$153K Stretch Goal - Five Bits of Flavor
August 1, 2018
As the $153K stretch goal, here are five bits of flavor for The Fantasy Trip . . .
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Things that occurred to me while I was writing, that would totally have been useful if I had been writing fiction, but didn’t quite make the cut for a gamebook. But it’s fun to share, and maybe some of these will make it into your campaign?
A Naturalist – and, even more, an Expert Naturalist – will of course know about herbs with healing properties. The Naturalist may have only a general idea of their use, but will know them by the same names a Physicker does, and this can be useful. If a Physicker’s Kit is lacking, but a Naturalist is available, the Physicker can at least explain what herbs would be useful, and the Naturalist can make an attempt to find them. This will be easiest in swamps, and not too difficult in well-watered plains or woodlands. This might lead to healing, to partial healing, or, on a critical failure by both the Naturalist and Physicker, to the patient turning green and expiring.
The Cheesemakers’ Ball
Every summer the Wizards’ Guild hosts this event. The honored guests are the brewers, cheesemakers, bakers, and all other guildspeople who are not wizards but who know and use Ferment (or other spells) as a regular part of their industry. The wizards like pomp, and they like a good meal, and they like to stay friends with the other guilds . . . and they like to know who else is teaching and using magic. So, for this one night, the wizards throw a great banquet, and the “mundane” magic-users are encouraged to dress in the cabalistic robes normally allowed only to wizards. The young apprentices wait table, which teaches them humility and lets them listen in. The wizards talk shop with their guests, address them as “Brother” and “Sister,” and everyone partakes heavily of the products of the brewers’ and vintners’ skills.
More About the Potion of Imprisonment
This is the potion that robs a wizard of his powers. The cost is given as $1,000, and one of the ingredients is a pinch of the maker’s hair. There are actually two other ways to make this potion, one of which is considerably cheaper and the other of which has longer effects. The Wizards’ Guild has ruthlessly suppressed both those formulas! The method that the Guild allows to be published has the advantage – to them – of being somewhat costly, relatively weak, and magically traceable through the hair of the maker. On the whole, the Wizards mightily wish this potion had never been discovered, but since it’s out there, they will do their best to control it.
Karthak and Eshaga
Two of the high-level guard types in Tollenkar’s Lair are the orcs Karthak Manyvoiced and his sidekick Eshaga the Rock. The adventure states that those two are friends . . . neither will abandon the other except in the direst circumstance, and maybe not even then.
What I had in mind when I wrote those two was “buddy cops” – except, of course, they’re orcs. I would like it if, in the canonical background of the world of Cidri, those two got away from the wreckage of Tollenkar’s plan, got hired as guardsmen, and starred in a series of novels about their “lawful grumpy” adventures. They’d patrol the bad part of town by being the baddest thing around, and when the plot took them into wealthy neighborhoods, the rich merchants would cringe. No, I don’t know who would play them on TV.
On the Nature of Slimes
The noted naturalist and adventurer, Tarsus the Younger of Hort, was fascinated by slimes. He recorded 162 different types, personally capturing many of them, and his many admirers were amazed when he died peacefully in bed at the age of 92, surrounded by grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
At the time he passed on, his cladistic typology of slimes had grown to include, among others, True Slimes, Near Slimes, False Slimes, False Near Slimes, Blobs, Globs, Gobs, Gobbets, Mobile Mycelia, Stinkers, Drinkers, Drools, Dribbles, Snots, Lumpy Snots, Toxic Encrustations, Kinless Abominations, Unclassified, and Double-Classed. This typology has been universally derided even by those who are in awe of his persistence, bravery, entertaining yet accurate reporting, and running ability.
A grant from his estate maintains the Tarsian Academy, which studies slimes and keeps many living specimens for research. His masterwork, A Review of the Quasi-Solid Subterranean Fauna of Cidri, remains in print to this day, both in the original form and as the abridged Slimes and How to Kill Them.