Friday, March 20, 2020



In an unmarked building two blocks down from Food Street is a secret library of spies.

No... Wait, it's a secret library FOR spies...

Or a secret library run BY spies...

Either way, there are a lot of bees.

And everything worth reading is triple-encrypted and dipped in honey.

Things we seem to know about the Spybrary:

  • It's public. Anyone can enter it.
  • Very few do.
  • Despite the lack of obvious security measures. (Guards, gates, locks)
  • It hosts the world's largest public collection of unaccountable knowledge.
  • Everyone remains perfectly anonymous while inside the Spybrary.
  • Spies love this.
  • The Spybrary is therefore crawling with spies. And also bees.
  • Like... A lot of bees.
  • I'm not even kidding there are so many bees.
  • All materials within the Spybrary are either hidden, encrypted, selectively redacted, or kept behind puzzles.
  • The Archivists will provide hints.


The bees go out and collect secrets. Big bees for big secrets. Little bees for small secrets. The bee is proportional to the size of the secret. State secrets attract HUGE bees, like, truck-sized bumble queens. They get those secrets - just politely watching while they happen - then they return to the Spybrary to make 'em into unaccountable knowledge. Sweet, sweet unaccountable knowledge.

They don't bother with wizards or people, unless either themselves or the infrastructure of the library is attacked attacked. Or someone is late with returning unaccountable knowledge. They just want the secrets. Trust, at least, that if your secret is taken by the bees, that at least someone will need to chew through a few layers of encryption first.

Checking Out

Anyone can take any encrypted knowledge that they want out of the library for a period of 3 Days. If it is not returned after that time, the bees will come to collect. These facts are not posted anywhere, though a Beekeeper may mention it in passing.


Everything in the library is encrypted. Even the visitors. Oh, you can find any secrets you want - the Beekeepers will help you with that. It's reading the secrets once they've been found that's the hard part.

Everything is in code. Everything requires a key to decipher, or a special way of reading it, or some kind of hoop to jump through to get to the sweet juicy knowledge. It can be anything - it's usually different each time.

Where are these keys found? Well... Anywhere, really. You could find one in a dead student's pocket, or tucked away in a 1000-year treasure hoard, or have had it since you were a child. It's different every time, and often quite personal. Just like secrets.


When secrets stop becoming secrets, the bees take it out of circulation (and presumably feed it to smaller bees to make more bees, or maybe the secrets become new bees). Ensures that only true secrets remain in the Spybrary, and not just piles and piles of irrelevancy.


Anonymous people who tend to the Spybrary and make it generally better for human navigation. They build and maintain stairs and carts. They help visitors find the secrets they need, and warn them about removing unaccountable knowledge from the building.

The veil of anonymity is very much like a beekeeper's helmet, but thicker and across the entire body. It blurs the appearance, homogenizes the voice, and randomizes the height. You might be able to guess a person from their vocabulary or the sounds of footsteps on groaning wood.


The closest thing to librarians that aren't bees. Autonomous statues, with paws sweetened by handling secrets. Polite bear-sphinxes at least partially responsible for some of the encryption and/or redaction. Perhaps the bees make the puzzles and the Archivists make the keys. Or maybe they're just supercomputer smart and they enjoy keeping it a secret... Either way, they provide hints.

Their identities are not anonymous, unlike everyone else who enters. There are between two and twelve.


They're everywhere. They love this place. It's perfect. Assume everyone anonymous you talk to will be a spy, and it'll do you good. They're always here in small groups: pairs, triplets, or sevens. Dredging up knowledge, working their craft, ciphering and deciphering, talking in code so the spies down the way don't know what they've found.

Violence is risky. You might hit the bees - they're everywhere, large and small. Nobody wants to die by bee. Therefore craft is key. Craft and intellect. Furthermore, every spy thinks they're the best spy, and can best crack the codes that keep the unnaccountable hidden away. There's a certain pride in the spy community, a pride which keeps the Spybrary peaceful. To resort to violence is to almost admit that your craft wasn't good enough. They save those unsavory tactics for the outside world.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Unsigned Pawn Shop

The Unsigned Pawn Shop is just across the street from the Fire House, located by The Wish Well in Wizard City Hexcrawl.


The Fire Brigade keeps most of the good stuff they pilfer from burning buildings - money, valuables, spellbooks. For things they don't want, owners or relatives of the deceased have the opportunity to buy their things back at the pawn shop across the way.

The most prevalent category of goods at the Unsigned Pawn Shop are wizards' familiars: bound 'til ransom given. The Fire Brigade ends up 'rescuing' a lot of them, and, unable to put them to good use for themselves, make 'em decent hostages.

Plenty of wizards either die or can't pay the Pawn Shop to have them released, and their familiars end up accumulating shelf space.

Roll 2d12 for the Shop's inventory. For each entry you have two options for purchase (so, a total of 4 options). Inventory updates every month.

Familiars typically cost 3d6 x 10 spellgold
Everything else typically costs 2d6 x 10 spellgold

Item Category
This Thing...
Or This Thing...
Wizard’s Familiars
Animate Pound of Flesh Carved from a Wizard’s Bloated White Liver
A Mass of Tentacles That Was Probably Once an Eagle
Tiny Peryton That Eats The Hearts of Righteous Men In Tiny Little Bites
A Snake with Two Big Hairy Feet
Living Shadow of an Old Man Trapped by a Black Lamp’s Flame
Living Iron Rod That Pogo-Sticks Its Way Around, Loudly Clanking All The Way
Matchstick Doll Bard with Lute Accessory Who Annoyingly Sings Popular covers
Caged Wolfdog-Pomeranian That Hates and Bites Every Single Thing Ever
Raven That Only Speaks in Braille
Doll-sized Refrigerated Snowman Who’s Super Helpful Until They Melt and Die
Probably Cursed Objects
Taxidermied Horned Owl with Human Hands
Coin With a Winking Handsome Face That Literally Never Lands the Way You Want It
Small Snowglobe Depicting Miniature Orphanage With Real Orphans Inside
A Single Issue of a Newspaper That Predicts Doom for the Reader In Tomorrow’s Headlines That Always Come True, But Only Once Per Person
A Continually-Updating List of the Recently Dead From Everywhere
A wagon wheel which spontaneously catches fire when above 10 rpm
Wizard Stuff
Someone’s Half-Broken Magic Teeth
A Mold-Covered Brain
Collection of Used Glass Syringes and Needles
Gaseous “Plague in a Jar”
One Sexy Prosthetic Leg
Pulsating Spell Tumor
Jellyfish Hoop Skirt Which Electroshocks Any “Foreign Objects” Entering Underneath
Idol of a Giraffe That Turns Into a Spotted Staircase on Command

Gravity Falls

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Tidelock Languages

Dan at Throne of Salt went and made a post on Magical Languages and while ago, and now the language system in my own home game feels inadequate, so I'mma give it an overhaul and post it here.

Also, these double up as being useful for that Leviathan dungeon that's sat unfinished on my cloud forever.


Common can be used to speak with anything and everything, from every person on earth to every animal, plant, and mineral that exists thereon. Everything understands it, everything can speak it. Most of the time, though, they just don't want to. Speaking Common can be an aggravating task for many creatures, and outright traumatic for some.

Scholars argue that this was not always the case, that there was some event thousands, if not millions of years ago that instituted the Common tongue for all things - an Anti-Babel of sorts, a great Convocation of understanding.

Thus, as it stands, Speak With spells are not Divination, but Enchantment. They do not grant an understanding of speech, but rather compel it.

Species Languages

  • Draconic - A spicy language, for those who have a destiny. Those who master it have a Breath attack once per Long Rest as a Dragonborn or similar level. If already a Dragonborn, then gain another use of Breath attack.
  • Orc - The death tongue. Only capable of being expressed while the subject is mere moments away from death. Curses, prophecies, and boons said in this language are exceptionally powerful.
  • Elven - This code language is so stimulating upon the mind that while one is having a conversation in this language they are immune to Sleep effects and do not require it until the conversation is over.
  • Gnomish - Allows one to converse with clothes made of natural fibers (shoes, hats, coats, pants, etc.). It's considered quite rude to talk to someone else's clothes, especially while they're wearing them. Clothes tend to be somewhat loyal to those wearing them, too.
  • Dwarfish - Utilizing this tongue allows one to ascertain the age of anything spoken to - from people to monsters to plants and rocks. Responses must be given in simile. (i.e. this goblin is as 'old as when the tide ebbs', or this monolith is as 'old as the tide itself'')
  • Sverda (Gleefully stolen from Arnold K.) - Essentially, a form of swordfighting. Every martial art is a language in its own way. This one grants proficiency with every kind of Sword, or a +1 to attack bonus with their use if already proficient.

Elemental Languages

From Dark Souls
  • Aquan - Water carries memories. The more isolated and still the source of water, the clearer the memory will be. Allows one to read lost memories in the clouds and transmute ones memories into physical form.
  • Terran - Painfully slow. Things said in Terran will not likely get a response until a few centuries later. This does mean, however, that stone and earth everywhere is filled with answers from the distant past.
  • Ignan - Flames keep feelings for only so long as they burn, but they keep it well. The oldest fires that burn in temples can have complex emotions stretching back millennia... until the very moment they are snuffed out. Speaking with fire is a reciprocal exchange of feelings.
  • Auran - A language of principally taste and scent. Everything that can track via smell is proficient in Auran, such as dogs, cats, or horses. Masters of the Auran language include snakes, vultures, bears, and somewhat paradoxically sharks.
  • Deep Speech - Thought is generally a one-way process. The psyche talks and the mind listens. A vast majority have no control over these functions, but those who know Deep Speech do. Knowing this language reveals that the process of thought is actually a dialogue, not a monologue, and allows the speaker to control to negotiate what thoughts they think.

Professional Languages
  • Druidic - It's a commonly-known fact among specialists that animals and plants are perfectly capable of robust communication with all forms of lay folk - they just don't want to. Druidic is a language designed to sound as appealing as possible to these wild things, that they may be tricked into conversation.
  • Kingspeak - The language of royalty is rife with praise and splendid honorifics. Only royals may speak it. Comes with the office. Completely secure means of communication - cannot be deciphered or translated by any means (by anyone other than a royal). Great for keeping secrets.
  • Imperial (Infernal) - It is impossible to outright lie while speaking this language. Must be learned properly or else those who speak it can only speak in lies. Unless you know better, it can be hard to know whether someone learned it right or not.
From Disco Elysium
  • Psychology - An impossibly subtle language that is interwoven with another. When spoken to the same person over periods of time it will allow the speaker to gauge the other's power, secrets, and weaknesses. The effects are inversely proportional to how fluent the other is in Psychology.
  • Endoabyssal (Abyssal) - Used to speak to flesh. Easier to perform upon others than oneself, but with extraordinary fluency one can compel even one's individual cells to listen and speak. Speak with Dead is derived from this tongue, as are Inflict spells and Hold Person. Various healers with extensive training can use it to assay bodily maladies. It is also spoken by Demons, who often do not recognize the greater being at the expense of the cellular collective.

Utility Languages
  • Common - With this, you can speak to all sentient things, which is everything. Nearly all sentient things don't want to talk to you. But why? What have people done to earn such ire?
  • Sign Language - The benefits of knowing this are obvious. Has the bonus of being difficult to intercept via mind reading if you're unfamiliar with the language, and not producing audible sound. Frequently used by thieves, spies, and assassins.
  • Sending Speech - A hyper-condensed language engineered by modern war diviners as a means of packing as much meaning as possible into a single Sending spell. Specializes in spatial, temporal, and numerical details over semantic flexibility. Uses very long words with no chaff sounds. Very stripped-down language. Zero articles. Knowing this language means you have no functional word limit for your Sending and Message spells. Understanding it means you can give and receive complex commands in a single Round.
  • Dance - It's a known fact that spells get more powerful the more people simultaneously do them. It's a little-known fact that they also get more powerful if you use your entire body for the somatic component instead of just your arms. This means that the most powerful spells are done with synchronized dancing. When casting spells using Dance, for each person casting a the same spell at the same time on the same target area/person, each of their spell DCs go up by +1.

Leviathan Languages

  • The Sovereign Tongue - From which all Command and Power Word spells derive from. The ultimate speech of authority. The speech of God. Merely speaking such words will drain the weak and humble the strong. The entire language has been cursed to be forgotten by the host upon their saying, preventing anyone from retaining the entire dictionary.
  • Inquisitor - Questions asked in this tongue must be answered by all who hear.
  • Errant-Hunter - A call-response addressing language filled with names. Having one or something's name called out in this tongue compels response, like a game of Marco Polo.
  • Servitor's Speak - Contains no objections. No imperatives. No means of resistance. Those left with only this language are incapable of resisting coercive influences and commands.
  • Betrayal - The words of every man for himself. Of Behemoth. Those cursed with knowledge of this language will inevitably betray those who trust them while spreading it to others. Construed as a gibbering that bubbles up from the diaphragm at inadvertent times.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

What Are The Wizard Police Dealing With Today?

The Old Prison is the headquarters for the Anti-Magic Weapons and Tactics Police in Wizard City Hexcrawl, which continuously deal with problems within the city that may perhaps affect the holdings of the property-owning class.

It's a brutal and thankless job, but someone needs to protect the interests of the bourgeoisie! If not the police, then who, WHO?? Who will think of the Dread Oligarchs?! Who will think of the Retro-Patenters?! Who will think of the Obliviate Landlords?! Who will think of the Spell Sharks and the Scourge Capitalists?! Who will think of the Soul Mortgagees and the Organ Harvesters and the Renters-Of-Tongues?!

On the up side, at least it comes with the perk of a License For Brutality, provided you aren't using it on someone with powerful connections. On the down side, you gotta deal with this shit:


It’s A(n)...
And It’s...
And Just to Make Matters Worse...
But At Least We Have...
Mimetic Plague
99% Contained
Now It’s Raining Halberds. Literally.
Ammo in Extreme Surplus
Budding Revolution
Mostly Contained
It’s Completely Resistant to Magic
Esprit de Corps. Great.
Mass Panic
Kinda Contained
We’re Out of Coffee
A Hostage
Sorta Contained
We’re Out of Pastry
Economic Leverage
Attempt at Unionization
Probably Not Contained
We’re Out of Funding for the Department
Hazard Pay
Minority Which Needs Some Lessons in ‘Civility’
Definitely Not Contained
An Administrator is Overseeing the Operation Personally
A Highly Trained Killer-Stoat
Assassination Attempt on a Public Figure
Dangerously Not Contained
There’s Time Magic Involved
A License for Unlimited Collateral Damage
Important Person With a Trivial Problem
Oh, We’re Fucked.
It has a Clone
A Platoon of Trainees We Can Throw At The Problem
Connected Person’s Child’s Birthday Party
It’s Evolving Faster Than We Can Adapt
The Last Platoon of Trainees We Threw At A Problem, Fresh From That Problem
Unexpected Turn in the Stock Market
Made Completely Out of Knives
The Other Branches of Secret Police Are Getting Involved
Everyone From The Last Problem, Risen As Zombies
Rogue Wizard
Already Replicating Exponentially
It’s Monday.
State-sponsored Life Insurance Subsidies
Rogue Wizard with a Silly Hat
Smarter Than We Are
There’s a Dungeon Swan Nearby
Our Department Mascot: Berry the Peryton
Rogue Wizard with a Silly Voice
Spreading Like Wizard-Herpes
It’s a Steeve
One Minor Healing Potion Each
Rogue Wizard with a Sexy Sidekick
It’s Popular with The Masses
Our Cyanide Capsules
Rogue Wizard Who Isn’t Actually a Rogue Wizard, But Someone Important Wants Them Dealt With
Sorta... Kinda... Technically Indestructible.
We Haven’t Replaced the Broken Wizard-Beaters Yet
The Illusion of Popular Support
Monster Gone Rogue
Carving a Horrible Path of Destruction from The Docks to the Student Ghetto
Anything That Looks At It Dies Instantly
Our Dubious Pensions
Monster With Some Incorrect Property Claims
Continuously Exploding
Dealing With It Is Going to Upset some Very Powerful People
The Best Cannon Fodder Money Can Buy
Monster With a Silly Hat
Got Support from Foreign Agents
Apparently It’s Spawning a Religion
The Cooperation of Organized Crime
Monster With Some Heretical Ideas on the Rights of the Working Class
Making Some Pretty Fair Points, Actually...
Everyone Involved in the Operation is Going to Be Killed At The End to ‘Tie Up Loose Ends’
Clean Underwear
Hydra. Again.
Made of Smaller Hydras
It’s Giving Birth to More Bloody Hydras
A Hydra! Wait, No… That’s a Bad Thing.

The Old Prison itself is where the Old Judicial System used to keep The Old Prisoners, back when they still had jury trials and 'Common Law'. Now it's effectively an office building, training facility, and fortress for the AMWAT police, with only about twice as much hopelessness and half the inmates.

Wizards undergoing 'administrative punishment' are typically taken there to enact their sentences given arbitrarily on the spot by the various police forces. As such, there is a modest bureaucratic force there to undertake such measures, such as spell-fee collection or the dispellment of punitive Curses.

A front assault upon the institution is not advised. Neither is a multi-pronged assault. In fact, it's just better if you never assault the place. It's chocked full of full-time wizard killers - they're wise to every permutation of magical shit that one can be thrown at (see above table) and they rarely take prisoners, despite the fact that they work in a prison.