1. Everyone around becomes only able to see the color yellow. Fades after 1d3 days.
2. User talks in a high pitched voice like a chipmunk. Lasts 1d3 years.
3. For the next 10 minutes, all skin sticks to skin. Creatures stuck together will begin to merge.
4. Everyone swaps bodies! Effects permanent, but can be removed like a normal curse if both present.
5. The sun appears to turn into a giant, singing head. It shoots sunbeams at anyone who doesn't sing along.
6. Random creature turns into whatever it most scorns.
7. Everyone's bones vibrate, damaging them and playing techno music.
8. Gravity is turned sideways in a 1000' radius. Lasts 1 minute.
9. A tunnel appears going straight down. Leads to other side of world. Will become a major trade route.
10. The Stick begins assimilating the nearest objects, turning into a supergolem. Then it flies away. Go to Comment
11. Flying cats blanket the sky. Drop magical candies for miles around. Leave trail to giant gold cat statue.
12. Everyone gets the distinct, and irrefutable notion that they are hanging upside down by their feet.
13. Everyone nearby reduced to 1/100th their normal size. Permanent, but can be lifted as normal curse.
14. Everyone's arms disappear. Permanent, but can be lifted as normal curse.
15. User becomes a 1-werewolf, 2-werepig, 3-wereshark, 4-werewoman, 5-weredinosaur, 6-weretree.
16. Stick begins firing .50 cal bullets from tip like a machine gun. Fires continuously for 10 minutes. Loud.
17. Everyone trying to fight someone makes out with them instead. And vice-versa. Lasts 30 minutes.
18. Marakelzon, the God of Swords appears. Cannot be hurt by swords. Befriends dumbest person.
19. The whole world goes blind. Curable by magic. Children will not be affected.
20. Giant hand reaches down from heaven. Takes Stick. Scolds user. Go to Comment
21. Mysterious voices begin commenting on proceedings like baseball commentators. Lasts 2d6 hours.
22. User's (roll 1d4) 1-sex, 2-sexual orientation, 3-handedness, 4-accent changes.
23. User's eyes flash like strobe lights, blinding people. Makes whale noises. Smoke pours from mouth.
24. The gods stop whatever is happening and demand a dance-off. Winner gets a wish.
25. For the next minute, all arrows/missiles fired will land in the same place as the last arrow fired.
26. User turns into an extra head on the shoulder of the nearest creature with shoulders.
27. User gains the ability to shoot snakes from their fingertips. Cannot reuse until fingernails regrow.
28. User grows a pogostick tail. Lets them jump very high, but they become hyperactive and annoying.
29. Zombie apocalypse blankets the earth. All zombies obey User, and bow to him/her.
30. Rod gets bigger and bigger, increasingly translucent and vaporous until it everywhere and everything. Go to Comment
There's actually a real-life drug called Librium that is a tranquilizer and a sedative. When they made the movie Equilibrium (which takes place in a high-tech, future dystopia), they were also going to name their civilization-stabilizing drug Librium, but had to rename it Equilibrium because there's already a drug that does that. This stuff sounds a lot like Soma in Brave New World, too, right down to it being sprayed on rioters to calm them down. Go to Comment
Flowers bloom for only one reason: to get pollinated. This is a job that moths (and bats!) can do just as well as bees. Night blooming flowers are usually pale-colored or white so that their pollinators can see it easy. They are usually more fragrant, too, for the same reason. Go to Comment
Actually, I think a lot of this is based on Mexican cartels, now that I reread it. Vast quantities of cocaine and ammunition pass pass through their hands. Google "Mexican mass grave" if you want some idea of the scope of their activities. They never seem to have any trouble combined drugs and murder.
And there is a long history of combining drugs and assassins, at least in the public mind.
Actually, when I read fantasy, a common criticism I have is that organizations seem too one-dimensional. There has never been a "Thieves' Guild" in all of human history, but there have been more complex analogues associated with other stuf. Real world organizations are multifaceted and complex. Hamas does terrorism, but they also run soup kitchens, make music videos, and run for public office. The Yakuza deal with everything from gambling to prostitution, and yet they also pay taxes and display their tattoos openly in parades. Don't forget that they Yakuza has a tremendous number of rituals and secret symbols. During the 1995 earthquake, they used their helicopter to provide disaster relief--and they acted faster than the authorities.
Real life is weird, and the bigger a fringe organization is, the more diverse it is likely to be.
I like this! There are some really good bits of prose in here (buildings holding on like ticks, masons and whores needed to wet their business). There's about a dozen typos, though (and I know it's an Oekaki), and in a few places the story sort of becomes difficult to follow. Go to Comment
Chester is an idiot. You'll find him running around with red skin and horns, with a pointy tail and pitchfork. He's also a megalomaniac, and is prone to telling people that he is The Devil. He's also fond of challenging people to games of checkers, violin-playing contests, and riddle-offs. You know, something that only a giggling inbred would enjoy.
All of the other devils hate Chester. He makes them look bad. No one knows who made him or why. Chester is completely incompetent and takes no precautions concerning visibility. Whenever another demon runs into him, they usually kick his ass and drag him back to hell with them. The other devils don't know who created Chester, or they'd kick his/her ass, too.
Yes, there's a certain sort of sweaty exuberance to Chester. A sort of childish desperation in the way he flails on his gold fiddle, or the way he bites his lips when he is losing a game of Monopoly. If he doesn't annoy you, he's sort of likable, I guess. There's a certain rumor going around, and it makes the other devils sick. When they hear it, they want to open their mouths and noiselessly vomit soul-stuff for days and days.
The rumor is this: Chester isn't interested in taking souls or claiming new domains for hell. All he wants to do is play games with children and hand out golden prizes, all the while performing the ol' thwarty-devil shtick.
Mu'un-Gon-Grel is a dark one. One of the blackest hearts you'll find. If you cut her in half you'd find nothing but toothy darkness inside. She's ancient, almost as ancient as Horoc. She remembers the bad old days, when life was all bloody hunts and wailing prayer. When man huddled for the campfires, pissing themselves with fear as they looked out at the darkness. Back when they'd beg the devils for a chance to give their soul, trying to trade it away for a few hot meals or just a good night's sleep. She's refused to change her name or her attitude. She doesn't want to modernize. She carries with her all the uncompromising expectations of the Bronze Age.
Mu'un-Gon-Grel is who you summon when you want to kill your parents.
Or anyone with authority over you, really. But she specializes in parents. You can try to get her to kill your CEO or the president or something, but most of the rich and powerful people are either either protected against the powers of Hell or pawns of the same.
You summon her with a cat. But you gotta feed this cat 9 rats. And each of those 9 rats have got to have eaten 9 spiders. And each of those spiders has got to have eaten 9 fies. If any of them eat anything except the 9 things, you gotta start that animal all over again.
So you take this cat and you crush it to death. The time-tested method is two pieces of plywood with the cat between them, while you pile cinder blocks on top. That's the modern method. If you summoned her the old way, you might get on her good side.
Nah. She doesn't have a good side. Still addressing her in Sanskrit couldn't hurt. She used a to write a little in Sanskrit, back when it was in vogue. Before she decided to dedicate herself to her work.
After the cat is dead the plywood will crack in half and rise up. The cinder blocks will slide off. And Mu'un-Gon-Grel will rise up in the center of all that.
She's tall like a gallows. All of her bones are broken the same way the cat's were. Her limbs move all fluidly, and you can hear the bones grinding in there. Her the bones in her shattered hands are like a bag of dice. There's blood all down her chin, like she just finished eating a big plate of ribs. And I don't mean from a steakhouse. Her eyes are yellow and staring. Her ears are torn and ragged. Her hair is huge and malevolent. It writhes like a den of snakes mating in slow motion. Her feet and ankles are scorched from the ancient pyres.
She'll kill your parents for you, yes. You don't even need to ask. Of course, she can make it look like an accident. Yes, they're horrible people who don't love you. You'll be much happier as an orphan. Just sign here, on this parchment. No, it's not really parchment. Try not to pay too much attention to what it really is.
The price is your time. Exactly 729 days of it. Don't worry, she'll borrow your body when you aren't using it. She might take the 729 days all at once. You might wake up two years later in a place you don't recognize, with people calling you a name that isn't yours. These people might be police, asking you why you committed the murders. They might be drug dealers, asking what the hell happened to the stash. They might be confused people in the wrong church, asking you why you stopped mid-sermon. I hope you have answers for those people.
But more likely, she'll just dribble the 729 days, one at a time across your whole life. She might take them while you're sleeping, just for a few hours. That's about four times a month for the rest of your life. You'll wake up in the morning with the corpse of the neighbor's dog in your bathtub. Mu'un-Gon-Grel has always used murder as a fallback when she can't find a more malicious use for you.
Of course, if you ever want to hunt Mu'un-Gon-Grel (and many have tried) you'll have to contend with the sleepwalkers she sends your way. Blank-faced men and women from all walks of life, breaking through your window and sending sloppy bullets your way. You'd think they'd never fired a gun before. They don't make a noise, though, not from the broken glass nor the bullets you put in their chests. Go to Comment
I'm digging Ngama Ngama. She's sort of a meta-demon, which is cool. Maybe I'll write a meta-demon next.
Ngama Ngama is definitely an African name, too, which implies an interesting story without telling it. Was she promoted from Africa duty to the New World? Or demoted? It must have been in the Aztecs heyday. Maybe she was hell's ambassador, to teach them all the different summons they would need when they were desperate. And when Cortez came a knocking, you got a lot of desperate Aztecs.
The fact that Hell reassigned an African devil instead of creating one perfectly suited to the job also speaks volumes. Go to Comment
He has many names. He usually picks whatever name he thinks will be most appealing to you. Sometimes that name is James.
You don't summon James. He appears to his enemies. Devil-hunters, clergy, and those who are thinking about thinking about betraying Hell.
He appears as whatever type of person he thinks is most soothing or trustworthy. Maybe a bearded old professor type, with ruddy cheeks and laugh lines around the mouth. Kind eyes twinkle above a faded sweater. He might have a warm laugh and smell faintly of cinnamon.
He will approach you in a public space and start a conversation. Something innocuous. After a minute, he might introduce the subject of devils. Probably to your surprise.
James is an apologist. He makes no attempt to disguise the facts. Yes, he knows you are hunting devils. He knows this because he is one of the devils you are hunting. He's here to talk, if you're willing to listen.
If you're in a restaurant, he'll apologize and say he lost his wallet. Could you buy him a cup of coffee? This creates the illusion of normalcy and weakness, as well as the small social contract of indebtedness. If you refuse, he'll just order a glass of water, but only after he confirms with the waitress that there is no charge.
He might cough a few times. Just to be clear that you are not dealing with any sort of soul-sucking, skull-crushing hellspawn. He'll apologize about that, too.
And then James will ask you questions. How much do you know about hell? Do you know about the ancient contracts Hell has with this world? Do you know what humanity would stand to lose if all devilry were wiped from the world with a single blow? Do you know how many times Hell has saved the Earth from oblivion? Hell depends on Earth just as much as the opposite is true.
The Devils don't give humans anything the humans don't ask for. It's a lot of effort to learn the summons, and a lot of conviction to actually perform some of them. The little girl that had her parents killed? She always had that power. She knew where her dad's gun was kept. Hell didn't drive her to that. All Hell does is facilitate human nature. If you want to eliminate evil, look next door, not under your feet.
James can tell if you are being swayed by his arguments, or if you are resistant to the idea completely. He might visit again, if he feels that your might be more receptive next time.
If you attack him, he'll bleed and appear to die as easily as a normal human. This of course, is completely false. Only with the most drastic of measures can you see the small, nebulous thing that slips away after the false body falls to the ground.
It's tough to estimate what sort of demon James is, simply because you never see more than a friendly face and a corpse, but just think of this: He has survived countless encounters with people who would destroy a demon in an instant if they could. Some of these people have destroyed many demons, and many of them have dedicated themselves entirely to that purpose. What sort of power or subtlety must he possess to elude these deadly foes so completely?
These are the same questions that other demons ask themselves. James scares the shit out them. Go to Comment