Monday, April 17, 2017


When last we left our heroes, they were on the world of Carcosa, which existed on a different plane from their homeworld.  They knew they could only journey back and forth through the use of black lotus opium, which they sought both to return home and to sell to their patron Clarissa Griever.  

The so-called Bone Sorcerer had told them he could make it the opium for them, but they’d need to retrieve the black lotus themselves.  It could be found on a mountain to the southwest near the village of Chus in the Barrens of Carcosa.  But it was guarded by Iakgua, spawn of the elder god Shub-Niggurath.  

Resembling a giant blue buzzard, he loved feasting on dead humans, but when there were none he made do with the living villagers of Chus, herding them as if they were cattle.

With a rough map and a warning to beware the White Citadel, the party left the Bone Sorcerer’s Fungoid Gardens in search of the Black Lotus.  

Dukmana, the gnome illusionist/thief--

--was accompanied by Bludgeon Stonemace, a dwarven cleric. 

The Monk Fat Himana was with them, but he was no adventurer. 

He was someone they hoped to bring back to his dying uncle, a powerful Archmage on their homeworld, in exchange for magical artifacts.

They each rode an allosaurus, which they had taken off the Purple Barbarians they had temporarily allied with against the Bone Sorcerer, before betraying them and disposing of them into an underground lake of jale slime.  

A fourth allosaurus carried corpses of White Lotus Zombies, Yellow Men slaves that The Bone Sorcerer controlled through the use of white lotus powder.  The party had, together with the Purple Barbarians, killed them before aligning with the Bone Sorcerer.  Now, they would be used to feed the allosaurus and hopefully, as bait for the carrion-eating Iakgua.

The final members of the party were neither human nor demi-human.  There was the giant tiger worm that Jacques had “liberated” from Tiger Monks back in the Jade City of Mu-Leng, which Bludgeon temporarily commanded with a ring of animal control. 

And a Shoggoth, which Dukmana used a Deep One artifact to keep under his sway.

Heading off into the purple waste known as the Blighted Lands, they came across a squat circular structure that appeared to be a temple. 

It was the color of jale, which did not exist outside Carcosa, but could be described as feverish, voluptuous and dreamlike.  The last time they’d seen such a color, it had been of the slime which had devoured The Purple Barbarians, so they steered clear of it.

But soon they were set upon by beings that appeared to be both insect and fungal spore, just somehow…wrong.  They were Mi-Go, and there were eight of them. 

They appeared hostile, and through the psionic power of clairaudience first tried to “hear” if there were more adventurers.  Then, the telepathically told the party to leave The Blighted Lands.  Dukmana did not wish to do so, for that meant heading south through the desert, where they had seen Purple Worms big enough to devour the entire party instantly.

Dukmana unsuccessfully tried to bargain, and the Mi-Go communicated that they were lucky they received a warning.  They left, and before long they were in the desert, and another giant worm rose out of the sands, just as they feared. 

It was not purple but Dolm, another color which they had never seen on their homeworld, a mix of the wild and painful alien color of Ulfire, and the more ordinary blue.  As it seemed indifferent to them, they continued their journey into the desert until they came across a ruined city, and camped for the night.

While they were not attacked at night, fierce winds blew sand off many of the ancient megalithic structures.  Strangely, the winds came not from the sky but from a hole in one of the uncovered ruins.   Around the hole, there was writing that Dukmana was able to decipher with his ring that allowed him to comprehend languages.  It read “Here lies the Great Race of Yith.  Whoever awakens them shall be rewarded.

When day broke, they cleared rubble from the hole using their allosaurus and descended into it.  While the hole could not have been more than three feet in diameter (enough for the dwarf and gnome, but too big for their larger companions, save the Shoggoth who could change its form), what lay beyond it was massive. 

It was a tunnel eighteen feet high, and ten feet wide.  One that descended at least a mile below ground, beyond even the demi-human’s infravision.  What giant creatures would need such a hall?  Dukmana felt they should not find out.  They could always return here after they located the opium.

Their spelunking cut short, they were back on their dinosaur mounts and back into the desert.  They saw a stone citadel to the south, near a line of hills that marked the southern end of the desert.  

While it was grey in color, Dukmana feared that it might still be the White Citadel they were warned about and lead the part west.

Soon, they were out of the desert into the barrens.  They were relatively lush compared to the desert; at least there was scrub here.  But like the desert, it was vast and seemed to go on in every direction with no structures or other geographical features to orient them.

Still, they were not alone.  They came across a corpse of a sorcerer, of what race they could not tell, for head was split apart and his brain was being devoured by an Unquiet Worm.  Although not a truly giant worm – it was about the size of a dwarf or gnome – it was quickly swelling as it consumed the sorcerer’s brain.

The Unquiet Worm seemed wary of the adventurers, and very much consumed with the task at hand.  Mainly, consuming brains.  But Bludgeon had ventured too long without adventure, and Dukmana did not want to leave a potential threat alive.  So the gnome drew his wand of fireballs, and burnt the worm badly.

The worm reared, and took a on a vaguely humanoid form.  It had absorbed the spells of the sorcerer, and cast shocking grasp upon Bludgeon.  Bludgeon swung back with his war hammer, and missed.

He and Dukmana were only saved by their allosaurus mounts, which had been trained by their Purple Men owners to attack creatures of Chaos on command.  Dukmana’s allosaurus ate the worm, but they were able to a gold necklace inset with precious jewels on what was left of the sorcerer.  They believed it could fetch as many as 5,000 gold pieces…if they could find a trader in these parts.

Continuing west through the barrens, they then came upon a fissure in the earth.  They saw a structure had been carved into it.  Dukmana read the alien runes at the entrance, and learned it was a shrine to the dark god Nyarlathotep.  

Bludgeon, still thirsting for adventure, wished to explore, but Dukmana convinced them they faced enough risk retrieving the Black Lotus.

Not far from the fissure, they forded a river that ran north-south.  On the other side, they came across a metal rod jutting out of the ground, with a crystal attached that blinked every 10 seconds.  

Dukmana tried in vain to remove the crystal, which he thought could be valuable.  But as his tiny hands covered it, there was a rumbling in the earth. 

Soon, a granite chamber twenty feet across and fifteen feet high rose from the ground, with a single entrance.  Bludgeon would not be deterred this time.  Surely this was a sign from the gods to explore it.  “When you're on a holy quest and a Flashing Crystal presents a door to you,” he told Dukmana, “you go through it!" He pushed upon the door with no resistance, but was baffled and frightened by what he found inside.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of tiny razors were levitating in the air, animated by an unseen force.  They spun around in a controlled manner so that they formed a deadly sphere. 

In the corner, meanwhile, a living brain lay in a basin on a pedestal, floating in some kind of liquid.  

Once again, Dukmana’s caution prevailed over Bludgeon’s curiosity and they left yet another place unexplored in Carcosa.

They camped for the night without incident, and had to decide between following the river north to through hilly terrain, or south towards the jungle. They headed north, where Dukmana (falsely) believed the village of Chus lay.  They indeed saw a village beside the river, but something lay in their path.

It was a metallic sphere, which burrowed out of the ground before floating above it.  

It seemed to scan them, and had a pipe-like protrusion which reminded them of the “pulse rifle” their missing companion Jacques, had looted from the Purple Barbarian leader.  After the scan, it seemed indifferent to them, so once again Dukmana encouraged caution and led the party to the village.

Soon they learned this was not the village of Chus.  The men of this village, known as Xiiaopi, was like the other villages they’d either seen or heard of, composed of men and women of only one skin color.  These men were of a dark red, not unlike the color the river took as it passed through Xiiaopi.  They seemed both furtive and suspicious.

Soon one Red Man approached them.  He was clearly no mere villager, but a mage of great power.  “Who approaches Xioboitaipi, master of the primal rites of the village of Xiiaopi?”

The party explained their quest for the black lotus, and Xioboitaipi explained to them rather gruffly that they Chus lay to the southeast.  The party realized they had strayed off course.

Now, night was falling.  They’d have to decide whether to stay in or near this apparently inhospitable village or try to journey through this strange and unforgiving land at night.  They had bypassed many strange sights, filled with both opportunity and danger.  Could they continue to do so if they wanted to find the black lotus?

Sunday, April 9, 2017


When last we left our heroes they were deep in the bowels of the Fungoid Gardens of the Bone Sorcerer.  They had come into these fungus-ridden caves, where white lotus was grown by bright yellow-skinned slaves, in the company of purple-skinned, allosaurus-riding barbarians.  The barbarians, mistakenly believing the party was aligned with The Law, thought they were hunting the Bone Sorcerer, an agent of Chaos.

In reality, the party sought The Bone Sorcerer for their own ends.  They wished to acquire Black Lotus opium.  That would allow them to travel home from this strange world of Carcosa and back again.  And would fetch a fine price from Clarissa Griever of Tal Skallar, noblewoman by day, exotic dancer by night.

She was the patron that had sent them in search of Black Lotus Opium long ago.

They also hoped to return Fat Himana, an obese magic-user turned monk who was addicted to red lotus opium that brought him here, to his dying Archmage Uncle.  He had promised them a powerful magical reward.

After a battle with White Lotus Zombies – yellow men enslaved by the Bone Sorcerer with his addictive white lotus powder – two Purple Barbarians archers had lost their lives.  Their leader left the caves to gather his lancers to fight the Bone Sorcerer.

That gave Dukmana, gnome illusionist thief--

and Jacques Roquemare, dandy human fighter--

a brief window of time to locate the Bone Sorcerer before the Purple Barbarians did.  Along with Fat Himana and the creatures they controlled – a Shoggoth and giant Tiger Worm respectively – they ventured forth.

They proceeded north through the bioluminescent, fungi lined caves, careful to avoid contact with the fungi itself.  There, they came upon another group of Yellow Men tending to white lotus flowers.  Five more White Lotus Zombies.  They must have heard the sounds of battle in the southern chamber, as they were ready for battle.  They dropped the implements they used to harvest the white lotus, and instead wielded knives and clubs.

Jacques spoke to his tiger worm using the ring of animal control he wielded.  “Time for some fun, my hairy cylindrical friend!  Attack them straight on!”  The tiger worm did Jacques bidding, biting one of the White Lotus Zombies, but merely wounding it.  The zombies still came for Jacques, but he was able to dispatch it with his rapier.

Dukmana then used an idol he’d helped recover from a Deep One temple to command his Shoggoth.  It lashed out at the zombies with its tentacles.  It badly wounded two of the four remaining zombies, but the drug addled slaves were not stopped.  The Shoggoth swallowed one of them whole, leaving three zombies for Dukmana to contend with.

Dukmana, still nursing his wounds from the last zombie battle, then lunged at one of them with the meteorite dagger he'd recovered from a Deep One temple on his homeworld.

As it plunged into the White Lotus Zombie’s flesh, the poor creature’s flesh caught fire and he was quickly immolated.

Faced with two more zombies, Fat Himana cast one of the few spells he had learned before giving up his study of magic for monkhood at Mandul Xiem (which his Archmage uncle had dismissed as nothing more than a cult, from which he wished his nephew rescued).  Uttering mystical words, he was soon able to climb the fungi-covered cavern walls like a spider.  Surprisingly lithe for a fat man, he found himself on the ceiling, safe from the zombies as long as the spell lasted.  He yelled to his comrades apologetically “I wish to live to see my uncle reward you for my rescue!”

Luckily for Dukmana and Jack, the zombies attacked Jacques tiger worm and missed.  Yelling “en garde!” as if he wished to duel them personally, Jacques instead had his tiger worm retaliate by killing one of the zombies from behind.  Dukmana’s Shoggoth then swallowed the last zombie, and the battle was over.

Jacques searched the corpses, but as they were slaves, they were not permitted any personal belongings.  They had no need for anything except for the white lotus powder form which controlled them, and to which they were addicted.  Jacques recovered some from around their noses and stored it for safe keeping.

Perhaps there would be someone they’d need to control…

Jacques and Dukmana headed still further north until they could go north no more.  There, they found a cavern were a lake had once been.  But instead of water, it was filled – still filling, in fact – with living slime.

The slime was of a color that neither adventurer had ever seen, for it did not exist on their homeworld.  They’d later learn it was called “jale”, and if forced to describe it they could only use words like feverish, voluptuous and dreamlike.

Though captivated by the slime’s color, they were wary of the organism itself.  Dukmana through a stone into it, and it sank as it he’d thrown it into ordinary water.  Still, they steered clear of it and made their way to narrow passage to the northwest.

Fearing that if it were the lair of the Bone Sorcerer, he might punish them for killing his zombified slaves, Dukmana sent his Shoggoth through the passage ahead of them.  The shoggoth altered its protoplasmic form and squeezed through. 

A deep voice echoed from whatever lay beyond.  “Who sends a Shoggoth, servant of the Great Old ones, into my chambers?  Who dares challenge…The Bone Sorcerer?”

“We challenge you not,” Jacque replied.  “Then kindly withdraw your creature, and enter my abode.”  Dukmana complied and the Shoggoth returned to the cavern with the slime lake.  Then, hesitantly, the adventurers sallied forth to meet this Bone Sorcerer.

He was in many senses human.  He had the skin and organs of a man, but they were all transparent.  Thus, all they could see of him were bones.  They knew that he was, like the Yellow Men or Purple Barbarians, one of the strange races of Carcosa.  A scorned and persecuted race at that.

The Bone Sorcerer had weapons and armor that a human sorcerer from their homeworld could not wear nor wield:  what appeared to be plate mail of alien origin, with tubes, wires and pulsing lights, a spiked club more appropriate for a warrior; and a pistol much like the rifle that the leader of the Purple Barbarians used to nearly disintegrate the Yellow Men that the Bone Sorcerer had enslaved.

“Why do you seek me, and how did you get past my slaves?” the Bone Sorcerer asked.  He seemed calm and curious, clearly not viewing the adventurers as threats.

Dukmana and Jacques answered relatively honestly.  “We were pursued by Purple Men, who slaughtered your slaves.  And we seek opium from The Black Lotus”.

The Bone Sorcerer pondered this.  “For entering my Fungoid Gardens without permission, I shall forgive your trespass if you avenge by slaves and finish off these Purple Barbarians.  I’ll even aid you if need be, though I’d prefer to tend to my experiments.”

“For the black lotus opium, however, I’ll need something more.  I need a captive, and only a living Yellow man or woman will do.  You can find one at a village to the north of here, where the people worship the Consumed God under the rule of The Incomparable Crown”. 

The party had heard that the People of The Consumed God and The Incomparable Crown were, like The Bone Sorcerer, agents of chaos and enemies of the Purple Barbarians of Law.

The Bone Sorcerer told the party he had a spy there, a scholar with a genital piercing.  The party was not looking forward to the prospect of examining an entire village worth of genitals, but decided not to risk pissing off their only source of Black Lotus Opium.

He gave them what he called “Infernal Pigments” that, when applied to their skin, would allow them to pass as Yellow or Purple Men.  He healed Dukmana and – when he spider-climbed down from the ceiling – Fat Himana. 

The Bone Sorcerer made a final offer.  Nothing that Gloam was a man – well, gnome – of magic, he offered to take him as an apprentice.  To teach him rituals that he could never learn on his home world. With that, the party began to prepare to face The Purple Barbarians that were surely coming.

Himana asked Dukmana and Jacques for a ranged weapon so he could avoid getting stabbed, and they handed him a bone pistol they’d taken off an assassin in the employ of the late Ma Hek in the Jade City of Mu Leng.

The party had two mysterious vials which the dearly departed Gloam had recovered from the same Deep One Island that the Shoggoth had come from.  They tried dipping Himana’s bone bullets in them, and realized the substance had the power to turn objects invisible.  They tried it on the Shoggoth, and soon it became invisible too.

The positioned the invisible Shoggoth down a side passage and waited by the lake of Jale Slime for the Purple Men.  Soon, five Purple Barbarian Lancers

and their rhodium-rifle wielding leader arrived.  The latter greeted them warmly.  “Hail, fellow men of Law!  Have you found that vile Bone Sorcerer?”

Dukmana said he thought they were getting close, and believed he might be at the bottom of the Jale Lake.  The Purple Barbarian leader ordered one of his men into the lake.  Unlike the rock that Dukmana had cast it to no effect; the Purple Lancer that strode into the lake immediately began to dissolve as if dipped in acid.

“What treachery is this?” the Purple Leader asked? 

Dukmana answered with action, not words.  His invisible Shoggoth lashed out with a tentacle, knocking another Purple Barbarian into the lake.  No longer invisible once it engaged in combat, the Shoggoth’s second tentacle missed one of his comrades.  But Dukmana had his Shoggoth swallow the leader whole.

Before the other Purple Men could react, Jacques executed the next phase of the ambush and had his hidden tiger worm attack them from behind.  “These Purple Men are like the Tiger Monks of Mu Leng who treated you so badly,” he told the creature.  But deep down he knew this was not true, and felt bad for manipulating his animal companion.  Nevertheless, the worm succeeded.

Dukmana then finished off the remaining Purple Barbarians by using his wand of fireballs to incinerate them.

Finally, he had his Shoggoth spit out the rhodium rifle that the Barbarian Leader carried.  Jacques claimed it, and the party headed outside to find a Yellow captive for the Bone Sorcerer.

Outside the caves, they found the Purple Barbarians dinosaurs tied down, hungry and waiting for their dead masters.  After feeding them the corpses of the White Lotus Zombies (for all the Purple Men had been digested by the Jale Slime or the Shoggoth) Dukmana was able to tame one, and after failing to tame one that seemed wary, so was Jacques.  Dukmana then convinced a hesitant Fat Himana to try and tame one as well.  He did, and to the party’s surprise Himana was excited.  “This is why I take drugs,” he exclaimed!

Each man mounted an allosaurus and, Shoggoth and tiger worm in tow, they headed east until they saw the village The Bone Sorcerer spoke of.  It appeared to be an ancient prison in a crescent shape, with the cells that lined its inner walls converted to living spaces and workshops.

Although they recognized it as a former jail, everything else about it seemed alien.  There were mirrors everywhere, strange decorations of erotic art and Yellow men and women who wore nothing but leather cloaks.  Many had mutations – extra limbs, plant fibers in place of hair and more.

Before they reached the village gates, they were stopped by The Incomparable Crown, a Yellow warrior.  He wore chainmail, and was accompanied by two fighters in leather armor and sorcerer.  “Who approaches the Incomparable Crown,” he demanded.

The party asked Himana to speak for them, as he was much more charismatic than either Jacques or Dukmana.  Himana told The Crown that they’d vanquished his Purple Barbarian enemies, and they round their mounts and carried their weapons as trophies and proof.

The Incomparable Crown was not convinced.  They could just as easily be aligned with Purple Barbarians, having earned the mounts and weapons through an alliance.  Jacques response was to offer them some of the white lotus powder he collected, in hopes that one of them would snort or otherwise consume it and fall under his spell.

While none did, The Incomparable Crown laughed.  “No Purple Man would turn another man into a slave.  You must be true men of chaos.  You may sojourn here, provided you leave your beasts outside”.  The party did so, and entered the village.

They located what passed for a tavern and ordered some drinks, hoping to find a drunk that wouldn’t resist them if they took him captive.  The bartender seemed eager – perhaps too eager - to give the “thirsty” party free drinks.  He poured them both different drinks than he poured himself.

Jacques nevertheless accepted.  When nothing happened to Jacques, the bartender seemed surprised and offered him another.  Dukmana, however, threw his drink over his shoulder without anyone noticing.

The Jacques ordered what the bartender was having. While the bartender protested it was too expensive, Jacques met his steep price.  The bartender said it was the secretions of the consumed god, which sustained the village.  When Jacques downed it, he no longer felt hunger or thirst.

They rented a room upstairs, and Jacques asked if they had anything to warm them for the night. The bartender pulled out one of the leather cloaks the Yellow Men wore with nothing else, but Jacques told him he misunderstood.  Jacques wanted a companion.

The bartender, suddenly understanding, beckoned for a meek Yellow girl with a pierced tongue, wearing chains and nothing else.  She came forward, and they noticed there seemed something vacant about her.

“We can lose the chains, unless of course you wish to consummate your lovemaking in front of my patrons,” offered the bartender.  Neither he nor the other patrons seemed troubled by this.  The bartender asked if Dukmana wanted his own companion for the night, and offered a male or female slave, but Jacques insisted that they shared everything.

They took the Yellow slave girl up to their room – the honeymoon suite - where they drew a curtain over what used to be the cell door for privacy.  There was cryptic writing on the curtain, which Dukmana was able to decipher using his ring of comprehend languages.  “One last night of pleasure for the sacrifices of the Consumed God” it read.  As dusk fell, and they saw villagers in the courtyard going to bed, they knew they’d have to act fast if they wanted to avoid being those sacrifices.

Dukmana hypnotized the slave girl, but in truth he didn’t have to, for she had no psionic defenses.  Then he cast invisibility, and the three left the room.

As they headed for a stairwell and the opposite side of the former prison, they saw the Incomparable Crown and his cronies enter their room.  Hearing shouting from within their former chambers, they made for the beasts as a klaxon sounded, and quickly clambered onto their allosaurus mounts.  The Incomparable Crown and his men pursued, but they had no steed that could match the speed of the dinosaurs.

At last, the party returned to the Bone Sorcerer.  He first congratulated them for eliminating his Purple Barbarian enemies, telling them how much he enjoyed hearing their leader’s cries as he was digested by their Shoggoth.

Then he laid eyes on the yellow slave girl.  “Is she for me?” he asked, almost squealing with delight.  When they answered in the affirmative, he said he could not wait to perform “the ritual” on her.  And truly, he could not, as he slit her throat before them.

Ignoring her arterial spray, he prepared to carry her to another party of the cavern.  The party recovered from their shock enough to ask about the Black Lotus Opium he promised them.  The Bone Sorcerer said that he could indeed create the opium.  But he would need the actual Black Lotus flower, which he did not have.

He told them it could be found in The Barrens of Carcosa to the south.  There it grew on a mountain that also served as a lair for a Spawn of Shub-Niggurath.  When the party inquired what that was, The Bone Sorcerer described it as the offspring of an Elder God.  “While some may call it deformed, I see its beauty,” he said.

But he warned them that it was dangerous.  It appeared to be a giant blue buzzard, and from its perch on the 200 foot craggy rock where the Black Lotus grew, it swept down and feasted upon the villagers of Chus.  The Spawn, known as Iakgua, preferred corpses like the carrion eating bird it resembled, but would make do with the living.

The rock where the lotus grew could be found near Chus and less-imperiled village, Dlaja.  There, the villagers had lost a Purple Worm Crown to Iakgua, and would pay dearly for its return.  The Bone Sorcerer did not know if said crown possessed magical powers.

The Bone Sorcerer tried once again to leave with his throat-slit human sacrifice, but Dukmana stopped him.  The Bone Sorcerer had promised to teach him a ritual.  The Bone Sorcerer reluctantly put his dead or dying captive down, and true to his word, taught the gnome illusionist The Taste of Vengeance.  It would him to track someone he had encountered using smell and taste, particularly someone who had wronged him.

The Bone Sorcerer then gave Jacques a gift. Another infernal pigment, this time one that would allow him to pass as a Bone Man.  But the Bone Sorcerer warned him that his kind were hated and feared on Carcosa.

It been a long journey from Tal Skallar to the Eastern realms of Mu Leng and Cam Shak in their world, and then to otherworldly Carcosa.  But they were the closest they’d ever been to finding this elusive Black Lotus opium, which they’d sought for so long.  Should they return it to Clarissa Griever, establishing an opium smuggling route back home…great wealth awaited them.  But first, they’d have to face the spawn of an elder god, and gods knew what other unimaginable horrors awaited them in the wastelands of Carcosa.