I agree with Valadaar on all points.
I like the Weapon of Two Worlds bit and was hoping for the same kind of descriptions for the rest of it. I can't use it as-is for my own game, since the system I'm using doesn't quite translate, but it does have enough for me to start from.
Imagine adventurers stumbling across a village where all the farmers have been hit by a swarm of these things and are now unable to make a living. Do our brave heros fight beasts which can leave them weak as children? Or will they turn tail and run, with the guilt of a village starving gnawing at their very souls? (Or something like that)
The well-known, and highly quirky, alchemist Rennixx once cured the renowned warrior Talsmosh of a Muscle Fly bite; partly from professional curiosity, but mostly because of the hefty sum of gold the warrior pushed his way.
This cure required some of the squishier parts of the bug (some glands, a peculiar organ that heals the victims, and a few other odds and ends), ground up bone ridge (also from the fly), milk of a mountain goat, powders produced from earthworm castings in a valley of the Grannesti Mountains, and 7 specific herbs gathered in the Fallanks Wood.
Only the bug which had originally bitten Talsmosh could be used for this cure. The party which Talsmosh hired to bring back the beast decided it would be simpler to bring back the corpses of all six from the nest. Fortunately, the correct one was found after only two failed guesses.
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Talsmosh was quite relieved once his strength had been returned to him, although he spent the next week in a tavern trying to drink away the taste of the cure…
23.) Chitonous Skin Grafts
The alchemist Rahnklauhm was a strange sort with an intense interest in all things insectoid. He was fascinated by their abilities to do such things as fly, carry heavy loads, weave cocoons, and make stunning transformations. He spent the bulk of his time searching to understand these things on an alchemical level and became well known for producing concoctions of great power. After his death, his library was much sought after.
One of his strangest discoveries was a way to grow skin grafts out of insect carapaces. A graft was created by rubbing a thick, black cream over the affected area (such as severe burns or injuries.) The cream would harden over the course of a week into a dark grey substance similar in composition to exoskeletons. The new skin provides hardened protection and increased healing. The grafts, while effective, are rarely desired due to their bizarre appearance, something which Rahnklaum was oblivious to.
Angry goddess yields angry tree stump. :)
This is one of those subs that just begs to be used in a game. It is a simple, straightforward idea but it tickles the evil side of me as a GM.
I can't seem to get to The Queen of the Dark Wood sub, though. I get eaten by a Grue when I try to go there. :(
This is very well written, very dark and gruesome, and seems to me to be a prime example of the 5 Room Dungeon. The only departure from the formula appears to be room 3, which is focused solely on combat and doesn't seem to be much of a setback. Perhaps if Xaggarng released some spores during the battle that weakened any characters unable to resist, making it more difficult to face the final battle, it would fit the mold.
The language is excellent and successfully paints a picture of ghastly horror. I mean, how much cooler can you get than fighting a monster that uses its own intestines for extra attacks?
And the prize at the end seems like such an opportunity to further abuse the heroes by giving them land already inhabited by some other horror.
This is the first CaptainPenguin sub I've read, and now I think I'll go find more.