In some places the write-up seems a bit... off? Like a rushed grammar fix or something. Otherwise, quite interesting! I've never thought of walruses as being dangerous, but lo and behold. Go to Comment
This is the way... of Juffo-Wup. A single spore lands, finds nourishment in decay and soon attains maturity... In turn it exhales a cloud of life, a thousand spores land... so progresses Juffo-Wup. Go to Comment
64* A large, deep depression in the ground that appears to be covered in smooth, gray-black glass. If one slips and falls in, it is very difficult to get out. At the edges, it fades into the soil, and there is grass growing in cracks in it. If broken, it is very sharp. There are several animal skeletons at the bottom.
65* An ancient set of foundations. A town once stood here. There is an open well that still works at the back of the ruins. The water of the well tastes strangely metallic.
66* A forest with interesting karst caves and clay tunnels. In some places, the ground is very ready to collapse and dump the heroes into the wet clay pits below.
67* A cenote so deep that the water appears black. On an underwater shelf on the edge of visible depth, there are bundled skeletons. Sacrafices were made to a water god here.
68* A field of nodding sunflowers. The blossoms conceal the body of a dead traveller.
69* A gallows-tree, with a dead man hanging from it's branches.
70* An open field with small regions of spongy, soft ground. When heroes step on it, a soft, downy dust arises.
71* A little village where there are no adult men.
72* A large donut-shaped stone. Frequently, priests of the God of Travel can be found praying within this "Earth Wheel". Go to Comment
107* In this forest, thousands upon thousands of harmless spiders have congregated together in many of the trees, coating the branches overhead in nimbus-like blankets of cobwebs an inch thick, thick enough that the light is opaqued to a dim soft grey.
108* The endless winds of the desert have sanded the stones upon this baked plain into psychedelic forms, huge spiny stone heads balanced upon tiny pillars of scoured rock standing periodically in enigmatic rows and clusters.
109* Winter has come to this northerly wasteland, and the hills of rocky sand and flat stony scrubs have been dressed in a thin coating of hard icy snow. Bitter winds skirl across the open expanses, lashing grit and snow into swirling columns that rise into the empty vault of the blue sky.
110* The vagaries of the rising and sinking oceans have revealed a lonely sandbar, crowned with worn boulders, here in the midst of the open ocean. One of the stones, toppled in three pieces, seems almost to resemble a carven idol, but alas, it is too smoothworn to say if this is anything more than fancy.
111* The road here is lined with the deadhouses of the locals, squat stone structures where corpses are stacked, with their spines broken so that they can be folded to fit neatly.
112* At this crossroads, a statue of eerie and unsettling aspect has been erected, resembling both a robed death, a bent crone, and some kind of snaky tentacled creature, rolled into one hunched form. Someone has left for this strange waygod an offering of a raw haunch of deer, dry and odorous and pecked by birds but new enough to be untouched by wolves or other creatures.
113* Some old bloodcult lurked in the cave that can be seen above this mountain path, and when they departed or where driven out, their gruesome rack of skulls and the pylons they built from stacked human thighbones were left untouched, grim sentinels along either side of the traverse.
114* Small copses of cacti stand like watchmen in the narrow defiles above the road that runs along a brackish desert lake. Groups of llamas and huanacos wander amongst the spiny towers eating the damp blossoms from their tops.
115* Across this blinding-white polar wasteland, black nunataks seem almost to burn, so sharply are they visible against the empty icescape and the infinite clear sky. The sound of the wind that shrieks through their peaks makes out of this white flatness an otherworldly domain of lost souls.
116* Though the land is tropical, the ungodly heat of the dry season has caused this parched forest to shed its leaves in great brown drifts. Far off the path amongst the naked trunks, a group of deer lurch to the escape and bellow as a spotted leopard slams down on one of their number, an animal drama beyond which the heroes pass unnoticed. Go to Comment
Well, the psychic Hounds of Hosok could probably create a fear effect, but in the case of the general White Children, the human populace of Hosok's domain is so cowed by centuries of domination by a horrific alien dictator that they are simply instinctively fearful of the White Children. Go to Comment
Kop-a-kop is an Imperial sport, played at Priesthood-sponsored tournaments and religious celebrations. The court is a circular bowl of shaped stone or packed earth, with the peoples' seats in a series of steps around the top of the bowl. In the center of the bowl, there is a tall pillar (the Pillar of Heaven), usually of stone or wood, carved with four four openings (Called Mouths of Heaven; In some places they are merely holes, other times they are dragon's mouths, or the faces of warriors). The players wear armor plates on their hips, shoulders, feet, and sometimes wear ceremonial helmets. The game is played with a small but heavy ball (usually 5-10 pounds) of pure rubber painted with symbols sacred to the Stars. The teams consist of four men (or rarely, women, though it is generally believed that women are too delicate for Kop-a-kop) who attempt to bounce the ball into the openings (Mouths of Heaven) in the central pillar (Pillar of Heaven). They may only use the portions of them which are armored (hips, shoulders, feet). If a player gets the ball into the Mouth of Heaven using these portions of his body, the game is paused while he and his team have a red mark painted on their chest. This signifies one point, called a "ray". A team wins at Kop-a-kop when they bump the ball into the Mouth of Heaven four times; each time a point is scored, another ray is painted across the first, eventually making a star-shape (like an asterisk- *).
The team that loses is usually sold into slavery for a year and a day, a punishment usually reserved for those who blaspheme in a holy place or temple; the place of their slavery is chosen by the winners, and it is sometimes to the winners, or to the Priesthood, or in any other place the winners may choose. Winners are considered favored by the Gods, and offer sacrafices of their blood, cut from their upper arms, in small jade bowls at the nearest temple, which is usually right next to the Kop-a-kop court.
Kop-a-kop is played in honor of the Gods (the Stars). Players are usually young acolytes of the Priesthood or the Legions, and it almost guaranteed that they are deeply pious. However, there are some players of Kop-a-kop (usually the very good ones) who play for the glory and the sport. The name is said to come from the "kop-a-kop-a-kop" sound of the ball bouncing from wall to wall in the court.
Dlanni Two-Handed Dancing
This is a Dlanni sport that has migrated north and become quite popular in the South of the Empire, though it is technically illegal and falls under the charge of murder. The name comes from the Dlanni expression "to dance with two hands", meaning to battle to the death.
The game is played in a triangle of sand, raised above the place where the audience stands. The two fighters strip naked before the crowd to show that they carry no weapons. Then, the players apply stripes of green, purple, and white to their upper arms and bellies, and put on loincloths of plain white cloth. The battle then begins. During the battle, the fighters adopt the famous Dlanni battle-stance, wherein one rises on the balls of one's feet, bends one's knees deeply, places one hand outspread and in front towards the enemy, and the other hand behind, prepared to strike. In Two-Handed Dancing, a strike is done in one of two ways: Either with the two first fingers and the thumb extended, or with all the fingers extended and the thumb tucked into the palm. When one strikes, one pulls back the forward (outspread) hand and swings the attacking hand in an upward arc towards the opponent's belly.
The purpose of this attack is to stab through the navel and disembowel the opponent. Two-Handed Dancers are incredibly fast and fluid, or they die, so matches can take hours as fighters duck, shuffle, leap, and roll out of the way of strikes. If one does not avoid the strike, one blocks the strike with a strike of one's own, and hands slam painfully together (many Two-Handed Dancer's striking hands are heavily calloused and/or scarred).
Two-Handed Dances, when performed properly, end in spectacular bloody sprays, with organs being ripped out of the stomach and cast about the triangle, and sometimes on the crowd. The winner then is given a dagger and allowed to cut out the dead opponent's heart. The blood is squeezed out of the heart as an offering to the Sun God, and then the victor dines on the heart's remains.
Two-Handed Dancers, as part of the Dlanni culture of martial arts and hand-to-hand combat, are revered for their abilities and skill. The weak are quickly weaned in the triangle, their entrails strewn about and their hearts devoured, so only in the lowest of matches can one see amateurish or clumsy fighting.
The Imperials have strict laws against murder, so Two-Handed Dancing is often played in a dumbed-down version in which a fist is used instead of extended fingers, providing non-lethal results in which the first to collapse or vomit is the loser. Real traditional Two-Handed Dancing is practiced only in secret in the Empire's borders. Go to Comment
A sport originally played in the sea-kingdom of Uwon, Thorumad has become popular throughout the Islands of the Sea, and also in the Blue Coast region of the Empire. Thorumad (call Tu'u'map by the Imperials. The name is Uwonath for "bubble") is played in one of two ways: either in a specially made circular pool (for the rich and state-sponsored games, for Thorumad is so popular in Uwon that the Uwonath Autarch himself donates huge sums for it) or in a natural bay (for unnoficial games, village games, and generally any game not sponsored). Whatever the setting, the game consists of four teams of six players underwater. The ball, called the thorumad, is made from a natural plastic excreted by the famous sea-beetles of Uwon, and appears much like a very large, iridescent bubble painted with the splattering designs of Uwon art, and having a stone in the center. The purpose of the game is for one of the four teams to hold the ball for the majority of counts by the referee. Two of the team's members are "warriors", who attempt to capture the ball, by any means necessary, short of killing other players. Two other team members are "guardians", who attempt to protect the "holder", who's purpose it is to hold the ball, from warriors. It is not uncommon for players of Thorumad to be beaten bloody from attempts at keeping or taking the ball. The game takes place totally underwater (players may surface for air), with a referee present to make sure that there is no eye-gouging, choking, or slaying among players. If a team's holder keeps hold of the ball for twelve counts by the referee (who begins counting when the ball comes to the holder's hand), the team is given one point. The first team with twelve points is the winning team.
Thorumad is very much a sport of glory and prestige in Uwon, much like the sports of modern Earth. Players of Thorumad (or good ones, at any rate) are heroes and celebrities, and often have as much prestige as minor nobles. Go to Comment
The only thing I noticed is the whole Goldleaf-farming operation seems like a waste to me. The effort of pulverizing a huge amount of gold ore, burying it, and then waiting for trees to grow in the soil with the ore seems like far too much when one could just take the gold ore one already has and melt it down or sell it.
It's... fine. I don't care for the "lolz she iz sooo random n odd" thing. There are too many "eccentric" characters for my liking. I *do* like the idea of enchanting eyeballs to answer questions. Go to Comment
The T´Cha Lifeforms (Intelligent Species)
Well that's up to you. If you like, part of the rewards of the quest could be the hideous poison derived from the fungus, or perhaps it is useful in alchemical brews, or perhaps it grants intense healing powers (akin to R'gu's regeneration of its tentacles)... But who knows? Go to Comment
Darkly humorous. Some of them seem just a bit too cutesy for the sort of wizards and sorcerors I usually portray, but just the same, a great list. The Puppy, The Bones, The Raven, and The Replica (probably my favorite) are all quite spooky and astonishingly good ideas. Go to Comment
I should also add that I enjoy that it is implied that a sort of relationship beyond that of master and servant might exist between the familiar- in particular, the phrase in Whispers: "it is distant, but serves you exactly". More like a co-worker or a significant other! Go to Comment