Ooo, pilgrimages! I like the vibe of this one. The little story snippets are a good touch, for when your PCs are wondering, "Why the heck do we have to stop here on this pilgrimage?" And in each, there's something still there that can be involved in a subplot.
I wager there were a few smirks from the author when he wrote this one (the sad onions). Okay excuse me for one moment
*walks over to a lop sided shed haphazardly leaning against the splendid walls of the Citadel. Axle addresses shed, "One soap box please"*
But why again do we have to have a rape as the awful crime and tragedy?! It always smacks of mysogeny when a story teller has to rape somebody to motivate characters or to add emotional weight to an event or story. I understand it is a terrible event that is all too common, and people are right to enraged by it. But I think it gets overused in fantasy fiction. Plus the response to the rape in stories and plot line is often about the male character's desire for revenge. I think the rape-motivation story broke a threshold for me when an author named Ken Scholes published a story about a 50 some year old alternate time Hilter finding the courage to stand against french facists (with the help of Charlie Chaplin and Earnest Hemingway) when he wittnessed the rape of a jewish girl. A liberal mild mannered Hilter I could stand...but when the author couldn't find another way to explore the importance of political action and the horrors of facism then graphic sexual violence...well I didn't finish the story. I get that mister Scholes was trying to ruffle some feathers with goatee Hitler, but wasn't the alternate time line enough?
*Thank you, just place this back in the Citadel's soap box shed please. Oh the shed is full? Alright well I guess we can toss this one out*
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Okay moving on, this is great, it is really nice when you can have the NPCs doing stuff in your game world, besides serving beers, getting kidnapped and telling vague tales of forgotten swords. I would love to play in a game world that had this stuff going in the background.
The Book Flie is found in the dry and dusty places, like withered trees, old houses, and libraries. The Book Fly is a large, fetid fly with a blue shine. It has an annoying bite which is harmless but draws some blood. However, during mating season, the fly swells up with slimy eggs glittering under its belly. It will attempt to lay these in any dry wood it comes across. Books are especially attractive. The eggs have a two week gestation period, during which they will become larvae and start devouring the wood. After this period the flies will be fully grown and take to the air. The flies are considered a pest, if a library or ancient building has one case of these flies, more will surely follow. More than once has a scholar opened an ancient tome with a shriek as a cloud of young Book Flies buzz forth from the invaluable document. There have been reports of entire cities loosing their written history and all things paper because of an infestation of Book Flies.
Wind Flies are small and slender insects with long antennae and finely veined wings. They nest in large colonies in humid forest caves and are victims of many legends due to their patterned life cycles. When a member of this fly species has finished its life cycle it will find its way back to the cave where it was born. There it will breed and lay its eggs. The number of flies that breed in one cave can number hundreds of thousands. The curious thing about this is that when the young brood are ready to take to the air, they do it together. Vast clouds of buzzing flies rise up from the forest roof, they connect their tiny feet together and form a web sailing on the wind for vast distances. When this web finally breaks the flies descend on the land below to live their lives, and later repeat the cycle.
These nocturnal flies are considered a bad omen and are believed to be connected, somehow, with the world of the dead. They are of a bright brown hue, with a black warts along their backs, and their multifaceted eyes are of a dull red with tiny whitish spots. Their lifecycle is unknown, but they are reported to live inside the mouth of a species of large toads. They have piercing-sucking mouthparts and feed on blood and nectar both. Being bitten by a Omen Fly is actually quite harmless, but superstition states that this is a dark and foreboding sign that the one bitten shall soon die. The most horrible aspect of these ghastly flies, and the reason behind their name is that they sense the spirits of the dead. They are drawn to ghosts like bees to honey, buzzing in areas where ghostly shades are shambling, making them visible by filling up their invisible shape. Men have gone mad from seeing the shambling form of a man that is not there, his invisible form filled by thousands of warty, buzzing flies.
Cave Lurkers are a subterranean species of fly that in many ways resemble a spider with wings. They live and nest in deep mountain caves. They are large, milky brown and slightly transparent. Cave Lurkers make silky white webs, these webs are used to nest and to catch small underground prey like rats, bats and worms. They sometimes catch small game from the surface world that have somehow got lost in their caves, searching for a place to hide or live. Cave Lurkers form colonies, when something is trapped in their web they simultaniously spring forth from cracks in the wall and devour the prey. The cissorlike cutting blades in their mouths both tear and pierce a victim's flesh in addition to injecting an intoxicating venom. They are not flight-less, but they rarely use their wings except during mating season. There is a rumour of a vast complex of Cave Lurker Flies colonies deep down in the earth that are so big that their webs could even pose a threat to grown men.