Saturday, January 25, 2014

Themed Spells: Flightless Birds

More animal-themed spells percolating in the brainpan.  This time, it's flightless birds.

Penguin Suit (level 1)
The wizard sacrifices a smelt, sardine, or other small fish (salted/prepared is fine) in order to conjure a very fashionable tuxedo.  The tuxedo protects from mundane cold and low temperatures, allowing the sorceror to trudge through the tundra in style; it does not, however, protect against frost magic or cold-based attacks.  The penguin suit remains in existence until the wizard takes it off (in which case it melts away into steam), or until the wearer takes damage (in which case the tuxedo becomes tattered and torn in proportion to the damage taken, and continues to fall apart cartoon-style for several rounds, until the wizard is wearing only cuffs and spats).

Ostrich Beak (level 1)
Thankfully, this is not another bizarre minor shapeshift; instead, ostrich beak grants the caster or one subject touched the ability to somehow extract breatheable oxygen from earth, as though they were the eponymous bird with its head stuck in the sand.  The earth-breathing effect lasts for one round plus a round per caster level, and is efficacious with any mineral or earth-heavy blend of components (including sand, dirt, mud, etc).  The target does not lose its ability to breathe normal air during the spell’s effect; in fact, Cloud Rabbit wonderworkers use ostrich beak to avoid the smothering effect of sandstorms.

Kiwi Kavalry  (level 2)
The caster transforms several (up to six) fresh fruits into giant kiwis, which may then be used as riding-animals.  The giant kiwis are the same color as the fruit used to conjure them, and have the abilities and statistics of warhorses.  Sadly, the kiwis transform back into rotten fruit at sundown.

Emu Emulation (level 2)
Upon speaking the ancient syllables of this spell, the caster transforms into an emu - a large, flightless bird.  He doubles his running speed and gains wicked talons (1d6 damage) on the feet (although both feet are clawed, the sorceror does not gain extra attacks per round from emu emulation).  Any clothing and equipment worn transforms along with the wizard, melding into the body.  The transformation lasts for three hours or until the wizard sleeps or falls unconscious.

Cassowary Ossuary (level 1)
By placing the bones of a cassowary or other flightless bird in a wooden box and enchanting the entire preparation with this spell, the wizard creates a minor talisman against fungus-based life-forms.  Whoever carries the cassowary ossuary gains the beneficent part-time slightly-distracted attention of a cassowary spirit; as cassowaries eat fruit and mushrooms, the bearer of the talisman receives a +1 to any saves against fruit-based creatures or attacks, fungal weirdness, spore attacks, and so forth.  The save bonus also applies to saves against fruit- or fungus-based poisons.  While this may not seem a great talisman, note that the cassowary ossuary remains enchanted until it is destroyed or the box is opened.  If a flightless bird is ever slain within twenty feet of the ossuary, it shatters.

Dodo’s Epitaph (level 1)
Many animal species on many worlds have gone extinct, but there are only a handful whose fame - and thus, spiritual power - is, in itself, tied to their extinction.  The dodo, the thylacine, the unobtanium dragon, the passenger pigeon, the variegated screaming clumpadump - these, and species like them throughout the multiverse, are the source of this spell’s power.  The wizard calls upon the power of the extinct species to gain knowledge from the dead via this ritual.  First, the sorceror inserts a tightly-wound narrow scroll in the mouth of the deceased.  Then, clutching evidence of the extinct species (a bone, a fossilized pawprint, etc, which is not consumed in teh casting), the wizard calls upon the long-forgotten kulturgeist of the animal, begging the spirit to appear and act as an intermediary between the caster and the corpse.  The wizard waits for twenty-four hours, then removes the scroll from the corpse’s mouth; they will find it inscribed with a fairly lengthy (several paragraphs) message from the deceased.  The message will be whatever the deceased wishes it to be: a testament, a song, love poetry, a list of regrets, a warning, etc.; the caster has zero control over what information the dodo’s epitaph will produce.

Auk-Auk Gun (level 3)
The spirit of the auk is bitter and morose, bearing an ancient resentment and hatred for birds which can fly.  This magic ritual requires several bones from an auk or other flightless bird, which are tied together in a bundle with crimson string and animated by an auk-spirit  Casting the ritual takes three rounds, but thenceforth the auk-auk gun is awake and ready.  Upon further command by the wizard, the auk-auk gun will fully animate and unleash its wrath.  The construct cannot move, but it can pivot and swivel as necessary; the auk-auk gun can fire bolts of eldritch energy, one per round, at targets in the air.  The bolts have a range of 120 feet, and inflict 2d6 points of damage, but the construct can only aim at flying targets, as its power is fueled by the jealousy of the auk-spirit within.  Once fully animated, the auk-auk gun will defend the area for up to an hour; when the hour ends, the magic fades, and the bird-bones of the construct crumble to dust.

Lek of the Kakapo (level 2)
Ages past, when the owl-kin ruled Wampus Country, great warriors competed in tournaments to impress potential mates - lek of the kakapo draws upon this tradition, which lives on in the spirits of the land.  This enchantment may be cast upon the wizard himself, or any single willing target.  The target is invested with a form of potential magical energy which draws the attention of great spirits; if the recipient wins a combat within the next hour, he will immediately benefit from a +2 Charisma bonus with the desired sex for the following four hours, as the spirits reward him or her for the display of fighting-prowess.  The spirits which power lek of the kakapo can tell the difference between a real fight and one which is staged, and possess the power and mien to punish those who attempt to trick them.

Mens rhea (level 4)
The wizard burns a bundle of feathers taken from any flightless bird, and bids the target to then inhale some of the smoke produced as the spell is intoned.  The target makes a save vs spells at -2; if the save is failed, the target must then confess any crime or wrongdoing of which it has knowledge (this may take some time).  If the save is passed, the target is still compelled to make a confession, but they have a modicum of control and may mix lies and omissions in with some truths.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Baa Ram Ewe

Sheep-themed spells?  Seriously?  Let's blame the Chantix in my bloodstream and pretend it never happened.

This sheep could be an archmage.  You don't know.  Stop judging.

You’re All Just Sheeple (level 2, illusionist)
This perception-affecting curse has led to numerous embarrassments and the occasional marriage-wrecking revelation.  Upon failing their save vs spells, the target perceives every creature of its own species within sight to be a sheep; the effect lasts for one turn, plus one round per level of the caster.  Spoken language from the illusory sheep will sound like bleating to the victim.  Note that different creatures may react quite differently to the curse; a human might be confused and disbelieve, or think themselves gone mad, whereas the dumbest wolf in the pack might just do something quite useful for a fleeing party of adventurers…  This is both an illusion and a mind-affecting spell, and although there is an auditory effect, the enchantment is primarily optical and will not function against creatures without eyes.

Leg of Lamb (level 2)
The sorceror’s legs transform into those of a sheep, becoming faun-like for seven hours.  While thus ensorcelled, the wizard receives +2 on saves against magic of fairy origin; however, they also suffer a -2 on any attempts at jumping, climbing, balance, dancing, etc.  Creatures which naturally hunt sheep may take a strong interest in pursuit of the wizard.

Mutton Chops  (level 3)
An odd form of divination, this spell allows the caster a brief look at the future, to a particular, fashionable end.  To enact the spell, the wizard affixes two pieces of sheep-flesh to the sides of their face and dons a wide-brimmed hat (a traditional sign of wisdom), then drinks of either a very cheap alcohol or a very expensive sort.  On repeating the words of the spell, which are always an ode to ignorance (“O!  How unlikely that thou hast known of this!”), the wizard receives a flash of information from the future which will inform him or her of some passing trend, currently unknown, which will be in great favor in the next six to twelve months.  The vision could speak of a fashion in clothing, music, food, pet ownership, etc; on occasion the future-trend may be of greater adventuring use (“Simply everyone will be delving the Murderdeeps this winter.”  “Hmm, we’d better get down there before all the gold’s cleared out, then…”).  Clever wizards can use this spell to increase their fame by being seen as trend-setters.

Woolgathering  (level 1, illusionist)
The sorceror dunks a small piece of wool in alcohol, casts the spell, then places the wool briefly on their tongue, then in their pocket.  For the next turn per level, the wizard’s mind is partially occupied by lucid daydreams.  While this altered state can be distracting (-1 to everything, including to hit and AC), the wizard’s mind is well-prepared for dream-things and strange shifts of reality.  During the spell’s effect, the wizard gains a +2 bonus to detect illusions, manifestations of dream or nightmare, hard-to-perceive hauntings, out-of-phase transdimensional portals, and the like.

Hello, Dolly  (level 1)
The caster lays both hands on a sheep, then utters the incantation; the following round, the sheep bleats loudly and splits into two identical sheep.  Depending on the campaign, this may be accompanied by either a comical “pop” sound and flash of light, or the agonizing sound of mutton ripping.  The two sheep cannot easily be told apart, but they are both living, functional creatures.  When dawn next rises, one of the sheep - determined randomly - and any products taken from it will dissolve out of existence.  This is primarily an issue for wool or hide; presumably any flesh or milk would have been digested come dawn.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Book of the Black Rat: Spells About Rats and Cheese

The PCs in the online Wampus Country game recently acquired the below spellbook while striving against the nefarious Rat Emperor.  It's been interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, the usual "ooh look spells we can learn", which is always fun.  But beyond that, there's a reversal of the normal order.  Typically if PCs get their hands on an antagonist's spellbook, it's after the antagonist has already been vanquished.  That was not the case here; the Rat Emperor fled, leaving the Book of the Black Rat behind.  This allowed the PCs to both speculate on the villain's effective casting ability, but also approximated a roadmap of the villain's possible plans (see the Rat Bastard spell below) vis-a-vis the Home for Wayward Girls outside River-Town.

More spells on the way.  Whenever I think of one or two decent spell ideas with a theme, I jot 'em down and then try to build that themed list up to a larger number so I can present "ten spells about sheep", etc.

Bound crudely in rat-hide, patches of fur still here and there.  The cover bears an amateurish drawing of a rat, and the words “THERE IS ONLY ONE”.

The spells in the Book of the Black Rat can be copied and learned as arcane spells of the listed level; they can also be learned and added to the arsenal of prayers known by a cleric/paladin with a rodent-related patron (although the form of some of the spells may change a tad if the patron is, for example, a beaver or squirrel).  Spells labeled ‘illusionist’ may also be learned by an illusionist.  Nature-related casters (druid, ranger, etc) may learn variants of some of these at their DM’s discretion.

The Book of the Black Rat contains the following spells and recipes.

Glabrinous Gliriform (as in the Arcane Abecediary)

Muroid Maceration (level 1)
Conjures a pack of rats or mice to chew very quickly through something rats could normally chew through slowly (a wooden door, plaster, cloth, leather, grain, etc).  Not an attack spell; the rats do not fight on the caster’s behalf, or even defend themselves if attacked.  If the target material is foodstuff, the rats will actually consume it; otherwise, some detritus (ie sawdust) is left behind.  The pack of rats can chew through up to a foot of material, covering a 3’x3’ area, during the two rounds they are present.  The appearance of the rodents matches the caster’s alignment, as follows:
Lawful/Good - eager and smiling white mice
Neutral - somewhat-put-out brown rats
Chaotic/Evil - sneering black rats

You Dirty Rat (level 4)
Chanting ancient paeans to best-forgotten lesser demons of plague and corruption, the wizard causes all rodents within thirty feet to become carriers of a random mundane disease, such as plague, syphilis, etc.  The caster cannot choose the disease.

Rat Bastard (level 4)
By placing his hands on the belly of a pregnant human woman, the sorceror infects her unborn child with rat-lycanthropy.  The mother receives a save vs spells which, if passed, causes the child to miscarry immediately.  The incantation is efficacious any time between conception and actual birth.  The application of a remove curse to the womb will cure the unborn child, but once it is born, the curse is locked in.

Rattus Rafale (level 2)
This evocation allows the sorceror to hurl a flurry of rat-shaped bolts of eldritch energy, causing magical damage to a single target.  Although the caster looks like she is firing multiple energy-rats, the spell’s effect counts as a single attack, for which no attack roll is necessary, hitting automatically.  The rafale inflicts 1d8 damage against most targets, but against feline targets the bolt causes a substantial 3d12 damage and demands a save versus paralysis, lest the target be held (as the spell) for a single round.  The rattus rafale counts as a magic missile for the purposes of interactions with other magic.  “Feline target” is subject to DM interpretation - a creature that is only half cat may only take half damage from the spell, for example, but non-felines in temporary feline form should take full damage.

Fancify Rat (level 1)
This spell conjures a small suitcoat, waistcoat, or petticoat, and a matching hat, and places the outfit forcefully upon a mundane mouse, rat, or other rodent.  (Mundane for the purposes of this spell means no giant animals, no sentient animals, etc, but does not exclude familiars).  Once the rodent is wearing the clothes, it is immediately accustomed to them and feels no particular desire to take them off.  Indeed, a duly fancified rat breaks any habit it might have had of rolling around in dung or dirt, and becomes somewhat fastidious about its own appearance.  Mice and rats wearing hats conjured by fancify rat are, bizarrely, subject to the Wampus Country Hat Rules in any campaign which uses them, or finds them amusing to use for mice and rats.  A mouse with a save re-roll is no joke.

Lab Rats (level 3)
This enchantment calls on spirits of curiosity, daring, and stupidity to allow multiple persons to enjoy the unknown effect of a potion or other imbibable substance.  For the spell to work, neither the caster nor the subjects nor anyone else within fifty feet can know the effect of the libation which is targeted by the spell (although they can know that it is indeed magical).  Once the spell is cast, the wizard drinks the potion and selects up to three other “beneficiaries”, which need not be sapient, but must be living and not magical beasts (horses and war dogs okay, golems and imps not).  All four of these creatures are then the subjects of the potion’s effect for full efficacy but only half duration.  The halving of duration does not apply to poisons, but will apply to curse-like or generally unfortunate effects of a magical potion.

Nemoral Nezumi (level 5)
This bizarre enchantment permanently transforms a normal fruit tree into one which instead bears live rats or mice, which hang from the branches by their tails.  Mature rats may be freed from the tree with scissors, or will eventually drop off on their own.  The rats produced are completely mundane, and will act like normal rats once freed.  The material component is a small ceramic rat which is buried beneath the roots of the tree during a full moon.  Removal of the statuary will end the transformation of the plant, but will not change the rats back into fruit or harm still-dangling rats in any way.

Wanigan Whiskers (level 2)
An incantation which manifests rat-whiskers which allow detection of valuables.  Once cast, long white whiskers instantly grow upon the caster’s face, and remain for a number of turns equal to caster level.  While the whiskers remain (and remain unharmed, unclipped, unsinged…), the sorceror may detect precious metals, gems, jewelry, objets d’art, and portable resellables within ten feet (subject to the whim and definition of the DM).  The presence of the aforementioned valuables causes the whiskers to twitch; some wizards find themselves compelled to sneeze as well (save vs polymorph or sneeze loudly).  Valuables already nearby when the spell is cast will not later trigger a twitch.  While under the influence of the wanigan whiskers, the magic-user may detect as - or even count as - a rodent for the purpose of magical detection and baleful spellcasting.

Cheddar Chamfrain (level 1)
With a wave of his hand, the wizard transforms a wheel of cheese (or similar volume of any dairy product) into a set of barding large enough for one animal of horse size or smaller.  The barding improves the creature’s natural armor class by one, and will appear to be of similar color and material to the dairy product used.  After four rounds plus one round per caster level, the barding crumbles to dust (or melts away into buttermilk, etc).  If the beast wearing the barding was summoned or conjured, the chamfrain will match resonance with the summoning spell, and not wear off until the original summons does.

Lampyridine Limburger (level 1, illusionist)
The wizard transforms a strong odor into a light source (like Dazzler, but more juvenile).  When the spell is cast, the sorceror may select a stinky object (shoe, strong cheese, hobo) or a smelly area (garbage dump, cesspool, outhouse).  If an object, the object will then glow in proportion to its smell, and its scent will be neutralized.  If an area, the area will be dimly lit throughout, and its odor similarly neutralized.  The effect is permanent, unless the scent is affected.  For example, casting lampyridine limburger on an outhouse basically guarantees a light for “magazine time” in perpetuity; but if the spell were to be cast upon a wet dog to make it glow, and the dog were then doused in soapy water and perfume, the light would vanish.

Havarti Hendecagon (level 1)
A bizarre ancient paean to moribund godlings of luck.  The caster shapes an eleven-sided form out of some cheese or curd and eats it.  The next time (within six hours) the sorceror needs to roll a 1d6 or 1d8, they may elect to roll 1d11 instead.  At the DM’s discretion this luck may be applied to a 1d6/1d8 roll made to aid the wizard - for example, a healing roll made by a cleric.

Fugacious Fromage (level 1)
This spell ensorcells a chunk of cheese such that any creature which consumes it becomes susceptible to fear.  Morale checks and saves against fear-related effects will be at -2 for 1 turn.

Muenster Meuse (level 1, illusionist)
The illusionist enchants a piece of cheese such that for the next hour, it may be pressed into the ground to leave the tracks of a single type of nonmagical animal chosen by the sorceror at the time of casting.  The muenster meuse does an excellent job of simulating left-right and forepaw-hindpaw, and will subtly guide the illusionist’s gait as necessary so the tracks are properly spaced.  At the end of the hour, the enchanted piece of cheese turns to granite.

Feta Fabulist (level 1, illusionist)
The sorceror tucks a thus-ensorcelled piece of cheese between their cheek and gum; for the next hour, any rolls to detect a lie he tells or to disbelieve an illusion he casts will be at -2.  When the spell wears off at the end of the hour, the hunk of cheese transforms into bile.

Mozzarella Maniple (level 2, clerical)
The priest casts the spell upon a piece of non-rotten cheese or meat, then ties it to their arm.   For the next 24 hours, the acolyte is wholly protected from the first single attack which does a number of points of damage equivalent to their religion’s holy number.  If your priest’s faith does not already have a designated holy number, you must designate a number between 1 and 13 to serve as the holy number as soon as you learn to cast this prayer.  When the strike is repelled, the cheese vanishes in a flash of light and there is an audible popping sound.  A person thus protected from attack may rightly be said to be “cheesy”.
Holy Numbers for Wampus Country Faiths
3 - Vicelords
4 - White Mouse, Black Rat
5 - Gloriana Majestrix
7 - Scorpion Cult
9 - Horned Baron

Rat Race (level 1)
This incantation doubles the base land and swimming speed of a single nonmagical rodent for three hours.  It may be cast in reverse to halve a rodent’s travel speed, but does not reduce the number of actions the affected beast may take, as it is not a slow spell; if cast in this fashion, the target recieves a save vs spells to avoid the effect..

Better Mousetrap (level 2)
The wizard douses a trap or pitfall with the blood of six rats, in which a large piece of stinky cheese has marinated for a day and a night; until triggered (or fallen into), the affected trap is both more difficult to detect (by 1 on a 1d6, or by 15%) and more difficult to evade (-1 on any related saving throws to avoid the trap or the damage it dishes out).

Step-by-step instructions for the creation and enchantment of a
Figurine of Dubious Power: Stainless Steel Rat
(requires a 6th-level caster, some exotic materials including very fine steel, some mundane materials, some gems worth at least 100gp each for the eyes, and the ability to cast at least four different conjuration spells; once the figurine is constructed, enchantment takes two weeks’ downtime)
The figurine - a rather large wheeled rat - hangs out, inanimate, under a table or sofa until something is spilled or broken, at which it animates, rolls out, and cleans up the mess before retreating to its designated spot.  It’s basically a magic Roomba.  The rat must be taught its patrol area (no more than a large mead-hall in area) at first activation.

Well-written instructions for the creation and enchantment of a
Mouse-skin Cloak
(requires fifty mouse-pelts in fair condition, some diamond dust, several vials of holy water, myriad mundane materials)
Properly stitched and enchanted, the mouse-skin cloak protects the wearer from all mundane diseases (much like a paladin) and grants +4 to any saves against magical diseases (lycanthropy, mummy rot, et al).

Friday, January 3, 2014

Inevitable Simpsonization

By "Simpsonization", I don't mean "starts out really funny then goes downhill yet never dies", althought that might apply to Wampus Country as well in time.  I'm referring instead to the tendency for some campaigns to accumulate NPCs who then become perhaps a larger part of the game than was originally intended for them - either because they turn out useful for the GM, useful for the players, or entertaining for both.  It can be difficult to predict which NPCs (recurring or otherwise) the players will "fall in love with".

In a game like Wampus Country, the phenomenon is exacerbated by a couple of factors.  First, it's a comedy game, so there's a decent chance the players might find an NPC too amusing to kill off.  And secondly, outside of obvious antagonists, it just doesn't feel right to go murderhoboing your way through the game for the most part.  So we end up with a large cast of potentially-recurring NPCs who pop in and out, just as on The Simpsons.  Let's take a look at some of these NPCs, where they came from, and how they've interacted with some PCs.


Three witches turn up the most, and that's mostly by design.  PCs need somewhere to go for magical expertise, to buy lesser potions and oddments, and to occasionally grab fetch-quests.  Typically they appear separately, although the three of them teamed up to ensure the continued stability of Wampus Country when we ran The Egg of the Phoenix.

Zelena Dire, "Witch for Hire" is a young, elegant witch who lives in town in Thistlemarch.  She sells potions and oils, and will identify magic items for a fee - or a share.  When not tooling around town on her velocipede, she's at home conducting dubious experiments.  PC wizard Chauncy Woolstrike may or may not have an unrequited crush on her.  Her first appearance - the first session of the campaign - sent PCs off to capture pixies from the forest, setting into motion a long chain of events.  Zelena acquired some New Feierland mushrooms from PC Tsai Moff, which were then used to create her mushroom manservant, Orville.  Ms. Dire also used the Magic Indigo Hen to bring PC Zoltan back to life after he was flash-fried by the Terrible Turducken.

The Stump Witch lives in an old stump in the woods - she is gnarled, crotchety, and seemingly cruel.  Rumor has it she eats babies and candy, so the PCs bribed her with a baby sculpted out of marzipan.  The Stump Witch is where you go when you need a resurrection most of the time, and she was able to bring a princeling of the snow giants back to life after some dubious magic.

Granny Witherspoon is the friendly, grandmotherly witch of Saltvale, always baking cookies.  She's had the least appearances of the witches, but she did compete in the Hokum tournament and have a romantic interlude with PC cleric Ornibus Jones.


There are a number of other NPCs who have made multiple appearances and are slowly becoming more rounded out.

Father Andrew is the head priest at the Church of the White Mouse in Thistlemarch.  Although a number of PCs have had dealings with him, I get the impression most of 'em don't much care for him - especially since he's not on good terms with Brother Barnaby.  Barnaby - once a man, then a rust monster, now reincarnated as a halfling - has proved his loyalty to some of the PCs by sacrificing himself, and later allying with PC Nack's orphanage in Saltvale.  Barnaby is convinced of a wererat conspiracy, and is starting to convince PCs.

Hexley, Lord Chuffington, is a snobgoblin - an evolved, elitist goblinoid who minces about in a tuxedo and monocle.  Hexley is the lord of the town of Promise, north of Thistlemarch, with a population of several hundred (goblin-types and men).  He's not quite evil, it seems, but there's enough going on with him that PCs are generally suspicious, even though some of them have worked with him several times.  Hexley has alluded to having several brothers who are also snobgoblins.  Lord Chuffington is probably the "fan favorite" NPC - it's all about the silly voice.

A subgroup of the PCs had several sessions' worth of adventure with a group of faeries, including the mercenary Nightglimmer, the demure Amaretta, and the spoiled heiress Moofie Vanderpoots.  I'm sure we'll see some of them again before too long, if only because of the highly amusing sexual tension between Nightglimmer and PC wizard Pete Loudly.  Oh, and there was a marzipan golem.

After the death of the Mad Margrave of Thistlemarch - caused both indirectly and directly by PCs, of course - the keep is currently in disuse, save for the scores of poggles running about the place.  The leader of these little dog-men is Red Blanket, a poggle who gained hyperintelligence from eating strange mushrooms.  I hope we'll see more of Red Blanket, as he's been around since the proto-Wampus campaign.

The shopkeepers in Thistlemarch occasionally get some screen-time - such as the Salt Brothers, who run the tailor shop and haberdashery adjacent to a PC-owned house.  Strangely, despite many off-hand mentions of Big Clem, the sweet-but-dim man who runs the Clumsy Pig barbecue joint, we've never actually had a conversation with him on-camera.

Old Man Hut-Tep, the Gentleman Mummy, had turned up a couple of times.  He's a shambling, bandaged corpse in a waistcoat who comes to town occasionally to do business (or play Hokum), but primarily he's at work in his subterranean lair building traps and puzzles designed to help him separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to adventurers.  Whatever Hut-Tep thinks the future will bring, apparently it's going to need top-notch murderhobos to solve, and he's been working the problem for a century.

Over in Frogport, the PCs have worked alongside the learned Professor Toadsworth, who runs the House of Curiosities, and have also had dealings with probably-skeevy financier Stirling Coalpepper.  Coalpepper funded a massive eastbound expedition last year.

Sadly, some NPCs - like the ghostly Phineas Gristle, or the batpoop-insane swamp hermit-wizard, have been killed or run off before we got much interaction with them.  But who knows what the new year will bring?  The 2012 Christmas session gave us dapper gunslinger-with-a-past Sweet Johnny Peppermint, and just a few weeks back the 2013 holiday game introduced a whole side-street full of colorful residents of Thistlemarch, including lothario duck Drake Scaupley.  Surely we'll see more of these folks in the months to come.

And fair warning to my players - Mrs. Wampus came up with a dilly of a villain/foil the other night...