Weapons of the Week

German hunting knife with chiseled silver mountings and sheath, stag handle

However elvish these knives look, you’d better think twice before letting one see them. They were actually crafted for a notoriously lazy human noble who counted hunting among his many dilettante pursuits. Tracking animals through the woods or flushing birds out of the underbrush was such a chore, though. The solution, as was obvious to him, was to have the family’s indentured wizard create a tool for clearing away all that inconvenient nature.

The result was this pair of hunting knives. Not only do they slash through vines, saplings & so on as if they were so much cheap rope, but the cut segments crumble to a heap of rust within moments. Makes it so much easier to make your way back if you don’t have to deal with a heap of chopped debris, don’t you know. Use one to girdle a tree & the tree will sicken & topple within minutes. If a wielder were to really apply themselves, they could deforest an entire acre in at most a day & leave it barren for years to come.

They’re also liable to get beaten within an inch of their lives if an elf spots them with one.

Pair of Flintlock Pistols of Empress Catherine the Great (1729–1796),1786

The elaborate gold & silver inlay in this brace of pistols is what catches the eye initially. It takes some knowledge of natural history to notice that the stock isn’t walrus, elephant or narwhal ivory – it’s carven from ghoul bone. Whatever you load the pistols with, when they’re fired what comes out is a razor sharp tooth. If the target isn’t killed outright they may still be paralyzed, swiftness of onset & duration dependent on how grave the wound is.

One small drawback – anyone shot dead gnaws their way out of their coffin the next evening to join the ravening horde that provided the pistol bone in the first place.

The Measurer

Book of Hours, France. San Marino, Huntington Library ~ ca.1500 Thanx Gracie Collins on Pinterest

When the ground shakes like a cavalry charge but the accompanying noise is a bovine bellow rather than the shrieking of horses, you know that a Measurer is on the prowl.

These enormous undead, fully seven feet tall if they were ever to dismount from the jet black ox they ride, rampage across the countryside spearing any living person they meet. Each harpooned victim is pulled in & tested in the coffin the Measurer carries in its other hand. The slaughter goes on until one of the slain fits, at which point rider, mount & grisly prize all vanish in a gout of crimson flame & greasy smoke.

Where do they come from? Who makes the coffins? Do the coffins fit a certain person, or do the Measurers simply kill until one of the corpses has the right proportions? No one knows & all efforts to find out have ended very, very badly.

It’s Showtime

Magic Lantern. Willem Jacob’s Gravesande, Physices Elementa Mathematica ~ 1721

The Unfathomable Professor Mesmerismo was the first to discover the somewhat unusual properties of burning fuels other than the standard quicklime in a magic lantern. Other mineral compounds would open windows onto one of any number of other planes. Most were infernal – not a surprise considering the revolting stench of the resulting fumes – but certain incense blends revealed more benign afterlives.

The windows were hard to use as a method of communication, since the moving images had no accompanying sound. Those in the lantern image could hold up written messages to the viewer, but they had to be prompted to do so by some other means since all they saw of the magic lantern was a small globe of flickering light hanging in the air.

One operator is said to have discovered a blend of solvents & lubricant oils that would cause a lantern to show a view of Mechanus, but no one has been able to confirm whether it actually works since the exhaust from the lamp is so toxic everyone in the darkroom was poisoned dead within minutes.

The Groaning Board

Le Kalendrier des bergers ~ 1493 BnF

Along with the better known Decanters of Endless Water & Daily Bread Pouches (which produce enough fruit bread to keep four people fed for a day), you’ll occasionally find larger serving boards that can conjure a whole feast.

Unfortunately what you’ve stumbled across may also turn out to be a Groaning Board. It isn’t the board that’ll be doing the groaning, though – it’ll be the diners. Anyone seated at the board when it’s activated will be assailed by a low-level demon that proceeds to strip them of their gear & then force feed them toads & jagged rocks, chased with ladles of boiling vinegar.

You can fight off your Abyssal server with moderate effort, but they just keep on coming unless you & your wannabe dining companions manage to smash the board.

The Bigger Picture


They had taken every precaution in the ceremonies that attended each burial. No one had been laid down without the prescribed prayers & every grave was supplied with at least a minimally protective marker. Even those who left no one behind didn’t go unattended; the groundskeepers made sure to leave everyone pancakes, eggs & flowers at all the appropriate holidays.

What no one had thought to watch was the pattern in which the graves were being laid out. One evening the final necessary tombstone had been placed & all that remained was for the specially graven bricks to be fit into the gap in the cemetery wall.

Crash, whoosh, & all at once the gate was wide open.

Duty Is A Mountain, Death A Feather

Dirge of Dead ; Seb McKinnon 

Or at least that’s what the Synod of Necromancers insists. Those who fail to do their duty to further the glorious struggle to extend the boundaries of the Bone Republic to the farthest corners of the world – even if that was because they were unfit for military service in life – clearly don’t deserve the unearned respite of the tomb. For them, a Major & a Shrieking Reveille will come to harry them out of their graves & into the ranks of the Legions of the Deathless.

The Legion’s only release is to be found in destruction, which is why the Majors take particular care to stamp out any dawning self awareness or thought in the ranks; those who begin to perceive their predicament have been found to be liable to drop their arms & welcome a second slaying by the Republic’s foes.

At the Temple of the Goose Goddess

If you seek swiftness, ferocity, implacability, then make the trek over the granite hills to the abandoned lakeshore, given over to the dozens of birds that prowl it in tireless rage, where all that now remains is the idol to the Lady of Geese. If – big if – you manage to withstand the gauntlet of bone-shaking blows & bloody pecks & reach the sanctuary of the temple grounds, leave an offering of cracked corn, oats & grapes. Your eye will blacken, your voice harshen, & you will neither sleep nor eat until you have run down your foe & lit into them with a flurry of blows & jabs that reduce even the stoutest to a quivering wreck.

The Rooftop Ondine

Urban Hexcrawl encounter 32

Just appeared one day in the pond-sized pool of water that had collected on the roof since the “real estate mogul” who owns the building found that a little benign neglect of the drainage system was another good way to squeeze a little more profit out of the place. The pool is barely more than knee deep but the ondine refuses to leave because she enjoys the view. Half the residents would be just as happy to get rid of her since her occasional singing keeps luring people up to the roof where they fail to drown because the water’s too shallow, but stumble back downstairs soaked in filthy water & occasionally sick with something bacterial. The other half want to keep her since she rewards offerings of trinkets with minor blessings – help finding a lost phone or a tip on who will respond favorably to a romantic overture.