Monday, 25 May 2020

Velvet Hooks: Atrocious Crows, Azul

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More hooks from and for Fire On The Velvet Horizon

Atrocious Crows: 
Walking birds with a depressive call,  capable of scouring humanity from the inflicted and leaving only amoral marauders. 

Hooks that are pretty much in the text already:
1Their feathers "eat" light, valuable to make into exceptional thieves cloak , shield and contain objects of dangerous radiance
2.In the darkest cells of the royal dungeon , is a circular pit lined with Atrocious Crow cages. Spies, conspirators to regicide, and holders of the old faith are sentenced  to  being lowered down into this pit for a precise amount of time; enough to experience despair  but not long enough to become an Atrous-man
3. A land has become lost , blustering villages and tight knit towns have become empty , home only to the passing bands of atrous-men.
4. (hex filler) A lone very tall , very hallow pine, with a dozen atrous men living  inside it, surrounded by a mire* of Atrocious crows. One used to be a legendary sage who knows things no other knows. But which and how to get him to willing to recall the knowledge?
5. (hex filler) The sound of manically rung church bell and loud festive music can be followed to reveal wedding under siege by Atrocious Crows, lead by multiple Empty-Men. While some of the wedding party are now catatonic and huddled under tables, the majority have holed up inside the church. They have  boarded up the windows and doors, and are drowning out the caws by ringing the bell and playing festive music as loud as they can. For now they are managing to keep it up, having had to improvise several instruments broken from the extended playing, but it is unlikely they will outlast the bitter patience of the Empty Men
Greatly Expanded Upon
6.The Atrous-men command the Crows with language unknown to all but dismissed as mere noise. However rare samples of a written form of it exist. Further more records of a collapsed ancient empire refer to a book written in this language, and the book was seen as valuable enough to ruin this empire in the attempt to obtain it.

*the collective noun of Atrocious Crows is a "Mire"

Azul:
Blazing bugs carried to earth on thunderbolt, doomed to die unless they can once again climb skyward.

Hooks that are pretty much in the text already:
 1.Clouds are hives for Azul. And like bee hives, there's a honey "Phlogiston". It's extreme dangerous, unstable , and somewhat counter-intuitively, valuable
2.<encounter> A frantic Azul chasing a storm , leaving a burning swathe behind it
3. If you need to get a sky-palace , storm fortress, or cloud garden the least feasible and practical  way is to find a downed Azul, wait until its latched onto a lightning bolt, and ride it , as it rides itself, back into the sky. However such a dangerous and nigh inconceivable plan has one thing for it, who would think to guard against such a fool's quest?
4. "Its ghostly organs are worth incalculable sums" The containment measures to keep it fresh and puissant are also a considerable amount  , but what interests us today is the damage  unleashed if they are tampered, and the gathered auction crowd present who would be subject to their damage, and that's about where the job offer begins to your p.cs
5. The lives of the storm and the Azul are linked. If an Azul can be captured and maintained beyond its own to do ,  then its storm will also be maintained. A storm that does not end can become a significant problem.
 Original content please use
6."Perhaps as the Azul lives in the air, once long ago its ancestors swarm within the earth and stone." Well turns out those weird rock echoes of the Azul aren't  its ancestors, they are its parallels in stone rather than sky. And while the Azul moves at a lightning pace, these earthen brethren , move at geologic pace. A matter of mere academic interest?  
Well it would be but a particular academic , whose particular unhinged, happens to be investigating what happens if you cast a lot of haste spells on one. Other more reasonable minds are very concerned about this , and are looking for a rag-tag band of resourceful individuals to find him before some new mountain ranges start popping up.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Velvet Hooks : Anemone Men , Ants Of Neutrality

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 I continue to see write hooks for Velvet Horizon, using what I can find in the text and making shit up when I can't
Anemone Men:
The long dreaming polyp men with deadly soporific stings.

Hooks that are pretty much in the text already:
1.Guards: to counteract the advantage that could be had by observing their sessility and making preparations , they could be placed after a flooded tunnel connecting two rooms via pools in their corner. Thus preventing easily electrocuting , burning , smoking them out or starting combat with a volley of missile fire.
2.Their Venom as a cure for Insomnia: Either tasked or hired to find one and getting the venom , or a  character is afflicted by a magic curse of sleeplessness.
3. Looking for someone who was looking for the venom: An important npc known to suffer  from insomnia was last known to be seeking out the Anemone Men before they disappeared, possible due to getting knocked out by them and is now asleep in a damp cave somewhere.
Greatly expanded on
4. The "blue world" that surviours of the venom report dreaming of , turns out to be a pocket dimension , in which has been hidden secrets to the true nature of the world. The world is not without its guards and obfuscations though.A successful trip to the world hinges on finding and interviewing surviours of the venom to piece together a map of the blue world.
5.(wandering encounter) An Anemone Men has ripped the eyes out of some poor soul, and has approached the party seeking their aid in returning the eyes to the being who apparently survived but fled.  The eyes appear to be made entirely of precious stones with near inconceivable level of craftmanship
Original content please steal
6.A city is suffering from a sleeping plague ,where-in people sometimes fail to wake , and remain in deep dreams, seemingly in distress.  The cause is a village of Anemone Men has moved into tunnels that feed into the towns aquifer , and thus their chemicals have tainted the water.



Ants Of Neutrality :
grumpy little legal minded conformists

Hooks that are pretty much in the text already:
 1. Wilderness encounter: the terrain becomes increasingly ordered and geometric , leading to the nest of the ants of neutrality.

2.Collecting the ants for use as magic-suppressing device

3.Someone valuable to the party has disappeared while riding a horse ,very drunk.  The horses returning home with very very neat braids suggests  the Ants have captured said person and will soon put them to trail.

Greatly Expanded upon
 4 A design for a powerful anti-chaos weapon requires Ants of Neutrality , a device somewhat like copulating of a sextant , a cannon, and a prism. The design has 2 versions. One which the ants antennas are mashed to a pulp and boiled down to crystallize. The weapon shines the light of order through the crystal which acts as lens. This is the lesser version. The greater version involves having an entire nest peacefully living inside the machine. But this requires obtaining a nest and transporting it without stressing the Ants by exposing them to chaotic engine, or they won't survive the trip.

Original Content please steal:
5.A powerful chaotic force is contained behind a vast vault door, with some of the locking mechanism by the presence of a hive of Neutral ants. However recent events in the city have exposed them to a form of chaotic engine the terms of their contract don't cover. So they are claiming breach of contract and will be leaving soon, resulting in the vaults integrity being compromised
 
 6.The Ants of Neutrality, a minor nuisance of the Mute-Chalk Plains, are freaking out like the proverbial canary in the goldmine,  suggesting a vast chaotic event is nigh.  By comparing the degree of freaking out the direction of said event can be determined , and thus giving the first clue.





Sunday, 3 May 2020

Velvet Hooks

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HOW ARE WE ALL ?

The post kickstarting doings are being done at a steady pace , the country is beginning to ease the social restrictions , and I have for you a new blog post series that will hopefully keep things regular around here.

This new series entails my favourite  (un)dead horse , Fire On The Velvet Horizon and giving you hooks for using all the monsters.


But before that , a quick note about the process of the book:
I gathered a range of art I had done, in a broad of a way as I could manage, including finished pieces with barely started, pieces I loved, and pieces I was embarrassed by . Patrick then respond to the ones he responded to, and sent me the writing, which I might accept, suggest changes or additions, and  in a couple of times reject.
One of the desired outcomes of the text , to which I made suggestions in aid of , was that there would be obvious hooks on how to use the monster.

So this series will also mean I will revisit that goal  and see how well it accomplished it.
I will note which hooks , to me, seemed easy to draw from the text , and which ones I'm in fresh territory. 


ABHORRER
The slug that uses civic law as its invincible shield

Hooks that are pretty much in the text already:
1. The Abhorrer has purchased an enslaved genius , the only one capable of solving the vast hyperdimensional locks protecting the vaults of the treasure moons. The Abhorrer will have them counting sand until their wits fail them.

2.The party reaches a city of renown for its wisdom and love of justice in order to seek the aid of their armies. However an Abhorrer has twisted its way into the courts of the city , and has snared up the courts with endless petty cases. Its poisonous presence hasn't yet sunk the cities leaders into apathetic cynicism, but each passing days is a drop of corrosion on their vigor and virtue.

3.To rid itself of an Abhorrer , a city has collapsed into sheer bloody anarchy , the courts aflame , open warfare between a dozen or more factions filling the streets. However the Abhorrer has hidden itself , like an encysted parasite in rotten flesh. The party is tasked to find it and kill it, at risk from rioters,overly zealous military, or any number of factions liable to mistake them for their rivals.

4. Another city seeks the path of law to rid an Abhorrer. While the Abhorrer is physically protected by law, and evidence of its wrong doing inaccessible through legal means, its powers won't be able to protect that evidence from extra-legal means, i.e the party. The relevant civil authoritys can't be official connected to the party or be shown to have directly  hired them , but through use of catspaws, anonymous drops, and arranged  "accidents" the parties services can be directed and rewarded. 

  Original material please steal:
5.  In a sinking city, one whose new buildings lay foundation on the roofs of old, a vast case against an Abhorrer is being made.  Ancient books of law must be obtained from ancient archives deep down in the old city. Among the dangers of mammoth book lice, guardians demented with age, and demi-real book beings,Abhorrer hired mercenary,  are the undead librarians zealously punishing anyone breaking the silence.  Also for your Library megadungeon needs

6. A small frontier town begins to be able to pay adventurers/the party to clear out monster lairs, establish trails and merchant routes, etc. The Burgomaster funding it is actually a front for Abhorrer  , keen to have a metropolis grown up around it.

AESKITHETES

Weird beings from a microworld. Masked , social and flanged.

 pretty much in the text
 1. An Aeskithete curator , buys art and books , pays with unusual materials  .

Hooks in the text , greatly expanded upon
2 . A vast and ruinous war might be coming to an end, if a facilitator of impeccable ability and complete neutrality can found. To that end , the party will be offered a significant reward to be magicked to the microworld of the Aeskithetes, brave the dangers there, and convince an Aeskithete to abandon its peers, and its entire generation in order to secure a lasting peace.

3. The true heir to a throne was absconded by usurpers. While the usurpers have been ousted , the heir is still missing, and it is unlikely stability can be found without them. An investigation of the possessions of the former usurpers points towards the incredibly impossibility of the heir being trapped on their own skin. Aeskithetes must be found and recruited to allow such a impossible journey.. Note that some contrivance must be order to allow the heir to still be alive, despite time passing quicker in the micro world. The heir might now be ruling a new kingdom or have sired a dynasty.

   Original material please steal:
4 World destroying events are a foot  .Meteors, vast artifacts falling from the  sky, unpredictable changes in the atmosphere. A mad solution is advanced. Find the magics that allow the Aeskithetes to expand into (for them) the marcoworld  and use them to ascend up to the marcomarcoworld and adjust the events directly

5. Books sculpted from keratin indicate the presence of Aeskithete library.  One is a catalog and it lists many otherwise lost tomes of civilization altering knowledge. The colour of the keratin is distinctive and if one  can find the being whose hair matches this colour, then one can likely find this library.

6.A character is struck by magically irrevocable wound or disease. But! Help shows up in an Aeskithete from the characters very skin, their civilization foreseeing the end , sending one of their own to bring their host unto the hosts very skin and do battle with the source of infection directly!  







Friday, 10 April 2020

A Jewel of the Internet

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Have you ever seen a cover from Amazing Stories, Spicy Detective , Weird Tales or Scientific American and thought "Cor, this is the real shit, why do I not know who did this? Why are galleries and modern book covers are full of trash when there are such guiding lights to follow?

Like this piece by C B Coby
Well I can't answer the second question (my suspicion is the world is vast engine of suffering) and because I  phrased it badly  I can't answer the first one either, But what I can do is point you towards this website:
http://www.pulpartists.com/ 

Which has a metric fucktonne of artists listed, with extensive biographies and examples of their art.
It took me about 8-10 hours to look through them all and that was with mostly ignoring all the cowboy and sports adventure art.

I assume most of these  are now public domain , but more importantly some of the pieces I've seen around with no credit can have a name  , and more works can be easily be found of that artist.

The creator and maintainer of this website have done THE  WORLD a massive service with this site.
 I am so in awe of the amount of art and artist that could of been forgotten or at least unknown to me , had it not existed.

The rest of this post is going to be featuring some of my favourites from the site.
 
This selections is due to them having at least one of the following qualities:
 "goofy charm" , "endearingly deranged" "breaks all the rules but, by god, it works", "craftsmanship at sublime level" "delightfully imaginative" "Amazing Style)
(In case you though pulp art could only be one of those)



Allen Anderson
 (Goofy Charm)
Allen Anderson
 (nothing crazy but craftsmanship at sublime level)(but also the trumpet and the alien noses are a mix of goofy charm / delightful imaginative) 
JOHN GIUNTA       
 (Breaks all the rules but , by god, it works)
LEE BROWN COYE
 (this depiction of a vampire is interestingly corrupt so Delightfully Imaginative) 
JON ARFSTROM
(Amazing Style)
J ALLEN ST.JOHN



H W BROWN
 (the last picture is also from the story At The Mountains of Madness. The first picture is of the Great Race of Yith)

H W WESSO
 (Endearingly Deranged)
 
HUGH RANKIN

HARVEY DUNN

 Can we just have a moment to reflect on the body language and poise of this character and how it shows their temperament , age, and degree of skill with the blade?  And how much coiled energy exists in its depiction of stillness?
FREDERICK BLAKESLEE

DOMINGO PERICONI

Like Western as genre has basically zero appeal for me , but I recognise art when I see it


HANNES BOK
 (That's the story that became the movie THE THING by the way. Also Hannes Bok is an artist you might be more familiar with their weird block geometry monsters from rpg blogs that love weird pulp artists. This sites collection shows a transition of Bok from more conventional (but still striking ) to their own distinctive style.


A Leslie Ross
 (Craftmanship at a sublime level and also I did check out some of the cowbow art)



ELLIOTT DOLD

Clarence Doore

ED EMSHWILLER


EARL MAYAN








Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Image Response 24

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That was likely my most favourite one yet

As I commence writing this there's 10 hours on the mercantile clock in which to secure a print of Deep Carbon Observatory  ,
after which you'll have to find them in shops or via mail order, methods both adding a little more uncertain that the regular irregular amount of uncertainity.



Any way we have this image to response to
He is a Buggard Groundskeeper, specifically Mister Pigs .

The Seelie like other nobility amuse themselves with a rich variety of hunting practices, and thus need grounds and lands kept well stocked for them and them alone.


Thus they make use of buggards as groundskeeper, troll like brutes that make up for their (considerable) lack of intelligence with  immense and fierce tenaciousness .

Their minds are like single angry wasp held in a hand, an endless pricking their mind with suspicion and hatred.

Not a single leaf or stick can be moved without them noticing it on their rounds, their only pride and esteem is in their ability to maintain their grounds from poachers.


Their stout legs can pump remarkably fast , easily keeping up with a horsed rider, and adding to that is that thickets and various undergrowths let their master pass unimpeded , while seemingly rising up to snatch at the Buggard's quarry.


A Buggard will armed with a crude bunderbuss like weapon , packed with elfshot, resulting in the flesh peppered with painful wounds that won't heal until the elfshot is removed.
However when someone  tries to dig out the elfshot it will bury away from the chirurgeons probe , increasing the damage done.

They can only be removed by calling them out with certain songs which are known to very few mortals.
Those that do know them are very cautious about singing them , as to do so risks the seelie hearing and claiming the singer as their own.

Additionally some struck by this elfshot will have certain strangers come looking for them, not the Buggard , but his masters. If they find this marked trepasser they will ensourcen them into an animal form (but leave their ability to speak and more specific to plead) and put them in the grounds as use as a game.
 
Poachers don't escape the Buggard will be skinned and eaten ,  buggards being found of human skin for sheets and furniture covering and their cottage will have any surface sittable being dressed as such.

If the Buggard decides you are merely trespassing (as you seem to have no means of taking game nor the smell of it on you . The Buggard can smell if someone has held a bow or spear in the last day , and if they've eaten a game bird or beast in the last month)
 and the Buggard is not hungry (1 in 3 chance) , they will be sounded thrashed and kicked out .
 

If the Buggard is hungry , the victim will be bleed, skinned , dressed and eaten.
If the victim can make a case for their ability to sing , tell jokes or storys, they will be kept captive instead.
Nearer christmas time the Buggard will have atleast one captive that they fatten up for the winter feast.

The other danger is that the Buggard will be on orders to kept the woods stocked with human game.
In which case you won't be allowed to leave as the Good People wish to use in one of their specialty hunts , a few of which are listed.


1. Babes in the woods:
Children or youths are left to wander in their woods, and 1d12 Folk attempt to use illusions to convince them to lie down and succumb to hypothermia . Each of the court can use an illusion once to trick them and once to get them lost . If the victims manage to find their way out, they will be let go and often find money for their rest of their lives, providing they don't talk ill of their hosts, in which case they will often find snakes.

2. The questing knight
The quarry is one on a quest (or order to be on one by the Buggard) , the Seelie take turns attempt to use the quarrys moral failings against them , if they fall , that Fellow will turn them into a pet.
There will be 1d4+2 tests before they are left to complete their quest.

3.Vengeance Hounds
Someone is chose with guilty past, they will be pursed by the People astride horses and with hounds, each hound having the face of someone the quarry wronged. They will be relentless pursued , being able by time only by expressing true remorse to each hound in turn. More likely they will be torn apart by the hounds , and only their heart, tongue, breast , hands or genitals (which ever suits their crimes)  kept as trophys.

   

 4. The Duel
Some capable of defending themselves is chosen for this hunt. A single member of the Lovely Court  will hunt them down aimed with a bow , a dozen arrows, a thorned whip , and a long glass knife.
They must use the knife for the final blow or be seen as failure by their peers.
The quarry must make do with whatever they can make or find.
If the quarry survives , a  (possible as yet unborn) child they have who shows martial promise will taken on as a squire by court as reward. 
If the quarry successfully kills the Hunter, all debts , promises and feuds of the Hunter now belong to them. The hunter will then be reborn with a new name.


5. Armour of Gratitude
The quarry is given a day and night to earn the favour of as many forest beings as they can, and be given the ability to speak to beast, foul, reptile, tree and fish .
After the time is up the Reasonable People will seek them out, first with hounds and spears, then with crows and knives, then with flies and nets.
If they manage to escape , they will keep the speech ability. However if they speak ill of their hosts of this time their tongue will turn into a burning coal.


6. Blindman Bluff
Someone is either chosen for their blindness or made blind. The Folk seek them out with spears. however the rules of the game are that if the quarry calls out what they are within earshot of the Golden Host, then the Host have to treat them as that.
They  must use the correct tool/weapon for the killing of their quarry.
So if the quarry called out they are Tree , the folk must leave and come back with an axe.
Someone with average ability  to hide and detect will likely have the Folk find them 6 times before the game is up.
When the game is finished they will become what have last stated themselves to be.


Now what will possible be the last image of this game, we have twice had elephants, so lets end in thrice elephants:


 

Monday, 6 April 2020

Image Response Ping Pong 22

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Patrick has told us of a tarnished city of bronze and given us this

Liu Xue
This fellow is a Halcyon Host.

Someone whose psychic potential was strong, but they lacked the focus and will to force the world to obey them.

Instead a deep unhappiness and self belief saw all their potential pouring inward.
Their predisposition for daydream and escape into a safe and golden inner world becomes hypertrophic with their psychic power.

Resulting in an ability similar to "Dream Travel" but instead they fold themselves inward , in a grotesque but somewhat comical implosion , and travel to their innerworld.


Unfortunately they cannot sustain themselves  there , and must seek employment .

An underdeveloped physical form, a lack of ability to focus on any external task, little to no charisma, their powers lack the range or power of a psychoporter , there's only one real path available.

That of the Halcyon Host, turning themselves inside out to create a portal to a sentimental inner world .
Their patrons are those with a taste for the simple and excessively sentimental , tastes often found in the totalitarian and emotionally stunted .

So they are often are hosts to those that have little regard for them, barely seeing them as anything other than a door, plopping along like poison toads through the little palaces and soft lit glades .


And now Patrick , what is stirred up by this:

A TALE OF THE WORLD WINDING DOWN

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Image Response Ping Pong 20

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Patrick has told us a mysterious tale of unlikely crusader against sinister forces
and given us these delightful lumps:


SOME LUMPS

(actually sculptures by Eva Funderburgh, she makes a whole series of these , go search them out)

 We are also nearing the last couple of volleys of this game, as the kickstarter has under 60 hours left at the time of this post , having done QUITE WELL FOR ITSELF INDEED

 I've got a few more images I want to see Patrick respond to , so let's see how quickly I can get these out.
 





WHAT IS IT?

A platonic crocodile, the name coined by some wag as they appear to be a pure distillation of the essential crocodileness of alternating sloth and gluttony.

They are found in the chaos of limbo, where they are less an active predator , and more like a scavenger , like a sucker fish.
But here they cling to Githzerai void-clippers , chaos serpents or  the whale like  protean-dreadnoughts.

The last of these is their preferred host, as when of those blunders through a floating landmass the resulting debris cloud is choice pickings for these, dozens of them flinging themselves from the dreadnought , like fleas from a submerging dog, each aimed at a choice target.

 And while capable of speed and leaping when in contact with a surface, once a drift in the voids of Limbo they lack any ability to move independently.

Once adrift like this , they  don't seem distressed , and fall into nearly instantly into hibernation , waiting collusion with something solid.

When in a hibernating state the platonic crocodile is never the less very aware of its surround environment and will be making internal calculations to itself on if such an expenditure of energy is worth the resulting gain in food of  a sufficient quality.

Most often they are content to wait for something better, either nestled upon each other on a floating landmass, clinging to the underbelly of a Dreadnought , or often drifting independently through the space of Limbo.


Platonic-crocodiles are seemingly  able to eat nearly anything , but seek "complicated" objects to eat. The higher something is on a food chain, the more it is processed ,and especially if modified in ways to store information or display intention , the more desirable it is as a food object.

So dirt is chosen over sand , grass over dirt, meat over grass, leather over meat, a book over leather, and a machine with moving parts over a book.


It can be quite easy to get used to Platonic Crocodiles as inert and harmless, but it is unwise to regard them as such , for it is never certain if one will suddenly decide it has waited long enough and it will settle on eating you and everything you own.



And now Patrick, our final volleys continue with this:

HIS REPLY
Lebbeus Woods