Sunday, March 21, 2021

Artpunk Adventure: Silicasilk

Summary: A mad subterranean plunder-hunt, like sun Vikings in a luxurious Hel the surfacers seek to strip every ounce of the precious silicasilk from outré underworld civilizations to be sold across the oceans. At the terminus of this worldroot is a legendary ring of giant geodes which contain the souls of a lost civilization's Jonestown moment when they crushed themselves into the foundations of the earth. These souls are your ultimate prize if you can return them to the surface without allowing them to wreak their ultimate revenge on their destroyers along the way, thus throwing your journey into the chaos of underground warfare, atrocity, and tectonic destruction.

Areas are arranged linearly as a descent.


The vast arctic plain is icy black beneath the white night sky where the billowing clouds are given life by the sun-silver moon.

The snow is laced with volcanic ash and falls black onto your skin, spotting you leprous or leopardlike. It melts like mascara tears in sootblack streaks of tigerstripe.

In the ground there are cast iron redoubts and hideouts poured into concrete moulds and set. The concrete is gone and there are dark awnings, concave crescent walls between arched doorways into shadow. Black snow is piled high overhead and underfoot in the smooth semicircle valleys where the dugout-redoubts were cut into the walls of rock.

There are signal fires at intervals around this place. It would be impossible to spot otherwise. From the volcanoside the eight flames on the scarred plain of blackness mark the buckling eruption of a younger, more-vibrant Hell.

That is the fear. This place was chosen to be settled and fortified because the caves here lead to a sump which opens into the greater underdark. A watery umbilical cord to the underworld.

Guards watch the sump in small caverns burning with the dung of polar bears and seals. They bar the way to their fastnesses with pavises emblazoned with renditions of underworld predators, upperworld legends, saints, virgins, chalky dicks with “pleased to meet you” etc scrawled on them. Each man keeps a pike laid against his pavise for quick access and has a pair of dragon blunderbuss pistols hanging about his neck by a watch with a pair of long chains to the pommels. Their load is antimony-hardened buckshot but they can also take rock salt (which illuminates the agonized foe should there be any ambient light). These firearms have barrels shaped like serpents, falcons, earthworms, penis heads, olm frills. One such gun has functional fangs that will envenom a foe who is cut by them.

One of the guards has a big, fluffy white dog with him. It is a sled dog but is also bred to be a warming dog, as in it will lay on you to keep you warm. If you are lagging behind he will tackle you and lay on you because you are the source of food. The guard will sell you this dog for five ounces of gold.

The sump looks like the gullet of a snake. It is 5' wide. A film of water awaits you. The water of the sump is ice cold and entering it feels like you are being stabbed through every inch of your skin. Entering it requires a Will check; take +2 if you are being pursued by hostile forces. Silicasilk is not destroyed by the water.


This is a vast cavern ripe with fungi of every color and description.

The absolute floor of the cavern is not visible even by some form of dark vision. It's all columns and bridges, ramps of stone, an escherscape of mineral curtains all the way down. Everywhere you look there are seams of rock crystal, buttery ore, weeping fungi, vistas of gems scattered across the walls like a God’s haughty charity. Like an aurora borealis caught underneath the earth and eroded through the stone across epochs.

There are scouts at the bottom.

These men were blinded at birth and live their lives from the outposts of their civilization, never to see the polities they protect. They move slowly but relentlessly because they touch everything with their hands before advancing like the whole world was a wall to be climbed. They can hear your heartbeat.

Those who took to the practice later in life wear valuable blindfolds of silicasilk. This is the most precious commodity in the world in terms of weight to value. Its origins are unknown. The scouts do not know its origins; only that they take it at war against those deeper in the earth.

They operate in teams of two. The teams tend to perch along the walls and columns using their climbing gear but may be encountered on a lateral sojourn through this cavern and its adjacent underlands.

Each scout team carries a 12’ smoothbore called a shafter on their shoulders. It is a punt gun wrapped in climbing equipment and it fires a blast of hundreds of 00 steel ball bearings which can ricochet up a curving tunnel for a hundred yards or more. The stone shrapnel of such a blast can be just as deadly as the balls. 

Its length and bore are intended to channel a shockwave up the tunnel but the firers still suffer.

It loads a massive charge of gunpowder requiring 15 minutes to properly pour.

The gunners can fire across caverns from wall to wall because their climbing gear includes means of winching up their gun. Each man carries a pair of short blades. After they fire their weapon, they roll it off their shoulders like a log and then charge in to finish off the wounded and disoriented foe. If there are multiple teams present one will form a backstop. If the advanced teams are driven from the melee they will fall behind the live gun and it’ll fire on their pursuers.

Gun charges are cylindrical and come with a leather carrying handle. Oftentimes they hang from the gun itself while the scout teams travel. The charges are divided by a leather disc, half gunpowder and half ball bearings. They make potent anti-personnel mines should a trail of gunpowder be traced to them.

For a symbol the scouts have a wide, terrified eye raised in polished sandstone so that they can feel it with their fingers. They are bald, pale, and most have a streaked scar from temple to temple where the acid was poured.

If you exit downwards from this cavern you will approach the crown jewel of their civilization- the fastness of the Sepia King of Stygoziana.


This is the personal fief of the Sepia King.

You approach via 7’ x 7’ tunnel. There are veins of chalky crystal lining the walls here but they are not a natural feature. They are powdered arsenic set into a ceramic which coats a thin line of gunpowder. These white veins terminate at a guard post at the end of the tunnel where they can be safely detonated against intruders. This fills the tunnel with a choking dust of powdered arsenic. You cannot see the guard post until you are closer but they are likely to hear you.

As you come nearer to the guard post the veins begin to meld together into little strands like the veins of leaves terminating into twigs. Between them now the powdered death ivory has been inlaid into little intricate scenes designed to attract the eye and then horrify and demoralize the viewer before being detonated into his gaping face. Guards watch from embrasures in their lightless fastness.

Each individual story chain can be detonated from the guardpost so as to target individuals, whereas the veins further out in the tunnel must be detonated all at once.

Several warriors guard this redoubt. 

They are wispy waifish men all curly tousled hair, poutiness, earrings. Do not confuse this delicacy for the lack of viciousness. In this place, it marks the opposite. Those permitted to be dandies are killers. The least dangerous men in this fortress look rough and tough like poor peasants or weatherbeaten longshoremen. This is purely an effect of early aging.

Once you enter the fortress you’re likely to see a warrior strike a rough and boring laborer with the speed of a viper and the maliciousness of a cat. The laborer could overpower the warrior if both of them were unarmed but he doesn't know that.

One of the warriors of the guard post is a surfacer who became stuck at the citadel in his quest for the precious silicasilk. He came following a legend of a deep, decadent civilization where the men have forgotten how to fight and do nothing but spin silicasilk. To plunder such a place would make a man rich beyond imagining. This is not that civilization.

He wears a necklace shaped like a chariot pulled by mythological beasts, and on the back of his breastplate he has painted death as a mounted mercenary of the type farmers across the world fear more than plague.

He carries a red-bladed flamberge with a golden cup for a hilt; he pours out death.

Beyond the redoubt is the hall of the sepia king.

Bright red spiraling sashes loop around stalactites. They bear stitchframed pictures above a continuous frill of golden tassels like a curtain’s hem.

Band-shaped flags hang from stalactites in hoops of color.

Pillows on stone benches cut from the very walls, luminous things in pastel teal and pink and violet.

All are precious silicasillk.

Servants turn to face you as you enter. They wait on tables in the shadows set with game pieces at play, stone steins, earthware decanters pale blue in the darkness.

Their socks, gloves and cravats are precious silicasilk.

The warriors freeze with their palms on the tables, scarcely armed with stilettos and strangler’s cords.

Their sashes, neckerchiefs and eyepatches are precious silicasilk.

There is a woman officiating a banquet here. She is dressed in a single red ribbon and that she has wrapped around herself many hundreds of times in spiral crosshatches. A tight binding about the waist to draw out her hourglass. The ribbon forms her sandals and terminates in her hair, weaving in and out of her brown curls like a sea serpent.

Her ribbon is precious silicasilk and she wears a great golden crescent on her forehead like a buttery moon.

The ribbon is the garb of Stygozianian women. Each wears it differently, from a broad black band woven into an austere bodysuit to a single jade strand playing about the shoulders like a snake. Their flesh is as cold as ice and they would find you like demons of heat. However, if you aren’t a warrior and you aren’t interesting and graceful these women will mock you relentlessly

Above this hall is the reception chamber of the King of Stygoziana. It is like a full-service theater box from which the Sepia King of Stygoziana observes his subjects. You may spot his eyes when you look around the hall.

His chamber is sepia and so is his throne, but the silicasilk carpet is crimson and the candlesticks adamantine. He wears purple, like a king.

Silicasilk runs from a ring in his nose, covering his mouth and dividing in two near his solar plexus like a great purple moustache. It terminates at his gold bracelets. Naturally you could strip this and run but you'd drag him a ways before his bracelets came free. Not a bad way to take a prisoner. He wears a purple hood that is tied close to his head, but this is linen and not silicasilk. His only visible flesh is between his brow and his nose: huge, mad, orange eyes.

Should the party have managed to enter peacefully, the Sepia King has one offer for them: you may marry into his royal family should you bring him 100 Typhoean foreskins as proof of the owners' destruction. The greatest living Stygozianan warrior has only taken 78 and he is currently laid up wounded. The king refers to the Typhoeans as “vermin” and “the insect-men from the deep.” He knows little of their ways, never having fought them personally.

Below the grand hall is a larder and an armory. 

The larder is first. Servants flit to and fro here and laborers come from their forges in the armory to help themselves. Stygoziana is the land of frozen seafood. It feeds itself off of subterranean rivers and the dark ice of the surface world touches the tunnels here. The larders are simply icebeds in the walls laden with shrimp, clams, cavefish and lobster.

Beyond the larder is the armory. Should the players have mounted an assault on this hold, the heavy infantry will march from the armory to dispose of them. These are the king's personal retainers.

They are like gothic iron lizardmen. Their armor is forged to resemble snakes, snails, alligators, cave lobsters, dragons. They draw themselves up and sit against their tails when they fire for the tail is part and parcel with their weapon systems. 

Some of their weapons billow thermobaric fire-filaments which are subsequently set alight after drifting for some time, and suck the lungs out of their foes. Others fire shaped charges which are stored in the tail and superpressurize tunnel sections to crush their foes from the inside out. Others still hiss desiccation gas into their enemy’s presumed position.

Some of them have armor of finely-worked crystal and you can see the warrior inside. This is in imitation of the translucent cavern creatures. Oftentimes he is shirtless and a direct hit will pool his blood inside his breastplate. You will see him suffer. 

Their captain’s tongue is a rocket, and he will light it with his teeth.

You can hear the metal tails of heavy infantry dragging over the rough stone as they approach your position. It is a horrible sound.

There are 96 determined heavy infantrymen and the party is unlikely to defeat the Stygozianan garrison without using some kind of WMD. However, they will not pursue the party into Typhoea.

Past the second guard post, the exit tunnel is a horrific morass of razorwire. Bundles of the shit tangle the air and totally bar the way. When it's time to let someone through, the men of the guard post turn a winch which tightens the wires and straightens them into where they emerge from the walls so that a person could actually pick his way through the laser corridor of perfectly straight wires. When they slacken the corridor returns to being a pipe clogged with razor sharp hair and god help you should you be here when that happens.


You enter the capital greenhouse and breadbasket of the Typhoeans.

This is a cave region of hanging fungal agglomerative vines, thick carpets of moss that squelch hot water over your feet as you pass, a dewy mist in the air that makes everything clammy and alternatingly chills and threatens to overheat you. A thunderous thermal waterfall crashes upon rocks and lends its mist and humidity into every corner of these caverns.

The vines are some kind of flower-tendril; tangled yellow locks like hair amongst languid vines. They pass through hanging moss garlands and herbal entanglements.

From the corners snake sickly-sweet flowers with sawtoothed petals in opulent bloom above stones damp with their natal warmth.

These plants are fed by a radiance field emitted from a bulbous central cavern. This field suppresses the immune systems of all who enter it without gaining the biological permission of its denizens. As such. the party will begin to be overwhelmed by bacteria and suffer from dangerous flu symptoms after about a day, and any existing diseases will be drastically worsened. Individuals who are already immunocompromised will suffer from an immune response brought to near-undetectability, and will be incapacitated after a day, dead in two. This realm is highly bacterial and hostile to intruders.

The party will soon begin to encounter patrols of Typhoean warriors. This is their realm. They are hulking and have rough, pale skin like white rhinos. Should the party run away, they will witness these warriors emitting strange whiplike extensions from their fingertips in lieu of climbing gear, which are also capable of grappling the PCs from a distance. Should the PCs hide, these warriors will explore the crevices of the cavern with their extensions, which on close examination resemble a limp, fleshy tape.

These are the parasite-people. The warriors have worms which act as extra muscle and secrete androgens. Further in, there are peons and the shepherds of camel sloths. These people all have parasites which secrete tranquilizers or stimulants depending on pheromones from a control parasite embedded in the body of a nearby noble. They can shut down commoners, and so could you if you had such a parasite.

The warriors and nobles are privileged with a parasite living behind their eyes which gives darkvision, amplifying existing light, and thermal vision, which aids in hunting. If you shoot this guy in the head and it explodes you’ll see chunks of the parasite go flying too.

The warriors wear heavy silicasilk cloaks patterned with vistas, warrior heraldry, dramatic scenes, stygian hunting beasts or chemical diagrams. Tectonic patterns (which are the astrology of the deep), and veiny ore underlays like the neuronal structure of a brain or universe. Every one of these cloaks is very valuable for its cloth of silk, but it is potentially more valuable for the things it depicts. The trouble will be matching a subject with an appropriate buyer, because the cloaks are dramatically esoteric.

Their primary weapons are matchlock harpoon guns. These fire chitinous tracking parasites linked to the warrior's parasitic suite. Once the parasite is implanted, the warrior can toggle starvation food-interception and dissociation/self-sabotage neurotransmitter effects on its host. A wounded, fleeing foe has not truly escaped.

They also carry grenades that splash those nearby with fungal residue, causing massive cysts to erupt in their flesh. These cysts are largely harmless but critically bog down the victim and take a long time to drain properly. The warriors carry huge obsidian knives to drain your cysts, or your blood if they won't be taking you prisoner.

When you reach the central cavern, you will see that it is a kind of aerial ranch. It is brightly lit and filled with sprigs of greenery; spice herbs of every description and sweet forms of watercress in v-shaped rock troughs. Huge, tan sloths hang from low stalactites by their claws. They lean their white-maned heads back to receive food poured down their gullets by stiff and wizened sloth shepherds overseen by bored and erratic nobles.

The shepherds feed the camel sloths a molten margarine of oxidized synthetic paraffin wax derived from coal. They love their animals and give the margarine flavor with a variety of herbs and sweeteners. The Typhoeans occasionally eat this margarine as well but consider it a starvation food.

The camel sloths are covered with little fleshy nibs here and there. These are the heads of long worms that live inside their bodies. Whenever a Typhoean is hungry, he’ll come to a camel sloth and suck down a worm like meat spaghetti. This is how they eat while at home. When on journeys, they can draw out their own colorectal parasites for sustenance.

In the heart of this underworld ranch is a great black stone. Walk around it until you see a great strip of salmon-colored flesh like an iguana with a hundred little flagella legs and no head. This great parasite has transcended the need for its native realm, but, like a Buddha, remains near so that it can guide and protect its people. Freed from any need for a human host, this parasite basks on a stretch of wall waving its antennae through the air. This generates the radiance field needed to sustain the plant life in these caverns and suppress the immune systems of those not in possession of a Typhoean parasite.

If the Buddhic parasite of Typhoea dies, so too dies the lush greenery which its emanations maintain. With no hope of sustaining their camel sloths the Typhoeans will tearfully euthanize their beloved beasts and immediately invade their neighboring realms: Stygoziana above and another civilization below. They will conquer or die.

Standing serenely atop this great black rock is the Queen in Green, monarch and despot of Typhoea. She is redheaded but her freckles have fallen away, leaving empty flesh where they once stood so that blood continually runs down her face.

She wears white gloves which go halfway up her vibrant white biceps. Her skin has never been touched by the sun. Two white ribbons of cloth extend from her arms to the small of her back with ivory and bone hanging from them- statues, fetishes, shishkebabs of bead-heads, spikes of subdued light. Across her shoulders she wears something like a fur, but it is made up of soft, green, bushy herbs. A long, green serpent-form twists almost invisibly among these sprigs. It weaves its way around her arm from underneath her nail. It appears to be headless, like the creature on the rock.

She can detonate parasites that are inside of you. This leads to fissures, blood poisoning and compound fractures. She will use this to get what she wants.

Sun-strengthened surfacers are of great appeal to her. If any party members are particularly robust, beauteous, dangerous-looking or impetuous, then she will single them out for an audience. She prefers prowess matched with arrogance in men, but inexperience and curiosity in women.

Her bed is a grand spiderweb of ghostly pale silicasilk set at an angle. Sex with her will inject parasites into you.

When the men and women of this civilization make love, then too will their parasites mate. You will see their bodies wrapped here and there with slick, reedy ropes which curl about one another in true lovers’ knots and stain their sheets with a translucent residue.

Should you make love to a woman of this civilization in her earthwax bower you will find soft worms slipping up your rectum and urethra. Should you surrender to a man, you will feel bundles of tape-serpents moving through you.

Finishing with the Queen in Green feels like being stabbed in the soul as it’s made clear what you’ve done or what’s been done to you.

Further sex may be used to reinforce the power of her hold on you, to inject new parasites, and to recalibrate the ones already inside you. The queen of the parasites lives in the Queen in Green; parasites injected in this way are her agents and may self-detonate should they find you defying their Lady, but their intelligence is alien and their understanding imperfect. Certain drugs could dull them to be surgically removed. Otherwise they will explode when you attempt to draw them out.

An extended battle here will draw warriors from all over Typhoea.

As you depart Typhoea and descend, you will near the source of the silicasilk. The Stygozianans raid Typhoea for it, and the Typhoeans trade for it with the industrial fortress of Asterica.


The narrow tunnel turns and suddenly opens into a dizzyingly vast cavern. Great stone bulwarks hunker beneath a titanic ridged vault wall. They are a fortress shaped like a bisected log with wide ridges and grooves at intervals down its front like bands about a tree. Great livid banners of silicasilk have been flung out from its alures. They contain more silicasilk than could be imagined in Stygoziana or Typhoea.

You see bridges here and there which extend from the fortress to the great floor of the cave, and there is amber light at the tunnel mouths. There are catwalks between balconies and outcroppings on the fortress's exterior. Silver skeletons which seem hazy and furred march precisely along these ramps and walkways.

On closer inspection these skeletons are glazed in lead to weight their bones. Each bone is subsequently flanged with blades so that the whole skeleton seems to be made up of deadly feathers. In its ribcage is a cask made of shale. This is a bomb.

Running along the length of their bones are articulating wires, axles and cams, mechanisms driven watch-like by a central mechanism above the cask in the chest; windup centrifuges kept in balance by a spinning die tip on a radial spirit level adjust their step as they advance along the bridge or tunnel. You hear whirling driveshafts, clinking cam followers and purring gear assemblies. The skeletons clatter and spark off of each other's deadly blades.

When struck but not detonated their mechanism weeps bulbs of carrot-colored engine grease. 

The skeletons of the outer guardposts bear heraldry, dazzle camouflage, or are black to bake them into the shadows. They are eulogies to their former owners and are a form of sacred tax paid by their family. They decorate the bones and this reflects their wealth and taste. Thus a skeleton may bear the regalia of kingship, or piety, wealth, or shameful contrition. They may be gilded or without any decoration whatsoever.

It might be some time before you see people. They come furtively and set their iron skeletons marching at you from the shadows before slipping away in a hurried retreat.

Some skeletons trail deadly greenish gas, others spray unlit naptha across the walls to be set afire by a subsequent skeleton.

Both men and women dress exclusively in robes of silicasilk dyed with the powder of crushed luminous gems or the ink of Stygian bivalves.

In battle, men drag six foot by three foot iron tubes across the stone by leather straps hoisted about their chests. They stand the tubes up and open them and out come the ticking marching skeletons. The skeleton detonates after marching a distance set by the wielder, and their lead-weighted, blade-covered bones make for extraordinarily deadly shrapnel.

In a battle they will march their skeletons down every hallway and staircase at you in a relentless, explosive tide. Their stairs are measured to receive the step of the skeletons.

The interior of the fortress is a honeycomb of infinite pitfalls. 

The rooms are lit by orange crystal in wrought iron cylinders cut with intricate designs and patterns which cast light throughout this place in highly uneven but distractingly intriguing shapes, for many of these crystal cylinders tell stories like Attic pottery.

The halls ripple with luminous neon tapestries in hexagrammic or nettled incomplete concentric rings that seem to rotate in an optical illusion; nets of joined Xs, pink and black, lime green and black, purple and black, teal and black.

As you approach the heart of the fortress, the light changes from freestanding cylinders to hidden compartments cut into the walls. Vents of light made of energized crystal. The air becomes a dazzle camouflage and here you barely see the skeletons move, you just see them in various states of advance. When these crystals are electrified defensively via hand crank stations they will begin to slowly mutate and mutilate those who stand in the light. You will see companions horribly transform frame by frame as you run in bast bars of stagnant but flickering light.

Further confusing matters are charms hanging from stalactites consisting of hollow centered coins hanging on lengths of leather. These coins are remnants of the oldest civilization and the hole punched through the center is part of their debasement. They consist of many rare earth elements blended together into a peppery-colored amalgamation; useful to be rendered down for ancient materials projects.

If you are advancing on the place where the Astericans spin silicasilk they are willing and able to collapse caverns around you. That said, they will not cut off their access to their primary industry completely.

In the heart of this fortress is the place where the Astericans produce their silicasilk. It is a dome of stained glass lit by an ephemeral light. Outside the glass is a thin layer of bioluminescent scarabs.

The Astericans work gently with the silica spiders, shy creatures whose joy is to spin their silk if fed on herbs and button mushrooms. The silica spiders will run and hide if there is chaos in their home, but if seized upon will bite their assailant. Their bite instantly detonates flesh and bone like a hand grenade.

The boldest Astericans cover their eyes with silicasilk and go out into nearby tunnels. They see the prancing ghosts of underworld creatures that have passed away and hunt them with imaginary spears.

The departed beast’s ghost leads them to its carrion, and this is Asterica’s main food source.

Beneath Asterica there is a place the Astericans do not want you to see.


There is a column of fire surrounded by eight hulking geodes. Each has a hole in the side; entry can be achieved quickly if one has metal boots because the geodes are magnetized.

The geodes' exteriors are comprised of phlogiston creosote. Inside them, they are crystal of essential salts. They are the suicide-sacrificed essence of a civilization crushed by those above and now their place of palingenesis.

Each geode has a flame in its core, like the core of the earth. You may step into this fire to add d8 souls to your body. These souls originate from this ancient civilization crushed by Asterica and its cohorts in ages long since passed. If you ask them, they will tell you it was called Orphicorum.

When you sleep for at least nine hours you may cede control of your body to one of these souls more suited to the situation (or deserving of a reward). You remain the primary soul and may always attempt to wrest control from the manifested soul, but doing this outside of a nine-hour sleep period will utterly destroy the controlling soul.

The Orphicorians dream of vengeance against the progeny of their old rivals, namely Asterica, Typhoea and Stygoziana. The souls may present a unified front in their goals and will remember it if you tyrannize them.

In addition to taking revenge on their destroyers, each soul will have a meta-objective from their life that they would like continued. They can guide you to caches of Orphicorum's wealth in exchange for carrying out their old missions.

Roll a d8 to determine each soul’s former profession: 

1 Sage, 2 Priest, 3 Soldier, 4 Mineralogist, 5 Fungicist, 6 Noble, 7 Slave, 8 Trapped Foreigner.

Next, roll a d8 to determine their life orientation:

1: Accelerationist millenarian: Seeks to connect the oil seas to magma flows.

2: Awakener: Seeks to make the earth’s ore veins incandescent and awaken the sleeping consciousness of the world, and believes that smelting ore will make it more stupid and violent when it awakens and should be minimized as such.

3: Core colonization advocate: Seeks infinite energy in the core of the Earth. Knows how to ward off the heat, pressure and creatures there.

4: Revanchist: Wants the players to conquer and colonize Stygoziana, Typhoea and Asterica in the style of Hernan Cortez and will reveal ancient weapon caches to aid you. 

5: Underworld megastructure colonist: Great works in the inner darkness of the earth similar to incomplete runic Dyson sphere plates near great magma pillars, an underworld sea sectioned into a steam engine, etc. Would like to recover these things

6: Petrified ecosystem cultivator: Seeks to awaken the biological potential of petrified bioforms (ie petrified wood) through cosmic ray bombardment; the idea being that they will produce petrified fruit et al with otherwise unachievable properties.

7: Mechanical computer denizen: Once lived in a mechanistic paradise that he or she will seek to recreate. This computer was built of fluid, machines and creatures, and involved many pumping, flooding and counting machines.

8: Outstation anchorite: These folks were notorious for the worship or propitiation of strange entities, elements, phenomena, etc. They will long to seek out their former masters and friends.

You still control your actions when another soul has manifested

However (and you won’t know this until it happens), a soul may go rogue while possessing you and you will need to make a Will check to reassert control; if you fail you may try again in an hour. Your companions will not necessarily know you have been shunted out of command.

The soul is likely to say to you, “I will do this thing and then give you back control. Forgive me but I have unfinished business with these vermin,” and will attempt to do something like flood Stygoziana, kill the Buddhic parasite of Typhoea, or set off the central powder magazine of Asterica, which will bring tectonic ruin to the entire region.

If any of these things happen and the Astericans, Typhoeans or Stygozianans know you did it, they will invade the surface.

Otherwise, they will invade one another in a nightmare war of shadowy screaming death and atrocity and your only escape route will be filled with the clashing of armies and their subterranean superweapons.



  1. Man, I've loved reading your stuff since you went on the artpunk binge. This is, one again, just brilliant. I love the originality and detail of the gear - weapons and armor especially. Makes me think about your post on Osprey books and if I should perhaps start using those for some inspiration.

    Well done as usual!

    1. Thanks a lot Dan. I’m happy with this but I’m thinking I might need to cut down on the prose-to-concept ratio a bit in the future to make things punchier. This is a little more curt than the Gardens of Anomie but I don’t think it’s quite there yet

      I recommend the Osprey books. Perceptive of you to note Osprey in relation to my output- certainly one or two elements of the panoply of the soldiers in the Garden of Anomie were inspired by stuff I saw in Osprey, and things like the ammo charges and climbing gear being slung from the weapon when in transit is the kind of thing you’d see in Osprey (undisciplined but practical and perhaps realistic for historical irregulars)

  2. That's....quite a journey.

    What sort of qualities does Silicasilk have? One imagines it to be tougher than regular silk, and it is clearly capable of taking dyes fairly well.

    1. I left it ambiguous on purpose but if I were to run this I would probably have the silk be unable to be cut or torn; so you might get your arm broken by a sword blow but it’s not going to straight slice it off or necessarily open an artery. That’s only a partial defense when guns are present; a bullet might go all the way through your chest and out your back but then get pulled back through your chest and onto the floor in front of you as the silk returns to its original position, or it might just get embedded in your chest cavity- but at least you can get it free by just yanking the silk it’s nestled in! It could also be that the silica makes the silk unbelievably lustrous, like the diamond of textiles, so that it sparkles and glimmers without needing gems or sequins.

      If it can’t be cut or ripped then it would obviously have massive mechanical value as well

      The concept of silicasilk and this adventure is partly inspired by the experience of peeling the socks and underwear off slaughtered goblins in Dwarf Fortress because it’s made of giant cave spider silk and is thus extremely valuable for its weight. After you get ambushed by goblins a few times and find that you make more money and weigh yourself down less by just taking their socks instead of their silver coins and breastplates, you start to hunt them for their underclothes and are eventually going on pillaging expeditions to their homes just to get more of that good shit. As an adventurer you can trade a bundle of it for more or less whatever you need. No more hunting giant wombat men for raw meat babyy

      Of course, close combat is nasty in Dwarf Fortress and usually ends with you searching through vomit and severed fingers in the grass while blood pitter patters from the trees and your companions pull themselves leglessly away from the fatal zone and whichever goblins still survive pass in and out of consciousness from the agony of broken bones waiting for you to brain them but you need that silk

    2. Never dug into Dwarf Fortress, but that's a revealing little anecdote!

      I like that take on Silicasilk. One imagines lots of swash-buckling with some of those long banners.


Art - First Run