Thursday, March 26, 2009

More Words

One way to think of Wohoon is: Gamma World rewritten as weird fantasy rather than a science fantasy setting. Admittedly that's a fine and perhaps spurious distinction. Like Gamma World Wohoon is post-apocalyptic. There will be robots and rayguns and possibly  probably definitely giant radioactive monsters rising from the depths to occasionally stomp across the landscape. There will be mutants, and how.

But in essence it's a fantasy world. Hobbs, elves and dwarfs, goblins, ghouls and giants, the whole schmeer. It's just that it takes place after your basic act of magical hubris blasted the best part of civilization into rubble and splinters. The hills are alive -- in some cases quite literally -- with wild magic. Whole forests are twisted by polymorphic radiation into impossible shapes, ogrish trees with beards of jangling glass and leaves of paper.

Time is broken too. The cataclysm that doomed Wohoon was caused by a cabal of chronomancers, believed to have been flung far into the future, and worshipped by furtive cults as the Gods Yet to Come. In some places time spins backward, or loops upon itself. Skyscrapers and clocktowers rise up from the shallow waters of the Sea of Clocks. The lost objects of a thousand worlds and ten thousand generations accumulate in a junkyard somewhere south. Folk from other times are drawn here as well: lost zeppelineers, dinosaur herders, mad scientists. Undeath is chronomantical in nature, a generally foul attempt to thwart the proper passage of time.

I'm already well past 25 words and the edge of coherence, but here's a few more, in the sentenceless manner Noisms suggests:

Bandits, slavers; nomadic fey; bat-faced goblins, orc parthenogenesis; molemen at the center of the earth; a dragon-locomotive 500 miles long; scattered villages, trading moots, no nations; only local gods.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wohoon, in less than 10 words

Thundarr the Barbarian, with backgrounds drawn by Salvador Dali.


There are a lot of great settings being cooked up at the moment: Thool, Athanor, The Valley of Blue Snails, Yoon-Suin, Cinder. If you're working on one, I'd love to hear a summary in 25 words or less (And please post a link if you've got someplace online where you go on and on about it!).

Monday, March 16, 2009

Thirty Wizards of Wohoon

  1. The Abominable Anton Phraint
  2. Aname Rebus, lexicomancer, cabalist and dungeon cartographer.
  3. Armored-In-Teeth, Papa Shark's horse, sea dwarf houngan.
  4. Black Jenkin, Eater of Cats, a goblin fevercloak.
  5. The Blue Witch, Arfuun of the Husk
  6. Brindle the Skiver, were-rat curio merchant and unabashed recruiter for the lycanthropic lifestyle.
  7. Doctor Optogon (Uncle Spider, Old Twelve-Eyes), the beholder librarian of deChirico. Flightless but quite mobile in his arcano-mechanical spider harness.
  8. Elruss Wu Jinn (Old Dirty Bastard), madman, mushroom eater, master of the 36 Hexagrams.
  9. Falash the Leech, a healer, of sorts.
  10. Geenya Dare, the Child Lich of Roonok.
  11. Gusten Cipher, a moleman monster-builder specialized in flesh golems.
  12. Idal Rodavlas, Archaeo-mnemo-dweomerist.
  13. Iovolovoi, Mirror of Dawn, Fulcrum of Noonday, Warder of Dusk, high priest of a sun god chained to a pillar in the desert.
  14. Ishkish the Cutter
  15. Kibreel Shellback, lizard-man witch doctor of Ten Tree Fen and Binyah Sump.
  16. Laughing Margett, druidess and blood-drinker, whose mirth bares a mouthful of thorns
  17. Mamsy Illmazer, Mother Ulcer, goblin clanmother and fevercloak.
  18. Moon Mad, the Voice of Bronze, a collective mind that animates a score of living bronze statues scattered across Wohoon.
  19. The Protean, a colossal mass of seething sentient mud, crackling with radiation and insane with the magic of the scores of wizards it has enveloped.
  20. Ooloosk the Whisperer
  21. Orvix Alt, a moleman monster-builder specialized in gargantua.
  22. Otsana Muraz, enchantress and bandit queen, leading her charmed bravos against slavers and merchants alike.
  23. Shining Obwoon, a princeling of the elves, grown so fat with sweetmeats and nectar he can no longer stand.
  24. Suling, Hermit of the Bamboo, a mendicant monk with a cloak of bells and a basket over his head, piping strange tunes on a reed flute.
  25. Thomas Nodisen Alv, Wizard of Olmen Peak, machine-mage. "The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around;" he is rebuilding his own body for the fourth time.
  26. Tolobeq the Imp, inventorist of the junk heaps of Oscura.
  27. Triskelion
  28. Yugnav Sety (the Sleeper, the Silent Captain), adrift on the Sea of Clocks in a rusted iron barque, dreaming a thousand-year-dream.
  29. Zemyel Vetch (Wretch, Twitch), itinerant alchemist, abuser of his own wares, sometime venefice.
  30. Zosimos Umon, an accident of magic, a homunculus born of a drop of a wizard's blood and the clay where the blood was spilled.

MP3: Mariee Sioux, Wizard (Compact Disc & Download)
Early version of a track from Mariee's debut album. Final version and lots more at her Myspace page.
MP3: Gianluigi Trovesi, C'era una strega, c'era una fata (Compact Disc & Download)
Once upon a time in the witch wood...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It Came from My Hi-Fi...

My Sunday soundtrack lately has been a playlist built from the killer clips featured on Monster Movie Music 1950-1969. They're like some kind of mad scientists of stereophonic sound, digging up mostly obscure old movies, chopping together scraps of score music, dialog and sound effects and resurrecting them as digital Frankenstein monsters in the World of Tomorrow, 2009.

Eegah contributes to this blog!  Eegah!
Forced metaphors aside, check them out. If like me you grew up watching late night monster movies and Saturday afternoon Creature Features you'll have a blast browsing their archives.

MP3: Dimension X, The Martian Chronicles (CD or Download)
Noise/improv rockers Massimo Pupillo, Chris Corsano and David Chalmin travel to the Red Planet

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"The Neutralians bear no great love for the people of Artis and Atlantis"

Jeff Rients asked in the comments of a recent post, "Were you this manic before Encounter Critical?"


By way of evidence, two pages from a sixth grade school project:

Sulfur City doesn't *sound* like a nice place  to be a tourist

 'Died in fighted,' indeed

"It comes from the Greek word for giant"

One of my favorite remembrances of Gary Gygax is this one at The Onion's pop culture site, the AV Club. Like the author I was one of the lonely thousands of kids for whom D&D was a mostly solitary escape. He captures the mix of gladness and melancholy I feel remembering the many hours I spent reading and re-reading the DMG and running Keep on the Borderlands as a solo adventure.

I was surprised at how much Gary's death affected me. I'd collected some 3rd Edition books, but I hadn't actually played D&D or any other role-playing game more than once in eighteen years. And while I had come to see how warm and generous Gary could be with his fans and admirers, I never met him, nor even interacted with him in one of the various online forums he visited. But the news stung. And more than that, it was a memento mori: the mysterious and distant oracle of my youth, the sage and scholar whose work I annotated, was simply a man, and was gone.

That's when I resolved to turn my lifelong, if intermittent, love for D&D and other games into something more than a solitary pursuit -- a few weeks later I started this blog, a month later I played in a pick-up game. Now I'm playing once or twice a week and hoping to run a Basic/Labyrinth Lord game at the local D&D meet-up. I have Gary to thank for that.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Untold Tales of God City

Rumors overheard by players in my Encounter Critical game:
  • The abandoned geodesic domes of St. Elf's Beard Hospital have come to be known as "St Elseweird" because of the strange goings on there. Some say it's haunted by the undead -- and that has so far kept a trove of valuable drugs and med-tech from being looted. (An original adventure I might eventually make available for download. Like, if I finish it ever.)
  • Reclamation of the abandoned Gloombarria Mines south of Vanth is underway, but no one seems to know who's backing the effort. Folks tell wild tales of lost treasure -- and of an evil of the ancient world.
  • A pilgrimage of lizard men has been observed traveling the mountains to the west. Legend has it that lizard shamans and headshrinkers gather once every 44 years to seek their earthly paradise, the Land That Was Lost.
  • It is whispered that a cult of Mad Scientists seeks to invoke dark forces at the sacred site of Carhenge and create an army of demon-possessed Damnation Vans. Most people think it's an old mechanic's tale. But lately there's been reports of spare parts and used motor oil raining from the sky.
  • Boondocks capo Izzy "The Fish" Schwimmer is behind on his payments to the God City Honchos. The Big Boss is talking about sending someone to collect, but so far no one wants to make the trip down to Lake Hori. (Merman Izzy was building robo-stilts for the devil-fish of Lake Hori to support an aquatic take over of the God City crime syndicate. Based on the hee-larious young adult novel Whales On Stilts!)
  • The rivalry between the burger joints in God City has always been intense but lately it's getting out of control. Churchy la Beef's got firebombed last week, and rumor has it a bunch of people got sick eating at Rollo's. (Cannibal chickenoid scientist Gallus 13 is exploiting the rivalry to further his chain of Little Chicken Huts. This is based on real life.)
  • Somewhere to the north and east of God City there's a crashed spaceship known as the Monster Magnet because it supposedly lures monsters to it from the surrounding countryside. Another rumor says the ship is called the Golden Argos because of the deadly gold-armored mandroids who have been marauding the mountain villages. It's said that it uses an extragalactic nano-neon propulsion system -- one that doesn't require a nav someone who controlled this ship might be able to escape from Planet Vanth! (Someday I *will* run an Expedition to the Barrier Peaks / Legion of Gold mashup using Encounter Critical.)
  • There's an Amazon called Jane (Or June? Was it Jarby?) recruiting bravos for a mission to rescue her family, lost in the Tiki Caves of the Fissure of Death (The Amazon is a two-headed mutant named Janus Darby, and she hopes to rescue her sister Kidney and her three step-brothers before her other sister Masha can beat her to it...Masha, Masha, Masha!)
  • A Lightning Blue Dragon has taken roost in a mountain tunnel, blocking the High Desert Freightway. Desert Hobling warlord Omar Shorteef is angry about the loss of trade.
  • Legendary baker Wenorb Dread -- founder of local favorite Voodoo Doughnut -- has closed shop for the season. Supposedly he's discovered a recipe for the ultimate seven layer cake, but needs a rare ingredient to attempt the recipe. (the ultimate Seven Layer Cake Golem, that is! This one and the previous were randomly rolled on the loony chart here.)
  • The producers of the popular holovid show "The Most Dangerous Catch" are looking for fresh talent. Filming starts soon for Season 4: Sky Piranha Fishing Quest! (Shipwrecked on a cloud? Lost in space? Attacked by pirates? Edited for maximum embarrassment by the producers? So many ways this could have gone.)
  • God City's beloved record shop, the Sonic Phasogram, home to the latest and greatest in every audio format known, might be going out of business. The scuttlebutt is trouble with the landlord. The Electric Bugbear is headlining a benefit concert. Should be a good show. (Basically the plot of Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo)