There's a password you have to learn, a taboo that lives in your brain. It slips out of your head and off your tongue like a ball of static. The door at the bottom of the stairwell opens, welcoming you in. You're known by Delver's now, try to make a good first impression.
The grotty beating heart of the City's occult underworld. The last call before hell, the last homely house, a nest of exposed pipes and graffiti-caked concrete, filled with the haze of demon liquor smoke. It's formed of three tiers, like an inverted ziggurat or a miniature Alighierian hell. The concrete walls are covered in mismatched doors and layers of graffiti. The bar's down at the center of the bottom level, as are the tables. You emerge on the upper ring.
These Facts Are Always True:
- Delvers is (mostly) neutral territory. No feds, no fascists. The Musketeers will handle any disputes that come up.
- The mismatched doors in the walls and floor of the bottom level lead deeper into the Underworld.
- Anyone coming up from a successful delve gets first round on the house.
- Private rooms, item storage, and long-term coffin apartments are available for rent.
- Basic goods are always available for purchase.
- Management has the final word. No exceptions.
There are other entries to the Underworld that you know of, but Delvers' is the largest and most stable within reasonable distance - this means that it is very well traveled, so you will be trading secrecy for safety and will lose direct access to more obscure Underworld locales.
Delvers' uses the die drop system by Hex Culture's "Home Again, Home Again". Every time the players visit Delvers', roll 4-6-6-8-10-10-12. If you roll a number higher than the NPCs listed, no one in that category shows up during that visit.
When You Arrive, the Place Is... (d10)
- Dead empty
- A few people
- A few people
- Ordinary crowd
- Ordinary crowd (special event)
- Ordinary crowd
- Packed (special event)
- Standing room only
The Door is always present. Roll d6 every visit: 1: Baba + Door | 2: Mabel + Door | 3: Baba + Mabel + Door | 4-6: Door only.
- "Baba Ghanoush" - An older
gentleman in a finely-fitted grey suit. Speaks with the sort of quiet,
polite directness reserved for mob bosses and the sorts of bishops who have connections on the outside. He is genuinely entertained
by the nickname.
- Mabel - 85 years old and sharp as a freshly-whet knife. Nothing gets past her.
- The Sealed Door
- Dandelion yellow bands of "POLICE LINE: DO NOT CROSS" cover rusting
metal. A hand-painted sign is taped below the painted-over glass:
The Three Musketeers
They are not actually musketeers. They have an arrangement, details unknown, with the Management. They keep the order in Delvers'.
- Athos - You almost don't notice the statue. It's something like a man, heavily stylized, out of proportion. An enormous tafl piece. A heavy brow, prominent nose, big angular beard and mustache. The details, the links in its chain shirt and the calluses on its palms are nearly smoothed away with age. In those rare moments when it moves, it does so in a terrifying blur, crawling on all fours like an infant.
- Porthos - You can hear a slithering sound under your feet, like someone dragging something heavy and wet against the concrete. A door opens up and a long red arm, the knobbled fingers forming a sock-puppet's mouth, rises like a periscope. Someone, at some point, affixed a pair of googly eyes to this extremity. The other limbs, encased in similar spiny exoskeletal plates, do not bear such amusing adornment.
- Aramis - A woman in a wheelchair, old enough to have a bit of grey at the temples and a face weathered by time. A colorful blanket covers her legs, and a ball python lies draped over her shoulders. An ancient level-action rifle rests in her lap. She's easy to talk to, will remember your name, always willing to chat about her activism (environmental causes and native land rights) or her three children (all grown, now). There's a red ring on her finger, she turns it with her thumb while talking.
Behind the Bar
Roll 2d6 every time you enter to see who's working. Doubles mean someone called off and there's only the one.
- Mjoll - Doesn't talk much. Dark skin. Eyes like honey. Left arm is prosthetic up to the shoulder, left leg up to the knee. Combat veteran. Quick on the draw.
- Herschel - A charming man with heavy burn scars, will always have time to chat about his husband and kids.
- Lucy - A broad, brawny, friendly woman who has gone a bit soft around the middle. If you didn't know better (and honestly, you probably don't), you would swear most of her family tree are neanderthals.
- Duncan - Always has a sort of deer-in-headlights look about him, especially around the stranger guests. Fell into this all by mistake and can't really find a way out.
- Red-Hed - Stocky. Wears a big spherical red helmet. Voice modulator.
- "Barkeep" - A fat tabby tomcat.
- Hoshino - Cheery fellow, always has sunglasses and a cigarette. Burn scars on his hands. Always shows up with his overhauled vending machines ready to dispense anything from tampons to bullets. Sells ammunition and basic supplies at a discount, as well as specialist goods (ie, non-weapons tagged "expensive")
- Papa Clink - Wide-waisted, barrel-chested, booming of voice. Bullet casings braided into a bushy black beard that obscures most of his face. Sells weapons at a discount
- Bri, Cartographer - They always seems to be wearing too much clothing for the weather. Eyes alone can be seen between hat and scarf. Sells maps of underworld nodes. Buys survey data of new areas.
- Pillbox - Naturally jittery and scatterbrained. Been sober for 15 years now. Has a sort of neon-goth thing going on, but it's mostly for advertisement. Sells 1d6 different drugs every time they visit. Buys any drugs they're not selling.
Specialists 1 (d6)
- Pen & Tam - Friendly couple from the surface who pop down every so often for a drink. Don't have any special powers, but Pen knows all about rare and magical books and how to get in touch with Book Club, and Tam can identify magical items.
- Julian Tull, cryptozoologist - Has a sort of Steve Irwin energy, if Steve Irwin was significantly worse at his job and was on social media too much. Pays for tips, more for photos and video, and even more for live specimens.
- The Apostate - A renegade from the Pure World Armory. Clean-shaven, tall, muscular, like a marble statue or propaganda poster come to life. Has devoted himself to the Gun Gods of An-Hehm. Deliberate and slow in his speech to make up for his uncertainty in social situations. Has access to special Armory weapons and armor as well as specialist ammunition.
- Mamadou the Mask Salesman - He always puts you in mind of a spider, and you can't shake the idea. Sells magical masks. Will offer 4-6 different masks every time he visits.
Specialists 2 (d6)
- Fisk - A "procurement specialist" for "human resources". Wears smoked glasses. Constantly eating sunflower seeds, spitting the shells into a mason jar he keeps at his table. The pacing of his speech is off; syllables are drawn out or cut short with no pattern or reason.
- Karina - Fruit merchant. Lazy eye, heterochromatic, intensely focused on something else beyond the walls of the room. Sells alien wares from far down below.
- Thimble Slim - A small, thin, pimply man with a tattered graphic tee ten years out of relevance and a terrible comb-over. No one likes him, and no one can seem to get rid of him. A fence for stolen goods and drugs.
- Satchel Buck - A short, portly man who wears bright, poorly matched clothing. Proprietor of an Underworld speed dating service called the Lonely Souls Club, whose virtues he will detail at length to anyone showing even slight curiosity.
- Tokamak - A bald man with an enormous white walrus mustache. His
tweed coat is frayed at the collar and wrists. He has a pet, something
he calls a "dream-eater". Something akin to a cross between a hyena and a
small bear. It too is bald, though it does not have a mustache. A man
of science, strange as those sciences may be, and very well educated in
them. Not actually a doctor
- Melliferous Synapse, Fleshcrafter Novice - Offers grafting services. Human parts, animal parts, monster parts, so long as it's mostly fresh. They look radically different every time they appear, and are more easily identified
- Stitches - A pale, lanky teenage girl, limp cigarette dangling from her lip. Apathetic and emotionally inscrutable. Immensely skilled, but doesn't care much for aesthetics - you'll live, but you won't be winning any pageants.
- Nanoa - An elderly sage of the cult of Lu. Skin painted with delicate whorls of white, blue, green, gold. Knows of cult safehouses within the Underground, and may induct new members.
- Anbara, Book Club Witch - Cultist of Aza-Thoth and professional pornographer. Will offer to trade a
grimoire from her collection for one of yours, or maybe even gift you a
new book. Knows the way to the Stygian Library.
- Mr. Deveroux - A pallid man in a yellowing and sweat-stained seersucker suit. Flies, cicadas, cockroaches all seem attracted to him. His face doesn't work right - all his expressions seem to be on a delay from what he's actually saying. Will teach you the infernal arts, given the right payment in souls.
- Amelia, Necromancer - Five feet tall on the dot, enormous glasses, enormous smile, and a propensity for dissection knives. She is a proper priestess of the dead, though she only breaks out her schema habit for special occasions. Offers Speak With Dead, funeral services, minor exorcisms, and the occasional zombification.
- The Blackthorns
- A trio of witches - grandmother, mother, daughter. The latter two are
dead, the first jumps her soul between their bodies. Folks don't like
talking about it. She's a good person, though, worse people to go to for
help than Maggie Blackthorn. Offers minor enchantments, spell identification, potions and tinctures, and advice.
Strangers will not appear in Delvers' without first being encountered in the Underworld. Some of them can serve as replacement PCs.
- Ayo - Enormous red-skinned woman with black hair and horns. Loves eating, boozing, fighting and fucking.Always has some demon liqour on hand, always looking for something new to eat or fight.
- Cruel Tai - A positively mummified-looking man, hooked up to life support. The kind of person that everyone wants to hurry up and die, but who outright refuses to go. He has a chest with seven locks on it, each of a different material. The keys are long lost, down below. Each one will unlock a different gift. Bring him a key and an offering, and he will let you open a lock.
- "Alice" - A young woman with white hair and dark circles around pale grey eyes
that always seem to be looking through and past you. Wears a dark blue
shawl stitched with silver sigils. There is a thick, knotted scar in a
ring around her neck. She smells strongly of potent magics
- FRIEND Terminal - A converted arcade cabinet. The old branding has been painted over with "FRIENDs in High PlaceS". Stick a quarter in and a smiley face will blip on the screen, and maybe offer you a job.
- Mr. Tamam - A weathered man in a long duster jacket. Enormous brown sideburns, arms tattooed with gemmatria. Postmaster of the underground. His services are reliable and affordable. He may call upon you to make a delivery.
- Dogmeat - Lanky woman wearing a rubber rottweiler mask. Long,
tangled, dirty blonde hair. Torn jeans. Black t-shirt with the save
point symbol from Silent Hill 3. Blood-stained baseball bat always within reach. Connections with Lighthouse.
- Doubtless-You-See-the-Connections - A der0 that can manage to interact with the greater world with a reasonable chance of success. Looks like an emaciated suffocation-blue macrocephalic infant. Encyclopedic knowledge of thousands of conspiracies, real and imagined, and a mostly reliable guide in the Underworld.
- Jon Tatterdemalion - A handsome man in a beautiful, travel-worm cloak. If given a magical item, he will exchange it for another or teach the giver a spell. He is guileful, haughty, gossipy, terribly intelligent, easy to flatter and difficult to fool. He seeks to find Irem the City of Pillars deep in the Underworld, and to avoid his ex-wife.
- The Lamplighter - A militant cultist of Lantern Boy, utterly devoted to destroying the Lamplighters' enemies and tracking down their missing messiah. Scarily single-minded.
- The Titan - A huge glass tank filled with murky yellow clouds. Two attendants in spacesuits, visors down, are present at all times, and will speak on its behalf. It is content to observe, but if you were to gain its interested attention it might teach you secrets of
- Apotheamniot - A creature like long-lost austrolopithicus; its head replaced with a bubble of amniotic fluid and the embryo of a failed apotheosis.
- The Man in the Hot, Dark Room - A new door has appeared. Your presence has been specifically requested.
The best part about anticanon is that you can just reuse characters in different contexts and amass a growing gallery of NPCs.ReplyDelete
v glad to see FRIEND in the underworld. also i see that hotline miami reference thereReplyDelete
It actually isn't! Not intentionally, at least. She showed up in one of the Anomalous Media entries.Delete
Niceeee. I'm especially a fan of "teach you the secrets of [blank]", and the contrast between Aramis and the other MusketeersReplyDelete