, opening his pack and finding the nuggets of meat dried and hard, reduced to coal-like nuggets. Attempting to feed these to the Unfolded Dogs only angered them - the party defeating them without losses, although two of their number were injured. As the creatures were struck down, the bodies continued to twitch and growl.

The Skin-Wearers had a conversation with the Band, discussing the corrupting nature of the Beyond, and how some of the Band already bore its blessing. Shedding such taint in a bid to return home is how they ended up skinless, taking on fragments of new names manifested as their borrowed skins.

Opening the next chamber, they beheld an emaciated cow with a long silver-grey blade emerging from its ribs. The Skin-Wearers explained that the being was infested, and only appeared as a cow to them - assuming a form comprehensible to mortal eyes. Cunning Mountain approached to remove the blade, which followed them like a snake. Seemingly puppeteered by the blade, the cow stood and broke its own neck to face Cunning Mountain side-on. Its mouth opened slack, and a malicious whisper emerged from within - it asked for a challenge, denying any to pass by before it had been defeated. This back-and-forth continued until Golden Other challenged the being - asking who had the most fingers. Twelve digits erupted from the spine of the cow - only to be met by the 60 of the entire band. Defeated, the blade tore itself free, leaving the cow to die. It asked each to wield it as they based, and each denied it.

Continuing along their way, they found another fire, sat at by a single figure who bid they join it. Each time it spoke, strangle gurgles and croaks escaped the form. As it conversed, they slowly realised it was many smaller segments of skin, seemingly hollow and puppeted from within. Backing up in fear, they found nine figures approaching from behind - each of these further hollowed-out hosts. Blue Fallen threatened to kill themselves with their axe, denying the thing a name and form to steal if the band was not let free. The being acquiesced, and the band beat a hasty retreat.

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March 14, 2023 play report pariah playriah

Pariah Session 7 - Play Report

Use the tags to find previous and for some more details. Hex fills used this session:

  • Llama herds, predated upon by Nameless One in wolf pack.
  • Alpine Apes, 22, carry a Stone of Degeneration. Bitter, envious.

As most of the pariahs came-to after their horrifying experiences, they realised Idle Quiet had not returned with them, leaving a near-automaton in his stead. After some experimentation, they determined some part of him had been left behind, and vowed to journey back to that other realm to return it. However, they decided to examine the clearing they had spotted the night before first - figuring they had come this far.

Travelling down the mountain stealthily, they soon found themselves in dense alpine forest. In a clearing, they spied a pair of white apes, foraging in the undergrowth and speaking to one another in deep, grunting voices. Silently, they determined to not talk to the apes - something Purple Point took to mean they would attack them. He launched one arrow wide, following with another that struck one of the apes which bellowed in pain - answered in turn by alarm calls from throughout the forest. The other apes charged Purple Point, the rest of the band springing out of hiding and attacking, slaying the ape after Blue Fallen stopped it with a mighty blow to the shin. Prior to the engagement, the listless Idle Quiet had been told to attack the apes - and so he charged the injured one, which counter-charged and smashed him to the ground with a single huge fist. This strike flung his conciousness out of his body, and so it sought safety - possessing the body of the ape. Hollowed out and free of emotion, Idle Quiet took in this new experience calmly, picking up their erstwhile body and carrying it back to the band - Cunning Mountain hit them ineffectually with a stick before the others determined something unusual was occurring. Able to intuitively understand the alarm calls echoing throughout the forest, he called out an all-clear” to the others. This effort allowed the mind of the ape to drive the invader out, driving their body forwards to kill one of these murderers. Their fist went wide, and they joined their companion in death.

Idle Quiet, having lost their name in the nightmare dimensions of The Beyond, is now considered Spirit-Touched - able to project their mind-soul and possess the bodies of other. The player and I agreed this would be triggered in a high-stress situation - a near lethal hit the perfect opportunity.

The forest was now silent of alarm calls. The band gathered the corpses and dragged them up to their cave, covering their tracks before feasting upon ape flesh and making themselves vests from their torsos. This done they camped, uneventfully. The next day too was peaceful as they crossed the mountain and found a cache of the puffballs which had enabled them to travel so far from the material plane. They discussed the metaphysics of giving Idle Quiet a new true name to be bartered for his old, wondering if the newly-named identity would be willing to be destroyed in such a way. Eventually, they determined instead to travel to The Beyond, find the captor of Idle Quiets name, and take it back by force. They settled in for another monstrous trip.

This session ran short as we like to start and stop with major events - in this case, it also gives me a chance to prepare a horrible journey through The Beyond, rather than the roll-and-write trips we’ve used previously.

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March 7, 2023 play report pariah playriah

Pariah Session 6 - Play Report

After a 6 week hiatus due to some real-life shenanigans.

Use the tags to find previous and for some more details. Hex fills used this session:

  • Llama herds, predated upon by Nameless One in wolf pack.

Awaking after their psychedelic experiences, the Band saw that the weather had improved. They decided to climb the nearest mountain to get visibility over the area, building a rope ladder from their rope and bundle of sticks. Blue-Grove Hairy Auroch led the band to the peak without incident.

Creating a tool and having a developed skill in climbing meant no need to roll in this situation.

From these heights they saw several clearings, one with smoke rising from it and a strange mound of earth in the far distance, immense to be visible at such a distance. As the light began to fade, they decided to move towards the smokeless clearing to the north-east. Descending the mountain, they sought a cave in which to spend the night. Idle Quiet came face to face with a bedraggled nude figure, who they immediately terrified with their eyes and dispatched, throwing their corpse down the mountain as the rest of the Band settled in.

They made a small fire before setting up watches. During the second watch, Blue Fallen heard strange mewling sounds coming from above the cave entrance. Awakening Idle-Quiet and Golden Other, they tied a rope to a rock and threw it forwards to bait out whatever lurked above. A huge leonine form with bat-wings and a tail protruding spikes leapt upon the rock. Blue Fallen charged in and scored a crushing blow to the back of the creatures skull, causing it to immediately flee. As it took flight, Idle-Quiet and Blue-Fallen launched their weapons at the flying creature, Idle-Quiet’s weapon becoming lodged in the haunch. Golden Other leapt upon the flying beast, only just managing to grab hold of the tail. The tail began to twitch, so Golden Other bit the creature in the testicles, tearing one clean off. The pain too much for the monster, it crashed to the ground and died. The Band descended upon the beast and began butchering it, discovering its distressingly human face.

This combat had a lot of improvised checks and rolls - suiting a dynamic situation. This involved allowing Golden Other to decide if they wanted to risk the fall damage or cling on as the manticore prepared to fire its tail into her chest - at which point she had the idea to attack with her teeth.

They recovered 5 of the strange spikes from its tail, carved off the mane to make a ruff and extract the claws as trade goods. As a celebration, the Band decided to once again drink the puffball tea, all but Golden Other deciding to partake.

Their journey to the other world was fraught - as they left material reality behind, entering the infinite dark corridors of the Beyond, they were waylaid by horrible beasts with the forms of lobsters and soft pillowy flesh. These began stealing fragments of the Band with their strange, fleshy pincers until Blue-Grove chose to protect their flock. In so doing, their very name was stolen, leaving them Nameless until their bound Leopard spirit intervened, saving their name (and thereby their soul) but perishing in the process. In this chaos, the Band was separated.

This was the result of a huge dose and not-quite good enough Entheogens check and a failed Poison save. The Leopard sacrificing itself was instead of what can be character-death.

Cunning Mountain found themselves looked after by a strange towering insect wrapped about in its own flayed flesh. It released pheromones into his bloodstream, forcibly implanting ideas as if by accident. He realised all physical reality was merely an illusionary wrapper over a roiling chaos of forms and feelings. This knowledge gave him a terrifying stare, but left him out of sync with reality - forever floating an inch off the ground.

Purple Point found their form mixed with others, leaving the infinite black corridors howling like a wolf when in pain. They then found themselves in the empty between the stars, and witnessed the crawling, slithering things that lurk between them. The stars alone fill them with a nameless fear.

Idle-Quiet was stolen away by an swollen bird-figure, eyes pouring some strange black oil the creature drank from. Over indeterminable time the thing tutored Idle-Quiet, secretly slavering over the ever-ripening mind it cultivated. In a final instant, it stole his name - his soul did not return from this trip, leaving his body a Nameless husk.

Both Blue Fallen and Blue-Grove found themselves abducted by betentacled horrors, their limbs tipped with surgical tools and self-mutilating instruments. Each was bound to some curved surface, their chests split open and squirming somethings implanted within the cavities. Each was let free to wander the black corridors after this, eventually returning home with their respective passengers.

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February 20, 2023 wolves

2. The Screaming Rock

This is just a snippet from the upcoming update to Wolves Upon the Coast Grand Campaign.

2. The Screaming Rock

Screams, warped and amplified and distorted, echo across the waves. The strange stone of the Screaming Rock is filled with winding tunnels which resonate with human screams, broadcasting them miles around.

Atop and within the rock dwell 46 Ogres, who wish to possess all screams. The rock floats, untethered from the sea floor, seemingly magnetically attracted to inhabited coasts.

Whenever the Screaming Rock is encountered, it is either en-route to the nearest village-sized settlement (70%) or fleeing it, the hold’ filled with the population of the village, minus any killed or lucky enough to escape. The Screaming Rock is slow, travelling only 2 hexes a day.

The Ogres of Screaming Rock do not kill quickly - they lovingly coax every possible sound from their captives before devouring them, varying their diet of fleshy crabs which dwell in the flooded levels of the Rock. On average, a single captive is killed each day.

Those not currently being tortured are held in a single large vault towards the centre of the Rock, wherein some have learnt to hide and thrive across long decades in the dark wet. They prey upon their fellow prisoners, hiding the bodies and slowly consuming them over weeks. Worse than these, some come to see the music in the screams which wash over them night and day. They come to desire them. When the hold is next opened, another Ogre joins the crew.

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January 17, 2023 play report pariah playriah

Pariah Session 5 - Play Report

Use the tags to find previous and for some more details. Hex fills used this session:

  • River Rapids. 42, fishing village - salmon spawning.
  • Nothing.
  • Llama herds, predated upon by Nameless One in wolf pack.

The Band determined they would head north-west and investigate the warrior-lodge beyond the mountains. Checking they had rope and bundles of dry wood, they headed off - bringing their entire group, planning to establish a base-camp at the foot of the mountains. They passed through quiet alpine woods, unknowingly drawing the attention of a family infected with The Hunger. Quickly finding the foothills of the mountains, they set about finding caves to camp within whilst Purple Point, Blue Fallen and two followers headed out to search for firewood. At this point the family attacked, charging the group. Blue Fallen succumbed to the terrible muscle-cramps caused by some serum which dripped from their gnarled fingernails, as did one of the followers of the Band. From the cave entrance, Idle-Quiet One spotted the combat and raised the alarm. Purple Point commanded their wind spirit to make a great noise, noticing that the three surviving attackers were attempting to drag away his paralyzed companions. This terrible din drove them fleeing back to whence they came, leaving but a single corpse. Purple Point applied a draught of the healing-honey to Blue Fallen and brewed a restorative tea for himself and their companion. The rest of the night was uneventful.

A random encounter roll led to a small group of Ghouls surprising’ the party. Since they had said they were moving at speed, not stopping to forage or hunt, the Ghouls, numbering only 4, elected to bide their time - hence the encounter actually triggering much later on. Morale, as it often does, gave a swift resolution once spirits got involved.

The next morning, the Band awoke to find the weather had turned, heavy winds and rain dissuading them from challenging the mountain that day. Instead, they elected to investigate more caves amongst the foothills, finding a niche-filled cave with burnt moss and a damaged idol depicted a heavily pregnant woman. Leaving this second cave, they saw 6 wolves and a nude human surveying them from the mountainside. This odd group left when waved at.

During this time, Cunning Mountain caught an entire warren of hares whilst Golden Other led hunters to trap and kill and Llama. When trying to help with the hide preparation, Gold Other was begged to please do literally anything else - something they acquiesced to. For their wind-spirit exploits, Idle-Quiet One tattooed an incredible skull design on the chest of Purple Point. Meanwhile, Blue Grove brewed some strange puffballs they had found into a potent tea, drinking deeply.

A terrible ringing filled their very being as a heavy sea of nothing leaked from their eyes. Their cranial fault expanded like a balloon stretched over a cactus. They felt this ringing pass into them and through them, reverberating like a scan. They were both observer and subject, but were all to aware of an other also observing. As they came down from this potent trip, he found his physical form changed - his tongue replaced with that of a butterfly, a ribbon-thin coil within his mouth.

Idle-Quiet One immediately took the offered cup. The weight of reality crushed them down into a molecule thick pancake of suffering, aware only of the infinite everything bearing down upon them before it finally relented. The return to three-dimensions was almost as harrowing as existing in two - the pain haunting their eyes forevermore.

Blue Fallen was the last to drink of this tea - after which the colour slowly drained from reality, leaving everything monochrome. This slowly turned into true chrome, everything a shining reflective silver, the boundaries becoming murky and then immaterial - all reality a mirror reflecting the self/other that Blue Fallen recognised as themselves and as reality itself. A scream built within him before emerging metallic, echoing - a sound burnt into his ears to be heard and re-heard in every waking moment until he dies.

Interesting how much impact weather can make on these plans. The wolf encounter was simply a high-distance, neutral reaction roll. I like having the fills appear in some way in the encounters, allowing for multiple interactions during extended periods in one hex. I didn’t expect to have to ad-lib so many highly powerful drug-trips, but there you are. I think I’ll expand out the Banes tables for the journeys to other realms - two mutation results may have given the players the wrong idea about this brew. That said, nothing wrong with them not understanding what they are playing with.

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