Saturday, August 25, 2012

Booze, Banjos, and Bazoul

"Howabout y'all attack them monsters, an' I'll accompany ya on this here banjo. C'mon, Bill, I'll even play yer favorite tune - that one that goes 'ding ding ding ding ding'." 

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” --Plato

The music of both the proud and the humble rings throughout the Wampus Country; the ability to contribute to music, either by playing an instrument or through song, is an expected skill developed by almost all residents of the fantastic frontier. It is a cultural foundation which resonates through both the land itself and the magic and faith which sustain it.

Herein, a few things about music and related matters in Wampus Country.


With few exceptions, any intelligent, speaking creature which has spent enough time in Wampus Country has likely developed a modicum of ability with music or some other talent which supports fellow-feeling. Far from civilization, such skills are as important as the ability to skin a deer or fire a rifle; for when the glittering canopy of the night sky makes you feel small and insignificant, it is good and appropriate to share a song or a tale with your companions, and renew within your heart that latent connection between all living things.

The Music Rule: In much the same way that everyone in a kung-fu movie somehow knows a bit of kung-fu, everyone in Wampus Country is musical. Any intelligent creature which has either a) lived in Wampus Country for five or more years, or b) emigrated to Wampus Country and has since hit third level, is automatically skilled in one of the below-listed activities. This skill is developed gradually and may be hand-waved away with whatever backstory or play-time seems appropriate; it is not a miraculous talent which arrives overnight.

Song (this represents particular talent at singing lead; everyone is capable of harmonizing and singing along)

Guitar (includes multiple styles)

Bass (upright and plucked, not bowed)

Banjo (includes dobro and anything with a resonator)

Piano (includes harpsichord, accordion, and anything with a keyboard)

Fiddle (includes any bowed instrument)

Percussion (all drums and improvised drums)

Brass (all)

Woodwind (all)

Harmonica/Mouth-Harp/Slide-Whistle/Kazoo/Comb-and-Paper etc (all nonclassical instruments played with the mouth)


The unorthodox healing rule: The lifting of the spirits corresponds to the power of the body. A number of activities are sufficiently well-aligned with the cosmic nature of Wampus Country that they act as healing for the purposes of regenerating hit points.

First bracing drink of strong alcohol following combat: +1d3 hp. Does not stack with magical healing of any sort; you knock back a red-eye when you don't have a cleric, you don't get both. A bracing drink will not help if you're at negative hit points, but it will work at zero hp if somebody jams rum down your gullet while you're KO'd.

Participation in a spirit-lifting activity during rest time: heals 1d3 hp during overnight rather than 1. Appropriate activities include sing-along, tall tale swapping, gambling with actual stakes, raucous carousing. This is actual participation; the character can't sit by the fire and eat pork-and-beans while party members rock out on the banjo, you have to really sing along.


"In dreams nobody speaks English, everybody speaks Bazoul." -- The Boy, age seven

Passed down to the wizards and priests of today is the ancient concept of bazoul, first given theoretical form under the reign of the Peacock Throne millenia ago. Those without understanding dismiss bazoul as some sort of 'dream-tongue', but oneiric scholars know better.

Bazoul is the name given by the wizened ancients to the dream-field which connects all living things; each creature with a consciousness is connected to bazoul to some degree. One modern wizard refers to the concept as "the low-level psycho-empathic field which permeates the mental plane"; a wild-eyed priest names it "the strands of webbing between the minds of men"; a furtive witch calls bazoul "a wavelength beamed into the brain by space-fairies". Perhaps they all have it right, in their own way.

However one describes it, we know bazoul, or something like it, to be a very real thing. It is the bazoul which is tapped by some forms of divination magic; it is the bazoul which allows a trained wizard to read the hidden meanings in magical glyphs etched long before he was born. Some otherwise-mundane activities - like music, dancing, and generally having fun - seem to temporarily strengthen this strange effect in a localized way, and this shift has positive effects on both mind and body.

Controversially, a few scholars have suggested that the bazoul is somehow extremely strong in Wampus Country as compared to the Western Kingdoms and more distant realms, and this amazing mental connection helps to explain why everyone in Wampus Country, including the nasty sub-humans and zombies and talking animals, all speak the same language.

Or hadn't you noticed?


  1. "May the Bazoul be with you." and

    "No one can tell you what the Bazoul is."

  2. I just stumbled over this... I love this... so much... I can not express how much I like this idea of Wampus Country!

  3. Welcome aboard, Ross! Be sure to check out the 'Random Tables' tab if you're into that sort of thing.