Friday, February 12, 2016

Mascot Not-Monday: Superb Owl Insanity Edition

In the Long Long Ago, the Owls ruled what is now Wampus Country.  Their empire was sublime, and strange, and superb.

Hear now of the great madness of the Owls.


PUPPYMONKEYBABY 

Requirements: DEX 9, CHA 9

Ability Modifiers: None

Ability Min/Max: STR 6/18 (15), DEX 9/18, CON 8/18, INT 7/18, WIS 3/18, CHA 9/18

Pity the puppymonkeybaby, for it is a freakish and twisted creature of chaos.  A likely product of magical experimentation (an easy enough explanation for such blasphemy), the puppymonkeybaby seems to be a mix of three species - a poggle-like dogfolk, a small simian, and a human or halfling.  Not coincidentally, all three of these races were slave-races to the great and wise owls of the Long Long Ago, if sages are to be believed.  In the wild, puppymonkeybabies live in small familial groups, dividing their time between arboreal recreation and foraging on the ground.

On a good day, a puppymonkeybaby is childlike, happy, and cooperative; on a bad day, it is petty, self-centered, and whiny.  Perhaps it is the poggle in them, or the means by which they were originally created, but puppymonkeybabies tend toward Chaos.  Some few are Neutral, and may even glom on to human "friends", attempting to help them by hand-delivering beverages, but in the end the fickle and childish puppymonkeybaby typically bursts into a rage over some small or imagined slight.  When dealing with human society, some wear kilts or dhotis, but in the wilds of the trees, puppymonkeybabies like to let their stuff fly free, the better to strike horror and revulsion into the hearts of their neighbors.

A "tame" puppymonkeybaby, in use as a serving-lad.
As creatures born of Chaos, puppymonkeybabies are resistant to magic, and some few of them demonstrate the spellcasting abilities of a chaotic cleric.  Puppymonkeybabies are natural climbers and should receive an appropriate small bonus (15%, or +1 in 6) to climbing rolls even if they are not thieves.

Puppymonkeybabies may not use large and two-handed weapons, but they may use weapon and armor as indicated by class.  Nevertheless, some puppymonkeybabies eschew heavy armor in favor of their own natural agility and climbing ability.

Puppymonkeybabies can see in the dark with infravision up to 60 feet.

Puppymonkeybabies in Wampus Country can understand the common tongue, but are restricted in their speech.  Each puppymonkeybaby knows a number of words - mostly nouns and a few verbs - equal to its Intelligence score; the first three of these must be 'puppy', 'monkey', and 'baby'.  Companions of a puppymonkeybaby quickly learn to properly interpret the words used, in context or metaphorically.  For example, 'puppy' might be a command to follow today, but tomorrow the little freak is using 'puppy' to mean 'cute' or 'small'; often the slow recitation of 'puppy, monkey, baby' means 'totality' or 'to make whole', and may accompany the use of a healing power.  This linguistic restriction has no effect on a puppymonkeybaby cleric's ability to cast spells.


Puppymonkeybabies receive the following saving throw bonuses:
• +2 save versus breath attacks
• +4 save versus wands
• +4 save versus spells or spell-like devices
Puppymonkeybabies are creepy as shit, and as such they receive bonuses to defend against magical effects. In addition, their small size grants them a bonus to finding cover and avoiding breath attacks.

Civilized puppymonkeybabies may select from the following classes, with the indicated level limits.

PUPPYMONKEYBABY CLASSES AVAILABLE
Class Level Limit
Assassin 7
Cleric 7
Fighter 6
Thief 11

Puppymonkeybaby thieves receive the following bonuses and penalties to thief abilities:

PUPPYMONKEYBABY THIEF SKILL ADJUSTMENTS
Skill Adjustment
Pick Locks -5%
Find and Remove Traps -5%
Move Silently +5%
Climb Walls +15%
Hide in Shadows +0%


"It's a very difficult magical problem, Doctor Wiggins - the sort which, I'm afraid, can only be solved by painstakingly creating some kind of ridiculous and improbable hybrid animal-monster the likes of which future generations will question as completely insane, or deride as the insipid fever-dream of a syphilitic hedge-mage.  But such is the heady responsibility of  wizardry, and we must not shy from it for an instant."



Saturday, January 30, 2016

New Arrivals: Fresh Faces in Wampus Country

As the Wampus Country campaign once again stirs to life - however slowly - it behooves us dedicated Wampus-watchers to maintain an awareness of the movers and shakers, the headline-makers, and the interesting characters locals are talking about.  To that end, the following discussion of several people recently making names for themselves in central Wampus Country, as reported by the ever-reputable fishwrap and cage-liner, the River-Town Gazette.


The Mystery-Solving Pig

The casino floor and swill-halls are pierced by the pitter-pat of pork, and the tenderloin titters about tenderloin!  Some months ago a little piglet appeared on the scene in River-Town, taking work as an inspector-for-hire, recoverer of lost things, and general troubleshooter.  His name is J. Pinkerton Piglet, P.I. (Porcine Investigator), but the gossips and lovely ladies along the river just call him "Pinky".  Witty but fond of the sound of his own voice, Pinky seems to be quite educated for such a young-looking pig, and he has wielded his keen mind to not only solve several interesting cases, but also to evade the violent attention of charismatic criminal Reverend Tater.  Pinky is occasionally accompanied by his slime Friday, a liberal-minded meeb called Gleeble, whose quivering lime-green form has become quite welcome in River-Town since this boneless wonder rescued a pair of Scorpion-priests from the slavering depradations of a ruthless sewer-troll.  They have won our hearts most certainly - what could this strange duo next accomplish?  He's a genius talking piglet, and it's a brawny man-of-jam -- they fight crime!

Pinky's rumored dual pairs of Boots of Striding & Springing make him a formidible parkour badass.


Soiree of the Stylish Sorceress

Skulls spin when sartorially-splendid spellslinger Incantada Impossiblay enters the room not only because of her striking beauty and fashion choices, but due to the meandering orrery of precious stones which seem to orbit her head in a display of cosmic devotion.  After taking rooms at the Sumbitch Hotel several weeks ago, she has come down from the fourth floor only a few times to conduct whispered business with a series of shifty-looking out-of-towners; an unnamed source at the hotel reveals Impossiblay takes but one meal a day in the form of a bowl of clarified butter.  She is accompanied at all times by her presumed familiar, a murderous-looking porcelain doll-homunculus identified as "Mister Tickle-pants".  Another rumor suggests Incantada Impossiblay is the former partner - business or romantic is unclear - of the famed Ruprecht the Hill-Devil; unfortunately since Thunderbolt Black's Action Show is on tour at the moment, the furry trick-rider in question has yet to be interrogated on the matter.  The sorceress carries a wand made of some sort of exotic ivory, and wears long artificial nails of iridescent glass on the fingers of her left hand.  In the last week she has made some discreet inquiries about renting a hall for a party; this randy reporter wonders what must be done to secure a ticket to what may prove to be the most exclusive hoedown of the year.


Incantada Impossiblay, said to have dealings with the twisted fey of the Summerlands.



Too Many Cocks Spoil The Brawl

The swamp-fighting circuit in Frogport is no joke and has made - or ruined - the reputation of many a pugilist.  Recently, however, the masculine punching scene has been suplexed topsy-turvy by the uproarious arrival of a group of rooster-men who have taken on all comers in tag-team events and won a number of individual matches to boot.  They appear to be less natural-born roosters and more men who have become battling bantams via sorcery, but have no doubt that these cocks are game -- wild moves, surprising strength, and impeccable teamwork have put them over the top, and they are winning money wing over fist.  As a matter of fact, the four roostermen are in line to contest and win the biannual "Sweaty Summer Swamp Slappin'" tournament this year, to the tune of $5000 plus possible endorsements - not chump change.  Who are these fighting-cocks, and from whence have they come?  An obtuse source suggests they may be aligned with Baron Von Kluck, that feathered criminal mastermind, but when confronted about a connection or plans to win the $5000 via cockfighters, the wealthy Von Kluck demurred, stating he would not get out of bed for such a poultry sum.


One of the Frogport Roostermen, known in the wrestling ring as "Buck Hardbreast".





Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tome Forty-One: Theriospheric Transfigurations Released

Sometimes musical artists release albums named after the age at which they wrote or recorded the material.  In that spirit, I have released a small compilation of Wampus material to DriveThru as a pay-what-you-want pdf in celebration of my forty-first birthday.  Tome Forty-One: Theriospheric Transfigurations contains an assortment of animal-themed material from the blog (including a mess of spells) supplemented by some new material (including more new spells).

Perhaps next year I'll manage Tome Forty-Two; also in consideration, combining material generated by my son (aka The Boy) with some new material inspired by him, and call it Tome Eleven.  

I have a couple other themed article compilations in the hopper, in various stages of completeness.  Of these, I expect the one with the hexcrawl appended to be finished last!

New content in 'Tome 41' includes spells about cows.  You know you need that.



Saturday, August 29, 2015

Artifacts from the Cult of Freet

From the wizard-journal of Alphonse the Absurd, traveling sorcerer.  Alphonse's journal is magic-bound to another journal, kept safely in a vault in River-Town; whatever he writes in his leatherbound journal appears in the second copy within several hours.  It is from this secondary copy that we spy upon his meanderings.


It is with no small serving of joy that I am pleased to report that I have uncovered a buried cache of treasure, at the cost of only three henchmen and my green-and-gold waistcoat.  If this expedition to the pine barrens had not borne fruit, I would have certainly been most inconvenienced by the collection-daggers of Reverend Tater's debt-hunters, but now that eventuality has been dispelled.

Beneath an enruned outcropping marking the boundary between two pathetic Freeholder farms, I have located what is surely a noteworthy treasure of the north.  A child-sized golden coffin contained several priestly spell-scrolls, a goodly amount of northern-style jewelry and coin, and not one, but two enchanted items of old which I shall now detail, my investigations being complete.  The coffin also contained human remains, but I have yet to find a good way to monetize these.  All of the other contents seem related to the moribund cult of a godling called Freet, the Lord of the Burning-Deeps, once respected by the ancestors of the Freeholders, according to their own Smultringa Saga.


FREET, Lord of the Burning-Deeps
Presumably counted among the Vicelords, Freet appears to be a minor pleasure-daemon of gluttony and excess, truly a thing that should not be.  Painting himself as a welcoming father-figure, he encourages his followers to consume blatantly unhealthy yet delicious food as a means of worship.  Freet is portrayed in artwork as a relatively formless, lumpen brown mass, sweating oil.  Clerics who swear fealty to Papa Freet are taught all three of the spells below, plus a clerical version of the wizard spell grease; a priest who merely spends a weekend in the debauchery of proper over-the-top Freet-worship may learn one of the spells as a gift.

Ingesting the Abomination
first-level spell
While intoning the chants to Papa Freet that make up this spell, the priest breads or batters a nonliving item of any shape weighing less than ten pounds, then deep-fries the object (obviously a large enough fryer is required).  Once deep fried, the object may be safely eaten, no matter its size or composition.  The object is gently nestled within folded-space in the consumer's stomach, and can be disgorged (process takes 1d4 rounds) anytime within the following four hours.  At the end of the four hours, the gurgitator makes a CON save; if passed, the object is digested as nutritious food of equivalent mass (note that this can still be distressing if the object is large enough).  If the CON save is failed, the object pops out of folded-space and exists inside the consumer's body; this is probably really, really bad, and the GM will adjudicate the results accordingly.

Commanding Rejuvenation of Papa Freet
second level spell
The priest consumes a cup of hot oil (taking 1hp damage in the process).  For the next eight hours, his or her turning ability works against creatures of sucromancy or sweetness in addition to their normal targets.  Whether it's a cupcake golem, a sugarplum fairy, or a peppermint shrike, all sweets are "improved" by the touch of the Lord of the Burning-Deeps.

Freedom Fries
second level spell
The cleric performs a series of ritual cuts on a normal potato, inserts four coins into the potato (because freedom isn't free), then speaks the mystic words of the spell (reported in the Smultringa saga to be "Ia Ia Murka").  All nonmagical locks within ten feet of the potato immediately open.  The coins are consumed in the casting, but the carved potato remains.


ITEMS familiar to the FREET-CULT

The Onion Ring
A golden-brown ring worn on the pinky, this ensorcelled treat allows the wearer to change his or her appearance once per day, as an alter self spell, by slowly peeling off layers of their own skin and revealing the new form beneath (the process takes 1 turn and is pretty disgusting).  The transformation does not wear off; the wearer must re-peel back to their normal form the next day, if that be their goal.  A good proper dispel will return the onion ring's wearer to their normal form.

Aspergillum of St. Poutine
Although it appears to be - and functions as - a flail +1, this item is primarily designed to be filled with blessed gravy.  Ideographs along the length of the weapon can guide any cleric or chef to assemble the proper ingredients to cook up basic gravy sacred to Papa Freet, the Aspergillum of St. Poutine has a further secret.  If the holy gravy is made to contain the bones of a particular kind of creature - a wolf, a manticore, a man - then that batch of gravy, when placed in the Aspergillum, will make the weapon act as +3 versus that sort of creature.  This bonus enchantment lasts only until the gravy congeals within the Aspergillum (1d3 hours).

Druids who pay proper homage to Freet learn this variant of Goodberry.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Ever-Bright

EVER-BRIGHT

Recently completed, Ever-Bright is the gleaming capital-castle of the rabbitjacks of Dawn Valley.  Although most of the valley is quiet farmland, Ever-Bright is crowded and busy, its wending hallways and overlapping briar-bridges always crawling with rabbitjacks and jills hurrying about their business.  Most of the surfaces and edges in Ever-Bright are curved, which gives the city an unreal, dreamy quality.  The byways of the city lead seamlessly to the boulevard-tunnels that run underneath the length and width of the valley; in this way the castle-city of Ever-Bright is an extension of the vast rabbitjack warrens, an intimidating fortress defending Dawn Valley from the forces of the Witch Queen.

What to See
Make the time to visit the Gardens - not the ones replete with oversized carrots and turnips-of-many-colors, but the Crystal Gardens, a sprawling, labyrinthine display of the sort of alien sculpture that reminds the rabbitjacks that they hail from another place.  The installations are myriad: ululating silver wires and ribbons, fractal trees seemingly painted into three-dimensional existence, crystals born inside crystals, and a machine lazily spitting ephemeral soap bubbles which resemble passersby.  Most Wampus folk associate the rabbitjacks with alchemy, but in truth their native technology goes far beyond magical brewing into strangeness such as "portable holes" (several of which are laying about in the Gardens).

Where to Stay
Visitors don't have much choice, being restricted to spending the night in the Super Friendly Hotel; it's the only place in town authorized to host non-rabbitjacks overnight.  It's purely a security issue; Dawn Valley lies so close to the Witch-Queen's Candylands that every visitor is a little suspect.  While staying at the Super Friendly, you should expect to be observed, followed, spied upon constantly, and so forth.  Again, this is for security purposes; it's nothing personal.  Being assigned a covert 'handler' during your stay should be taken as a compliment - they don't do that for your average melon-farmer.

Where to Pray
The rabbitjacks have little in the way of native religion, although they have certain rabbitist philosophies that guide their laws.  The rabbit elders have recently allowed the construction of what they call a Mutual Church in Ever-Bright - a large, cathedral-like space where outsiders are allowed to set up shrines of foreign godlings.  As surely as nature abhors a vacuum, it wasn't long before priests devoted to Taronja, Gloriana, and the Scorpion-God claimed their niches in the building.  Though these clerics are allowed to preach to the intellectually-curious rabbitjacks, full conversions have been few.  A heterodox priest could easily make a living in Ever-Bright by claiming space in the Mutual Church.

What to Eat
All manner of vegetables and greens are widely available in Ever-Bright, some in unusual sizes and colors, and many of them bred to be sweeter than usual to suit the rabbitjack palate.  As such, when you visit such up-and-coming Ever-Bright eateries as Four Leaves or The Parsnip Star, you will be able to delight in such delicacies as maple-glazed blue potatoes, variegated leeks, and a salad of crimson endive, sweet-and-sour chard, and green apples garnished with candied cashews and a grumbleberry vinaigrette.  Meat is just simply not available at taverns and restaurants in Ever-Bright, but can be found in some private homes of non-rabbitjacks.  However, the Cottontail Arms, a private club, serves a remarkable veggie burger slathered in a sweet, spicy pepper and guava chutney that must be tasted to be believed.

What to Buy
Both commercial and hobbyist alchemists offer all manner of potions, unguents, philtres, and brews - some of mild effect which are tried and tested, and others of more daring mien.  In addition, some rabbitjacks have been experimenting with the basics of sucromancy, the better to know their enemy, the Witch-Queen.  Right now the favorite combination for some of the street-vendors are little chocolate bottles filled with potion-liqueurs, typically available in a box of six (different flavors and effects) for around $50.  One of the chocolatiers, the nattily-dressed Zazz Bax, is particularly skilled at sculpting tiny chocolate busts with the likeness of customers (or other faces).  His skill was such that, working from a cameo brooch I wear, he was able to do an entire box of rum-flavored white chocolate versions of my wife, which she enjoyed greatly.

Who to Meet
Inspector Hopalong is the most famous of rabbitjack lawmen; it is he who has the most leeway in Dawn Valley as an independent investigator, and he often leaves the area to pursue fugitives or suspects.  Over time, Hopalong has built up a wide network of contacts - both those who pursue justice, and those who flee it - across the Wampus Country.  Anyone seeking leads regarding organized crime would do well to chat with Inspector Hopalong; he may not know the answer you seek, but he probably knows someone who does (although they may be miles away).  Also worth talking to are any of the briar-jacks - the rabbits who maintain and man the living defensive walls that shield Dawn Valley from the depredations of the Candylanders.  Some briar-jacks have spent months peering at Candyland through a spyglass, and they are wise to the patterns of the Witch-Queen's subjects as well as the appearances of some of the dire sugar-beasts which roam her lands.

Thing to Avoid
There's a nightclub called Hare of the Dog not far from the main drag; it looks like a pretty nice place to drink, or to dance, and has some pretty impressive strings of paper lanterns strung about outside.  Be forewarned, however, this establishment is essentially a creepy rabbitjack swingers' club.  You cannot keep up.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Dead Man's Arse

DEAD MAN'S ARSE

Out on the plain, there's a barren patch of nothing called Dead Man's Arse, and the whole place stinks to high heaven.  No, really - there's a scent in the air, a mix of sulfur and death and rotting vegetables and goodness-knows-what-else.  As might be expected of a village located in the supernaturally smelliest spot in all of the Wampus Country, Dead Man's Arse is sparsely populated.  It lies off the beaten path, not on the way to anything; thus those who visit are invariably interested in the geysers.

Around the village lie a number of geysers which periodically belch forth a combination of fetid, muddy water and some sort of subterranean gas.  This explains the stench in the air and the absence of arable land.  While most of the geysers explode at seemingly random moments, one in particular fires off like clockwork and is known as "Reliable Roger".  Reliable Roger predictably explodes every day at 11am, 6pm, and 10pm, and the locals have attempted to set up the town as a tourist destination based on the marvel of Reliable Roger.  Other businesses and entertainment concerns, themed around ooze and stank, have cropped up as well.


What to See
There's no point in putting up with the stink of Dead Man's Arse and not catching one of the Reliable Roger shows, which include a historical lecture, some rousing music and dance, and conclude with the expulsion of hundreds of gallons of nasty ooze and gas into the sky, right on time.  Fussy travelers will wish to stand a ways back at the end of the show, lest they find themselves in the 'splash zone', which is mildly unpleasant for those unaccustomed, as the ooze acts as a minor paralytic, numbing the skin where it spatters.


Where to Stay
The predominant wind patterns on the plain guarantee that the Trenchfoot Inn, on the west end of Dead Man's Arse, receives less "wandering stink" in the air than the other hostel in town.  For this privilege, the Trenchfoot charges double what a standard inn might in a town this size.


Where to Pray
There is a small Scorpion shrine just inside the entrance to the Belch Factory (a saloon specializing in carbonated sodas).  Note, however, that the real point of interest for godwatchers in Dead Man's Arse is the geyser Reliable Roger, which has been personified by the locals for years, some of them even idly swearing by it.  How long until Reliable Roger achieves godhood?  Or perhaps there are already some family of horrid-smelling spirits living beneath the geysers?


What to Eat
A repast at the small eatery called Pot-of-Peppers is recommended; the proprietor hails from Khelibesh, or someplace near it, and his penchant for over-spicing dishes will guarantee that you might actually taste your supper instead of just tasting the stink in the air.  Behind his restaurant he maintains a fairly impressive garden of incredibly hot and rare peppers, which seem to thrive in the strange soil here.


What to Buy
Mrs. Bustlebloom makes an amazing poultice combining clay, cucumber juice, and the ooze from the geysers which preserves and mollifies the numbing quality of the geyser-mud.  When applied to the skin, the mix causes a mild tingling sensation and overwhelms the nerves of the skin - with the beneficial side effect of helping to block any incoming paralytic effect for about two hours.  Mrs. Bustlebloom's goop goes for thirteen dollars a pot, with each little pot containing enough slop to cover arms, hands, face and neck (give or take) once.


Who to Meet
Herschel is a wall-eyed preteen who works part-time with the ferrier in Dead Man's Arse, but you won't want to talk to him about horseshoes.  The lad claims to have - several times - leaped into one of the geysers and not only survived, but had incredible adventures in a place he calls Slippery-Town, only to be returned home unexpectedly on an exploding geyser's font.  Herschel will happily prattle on for hours about his amazing excursions to Slippery-Town, where he possesses great physical prowess by virtue of being mostly solid and is hailed as an outlander champion thanks to That Time He Slew That Goopy Monster Thing, and how he earned the love of Lady Slurpnoodle of Gushingrush Hall.  Nobody in town believes Herschel's stories, unfortunately, and only a suicide case (or desperate adventurer) would leap into one of the muddy stink-geysers just to see if it leads to a magical land populated by liquid people.


Thing to Avoid
The Hungry Fields east of Dead Man's Arse are thick with patches of quicksand, no doubt a manifestation of whatever subterranean nonsense has placed the geysers.  As if the quicksand weren't bad enough, the Hungry Fields are also home to some particularly nasty yellow-crested fire-breathing buzzards who love nothing so much as to toast and eat a man's head just before it sinks beneath the quicksand's surface.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Cold Nuggets

COLD NUGGETS

At the base of Big Eagle Mountain sits the ramshackle town of Cold Nuggets, populated by prospectors, mountaineers, and mercenaries who use the place as a home base while seeking their fortunes in the Snowdeeps.  The streets are covered in dirty snow most of the year, and dogsleds are as common as horses; the town's name refers to its climate, not its ore.


What to See
Cold Nuggets is, by nature, a stop along the way to somewhere else - whether it's the caverns beneath Big Eagle Mountain, or a further-flung city of the north like Doomhollow, Cold Nuggets is the town  you pass through, not the town in which you settle down.  However, while you're here, there are plenty of mundane amusements to assist you in passing the time and spending your coin.  The winding streets are lined with cheap saloons serving cheaper liquor.  The gambling in Cold Nuggets isn't as fancy as that at the casinos of River-Town, but it is ubiquitous; so too the prostitution, heavy drinking, and bawdy tale-telling.  Of note is the "bear pit" on Brass Monkey Street, which holds both animal bouts (bear-baiting is popular) and rather bloody pit fights.


Where to Stay
Unless you have a fondness for lice, avoid the many flophouses full of grizzled prospectors.  Instead, take a room at the Lead Dog Inn, a rather upscale establishment located at the east end of town which, not coincidentally, is the part of Cold Nuggets which does not feature an enormous midden.  You will spot the Lead Dog easily from several blocks away, as the roof of the three-story building features a gigantic dog's buttocks complete with waving tail.


Where to Pray
There is rarely a shortage of churches in a town full of men and women likely to get horribly disemboweled at any moment, and Cold Nuggets is no exception.  The town hosts a mid-sized Scorpion Temple, a Mysterian church, a shrine to the Horned Baron, a temple holding idols to several Freeholder godlings, and whatever dubious beliefs crawl in the shadowed alleys.  Rumors grow of a secret cult which pays homage to the dead gods of the Simian culture which are buried beneath Big Eagle Mountain in the so-called City of Mazes.


What to Eat
Most places offer various stews - usually a mix of venison, caribou, and horseflesh - as a standard.  However, the real treat is Cold Nuggets' variety of pemmican, particularly at a little jerky shop called Blue's.  The traveling-adventurer can avail him or herself of some sixty different flavors, depending on the season, each an interesting mixture of protein, berries, and even nuts or other fruits in some varietals, not to mention some dozen types of jerky.  The proprietor, a wild-bearded retired prospector called Blue, can often be seen out on the front porch with an out-of-tune guitar ad libbing off-color jingles about his delicious meat.


What to Buy
The sled dogs bred, raised, and trained by a huge Freeholder called Thurfinn Bjarda are considered exceptional for several reasons.  First, they are descended from both prime redhounds and wild wolves; and secondly, Thurfinn feeds them troll-meat when they're puppies, which makes them quite hardy and resistant to pain.


Who to Meet
Experienced wizardess Hazel Brandywine maintains a home in Cold Nuggets, from whence she plans and executes expeditions into Big Eagle Mountain.  Brandywine herself only delves occasionally; more often she bankrolls, trains, and advises others.  Her familiar, a stark white jackalope called Marshmallow, can often be seen running hither and thither through the streets on errands; locals know better than to molest the creature, for fear of Miss Brandywine's wrath.  The wizardess spends four or five months of the year in Cold Nuggets, and the rest in a handsome rowhome in River-Town, but she is never seen riding or taking a coach out of town; rumors of teleportation magic somewhere in her homes are rampant.  Brandywine herself is as cold as the Snowdeeps, but she knows more about the Mountain than perhaps anyone else these days, and her spellbook is considerable.  (Further notes on Miss Brandywine appear in the Arcane Abecediary.)


Thing to Avoid
The old "I have a treasure map" trick, and a thousand variations thereof.  Nearly every tale you will hear in Cold Nuggets - about lost mines, bandit treasure buried beneath the snow, the ruins of an ancient outpost - will be absolutely false.  Cold Nuggets residents and regulars can easily spot a newcomer or out-of-towner, and visitors with more money than sense positively radiate.