Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Continuing Adventures of Vallasen the Mighty

My seven-year-old son is responsible for directly inventing or inspiring probably a third of the material that shows up on this blog, and he can be indirectly credited with the entire setting (optimistic, cartoonish, humorous, dream-logic etc).

Yesterday, following a discussion with Jack of Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque, I challenged the Boy to come up with some hexkey locations.  It didn't take many leading questions (mostly "we just did a castle, how about a town next?"), and he came up with the following.

1 - Orange Dragon Castle. The ruler here, bears an orange dragon rampant as his heraldry; he commands a small army of men who are black on one side and white on the other. Nobody knows he secretly eats brains to give him strength.

2 - Ghost Village. For some reason everyone who dies in this village becomes a ghost, and now the village is populated not only by the usual assortment of farmers, but also three generations' worth of ancestors. All the ghosts are visible and go about their business as usual.

3 - Prince-of-Ponies. There roams in these hills a magical pony whose touch can turn a man into a pony. These transformed horses serve out their time in some kind of penance, then are turned back into men. The Prince-of-Ponies usually has 3d6 other ponies with him.

4 - Flower-Town. Situated in a field of wildflowers, every building in this town is covered in flowers (like the Rose Bowl parade, only the whole town). The people who live here love flowers and hold them sacred.

5 - Yucky Pond. At the bottom of this pond are a whole mess of blood-sucking zombie snails.

6 - Growling Tower. This crumbling edifice is home to a sorceror who has accidentally turned himself in to a talking 1957 Chevy (with a hat).

I'm totally content to call these canon for Wampus Country in some way, and I'm sure we'll do more locations like that in the future; perhaps I can get the Boy to populate a whole hexmap, or a chunk of one.

During the Frankenstorm (aka Hurricane Sandy), we lost power for just over a day.  This afternoon, the Boy asked to play "Adventure" - which he hadn't asked about in a while.  I told him I'd happily run him through his character's next mission, a mystery involving the theft of the World's Smallest Giraffe, but he didn't want to pick up that plot thread.  Instead, he insisted on exploring the hexes he had populated - he wanted to search for the Prince of Ponies.  And off we went.

His PC, Vallasen the Mighty, is the seven-year-old hero of Frogport (we like to say "age 7, STR 17") who tools around in chain mail with a fluttering cape and a newspaper hat; he is armed with a cutlass, several boomerangs, and a six-shot pistol.  By Vallasen's side, as always, is his companion/steed Wiggybench, an animated park-bench inhabited by the ghost of a first-level cleric (always ready with that one healing spell if necessary).

Our story opens as Vallasen and Wiggybench set forth from Frogport, toward the distant mountain where the Prince of Ponies - whose touch can turn a man into a pony - dwells.  Vallasen was confident he could locate the legendary horse and live to tell the tale.  Midway through the morning of riding (well, walking, really - the bench is kinda slow), Vallasen hears hoofbeats, and stirs from his nap to see three bandits riding toward him, brandishing pistols.  He hunkers down behind Wiggybench for cover and fires a few shots; the bandits also fire as they charge ever-closer, but luckily those bullets miss.  Realizing he's outnumbered and exposed here, Vallasen does something tall-tale worthy: he takes careful aim at the nearby mountain ridge and fires his pistol, causing an avalanche which crushes the bandits.  (No kidding - the kid said "I want to shoot the mountain so it falls on them" then rolled a natural 20.  Avalanche!)  Vallasen sauntered over to the pile of rock, snow, dirt, and broken bandit bodies and stole their weapons, then continued on his quest.

It's getting cold, so Vallasen pulls out his winter coat (giraffe-hide on the outside, rabbit fur on the inside).  As he reaches a higher elevation, he spots a large bear foraging for berries.  Vallasen grows concerned that the bear might come across the magical pony he sought, and maul the equine.  The bear had to go.  Vallasen throws a boomerang, but misses horribly (a 1.  The Boy is learning how fickle dice can be); the boomerang caroms off a tree and returns, bonking our hero in the temple and knocking him out.

He wakes in a large, comfy bed in what appears to be a rustic cabin; the smell of chicken soup wafts through the air.  Vallasen reaches up to find his head-wound bandaged, so he stealthily scouts around the corner, and sees a bear - presumably the same one - working at the stove in the kitchen.  Will the mighty knight-errant elect to parlay with this beast?  Certainly not.  Divested of his weapons, Vallasen looks around frantically, and chooses a ceramic piggybank from the mantle, then sneaks up behind the bear and cracks the bank over its head.  The bear fails its "save vs KO" and slumps to the floor.  Vallasen quickly scoops up the pennies which have now covered the floor, and also steals a nice frying-pan and the bear's teapot.  Running outside, he finds Wiggybench tied to a tree, with his backpack and gear.  Vallasen rapidly frees his companion and continues his quest before the bear wakes.

Finally, peering down the side of a ridge, Vallasen spies an amazingly beautiful and noble pony prancing about in a field of wildflowers with several other, mundane-looking, ponies.  Deciding to go the stealth route,Vallasen signals Wiggybench to stay put, and our hero belly-crawls through the wildflowers.  Midway to the ponies, he is confronted by a tiger lily (this was the Boy's idea - "there's a monster flower in there!"), which is a small carnivorous plant with a tiger's face.  Concerned that a conflict with the flower would ruin his sneaking, Vallasen intimidated the plant into remaining quiet (good roleplay + CHA roll..."Be quiet and go away or I'll pluck all your leaves out").

Vallasen crawled up in the midst of the horses and approached the Prince of Ponies.  Suddenly, the magical horse turned and kissed Vallasen on the forehead!  The horses all dashed off as Vallasen the Mighty felt eldritch power course through his veins; his body shivered and his head spun.  His hands and feet became hooves, and finally his head transformed as well - he was now a pony!  Robbed of the power of speech, Vallasen trotted back to Wiggybench.

Knowing there was a wizard's tower nearby, Vallasen the Pony made his way there.  The Growling Tower lived up to its name, as all manner of growls and rumbles echoed from within.  The front door to the tower had an animated knocker in the shape of an elephant; Vallasen knocked.  The door was answered by a talking green car (with a top hat and moustache) -- the well-known wizard Lord Vroomicus!  Vroomicus had long ago accidentally turned himself into a '57 Chevy and was unable to turn back, but he knew more about magical transformations than anyone, and luckily he spoke Horse.

Lord Vroomicus agreed to cure Vallasen if Vallasen would undertake a quest.  Our hero, tired of being a horse, readily concurred.  Vroomicus mixed up a potion - a philtre of turtle-water with a dash of gryphon blood and some ground-up meteorite - and Vallasen quaffed it quickly.  In minutes, he was turned back into a boy.  Vroomicus reminded Vallasen of the tripartite quest - he must solve the mystery of the Ghost Village, defeat the vampire zombie snails of Yucky Pond, AND overthrow the brain-eating Lord of Orange Dragon Castle - and all within the next month, or Vroomicus would be forced to bring down a wizardly curse on our hero.

And that's where we stopped.  That was like half an hour of play, and it was great fun - a silly voice for the car-wizard, the two of us clopping around like horses, and we went into the kitchen to mix up a 'potion' for him to drink to be restored.  I advised the Boy that the Castle portion of his quest was probably the most difficult, so he might want to try the other two first to gain experience and find allies before dealing with the nefarious brain-eater, but we'll see which way he goes.

Lord Vroomicus, Wizard.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Beasts of Nightmare

Keith has suggested a mini-carnival to make good use of the artwork generously volunteered by Eric Quigley.  Thanks, Eric!  I'm using one of the pieces below as inspiration for this post.

Nothing says 'nightmare' quite like serrated machete hands.

The Midnight Sea is the name wizards and prophets give to that dark, roiling realm of liquid nightmare which exists adjacent to, and underneath, the world of the Wampus Country.  It is a dark mirror, a horrible place from which fear itself may be spawned.  Luckily for Wampusites, contact between the two worlds is rare - usually the product of the deliberate act of a deranged sorceror or ecstatic zealot.  On occasion, however, nightmares leak through into our world all on their own.

Each thinking mind within the Wampus Country is a potential pinhole in the curtain between worlds; given the right conditions, a smattering of fear-stuff can leak through and coalesce into a creature.  The best known, and most innocuous, of these invasions is the creation of a Moop by a child's particularly vivid nightmare.  Moops, of course, are furry and cute up until the point they bite your face off, but chiefly they lurk in closets or under beds, continuing to feed on fear until such time as they dissolve from inconvenient exposure to sunlight, or are discovered by a vigilant parent and maimed with a shovel.  Experts suggest that Moops are themselves relatively weak as nightmares, since they come from the bad dreams of relatively normal, happy children - who lack the worldliness to understand true terror, have perhaps never lost a loved one, and do not have decades of personal failure stoppered up in their hearts like so much corrupting bile, waiting to burst forth and take corporeal form.

Adults, especially those in the depths of despair, provide the more lucrative nightmares, and those most likely to take physical form.  Most of these creatures, once spawned, act purely on destructive impulse.  They may immediately kill the host who spawned them, or may act out residual desires of that host (murdering a rival or a lover, for example).  Usually the nightmare-beasts do not survive the dawn and are melted away by the sun's rays.  But a very few - thankfully, a small number indeed - are somehow immune to the cleansing nature of morning light, and their rampages do not end so easily...

Step 1)  Start with the stats of a Hill Giant.  Most nightmares are large, bipedal humanoids, as they reflect their creator; most are savage and primitive-looking.
Step 2) Modify stats and appearance of the creature with multiple rolls (1d4 recommended) on the d20 table below.  5% of nightmares can withstand the sun.

1.  Resembles the dreamer.  Similar face, perhaps even matching birthmark or scar; or dresses like him/her.
2. Hooflike or stumpy feet
3. Theriomorphic head, always a predator or scavenger beast
4. Weaponized hands.  In lieu of hands (or fingers), beast has swords, knives, axes, etc.  Upgrade damage appropriately (by a die category, if nothing else).
5. Terrifying bellow.  Sonic attack which causes fear.
6. Ability to walk through walls (also applies to any victim it has snatched up)
7. Spits acid (d6 damage, aims for faces) and/or trails corrosive drool
8. Bloody stigmata or gaping wounds
9. Cries and pleads with the voice of a lost loved one - even as it's dismembering you
10. Inexplicably fears the common house-cat
11. Touch is venomous, save or die
12.  The beast's gaze causes sleep, similar to the spell.
13.  Leaves smouldering/flaming footprints for 2d6 rounds after it passes
14. Its passing causes livestock to give blood instead of milk
15. Chitinous or stony armor - improve AC by 1d4
16. Has baby-faces on its palms
17. Can short-range teleport through shadows
18. Spinning sawblades on hands (30%), feet (20%), head (30%), or chest (20%).
19. Can break up into a swarm of  flies or other insect and reconstitute itself
20. It's a midget clown, because nothing terrifies my poor wife more.  Plus roll three more times.

Feel free to add more horrific entries to this table in the comments below; maybe we can get to thirty without too much effort.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Curious Critters: Barnyard Edition

We return again to the learned Mr. Runcible and his ongoing discussion of Wampus Country's less-predatory weird creatures, this time focusing on curious livestock and related species.

Wild goats are not uncommon in certain parts of the Wampus Country; mountain-goats are likely the most numerous and diverse in appearance, but equally well-known are the swamp-goats, whose long coats become an odiferous breeding-ground for various algaes and mosses [1].  Our region is also home to a number of plains-dwelling goat species, who better resemble antelopes or okapi in some ways.  Yet no matter how byzantine their horn structure (goats with intertwined basket-horns who play jai-alai with chestnuts) or how unusual their markings (I once saw a spotted goat who had, quite naturally, developed a caricature of a local cleric in freckles on its belly), they pale in comparison to those goats which are inherently magical.

Witness first the magic of the Capracorn, a goat who radiates a feeling of goodwill which affects nearby sentients, pushing their subconscious toward harmony [2].  Those entranced by the Capracorn are suffused with the certainty that all men are brothers, and life is indeed wonderful.  But every coin has two sides, and there is a related species, the Kafkakorn, whose aura causes onlookers to feel paranoid, persecuted, and alienated.  I personally do not believe the reports of a distantly-related bovine species, the Camus-cow.

Another goat of note is the Capricornucopia, whose horns sprout fruit and other foods [3]; unfortunately this species does not do well in captivity and has resisted attempts to be crossbred with domesticated goats.  You have perhaps seen drawings of this beast in older manuscripts, as its fame is widespread.  A related species, perhaps, is the Nanny-Goat, whose horns bear ampules of healing liquid.

A goat need not be inherently magical to be interesting to the ethologist, however.  Several years ago, a group of rather intelligent castrated goats rose up in rebellion against local farmers.  Calling themselves the "Wether Underground", they staged protests and set off several explosives in barns before being rounded up by an angry posse; I have heard scurrilous rumors that one of these billy-goat revolutionaries survived the cull and is currently teaching at a prestigious university.

Most famous amongst the curious bovines of Wampus Country are, of course, the Singing Cows, who, while not intelligent, sing beautifully as a chorus by some means of telepathic communication.  Typically these singing cows give flavored milk, usually chocolate, but occasionally strawberry, banana, or multiple types dependent on the season.

I myself am fascinated with the Siege-Bovines, who are obviously magically engineered products of a prior age, as well as an intriguing example of extreme sexual dimorphism.  The female is the Cowtapult, whose spine is able to flip upwards rapidly to launch dung caught in the cartilagenous "basket" growth beneath the anus; the male of the species, the Bullista, fires from its throat heavy darts composed of a horn-like material.  The milk of this species is not good for humans to drink, as it contains a substrate of noxious flammables; apparently the engineers of the Siege-Bovines were attempting to get the Cowtapult's udder to produce napalm.  Such is the life-lesson: you cannot have everything at once.

Interesting, yet nearly-extinct, the Jersey Cow is essentially useless as livestock.  It spends its time exercising (resulting in poor steak), sunbathing (often tanning its own hide in a medically-dubious fashion [4]), and attempting to rut with everything in sight.  Due to some abnormality, the males of the species never fully mature, yet each one considers itself an alpha bull.


[1]  To include the insidious memory-moss, or "obliviax".  Imagine such a thing entwined with a goat, if you dare - a ragged swamp-goat dog-paddles through the fetid water toward your boat, at first looking helpless with those big brown eyes - then you see the second mossy face on its haunch, and a wet tendril of animated moss reaches out and taps your exposed hand; now you cannot recall what your mother looked like...

[2]  Thirty-foot radius, not sight-dependent.  A save vs magic wand will resist the effect for 1d4 rounds of exposure.

[3] Roll 1d6 several times: 1 apples, 2 grapes, 3 pomegranate, 4 tiny muskmelons, 5 nectarines, 6 caramel-covered bacon with sea salt.

[4]  One ranch I have visited is attempting to bypass the tanner's trade entirely by breeding Jerseys who can merely be skinned to produce tailor-ready leather.  The experiment is not working, as the cows continue to ask for more money.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

More Curious Creatures

We continue with the naturalist Harcourt Runcible's survey of lesser weird critters of the Wampus Country, featuring two severe oddities and a selection of several serpents.

The crib-womble is a dangerous fey beast, indeed; although it can subsist on fruit and insects, its chief goal is to sneak into nurseries like some kind of marsupial cuckoo, and steal infants, which it then devours. With each baby eaten, the crib-womble slowly takes on the form of a small child; perhaps five or six infants are sufficient to complete the transformation, at which point the crib-womble infiltrates an orphanage, to be raised as a human. Most crib-wombles, being horrible little beasts, grow up to be human politicians.

A taxidermied crib-womble found in the bedding of one of River-Town's movers and shakers (who shall remain un-named); no doubt a kidnapping threat against the gentleman's children from persons unknown.

The cause of mutation behind these strange ground-fowl is unknown, but certainly they are related to, if not descended from, wild turkeys.  In fact, they greatly resemble large, horse-sized versions of the turkey, save for their single, luminous eye.  The sinuous neck of the turklops bobs and weaves like a serpent as the glowing eyeball remains fixed upon its prey - chickens, ducks, quails, and any other small creature the turklops can chase down.  And what could be better evidence of the rationality of nature?  Just as cyclops devour men, so too does the turklops swallow ducks whole.  Despite its size and strength, the turklops is not well-suited for riding, as it lacks all depth perception and tends to run into trees at speed.

Although Wampus Country is named for a predatory cat, and best-known for its owl-creatures, it is also home to a large number of serpentine species, some of which are far more noteworthy to the curious naturalist than the rattlesnake or hoop-snake, both of which seem plain by comparison.

First in our short survey is the Serpentree, a deciduous tree whose seed-pods are, in fact, poisonous snakes.  During the proper season, the serpentree grows numerous snakes, then drops them to the ground, where they slither off in search of prey; sometimes the plant will drop snakes directly on passersby.  The serpentree seed-snakes carry in their venom tiny fertilized seeds which are transferred to the bloodstream of creatures bitten.  These seeds then make their way to the heart, where they implant themselves within the muscle and eventually grow into young serpentrees, killing the host.  Sadly, the serpentree is just one of many deadly trees of Wampus Country, many of which use their victims' decomposing bodies as fertilizer for their young.

Another fascinating snake is the spring-snake, which can be manhandled and forced to compress itself lengthwise.  Thus manipulated, the spring-snake is sometimes used in two ways: the classic trick is to stuff several spring-snakes in a box or jar (peanut brittle canisters are popular).  When the container is opened, the spring-snakes erupt furiously.  A more modern application for the spring-snake is to procure a smaller specimen, compress it - with that characteristic wrenching sound the vertebrae make - and stuff it inside the barrel of a shotgun, to be fired at an intruder.  The tail of the spring-snake is very bony, and usually the firing of the weapon does not kill the beast, instead merely enraging it as it flies across the room and sinks its fangs into the target.  It is perhaps worth mentioning that the spring-snake carries a painful paralytic poison.

Our third interesting serpent for this installment is a kind of small, inoffensive beast with tiny, needle-like teeth.  Related to the garter snake (which, obviously, can be trained to bite its own tail and wrap around a thigh to protect a lady's virtue), this delightful amphisbaena is the suspender-snake.  With a head at each end and a prediliction for clamping down on cloth, the suspender-snake is easily trained to hold up a pair of pants.  At least one fashionable boutique in River-Town is selling these reptiles in color-matched pairs, knotted together, as "snake-spenders"; whether the critter becomes fashionable amongst the hoi-polloi remains to be seen.

The picture of the crib-womble comes to us from Jack over at TotGaD.  The spring-snake is the invention of my Friday night group, and the other serpents and the turklops were created by the Boy (age seven).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Curious Creatures

The Wampus Country has no shortage of unusual creatures; some are dangerous to man, while others merely pique the curiosity of scholars.  We turn to one such scholar, the renowned naturalist Mr. Harcourt Runcible, for today's selection.

No living man or woman outside a sanatorium could be expected to say with any resolve that they had witnessed with their own eyes all of the myriad species which thrive on the frontier.  So numerous are they, and so elusive in many cases, that it may take a clever man much of his life to see only a quarter or a third of the panoply of animals native to this region.  More the fool, I, for such is precisely my quest.  Although my magnum opus of naturalism, the Vivacious Vorarium, is far from completion, I am pleased to share with the readers of the Gazette several short selections regarding creatures most curious.

Surely even readers of the Gazette are aware of the owl-creatures which dot the countryside, but perhaps rarest amongst these is the reclusive and deadly owl-fish.  Should some drunken lout of a trapper tell you he has seen an owl-fish, then go on to describe its fins and tail, know that surely you may label this unwashed bumpkin a liar; for the owl-fish takes its name not from a piscine form, but from its natural resemblance to a jellyfish or man-o-war.  In fact, from a distance, through the river-murk, the owl-fish may seem a normal stinging jelly; but on closer approach the owl-like skull atop the trail of tentacles can be seen, and indeed, it may be the last thing an incautious swimmer ever sees.  The owl-fish are quite vicious, and associate in small packs of six or seven, swarming their prey, snapping at fingers, eyes, and Achilles' tendon with their sharp little beaks whilst stinging with their tentacles.  The nematocysts of the owl-fish contain a kind of neurotoxin which acts very rapidly to scramble the brain [1] and reduce a man to a gibbering fool, once swarmed.  Most victims of the little owl-fish drown, as they forget they are underwater, or lose track of which way is up.

Not nearly as impressive as its cousin, the lyre-bird, whose tail is a harp, the hand-bell bird is a uniform dun color and resembles a rather frumpy quail.  Its only distinguishing characteristic is its tail, which resembles a hand-bell thanks to a certain conical bony protrusion surrounding the actual tail, which is ratlike with a bone 'clapper' at the end.  The hand-bell bird can indeed ring its tail like a bell, and each bird has a slightly different tone, allowing them to communicate with one another over long distances or recognize family members and potential mates; it is only a matter of time before some fool takes it upon himself to train a group of hand-bell birds to play a song, perhaps.  Many university students are introduced to the hand-bell bird, as they are easy to capture and relatively stupid, thus good in captivity.  I recall my own biology class at university, in which a male hand-bell bird was used as an example for our study of avian structure, in which we were tasked with sketching the rear of the bird, including the musical tail, cloaca, and near-mammalian sexual organs (the top-to-bottom order of which generated the chorus of that now-infamous collegiate drinking song, "Ding, Dung, Dong").

Another musical creature found in nature is the keyboard lizard, which resembles a monitor or other large, languid herptile, save for the presence of a rather obvious piano keyboard running the length of its back.  They keys themselves grow from the lizard's spine, and act as a second ribcage in many ways; pressing the keys triggers nerves within the spine and creates a musical tone, either from the lizard's mouth or one of several sound-generating bellow-like organs in the pneumothorax.  The keyboard is rarely longer than two octaves, and is typically left-facing (that is to say, one plays it with the lizard's head to the left) with the lower-note keys near the neck and the higher notes near the tail.  A rare mutation causes some keyboard lizards to be right-facing, but as the low notes are still at the head end, these freakish things are of no use to any civilized man who understands how a piano ought to be built.

[1] - Save vs poison or take 1 point of temporary damage to INT or WIS (50/50).  A pack of owl-fish can easily reduce the average swimmer to a drooling vegetable in under two rounds.

We'll do some more curious creatures later this week, but I wanted to point out that the above animals were all invented by my seven-year-old.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Big Eagle Mountain

There's been some talk lately about megadungeons (again - this stuff is cyclical, it seems); I don't have any real commentary on the issue other than to say that I don't think I've ever actually run a megadungeon.  It's something that might interest me in the future, though, which is why there's a megadungeon in Wampus Country.  It exists as a phantom at the corner of my mind; nothing has ever been run there, but ideas accumulate, and it's part of the background of the setting.  Maybe someday it will get more detailed and some adventurers will go there.  Until then, Big Eagle Mountain is just local color.

Big Eagle Mountain is the highest peak of the northern range, and although many people are aware of the existence of labyrinths within and beneath the mountain, Big Eagle still holds many secrets.  Scholars and wizardly types know the mountain was once a hub of the Simian civilization which predates our own; and many brave and foolhardy explorers have plumbed the depths to search for - and occasionally survive - the so-called City of Mazes.

Click image to induce grandiosity.
So mysterious is Big Eagle Mountain that even your humble blogger doesn't know much about it.  I know that the "City of Mazes" is the labyrinthine structure left behind by the Simians...everything else is a bit up in the air.

Agendas & Almanacs

Where does the time go?

I regret not having posts recently; things have been a little crazy, and I suppose it's normal to have an ebb and flow when you're not a "three times a week or die" blogger.  So what's been going on?

Well, first off, it's Santicore Season, so that takes some brainspace.  The submissions I've seen so far as a 'Santicore Wrangler' have been excellent - I can't wrap my brain around how big Santicore is going to be this year.  Parallel to that, I've been running Wampus Country like usual (although we missed a week) and fiddling with writing stuff in the margins.

If you're waiting on a prize package from the Summer Contest, hang in there.  I hope to get those out in the next couple of weeks, I had some delays.

I want to grab a copy of Publisher so I can easily do decent pdfs without having to learn a new trade - this is the basic holdup with "Rumpscullion's Summer Holiday", as I don't want to assemble the damn thing in LibreOffice and get frustrated, I just want to get it done in the right kind of tool.

I've had a lot of reaction to the 'It Gets Worse' articles, and there will be more on that front in good time.  Working on a "seed table" to assist in jump-starting the brain in coming up with IGW quandries.

But all is not quiet over here.  Once we get through the holidays, and Santicore's out the door, and Rumpscullion's out the door, we're going to talk about publishing a compilation of Wampus Country goodness.  Here's a tentative table of contents, subject to great change:

layout/design concept: Mimic a classic Farmer’s Alamanac, with lots of sidebars, charts, little anecdotes, recipes, bawdy limericks, aphorisms, factoids in the margins.  In-game advertisements.  Equipment lists should look like (illustrated) mail-order catalog pages.   Some pages ‘written on’ by previous owner.  Cartoons?  Sheet music for ‘The Snollygoster Stomp’?  Flip-book in the corner?  Go crazy with it.  A GLORIOUS LAYOUT NIGHTMARE.

Foreword (by whoever’s enough of a sucker to write it)
How the Wampus Country Came To Be (by the author)

It Gets Worse
Hats & Tuxedos
Firearms & Artillery
Mounts & Livestock
Singing Cows
Chrome Stallion
Riding Snollygosters
Prismatic Zebra
The Spirit of Wampus Country: Community, Healing & Music
Consecrating Weapons and Locations
Cross-Dimensional Paradox Loot Transformation Table

Keep Your Wits, Tenderfoot
The Frontier Way
On Civilization and Alignment
Religion in Wampus Country
The Scorpion Cult
Church of Weeweauk, the White Mouse
Blessings of Weeweauk (New Cleric Spells)
The Vicelords
Web of Darkness
Lost Gods of the Sixty-Sixth Path
Lesser Godlings
Gloriana of the Mysteries
Taronja the Eternal
The Horned Baron
Sethet the Golden Snake
Blessings of Sethet (New Cleric Spells)
Kaal-Uk-Ur, the Grinning Glutton
Mix-Gan-Jai, the Celestial Frog of Inexorable Progress
Wining & Dining
Adventurer-Chef (class)
Periodicals & Language
Hokum, a Game for Gentlemen Bastards
A Dozen Legendary Magical Banjos
Poggle Miscreant (class)
Boxtoon Mercenary (class)
Frog-folk Ragtimer (class)
Aerophant Scout (class)

Legacy of the Owls
Sagacious Rex
Extant Owl-Beasts
Arcane Secret Society: The Strigiform Masters
The Great Ape Empire
City of Mazes
Arcane Secret Society: The Simian Scions
The Peacock Throne
Grandpa’s War
The Great Desert Lich
The Grand Army
The Battle for Cadaver Canyon
The Curse of Al-Fulaq

Town Map
Denizens of Thistlemarch
Small-Town Adventure Seeds
The Mad Margrave’s Keep
Denizens of Saltvale
The Sobbing-Stone of the Disappointed
The Strange Secret of Echo Valley
The Wasp-Hive
The Giraffe In The Tower
Antonius the Great
Under Crumbledown
Massacre Mesa
Hotfoot’s Oasis
Vulture-Men of Buzzard Gulch
Blood In The Rock
The Abandoned Potbelly Mine
The Coyote Moot
Town Map
Random Street Encounters in River-Town
Denizens of River-Town
The Silver Scorpion Casino
Hound-Priests of the Vicelords
The Diamond Peacock Bordello
Thunderbolt Black’s Amazing Action Show
Random Sideshow Performer Dubious Gift Table
City Beneath The Lake
Underwater Encounters
Denizens of the Lake
Snollygoster Swamp
Denizens of Frogport
Snollygoster Squeezins & Other Swamp-Magic
Tower of the Swamp Hermit
The Snowdeeps
Big Eagle Mountain
Dwarven Ice-Pirates
Bonespur Glacier
Barbarian Tribes
Cloud Rabbit
Black Eagle
The Death-Clans
The Mad Unicorn at Rainbow’s End
Liquid Gold & Rainbow Wine: Fairy Intoxicants
The Mysterious Kandylands
The Witch-Queen of Sugarplum Castle
Arcane Secret Society: Sucromancy
An Assortment of Kandylander Magic & Weaponry

Dangerous Critters

Fire Caribou
Vampire Moose
Dolomphious Duck
Lumberjack Giants
Inbred Giant Quirk Table
Sub-Men of Wampus Country
Wild Ogres
Undead of Wampus Country
Necronaut Cultists
The Meebs of Djelu
Meeb Expeditionary (class)
The Three Terrible Sloads
The Clade
Vegetitan & Sproutlings
The Limb Gypsies
The Fearslayer
Fairy-folk of Wampus Country
The Princess of All Moths
Creatures of Nightmare
Tui-Tui-Sem, the Beast With Three Heads
Sugar Soldier
The Ill-Fated Heatherington Expedition
Emperor of Rubbish
Valley of the Anti-Primitives
The Man Who Killed Ghosts
The Boxtoon Detectives
Rukhspine, the Memorious
The Finding-Chicken of Sullah-Saloo

The Madness of Wizards
Famous Wizards of Wampus Country
The Magnificent Montranto
Hazel Brandywine
The Swamp Hermit
The Stump-Witch
Old Man Hut-Tep
Arcane Abecediary
New Magic-User Spells (78)
Rainbow Magic
The Heavenly Realm of Rainbows and Sunshine
Creatures of the Rainbow Realm
Flowering Fruitkin
Sphere-Folding Beasts
Chalkydri Hybrids
New Illusionist Spells (12)
Magic Bullets
Elementals with Personality
Paraelementals of Wampus Country
The Midnight Sea
New Diabolical Cleric Spells (12)
The Anglers

d100 On the Trail
d100 What’s In The Backpack?
d100 Amusing Diversions
d100 Fairyland Weirdness
d100 Demonichaos
d100 Potions
d100 Treasure Maps
d100 Arcane Books
Resurrection Quirks
What’s He Riding?
d100 Magic-Users
d100 Fantasy Names
Frontier Town Name Generator
Striga Generator
d100 Minor Treasure Objects
d100 Quick Personality Quirks

So drop me a line if you have ideas about the sorts of things that "ought to be" in such a work. Longtime Wampus aficionados (I tell myself this is a thing) will note there are a number of things on the above list which have yet to appear on the blog; some of them are already written or sketched-out, others will be written (and maybe appear) between now and Spring. This is kind of a target list to keep me motivated and help me during those moments when I'm paralyzed by the choice of what to write about.

The Wampus Country Almanac is going to be a proper project, with paid-for art and layout and everything, and I'm pretty excited to get things rolling on it after the holidays.

"Be bold in your planning!" said Mr. Jumbles, the famous gorilla motivational speaker.  "The successful entrepreneur must attack the future with certainty born of mad confidence.  When opportunity presents itself, you must seize it by the throat and vigorously shake it, as though chastising a neighbor's wayward child, or an absent-minded barista!"