|Dorohedoro is wonderful, go watch / read it.|
All of this is canon, especially the things that contradict, but not all of them are canon in the same place.
Gospel of the Festival SquidKoine Greek, Anonymous, 400s CE
A codex detailing the culture and customs of an unnamed island nation in the eastern Mediterranean. The island is said to come together during the late spring for a city-spanning celebration of excess and catharsis, heralded by the arrival of a gargantuan squid and its swarms of progeny in the city harbor to confers blessings for the entire week of the festival before it returns to the deeps.
Escape Rope and Magic BulletA heavy, frayed cord, the kind that tears up your hands with its fibrous splinters. A milk-white bullet that shines pearl-like under the light. These are grim, but effective, single-use methods of escaping the underworld; both are painless in application but do nothing to ease the psychological burden of their use. When used in the underworld, the user will return to the entrance by which they descended. If used on the surface, they will return the user to a prepared location.
Movement of the ConstellationsThe titans of the firmament do not rest still. They march and dance across the black sky, with movements so vast it becomes difficult to comprehend. There they debate, place dice with the universe, make love, give birth, war with each other. Can you imagine the smiting stroke of a celestial club, the spilling of bloody nebulae?
The LabyrinthThe underworld itself, the eternal and endless shifting maze that resides in the center of the world. The god-machine of cthonic bronze and lithic panoply that waits past those gigantic engraved gates set deep int the bedrock. The monster-haunted abode of the gods below.
Demon LiquorThe first demons were single-celled organisms that filled the world's oceans in the ages very near the beginning. All of those uncountable demons, buried by the incalculable weight of the miles and miles of stone above them and heated by the fires below, have been converted into an oily liquid, filled with clouds of bloody scarlet, abyssal blue, and bruise purple. It smells of pepper, sulfur, and undiluted grain alcohol. It tastes the same. It shimmers sickly and iridescently under light. It leaves behind a film on whatever it touches. It gives off a mirage haze in the heat. It flakes as it dries. It gets in the drinking water. It gets in the soil. It gets in the rain. It is mutagenic. It is carcinogenic. It lets you do magic.
Many-Faced MoonA spherical golden mass of androgynous faces great and small; babbling, screaming, groaning, whispering. Slick black oil drips from lips and gums and teeth, leaks from the seams between masks, dissipating as it falls into a streaming trail stain on the sky. Orbits high above the earth - a second moon, smaller and closer than the first. To hear it is difficult, to discern its secret meaning yet impossible. It is dreaming.
National Restoration PartyThe end result the terrible machine of power. A bunch of pasty-faced, turtle-necked old fascists that clawed out a fortress of business interests and misinformation to weather the Progressive Years, emerging to run on a platform of reversing civil rights legislation, overturning environmental protections, loosening corporate oversight, stamping down on the press, writing a blank check to the military, and brutal repression of the supernatural. They are currently in power, and this has given nearly-free reign to allied hate groups to terrorize vulnerable populations.
The DissectorA glossy red sphere of opaque, nonreflective liquid. Hovers off the ground under its own power, average height of ~3 feet, has been seen to rise up to half a mile on one occasion. Highest clocked speed of 400 mph on that same occasion. Organisms brought within ten feet will be paralyzed, suspended in air, and cut into pieces as if by an invisible blade. Victims will remain alive through procedure, blood will remain in body, etc. When its curiosity has been sated, the organism will desiccate of all moisture and reduced to dust.
Happy Sailor Rum CompanyThere's an anchovy with a beard and a captain's hat on the label, smoking a pipe. The rum is dark and smells of nutmeg, allspice, orange peel. It goes down smooth, puts a fire in your belly and sometimes, just sometimes, you think you can hear the Cap'n talk to you through the haze. He says to drink more rum. Definitely drink more rum. There's something else, but you can't make it out. More rum should help with that.
Church of Saints and WatchersThe splitting of the monad drove God mad, an insane creator who could not care for their creation. Among the ranks of the ancient angels there were those fourteen Watchers descended from the golden realms of thought and fire, to share fragments of the divine wisdom with the inhabitants of the cooling universe so that they might not die in darkness and violence. This they did in ancient days and remained to watch and guard, but could not overstretch their influence lest God notice. They failed, the world fell into darkness and chaos anyway. They attempted again, visited a young woman and blessed her with their fourteen gifts and proclaimed that the child she bore would bring the world to the light. The child died of sickness in three months after birth. The woman took up the mantle instead and founded the church, first of the litany of saints.
Corbin and CecilThey drive an old white van, rust in the wheelwells and scratches on the sides. Big red text reads SPEEDY MEAT DELIVERY underneath a smiling man embracing a smiling cow, smiling chicken, smiling pig. They say they're identical twins, but one looks like he got six inches cut off him and the scars have reshaped their faces. Bushy salt and pepper mustaches, brown flat caps, stained aprons. Can't place the accent.
The Convocation of BirdsThe ranks of the Simurgh's priestly hierarchy may be easily distinguished by the color of their vestments. The Doves, who deal with matters of peace and diplomacy, wear white. Cardinals, who deal with the church's internal affairs, wear red. Crows, who deal in heresies and militant actions, wear black. Sparrows, whose place is with the poor, wear brown. The occasional Jay, who deals in arcane affairs, wears blue. Their holy days are migratory, announced by the bishop-augurs who read the entrails of their sacred avians. That all inducted members may speak the language of birds is a given.
The Cthonic EcumeneA doomed attempt to form a demosoc polity that tied together the surface and underworld, founded in a major manufacturing city that could see that the coming post-industrial era would be their ruin. Despite the upswing in supernatural events and spike in dangerous sorcerous activity, it was mostly successful, until the winds shifted with the national election and the full weight of government-sanctioned violence was brought upon it. The Oikouménē Khthónios was murdered; hung from lamp posts, stood before the firing squads, dumped in the mass graves of the public parks. Long ago now, only sad memories remain.
DER0 SuitsThe 0-Series Dungeon Exploration Rig comes complete with an integrated containment unit for a fetal Australopithicus demens. This allows the wearer to safely travel the lower levels of the underworld without falling prey to geographic or structural malleability, as well as access to the "air loom" mass communication methods used by those creatures. This suit's very existence constitutes a crime against humanity.
The Afterlife MachineThere is no telling if the project would have been more successful had its proponents been less desperate; certainly all would have been much better off had they been less successful. An exclusion zone of four miles' radius has been cordoned off. Trespassers to be shot without warning. In twilight hours one can see a sort of fractal pattern shimmering on the air, like curtains of soap bubble
The Wasteland ChildrenOld Occitan, Anonymous, 1150s CE
A lurid apocryphal work. Eve, pregnant with her third child, abandons a drunken, abusive Adam in the aftermath of Abel's death and Cain's exile and travels westward across the wasteland. Reaching the desolate coast near dawn, she finds an island where thousands of screech owls are landing to roost. Building a raft of reeds she paddles to the island to discover it is the home of Lilith, Adam's first wife, cursed to forever birth monsters in isolation. After a long dialogue between the two detailing the injustices that have befallen them, Eve decides to remain on the island. The remainder of the book details Eve's romantic and eventually sexual relationship with Lilith, the birth and youth of Seth, and a fragmentary story of Seth departing from the island with a party of his monstrous step-siblings for purpose unknown.
Bobbit Dogs"Just a pack of mangy ferals, all thin and sick. Wouldn't have thought twice about them, but one of them stopped under the streetlight, one paw up like a pointer that heard something. I could see spines, thin ones like needles, running down its back. It didn't have a head, not a proper one, just this stump of one, but after a moment it fucking extended, wiggling around like a worm. Could see fangs on it long as my hand. Then it darted off after its pack. That neighborhood's fucking lost, mate, if things like that are roaming around."
Book of the 10 FamiliesOriginal Language and Date Unknown
A codex detailing the cosmic hierarchy of gods...
- Zodiac Gods
- Higher Wanderer Gods
- Gods of the Labyrinth
- Fossil Gods
- Gods of the Obet
- Wild Gods
- Little Gods
- Throne - Extension of the god's self. A soul-world.
- No Throne - Wandering - Gods stuck in the material world. Easily killed.
- Only Throne - Imprisoned - Gods trapped in themselves, alone, unreachable.
- Crown - A god's ability to influence the world outside their Throne.
- No Crown - Impotent - Possesses worshipers, but no power.
- Only Crown - Powers - A cosmic law.
- Domain - The extent of a god's influence, its magic and worshipers.
- No Domain - Secrets - Gods whose rites and signs have been lost.
- Only Domain - Vagaries - Schools of magic with no god to speak of.
It's time to play "guess which entries Dan pulled from somewhere else!"ReplyDelete
Even the less-stellar entries on this, I love them too.
Well, the DER0 Suit seems to be half Death Stranding and half Mince Toad from Incunabuli.Delete
The National Restoration Party is just pulled from the news.
Convocation of Birds is probably inspired by Arnold Kemp's recent posts on the Simurgh.
The Man Who Ate the God's Food is a slightly edited version of the legend of Tantalus.
Bobbit Dogs are based off Bobbit Worms.
The Afterlife Machine is pulled from Roadside Picnic/Stalker (I just finished that book this week), but presumably, dragged a chunk of either Heaven or Hell to Earth.
Escape Rope is the same as the item from Pokemon, Magic Bullet is a more grimdark version of the same item.
That's all I've got, although I do also want to say that a lot of OSR games where enough people are going out and adventuring to have it be its own subculture/career (Incunabuli's setting, my Sunless Horizon setting, etc.) should have an in-character Delver's Handbook if they ever manage a print release. Anatomical sketches and short descriptions of monsters (often incorrect) with enough space for you to write in your own info, general "how to play a dungeoncrawl" tips given in-character, setting info, all printed in a little zine cheap enough for you not to feel bad when you write in it. If you do it right, it could even tell the story of your campaign, when someone marks over the Wendigo entry with "Rest in Peace, John".
Convocation and Arnol'd stuff is actually convergent evolution and the Afterlife Machine didn't have a direct inspiration, but the rest is on point.Delete
Demon Liquor is from KSBD.Delete
Corbin and Cecil are inspired by the Magnus Archives, I'd bet money on it.Delete
Happy Sailor Rum Company reminds me a little of the Drug Lord from Unsong? Are Leviathans a reference to Silent Titans by False Machine?
Theophagist gives me both Magnus Archives and SCP Sarkist vibes but I think thats more just a riff on that juicy fun 'meat as god' theme then a specific reference.
Demon Liquor was a subconscious steal, but a steal nonetheless. Corbin and Cecil are absolutely Magnus,the others have no direct lineage that I can remember.Delete
Festival of the Freshwater Squid, a la Ambergris?Delete
Maqāmāt-uṭ-Ṭuyūr ('conference of birds', or 'speech of birds') is an old Persian-sufic teaching parable...but I dunno if you or Arnold were referencing it intentionally.
...I'll have to look into this Magnus Archive thing! Would've sworn that Cecil & Corbin were some Nightvale mashup of Smiling God material & the two guys in a truck that show up occasionally...Delete
@endonaut, absolutely you should listen to The Magnus Archives, it's really good.Delete
Also Dan, have you read Unsong? It seems like it'd be right up your alley- cool and fleshed out world, secret names of God, horrible plot-relevant puns.
All hail the immortal Spell Tumor! All hail the eternal passage!ReplyDelete
I am finding useful and inspirational a lot of these things. Thank you for writing it.ReplyDelete
Rich and delicious.ReplyDelete
Genius as always. I assume the redacted portions of the Trujillo Incident bear striking similarity to abstruse passages of the Gospel, and Happy Sailor blackout revelations.ReplyDelete
I'm particularly intrigued by the Electrotokoi! What wants to be brought into the world so badly?! Reminiscent somehow of the song "Caterpillars" by The Handsome Family.
Love it all. Getting quite the SCP-vibe from some of them. [redacted]ReplyDelete
That site contains many lessons to learn.Delete
Almost a month late, I realized how the Escape Rope works.ReplyDelete