Memories of Connor's Adventures

Orlando the Adventurer pulled a Scimitar from beneath his Robes and smiled...

Monday, 21 September 2015

Dungeon Mastery: The Wallara

Some Background

If you enjoyed the Princess Ark series by Bruce Heard that appeared in Dragon Magazine you likely remember the Wallara as a sort of Aboriginal Australian culture located over toward the arm of the Immortals and it had some superficial resemblances you probably get in a magazine article. Basically they were not even a human D&D culture. A broader understanding would have provided the setting with something better.

A Better Sense of History

Examining the indigenous dictionary and names we find three major phonetic subgroups. This is important because it describes migratory Groups that become our indigenous people.

UL
Weapons: Club, Hammer (Stone)
Tools: Bark/Leather Basket
Food: Snake, Worms, Caterpillars, Maggots
No Fire or cooking/raw foods only
What Wallara Say: The Wulgaru are considered Giant Cave dwelling people. The greatest of whom is guardian of the underworld. They are Known to abduct law breakers, They keep human remains in their caves.

In game terms these are Neanderthals (2HD to start). Their ideal class is Barbarian.


DJ
Weapons: Bow
Tools: Net (From the NG) Basket, Cooked Food
Food: Honey (From the NG), Seed, Grain, Cats, Elephants
Spiritualism: Tattoos, Concept of Evil, Drug (Non Medicinal), Champion/Hero
What Wallara Say: The Podj-Podj are as small as young children. They know Bush Tucker and are friendly. They live Behind magic Doors of bark in Trees. Time is different with the Podj-Podj - a long time with them is a short time here.

In game terms these are Halflings (or an abnormally short human subgroup). Their ideal class is Druid.

NG
Weapons: Bow, Spear
Tools: Basket, Net
Food: Fish, Honey Comb, Shrimp, Meat
Spiritualism: Drum (Musical Instrument), Gods

In game terms these are humans. Their ideal class is Bard.

As you can see these are different human migration subgroups converging over thousands of years. In terms of a D&D culture the Wallara are more than all their parts.

Migratory Subgroup Tags: Ul, Ng, Dj 

These serve as markers to indicate the origin of the name. The Wulgaru, The Podj Podj...

Ex.
Ngulwun: Ulwun (Alvin)
Wulgaru: Ulga (Olga)
Bulya: Ulya (Ilya)
Bulla: Ulla (Ella)
Tulu: Tula (Tula)


Oral History 

It is tradition of the Wallara to describe pivotal historical events in the form of short stories that can be passed down through the generations.

How Djarapa made Wulgaru  

'First time everybody in our tribe were happy; happy until an old fool called Djarapa tried to make magic songs over wood, stone and red ocre paint.'
Tula went on to explain how old Djarapa cut a piece of wood from a green tree and this he trimmed to look like the body of a human being. Next he made the legs and arms from pieces of wood and for knee and arm joints he used rounded stones that he had gathered up in a riverbed. After putting them together with red-ochred string he painted ears, nose and eyes in the thing and as he painted he chanted a very magic song that had been taught to him by a now dead tribal medicine man.
'Good song-man.' said Tula, and when I asked did he know the chant he looked horrified and explained that it was, 'proper danger song...suppose wrong man get that song then straight-away him kill everybody, one time...all-a-same lightning.
All day and night Djarapa chanted, and beat his tap-sticks over the lifeless sbits of wood and stone. he chanted till his throat became dry and hoarse, and at last, in despair, he gathered up his hunting weapons and went his way.
And as he walked along Djarapa heard a loud clanking sound with the crashing of many trees behind him, and looking around he beheld the terrible monster of wood and stone shambling along on his trail. Its arms twisted and beat the air and he noticed that these flailing arms were the things that beat down the trees as it moved along. The creaking noises he heard ame from the creatures knees and arm joints, and every now and then the monster opened its mouth and snapped its jaws togwther that the white cockatoos that followed overhead screeched a warning to the other animals and birds of the bush. When this happened the newly created thing opened its eyes so that they all blazed, 'all-a-same stars'.
'Djarapa dead-fright now when that devil-devil big-eye been come close up alonga his track,' Tula explained, 'but when Djarapa stop then that Wulgaru thing stop too and when him run that devil-devil run too. Djarapa can't lose it.'
Trembling with fear Djarapa noticed that the thing of his creation was only following him by sight, so he leapt behind dark-green bush, then doubling back on his trail, he stood behind a large salmon-gum tree as the shuffling monster went on, finally to enter a big lagoon. Watching that spot in amazement the terrified creator of monsters beheld it emerge from the opposite bank and move off into the jungle beyond.
'Proper fool that Djarapa. Man make Devil-Devil...now he can’t kill it...make trouble for everybody,' bitterly commented Tula.
Source: 'Tales from the Aborigines' by Bill Harney

For the DM: This tale is about the perils of enchanting Automatons


The Story of the Red Cloud 

A long time ago, a hunter called Inetina was spearing fish on this large reef beside which we now fished, and as he walked between the deep coral pools he heard an angry voice call his name.
Turning quickly, in an attitude of defense, he beheld a large open clam shell, and within its depths was the angry face of a human being. As Inetina looked upon it in amazement the thing spoke angrily.
'I am the head-man of your tribe, yet you stabbed at my shell with your spear as you went by...you are a fool to act as only a woman would do.'
At that terrible insult of being classed as a woman, Inetina picked up a large stone and hurling it with all his might he drove it into the creature's mouth, and and as it died a great red cloud came out of the sea and closed in upon the land.
'Everywhere sickness,' explained my narrator. 'Everybody died in their camps and on the hunt; their bones lay white over the land as does the dried coral on the reefs of the shores...
'And when drifted away only two people were alive of all the tribe...a young man and his sister...By law they cannot marry, but a spirit came to the pair in the night and told them for the tribe they must have a family...so that brother and sister became man and wife and their children formed our present Udwadja tribe.'
Source: 'Tales from the Aborigines' by Bill Harney

For the DM: This tale is about a cataclysmic cloud that decimated all the lands


Names of the Wallara


Male Wallara


  • Billarra
  • Mirawong
  • Kadjali
  • Bul-bul
  • Dingle
  • Manbuk
  • Dunia
  • Nartu
  • Numeuk
  • Lumberlilli
  • Lobor
  • Marmuk
  • Nymeuk
  • Maran
  • Bandar
  • Mitjarra
  • Kununjun
  • Kunduk
  • Minyinderri
  • Mamru
  • Jalnuk
  • Badju
  • Yaba
  • Marlu
  • Tulu
  • Djarapa
  • Mahlindj
  • Bulla
  • Bilemu
  • Bema
  • Pompey
  • Dalmaru
  • Jumalumpowa
  • Iramatu
  • Kuparunni
  • Windjedda
  • Kumbolo
  • Muradja
  • Inetina


Female Wallara


  • Milajun
  • Ninual
  • Mardinya
  • Beminin
  • Bulya
  • Ditzi
  • Cananda
  • Kudjerdi
  • Wungala
  • Jalna
  • Yama
  • Mamarduru
  • Maratdji
  • Kulama
  • Ikeikginni
  • Ngulwun
  • Gumajun
  • Nymil
  • Yemma

Build your own Wallara Name

Shared prefix
1. Ku-
2. Mar-
3. Ya-
4. B-
5. M-
6. N-
7. K-
8. J-

Tribal Designator
1. ul
2. n
3. ma
4. em
5. dj
6. ar

Female Suffix
1. -ma
2. -un
3. -ya
4. -i

Male Suffix
1. -uk
2. -lu
3. -ru
4. -a



Conclusion

There you go. A Better option for the Wallara. Enjoy.

Year of Chaos: week eight


Map of the week: The warrens


Sunday, 20 September 2015

Camera Obscura: The twenty most common words

The twenty most common words

A Listing


  1. The
  2. Of
  3. And
  4. To
  5. A
  6. In
  7. Is
  8. I
  9. That
  10. It
  11. For
  12. You
  13. Was
  14. With
  15. On
  16. As
  17. Have
  18. But
  19. Be
  20. They


Potential Sentances


  • For you in of that they and I have but to be it is on as was with the A. (meaning: we are coming for you first)
  • For you in of that they and I have but to be it is on as with the a in was. (meaning: you are going to be in the middle of what is coming)
So the twenty most common words make up threats...kinda says it all.

Calidar Cartography: Morlune Swamp part 3

Deep Down

Dont touch anything. Dont even look. Some things should never be known. Go back now and you might even live. There are things worse than death...Run!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Calidar Cartography: Morlune Swamp continued...

 Deeper and Deeper, Deeper Down

Okay, so you decided to keep going down. You may be insane, but thats not to say you are alone in your insanity...

Calidar Cartography: Morlune Swamp

The Arboretum

Deep in Morlune Swamp is a walled off region. The walls are a hundred feet high and fifty feet thick and covered in engravings of demons that might be climbed by anyone able to overcome the feeling of fear that comes from being so close to such images. They encompass a square mile of Primordial forest. The only gates are black iron and as tall as the walls. They are also sealed shut.



The Caves Beneath

Somewhere within the arboretum is the entrance to a subterranean shrine of a forgotten faith which is the entrance to a cave network that descends downward several hundred feet. What is down there is anyone's guess. If you care enough to cross a swamp, scale a demon engraved wall, explore a forest and lower yourself into a deep pit, you have only yourself to blame when you perish.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Short Fiction: The Lens Cycle

THE LENS CYCLE


PETER

It was the School bell and the students poured out into the playground. Parents would begin showing up to retrieve children. For Peter it would be a long wait. He loitered near the benches where he sat against the wall during lunch and noticed the piece of circular glass.
Peter looked through the glass eye. The Playground filled with the cries the other children around him was empty through the lens. Empty and still. It left Peter with a feeling of confusion. The girls sitting near him giggled and whispered to one another causing him to blush. Marie, Vanessa, Claire - The Triumvirate. Peter furrowed his eyebrows in consternation and returned to the lens eye. It still wasn’t working right. In all directions the playground was empty. He bit his lip out of sheer distress in that habitual way that usually earned him the very vocal concerns of his mother when it happened at home. He was fairly certain there should be people on the other side of the lens of glass.
It should be just like the glass in any old magnifying glass. – You should be able to see the others. Peter again looked over the playground through the lens – it was there but the other children were not. Peter held the lens away from his eye and looked at the other children. They seemed real yet they were not. Peter reached out and touched a shoulder of one of them who had come within reach – pulling the lens up against his eye to look the individual over.
Gone again - The Victim of his tactile experiment pulled away and Peter lowered the empty looking glass from his eye. Now he turned the lens in his hand until he noticed the spot of light on the ground. That was just like a magnifying glass. They all did that, so what was wrong with this one? An ant caught his attention. There through the lens was a dead ant. On the ground in the real world an ant had somehow become the victim of the light from the lens and it curled and died. The ant through the lens was dead and the Ant on this side was just dead. The other side of the lens was the future?
Peter leaped to his feet and looked closely at the school buildings through the lens. They were closed. No students in seats.
No teachers. OK so maybe it wasn’t a school day. The Sun through the lens was pretty much the same time of day as now. Was it a weekend? But why were there no cars in the street? He needed to do something he could see through the lens.
Chalk. Peter turned to the girls.
“I need some chalk.”  Vanessa was forthcoming and seemed gratified at his simple thank you. The other girls seemed disappointed they had lacked chalk. Peter stepped onto the seat, chalked a single brick, and looked through the lens. The Brick that had been bare before was now with a fine chalk coating.
 The chalked brick went wherever there is. Peter sat and returned the remains of the chalk to Vanessa with another ‘thanks’. She smiled awkwardly and fled with her two friends. The ant was dead after it died and the brick was coated in chalk after it was ‘chalked’.
If through the lens was the future – it wasn’t the future as it was here – it was the future where things had changed. Still it didn’t explain things. He didn’t know the words for it. Knowing the Answer was important. He needed to see. Peter ran to the window of the class room that he seemed to spend his life in. The Calender would tell him. Today was Friday. An eleven marked the day. The Lens showed the same day. It would change on Monday. The Teacher always updated the calendar on Monday. It was still Friday on the Calender.
Peter looked at the perimeter fence and the cars of parents beyond it. His father drove the car to the designated pickup point – the other cars behind and ahead of him and bumped the horn.
Peter sat the Lens down on the bench and walked toward the perimeter gate. It was time to go home and it didn’t seem right to leave the school grounds with the Lens. Peter looked back at the School and the chalk-painted brick, thinking of the lens he was leaving behind. Vanessa smiled at Peter as he exited the playground to the waiting car of his Father. Her companions Marie and Claire smiled and the trio giggled. Peter shook his head and looked at them out of the corner of his eye. They were defiantly up to something. Maybe they were terrorists.
Tomorrow was Saturday. Everything would be different tomorrow.

CLAIRE

Claire stood with Vanessa and Marie and waited for their ride home. Today it was Vanessa’s Mother. Her SUV came with TV and headphones. As the SUV appeared Vanessa and Marie walked to the gate while Claire ran back to the Seats by the wall and its chalked brick. The Lens was still there and she quickly snatched it up and ran for the gate in the Perimeter fence.
“Afternoon Girls,” Mrs Harney was going to ask them about their day.
“Is there any Homework?” Claire desperately wanted the answer to that to be a NO.
“Yes,” Vanessa Blabbed.
“Math” said the three of them like a surround sound speaker system at the centre of which was Mrs Harney. Their reward was the Television and both Marie and Vanessa pulled on the headphones. The Lens was in Claire’s Pocket. Claire immediately searched her pocket for it and emerged with her prize. The Piece of glass seemed unscathed at the hands of Peter. Still it drew Claire’s interest away from the television screen and out the window. The Street was empty through the lens.
That wasn’t right. Claire lowered the lens and the street filled with people instantly.
Claire returned the lens to her eye and looked at the screen. To her astonishment the DVD they were watching was replaced with Television and right now it was scrolling a set of seven numbers across the bottom: Six – Twenty-three – Five – Eleven – Forty – Thirty – Thirty-three. Claire pocketed the lens and began a search of her bag for a pencil which she immediately used to scribe the numbers down on a corner of a page in her schoolbook. Once Claire was done she returned to watching the DVD.
The SUV made an unexpected detour into the car-park of a convenience store. Mrs Harney opened her door and grabbed at her purse.
“OK girls, stay put, I just have to put my Lotto in.” Claire pulled the page from her school book and pressed the numbers in Mrs Harney’s face.
“Can you do these for us Mrs Harney?” Claire looked sincere. Mrs Harney gave in with a shake of her head.
“We’re going to win.” Mrs Harney mouthed the letters OK and looked the collection of numbers over.
“Remember girls if you win it goes in the bank until you are old.” She looked at the syndicate of gamblers occupying the back seat.
“Yes Mrs Harney”, Claire agreed while Vanessa and Marie seemed confused by what was transpiring.
Vanessa pulled her headphones off. Claire smiled as Vanessa’s mom walked off toward the store.
“Your mom is getting us some lotto.” Vanessa returned to her headphones and seemed depressed she had missed a vital piece of the intricate social interplay of characters in her favourite anime.
Vanessa’s mother returned to the vehicle with three drinks and a purse stuffed with six tickets. She separated one from the group and put it into the glove compartment of the SUV folded neatly in a page from a school book.
“I did not just get a lotto ticket for three children.” Mrs Harney was adamant though the idea that Vanessa’s Mother was somehow enabling three minors in their gambling addiction didn’t seem to register in the ethical strata of the SUV’s back seat. The Vehicle started and they quickly left the car park and headed for Marie’s home – it was first on this run.
The SUV turned left and there it was. They had gone the wrong way. Claire watched now as the large truck that had decided to use one of the exits as an entry tore through the front of the SUV and the vehicle, as solid and well made as it was disintegrated into nothing. Airbags exploded in the front with little thought to the occupants in the back seats. Claire hit her head and descended into unconsciousness.

Claire awoke in the hospital bed surrounded by her parents. She couldn’t remember much of what had happened but she did remember who her parents were. She didn’t talk immediately. The tubes stuck up her nose irritated her.
“Ah! Leave those alone sweetie.” Claire let go of the tubes and felt worried. Her mother attacked her with an overbearing embrace but her Father seemed to understand the despair.
“All right Kate, leave the girl alone,” He kissed her forehead and nodded reassuringly.
“Your friends are fine and Mrs Hanley will be forgiven.” The Television behind her father’s head indicated it was Saturday. The Lotto was being drawn: Six – Twenty-three – Five – Eleven – Forty – Thirty – Thirty-three. The numbers tumbled down into their positioned and the minor celebrity declared that some lucky individuals had just won a hundred million dollars. Claire smiled.
“What is it Sweetie?” Her father turned to look at the screen.
“We win.” Claire was sure of her success.
“What do you mean Claire?” Her father wanted to know if the bang on his daughter’s head had dislodged something important. The Doctor, loitering in the background now shone a light into her eyes as though he could see her inner workings before pulling away and looking at the whole Claire from a distance.
“There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with her.” Claire nodded in agreement with the Doctor.
“We win.” Claire was adamant.

MARIE

Marie held the lens tightly in her hands. Somehow it had wound up in her hand as the paramedics and firemen cut her out of the SUV. She was awake for every moment. The army of strangers telling her not to move about and they would have her out soon enough. Sparks sprayed across the corner of her eye like fireworks and a terrible noise came from someplace close to her as they tore open the door on her side of the wreck. Marie couldn’t see her friends in the wreckage as the emergency workers struggled to lift her out without further injury. Was everyone else safe? Marie held the Lens in her hand tightly against her chest. Somehow it seemed like it was important and she wasn’t willing to let go of it – not even for the paramedic in the ambulance who kept insisting he needed her to relax her hand.
“Sweetie...it’s OK, you just need to let go of the piece of glass. It’s cutting your hand.” Was that what she could smell? It only took a moment as she relaxed her hand on the Lens and it was gone from her.
Marie screamed at the violation and grasped at it as the Paramedic examined it. He pushed her hand down and the lens vanished from view.
“What’s your name?”
She thought of Peter holding the Lens in the school ground. Was that where it had come from? The Paramedic shone a torch in Marie’s eyes and it bought her back into focus.
“What is your name sweetie?” She struggled to say it. She tried again:
“Marie.” The paramedic smiled at the response. Marie was making a real effort.
“OK Marie...I need to look at your hand...if you can open your hand a little so I can look at it.” Marie released her grip a lot and something Woolly was pushed into her palm.
“OK Marie, it’s just a little cut from the lens, but you will be fine.” Marie struggled to speak.
“M’friends?” The whisper caught the paramedic’s ear. He nodded.
“Your friends will be fine.” The bandage around the hand, he held the lens in view of her immobilized head.
“Here you go Marie.” The Lens made it into the palm of her bandaged hand and she gripped it with less force.
“So you like lenses Marie?” The topic of the Lens seemed to interest everyone in the Ambulance as it headed for its destination.
“It’s Peter’s” Concern smothered the Ambulance. They hadn’t seen any males in the crash. Had they missed one?
“Was Peter in the car with you?” No. the shake of her head seemed to let them off the hook.
“He’s a boy from my school.” The paramedic smiled at what he was hearing and turned to look elsewhere in the Ambulance.
“Peter must be a nice friend to let you have his lens then huh?”
“No. I think he gave it to Vanessa...” The Paramedic winced at that childhood relationship disaster in the making.
“OK Marie, you hold onto the lens and give it back to Vanessa when you are better.” He looked away at some distraction.
“Peter.” Another voice spoke Peter’s name as a whisper. Was there someone else in the ambulance? Marie seemed confused now. Would she give the lens to Vanessa or Peter? The Paramedic looked sternly and scowled at someone she couldn’t see.
“Vanessa, Marie. Save yourself the heartache and give the lens to Vanessa.” A hand patted her wrist in sympathy.
The Ambulance halted and the back opened to a new crowd of people. There was a blur of words that Marie had often heard on Television. Something was said about Spine and head injuries. Her name was Marie and she was stable. They took her inside. A lady in a white coat like her science teacher shone a torch in her eyes and looked at a chart of notes in all likelihood made by the man from the Ambulance. She had seen the shows; they usually saved people – especially kids.
The lights of the ceiling rolled above her and became a blur until she felt the need to sleep.
“Marie?” At her name she saw Peter looking at her and smiling. Marie smiled back.
“I found your lens.” She tried to lift her arm to surrender the prize in her hand but could not.
Marie struggled to keep her eyes open; her grip on the lens became weaker until she simply no longer felt anything. Then it was gone. Someone said something in the distance but she no longer even wanted to try to listen to the voices or look at the lights. Weariness enveloped her. She could feel a noise slowing in her ears. The drumbeat further and further apart, the sound ever quieter until it was gone.

VANESSA

It was Sunday when she woke. She really didn’t remember what had happened but the when she asked a Nurse if she could watch a Television her father revealed his presence by denying her access to the one thing she really enjoyed before he retreated out into the hall. Her Father was spending a lot of time talking to the Doctors out in the Hall. She didn’t hear much of it but he spent some considerable time holding his hands over his mouth and his eyes were filled with tears. Something was wrong. Vanessa returned to thinking about her television. For some reason they were refusing to let her watch Television. It just didn’t make sense.
For a time Vanessa looked out the window at the city. People were everywhere going about their lives. Eventually the amusement wore off and she started looking about in the room for something – anything to distract her from the boredom of being confined to a bed without television.
Vanessa looked at some of the things that seemed to belong to her – they were on a small table with wheels to make for ease of movement. Homework - she seemed to remember that she had a collection of math sums to get through before school on Monday. More than likely her father had dug the books out of her bag and placed them in reach. Vanessa flipped open the pages and looked around for a pencil. What is Seven plus eight times three minus six? The question was in word form so she wrote the numbers and installed the signs. Where they right? Vanessa flicked back through her work book to some done in class. They looked right. Vanessa returned to the Page of Homework problems and noticed an inconvenient lump under the pages that made it difficult to write. She lifted the workbook and noticed an all too familiar glass lens.
Vanessa looked at Peter’s lens. Had he been to see her? She didn’t remember seeing him visit. Why would he leave his lens with her? Did everyone know she was here? Her concern gave way to a new feeling. Having Peter’s lens made her feel happy and she held onto it for a while – abandoning her homework for the moment. Vanessa looked through the lens. It didn’t really seem to magnify anything in the room and she looked out at the hall. It was vacant through the lens. Her father had likely moved down the hall to talk to the doctor so she turned away and looked down at the people in the street. They had vanished from view.
Vanessa sat up to get a better look at the street with both eyes. There were people everywhere. Vanessa seemed confused. The lens again showed an empty street. That was wrong. The street was again filled with people as the lens was lowered and then the street was empty when Vanessa looked through it. She tapped it with her finger. It was obviously broken. Vanessa held the lens up and waved her hand behind it. She saw only the empty room - She didn’t exist. Was that it? Was she a ghost? Everyone out the window was a ghost. She looked at her father talking to the doctor in the hall. He wasn’t there when she looked through the lens.
Everyone was a ghost.
Vanessa dropped the lens on the bed and pulled her legs up against her chest under the sheet and held them tightly out of concern. She didn’t feel dead. How could everyone be dead and someone not say something; how could they not know?
Vanessa bit her lip. This was troubling. First no television and now she was a ghost.
Where was her mother? Vanessa looked at her father and the doctor. They were no good. They were ghosts like her. Mom would know what to do.
Vanessa saw something. For a moment she could remember a terrible noise and then it went away.
Her father pushed his head through the door.
“Vanessa? Are you OK?” He seemed concerned about her sitting up in bed rather than relaxing.
“Where’s Mom?” he looked away at the doctor and turned back.
“Mom is being helped by the Doctors right now.” That didn’t really make things better.
Her father returned to the Doctor and left the door not quite locked behind him slipped ajar of its own accord.
“Your wife will never walk again.” The words seem to startle Vanessa. Who were they talking about? They couldn’t be talking about her mother could they?
Vanessa returned to focus her attention on the confines of the room and looked at the lens lying on the bed-sheet all alone. How had it all gone so wrong? Why would Peter give her such a strange thing? What did it all mean?

ROLAND

Roland found the TV remote and turned on the TV. There was a Store Camera View of a Woman who had won a hundred million dollars lotto. It looked like Roland’s Mummy – she would be happy. Roland Smiled at his mother’s future happiness. His father snatched the Remote and turned it off. They were going outside. Outside was always interesting.
Roland had been dragged off to the hospital by his father. He was assured repeatedly during the ride in the car that Mummy was there with his Sister Vanessa and on arrival at the hospital watched his father cry in the car in the Hospital Car-park and could only feel sad.
Inside the hospital were mostly women and children - a lot of people talking –and all standing still or going places in a hurry. Roland watched to see if one of them was his mother or sister. The Speculation ended at a room where his mother lay in bed surrounded by machines that made noises he had seen and heard on Television. Roland wondered if he would see himself on Television and looked about.
His mother was pretending to be asleep. He could tell that from the tightness of her eyes and how when she was really asleep her mouth would be slightly open.
“It will be OK Mummy.” Roland hugged her until she relaxed.
“I just need to speak to the doctor.” Roland watched as his father moved down the hallway to speak with a nice man in a white coat. Roland watched until they were gone from view and returned to hugging him mother who seemed happy he knew that she was pretending to sleep.
“Mummy...you were on TV.” Her eyes Tightened at the statement. Did she not like being on TV? Roland hugged harder.
“I’ll put Roland in with Vanessa and be right back.” Again Roland was swept away from his Mother and this time they moved a little way down the hall to another room. Vanessa was there. She seemed afraid of something. Roland found himself abandoned in his sister’s new room. “I have to speak with your Mother. Look after each other for a while.”
Roland looked at his sister. She was still afraid. She looked at something on her bed. Roland snatched it up to look at it. It was glass. Roland looked through it and waved his hands behind it. He was invisible. That seemed like fun. Roland smiled. This would make his mother happy. Roland walked into the wall and made a noise that startled Vanessa. She climbed out of bed and cowered in the corner near the window. Roland smiled at his sister.
“It’s OK Vanessa, I’m invisible.” This time with a hand out in front to feel for things Roland walked out into the Hallway in search of his mother. She would like it if he showed her he was invisible.
No one seemed to notice as Roland as he passed down the hall way. Roland was satisfied that he was invisible as he reached the door to his mother’s room.
Roland heard Vanessa scream and looked back down the hall to the strange people entering her room. Roland, worried for Vanessa, hurried to get the attention of their father only to be scooped up by his father and carried back down the hallway. Together they watched as Vanessa was lifted by two people in white coats back into bed.
“We need to restrain her.” Roland was confused by the word.
“Daddy, what does ‘restrain’ mean?” Roland looked to his silent Father for answers and saw that he was crying again. Roland hugged his father awkwardly.
“It will be OK Daddy. Vanessa’s just afraid of glass.” The words seemed to make his father hug him tighter.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

vocator Jarno: Tsunami Alert for Pacific

Three hours ago Chile experienced an 8.3 magnitude quake. Waves are at around five metres. If you live in California they should hit in nine hours. For those in Hawaii or new zealand it should be around twelve hours.

Vocator Jarno: Kes has meltdown, gets arrested

Jennifer Lien is having a hard time living amongst humans. Had meltdown over neighbours crying children, flashed them, told deputies she 'could have them killed' and got arrested.
Yes, an image of Kes poking her finger in the chest of starfleet security declaring: "I...could have you...killed" in her worst immitation of Captain Kirk while Tuvok reviews security footage of her running around Voyager naked just slapped us all in the face.

Redbox: That Map

 



The sparesness of room density is awesome.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Blue map: Arn in three maps

 

FreeStuff: unrealengine

Unrealengine.com are giving their game engine and a bunch of associated stuff like grassland terrain, weapons, heroes, npcs away free. If you are a developer or are looking to go mmorpg hard on your private little campaign Setting this could be for you.

Source: Unrealengine.com

Political Assassination: Australia gets 29th Prime Minister


Monday, 14 September 2015

Megadungeon: genesis pit upper levels




Dungeon Mastery: Boneharrow

PART THREE: BONEHARROW

Valley Encounter Area 1: A Gruesome Discovery

Having arrived at Boneharrow valley Location 1, The adventurers discover the skull on a stick. It is acompanied by two rib bones dangling from twine made from hair. There are wooden stakes hammered into the dirt and ash on the ground where a kobold was burned alive here. The skull and ribs are all that remains. Roll 1d20 and add character's wisdom bonuses.


Valley Encounter Area 2: The Dam


Climbing over the dam is going to be a difficult endeavour. Its a matter of good judgement as to where the pcs put their feet. Roll 1d20 and add wisdom bonuses.



If the adventurers wade from the middle of the dam, the water will be chest height. If they wade from the side it will be knee deep.


Valley Encounter Area 3: The Sapworks (1-50)

Depending on the time of the day one of the humanoid groups will be outside their lair looking for water. Orcs will prefer the day. Those with nightvision will be active after dark. The kobolds make use of what ever time is not being used by the others.
Food and water require sanitation.

This area replaces most of the caves of chaos.


Valley Encounter Area 4: The trail up to the Siegetemple

If there are four kobolds remaining they will retreat down the goat track to the sapworks.

Valley Encounter Area 5: The Siegetemple (51-64)

The temple of evil chaos component is now the Siegetemple. The entrance to the Siegetemple is bricked up. There are a number of ways in. They can remove the bricks from the entrance, climb the cliff to to the side entrance, or climb up the well.


The Bronze Service
Minor Artefact of Entropy
Power: wish (create food and water) 100pp. 
penalties and handicaps: 
  • Corrupting alignment shift to evil chaos anyone touching the artefacts.
  • The corrupted return as minor undead (skeleton or zombie).

The Bronze Service consists of a craft, platter, goblets.



Area 58: The Chapel of Chaos
Father Jarnos has awaited the adventurer's arrival since he convinced them to investigate Boneharrow.




Charisma check required for anyone touching any bronze object from the altar including a goblet:
Bronze Goblet
bronze tray
Bronze craft
Roll 1d20 and add pcs charisma bonus.

Jarno retreats to area 59 (or an alternate if this is where the pcs entered from) if they overcome the artefact.

Valley Encounter Area 6: The Bonewash

There are usually humanoids out here during the day. Its pretty much the only source of fresh water.
.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Short Fiction: Space Industries

Space Industries: Matb


DESTRUCTION OF THE SPACE WHEEL

LOCATION: THE SPACE WHEEL, EARTH-MOON STATIONARY POINT
DATE: FEBUARY 17, 2050

Heather McNeil was determined not to screw this moment up. She had been here only one time back in twenty forty-five when the Station had been constructed and then mothballed because the expense was beyond the remaining states of the Union. Economic mismanagement had taken their dream from within. The Space Wheel represented the act of the last President of the United States – an engineer and a dreamer from long Island. It also represented ten trillion dollars that China had retained as an outstanding Debt. A Deep breath. The hatch released and Heather pushed it inside following it in. Immediately behind her the Chinese Astronauts were patently waiting with interest. China...Heather shook her head at the idea...Space Industries now owned America’s Dream lock, stock and barrel. Space Industries had purchased the Space Station, and the Companies thatnowilt it. They had simply offered Americans who held the Intellectual Property shares in Space Industries if they bought in with their Intellectual Property. NASA engineers went private in their hundreds. The Big Contractors knew the good times were over so they bought in as well. Traitors. Heather instantly regretted the word. She had signed on with Space Industries’ Astronaut Core rather than join the cue of American Heroes who now stood in line for a meal. Their pride had made them bitter and left them in the refugee camps with nothing. Heather thought of her friend, fellow Astronaut, and lover, Kaite Walsh, who had chosen not to follow Heather to Space Industries but instead had vanished into the Huddled Masses of New Texas to find a new American Dream. Heather had signed on with Space Industries because they had made the dream their own.
Space Industries were recruiting Astronauts from around the world with wages at ten times what was being offered by the old space faring nations. Space Industries were plundering the Intellectual Talent of the World. Astronauts, Engineers, Scientists. They were signing on at a record rate. Heather nodded to Jun? Was that his name? Oh god...there was going to be a Diplomatic incident because she had suddenly forgotten the name of one of their team engineers. Heather waited until he was in a good position to watch the code entered into the pad and then began pushing the buttons. A – 1 – 1 – 1 – F – R – 6 – 7 –T. The sequence opened the door to the large spacious chamber that looked like a Subway car. Heather waved the Young Engineer in and indicated the remainder of the group forward. Once all were in the Turbo-lift, safe and strapped in despite the microgravity environment, Heather activated the system. The movement was slow at first but as it picked up speed they all seemed to experience the moment like it was some carnival ride. Heather smiled at the ‘fist timers’. Heather contemplated where they would be now if the USA had chosen to rise above bigotry and bought China in on the International Space Station back before she was born. The thought of living on some Space Station made her instantly regret the thought. Sixty Years late and they had built that space station and now? Space Industries were making her dream real. When the Second hatch opened the Turbo-lift had docked with the forever moving Maglev Train that comprised the Habitat component of the Space-wheel and gravity seemed just like earth. They released from their seats and walked onto the only space station with artificial gravity. She turned to her fellow Space Industries Astronauts and smiled.
“Welcome to Space Wheel!” Heather shook Jun’s hand in greeting with a smile. There seemed to be a consensus of excitement at being on board the first ever space station to enjoy artificial gravity The next eight hours involved activation of onboard systems designed to make life better. Unlike the international Space Station before it, the systems made far less noise.
The Space Industries crew were professionals. Tomorrow she would do a spacewalk just to inspect the condition of the solar array and by the end of the week everything would be good to go. Good to go. What had Kaite said on that last day back in twenty forty-five when they had got done building the Space wheel?
Kiss me. Astronaut Sex in Space. Heather smiled. Jun interrupted her flashback.
“Are you OK?” Heather nodded her satisfaction.
“I’m Fine. What’s up?” Jun was smiling. Something was up.
“Would you like some pork ribs?” Heather laughed. She had never had real food in space – not even when they activated the Space-wheel.
“Yes Please.” Heather’s smile lit Jun up. They had installed the one thing lacking on this train ride: a kitchen. The evening was filled with something unexpected – a moment of happiness - and It lasted well into their rest periods. Eventually the evening broke up and everyone settled in to sleep. Heather relaxed in her personal bed cubicle for the evening. If they needed her they would wake her. She needed sleep but it didn’t come. She returned to thought of Kaite. America was done. Kaite had resigned the day the states fragmented.
“I am not going to work for the Chinese.” It wasn’t really the Chinese any more. Space Industries had come out of nowhere. That move had changed everything - Enough that Heather had jumped at the opportunity when they bought the Space-wheel. She knew the systems. Something had rushed her feet. The old headphones communications pack sat at the far end of her bunk. Had someone left it here during primary activation and mothballing? Heather hooked it up with her toes and reached down to grab it. The audio was open and counting down.
“Seventeen – Sixteen – Fifteen – Fourteen...“ There was an alarm of concern in the back of her mind. Where did she know that voice from? Heather’s mind was lethargic with the task of needing to awaken. The moment of recognition made her sick.
“Oh fuck...that Bitch.” Kaite Walsh had been on that last Atlantis mission to the Space Wheel. They had placed a device onboard.
“Three – Two – One...” Nuclear Light blinded her.


THE NEW TEXAS INCIDENT

LOCATION: MEXICO CITY REFUGEE CAMP RED BETA, NEW TEXAS
DATE: MAY 1, 2050

Kaite Walsh moved warily amongst the populace crowded in the alley with her ten litre Water Bottle. Eyes watched eyes. Kaite stopped to look at the dead snake hanging from a wire.
“How much for the Snake?” the old cartel boss rubbed his chin and looked her up and down and smiled.
“You obviously don’t got money or food stamps. But I take what you are offering.” Kaite’s eyes became mercantile as she inspected his dishevelled body and reached into his rags in search of his manhood.
“Agreed”, ominous thunder sounded from overhead as Kaite pleasured one snake for little more than the payment of another. The thunder on the other hand wasn’t going away. The explosion of the impact ended their commercial transaction and she was thrown from the shelter of his shanty across the alley with nothing left by a piece of flesh in her hands. Kaite woke to find she could not hear the panic about her. The old man had been impaled on a wheel of steel as part of what had fallen from the sky rolled through the camp. In the distance she could see a large mass of metal – burning. Was that the hull of some huge aircraft? The just as engorged corporate logo dominated what was most certainly a freight container along with the remains of a Square Code. The Desperate swarmed past her seeking what they could from the gift from heaven. Kaite turned and ran for her squat. Her worthless belongings had been rummaged again in search of valuables, but she pulled them aside in search of the one valuable she did have. Beneath the dirt and gravel an old ammunition box and within it a makeshift radiation detector revealed itself. A quick turn of the hand generator charged the capacitors and then an adjustment of the frequency just below switch-on of the phosphor low energy globe and she watched as it sparked with light.
The tell tale signs of high energy nuclear particles impacting on the globe. There were a lot of them. It was Hot. The Camp was being bathed in radiation. Kaite looked back over her shoulder at the hell that had befallen them and the tidal swell of people who were going to their deaths. She would need to be amongst them if she was going to save lives. The Ammunition box seemed oddly light in her hand now as she pushed through the crowd.
“It’s Radioactive. Get to the far side of the camp.” her voice began as a whisper and she struggled to get their attention. The Globe flickered as she waved it in front of them. Some turned and walked away, others ignored her.
“For Fuck sake, it is radioactive! Get to the far side of the camp.” Kaite’s voice was loud now. People noticed the flickering globe and dropped what they had been lifting from the wreckage. Kaite could see it now as people began a slow understanding retreat from the death that would claim them. The Wreckage was most defiantly not any aircraft. It had fallen from the sky but it wasn’t an aircraft. A space ship fell from the sky? It wasn’t the cargo block that was radioactive. The wreckage of the ship seemed to have torn open the hull and exposed what could only be the space ship’s nuclear drives. It seemed odd that it all hadn’t gone off like a nuke. Kaite smiled as her makeshift radiation detector died. The prospect of being killed by the space age along with the rest of the refugees in the camp sparked some realization in her. The Future was now and it would not be stopped –certainly not by the failure of one ship – irradiating a refugee camp. The crowd still lingered at a distance they considered safe. They were still hopeful the contents of the giant gift-box from space could be salvaged. Kaite abandoned her examination of the motors and walked toward the super-container. The point of entry wasn’t on any of the sides facing outward. She waved at some of her refugees.
“I need on the roof.” A Pyramid of people formed against the box. Kaite was lifted up with her radiation detector. There it was -The view of a life time. She stood forty feet above the camp and could now see to the edge of the city. A Single hatch revealed itself. Kaite pulled at the mechanism and it opened. Below her a treasure of technology, Parts to some technological wonder, new space suits, Boxes of Rations.
Her radiation detector died – the globe going dark. An adjustment and it became a light bulb with a generator illuminating the world. In here it was shielded against the horrors of failure. Everything she would ever want if she was building a space station. A Release and a very large door opened exposing the contents to the world. This was how they loaded it on the ground. In space it would be the little hatch.
“Get everything out except the space suits and anything that looks like a tool!” Kaite had a plan. If it could keep radiation out, it could also keep it in. Kaite was impressed by the way the container had apparently absorbed the energy of space-fall. There wasn’t any physical damage to anything inside the box. Kaite selected a pair of helpers and helped them climb into space suits. Apparently it was muggy and warm as they walked out into the Sun and the temperature rose quickly. The Ship wreckage was everywhere. They would need to get as much as possible of the radioactive materials into the container. The primary problem was the exposed drives. No one in a space suit could get into the drives. Kaite slipped through the hole. Saving her people called for further sacrifice. The international symbol for radiation marked a single large apparatus. It had to be the Reactor that supplied the Drives with whatever it was they needed. Removing it would hasten her certain death. A spanner fitted the bolts holding the mechanism it its frame. Time she did not have was spent on the wretched bolts but the device was freed and Kaite struggled to drag the device to the hole in the hull.
“Get it into the Box.” Kaite was sick. She could feel it. The two ‘Astronauts’ moved the container, its radioactive contents now obvious to everyone who had remained to watch, into the box that had been thoroughly looted. Kaite struggled to follow them. She checked the radiation of the Drive. It had lessened. The Source was now the reactor being moved into Cargo box. She followed the ‘astronauts’ into the freight box and waited until they had walked out again.
“My name is Kaite Walsh.” Her voice now frail, Kaite sealed the door from the inside. She was done with being a hero.


THE FALL

 Location: Halifax exploration site five, the Moon.
 Date: 2061, October 10.

"steady as she goes Lisa." the young astronaut smiled at the voice over the comms.
"all good here Susan." that wasnt entirely true. Being lowered into a cave in a space suit on the moon and suddenly finding the darkness to be cold was a disturbing sensation.
 The drone carry-all activated its headlights and the million year old tunnel lit up. It went on forever.
"wow!" Lisa laughed at the thrill of discovery.
"yeah, we see it Lisa. Its pretty awesome. A drone engine ruptured a seal and Lisa was jerked forward into the tunnel. The sensation lasted a moment. The drone exploded above her and Lisa cooms, youngest of space industries astronaut core was hurled into darkness.
"Lisa!" Susan caufield had seen the drone carry-all explode. Her urge to reach out caused her to step forward, towards the edge.
"oh god. Halifax station! Do you read?" Susan continued looking down into the the dark for some sign of survival.
"we saw the feed cut out Susan. What happened?" calm yourself. Slow your breathing.
"drone carry-all exploded during descent. Lisa! Can you read me?" nothing.
"its no good Halifax. Comms lost." Susan turned away and the edge of the hole collapsed.
"wall collapse. Wall collapse." shit. Susan caufield descended with several thousand ton of moon down an eight hundred metre pit. Susan screamed with the unexpected horror of certain death before she remembered something. She pushed a button on her wrist pad. A pack inflated with considerable haste trapping the sensation of embarrassment with Susan in a crash bubble. Susan cleared her throat.
"sorry for that Halifax station. Crash bubble activated." Susan wondered if Halifax station had caught her transmission. A substantial portion of lunar surface reached bottom. The crash bubble absorbed the impact, and Susan caufield found herself face down. Susan wondered if Lisa was now buried beneath a mountain of rock. First off detatch pack. Susan struggled to manoeuvre her arm against her suit until she reached the spoiled pack. A pin release and the crash bubble was separated. Susan breathed heavily with exertion rolling to sit. She waited a moment until the distress had passed.
"Halifax station, do you read me?" signal damn you. Susan ground her teeth.
"we hear you Susan. How is your status?" relief washed over her.
"i'm good Halifax. Crash bubble worked."
"glad to hear it Susan. That was a close call." Susan activated the thrust pack and it lifted her to her feet.
"lift assistance thruster functioning." helmet LED's illuminated her surroundings.
"yeah Halifax, i'm definatly in a hole." Susan tightened her right hand into a fist for a moment as she made a slow three hundred and sixty degree turn. There was something not realy experienced from the surface: a sea of carbon dioxide. It flowed along the bottom of the tunnel like a river of thick mist. And now the island of subsidence that had dropped from above pretty much blocked its path. It had become a dam causing the river to rise. Light flickered in the distance and susan's mind raced.
 "oh god! I see a light up a tunnel. I think its Lisa." Susan moved less than cautiously across the rocky surface. If it was Lisa she might be up to five hundred metres away. Mist obscured everything and it was only getting thicker as it built up behind the new dam. The distant light switched to red.
"Halifax, do you read? Lisa's LEDs just switched over to red. I'm working my way up the tunnel." Susan struggled blindly in the mist. The distant red glow was her only point of reference.
"Lisa do you hear me? I'm comming. Help is on the way."
"Susan, Halifax here. Carry-all is two minutes from your location."
"copy that Halifax." two damn minutes. The uneven surface and sea of mist meant this could take an hour. The red glow was so tantalizing. Susan reached out and swatted at the mist, hoping to part it and reveal Lisa to be within her reach. Nothing.
"Halifax! How are we comming on that drone?" Susan was drowning in a river of carbon dioxide. There was no way they could see her.
"minute-thirty from your location Susan." Susan halted.
"switching over to red LEDs so you can see me." lisa's red glow became part of the background. Breath.
"I need a lift Halifax. Terrain is becomming problematic."
"we have your location Susan. Carry-all closing." the engines of the carry-all cleared the mist around her as it positioned overhead. Harness straps danced around Susan and she reached out to gather them and direct them towards anchor points on her suit.
"hooked in Halifax. Take me up." the carry-all lifted.
"okay Lisa. We are minutes away." Susan switched her LEDs to white. The distant glow of lisa's red LEDs once again became aparrent.
"Halifax! It looks like she is a hundred metres ahead." close.
"closing Susan." the drone parted the mist around the red Led glow. It wasnt comming from the helmet LEDs. Susan stared down at the space suit, its helmet shattered. Something was moving about the exposed face, a great many small somethings, and they were feeding off her blood. Susan understood.
 "lower me down Halifax." Susan touched surface and retrieved a soil sample tube. Bending down to capture one of the feeding predators, a red glow in the tube and she screwed down the lid.
"take me home." they had found life on the moon.

Campaign Setting: The First Ones

Eight metal discs await the names of the eight who will be the gods of the campaign Setting. There is nothing like a little incentive in your roleplay setting...

Year of Chaos: week seven

Map of the week: house on the hill


Saturday, 12 September 2015