Kou Qianzhi is good at his job, that job being the Southern Song Emperor's chosen "fixer" and captain of his liege's Blood Guard. Naturally, when the entire realm is in peril, the Emperor will send his trusted Kou Qianzhi to settle or handle matters.
Unbeknownst to the his Resplendant Radiance the Emperor, Kou harbors greater ambitions, yet awaits his opportunity patiently, doing the Emperors bidding slavishly, while simmering inside.
His opportunity comes in the form of the Emperor sending him on a secret mission. He is to travel to the XXX Temple, hidden amidst the mist-choked hinterland between two Song provinces.
Kou Qianzhi is informed by his master that a threat far greater than the recently defeated Jin rears its head in the north. The people of the "Khan", (the future Yuan Empire) pony-riding madmen from the northern steppes, were preparing to descend upon the Southern Song's empire's lands. The Mongols combined forces outnumber the (by then) lethargic Song's Empire forces ten to one.
The Emperor is desperate. Kou is tasked with finding a way to deal with this upcoming crisis by consulting with the grandmaster of the XXX Temple, one Sun Bu'er, the "Six-Fisted White Goose".
Along the way to the temple Kou plots his own scheme and agenda, finally sensing his chance at uplifting his own destiny. From the information gathered by the Emperor's many spies, it becomes quickly evident that the Mongol forces will inevitably crush the Song. Kou comes to realize this and at last hatches his own plot, to avoid being on the losing side when all was said and done.Go to Comment
Actually with Strolens 3 paragraphs of additional juicy info (sick deluded brainstorming), this may just be done. Screw those pesky PCs. The whore-spider, like the honey badger, don't care.
LORE: somewhere out there, legends whisper, is the great "Pimp-Spider". Don't get me started on it.
Out with ye, begone from my in-work pile!Go to Comment
An unliving tree, very nice. I've read plenty of undead trees, but this is a novel take. The visual image of these trees is quite evocative to begin, with great details, and that's followed by a grab-bag of interesting uses and magical properties.
With so many options (despite the difficulties in extraction), I can see parties being hired (and outfitted with the necessary "tools"), just to go find and "mine" these copses of phantom woods..trunk, limbs, roots and all.
I assume that whichever "people" live in the sub-artic lands where the trees grow, would have great reverence for the phantom wood, with all kinds of superstitious lore about the trees.Go to Comment
Almost always the pleem are solitary creatures.
"...At last we found the abandoned temple which the mad hermit spoke of and its silent guardians. At first we thought the creatures were statues, tucked up vertically in rows along the shadowy walls, motionless. Then we realized they were simply weird-looking starving cats and proceeded to ignore them. They likewise ignored us, not even a single meow escaping their weird little heads, as we looted. The ransacking of the temple was going quite well. When the cats got in our way we would simply shoo them off (granted, we kicked a few as well), and the timid things would leap away to safety. This proceeded for some time when suddenly to our surprise, several of the cats began to "scream".**
The whole temple seemed to shake from the unimaginable sound. I watched in horror, as Yokpo our thief, grabbed at his head with his hands in agony. Blood burst forth from his ears, and only the incessant howl of the devil-cats drowned out his own pathetic screaming. Gargan, our fighter, merely stood in place, seemingly paralyzed, his eyes glazed over. Blood flowed freely from his ears as well. Disoriented, and likewise suffering from mind-numbing sonic pain, our wizard Maphael staggered and fell down a staircase, snapping his neck like a twig.
Only I escaped that day, and am still permanently deaf from the experience, haunted by nightmares and those ear-piercing, demonic howls.
But I have not forgotten the temple and its "silent guardians". And as soon as I can gather a group of like-minded individuals again, I plan on returning to avenge my comrades, put those devil-cats to the torch, finish looting that forsaken place, and maybe find the mad hermit who first told us about the temple, to put him to the torch as well!"
~Tywas the (angry) deaf bard
**The pleem were not attacking or defending the temple. It just so happened that five (of thirty) pleem were "due" for a howl that very day, and simply synchronized their screams.Go to Comment
A few facts on these creatures, usually left out of anecdotal tales...
--the pleem sense of hearing is unmatched in the animal kingdom. The pleem can hear a mouse fart from a mile away, their rabbit-like ears twitching like antennae at all times.
--it is these hare-like ears that are perhaps the least understood and most powerful of the creatures organs. Sound magnets, they somehow absorb all the noise harmlessly, allowing the pleem to let out its one concentrated scream every two fortnights.
--the pleem are immune to the sound of their own intense, sonic eruptions, or those of other pleem.
--the tongues of pleem are disproportionately long, like their torsos. A typical pleem tongue can spring out from the creature's mouth like a chameleon's, where it sits coiled, extending an impressive sixteen to twenty inches. The pseudo-feline uses this spectacular tongue to get to its favorites, honey and nectar.
--pleem mating habits are poorly understood. Almost always these faux-felines are solitary. Gestation lasts a surprisingly long time, considering their lifespan and size. A pleem carries a pup for almost eighteen months before giving live birth.
--It is always assumed that like cats the pleem are nocturnal at heart. The opposite is (weirdly) true. They are active by day, and slumber by night (usually vertically against some hard surface.) Their narrow eyes are bizarrely human-like and in fact identical to the human eye, apart from the intense, queer topaz color.
--true cats despise the pleem for some reason not yet understood. They will avoid or sometimes even attack the imposters known as "Stretchers" on sight.
--pleem make for desired familiars. They are low on maintenance, while high on self-preservation, and somewhat attuned to magic.
--the habitat of the pleem is like that of any real cat. They can be found everywhere, though they are generally rare in any environment. The rule of thumb suggests that one pleem exists for every six hundred mundane house-cats.Go to Comment