Volume #2, Issue #6. (Apr 1, 1994)
Hack and Slash Man/Editor:email@example.com
- Forgotten Realms
- England & the Northlands
- Guide to Omnispace
- Reader's Forum
Reporters this issue:
Eric Shetley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Colman Reilly, email@example.com
DM Bloodglutton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard J. Pugh, email@example.com
Sandy E. Murphy, IO01092@MAINE.maine.edu
Mike Phillips, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Herr, email@example.com
From "The Waterdeep Crier", a broadsheet published by a few bored
nobles mostly for their own amusement and so that the world can have
the benefit of their wisdom. Printed by impressing wood on paper,
unless you have printing presses in your campaign.
Red Larch (a few days north of Waterdeep): TRAPPER TROUNCES TROLLS
As the thaw started in earnest and people began to look forward to
being freed from their snowbound homes, a young trapper from the
village returned home with a tale of having defeated three trolls and
"an evil priestess" in a so-called dungeon tomb no more than twenty-
five miles west of the village. He claims that the priestess,
dedicated to Auril, the Goddess of Cold, had the trolls under her
control and was attempting to open a tomb of ancient high priestesses.
The priestess apparently escaped using magic.
Capt. Javin Majarra, of the Lord's Alliance garrison in the town
has promised to investigate, but little credence is given to the tales
of such an inexperienced "adventurer".
Red Larch: BRIGANDS DISBANDED BY NOBLES
Representatives of the Lord's Alliance are reeling today after the
revelation that the outlying hamlet of Hawkston has been under the
claw of a band on brigands for much of the winter.
The brigands, under their leader The Falcon were operating from
the tower of the Hawk, an abandoned keep named for the ancient mage
that built it. The people of Hawkston have spent the last few months
too afraid to call upon anyone for help as members of their families
had been taken slave by the gang. The situation was only discovered
when a young member of one of our leading noble families, Dalin Thorp,
was travelling in the area accompanied by a Cormyrean troubadour and
their local guide. These three brave young men, driven by the
fearlessness that can only be found among those who have been raised
in the City of Splendours, took upon themselves to destroy this
threat. In a bloodthirsty midnight raid they destroyed the brigands
and freed the townspeople. Only four of the twenty-strong gang
survived the attack, and they were later arrested by Lord's Alliance
forces from Leilon.
This incident must call into question the ability of the Alliance
to protect the people of the North. When questioned, today a
representative of the Lords of Waterdeep said that this was clearly a
matter of some concern and that a full investigation would be carried
It is this writer's opinion that the foolish policy of spending
Waterdhavian gold on protecting places that are no concern of ours has
yet again been shown to be useless. The defence of the peasantry is
clearly much better left to a combination of local militia and brave
Our sources within the Harpers indicate that the organization is
also very concerned about the incident and that they will be carrying
out their own investigation to find out how local members failed to
discover the problem.
We are looking forward to Dalin's return to the city, where he
will no doubt be in great demand at his kinsmen's parties.
Colman Reilly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Waterdeep: ZOO HALTED FROM APPEARING IN TOWN
With most of Toril's delegates from around the globe meeting in
Waterdeep for council, plus the deep, thick fog which seems to have
descended on the harbour district, new town guards have been hired to
take up the tabard to keep Waterdeep safe. During a recent night,
Tungsten, an FNN operative, happened to stumble across a plethora of
animals. From goats, sheep, and bunnies to dogs and cats, the animals
seemed to be leaving a residence he could barely see through the fog.
Upon investigating, he found three patrol guardsmen trying to convince
a young girl to change her mentor, and the others of the household,
back to human with wand of polymorphing. She apparently was quite
disgruntled with her mentor's teaching style and went on a bit of a
tantrum, she was still unconvinced to work the magic to return her
uncle to human form. (As a goat, he had already eaten some of his
spell books.) As Tungsten was attempting to put together the last
details for the article, he noticed one of the guards, an elf
strangely dressed in dark colors and bright red boots, kicking away a
small puppy and looking down on it sighing, "We'll never find the
missing carriage driver at this rate..." At this point, Tungsten
returned to his office to send off the news in hopes that he might
return later and figure out what carriage driver is missing. Perhaps
foul play toward one of the delegates.
FNN will keep you posted.
Chris Herr: email@example.com
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Ket: The Hills: SLEEPLESS KNIGHTS THE VICTIMS OF AN EVIL TRAP
The Sleepless Knights have discovered a previously unmapped cave
in the Hills area North West of the Ketish capital and are preparing
to enter in search of their missing comrades.
The Sleepless Knights entered the Hills some 12 days ago, after
Yickrak Vegg dreamt his friends were being held somewhere in these
hills by Antracos, the Lord of the Antraconians. What the Knights do
not know is that Anita Cos, rebel leader of the PFK (People's Front of
Ket) is actually the evil Antracos. This mighty being from the outer
planes has it in for Yickrak, and is so far thoroughly enjoying her
'games with the little man-thing,' as she calls him.
After sending several of her other playthings to test The
Sleepless Knights (demons, devils and elemental creatures), she
decided to sow a little chaos by sending a Bird of Ill Omen. This
Raven-like bird was able to speak telepathically to each of the
Knights, turning them each against the others. Four of the Knights
have already made plans to kill the other two as soon as they reach
their goal, while the other two have sent word to the Margrave of
Bissell that the others are employed by Ket as part of a conspiracy to
invade Bissell. Needless to say, the call of 'all for one and one for
all' won't be heard in this party for a while.
Antracos has apparently planned this entire quest from the start.
She rescued the bodies of the original Sleepless Knights in order to
animate them, and sent the dream to Yickrak so he would come to the
Hills to find his friends. Now she has him where she wants....she
spends her evenings designing exquisite new tortures.
Bissell: Hookhill: KET PLANS TO INVADE BISSELL
The Margrave of Bissell has received word from one of his most
trusted field operatives that the Ketish War Council has convened in
order to make plans for the invasion of Bissell. The Ketish Council
wishes to join forces with the People's Front of Ket in order to
increase their army's strength. It is rumored that the PFK has the
backing of a powerful entity and is reinforced by the presence of
magical beasts and wizards.
This information was received by carrier-Raven, and is being
treated as correct until proven otherwise. The armies of Bissell,
including the elite Palace Guard, are being marshalled in the hills
and forests along the Ket/Bissell border.
All War Barons have been ordered to assemble in the Margrave's
audience chamber in 5 days time.
DM Bloodglutton: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Karthay: TENSIONS HIGH IN KARTHAY
Whatever minotaur first designed Karthay long ago wasn't thinking
well into the future. The city has two walled-off sections, breaking
the city into three distinct areas. The first is a small section
separating the kender from the rest of the city. There is an
exhaustive search of anyone entering or leaving the area. The second
area is just slightly smaller than the third, it contains the city's
population of orcs, trolls, goblins etc. Basically, everyone except
the demi-humans and minotaurs, who reside in area 3, the richest area
of the city. The Lords of Karthay, Myshella Nightshadow and Vulner
Onslaught, have been slowly integrating both sides since they took
power seven years ago, and they have made some progress in equality
through the gates of areas two and three.
The problem is that the citizens of area two, the non-demi-humans,
have decided that they should have full run of the city anytime they
want. This movement has been bolstered by the fact that economically
area two has fallen off a bit, while area three has prospered. The
priests of Kiri-Jolith and Paladine, who run the city in Myshella and
Vulner's absence, are deciding whether to meet the wall's break down
with force, or to help disassemble the wall and triple the guards
patrolling the city and just hope for the best. Obviously, there will
be certain problems in the struggle which is sure to follow. The
structure of the city may be burned to the ground, but it may rise
from the ashes, like a phoenix as a better city.
It should be noted that as of this article, there are no plans to
take down the wall around the kender.
Chris Herr: email@example.com
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Darkon: Il Aluk: HOUSES BURNED DOWN
It is reported that two weeks ago, there was a fire which
destroyed two houses. The fire blazed up around midnight and spread
very fast. Only a few inhabitants could escape the flames. An
eyewitness reported that he had seen several town guards talking to a
man in front of the houses, then the man seemed to cast a spell and
the houses were set on fire. The witness said that the guards made no
attempt to fight the fire or to warn the inhabitants. It is rumored
that one of the houses belonged to the local thief guild.
Darkon: Il Aluk: SLAUGHTER AT THE MAIN MARKET
It is reported that, last night, a wolf-like creature attacked the
herds of cows and horses that were rounded up for the next day's
market. The beast killed several animals. Because the merchants didn't
dare to face the beast, they waited for the town guards. By the time
the guards arrived, the beast had left the market place. Though the
guards followed it for several hours, they were unable to hunt it
down. Fortunately, no inhabitants of Il Aluk were attacked. It is
rumored that the attacking beast was not a wild animal but a
werebeast, as the attack happened at the time of the full moon.
Darkon: Il Aluk: EXHIBITIONIST DWARF ARRESTED
During the small hours, a naked and beardless dwarf molested a
group of women on their way to the market place. Some merchants were
able to seize the dwarf until the town guards arrived. The examination
brought no information about the motives of the dwarf. During the day
the imprisoned dwarf managed to escape. While some of the other
prisoners told that the dwarf was freed by an elven woman, others said
that he broke out by himself.
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Solaris: Cartania, Karadex:
NEW EDITION OF GEONOMECRON STARTED
Official Press release of the Spelljammer's Aid Society
The Seekers, a spelljamming organization devoted to research and
exploration, has recently announced that it will begin producing a
new, updated version of the Geonomecron. The new work, which will
follow the original in overall design and arrangement, will
incorporate new information about the former Vodani empire, recent
developments in the Radiant Triangle, updated information about the
Pentiacate, and information about recent explorations in Flarespace
Work on the project will be based in Solaris. The Seekers will
produce the work with the help of the University of Terranova on
Cartania, and the Space Mariners Academy on Mt. Kardras on Karadex.
The project will welcome any input from independent ship captains and
A release date has not yet been set for the work.
The Seekers can be reached by reciting the following phrase at a
crystal ball: "SPELLJAMMER@LE.AC.UK"
Richard J. Pugh: firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Republic of Darokin: Fort Lakeside:
STRANGERS FOUND IN CORRAN KEEP
Word reached Fort Lakeside and the nearby town that the
adventurers hired by Jedarrin Corran encountered stiff resistance, in
the form a hitherto unknown type of undead. This new monster is said
to glow with a soft blue light, and they apparently have some sort of
electrical discharge. Their leader, the self-styled Lord Kazakk,
escaped, along with an unknown number of these undead. The
adventurers are reluctant to claim the Keep as emptied, per their
commission, at least until this loose end is tied up.
Other creatures in the area may have been affected as well, as
some birds in the vicinity, larger than normal, seem able to emit
miniature lightning bolts. The source is suspected to be a mirror-
shield, about two feet across, assessed by the party as being a
tremendous source of magickal energy.
Basic scrying done by an FNN reporter indicates that Lord Kazakk
and company have left Darokin, although the party seems unaware of it.
It shall be interesting to see how long it takes for them to notice!
The Grand Duchy of Karameikos: The Lost Valley of Hutaaka:
HIDDEN VALLEY REVEALED, TEMPLE FREED
A paladin and a novice priestess of Petra, a locksmith from
Kelvin, a once-retired adventurer, and a student from Ylaruam, having
passed through a valley filled with blood-thirsty gnolls, came upon a
display out of history. They had braved the dangers of the Black
Peaks, passing through ancient guardians, to reach a long-hidden
After a brush with the inhabitants, they allied themselves with a
race called the Hutaakans, a jackal-headed race much degenerated from
days of glory and art. The Hutaakans are now opposed to the Traldar,
a race of humans, degenerated from the same ancestors that the party
claims. The Temple of Pflarr, dedicated to that Hutaakan deity and
center to many undead, was re-taken with the aid of the adventurers,
and things are looking up for the bronze-aged Hutaakans, as they are
being taught to use bows and to forge steel.
However, a long-time enemy of the party has also reached the
valley, where he quickly allied with the Traldar. His current
influence is unknown, but there have been a number of mysterious
disappearances as of late.
Mike Phillips: email@example.com
Go back to index.
Greetings One and All! This is Modar the Unknown reporting for
B.A.R.D. News, and as correspondent to FNN.
ALBINO MAGE AND DOG CAPTURE THIEF!
In today's headline, we report that Myron, the well-noted albino
mage of Mydea and adventurer extraordinare, has turned over to
authorities a thief who had broken into the home of his girlfriend,
Tatiyana Silverhair, respected Paladin of Lykos. Despite taking a
crossbow bolt at point-blank range, Myron was able to subue the
burglar with the use of his magic. Myron, ever humble, gives credit
to his faithful attack poodle Snowball, who went for help. But what
this reporter wants to know is how the suspected felon managed to get
a crossbow into Mydea. It is a walled city, with ordinances against
weapons within its limits. Up until this time, inspections, and
magically powered detection gates have prevented weapons from entering
the city. How did this one get through? Both Mayor Caitlin de
Lockrayn and City Guard Captain Selena Penrhyn-Simmons vow to get to
the bottom of the mystery. More news as this story develops.
Turning to other news:
DEATH OF BELOVED BARD FELT BY ALL
The famed Bard/Adventurer Gwenyth ip Elphin ap Taliesen has died.
The respected lady passed away in an unfortunate set of circumstances,
caused by an magical ambush trap. Her chief rival, Mistress Siobhan,
could not be reached for comment.
SKULLDUGGERY AFOOT WITH EUGENE THE NECROMANCER
Meanwhile, on the Northern Front, rumor has reached this
reporter's ears that a race between a party of English nobles and the
notorious mage known as Eugene the Necromancer is occurring. The
racers have passed through the Barony of Itasca, and have crossed over
into the lands of Corvus. They are said to be headed into the Unknown
Lands to a Pre-Devastation site known as The Smith's Own Inn.
Although this site is underwater, it is rumored that many of the Pre-
Dev building contain ancient artifacts, and that the racers are both
searching for a life-sized skull made of crystal. While the group of
nobles, including Ozzy Ozzwood, Paladin of Gotar; Siobhan Treyvallen,
Master Bard; Anodyne & Solum, Keepers of Dragon Isle; Magus, formerly
the assistant to Royal Wizard Aldwyn, and Col. John Greene, Tactical
Coordinator for Their Royal Majesties, has not stated to what purpose
they seek this item; a statement released earlier by Eugene's
travelling companion, the ever-deadly Anti-Paladin Valerian, suggests
that Eugene wants to use the skull in a necromanic experiment in an
attempt at dietyhood. Frankly, this reporter finds such an attempt
preposterous. But should it happen, we'll have the news of it here
And finally, on a social front:
MYSTERIOUS LADY CAPTIVATES PRINCE
In certain social circles, Prince Michael, brother to King Morgan
Blackwolf, has been seen in the company of an attractive and
fashionable dressed lady with an accent from the Northern Lands. All
attempts by this reporter to gain insight to this maven's background
have remained fruitless. All that we've learned so far is that she
goes by the name of Bernie. More on this mystery as we can unravel
WEDDING BELLS RINGS AT ROYAL CASTLE
Vindar Goldcat, Captain of Queen Kessira Windrider's bodyguards,
has announced his forthcoming marraige to Mistress Duvessa O'Bardain,
Royal Bard. No date has yet been set. Both King Morgan and Queen
Kessira expressed their pleasure at this announcement.
Well, that's it for this edition of B.A.R.D. News. Good day, and
remember if it's BardNews it's everybody's news.
Go back to index.
Glaswater: NEW LORD GETS MORE THAN HE BARGAINED FOR
Lord Thierry (newly) of Glaswater got more than he bargained for,
from the king, when he was granted lands in the eastern frontier of
the kingdom. He was expecting trouble from without, but as he and his
retinue were just coming into his new territory, they discovered a
corpse, face down in a ditch, with 5 crossbow bolts in its back. When
they arrived at the village of Glaswater, which had grown up around a
smallish keep (most people make their living here in a growing
lumbering industry as well as by farming), they found out from the old
widow of the old lord (whose maintenance is the new lord's
responsibility) that her husband had been paying protection to a
mysterious group of men who call themselves The Knights of the Two-
The old Lord of Glaswater had tried for years to suppress these
"bandits", but apparently they have managed to elude his best efforts
by (so his spies told him) styling themselves as "Robin Hood" types.
The old Lord didn't want to call in the king, as he was afraid that
royal intervention by a strong king would be a danger to his own
authority, and he was also afraid that the king would lose confidence
Almost anyone in the town can identify the bolts as being the type
used by the "knights", but no one knows who the dead man is.
Sandy E. Murphy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Go back to index.
We have seen quite a bit of news from this Spelljamming system in
these pages, so it was a great pleasure when I received the following
information on Omnispace. I now present it to you -- Ed.
A BRIEF PRIMER ON THE OMNISPACE SYSTEM
Omnispace is an ancient sphere, roughly the size of Realmspace.
It has seven planetary bodies, the center of the sphere a sun with six
other main planets revolving around it. The planets are as follows:
Tymar (Inert Fire Body, class B, spherical, dead)
Each planet is inhabited and a part of the Omniversal Alliance.
The alliance was formed nearly one thousand years past when, after a
long and bitter war between the worlds, peace was finally achieved.
The alliance is headquartered on Omni.
Omni (Earth type, class E, spherical)
Sphereworld (Special, Class E, spherical)
Maclear (Water world, Class F, oval)
Duranus (Earth world, Class B, spherical)
Gobul (Air world, Class H, spherical)
Karnak (Live world, Class C, semi-spherical)
Omnispace is ruled by a Magiocracy, a collection of nine Magi who
oversee all forms of magic and government. From the Magi, planetary
governors disseminate the laws, and local councils enforce compliance.
Omni is a sphere at peace. No major outbreaks of war have occured
within the last 250 years.
The current ruler of the Magiocracy is Lord Monitor, Imperium Ars
Magican of the Council of Nine. He has ruled the council for close to
five hundred years now, but appears to be only close to thirty
standard years of age. He is considered the most powerful of Magi
Don't confuse Magi with ordinary, standard mages. Magi are living
conduits of Magical power that never need to study spells. Once a
magi learns a spell, they never need to study it again. Also, they
can seemingly cast spells at will. Magi are very rare: it appears to
be a gift that one is born with, not something that can be achieved.
BRIEF PLANETARY OVERVIEWS:
Tymar is the closest planet to the Omnispace sun, Lora. It
appears to once have held some form of life, but it is now dead. No
atmosphere exists on Tymar, so extreme caution is advised to any
planning to travel there.
This does not impede travellers, however. Some have heard of
fabulous riches and powerful magics within the planet's many caverns.
Others have also heard that magical creatures exist that travel from
the Outer Planes within Tymar. To date, no traveller has returned
with any reliable information. Reliable information on Tymar is at a
premium, and anyone with such information is requested to contact a
local Omniversal Defense Force station.
Omni is the "main" planet of the sphere, approximately one
Spelljamming Day's travel from Lora. Home to nearly all sentient
races, Omni is a model of what other worlds try to aspire to: near
The Council of Nine, the Magi who rule the sphere, is housed on
Omni at the Spire of Eternal Thought, located in the city of Clifford.
The Spire is something to behold. Comprised of rare and precious
metals and forged of magic, it reaches over a mile into the sky. Many
travellers to the planet come to Clifford just to view this wonder.
Omni is also the main base of the Omniversal Defense Force, the
army pledged to the protection of Omnispace. The ODF currently has
members from over 100 races serving within its ranks, making it the
most diverse within the known spheres. Any sentient wishing to join
the ODF may inquire at any ODF outpost on any world. Sentients from
other spheres must spend at least two years in residence on any world
in Omni before eligible for the ODF.
Sphereworld used to be at the opposite side of Omni, blocked
forever by Lora from the other's view. Considered a twin of Omni, it
was a world forever shadowed in mystery.
The planet was not so much a planet as Omni or Duranus.
Sphereworld was hollow, and only a flatworld existed within. The
outer surface of Sphereworld seemed to be composed of the same element
which comprises the Crystal Spheres, hence the name. No ship was ever
known to land or penetrate the world. It was sealed by forces more
powerful that the Magi.
Asteroid outposts were set up some 500 years ago to study this
anomoly, but with little success. Sages came up with many possible
explanations for its existance, but all argued over which was correct.
One sage believed that Sphereworld was the creation of the gods, a toy
for them to play with and manipulate. Some hold this as true but are
frightened at the possibility. What plans do the gods hold for the
rest of Omnispace? Were they using Sphereworld as a "testing ground"
for calamities they planned for the rest of the sphere?
Whatever their plans were, the destiny of the world is gone.
Approximately one month ago, Sphereworld disappeared, leaving no trace
of its existence and leaving the sages even more perplexed.
Maclear is Omnispace's only all-water world. Originally inhabited
by aquatic races, it now features miraculous small magically-floating
cities, maintained by a combination of aquatic and air-breathing
species. These cities are used as trading posts, where aquatics trade
kelp, seaweeds and other foodstuffs to offworlders for goods and
A note for any travellers planning to travel to Maclear. The
aquatic species native to the planet have strict regulations regarding
fishing and trapping of any non-intelligent subsea life form. Any
off-worlder caught fishing for game on Maclear may be subject to
imprisonment, fines or possibly death.
Duranus is a small world, but similar to Omni in temperament.
Considered a farming world, Duranus provides most of the basic
foodstuffs (with Maclear providing some aquatic foodstuffs) for most
of the sphere. Duranus is a world at peace of mostly farmers.
This peaceful world has proven to be a temptation to offworlders
hoping to plunder its resources. Please note that the main training
grounds for the Omniversal Defense Force is on Duranus, and the ODF
maintain several orbital "live" stations serving its defense.
These stations, with a large contingent of ODF troops, have proven
to be quite a deterrent to invading forces.
Gobul is the largest planetary body within the Omnispace sphere,
and the least populated by humanoid races. Gobul is the home for most
of the Omnispacian Dragons. All Dragon races are present in
Omnispace, and it is rumored that not all of the Dragon races have
learned to coexist like the humanioids.
Travellers are advised to stay near the upper levels of Gobus, and
only long enough to renew their air supply. Dragon wars are a common
occurrence, and some battles have been so fierce that they could be
viewed by ships in orbit. An ODF station is located in the upper
atmosphere of Gobus, providing assistance to travellers in need.
Also, the ODF often rescues adventuring warriors seeking to slay a few
dragons that "go in over their heads. WAY over their heads."
The furthest outpost of the Omnispace system, Karnak is composed
mostly of Trading cities, repair ports, and adventuring companies.
Because of its proximity to the spherewall, many travellers through
the sphere use Karnak, rather than travelling inward.
Due to the large number of spacefarers passing through its
borders, Karnak has developed, over the years, a "shady" attitude to
it. While it still abides by the Omniversal codes, many black market
stations are developing in its cities. The Omniversal Defense Force
has a large contingency at its borders.
However, Karnak is not all grimy business. The sphere's largest
resort colony, Intralla, is located away from the ports of call.
Intralla is a haven for the busy adventurer or political with the gold
looking for a little peace and quiet. Intralla forbids weapons of any
kind, and any caught with such weapons (not properly checked in upon
arrival) are forever banned from the resort. Naturally, weapons such
as spells and psionics are hard to confine, so the staff at Intralla
are all trained mages and psionicists ready to quell any possible
Approved by the Board of Travel and Information
Omnispace Tourism Board
Council of Nine, this day,
Quatro 26, 5176
Updated, Marak 24, 5300
Eric Shetley: email@example.com
Go back to index.
This month, we turn to another way to help bring the feel of the
setting to the players through an oft-neglected sense -- Ed.
SMELLS IN THE UNDERDARK
When people are describing a scene, whether it be wilderness,
underground, or whatever, I notice that they often concentrate on the
visual at the expense of the auditory and especially the olfactory.
So, here are a few smells that can be plugged into a variety of
A musky, spicy smell with a hint of decay to it. (Certain
clerical types or maybe wizards might make this out to be
embalming fluid. You can get a lot of inspiration for these
sorts of smells from perfumes and colognes. I got this one
A hint of vinegar (a damaged cask in which the wine has
The warm smell of frying bacon (human flesh?).
The verdant smell of damp earth (new excavation/a fresh
A sharp, acidic smell that causes the eyes and nose to run.
As the adventurers continue it gets worse and they find
themselves spitting bile (a black dragon's long-time lair, or
maybe a laboratory where an accident took place).
An oily, fishy smell (a fishmonger's stall).
The smell of fresh animal manure (common in most medieval
fantasy worlds I think).
Besides being useful for establishing the setting or a scene,
smells can serve as adventure hooks, important characteristics of
players and NPCs. Consider the recurring villian that is recognized
through his disguise by the fact that he is wearing the same perfume.
Smells do trigger memories after all. Best of all, a DM can scare the
hell out of the players with a well-placed smell. It's especially fun
when that smell turns out to be harmless (this time!). So, think like
a fiction writer and integrate all of the senses into your
descriptions, and without a doubt it will improve almost every aspect
of your game.
And after I received the above, and Sandy was reading a lot of Blake
for an exam, I received the following thought as well. It is an
interesting idea -- if you need a cryptic inscription, find a good
source (and not surprisingly, Blake is, I believe, the source for
this one) -- Ed.
INSCRIPTION FOUND ON THE GATE OF AN ANCIENT CITY
You see what apparently is a ruined and ancient city, stretching
before you as far as the eye can see. Grass and thorny brush force
their way up through oases of cobblestones that once were streets.
Here and there you see the reamins of a crumbling wall through the
vegetation. (After a bit of exploration) you find two great stone
posts, the remains of what must have been a gate. Orien, your sharp-
eyed rogue, tells you that the holes in the posts must have been where
the hinges were secured. Baldoc strokes his beard and nods his
agreement. You notice that strange characters have been chiseled into
one of the pillars. They wind around the pillar several time,
starting at about eye level. The marks are worn, you are able to
transcribe them onto a wax tablet. You mumble a few words, make the
proper third minor gesticulation of understanding, the sigil is wiped
from your mind, and the meaning of these ancient words becomes clear:
Fuzon on a chariot ironwinged on spiked flames rose his
hot visage flamed furious sparkles his hair and beard shot
down his wide bosom and shoulders on clouds of smoke rages
his chariot and his right hand burns red in its cloud
mouldering into a vast globe his wrath as the thunderstone is
moulded son of Urizen's silent burnings. Shall we worship
this Demon of smoke said Fuzon this abstract non-entity this
cloudy God seated on waters now seen now obscured King of
sorrow? So he spoke in a fiery flame on Urizen frowning
indignant the Globe of wrath shaking on high roaring with
fury he threw the howling globe burning it flew lengthening
into a hungry beam. Swiftly ...
Sandy E. Murphy: firstname.lastname@example.org
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