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Weird Revisited: Five Kooky Cults

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 11/08/2019 - 12:00
I came upon this post when searching for another one. I had forgotten some of these (this post was original presented in 2011), so it seemed worth a revisit... 

Here are a few minority religious groups seen at least as bit odd (if not outright dangerous) by the majority of the City's citizens:

The Abattoir Cult: Secret followers of the sinister and bloody-handed Lord of the Cleaver. A liturgical text (anthropodermically bound) honoring this obscure eikone is known to exist in a private collection in New Lludd. His cult tends to crop up in districts devoted to meatpacking or slaughter pens and is associated with the emergence of serial killers.

The Temple of Father Eliah Exalted: This Old Time Religion sect preaches racial and gender equality, chastity--and the godhood of its prophet, Father Eliah Exalted. The Temple owns a number of groceries, gas stations, hotels, and other business. These are ostensibly held by acolytes but seem mainly to enrich the Father. The Temple is politically active and the Father’s support can sway elections. Many are suspicious that Exalted’s powers of oratory and occasional miracles suggest that he is one of the Gifted or perhaps a secret thaumaturgist, but proof has been hard to come by.

Serpent-spotters: An informal collection of people forgotten by society--mostly poor and elderly spinsters and widowers--who are convinced that the monster that appeared in the Eldritch River 30 years ago, and supposedly delivered secret prophecies to City fathers, will return, heralding the apocalypse. On days individually chosen they hold vigil in Eldside Park. They hope to be present at the time of the serpent’s return so it will reward their faith with a ride on his back to a watery Paradise.

The Electrovangelic Church of the Machine Messiah: A worldwide movement dedicated to building the perfect construct to manifest the Messiah and usher in a new age of mechanical spiritual perfection.

The Followers of the Rabbit: Not an organized religion, but instead a collection of superstitions and cautionary urban legends forming a secret liturgy for some folk working along the boardwalk of Lapin Isle. They hope to placate the godling of the island, the dark personification of the rabbit in the moon--the man in the rabbit suit that is not a man.

Wednesday Comics: Two Collections from Roger Langridge

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 11/06/2019 - 12:00
Roger Langridge is Harvey and Eisner award winning comics writer and artist from New Zealand who tends to work in a quirky cartoon sort of vein (though he has written Thor and did a sort of surreal strip in Judge Dredd Magazine called Straightjacket Fits). Here are a couple of his works I've read that I would recommend:

Written by Ryan Ferrier with art by Langridge tells the story of the Criminy family who looks sort of like Bosko (and sort of like the Animaniacs) who get into a series of fantastic adventures after their are forced to flee their island home by invading pirates. Criminy is aimed at younger readers (though might be more intense in places that strictly kiddie comics), but enjoyable by older ones, too.

Popeye vol. 1
IDW's 2012 Popeye series was written by Langridge with art by several different artists who do pitch perfect renditions of the Thimble Theatre characters to match the stories recalling the classic Dell Comics of Sagendorf. There were 3 volumes, all now available in hardcopy or on Kindle/Comixoloyu.

Well Blow Me Down! Popeye Maps

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 11/04/2019 - 12:00
I'm not sure what iteration of Popeye this is from, but it suggests Popeye lives in a pretty small town:

Here's one definitely from the Sagendorf comics. At least Wimpy owns his on home in this version:

Black Iron Prisoners' Dilemma

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 11/01/2019 - 11:00

Not even the solipsist monsters of the Abyss can continue forever under conditions of ever-changing insanity; some ideas produce too great a gravity for even the the most fluid minds to escape. And so, like a body faced with cells that might mutate beyond restraint, the Abyss walled off the offending ideas in a cyst. The cyst endures in the astral nothingness, holding its dark enlightenment within. This is the Black Iron Prison.

The pull of the Black Iron Prison attracts others. Monsters of the Abyss convinced that something besides Self was real and that something was Punishment. But by whom? The Godhead who had appeared to have forsaken them or some new Godhead yet to come?

Fearful and paranoid, the monsters elaborated prisons around the original one like nested labyrinths. There they hid, and interrogated and punished themselves and any other souls that fell into their grasp.

Some might consider the multiverse's largest prison a place of Law, but there is little Law here. Rules are arbitrary and changeable. As are punishments. All the jailers operating under vague authority are just more prisoners. Those jailers, the prisoners with the longest sentences, are the fiends called deodands, this name being an an ancient term for an object which has caused a death and so is forfeit to God. If anyone knows why the fiends have this name it is the Baatezu, and like most secrets, they have classified the information.

The most common deodands are tall, emaciated, scabrous creatures with frog-like mouths. Their bare skins weep a tarry ichor from numerous injection sites. They're junkies and dealers; they mix the astral excreta of despair, callousness, and fear that oozes from the souls that fall into their hands with the bile of arthropods that make their homes in the prison’s substructure and inject it beneath their skin. The tarry substance--and a brief respite from their paranoia in a cold, sneering high--are the result. The tar is packaged and sold (to the prisoners to be smoked or injected) in exchange for pleasant memories or dreams or hopes--anything that defines the former self-hood of the soul. When not engaged in commerce, these tar deodands are the menials of the prison.

The the second most common variety are the color of a fresh bruise.  Their limbs are swollen like blood sausages, and their tick-like bellies appear filled to near bursting, sloshing loathsomely as they waddle or fly drunkenly on ridiculously small wings. Their bloated faces are unpleasantly human-like and wear expressions of voluptuous satiety, complete with drool running from the corners of their mouths and down their double (or triple) chins. Always their skins appear to glisten as if oiled. They sweat even more when they eat, and they eat almost constantly. The eat when they are worried, and they are always worried. About informers or conspiracies. About a time when the tortures they apply to others might be applied to them.

The rarest of deodands have assumed the most authority. They often pass themselves off as wardens and are just as often found in solitary confinement. They sometimes watch and titter at the interrogations as they undergo torture themselves. They’re androgynous humanoids with bald heads and unfeminine faces, but pendulous breasts and high-pitched voices. Their pale, wrinkled skin seems ill-fitted to their bodies. They have a penchant for dressing in uniforms, the more elaborate the better. Sagging deodands, they are called.

The Halloween Special

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 10/31/2019 - 11:45

And of course, it's a repeat! Sorry, still no Fall Guy or Elvira actually in this post. I didn't do any Halloween related posts this year, but just sit back and relive these horror-themed classics:

Need a name for a horror comic? Generate it with this post.
Ever heard the legend Spring-hilled Jack? Well here are his stats.
A different way of the thinking of Ghost Towns, from Weird Adventures, but usable anywhere.
And finally, a 2013 Santacore request unwittingly opens, "The Tome of Draculas!"

Wednesday Comics: Bronze Age Book Club: Monsters Unleashed!

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 10/30/2019 - 11:53

The latest episode of the Bronze Age Book Club podcast is available, just in time for Halloween!

Listen to "Episode 8: MONSTERS UNLEASHED (1973) #2" on Spreaker.

It's also now available on Podcast Addict!


First Comics News - Tue, 10/29/2019 - 07:30
It’s a grand melee as Jugheads from every timeline battle each other to capture our current Jughead! Who will be victorious and what kind of burger toppings will they pick? You don’t want to miss the thrilling conclusion to this fun sci-fi romp!
Script: Sina Grace
Art: Derek Charm, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
Cover: Derek Charm
Variant Covers: Brent Schoonover, Greg Smallwood
On Sale Date: 10/30
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

ARCHIE 1955 #2 preview

First Comics News - Tue, 10/29/2019 - 07:30
ARCHIE 1955 #2 (OF 5)
BRAND NEW SERIES from the writing team that brought you ARCHIE: 1941! Archie Andrews’ rise to music superstardom begins to take form and all of Riverdale is captivated with their new crowned prince of rock and roll—but the cost of fame is already starting to add up.
Script: Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
Art: Tom Grummett, Bob Smith, Rick Burchett, Glenn Whitmore, Jack Morelli
Cover: Derek Charm
Variant Covers: Ray Anthony-Height, Khary Randolph
On Sale Date: 10/30
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Tue, 10/29/2019 - 07:29

NEW CLASSIC-STYLE STORY: “A Chip Off the Old Bloke” Smithers’ good-looking English nephew comes across the pond for a visit and causes fireworks between the girls.
Script: Bill Golliher
Art: Dan Parent, Jim Amash, Jack Morelli, Glenn Whitmore
Cover: Jeff Shultz, Rosario “Tito” Peña
On Sale Date: 10/30
192-page, full color comic
$7.99 U.S.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

THE AVANT-GUARDS All New Original Graphic Novel Arrives From BOOM! Studios in 2020

First Comics News - Tue, 10/29/2019 - 07:23

Discover Team Spirit with Everyone’s Favorite Group of Art School Basketball Champions in September 2020 

LOS ANGELES, CA (October 25, 2019) – BOOM! Studios is proud to announce the THE AVANT-GUARDS original graphic novel, concluding the story of the beloved group of misfit art students who band together to play for their school’s first ever basketball team. The brand new original graphic novel, picking up after issue eight and available in stores September 2020, reunites the acclaimed team of filmmaker and writer Carly Usdin (Heavy Vinyl) and artist Noah Hayes (Wet Hot American Summer) for a brand-new adventure with their team of unlikely athletes brought together by friendship and sports shenanigans.

“I’m so excited that Noah and I get to finish telling the story of our beloved Avant-Guards. The stakes couldn’t be higher — they’re fighting for the championship AND the future of the league,” said writer Carly Usdin. “The final installment will include teamwork, romance, lots of surprises and a dunk or two!”

THE AVANT-GUARDS graphic novel cover will feature art by series artist Noah Hayes.

“My favorite thing about the Avant-Guards is how unique all of them are- they each have their own special set of quirks and interests that materialized so quickly for me. I, of all people, should be aware that they’re merely drawings, but part of me feels like Jay or Nicole (or any of them!) could totally be real friends that I have.” said artist Noah Hayes.

THE AVANT-GUARDS is the latest release from BOOM! Studios’ award-winning BOOM! Box imprint, home to groundbreaking original series such as Lumberjanes by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooklyn Allen, and Noelle Stevenson; Giant Days by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, and Max Sarin; Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin and Nina Vakueva; Misfit City by Kirsten ‘Kiwi’ Smith, Kurt Lustgarten, and Naomi Franquiz; Fence by C.S. Pacat and Johanna The Mad; and Goldie Vance by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams.

“It’s been an absolute joy working with the dream team of writer Carly Usdin and artist Noah Hayes, so we can’t wait to tell the rest of the Avant-Guards story in graphic novel form,” said Shannon Watters, Senior Editor, BOOM! Studios. “Fans will get plenty of drama, romance, and competition as this team of misfit students continue to pursue love and basketball at their historic women’s art college.”

Print copies of THE AVANT-GUARDS graphic novel will be available in September 2020 at local comic book shops (use to find the nearest one), bookstores, or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and the BOOM! Studios app.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

5 Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Bands that Launched Their Own Online Slot Games

First Comics News - Tue, 10/29/2019 - 07:09

With the popularity and immense love for franchises, from superheroes to dystopian and fantasy novels, multiple industries have applied this demand to increase businesses.

Pencils, posters, clothing, and games have evolved around beloved characters, movies, and books that have attracted customers.

Themed products have shown success time and time again since people adore the combination of their hobbies and interests into another useful and entertaining service.

Casino games are no exception to this phenomenon, specifically slot machines. With a myriad to choose from, there is no doubt that most slots have a specific theme that is recognizable for players through media coverage.

Gambling is a great option for entertainment (if going to the movies with friends gets a little predictable) that can be done responsibly and safely. 

Although gambling usually receives a negative connotation, it is intended to be enjoyed in a healthy manner through various strategies.

For example, one of the most encouraging tips from professional gamblers and casino regulators is to familiarize yourself with several casino games.

According to Adrian Sireca at OnlineCasinoGems, “it is important to learn basic rules and strategies on casino games, as well as bonuses and rewards when dabbling with online games. Make sure to know what you are dealing with on the casino floor before betting large sums of your money.”

Nevertheless, slot machines have been revolutionized to cater to every possible human interest, be it a superhero or a band. In fact, a popular theme for a slot machine is hard rock and heavy metal bands.

So, if you enjoy the occasional KISS and AC/DC, here are 5 hard rock and heavy metal band themed slot machines you can find on the casino floor.


1. Guns ‘n Roses

NetEnt launched recently a new Guns n’ Roses slot machine that will make its fans 

incredibly excited and satisfied.

The slot machine is set in a virtual Guns n’ Roses concert, where the band is performing 

along with the visuals of the crowd, which adds more realism to the game.

Graphics and overall theme are outstanding for all players, especially those who truly 

love some of the hit songs of the band.

The slot machine features songs such as “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, “Welcome to 

the Jungle”, and others in its massive catalog, which brings the effect of the game all 

the more together.


2. Jimi Hendrix

Famous guitarist Jimi Hendrix can also be found among the sea of slot machines in 

online casinos.

Although his music is not strictly classified as a pure metal, he has contributed strongly to 

the development of key features in metal music including distorted guitar sounds and 

heavier drums.

NetEnt once again released a successful themed slot machine in regards to Jimi 

Hendrix. With a 5-reel and 20 paylines, the slot features Jimi Hendrix himself, guitar solos, and famous songs.

While benefiting from free spins, respins, and prizes, the Jimi Hendrix machine is also 

perfect for the real music fans.



Powered by WMS Gaming, the “Kiss: Shout Out Loud!” slot machine is exclusively 

KISS-themed for those that can recognize the face paint and unique stage outfits.

The slot machine itself is very unique, as it has two separate reels, which is known as a 

Colossal Reel Set.

Several symbols in the slot correlate to the band, such as the close-ups of the band 

members and the KISS logo.

If you are looking for one of the best slot machines, and happen to be a fan of KISS, this 

is the perfect choice when browsing on online casinos.


4. Motorhead

Yet again, NetEnt dedicated one of their slot machines to another metal band, 


With 22 studio albums, 12 compilation records, and 10 live studio recordings, NetEnt 

had plenty of material to incorporate the band’s music into a great slot machine.

Fans can activate “music mode” when playing this slot to listen to Motorhead’s classic 

tunes, while also enjoying the virtual stage on which the band performs.

Be sure to spin a few reels on the slot and listen “Ace of Spades” to get in the spirits of 

gambling and the online casino world.


5. Megadeth

The slot machine Megadeth circulates the theme of the band of the same 

Name, becoming one of the most successful online slots out there.

Considered as one of the best thrash metal bands in history, the slot machine offers 

many of their famous songs to their customers’ disposal.

Online slot players can experience great fun with the 40 paylines, guitar picks, 

amplifiers, the band members, and musical instruments offered throughout the game.

You will be definitely entertained both by the thrill of slots and the music of Megadeth.

As themed slot machines are entertaining and successful among the public, slot machines are the top game within the gambling industry.

In fact, Nevada reported that their state gambling revenues surpassed the one-billion-dollar mark in June and July of 2019 largely due to slot machines.

Even some of the uncommon places for slot machines are generating profits due to the immense thrill and fun people seek from slots.

Chicago, for example, reported that one of its airports is expected to bring in approximately $37 million per year (source).

People enjoy doing multiple tasks with the help of music, be it doing several chores around the house, commuting to work, or playing games, such as slot machines.

Combining popular musical bands and the entertainment of slot machines has proven to be not only a satisfactory user experience but also beneficial for the developers of these games.

The graphics and overall virtual reality of experiencing a concert of the great bands in the history of hard rock and heavy metal is an exciting and intriguing promise of the companies.

With this feature, slot machines become even more enticing and interesting, not to mention intriguing to those who have not dabbled in gambling but enjoy the bands incorporated within the specific game.

Be it a KISS or Megadeth, people can have the opportunity to be immersed within a concert of some of the late greats of music while still winning prizes and free spins as on a traditional slot machine.


Categories: Comic Book Blogs

CCL #506 – January 2020 Solicitations – Just Like Budapest

First Comics News - Tue, 10/29/2019 - 02:40

Chris and Andy reminisce about the early days of the CCL and talk a lot of Back Widow and get right into “draft” selections from the January 2020 solicits that include:

Andy’s Draft
1. John Byrne’s Man of Steel Omnibus Volume 1 HC (DC Comics)
2. Baltimore Omnibus Volume 2 HC (Marvel)
3. HG Wells The Island of Dr. Morue HC (IDW)
4. Animal Man by Grant Morrison Volume 1 TP (DC Comics)
5. Flash of Two Worlds Deluxe HC (DC Comics)
6. Legion of Super-Heroes: Road to Legion TP (DC Comics)
7. Black Widow Epic Collection: Beware The Black Widow TP (Marvel)
8. Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam TP (DC Comics)
9. James Bond 007 Volume 2 HC (Dynamite)
10. What If? Classic Complete Collection Volume 3 TP (Marvel)

Chris’s Draft
1. Famous First Edition: New Fun #1 HC (DC Comics)
2. Batman: White Knight: The Deluxe Edition HC (DC Comics)
3. Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer Of Justice HC (Dark Horse/DC Comics)
4. Punisher Epic Collection: Jigsaw Puzzle TP (Marvel)
5. The Spectre: The Wrath Of The Spectre Omnibus HC (DC Comics)
6. Babyteeth Year One HC (Aftershock)
7. Swamp Thing: Tales From The Bayou TP (DC Comics)
8. Taskmaster: Anything You Can Do… TP (Marvel)
9. Weird Western Tales: Jonah Hex HC (DC Comics)
10. Black Widow: Widowmaker TPB (Marvel)

CCL Slack Channel – free and open to anyone
CCL Podcast on Libsyn
CCL Podcast on Castbox
CCL Podcast on Spotify
CCL Podcast on Google
CCL Podcast on iTunes
CCL and other great Comic Book Podcasts on iTunes
CCL Twitter
CCL Podcast RSS Feed
This podcast direct .mp3 link

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Mon, 10/28/2019 - 20:25

Superman & Lois, from Warner Bros. TV, is currently in development and it will follow “the world’s most famous Super Hero and comic books’ most famous journalist” as they “deal with all the stress, pressures and complexities that come with being working parents in today’s society.” Tyler Hoechlin, who originated the role of the Arrowverse’s Superman/Clark Kent on Supergirl, and Elizabeth Tulloch, who made her debut as Lois in last year’s “Elseworlds” crossover event, will reprise their roles for the prospective new series.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

WrestleMania Tickets Available Friday, November 15

First Comics News - Mon, 10/28/2019 - 20:15


STAMFORD, Conn., October 28, 2019 – WWE® (NYSE: WWE) today announced that tickets to the pop-culture extravaganza, WrestleMania, will be available on Friday, November 15 starting at 10 AM ET. WrestleMania will take place Sunday, April 5, 2020 from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay and stream live around the world on WWE Network.

Ticket prices range from $35-$1,000. There will also be a limited number of “Gold Circle” VIP Packages available ranging from $2,000-$2,500. The Gold Circle packages include seating in the first nine rows ringside, access to a Gold Circle VIP Stadium Entrance and a commemorative WrestleMania take-home folding chair. Tickets can be purchased through, by calling 1-800-745-3000 or in person at ReliaQuest Ticket Office at Amalie Arena. All tickets are subject to service charges and facility fees.

In addition, WrestleMania Travel Packages, which will include tickets to WrestleMania Week events and exclusive WWE Superstar meet and greet experiences, will be available next Tuesday, November 5 beginning at 12 noon ET at

WrestleMania is more than just a one-day event; it is a week-long celebration. In addition to WrestleMania, other events include: WrestleMania Axxess®, WWE’s interactive fan festival at the Tampa Convention Center, and four spectacular live events taking place at Amalie Arena, including the 2020 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Friday Night SmackDown®, NXT® TakeOver® and Monday Night Raw®.

WWE will also host activities designed to give back to the local community during WrestleMania Week including Be a STAR® bullying prevention rallies, hospital visits and Make-A-Wish events. Additional information on these events will be announced in the future at

Over the past 12 years, WrestleMania has generated more than $1.2 billion in cumulative economic impact for the cities that have hosted the event.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Mon, 10/28/2019 - 20:13

Due In Stores and Digital December 2019
from Action Lab: Danger Zone

Writer: David Pepose

Artist: Gavin Guidry

Colorist: Elizabeth Kramer

Letterer: Ariana Maher

Cover Artists: Cover A by Johanna the Mad (OCT191476; $3.99); Cover B by Maan House (OCT191477; $3.99); Cover C by Gavin Guidry (OCT191478; $3.99)

It’s time to bride or die, as the year’s funniest crime comic reaches its grand finale in GOING TO THE CHAPEL #4! With the police about to storm the chapel, Emily must choose her allegiances and her own uncertain future. Can Emily face her fears of lifelong commitment, or will her anxieties be dashed by a runaway bullet? Fans of Crowded, Sex Criminals, and The Fix should not miss Ringo Award-nominated writer David Pepose (Spencer & Locke) and superstar artist Gavin Guidry (The Death Defying)’s thrilling conclusion, due in stores and digital December 2019, featuring a show-stopping main cover from Fence artist Johanna the Mad!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Mon, 10/28/2019 - 20:05

NOV191779 or NOV191779
(W) Steve Horton (A) Michael Allred
Inspired by the one and only superhero, extraterrestrial, and rock and roll deity in history, Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams is the original graphic memoir of the great Ziggy Stardust! In life, David Bowie was one of the most magnetic icons of modern pop culture, seducing generations of fans with both his music and his counterculture persona. In death, the cult of Bowie has only intensified. As a musician, Bowie’s legacy is remarkable, but his place in the popular imagination is due to so much more than his music. As a visual performer, he defied classification with his psychedelic aesthetics, his larger-than-life image, and his way of hovering on the border of the surreal. Bowie chronicles the rise of Bowie’s career from obscurity to fame; and paralleled by the rise and fall of his alter ego as well as the rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust. As the Spiders from Mars slowly implode, Bowie wrestles with his Ziggy persona. The outcome of this internal conflict will change not only David Bowie, but also, the world. Introduction by Neil Gaiman. Available in regular edition and PREVIEWS Exclusive hardcover editions.
In Shops: Jan 08, 2020
SRP: $39.99

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

The Rolling City and the Devil Sun

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 10/28/2019 - 11:00
This post is in response to a challenge from Anne at DIY & Dragons based on this post a the Githyanki Diaspora from 2009 suggesting an easy way to "Make Your Own New Crobuzon."

The Last City
Clacking, rumbling, the city moves. It rolls through the night on sixteen indestructible rails carved from the bones of dead gods. The shanties on its ziggurat steps rattle; it's bristle of towers sways. The city never stops for long, and it always stays ahead of the dawn. It's being chased by a vengeful god, the Sun.

The Devil Sun
There is a face in the green Sun, and it looks down on the world it hates with grinning, idiot malice. It chases the city across the face of the blighted world, through the ruined cities of the elder days. Where its morning light shines, its energy creates cancer jungles and fleshy masses of monsters. Even these wither and die under the force of its noon regard, leaving only blasted desert in the dying light of evening. The Devil Sun would destroy the clanking redoubt of the city, too, but it moves too slowly across the sky to catch it. For now.

Three Minor Humanoid Races
Xixchil once had their own city, but it was lost, and they bought their passage on the last city with their art. It was the Xixchil surgeons that developed the Warforged. The Xixchil are mistrusted because they live in enclaves of their own and practice secret rituals they do not allow others to see.

The Warforged were made to be the city's soldiers. There are many fewer now than there once were. They are officially accorded respect for their service, but many former refugees blame them for the loss of their old homes.

Athasian aarakocra live in the precarious high towers of the city. They are scouts and foragers.

Three Monsters
Clockwork automata serve in every level of the city, particularly performing jobs around the engines or on the city's undercarriage where living things can't go. Some damaged automata become rampaging clockwork horrors.

Obliviax is cultivated in some labs in the city for it's various memory uses: to fashion an anti-senility drug, to steal memories, or simply to make people forget. It has escaped and grows wild in some lower levels.

Arcane oozes sometimes crawl up the cities exterior. The gorge themselves to a torpor on the divine magic that powers the city. Sometimes they become a hazard and must be removed.

Weird Revisted: The Secret Life Stages of Elves

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 10/25/2019 - 11:00
This post from 2016 is more recent than my usual revisits, but I had forgotten about it, only coming across it while looking for another post and thought it was worth a reshare...

What humans mistake as different tribes or clades of elves are actually different stages in their millennia long, perhap endless, lives.

Wood elves are elven adolescents. They rebel against their parents and go to live in bands of others of their age. They throw racuous parties in the woods and experiment with intoxicants. They are capricious, emotional, and cliqueish. Their tribes run the gamut between Woodstock and Lord of the Flies.

High elves are elven adults. They interact most with other species and are responsible for the maintenance of elven civilization. It is in this age cohort that the immortality of elves begans to take its toll, however. Elven brains are not structurally that different from humans. They do not have the capacity to hold countless centuries of memories. Their initial compensatory mechanism is monomania. Elves develop a strong interest that narrows the array of factual information they must recall and provides constant reinforcement for the things they find important. Some become swordsmasters, some master artists or craftsmen, some archmages.

For some elves this is enough, and they grow more skilled, more focused, and stranger, until they become almost demigods in their chosen vocation. These are the Gray.

Others, though, are not able to maintain such focus. Something akin to dementia sets in. They become forgetful, and paranoid. As they begin to lose their past--lose themselves. They find only intense linger long. These are the drow, the dark elves.

Dark because of the darkness that consumes their minds; dark for the deeds they commit to hold on to self and not slip into endless reverie. They go to live in the dungeons of their kind to pursue intense pleasures and horrors or simply howl or cackle in the darkness. These elders are feared by other elves. They avoid them and will not reveal their relationship to them to non-elves.

A Premise for Opposing Planes

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 11:00

I'm planning on expanding on the version of the Outer Planes posited by these two posts.  In brief, the planes are reframed in a sort of gnostic background wherein Law and Chaos relate to competing ideas about how best to restore unity with the Godhead. I like this idea because it gives a structure to hang both Law and Chaos on and the other various flavors radiating out from these "poles."

Good and Evil don't carry quite the same weight. Instead, they are shorthand for approaches for dealing with the opposing side. Lawful Good seeks accommodation with Chaos and peaceful conversion where possible; Lawful Evil feels there is no compromise with Chaos and force is always an option. This is not an idea new to me. It's hinted at the the Planescape material, and I've seen if discussed on forums. Adding the layer of competing visions of the Godhead adds something extra.

Anyway, more to come.

What The Clockwork Princess Said

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 11:00
Our 5e Land of Azurth campaign continued last night (now in its fifth year!) with the party trying to get some information from the the tree-like mass of gears and wires that bore the face of the former Princess of Yanth Country, Viola. They couldn't make much from her comments.  Was she merely repeating words from their questions or genuinely answering? They did think they got the phrases: "Not trust", "Queen Desira", and "Find. Now." Those may or may not have been related thoughts.

Suddenly, there was a flash of light in the hallway, and a mysterious stranger in a long coat with a flying-V guitar slung across his back stepped into the room. For some reason, the party immediately assumed this was "Future Kully," though the Kully of this time was supposed to be dead. The stranger seemed flustered by their questions about his identity, noting that he wouldn't have worn a bandana over his face if he wanted it to be known. He told them they needed to return to their own time, and quickly, because "the forces of darkness" were coming. He invoked concerns about effecting the future were he to answer any of their quite reasonable questions. He would say of his own origins: he was from "their future, but also from the distant past." He left the room playing his guitar and disappeared in another flash.

The stranger's words soon proved true, as the castle rocked as if struck. The party decided it was time to escape. A giant, insectoid creature of clicking metal and whirring gears broke through the wall, but after favoring them with a scream like an approaching train, turned and stumbled its way in the direction the party had come from.

They made it down two levels. The crazy gnomes were now fleeing with them. They exited the front door and saw two dragons blacker than the night sky, smoky and insubstantial around their extremities, circling like hawks overhead.

The party featherfall-ed (featherfell?) to the ground below. They saw black-armored riders on weird, loping steeds like hairless dogs with monstrous, human faces. They sprinted out of the clearing into a nearby stand of trees. Two riders peeled off from the many body and trotted over to the wood. Keeping a distance, one shot an arrow high. It transformed into a mass of arrows burning with green flame. The volley fell upon the party, seriously injuring Kairon and Shade. Again, the party ran for the deeper woods.

There, Phosphoro (finally) appeared, expressing regret for having forgotten to bring them back to their own time until now.

Back in Rivertown, the party discovered there have been some changes in their time away. A new palisade is around most of the city and there is a greater guard presence. They return to the Dove Inn and find their rooms are still intact, but they have back rent to pay.

When they see the innkeeper slip a note to a young boy, Waylon follows him through the streets. The boy goes to the house of Inkwell, the former bookkeeper to the former mayor. Inkwell returns to the inn looking for the party and asks them to meet him at his house this evening--and be careful of being followed.

That night, Inkwell tells them what has passed in the year they have been absent. Drumpf was elected mayor and used both his wizardly family and alleged aid from the land of Noxia to the North to enforce his rule in Rivertown. Gladhand, the former mayor, is in hiding, but Inkwell says he will offer the party a share in a large treasure if they will help him use the money to hire mercenaries to help drive Drumpf from the city. The party agrees to meet Gladhand.

Art by Jason Sholtis


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