Monday, July 10, 2017

Vertaxian Robots

Vertaxian Robot
3 [16]
Pincers 1d4 each*
Neutrinium Alloy Body, Scanners, Self-Repair
12 (Negrav floater)

* Vertaxian Robots can attack three targets (-3 to hit each attack), or two targets (-2 to hit for each attack), or one target with all six pincers (-1 to hit for each attack).

Vertaxian Robots are a remnant of the ancient Vertaxian civilization that died out millennia ago in a conflict with an obscure Star Empire that has been meticulously stricken from all inscriptions or databases, and an alien menace known only as "The Annihilators." These ancient machine relics tend to be found only amidst ruins and dead worlds that were once occupied by their fore-bears where they tend to Great Machines or maintain the atmosphere factories and other mechanisms that sustain exotic alien biomes that have long since run amok.

These robots were never intended to be front-line combat models and so only engage in melee combat under duress. They know hundreds of dead alien languages and some suspect that their crystal-cores might actually preserve the disembodied minds of their progenitors, but this has yet to be verified.

Some individual Vertaxian Robots have shown signs of renewed interest in affairs beyond their age-old ruins. Perhaps they will prove to be benevolent...

Monday, July 3, 2017

Malignant Polar Entity

[Photo currently unavailable]

Is it invisible?
We don't know.

Can it pass through walls?
We cannot say for certain.

Can it fly or leap over obstacles like a Spring-Heeler?
Possibly, but no one really is sure.

Does it have great, nasty teeth? Perhaps.
We do know it has incredibly sharp talons.

Is it fur-bearing or some sort of reptile or vegetable-thing?
This remains a mystery.

Is it intelligent, or is it an unusually clever animal?
That remains to be determined.

Does it have any weakness?
It has been reported on multiple occasions that the beast was driven off by fire.

Why would anyone risk life and limb to hunt this beast down?
There are several competing rewards or bounties on the beast, depending on whether it is recovered alive, dead, wholly intact or in part, as well as simply acquiring definitive evidence of the thing's nature. Bring us this monster, in whatever form or condition and there is a rich pay-day awaiting.

Excerpt from A Very Special Third Anniversary of the Third Expedition Edition
of The Whisperer

Malignant Polar Entity 
(Currently Unidentified Antarctic Horror)
No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Neutral (suspected, but so-far unverified)
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 5 (as Chain Mail)
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 1
Damage: 3d4 (Talons)
Save: F4
Morale: 9 (Decreases by 1 for every 6 points of fire damage taken)

Special: Immune to Charm, Hold, Sleep.
               All creatures within a 20' radius that are susceptible to Cold damage receive 1d4 damage per round.
               On any natural to hit roll of 20 the beast inflicts an additional 2d8 Cold damage.

Boreal Sea Bears, Gray Masses, Giant Albino Penguins, White Beasts and fossilized Polypous-things were not the only specimens brought back from a series of modestly-staffed, poorly equipped and questionably successful South Polar Expeditions launched by the Academy prior to the War. The first expedition claimed to have discovered a bizarre variety of aquatic crinoid and another more vegetative creature still frozen in a block of ice, both of which were apparently lost at sea when their airship was heavily damaged in a freak storm. The second expedition brought back a number of photos, ectographs, rubbings, sketches and maps from a so-far unnamed set of sub-polar ruins deep within an area of heavy volcanism from which they barely escaped when their airship caught on fire. Of the third expedition we know very little other than that they did indeed successfully return only to have their airship destroyed during a bombing attack during the War. Their records and manifest were lost, but it is almost certain that they are responsible for having brought a number of exotic specimens that were then let loose in the turmoil and chaos following the attack. Since then pretty much everyone blames the third expedition for unleashing the White Beasts and hordes of penguins and other such nuisances upon the city.

But out of all the nasty beasts and dangerous creatures removed from the Antarctic regions and dropped willy-nilly into the middle of Wermspittle the worst of the lot has to be the shambling horror that freezes its victims to death even at the height of Summer. At this time there are no pictures of this creature. It was never properly named. The members of the third expedition were all murdered or lost to Black Smoke attacks before any sort of formal report could be made. So a nameless, unseen, horror from the South Polar regions has taken up residence somewhere within Wermspittle and so far no one has managed to capture it, let alone document it...

The one good thing that has been noted about this creature so far is that it appears to go dormant over the Winter, confining its most brutal attacks to a couple of weeks around the Summer Solstice, a fact that has emboldened numerous cranks, con-artists, charlatans and astrologers to speculate wildly about the occult nature of the beast. Theories abound, facts are few; there's quite a lot of fame, perhaps even a good reward for anyone who can manage to discover more actual details about this beast...let alone capture it, or kill it.

Source of Inspiration: "A malignant entity, or cosmic spirit from the southern pole, which pursues a party of explorers and kills them one by one, leaving on each, even in countries of the tropical or temperate zones (where it has followed them), the marks of frost-bite."
The Thing from the Antarctic, an unfinished synopsis/fragment by Clark Ashton Smith which can be found at the Eldritch Dark website.

Friday, June 30, 2017


"Both the cockroach and the bird would get along very well without us, although the cockroach would miss us most."

No. Enc.: 10-100
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 60' (20') Climb Walls as Thief.
Armor Class: 7 (as Leather and Shield)
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks: 2 at -1 to hit, or 1 at +1 to hit.
Damage: Half of normal damage for Melee weapons.
Save: F10
Morale: 8 (Suffer -4 to Morale in Bright Light)

Special: Climb Walls, Hide in Shadows and Move Silently as Thieves. Some specimens advance as Thieves or Magic Users. All Roachlings are capable of extruding 'gut-crystals' and/or 'milk.'

Ranging from 1' to 3' tall when walking upright, Roachlings are rarely if ever encountered alone. They know full well the dangers of the Bright Places and avoid them as much as possible, except for a few demented or deranged individuals who have developed a taste for adventuring in the humanish world.

Roachlings can extrude a messy yellowish-pink goo that they dredge up from their mid-gut and work into a thick, viscous material that sets-up like a form of pinkish amber. This so-called 'gut-crystal' is packed with nutrition and is much sought-after by the Candy Makers and Confectioners.

They used to sell their 'milk' to anyone, especially during the harsh winter months, but during the First Pruztian Occupation the Roachlings banded together and made a contract with the Maidens of the Well who have held a monopoly over the roaches' 'milk' in Wermspittle ever since. This of course has led to some friction over the years with the Confectioners who likewise signed an exclusive arrangement with the Roachlings in regards to their 'gut-crystals.' To this day it is not uncommon to see gangs of Candystripers or Sweethearts ambushing or accosting lone Milk Maids. It is rumored that the Milk Maids are in negotiations with the Sisterhood of Swans to gain some protection from the Candy Maker's servants and agents...

"Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it."
Donald Knuth, as quoted by Alan Kay

Before the Great War there were rumors that a number of rival Orders and some Academic Libraries were using swarms of literate Roachlings to transcribe ancient scrolls, clay tablets, illicit manuscripts, and other sorts of things in secret. None of the groups accused of this crime have ever admitted to it and no one was ever punished for it, allowing many Yellow Journalists to decry this as some sort of hoax or fraudulent account. Nonetheless it would account for the Roachlings acquisition of both literacy and spell-casting capabilities...and their disturbing access to some extremely archaic forms of spells and rites few modern scholars know beyond off-hand mentions in the records of defunct organizations or the vague descriptions offered in decaying popular texts from centuries ago...

A more disturbing claim is that while employed as scribes and archivists by their various masters, the Roachlings slipped a few sarcastic comments, pornographic marginalia and even some critical yet subtle errors into the works they copied. Thus it is common practice to blame faulty spells, gibberish scrolls or mis-translated rites to the Roachlings...despite nothing ever having been proven.

There is a wonderful little article at Science Alert that gives a bit more detail on the 'Super Food of the Future, Cockroach Milk. Obviously, such a food-source would be critically important in the winter in Wermspittle...too bad it is in such short supply...

Monday, June 26, 2017

Straw Troopers

My life has been so short that I really know nothing whatever. I was only made day before yesterday. What happened in the world before that time is all unknown to me...

Strohtruppen (Straw Troopers)
[also referred to as Mulltruppen (Junk-Troops)]
No. Enc.: 3d6
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40'0
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d6 (Weapon)
Save: F4
Morale: 12

Strohtruppen, or Straw Troopers, are soft automatons constructed from the uniforms of the fallen, captured regimental banners, bloody bandages, blanket-rolls and then packed with straw, moss, rags, more bloody bandages, tent flaps and anything else that can be scrounged. They are equipped with whatever weapons are to be found, usually pole-arms, bayonets, broken rifles, make-shift clubs and the like. No one expects them to do anything except follow whatever orders they receive without question or hesitation, no matter the danger or the stupidity. They have no true intelligence and can only carry out the simplest of commands and then only if they are delivered at high volume, as these things tend to be hard of hearing. They also cannot see much farther than 200', though they can see as clearly in the dark as they do in the daylight. In addition they are unaffected by Hold, Charm, Sleep, ESP, most forms of glamer or illusion and Fear effects. There are rumors that a specialized form of Hold spell has been developed by the Franzikan Military College, but if this sort of thing does exist, it is not in open circulation at this time.

Straw Troopers are so very similar to the crude Fodder Golems and Corn Dollies crafted by farm communities in the Low Lands that most scholars agree that these things are essentially the militarized, modernized versions of those more humble, rustic forms of soft automatons.

Commandant Zulmer of the the Wall Guard has come under intense criticism for allegedly approving a plan to bolster the units along the Inner Ramparts with an unverified number of Strohtruppen and salvaged Fyters. Some of the most scathing condemnation has come from the ultra-conservative Black Rose Coalition who control nearly a third of the Security Council. Representatives of the Black Rose demand that instead of resorting to such inhuman things as Straw Troopers to reinforce the ranks of the seriously depleted Wall Guard units, that they instead return to the time-honored practice of utilizing undead soldiers...

Soft Automata include Fodder Golems, Bannerbearers, Leatherim, Corn Dollies, Teerkinder, and others. They lack the inherent toughness of traditional automata and are most often employed in a short-term, disposable manner.

Source of Inspiration: The Scarecrow from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, as seen through the lens of Mr. Frazer's The Golden Bough, with a touch of Arthur Machen: " is my belief that an awful lore is not yet dead."

Friday, June 23, 2017


Hit Dice: 1 to 3
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Attacks: 1 (eye-beam for 1d4+1)
Saving Throw: 14
Special: Limited ESP, Telepathy, Telekinesis, Suffer Double Damage from Poison.
Move: Innate Levitation
Alignment: Neutrality
Challenge Level/XP: 5/240+

Equally at home underwater or the surface world, Illardin are intensely curious beings who are fascinated with all aspects of magic and spell casting. If the Illardin recognize someone as a spell-caster of any sort whatsoever, they will attempt to convince this person to become their mentor. Anyone agreeing to teach the Illardin must Save or fall under the effect of a Geas making it impossible for them to advance any further within their primary spell-casting class until such time as they have successfully taught one spell to the Illardin. Successfully teaching a spell to these creatures eliminates the Geas, however there is a base 30% chance that the Illardin will recommend the player character's services to their friends and family, resulting in more 'students' appearing every few weeks.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Arctic Fireballs

"An Arctic fire-ball had traversed the sky, showering abroad, a sulphurous glamour over the snow-landscape. Before the intenser blue of its momentary shine had passed away, I saw Wilson stagger forward, and drop. And him and his lantern I buried deep there under the rubble ice."

The Purple Cloud,
by M.P. Shiel

Arctic Fireballs
(Polar Irrlicht)

No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Movement: 360 (120)
Armor Class
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 1 (constant / area effect)
Damage: 1d6 (20' radius)
Save: MU6
Morale: 8

Special: Anyone looking directly at one of these creatures must make a Save or go blind for 1d6 Turns. Repeatedly gazing into the searing blue light incurs a cumulative penalty of -1 on all subsequent Saves. Failing a Save three times in a row results in the blindness becoming permanent.
Damage inflicted within its area of effect alternates randomly between extreme heat and extreme cold.
When reduced to zero hp the creature explodes as an Incendiary Cloud (75%) or Ice Storm (25%).

Shimmering immaterial horrors from beyond the Arctic Circle, these effulgent orbs of preternatural azure flame plunge headlong through the night leaving trails of sparks and sulphurous fumes in their wake. Unquiet beasts of uncertain provenance, they make a fearful and easily distinguishable roar in their travels. It is described as being something akin to a stuttering sort of thunder one feels in their bones more than it assaults the ears, according to the accounts of various survivors. Even before the uncanny sound might be heard, a searing blue light will sweep across the landscape evaporating shadows and blinding any foolish enough to look too closely into the source of this weird radiance.

Unnatural things, intrusive forces from some Parallel Realm or malign sphere of existence few know anything about, there are many unanswered questions regarding these mysterious, sinister creatures and too few definite answers...

There are those who would reward any intrepid investigator who successfully uncovers a clue as to the actual identity of these things or any facts regarding their ultimate nature. Divinations and prognostications do not work on these things necessitating the gathering of intelligence by the time-honored process of discrete pursuit and patient observation...

Recent Developments

  1. An Ill-Advised Attempt at Binding one of these things has resulted in the death of four students, leaving three others horribly burned and their Student Advisor Miss Kalisham missing and presumed either Displaced or possibly disintegrated. The Board of Inquiry is seeking the advice of anyone with what might pass for a reasonable amount of credible knowledge in these sorts of matters i.e. direct, personal experience in dealing with malevolent Irrlichts and related things.

  2. Mandival Kosrigand, a nearly destitute disgraced scholar with a penchant for exotic forms of Black Liquor claimed to have captured a specimen of what he prefers to refer to as an Effulgent Azure Orb, if only to annoy his detractors and rivals. When a group of his peers broke down the door to his study all they found was his charred corpse and what remained of his papers scattered in total disarray. Perhaps his method worked and someone moved to snatch it away before he could share it with anyone else. Maybe he was the victim of spontaneous combustion and there's nothing more to the matter. All that is certain is that someone would do well to take a closer look at things, just in case some sort of sorcerous skullduggery might be afoot...who knows who might be the next victim...

  3. A lone Forager who was presumed lost for three weeks reappeared just recently telling a bizarre tale about a strange series of caverns where all the exposed surfaces were vitrified to the point of being nearly glass-like due to the efforts of a '...radiant blue sphere of corruscating flame wreathed in a halo of sulphorous fumes that resented all intrusions upon its secret domain.' Allegedly the Forager was able to escape, but became lost in the Middle Deeps and was forced to wander through numerous unmapped areas before finally stumbling across a Sewer Militia Antekeep on the banks of a deep, cold river. They've only just left the custody of the Sewer Militia and word of their misadventure has spread quickly.

  4. Nasigallir of Greft, renowned for her research into photovoltaic phenomena has put out a call for research assistants and support staff, including a contract with a notorious fully licensed band of Pruztian deserters mercenaries...rumor has it that she intends to hunt down and either capture or destroy a number of Arctic Fireballs as part of her ongoing efforts at weaponizing various forms of Irrlichts under her grant and Letter of Patent & Marque bestowed upon her by Baron Ludrivarca Bollingern, master of one of the 'violently independent freeholds' that have seceded from the Empire now that the War has descended into anarchy and chaos. The Baron is not a man who abides chaos. At all.

Inspiration: The quote from M. P. Shiel's The Purple Cloud was the starting point for this nasty luminous horror that was somehow brought back from the Arctic by some ill-fated expedition or another. Perhaps it is somehow connected to the Inner City at the Two Magnetic Poles and the Dno-Hna Formula or is it one of the ancient and shining foulnesses that fester between the angles of Yr and Nhhgr? Possibly...

Monday, June 19, 2017

Zinn Soldiers (Combat Automata of Wermspittle)

The Soldier is a splendid manWhen marching on parade,And when he meets the enemyHe never is afraid.He rights the wrongs of nations,His country's flag defends,The foe he'll fight with great delight,But seldom fights his friends...

Bad translations of the surviving interrogation transcripts leaked by Yellow Journalists during the collapse of the First Pruztian Occupation have led to many inconsistencies and much speculation regarding the origination and derivation of the various forms of combat automata known as 'Zinn Soldiers,' so-called because of their special alloy-plating.

Zinn Soldiers (Conscript Demi-Automata)
No. Enc.: 1d4
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 3 (as Plate Mail)
Hit Dice: 2+
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d6, or by weapon
Save: F2+
Morale: 11

Special: Unlike Fyters, Zinn Soldiers gain experience in their respective class(es). Most are Fighters, but some are more specialized and a rare few are dual-classed. Also Zinn-plated portions of these soldiers gain a +4 bonus to all Saves versus acid, corrosion, Black Smoke, Purple Vapors, etc. However Zinn Soldiers still need to breathe, even if their face or head has been reconstructed, thus they remain at risk from poison gas and can drown or suffocate.

Zinn Soldiers are conscripted troops that have been rebuilt from the shattered remains of badly wounded and dismembered soldiers recovered from the battlefield. Originally the process was something of a progressive and aggressive replacement of lost body-parts with cheap zinn-plated prosthetic limbs. Zinn Soldiers usually retain some portions of their original human bodies whereas Fyters never had any experience of the flesh, having been turned out as fully functional automata from the factories.

Those troops, including a few higher echelon officers and the like, that have only received a simple replacement hand, foot, arm or leg were returned to their units with little fanfare. Those unfortunates that required more extensive efforts on the part of the battlefield surgeons lost more than just their human appearance as they were summarily conscripted into special infantry units made-up entirely of survivors like themselves, all of whom were now relegated to permanent service with no chance of release until after the cessation of hostilities, and even then only by special dispensation in recognition of outstanding service. These units, while often small in number, served as shocktroops and kommando units, often being the first ones in and the last ones out, especially if things went badly. Having already been documented and listed as killed in action, these troops were seen as eminently expendable by the High Kommand.

In the last months of the Great War a number of Zinn soldiers refused obviously suicidal orders, opting instead to either desert or rebel against their commanders. As more and more of the Zinn soldiers became troublesome and rebellious, they were replaced by Fyters, combat automata that had never known life of any kind and lacking sort of flesh or remnants of humanity. The introduction of the first Fyters resulted in a majority of Zinn Soldiers withdrawing from the field of battle to either go back to their homelands or to march off in a random direction in search of some place they could claim as their own. Not being at all sympathetic to their once-loyal troops, the Pruztian High Kommand condemned these traitors and set specialized units of Maschine Killers the task of hunting down and destroying disloyal Zinn Soldiers.

It is rumored that many Zinn Soldiers have since found aid and support among the Borderland Keeps and other Pruztian settlements located outside the Imperial City and those enclaves directly connected by Unterrail or other means. A sort of outlawry has arisen along the frontier of the Empire with Zinn Soldiers taking over various Lakeside Manors and other fortified locations and engaging in acts of banditry and subversion against the Nobility and their lawful representatives and agents. Some few are making names for themselves as disciplined units of Freikorps and perhaps they shall one day redeem their reputations and force some sort of reconciliation with the empire. Others wantonly destroy everything in their way as they wander across the wilderness, rootless and aimless and ripe for some well-spoken warlord or other such opportunist to set them to nearly any sort of mischief.

Based upon actual reports from the battlefields and given unofficial sanction by certain highly placed individuals who spoke under condition of anonymity, lurid horror stories concerning a few flawed individual Zinn soldiers, possibly damaged in combat, caught in the attempt to replace portions of their zinn-plated limbs or internal systems with bits of flesh taken from corpses or in some cases still-living victims. Nearly all of those aberrant individuals were summarily executed upon discovery of their hideous acts. Thankfully this seems to be a relatively rare thing, but all manner of macabre rumors and horror stories are in circulation and fill the pages of Nickle Dreadfuls and less reputable scandal sheets.

Since the end(?) of the War few specialists have the skills or knowledge to construct Zinn-prosthetics or to attach them to still-living human remains. Those few who do possess this specialized knowledge tend to be kept under close watch deep within the most heavily-guarded and fortified sections of the Imperial City or one of the major redoubts used by the High Kommand.

There are of course numerous rumors of undead Zinn Soldiers, but there has been no verifiable proof of their existence and the High Kommand strenuously denies that any such thing is even possible...

Zinn is an alloy (98% tin, 2% lead, antimony, and other elements including a trace amount of Green Powder used in the Plattnerizing process) that is highly resistant to acids, poisons, fungi, mold and to some extent even the milder forms of Black Smoke. The exact formulation of Zinn was classified as a state secret by the Pruztian High Chancellery and knowledge of the formula was strictly limited on a need-to-know basis for more than fifty years and zealously guarded by the descendants of the Baumhoffer family until some agent or agents unknown managed to steal the notebooks, records and original test samples from the Baumhoffer family vault. The Prustian Imperial Laboratories have never been able to successfully duplicate the original formula for Zinn, though they have come up with a number of other useful alloys and compounds.

Inspiration: The Tin Woodman of Oz by L. Frank Baum which is available at Project Gutenberg, Wikisource or at Open Library.