Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Ranger Caves: A place of sanctuary in this Topsy-Turvy world.

Hidden entrance to a Ranger Cave

  Dotted throughout the borderlands and hinterlands of the realm, are places of sanctuary known as ‘Ranger Caves’.
Life beyond the walls of the city can be dangerous. Bandits, inclement weather, hordes of monsters waiting to eat you; and all of that, before you’ve even eaten breakfast… and when night falls, well, that’s another matter entirely. Sometimes you just want to be able to rest, see to a wounded colleague, maybe patch your armour, fix a shield, or get a good night’s rest without being hassled by every wandering beastie that’s out there. Well, now you can.
Duggan, Head Ranger of the Northern Ward, proposed a system of sanctuaries, where those who knew how to look for it, could rest up safe and sound, before having to continue on their way. Initially, it was for Rangers only, and followed the long arc of their patrol routes, but over time, those who chose the path of Light and Law were allowed access. They are found throughout the landscape from the smouldering City of Arthuriatos in the south, to the shores of the Northern Marches. These places of respite can be caves, hollowed out tree-trunks, or any other type of refuge that’s off the beaten path and hidden from prying eyes.
  If they are so well hidden, then how do we find them I hear you ask? Simple really.
 Those in the know can give you directions, or, if you are out bumbling around the bush, just follow the signs. A PC with any sort of outdoor adventure skills should be able to spot them. A secret mark on a tree trunk, a row of bushes not normally found in these parts, or a subtle pile of branches and leaves showing you the way to safety. There are also closely guarded maps detailing their whereabouts. They are usually close to a fresh water source and away from animal paths. However, it would be wise to enter them with caution, especially in the winter, they make great hideouts for hibernating bears.
‘Ranger Caves’ are much more than just a place to lay your head. Fully stocked with everything a ranger, or a party of adventurers might conceivable need, they operate on an honour system. If you take something, then you either leave coin, or something to the value of what you have taken. If you use the fire-wood, then chop some more to replace what you have burned.  If you have anything you want to donate, feel free. There are several individuals whose job it is to make sure that the ‘Ranger Caves’ remain provisioned, especially before the winter snows fall. They use the money left behind to purchase more goods and equipment. There’s many a time a group of adventurers got caught short, and had to hole up during fierce snowstorms in order to survive.
 The areas around the cave are generally situated away from anything of interest, or places that might draw attention to your location. It is of the utmost importance that you do your best to remain hidden while using the ‘Ranger Cave’. Indiscriminate noise, and fire-building, will draw unnecessary attention to yourselves. Normally, a ‘Ranger Cave’ has a fireplace that allows the smoke to flow through a long system of ant/termite tunnels that run for many meters, usually ending on a river bank, just above the water, or some other innocuous part of the forest.
Smoke trickling from the ground. 
 So, next time you’re sick of sleeping in the rain? Head to your nearest ‘Ranger Cave’, and call it a day.

 What’s inside?
What’s listed below is just a rough guide of what you may find.  You can stock it as you see fit. Just ensure that there is at least the basic items for survival present in the ‘Ranger Cave’.

 Vitals (Some examples of what’s in the larder)
1.       Barrels of Salted Pork
2.       Dried and smoked Fish
3.       Dried and cured goat
4.       Dried Fruit
5.       Biltong (for my non-South African readers, that’s dried meat, similar to jerky in the States, but better ;)
6.       Root vegetables
7.       Peas
8.       Corn
9.       Mixed Legumes
10.   Elven Trail Bread
11.   Oats
12.   Dried Nuts and Berries
Equipment (A general idea of what you might find)
1.       Rope
2.       Iron Spikes
3.       Hammer
4.       Hand Axe
5.       Snares
6.       Tinderbox
7.       Lanterns
8.       Oil
9.       Hand Saw
10.   Chisels
11.   Block and Tackle
12.   Grappling Hook
13.   Canvas material
14.   Snow Shoes
15.   Waterskins
16.   Blankets
17.   Hammocks
18.   Firewood
19.   Fishing Tackle and hand-cast fishing nets
20.   Snares
21.   Potjie Pot (again, for my non-South African readers, this is a three legged pot that goes directly onto the embers of the fire. See picture below.)
22.   Whetstone
23.   Lamp Black
24.   Torches
25.   Rope Ladder
26.   Swatches of Leather
27.   Needles, thread, and cat-gut
28.   Small Mirror
29.   Candles
30.   Cloth Sacks ( Large and small)

Potjie Pot. ( Three legged)
 Weapons, Armour and Clothing (All left behind by other adventurers; 10% chance they are magical)
1.       Long Bow
2.       Quarrel of Arrows
3.       Spare Bow Strings
4.       Daggers
5.       Short Swords
6.       Staff
7.       Helmet
8.       Shield
9.       Boots
10.   Cloaks
11.   Basic clothing
12.   Leather Armour
13.   Breast Plate
14.   Mace
15.   Warhammer
16.   Spear
17.   Sling
18.   Crossbow
19.   Crossbow Bolts
20.   Long Sword
Healing and Priestly Accruements
1. Herbs (How much they restore is up to you)
2. Bandages
3. Ointments
4. Small Wooden Altar (Generic) could double as a table if need be)
5. Sharp Cutting Instruments
6. Slings and Splints

Monday, 23 March 2015

Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown

“Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose?
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude;
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then, happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown…”
Henry IV Act III, Scene 1

“Dawn bleeds, so too do the soldiers below. Slaughter. Ambush. Early morning carnage. A young mage lies grievously wounded, legs smashed to pieces by the weighty sledge of a Warhammer. He crawls, broken limbed, leaving a crimson trail behind him. Words fail him, magic escapes him. All he has is the pain to keep him going, keep him searching for a place to hide.
The attack is over as soon as it is begun. Edvard hears the victors finishing off the survivors, one bloody scream at a time. He pulls two bodies on top of him, and for the first time in his life, he prays. He closes his eyes and waits for fate to deal her hand. Miraculously, he sleeps, and is awoken hours later by the peck-peck-peck of a carrion crow slivering his cheeks. He is alive. Never has anything felt that good to the young sorcerer.
He rolls from under the dead weight and raises himself to scan his surroundings. The sun is setting, the day is done, there’s blood in the sky and on the ground. He sees a familiar face and croaks until he is noticed. Relief washes over him, as his man-at-arms picks up his destroyed body. He passes out.
When he awakes again, he is alone in the dark. His mind returns to the attack and knows that such a brazen act could mean only one thing: betrayal. In the morning he summons what’s left of his father’s army. A quick head-count reveals who is not among them. The traitor now has a name. Prince Edvard leads them to the coast and across the sea to The Isle, and it is here that he waits for his revenge…” The Chronicles of the Lich Liege

And wait he did. Ten years became twenty. Twenty grew to forty, and still, he did not stir. His army grew, so too did his power; and when death came knocking again, he laughed in its cowled face, spat on the ground, and continued hating, continued planning.
 Then, one day, he unleashed the hate…
They spread quickly, like a plague, and over the water they came. Ships blackened the ocean and when they landed, fire and flame blackened the rest.  Edvard, the Lich Liege, rode at the head of the invaders and left none to live. The land was raised, the people destroyed, and the traitors made to pay for their deeds of yore.
 Edvard had not forgotten, nor had he forgiven, and even though these men were now very old indeed, he tortured them over as many days as their weakened frames might allow; and when they thought they were safe in death’s blessed embrace, he had them raised so he could kill them again. And again, and again, and again…
Edvard, finally King of his own lands, sat on his father’s throne and saw that it was good.
He ruled with a bloody fist.
 His reign of damnation knew no bounds. All that was, was no more. Only his castle now stood, the place of his birth, with the blood of the treacherous dripping from its walls, while the wind blew merry tunes through the eye-sockets of the fallen.
The castle became a symbol of evil, a blight on the ground from which it rose. It was dubbed the Maw, because once you went in, you never came out.
 He repopulated the land with his own people from The Isle, people he could trust. They wore his mark on their hands and around their necks; a seven pointed sign that came to signify pain and suffering on an unimaginable scale.
 His power grew even more, but so too did his distrust. Sedition, he imagined, was everywhere. He let slip his clergy on the lands to the south and they rode day and night seeking out those that would thwart their lich liege’s plans, or take up arms and turn their weapons against him.
Do-gooders, saints, fair of face and glad of heart had no place under the rule of the Lich Liege. All that was good was to be destroyed. The forces of Light fell quickly. The rule of law left the land. His clergy, or the Skinners, as they soon come to be known, were single-minded in their purpose. Driven to torture and to wear the skins of their victims over their own, they quickly turned the lands around Edvards kingdom to nought but waste.
But Edvard’s paranoia knew no bounds, he imagined he saw spies and agents of misfortune everywhere, even in those closest to him. He decimated his most loyal followers and thinned out the ranks of his armies until even they could not stand to live under his oppressive yoke.
Where there had once been nothing but dark devotion to their master, they sought to free themselves, and the land, of this, their ruinous Lich Lord. Those wearing the sigil of the Lich turned their hearts against him and stormed the very castle they had long protected. Edvard, betrayed by a revolution of his own making, watched in disbelief as his castle fell and was reduced to rubble all around him.
No one knows if he was vanquished that day, no corpse was ever found. The castle was soon deserted and left for the wilds to do with as they pleased. Stunted, misshapen trees now guard the hallways and meeting halls. Crows and rooks nest in the Black Tower and look down disdainfully at what was once the throne room of Edvard, the Lich Liege.
But true evil never dies… it lies waiting in hellish slumber for those fools brave enough to disturb its nightmarish sleep. Rumours abound of the treasures that were left behind, fortunes a thousand times over. Heaps of coin, barrels of gems, bolts of silk and other such finery all there for the taking.
And what of Edvard? Who knows, but it is said that a hollow figure dressed in ragged raiment walks the halls, planning… ever planning… his final revenge...

Friday, 20 March 2015

The Crow Road.

In Scotland the phrase, “The Crow Road” means death, as in, “Poor wee Tam, that last goblin checkpoint was just a bridge too far. He’s awa’ the Crow Road”.
In my game world, it’s a stone walled, sod roofed, howff, found on the lee-side of Stormness Harbour. A harbour that looks out onto a bit of sea called the Milch, with the low brown scrim of the Scapa Isles way off in the distance.

The Crow Road was built a hundred years ago, about the time the harbour was completed. It serves the local fishing community come rain or shine; and believe me, this far north, there’s more rain than shine. Famous for its food and stout, it’s known up and down the Highlands, and the Lowlands. Even the King has blessed this simple tavern with his regal presence and proclaimed the porter the finest beverage he’s ever tasted. In fact, a wagon-full heads south to Dumbarton castle monthly.

The owner, and brewer, and chief-cook ‘n’ bottle washer, is a strapping Highlander by the name of Angus McKay. He used to be an adventurer but gave it up after a near-death experience at the hands/ tentacles of some flesh-eating, otherworldly horror. He decided then and there, that he would sooner die in his own bed, than be little pink chunks strewn around the bottom of some obscure dungeon while grubbing for coin. Sod that for a game of soldiers were his exact words.
He bought the Crow Road off the then current owner for the sum of 500 gp and several head of Highland cattle. He built a small brewery at the back off the tavern, in the woods, close to a fast running stream. He buys his barley and hops from a local farmer and the rest is history. He blackens the barley to give his porter its distinctive colour, taste and aroma, and serves it as cold as possible by storing his barrels down in the cellar.
The howff is a busy one. Locals, wanderers, adventurers, off to try their hands at the ruins of Cunsmore Castle only sixteen miles along the muddy, wheel rutted road. There’s a dungeon there, a big one, goes down for miles apparently. Level upon level of coin and creatures, in the dark, waiting.
The locals are fishermen for the most part. Farmers, woodcutters, carpenters, boat builders, fishmongers. The usual sort it takes to make a town successful. The area is safer than most because the Regent is enamoured with what’s brewed here, so he’s stationed a full garrison to protect the village, especially the Crow Road.
Ceilidhs happen every fifth night around a roaring fire until the sun splits the sky and the hangovers start to split the head. There’s a wee group of minstrels who come up from the Bards College in the south to perform for everyone. They play the pipes and drums and the noise is truly something to hear. That’s when the Crow Road is at its busiest, full to the rafters with everyone in the hamlet, having a good time drinking, singing, and telling tales.
Here’s just a few people you might encounter on a wet and windy night at the Crow Road.

Fergus Conner.
Local lad and struggling artist. He’s taken to being a painter, much against his father’s wishes. He prowls the surrounding areas looking for inspiration, waiting for something to move him so that he might paint his next masterpiece. He has talent, that’s for sure, and he’s even managed to sell a few pieces here and there.  Nothing major, no royal or high-born commissions just yet, but give time he might just become incredibly popular if he finds a wealthy sponsor. He has done some private work that he keeps a secret. Some rather risqué pieces for Lady Hayes, full-length nudes of her Ladyship reclining in her boudoir. She sends them monthly to her ex-husband, Lord Hayes, so he can be reminded just what he is missing out on. She has taken young Fergus as a clandestine lover. He only hopes she will adopt his cause and get him to paint something other than her more than ample bosom.

Tam Broon.
Local farmer. His lands were once the site of the Battle of Culloden, where the King-over-the-Water faced defeat at the hands of the Sassenach invaders. He’s aye picking up bits-and-bobs from the battlefield and turning them into farming implements. His lands are haunted. Heavily haunted. You can’t turn sideways without bumping into some ghost or another. At night, especially when the moon is full, you can see them all lined up on either sides of his wheat fields, waiting for the order to charge. They are done come sun-up, but every evening they return to the fields to do bloody battle with each other. Most of the dead are harmless, but every once in a while, a Wraith will claw its way through from the other side and get up to all manner of mischief. Killing the cattle, eviscerating the sheep. It’s then that Tam has to call for the local Cleric to rid his land of the unwelcome visitor. Tam is married, seven children, all girls and the spitting image of their mother. Between the ghosts and the unwelcome suitors, Tam’s not shy to lets his hair down at the Ceilidh.

Father Colin McGuire
Local Cleric and arbiter in all matters that can’t be settled by themselves. Elderly, portly, but highly gifted and devout in his calling. He has a strong right arm, and many the times he’s had to use it. He was married, once, but she died when he was away in the Burning Lands. He never forgave himself, and neither did she. She haunts the woods surrounding the wee village. She has become a bansidhe and mourns for her love, nightly. He can’t stomach the thought of having to try and turn her, so he lets her moan and wail and slip forlornly through the trees. He likes to carve bits of driftwood into life-like replicas of the angelic horde. These he sells at the monthly market and spends the proceeds in repairing the local kirk. It needs a whole new roof, and Father McGuire won’t stop till it has one. In the basement of the kirk is a wealth of maps, books, strange weaponry and bizarre pieces of armour from his time abroad in the Burning Lands. He likes to go down there at night and relive his youth. He also keeps jars filled with large scorpions, spiders, lizards and other desert creatures.

Stewart Rennie
Local gravedigger. He’s a quiet lad, keeps himself to himself. Took over from his father when he passed away a few years back. He maintains the grounds surrounding the local kirk and ensures the gravestones are still standing after the sudden gusts and gales. But Stewart has a secret, a dark one. Every few weeks he heads south to the city for a few days. While he’s there, he kills people with his bare hands. He likes to strangle the life right out of them, see the fires die in their eyes. Then he dismembers the bodies bringing only the heads back home. The rest he leaves for the local watch to stumble over. He keeps the heads on wooden shelves in his cellar. He is a minor necromancer and uses a simple cantrip to keep the heads from rotting. He likes to cradle them in his lap while he brushes their hair. One hundred strokes precisely.

Morag Black
Known as the mistress of the Milch, Morag owns a fleet of highly successful fishing vessels, and is undoubtedly the richest person in the area. Not that you would know it though. She lives plainly, and simply, and is extremely charitable with her coin. She doesn’t believe in the gods so she won’t contribute to the rebuilding of the kirk, but she will help the Father with his orphanage work. She is a hard worker and her men would do anything for her. She pays well, on time, and with real gold. They would follow her to the gates of hell if they had too. Her only extravagance is a pair of gold earrings that she wears constantly. These she says she would use to pay the ferryman if she were ever drowned at sea. She makes sure her men do the same. She too has a secret. Once, when she was but a girl, she went out on her father’s row-boat to check the gill-nets. She pulled in a Merman who had become entangled during a storm the night before. He thanked her, and offered up his heart to her. She accepted and when she was of age the wed in secret. He can only come aboard her boat at night as he transforms into a normal man, but in the morning he must be gone.

 Next week I’ll type up a few more.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Keep on Keepin' on...

I ran the Keep on the Borderlands on Saturday night for two of my regular players. Stalwart players, never miss a session. We rolled up some new characters using the Red Box ’83 Basic Rules. For me, this was the first D&D rule-set I ever saw.  Living in the arse-end of the world, I didn’t even know that there were any other rules that had come before this glorious creation in red.
 By the time I got into it properly in ’86, Gygax was out of TSR. Didn’t know that either. Not that it really mattered, what he left behind was better than good enough for me.
 That changed though, my understanding of the hobby, but only many years later was I able to learn about the pedigree of one of my favourite past times. I begged/borrowed/stole a bunch of modules from my cousin who lived in Johannesburg. He was moving up to AD&D and giving me all his Basic D&D stuff, and for that I am eternally grateful. I have written about the above before, last year, I was reminiscing about how I got into playing RPGs.
Anyway, I got a stack of modules, and I was going through them when I came across the Keep. It was old even then; dented, dinged, loose pages, been played to hell and back. I was curious about it, because it looked nothing like the slick stuff TSR had been producing round about then.  This had…charm, character. The cover was so-so, but I turned it over and something about that picture on the back just fekkin’ clicked for me. You know what I mean, the Otus one, with the party walking up the causeway in the blazing light toward a Keep that’s coated in the sun’s rays making it glow.
Yup, I remember staring at it for ages, just enjoying its powerful simplicity. From seeing the map I figure it’s a sunrise, and I suppose there’s a bit of symbolism there, who knows. But for me, it’s always been a sunset. A grand glorious light, so bright, that you would have to squint to see where you were going. It made the Keep feel almost unreal, as if this was the end of their adventuring days and they were coming here to rest. Put their feet up after all the rigours of the road and the dangers of the dungeons. Smoke their pipes, drink a flagon or ten, and generally just relax.  It made the Keep become almost a type of Valhalla in my mind’s eye.
 Maybe these characters were dead? Who knows? Maybe they are trudging up the road toward their final destination? That the Keep is not actually a Keep, but a place of sanctuary? Like when the Astronauts land on Mars in Ray Bradbury’s ‘Martian Chronicles’ and they see that it is identical to what they have just left behind. Familiar faces, smells, people, tastes, sight and sounds. In fact, just like home. But beneath all that nostalgia, there is a dark undertow… not so for the Keep. I imagined it filled with all the people that they might have lost along the way, populated with friends, family even.  Dare I say a sort of adventurer heaven? That’s how I feel when I look at it.

"All fled, all done, so lift me on the pyre;
The feast is over and the lamps expire."
     Robert E Howard's suicide note.

Yeah, a great sense of nostalgia there, on that back cover. When you are young, for most of us at least, life is simple, smooth, uncomplicated. It might not feel like it at the time, but it usually is. When you get older, the road gets rockier, the pressures more pressing. Mortgages, bills, marriage, children, responsibilities all tumblin’ over one another. It can be scary. Really scary. But as life would say, ‘Hey, what you gonna do about it?’  And really, what can you do about it? Who knows, just Keep on Keepin’ on I suppose.

So, do we play stripped down RPG systems that are similar to the ones from our youth, because we have enough complications in our life at present and we just want something easy, simple and fun to run? Or, do we play stripped down systems because it reminds us of our youth and a time where things were, simple, fun, and easy to run? I don’t know. I’m not sure I know the answer to that. For each of us it will be different I suppose. All I know is that Otus did a great piece of art there... oh, and the modules not that bad either!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

d100. What the Butler saw...

You think you failed your 'listen-at the-door' roll, so what's next? Yup, d100, ' What the Butler saw...'

1. Fairies wearing boots and a little dwarf

2. Four heavily armed guards around a table playing cards

3. A young maiden singing quietly to herself working a loom

4. An old man peering intently into a crystal ball

5. A minotaur using a whetstone to sharpen a mighty axe

6. A robed individual arguing with an imp

7. A magic user measuring out a glowing liquid into potion bottles

8. A melancholy halfling blowing his nose and wiping away his tears with an embroidered handkerchief

9. A bleeding man chained to the wall

10. Another keyhole, then another keyhole, then another keyhole, then another…

11. A cobbler sitting on a milking stool fixing a pair of boots

12. An eerie green gas that takes on the shape of various eldritch horrors before switching to another

13. A hooded torturer putting the screws to someone

14. Can’t see, the light is too bright

15. A captain berating an obviously inebriated soldier

16. An orc playing keep-it-up with a severed head

17. A young princess combing her long lustrous hair

18. A beautiful sunset complete with golden clouds and birds on the wing

19. Two magicians playing a game of skaak/chess

20. Yourself, staring back at you

21. A witch cackling wildly stirring a glowing cauldron

22. A mime trying to get out of a box

23. A young prince practising with his rapier

24. A knight on bended knee before his liege

25. A grey haired man sitting on a huge throne stroking a snow-white cat

26. A ball of lightning ricocheting around the room

27. Nothing at all, the room is pitch dark

28. A Bard tuning his mandolin and warming up his voice

29. A bloodshot eye staring right back at you

30. A suckling pig being turned over a woodfire

31. Two knights in a fight to the death

32. A scraggly haired, bare chested loon, sitting in the corner begging for a cat to play with

33. Two fighters bent over a table moving flags of various colours around

34. A pair of drunken half-orcs slugging it out

35. A kilted bagpiper warming up his instrument

36. An elf snoring loudly with his head on a table full of empty wine bottles

37. Someone’s finger a second before they poke you in the eye

38. A bizarre automaton that’s twisting and turning, emitting shrill bursts of steam

39. A sandy beach with waves rolling in

40. A baker weighing out flour into a huge pair of scales

41. An aviary full of exotic birds with bright plumage

42. A man wearing a crown that’s asleep on a throne

43. A Jester practicing his tumbling

44. An execution by axe

45. A young squire polishing a suit of armour

46. A dancing bear

47. A small boy juggling pots and pans

48. A small two-legged dinosaur in a cage

49. A black robed mage in the process of summoning a demon

50. A dark and twisted forest with a glowing lantern bobbing toward you

51. A menagerie of feathered cats

52. An old man bent over a telescope that’s pointed at the fire

53. A water clock that uses blood instead

54. A shuffle of zombies circling the room

55. An upside down cross over a skull laden altar

56. A well-stocked library containing ‘saucy’ books like, ‘ What the Butler saw’

57. A figure in red sneaking stealthily toward you

58. A gambolling skeleton

59. Nothing but oblong shadows

60. A young lady that’s bound and gagged and tied to a chair

61. Several spear wielding guards performing a slow ceremonial march around a large stone coffin

62. A large monkey perched on a barrel banging two cymbals together

63. A drunken fool reciting terrible poetry at the top of his voice

64. A group of soldiers practising their cut-and-thrust on live hobgoblins chained to pillars

65. Someone holding a loaded crossbow that’s pointing straight at you

66. Twilight-grey storm clouds scudding over an abandoned city

67. A giant marionette hanging forlornly from its strings

68. An elderly statesman rehearsing a speech in front of a full length mirror

69. The princess and the stable boy going at it hammer-and-tongs

70. A huge pile of treasure

71. A clown putting on his makeup

72. Row upon row of desks filled with gnome accountants hard at work

73. A goblin barbershop quartet singing ‘ The Merry Widow’

74. A flesh-dancer practising various shapes

75. A trial being led by a powdered wig wearing balderdash

76. A tapestry depicting someone that looks like you staring through a keyhole

77. A room that’s upside down. All the chairs and tables are on the roof and the chandelier is on the floor

78. A one eyed dwarf sharpening a sword on a wheel-stone

79. A yawning abyss

80. A yawning abscess

81. A fair maiden watering an indoor garden

82. Off in the distance a gigantic Dark Tower

83. An invisible orchestra playing Gygax’s 8th Symphony

84. A map on the opposite wall with a sign that reads, ‘You are here’ thanks, you know who you are ;)

85. Several bodies hanging from the roof on hooks

86. A golden sarcophagus surrounded by lit candles, smouldering incense, and bunches of wild garlic flowers

87. A huge block of ice containing a large ape

88. A religious service being held around a thrashing body that’s tied to an altar in the middle of the room

89. Someone wearing a white sheet with eye-holes cut into it pretending to be a ghost

90. A goose laying a golden duck that lays a golden hen that lays a golden quail that lays a golden coin

91. A stonemason carving your name on a gravestone with today’s date at the bottom

92. Smoke, flashing lights, loud noises, strange smells

93. A young man with wild pointy hair, frantically sewing the head back on a piecemeal body

94. Row upon row of raggedy dolls staring at you with dead black eyes

95. A group of robed individuals sitting around a table playing a game using odd shaped dice, and using even odder sounding voices

96. A sadistic Witchfinder torturing a young fawn

97. A stone obelisk

98. A stone asterisk

99. Smoke. It gets in your eye

100. Just what you were looking for all along

Monday, 2 March 2015

d30. What's in the trunk,bub?

‘Mister state trooper, please don't stop me
Please don't stop me, please don't stop me…’
Bruce Springsteen

For a slightly more ‘modern’ version of Gangbusters.

‘You didn’t mean for your driver to get clipped. Not your fault. How you were you supposed to know he was going to get high right before the job? It was supposed to be simple. Now it’s anything but. You didn’t think you were going to make it on foot. Thank the gods of felonious behaviour she came round the corner when she did. 80 if she was a day, and not a clue what was going on. Now that you think about it, she did give you a rather peculiar smile when you drove away with her car. Who cares? Now you’ve got your gun, the goods, and a fairly decent getaway car. Smooth sailing…wait…what? Cops? Oh man, now what? Busted taillight? Can you believe that crap?’

1.   Nothing of interest. Just a spare tyre.

2. A black beret, fake mustache, toy gun, and a bag of cash

3. A shovel with freshly turned dirt on it. Also, bits of hair, skin, and bone stuck to the handle

4. A sports bag full of stolen pistols.

5. Hidden in the tyre well. Two bricks of uncut heroin.

6. A toe. Resplendent with bright red nail polish.

7. A huge pizza. Half Salami. Half Anchovy.

8. A basket full of freshly baked muffins.

9. A few hundred stolen cell phones.

10. Several jugs of moonshine.

11. Cartons of cigarettes without tax stickers.

12. A box of kittens.

13. Vials containing a strange glowing substance of unknown origin.

14. Files full of stolen credit card details.

15. A fishing rod, a box of tackle, a picnic basket, and several sticks of very unstable dynamite.

16. A Louisville Slugger covered in blood and teeth.

17. A knitting basket.

18. A knitting basket with 100k’s worth of counterfeit money beneath the wool

19. A pocket of oranges concealing a sawn-off shotgun.

20. Boxes of stolen library books going back to the late 1950’s.

21. A body wrapped in a shower curtain and a bucket of lime.

22. A statue of a weeping angel.

23. Thirty counterfeit Rolex watches.

24. Torn pages and photos from Project Bluebook.

25. An out of state road map with red X’s scattered up and down the highways.

26. A piece of shiny weather balloon type material.

27. A small black book written in a strange code but the front page contains the President’s private cell phone number.

28. Two kilos of Bolivian Bingo Dust.

29. A tube containing stolen Impressionist artwork.

30. A small bag of conflict diamonds.