Friday, July 29, 2011

Lummox Envy

“Collecting penises is like collecting anything. You can never stop, you can never catch up, you can always get a new one, a better one,” Hjartarson said as he reached into the museum's penis-shaped cash register to return some change to a customer, before picking up a phone of the same shape.

From this article about the Icelandic Phallological Museum:

The Icelandic Phallological Museum (Icelandic: Hið Íslenzka Reðasafn) in Húsavík, Iceland houses the world's largest collection of penises and penile parts. By July 2011, it had 276 penises taken from 46 species, including homo sapiens. Its collection includes 55 penises taken from whales, 36 from seals and 118 from land mammals, including a wide variety of domestic, wild, terrestrial, and marine animals and an unfortunate stray polar bear shot by fishermen who found it drifting on pack ice off the Westfjords. . . .

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Girl That Haunts My Dreams

- by Farland Dane
(A dwarfish love song)

Her eyes are as dark as a brandy, so fine.
Her lips are as sweet as bumblefruit wine.
And I want to plant my pick deep in her mine.

The woman that haunts my dreams.

She has a firm grip and she never lets go.
Her thighs hold me tight to her while in the throes.
I feel passion with her that I've never known.

The woman that haunts my dreams.

Her smile is so wicked while we work up a sweat.
She’s wild and screams, “Oh, you’re not finished yet.”
She mines my shaft deep for all she can get.

The woman that haunts my dreams.

She moves like a river running wild and fast.
I try to keep pace but not sure I can last.
We finally finish in a gigantic blast.

I wake up and change my sheets.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ptolus Campaign Recap: Session 1

17th of Blessing, 721 I.A. (Imperial Age)

Our intrepid adventurers, for one reason or another, find themselves in Ptolus, the City by the Spire.  They each, for reasons of their own, end up at the Ghostly Minstrel in Delver's Square.  Farland Dane, the gnome bard, is there for the music and the connections he can make to Ptolus's bardic community.  He quickly makes friends with the talented Tarin Ursalatao who has, of late, been a regular on the Minstrel's stage.  When he's not hanging out at the Minstrel, drinking too much, and sleeping it off in the dog bed behind the bar, Farland plays a regular gig at The Black Swan pub where he is picking up some of the raunchiest dwarven drinking songs around.  Through Tarin, Farland is introduced to Marlowe Atrabonc, the chief writer and director at Midtown's Cloud Theater.  Marlowe offers Farland a part in the orchestra for his newest play "The Boy Who Could Sing."

Meanwhile, Grimslade the Vermin Hunter, a refugee from the sacked Imperial Capital, Tarsis, arrives in Ptolus enticed by the promise of a newly announced bounty on the tails of the Ratmen that plague the sewers and sometimes streets of Ptolus.  Grimslade visits Bith the Ratter, one of Ptolus' more interesting small businessmen, and is pointed towards a rat hunting job at, of all places, the Cloud Theater.

Prithvi, the enigmatic, yet blunt Vanara woman takes a room at the Ghostly Minstrel and strikes up conversations with the other patrons.  Prithvi has a sweet tooth, and spends extravagantly in the Minstrel's dining room. She is inquisitive, and soon makes the acquaintance of several other of the Inn's guests, including the handsome young cleric Auric, and the dwarf mage, T_______.  

.... to be edited and expanded.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Well, this is simply Awesome


And why I can't get the image to upload, I don't know.

Two Things

1.  There is an unfinished recap of Ptolus game session number one in the unpublished posts.  Please feel free to add to it if you wish.  I would like to keep an ongoing record of each session as we go along so that two years from now we can actually remember with more clarity game events.  If you do decide to provide some updates, do them in a different font or sign them parenthetically so we'll all know who contributed what.

2.  In the comments lets start talking about possible July or August game dates.  I might be out all of July (I apologize) because of job stuff, but we'll see.  There is a possibility right now that I might get a new job and have to move sometime in July... if that happens you could all come help me move and we could play D&D when we were done! (right? anyone? anyone?).

Friday, May 27, 2011

Auric Davros

I apologize for the choppiness and lateness of this, couldn't get my ideas to come out the way I wanted them to, ditched it twice and today deleted about 3 pages of what ended up being over-long setup for the fall of Tarsis and was setting up to turn novel length rather than a simple back story. At any rate, Auric Davros, human male cleric of Tevra:

Looking over his shoulder into the mirror, he remembers the price of ignorance. What suffering and pain the loss of knowledgecan costs. He still sees it in his dreams; the blast, brighter and harsher than the desert sun, the bone-crushing fist of the concussion, and the roar of ten thousand dragons filling his head until thought itself is obliterated. The death of a city.
Auric slides a fresh shirt over his head, covering the patchwork of long-healed scars peppering his back and murmurs a prayer to Tevra to guide his search for knowledge lost, that she may awaken and return the world to order. Clad in simple woolen clothing, the young man could be at first mistaken for the son of a farmer visiting the city, with his bulky arms and broad shoulders if not for the fine features and curled blond hair revealing his aristocratic Prustan roots. Rubbing his thumb around the circumfrence of the bronze gear that serves as the symbol of his goddess, he slips the thong it is attached to over his head and leaves his room at The Ghostly Minstrel to join his new companions for breakfast.

Auric's family, of the Baronetcy of Davros, had once been the premiere crafters of firearms for the nobility of Tarsis, in fact Auric's great great grandfather is said to have given the emperor himself a dragon pistol on his coronation and that the emperor wore the gun for all his days on the throne. The Davros family was well regarded, if somewhat rarely thought of, by the rest of the nobility, as they tended to keep themselves carefully seperate from the politics of the court and instead focus on their craft.

Never a large family, they lived in a compound within the walls of the city, a large manor house adjoining their ironworks where they forged pieces of deadly art for the nobility and wealthy merchants who commissioned them. They had maintained this practice of making custom pieces for centuries in spite of pressure to expand into production in numbers to supply the military as well because they saw the firearm not as a tool to be roughly used like any spade or knife, but expressions of art and technology to be appreciated even when not being fired.

It was to this lifestyle that Auric had been born, prosperous, comfortable, but also given to hard work and sweat in the family ironworks, giving him an appreciation of the common man that many nobles lacked. This lack of hauteur did tend to isolate the family in social circles, giving their few nay sayers the opinion that they were in truth trumped up merchants and crafters rather than true nobility...though they desired their craftwork just the same. This never bothered Auric much in his young life, as he has his two older brothers and younger sister for companionship, and even as young as six was involved in the family craft, helping his grandfather sort gems for encrustation, or carefully collecting scraps of precious metals left over from engravings his uncles worked on. All told, it was a happy, productive life full of interesting lessons in family history and guncraft, beyond just learning his letters and numbers.

When the barbarians sacked Tarsis, his father and uncles joined the defense of the city while the rest fled toward the west gate to join the stream of refugees fleeing the city, but were sadly swarmed over by the ravening horde, frenzied and filled with the thought of the plunder the city held for them. Slow to leave the family manor, Auric and his mother, elder brother, and younger sister escaped mere blocks ahead of the advancing barbarians.

Reaching such a rich and wealthy home the raiders allowed the fleeing Tarsians to run before them as the lure of gold and riches drew them in. Awed and amazed at the finely crafted weapons mounted in positions of honor throughout the home set up a great holler among the marauders, who quickly started seeking hidden vaults for even greater riches in the basement of the well as in the attached workshops.
Two centuries earlier, the Davros family had decided that they would not stand to suffer the embarassment of misfires in the weapons they sold to their customers and branched out into a small powder-making enterprise for the express purpose of crafting the finest and most potent gunpowder available, to be used with their dragon-cannons. The dangerous and volatile process was all undertaken in an isolated and secure section of the workshops, in excavated stone caverns in the bedrock beneath the workshop grounds. Precautions and safeguards designed to make the powder works and storage however served only to make it look like a treasure vault to the illiterate barbarians, who ignored the warnings all over its entrance. Breaking open the entrance after great effort, a group of raiders swarmed into the dark cavern, normally illuminated by cold chemical lights the family had acquired but the barbarians didn't know how to use, with their torches blazing.

The blast reduced four entire blocks of the city to nothing but a firey hellstorm, filling the air with a rain of burning debris and shrapnel, raining back down on the attackers and fleeing citizens like merciless Judgement from the heavens. A piece of flaming timber struck Auric full in the back as they fled, searing his flesh before his brother could put the flames out. Their mother however was not so lucky, a long shard of wood had pierced her heart as she huddled over her youngest child, protecting her from the explosion with her body. The small remainder of the Davros family limped with the other refugees out of the city, the only fortunate side effect of the blast being that the raiders had drawn back to move through the city more carefully, fearful of another.

Wounded and heartbroken, the sadly reduced family made their way westward, Auric fevered and in constant pain from his burns. Coming across an isolated abbey, the monks within quickly took them in and helped heal Auric's wounds and bring him back to health. For months they stayed with the monks, slowly recovering mentally and physically, until his older brother Maron proclaimed that it was time to move on. He was going to go to Sariush, where he had heard a branch of the family still lived and try and rebuild the family. However, in the months of recovery, Auric had come to learn more about the order that was protecting them, a branch of the Order of the Gear, worshippers of Tevra. He pleaded with his brother to let him stay, that he had heard the Call, and wished to join the Order and help restore order to the world, to prevent another Tarsis from happening. After much debate his brother agreed to let Auric stay while he and their sister went on to Sariush.

At nineteen, Auric is one step from full membership intot he Order of the Gear, this final trial is to seek out a piece of lost knowledge and return it to the Order, so they might spread it back into the world. With that task in mind, he enters the sprawling city of Ptolus; known throughout the land for its catacombs and lost mysteries, the city holds the key to his future and his best hope for helping reawaken his sleeping goddess.

Readers Advisory Moment

Perhaps something for your summer reading list:

The Kobold Wizard's Dildo of Enlightenment +2 (an adventure for 3-6 players, levels 2-5)

The Kobold Wizard's Dildo of Enlightenment +2 is an absurd comedy about a group of adventurers (elf, halfling, bard, dwarf, assassin, thief) going through an existential crisis after having discovered that they are really just pre-rolled characters living inside of a classic AD&D role playing game. While exploring the ruins of Tardis Keep, these 6 characters must deal with their inept Dungeon Master's retarded imagination and resist their horny teenaged players' commands to have sex with everything in sight.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Bad DM!

I have to keep reminding myself, when at bookstores, to not buy 4e books, no matter how cool they look, because I need to be thinking about running Ptolus.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just a Reminder

That I haven't forgotten about the Ptolus campaign.  I've just been really busy lately.  Things will begin happening soon.  I'm delving back into the big book to look for plot hooks for each of you, putting together some background info for Leelu, and just generally reacquainting myself with the city.  So, expect things to be moving in the near future. So, there you go.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


So as we begin to develop and refine our character concepts, a challenge: If you had to use just one word to describe your character, what would it be?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


After considering the matter further, I've decided to streamline.  More specifically, I've decided to shut down the Ptolus blog and move that content to here and the cringing wiki.  Maintaining another blog just seems like too much trouble, and, as much as I liked the layout of that blog, I think it is time to simplify.   So, in the future, expect Ptolus posts to appear here... just like in past campaigns.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Intriguing Advice

From following D&D on Facebook.

. . . As soon as I speak the words "Previously in Iomandra," a hush falls over the gaming table. The off-topic conversations end abruptly, and the players become all ears. This happens every time, without fail.

After speaking the words, I begin stringing together my bullet points into a rough narrative. The whole recap usually takes about a minute. I don't worry about adding detail because I trust that the players' memories will begin filling in the gaps automatically. The recap simply sparks their memories and puts the players in the right frame of mind to start the session. . . .

The Dungeon Master Experience

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Grimslade, Vermin-Hunter

His earliest memories were of watching the vermin.  The rats, with their opportunistic ability to survive, to make almost anything into food or shelter.  The cats, with their propensity for climbing and stealth, and their solitary, thieving ways.  The dogs, with their gangs and their territorial hierarchies.  He wasn’t one of them, but he became of them.  They were his unacknowledged teachers and competition.

There were humans, too, though he had none of his own.  They were his acknowledged competition, although none he remembered were his teachers.  Humans meant violence, confinement, and pursuit.  They built the shelters he hid in and made the food he stole, but none offered it freely.  He knew other humans his age who were given to freely when they begged on the streets, but investigation revealed they always had adult masters who were worse than the elements or starvation.  They offered to make him one of them, but the price was too high.

Instead, he lived on the fringes of society, learning what he could through careful observation and circumspect, vigilant interactions.  Parents must have created him and someone must have nursed him out of infancy and early childhood, but those memories were lost to him.  All he knew were back alleys, rooftops, sewers, and the hidden sides of the city.  Of course, he used the streets and markets, learned how crowds could provide better concealment than isolation at times, and explored the urban landscape widely, but anonymity and absolute lack of attachment to people were his strategies for safety.

Over time, he made acquaintances—a network, even—and learned to operate through give and take for mutual gain.  He never left himself vulnerable if he could help it, but he realized he needed things only willing others could provide.  Information, warnings, education.  If he was to prey on human society, he needed to know how it functioned; how to communicate, what behaviors to expect, what patterns to predict, how to spot trouble.  Through the years, he learned reading, psychology, group interactions, commerce, and more.

He learned about organizations, too.  There were the official ones like the city guard and military that should be avoided at all costs, bribed in a pinch.  Churches, too, with dangerous generosity that might be carefully manipulated.  The wizards had their clubs devoted to magic, as did most other professions.  And there were unofficial ones like the beggars and thieves guilds, who viewed him as an adversarial maverick.

As it’s much harder for adults to remain inconspicuously invisible than children, it eventually became too dangerous for him to remain the perpetual outsider.  He decided he needed an official profession to give cover to his covert activities.  That’s where his early mentors became once again useful.  He had not only learned all their tricks through careful study, he had become intimately familiar with their ways and habits.  With his adult size and resources, he knew how to best them.  He became a vermin hunter.

Officially, anyway: Grimslade, official vermin hunter, unofficial rogue-of-all-trades, master isolationist and individualist, urban ruffian, social gruffian.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Adventures of Farland Dane, ... So Far

By Lummox:

Farland Dane
Bard of the winding roads
(A gnome’s travels)

                As the sleet beat down on the tarp that covered him atop the carriage, Farland picked up his quill and opened his song book.  It held many songs he had learned throughout his travels, the ones he had not committed entirely to memory that is, but more than that, this tome held his greatest work, the piece that would carry on his tale long after his bones were dust in the wind.  It held “The Dane’s Tale,” the story of his life.
                The D-Tale, as he called it for short, contained not only the stories of his humble beginnings, but also the stories of the songs he had learned and the details behind the great people within them.  Not merely the stories of heroes for sure, but also the rumors and legends that followed such tales.  Like the tale of Mighty Grim Hammersmith, the dwarf lord who, when his people were under attack, came to their rescue with an army of spirits that he held in his pocket.  But it also told of the dark deal he had made with a demon to control such a power, and how in the end, he had been eaten piece by piece by that same ghostly swarm, which was then consumed by the demon who then vanished into the depths of the Grim Mines, never to be seen again.
                Or the tale of Balden Caperson, the gnomish rogue whose talents at lock-picking won him many treasures and the respect of the group of warriors that he had traveled with.  It also told of how in the end, though they came to respect and trust the wily, little thief, maybe even learned to love him, he snuck off in the night with all of their treasures with a band of thieves he had hired in town, and run off in the night leaving them with only their bed clothes (which was most unfortunate for their elven lady, Macranal the fair, for she wore none).  And how when they gathered in their hidden treasury with the goods, the rest of the thieves turned on him and beat him to death with the treasures he had helped them purloin.  So sad.
                Or his favorite, the tale of the “Conquerors of Tharizdun.”  The group of mythical warriors who fought back the powers of the darkness, though how, no one really knows, as throughout the tale, it seemed that they were no more than bumbling buffoons with the luck of 30 men each, able to survive insurmountable odds, not by talent or skill, but by sheer willpower and good fortune.  Whoever wrote such a tale was either a genius or a madman.  Either way, it was a wonderful tale and made a stirring and comical song that always got high cheers from every town.  I mean, really.  Who would name their child Lummox?  It had to be a work of fiction.
                But he put those tales aside to work on his literal life’s work.  He looked back over the pages of his story and noted some of the lines he was most fond of.  The story of the first time he picked up a toy flute that had been dropped by his older brother and began to play it.  At first it was halting and off key with no melody to speak of, but the sounds spoke to him, so he played on learning the ways of the instrument and soon discovering its mysteries:

And as his fingers danced about
The way that fingers will
He found that others danced along
With feet they could not still
His family laughed and sang
The house was filled with joy
But none were happier of the song
Than their darling little boy

                He remembered the day he had come to his family showing them his new talent.  He remembered how over joyed everyone was to have music in the house.  So his job was to play for them so that they may dance, but to him, it was no job at all.  It was all play and fun and he was happy then.
                He was happy until the day his father took him to town and sat him in the streets and told him to play.  He had done as he was asked, but soon his songs began to falter.  He had thought that his father had brought him out to show the world his skill, but as he played, he saw his father sneaking among the crowd that came to hear his song.  He saw his father’s quick, light fingers pilfering their purses and stealing their goods.
                Without even thinking about it, his songs soon took on a sad note.  A melancholy spread through the crowd, a subtle wariness gripped them.  It was not long after that his father was snatched up by one of the listeners who shouted, “Thief!  Call the guard!”
                They were hauled before a magistrate and his father was charged and sent to serve a month’s sentence in the quarry for his crimes.   Farland was released.  He hurried home and told his mother what happened.  He expected her sympathy, but instead bore her wrath.  The beating was bad enough, but she then did the most horrifying thing he could imagine.  She threw his flute into the cooking fire.  Farland rushed after it and was caught at the last second by his elder brother who heaved him from the room and sat him on their sleeping pallet.
                “Listen,” his brother, Massin, said, “you need to calm yourself.  You have upset mother greatly, and she will be angry for a while, but her fits are like a passing storm.  You must bear it out.  It will pass.”
                Farland understood, and heeded his brother’s advice, but the storm did not pass.  It seemed every time his mother saw him from then on, her anger would rise within her.  He received the least and the worst of the meals.  He was given the hardest and most disgusting of the chores.  He was even in charge of earning some money until his father returned, to support the household, but without his flute, he didn’t know how.  He went to the neighbors to see if he could do chores for money, but many of them had little or no money to give.  He tried carving a new flute, but it came out warped and the notes came out either sharp or flat.  He soon wondered if he would ever play again.
                A month passed and his father returned home.  He would not even look at Farland.  His mother gave him the news that they were going to lose their home if they did not make money soon.  Farland’s father brooded for a moment and then left the house.  Harland was awakened that night by his return and the fight his mother and his father had about the late hour.  Then all at once the fighting stopped and their voices grew hushed.  Farland fell back asleep.
                In the early morning, before the sun had risen, Farland was awakened by the sound of a carriage.  No one traveled by carriage in these parts.  Sometimes by pony but this was a full carriage, human size.  He looked out the window as someone stepped out of the carriage and wrapped on the door of his family’s house.  He soon heard his father’s voice answering the door and speaking to the human in hushed tones.  His father disappeared from the doorway and back into the house.  Farland went back to his pallet and laid down, pretending to be asleep.  He heard the door to his bedroom open and heard his father enter.  He kept his eyes closed and he heard his father whisper in the darkness, “Don’t worry.  This is the right thing to do.  The little troublemaker will learn from this and grow stronger.”
                He listened, wondering what was going on, and then he heard his mother’s voice say, “Who’s worried?  Did you get the gold up front?”
                They continued to whisper and move closer as he wondered what was going on?  He opened his eyes just as his father slipped a burlap bag over him.  His parents began dragging him off and he heard his brother awake and ask what was happening.
                “He’s going to learn responsibility for his actions and a trade that will make this family some money,” his mother said with ice in her voice.  “One day he will learn that his family comes first.”
                “You can’t do this,” Massin screamed.  “He’s only a child!  He’s not even 35 yet!”
                “More time for him to learn then,” his father said in a labored voice.  He could feel the cold morning air through the bag and he began to scream.  He felt someone grab the bag near his head and try to pull him the other direction.  Then there was the sound of a struggle and he was dropped again.  Soon he was lifted bodily off of the ground and tossed onto a hard surface, he assumed the carriage.  He struggled free of the bag as the door was closed on him.  There were no windows and when he tried the door, it was locked tight.  There were raised voices from outside and he cried out for someone to save him, but soon it did not matter.  The cart jerked forward and he was soon traveling, to where he did not know.
                He soon found he had been sold into a traveling circus and quickly learned the lesson that if you did not work, you did not eat.  If you tried to run away, you were caught and severely beaten, if not worse by the men who were known only as “master.”
                Once he learned these things, and accepted them, he found that despite the hard work, it was not a terrible life.  He was soon handed over to the other performers to be trained and they soon became his new family.  They cared for him, tended to his wounds and schooled him in the arts of pleasing an audience.  Soon a year had passed and with his birth day came a very special gift.  The lead musician, Berge, presented him with one of his flutes and a lute.  The joy welled up inside of Farland and tears spilled from his eyes as he gazed at his gifts.

“Well my lad,” the master said
“Let’s hear a song
“And we shall dance
“The evening long”

And play he did
A song of glee
That all danced bright
And merrily.

They danced the night
And into dawn
‘Til camp was packed
And they moved on.

                It was then that Farland learned his true place in the world.  As he learned to play his new instruments, he found in himself a well deep in song and spirit.  He listened well to his masters, he learned from the artists around him, from the people in the towns they visited and from the new life he now held as his own.  And with this new freedom of spirit came the realization that he no longer needed his old family.  He would toss them aside as they had done him.
                His only regret was for his brother, Massin.  One day, he would find his brother and try to free him from the grasp of his parents.  But for now, he would learn and become a great musician.
                Years passed, decades.  Soon he found himself in the upper ranks of the musicians.  The leash that the “masters” had put him on had loosened and, after some time, disappeared entirely.  They came to him and offered him his freedom and gave him the choice of staying with them and entertaining the crowds or of travelling on his own.  With a shake of hands and tearful goodbyes, Farland chose the latter and soon set off to strike his own luck.
                At first there were difficulties, as with any change in life, but soon he found that the people longed for music, they longed for tales of adventure that they would never experience themselves, but could experience vicariously through his song and stories.  Life as a member of a group of musicians was very different from one as a bard, but he was determined to be a success.  And as he traveled he learned new songs, new stories, so many that he could no longer keep them in his head.  So he struck out one day to find a way to store them.  He searched through several shops and merchant stalls until he came upon the book.  It was sitting in the corner on a low shelf in the back of a weapon’s shop, holding up the corner of an old shelf.
                Farland spoke to the shop keep and they worked out a price for the tome and soon it was his.  He had leafed through it and though the first couple of pages had tallies of inventory on it (much of it scratched out and rewritten) the majority of it was empty and he knew it would see him through many years.  And so he dedicated an entire week to putting down to paper the stories and songs he knew and as he traveled he added more and more.
                It was in his 51st year that he decided to begin his life’s tale, and now, six months later, he had finally caught himself up to the present.  He was trying to come up with a line to follow “And now I sit upon this coach, Rain awash my back,” when the cart lurched to a halt.  He had been so wrapped in his memories that he had not realized that they had entered another town.  He put his bookmark in to mark his place, tucked the book away and peeked out from under the tarp.

(To be continued)