Legends tell of the mysterious Swamp Children - quiet spritely beings who help lost souls but none of these beliefs survive actually encountering one.
The Swamp Children are small, emaciated humanoids with exaggerated potbellies and long, wolflike muzzles. Their skin is covered in a foul, yellowish mucous which protects them against the cold as well as the vermin of the swamp. No insect will come close to a Swamp Child - those that do get stuck in the viscous coating and subsequently eaten.
They are well adapted to their swamp home, being fully amphibious and able to hold their breath for many minutes. They are small - generally less then 3' tall and about 40 lbs weight, but they are extremely strong.
The Swamp Children normally feed on the natural flora and fauna of their swamp home, but they will gleefully feast on anything that they can overpower, and are not above cannibalism.
When hunting, groups of the Children will lurk under the surface in ambush while others will either lead or drive victims into the ambush point. Grappling and dog-piling their foes, they will attempt to force them under the fetid waters of the swamp to drown.
The Children are capable of speech and have their own langauge. Since they have no interest in other beings except as food, they do not learn other languages.
There are legends of spellcasting Swamp Children, and these are true - there are shamans within their ranks that worship demonic powers. Go to Comment
Veladim is a rather large, portly Dwarf with a long, grey-streaked black beard. His skin is heavily tanned and weathered from the sun. He carries himself in a dignified, military manner and exudes confidence. He wears fine clothing, A heavy crossbow strapped to his back, and a simple but well-made shortsword hangs from his belt.
Valdim was born into a Dwarven clan of some fame, and showed himself early in life to be an excellent warrior.
Unlike many of his people, he was infected with wanderlust early, and quickly found the strict nature of Dwarven life stifling. As a result, he left his clan (infuriating his father) and took up travelling. After many years of adventuring, freebooting and some larceny, he and few companions found their way to the kingdom of Saliadon,which was gripped in middle of war with the Tyresian Empire. Barely surviving an encounter with Tyresian raiders, who killed several of his compatriots, he and his remaining friends joined the Saliadon's armed forces.
By this time, Veledim had developed such skill with the heavy crossbow that few could match him. After some success with a few set-piece battles, it soon became clear that with his low mobility (short legs, plus his weight) that he may be better placed as a Marine on one of the Kingdoms ships.
He was assigned to the Scimetar, a 3-master ship commanded by then-captain Meridin Savath His skill with his weapon, along with his powerful presence soon led him to become commander of the ships' marine contingent and he soon became fast friends with the captain.
During the war, Meridin Savath was promoted to Admiral and requested that Veladim be assigned to his new flagship, the Hemlock.
Veladim fought hard through the remaining year of that war and continued to serve the Admiral in the years after.
Eventually the Admiral retired and set out on an expedition to explore many of the lands that he had passed before, and requested that Veladim join his mission. Veladim was delighted to join and now accompanies the Admiral on his quest for discovery, the head of the small but skilled force of marines.
A specially designed mechanical heavy crossbow - it uses two strong, manually compressed springs which serve to greatly speed reloading. The springs take a fair amount of time to compress, usually several minutes of hard work, but they allow for two shots to be taken with very little time between shots.
Later, he was awarded an even better crossbow, this is the Cricket Bow of Setphan, which actually is a small Automaton or Golem shaped as a crossbow.
A giant corpse with a special harness equipped with a Dwarven Lightning Bottle and using electric shocks to animate the muscles.
An operator sits in a special compartment (Inside a hollowed out skull perhaps?) Go to Comment
Board is 12x12 in size, and either side may arrange their starting positions (in secret) before the game starts in the first 4 lines of the board on either side.
The classic arrangement is as follows:
K K K N N K K K
A D A H H A D A
T T T T T T T T
T T T T T T T T
A 'Game' usually lasts until either two knights or a Nobel are slain, though battles of extinction are possible.
And of course, with the exception of nobels, the casualties are devoured in a feast which occurs afterward.
A similar game is made available for Nobel children that uses specially bred mites to play the roles of the pieces. These mites are marmaset-sized and rather stupid. The game is played in a large glass enclosure with 144 individual compartments. The children draw the appropriate 'piece' up and drop it into the appropriate compartment. If occupied by an enemy mite, they fight to the death. Go to Comment
The red-coated infantry of the 23rd Yorkshire regiment stood steady formed up in two lines on the reverse slope of the hill. The omnious drumming of the approaching enemy column filled the air.
Over the crest of the hill sprouted the banners of the oncoming hosts, a brilliant gold eagle at the top of the largest banner. Shortly thereafter the first ranks of the blue-uniformed soldiers broke into view.
"Fire!" shouted the captain. Two ranks of muskets and two 12-pounders loaded with grapeshot blasted away into the troops of the Napolean Adalaid. As the smoke cleared, no void opened in the front ranks. The captain stood speechless with shock. Could they have all misfired?
Elsewhere, the 2nd Regiment of the Napolean's forces stood hidden in heavy forest. Their color party bore a banner and Eagle the mirror image of the one born by the attacking regiment.
Out from the banner stuck a multi-forked bolt of blueish lighting. It slashed out and struck down dozens of the lined up soldiers. Go to Comment
An apparently normal world that suffers from massive earthquakes and severe gravitational variation.
Through some freak occurance - perhaps artifical in nature, the planets' core has inexplicably collapsed into three small black-holes which orbit each other in a wild dance which causes severe earthquakes and perceptible variances in gravitational pull. This world is in the process of collapsing into itself and only the low overall mass of the black holes prevents the world from simply imploding in one sudden collapse. The planet is in effect a Dysan sphere, but the inner region is too bathed in radiation to be habitable.
The planet is doomed to eventually collapse inward as the crust and mantle crumble over geological time.
This erratic gravitational field makes low orbit quite difficult - it is much easier at higher orbits since the tidal effects of 3 centers of gravity are mitigated by distance and behave more like a point source.
The planet, being so unstable and dangerous, is home only to a few scientific installations (mostly unmanned) and a few desperate miners. The world is quite rich in mineral resources, and there are the ruins of some lost race dating back hundreds of thousands of years. Go to Comment
A common ability granted to relgious types within many game systems is the ability to 'turn' undead. This article examines other options that could be used.
Too many times the undead hordes are viewed simply as opponents or simple robots to be disposed of. In truth, the existence of undead of any form is a tragedy of immense proportions, and most religions should hold the bringing of such to rest as very high in their priorities. The penalty for creating undead should obviously be very high.
Redemption will cause undead to have any controls upon them sundered, and full knowlege of their state restored. Even their sanity will be restored for a short window of time. Depending on their nature, this might cause them to seek out whoever brought them to this condition, or simply find a proper place to lie down and finally die.
Instead of blasting the walking dead with positive energy, the corpse is pushed away from it's source of negative energy.. Go to Comment
Constructed of extruded fullerene-reinforced plastics, advanced pneumatic arms can take a wide range of appearances, and can be made
The development of true fullerene-reinforced materials has revived an older technology. Even in the 1800's, there were air rifles of sufficent power to be dangerous. Now, with the ability to produce storage vessles 10 to 500x times the strength of steel, one can store immense energy in the simple form of compressed air.
The cartridges of the projectile, followed by a fullerene storage vessel sealed by a plug of a slightly different formulation of fullerenes. This one has about 50% of the structural strength of the rest of the cartridge and is much more electically conductive then the rest of the vessel. When exposed to a short electric pulse, the fullerene weakens still further to the point where the contained pressure breaches it, resulting in sufficent energy to propell the projectile.
These weapons have several advantages aboard ships and space stations:
Non-pyotechic. The amount of carbon acutally used in the round is quite small, and due to the use of nitrogen as the propellent, only the 'plug' is exposed to enough heat and oxygen to combust, resulting in a brief muzzle flash as it exits the barrel. The lack of other byproducts of combustion means less impact on environmental systems.
Scalable. Rounds can be prepared with varying levels of propellent, allowing for sub-sonic rounds to be produced.
Easy to produce. The vessel and propellent can actually be drawn from atmospheric sources and organic waste.
Listening in at the various taverns and waystations, he had heard dozens of rumors. Most were obviously exaggerations or fabrications, but there was
one theme which carried through. The king was missing.
As he travelled closer to the capital, he could feel a distinct aura of unrest in the air. He passed various military units bivouaced by the roadsides. He even managed to meet up with a mercenary unit he had briefly served with several years past.
"Captain Keldred!" called Seldric as he walked up to the scarecrow-like officer.
The officer quickly turned to see who addressed him, "Who's the.. Seldric!"
"The one and only!" Seldric said with a smile. He had fought side by side with this officer and they had forged a strong friendship through the remainder of the campaign.
"How fare thee, my old friend?" asked Captain Keldred.
"Well, at least until my lord bade me to come to the capital. What make you of the rumors?"
"The rumors are why I'm here. Our unit has also been ordered to the capital, though our commander has not said in whose employment."
"I see," Seldric did not like the sounds of this. His lord was very tight with coin, and would bleed his own lands dry before he would resort to mercenaries.
It could be possible that Keldred and Seldric would face each other across the field of battle. Not a thought he relished.
Seldric sat with Keldred for some time afterwards, trading stories and sharing a drink or two. Finally he took his leave, and continued his journey to the capital. It would be no more then a day, so long as rain did not make a mire of the roads. Go to Comment
A place where huge dinosaur-sized rodents travel in vast herds accross grassy plains. A small, pygmy-like people lives on the backs of these creatures, travelling with the herd.
They only come down at night when the herd stops to rest, but do not wander far, for flightless predatory birds the size of T-rexs will occasionally attack and send the herd moving once more.
This Elemental is fantastically rare - it is theorized that there simply is not enough iridium readily available to concieve of summoning one. Those that do exist are more common in the voids between worlds then upon any planet.
They are also amazingly dense - a man-sized Iridium elemental weighing more the two tons. They are also nearly indestructible. The Iridium Elemental is virtually impervious to acid effects and does not react with any of the other elemental types. Go to Comment
Cliffworld is a unnatural finite and closed universe.
To the inhabitants, it is a great shaft in endless stone, 200 miles deep, and 200 miles in diameter.
The Cliff: The edge of the vast shaft, 120 000 square miles of cliffside. Cities, waterfall-rivers, terraces and odd shaped trees are the main artifacts visible.
Dreadfully hard and stable bedrock, tunnels take a great deal longer to dig then on other worlds, though mineral resources are common. Caverns do exist, and if one digs deep enough, they would emerge at the other side of the cliff.
200 miles down, a plain of about 300 square miles is a mixed landscapes of water,earth and fire - lakes of water and lava and volcanoes .
The Steam Musket appears as a standard infantry musket with the exception of a 8" diameter iron sphere mounted just in front of the trigger guard, and the absence of any obvious lock mechanism.
The rivalry between Steam gunsmiths and black powder gunsmiths makers has been legendary. Development by development, their arms end up varying little in appearance, but greatly in function. Dependant upon more complex mechanical components and costly hardening spells, the steam muskets
Frustrated with the shortcomings of the blackpowder muskets used by his armies, the Duke looked for something better.
The answer came after he was nearly killed when a locomotive exploded perilously close, metal giving way to the pressure within.
The Steam musket makes use of a magically-reinforced steam resivour to release short but powerful bursts of steam. These bursts project a .68 caliber musket ball to an effective range of 300 yards, where it still has enough energy to stove in a cirras. The discharge is still quite loud - the superheated steam exiting the barrel at near-supersonic speed.
The Steam musket is a muzzle-loader and still requires that at first wadding and then the musket ball be rammed down the
The Steam Musket has several advantages over blackpowder muskets:
1. All weather operation. No powder to get wet is a huge advantage in inclement weather.
2. No long-lasting smoke clouds. The plume of steam quickly dissipates, allowing better visability on the battlefield
Difficult to recharge - the weapons interneal resivour requires several minutes connected to a large steam generator to charge. Large units would require a signficant period of time to reload, making this weapon better suited for defensive actions. There are plans to build rechargers capable of using a campfire as the source of steam, but this would take many hours to build enough pressure. Units could carry a large stock of spare steam-muskets, but it would generally be more useful tactically to have every weapon in active use, and then having the unit retire when expended.
Anti-magic fields dangerous - Should a steam-musket have its containment magic disrupted, the stored steam would shatter the weapon in a dangerous explosion. For this reason, Steam Muskets are generally limited to at most 20 shots.
This weapon bears a strong resemblance to Ruddly and Simon Pneumatic Clockwork Rifle, including similar effective ranges, and ammunition capacity. One can consider this to be another design which can co-exist in the same world - slightly different, perhaps inferior in some aspects. Go to Comment
"For every day you're in this place, you're two days closer death." - Great Big Sea's Chemical Worker Song.
The land of Elrith is not known for the health and happiness of its people.
The Black Mines of Nemith are one of the worst places in a rather unpleasent country. The Miners that work here live short lives, and the local women bury many husbands in the course of their lives.
This was common with the deadly coal mines of our world, the black coal ruining mens lungs. However these mines are diamond mines, but a malignent type indeed. Deep beneath the surface their lies some fell place whose foul emanations work their way closer to the surface. Go to Comment
Another ploy to reduce mobility and danger of possible undead is for the corpse to be mutilated. From as simple as cutting all major tendons, decapitation, and full dismemberment.
32. Crossroad Burial
To confuse the arisen dead and preventing it from finding its home, corpses of beings likely to arise are buried at crossroads.
The Kayeed people have a special area south of their captial, called the Ithinia or Hashworks, which consists of a massive array of criss-crossing roads with many scores of crossings. At each crossing may be found many graves, with the corpses interred vertically and head-first to further impede possible rising.
Appeasment of the Dead
From as simple as closing the eyes of the dead, to long, elaborate ceremonies, the following customs are intended to appease the dead to not bother the living.