Sunday, May 14, 2017

Tremmulous the Strange King

He walks across the forest in such a manner that one's nose begins to burn. Then the eyes itch, and your thighs will turn to jelly. You begin to feel like you might fall asleep at any moment. The closer he comes (or is it the further he walks away?) the more phosphenes you see swim before you, dancing effervescently across your failing scleroses. Eventually, as he approaches further away, your heart will go pitter-pat and stop.

Do you see what I see?

This is not the end, but a beginning. As his gnarled and lithe finger, with its unkempt manicured fingernail, touches your chest, your heart will regain its rhythm, much like a child found not working that will scramble to look busy again. Eventually, you will come out of the eyes wide shut and look around blearily, head pounding. The most noticeable sign of an encounter with Tremmulous is a massive quantity of dried snot mixed with salty tears. Your lashes are almost glued shut and your nose is crustier than Spongebob's bum. That jerkin is probably trash now and you are desperately thirsty.

The one thing most people can agree on is that Tremmulous is a he. That is disputed, but the majority of accounts talk about a human with a beard. Female beards are not unknown, especially in the gladiatorial arenas of the Hoar, but people stick steadfastly to their first impressions. Studies of Tremmulous must be made with maddening quantifications such as "most often", "probably", and "perhaps", because Tremmulous defies exact description more ferociously than a tintenhund going after blood.

He wears red most of the time when he is seen with clothes. The staff or stick that he usually carries is probably made of wood. If it is wood, it is probably either ash oak or laughing maple, but that is not certain. His eyes are maybe a shade of blueish green but probably not brown, and his face has some lines on it. His mouth is partially filled with an uncertain quantity of strange teeth. He can reverse time, swap the moon and sun, and switch the minds of cats and dogs, women and men, infants and the elderly.

He is always (except in a few cases) described in the exact same way by people who see him but with different synonyms. For example, one man might describe him as "tall, stooped over a crooked oak staff, wearing scarlet robes and striding from shadow to shadow", while another person will say that he is "over 6 feet with a crimson cloak, leaning on a twisted juniper wand and rippling like water."

Eyes wide shut

Obvious differences aside, the same person is being delineated here. Despite this, every witness proved to have seen him will argue that their wording is the exact wording, the only precise wording. Witnesses will get very vociferous over this, and people have been killed over pedantics.

What does he do? Why is he here? Why does he stop hearts and cause babies to be born with strange teeth?

Strange teeth are more curvy and tusk-like
Little is known about Tremmulous except the castle he has been seen entering and exiting by the river nobody fishes in the hilly land nobody lives in. The people who have tried colonizing his land rarely return, or at least never return the same way they arrived. The most famous case is one of a woman who disappeared to farm the land and never returned. People pondered her family and its portraits as part of the mourning period, and commented on how much the lady looked like her grandmother. After going through some archives, it was revealed that the woman's grandma walked off Tremmulous's land one day, refusing to speak about it, settled down with the lord of the manor, and had children.

She was her own grandmother, with an anagram of her name and the exact same jade pendant that her younger self wore before she disappeared.

Because Tremmulous has a castle and land, he is titled the Strange King. People have jokingly worn a red question mark rampant on a field of purple as a coat of arms, and some people without royal standing have anonymously entered jousts bearing the same on their heraldry. This is tolerated as a local custom in the more rural parts of the Bblyns city-state, and some farm boys have gotten lucky in these tourneys, ultimately marrying above their station.

Tremmulous visits the locals. What effects does he have? (1d8)

1. Umgekehrte geburt. Anything younger than 7 weeks will, over the period of 7 days, rapidly de-age and crawl back into its mother's womb, to be incubated for another 7 weeks. This applies to all young animals. Toads will hop steadfastly backwards into a pond and shrink down into tadpoles. Snakes will shrivel, curl up into a ball, and erect a shell around themselves to form an egg that oozes back into the snake mother. Babies will lose their hair, regrow their umbilical, and slide back up the vagina.

If the mother is still alive, then the birth will happen in the exact same manner as it did before, except it happens exactly 7 weeks from the geburt. If the mother has died, the scion is doomed to pop out of existence and become a paradox zombie. These poor infantile zombies will find and kill the surviving parent, if there is one. Otherwise, they cease to exist, except in one case.

Those unfortunate souls whose mother died in childbirth will literally grow a connection to death, who will (almost always) claim their bright mortal spark. (1d6)

  1. The child dies. Its young, grey corpse must be burned before 3 nights have passed, and anointed with the blood of a relative. 
  2. The child dies after a pathetic struggle to live. Its sickly red corpse must be given to the earth wrapped in its mother's clothing.
  3. The child will, 75% of the time, pass away, screaming violently. These children will become banshees if not consecrated and buried impaled on a lead scythe. The other 25% live, and will always be sorcerers.
  4. The child appears to die. If not immediately taken and blessed by a priest, it will rise in seven hours as a ghoul.
  5. The child lives on, possessed by a demon who will take the utmost pains to survive, doing a bad job of feigning babyhood. (Goo goo ga ga, motherfucker! GOO GOO GA GA!)
  6. The child undergoes a subtle transformation into a vampire and becomes fully sentient. It needs blood to grow, so it employs beautiful infantile charms to seduce all those around it, right up to the moment they put its little head on their shoulder and feel a slight prick. 
Who could hurt an infant this cute?
I mean, before you discover the exanguinated corpse of your wife?
Umgekehrte geburt, if the mother has died, are killed. Masked villagers will infiltrate each others houses and barns in the middle of the night, spiriting away the geburt, putting them to sleep with smoky soporifics, and quietly drowning them in holy water.

2. For the next 1d20 hours, any plant or baby fed or watered with liquid will grow 1d2-1 strange teeth. (1d4)

  1. This butter-yellowed, chipped corkscrew sprouts painlessly from the ear. If crushed to a powder, the powder acts as a summon wax golem when sprinkled over a humanoid wax carving made with at least 20 pounds of wax. 
  2. This matte, blued incisor grows out of the fate palm line with minimal discomfort. If eaten with freshly cooked meat, it acts as a permanent steelskin spell, giving the eater -5 to movement speed, -2 to Dexterity saves, and an AC of 18. 
  3. This pillar of a molar intercepts the outside of the bellybutton on a perpendicular axis. If planted and watered with oil, it will grow a crystal that can amplify latent thoughts into destructive pulses of sound.
  4. These intertwined front teeth may be untwisted to activate a sanctuary spell that lasts for 24 hours. New teeth will grow in their place after the strange teeth are pulled out.
3. Tremmulous tremens, a form of the shakes where nobody is quite certain of the location of the affected until the shaking stops. People suffering from tremmulous tremens must be hit with an application of slow and any effect that cures disease, in that order. Tremmulous tremens is contagious only to people who know where the affected is.
4. In 49 years, everyone in this village, regardless of their status as living or dead, as long as they lived during even a fraction of the 49, will rise on the seventh hour and dance the danse macabre. Children and animals born on this day have a 5% chance of being extremely long-lived, and will have a random quirk about them. (1d6)
  1. One can only know either what direction this child is heading in or where it is, but never both at the same time.
  2. This child are always referred to in the plural. When asked why, villagers will offer up an explanation about 6 other siblings, but can't point them out or name them.
  3. This child will only wear red clothes made from wood.
  4. This child has seven eyes, scattered across its body and hidden beneath rolls of fat or deep wrinkles. 
  5. This child is always waiting for its daddy or mommy. When asked about its daddy or mommy, it will describe them as wearing red and leaning on a staff, and they had to go away to take care of the *unintelligible baby burbling* but they love me and they will be back in 2401 days.
  6. An empty village, covered with blood. At the center, an altar has been erected consisting of seven sacrificial stones with a hollow wicker golem in the center. Inside the golem, mutilated hands stretch out to hold a staff stiff with death. A young child sits atop the golem, hunched in a large hood and wearing a mask with strange teeth.  Closer inspection reveals that the child is dead, crucified to the golem's spine. At least until the golem lazily creaks, contorts, and attacks.
5. Everyone has packed up their belongings and traveled towards Tremmulous's castle. They form a large parade, gay and capering, which all forest creatures (sentient and non-sentient) avoid scrupulously. Any outsiders are shredded after seven hours of drunk, scarlet festivities in a joyous bacchanal orgy.

6. Any person approaching within 343 feet of this domicile is under the effects of eyes wide shut
(detailed below) for fourteen hours. 

7. Seven. Seven? Seven? Seven? Seven? Seven? Seven.

8. Animals walk and speak erudite language in a grinding tongue, udders produce milk which soars back into the udder, and the sun revolves seventime around the moon, which displays a certain number of craters. The number of stars this night you already know, and the constellations are full of autumn and paradox. 

Eyes Wide Shut - Wizard spell (illusion), 3rd level.
This spell affects a radius equal to 200 feet - (the caster's Wis score x 10). Anyone who enters this radius or starts their turn within it must make a Charisma saving throw or become convinced that they are living a waking dream. Reality will contort to accommodate their fantasies in this dream. Non-biological creatures are not affected. Any dreamthing that deals damage will deal psychic damage instead of its normal damage to another creature (up to a maximum of 7d6), but only if the affected creature believes they are dreaming. A creature will "wake up" if their HP drops to zero, whereupon they must make a DC 5 Wisdom save or die. This spell lasts for 1 minute. The caster is immune to its effects.

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