October 25th, 2014
Find Familiar is a desired spell; Boccob knows that Perverse Osmosis even wrote a song about it ["Getting Familiar With Your Familiar"]. But even though we wrote a song about how much we hope to roll a 15 and get something from the outer planes, there are plenty of good familiars that exist on the prime material.
Take for example, the 9-10 roll of the screech owl. At first, Ethop the Mage might be disappointed; how can a owl hold up to a quasit or a pseudo-dragon? But a little more investigation into the powers of the owl might change old Ethop’s mind. First, an owl is not going to attack Ethop when her back is turned, like a quasit might. No, that owl will be loyal, flying above the party, using its vision to warn of oncoming ambushes, instead of leading them into one like a nasty quasit will. And yes, the pseudo-dragon looks cool when perched on the shoulder and that will undoubtedly help with certain negotiations, but what about the feeding cost of a dragon, even a pseudo kind? The owl can use its superior hearing to find its own food, and, in a pinch, find a rabbit or two to keep the party alive. The owl also allows the party to blend in: ever try to walk down the streets of Traft with a dragon on a leash? Good luck. But an owl? No one suspects the owl.
October 24th, 2014
Not much news comes out the Frost Barbarians or the city of Djekal. Things are quiet up there; the miserable weather and lack of resources other than snow, frost, fish, and wood keep greedy raiders out. With the exception of the hereditary enemies [read other barbarians] and the various humanoids that live in the Griff Mountains, the Frosties can live a fairly mundane existence, raiding the sheep of their neighbors or getting drunk off of fermented honey.
But once a year, Djekal plays host to what can only be described as a riot. Various tribe members come in from all over the countryside, drink heavily, and prepare for the Feast of Vatun. The Feast begins when the first snowfall occurs; druids are employed to predict the weather in an effort to allow the rioters plenty of time to get to the Feast. As soon as the first snowflake is spotted, all participants finish whatever drink is in hand, run into the streets, and begin bearhugging the nearest person. The bearhug continues until one of the people surrenders or passes out. Those who remain upright find another person to hug; those who fall to the ground are dragged off where they are forced to drink beer until they are ready to join melee again.
Needless to say, there is no lack of collateral damage during this Feast. Praise Vatun!
The real stuff starts happening at 2:25.
“Loot that spiffy hi-fi store; take as much as you can hold.”
October 23rd, 2014
There are a lot of forests in the Flanaess so not surprisingly, there are also a lot of forest fires. Some are caused by lightning strikes or volcanoes, and some are caused by accidents when the local village idiot forgets to fully put out the dung fire. But more than a fair share of these infernos are intentionally set, usually as ways to punish the locals or for tactical reasons.
Since almost any wood or forest is populated by elves, goblins, orcs, intelligent spiders, halflings, and assorted other sentient creatures, they are perfect places to light fire to. A party doesn’t even need a magic user to cast fireball or flame arrow; they can gather wood, light a couple torches, and, bam, roaring fire from which to roast marshmallows or kobolds. Happens to be raining? Take the oil that the thief bought back in Libernen, throw it on the deadfall, and sit back and watch the conflagration. Even when in the far north, way up by Stonehold, enough dried sticks and pieces of paper will light the Hraak Forest up like Greyhawk at the Great Moon Glory festival.
Remember. fire can be our friend, whether it is toasting marshmallows or raining down on Charlie.
Greatest lipsync job ever.
October 22nd, 2014
Not enough of us are writing about wheelwrights, drovers, coopers, or any of the other mechanical trades that make the world of Greyhawk go round. I know that we at Perverse Osmosis spend a lot of time discussing the prestige classes like fighters and clerics, or druids for that matter, but we don’t examine the world of the laborer frequently.
This is partially because it is difficult to play a wheelwright as a character class. I know that the expansion of second edition AD&D probably had rules for incorporating the creation of wheels as a proficiency; for that matter, there may have been an article in Dragon magazine about the wheelwright as a separate class [maybe they would fall under rogue since that became a grab bag class]. But unless there was a DM who was really interested in running a urban campaign with an emphasis on realism, I can’t see too many of us choosing to role play a character who makes wheels for a living.
Granted, these characters are important: all those weapons, armor, and spell components need to get from Quag Keep to Willip somehow and using teleport is costly. And yes, it is important to barter with an occasional scoundrel who wants to sell the party a warped axel. But to quote the band of the month: “Trust your mechanic to plug your holes; trust him to make more somewhere else.”
October 21st, 2014
I will give the Scarlet Brotherhood this: they are doing their best to innovate various ways of cowing local populations into acquiescence. If they aren’t practicing their selective breeding program or taking local children to feed the various monsters in Kro Kerlep, they are figuring out ways to spread mild sickness in restive villages and towns.
Local informants have told Perverse Osmosis that several high-level clerics were seen in the vicinity of Menowood, where a particularly stout group of wood elves have been resisting the advances of the Brotherhood. Less than a fortnight later, these elves were seen moving out of the forest in groups of two or three, many clutching their stomachs, sneezing uncontrollably, and repeatedly coughing. Lacking in their usual defenses, many of these elves were killed by hobgoblin patrols in league with, if not direct consultation with, the Scarlet Brotherhood.
It is interesting that there is little live video footage of Plastic Surgery Disaster songs. Too bad because this is a landmark album.