Aptchi the Chef

This story is the background of a new Pathfinder character I came up with, who I may use as an NPC in my Meier setting.

Aptchi hatched about seven years ago.

Aptchi’s mother’s name was Eustela, and she was very unusual for a white dragon. Of course, as any dragon scholar knows, there are ten dragon breeds, and white dragons are the stupidest, weakest, and most pathetic of the bunch. Of course, that’s not saying much, since they’re still dragons who can bite your head off or freeze you into ice with their frost breath. But still, the other dragons look down on them. And white dragons themselves, seizing every opportunity to claim some kind of superiority, look down on those members of their tribe who show any kind of frailty or oddity. So when I say Eustela was an unusual white dragon, I mean that the other white dragons all laughed at her.

Eustela liked living in the warmest parts of Kamto, the frosty kingdom which white dragons rule with an iron fist. Already that was strange for a white dragon. She prefered the meat of unintelligent beasts to that of humans and other intelligent creatures – also odd. And she had been known to trade away part of her hoard, something almost unheard of in white dragons. For even though she got more valuables out of her trades, to part with any part of one’s hoard was considered un-dragonly.

Being so odd, Eustela was belittled and dishonored by her peers. She had no intention of changing her ways to  fit in, but she desperately sought any way to show the other dragons that she really was great. Her chance came when she caught a small group of human interlopers in her domain one day, and captured them all. As I mentioned, though they are stupid and weak by dragon standards, mature white dragons can still beat the stuffing out of humans who aren’t prepared, and Eustela wasn’t going to compound her dishonor by letting these intruders get away with their lives. But, lording it over the few creatures she could for this brief moment, she allowed them to beg for their lives.  Continue reading

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The Life and Times of Bartemius (etc) Moor, Part III

Now that I have mentioned it, I wonder if I really ought to bring up the undersea shrine. Do I dare recount the events of my journey to that accursed place? My time is running out. To squander this miraculous oasis of sanity, this final moment of relief before I meet my end, would be unthinkable. And perhaps you do not need to know precisely how I lost my mind.

Yet if I lay down my pen here, or skip over this part of the tale, you will not understand. You will have read how my parents were eaten by a dragon turtle, how my youth was stolen in forced servitude to the terrible undersea abominations known as aboleth. And you will say to yourself that loss and slavery do not explain the crimes I committed. Well, you are right. My madness was not caused by those calamities. And I think my writing will be for nothing if I do not, at last, reveal the terrible truth.

I was determined to enter that tomb. Only its vaguest outline could be discerned through the water, for it was a distance away from the algae-lit aboleth city. When I spent several minutes in discerning details, I could see some sort of dome, with four spiraling towers standing warningly at its four corners. I don’t think I would have noticed or bothered with it at all, had not the aboleth masters been so insistent that we slaves keep away. This denial of information was the spice, the scent that drew my gaze inexorably towards it.

As I mentioned, I was free of the psychic control the aboleth used to suppress dissent amongst their slaves. But I was still dependent on the disgusting Continue reading

The Life and Times of Captain Bartemius Alexei Tollbert Sea-Bastion Benjamin Cumulonimbus Loki Moor, Part II

Read part one here.

The dragon turtle which destroyed the passenger sailing vessel, ate my parents, and destroyed any hope I might have had for a normal future is, perhaps, among the most terrible of creatures that ordinary sailors might anticipate confronting upon the worst of occasions. Sailors are famous for standing upon the decks or crow’s nests of their ships, scanning the surface of the water for any such dangers. But as I was about to discover, to the benefit of my survival and the detriment of my sanity, was that these sailors are altogether blind to the perils beneath the surface of the ocean, one of which currently had its slimy tentacle wrapped round my leg. The creature pulled me downwards, away from my ruined ship and the ravenous dragon turtle, and as the sun was yanked away from my sight, I did believe for a moment that I had survived being the dessert of one fiend only to become the luncheon of another. To my surprise, I found that not only did I go uneaten, but un-drowned.

At this late stage in my life, I can rarely distinguish between the ordinary world of common people, and the nightmares in which I have dwelt for so long. This temporary bout of sanity is brought on, any healer would surely agree, by the certain knowledge that I am about to, once and for all, die. Still, I do not know whether the name of Aboleth is common knowledge in this world, or a secret kept by those loving few who have had the ill fortune to encounter them. In any event, it was an aboleth which had rescued me.

I do not believe I could bring myself to explain in detail the horrors of the aboleth to those blessed with ignorance. Suffice it to say that an aboleth is a foul, fish-like monster of the deeps. Their tentacled form is Continue reading

The Life and Times of Captain Bartemius Alexei Tollbert Sea-Bastion Benjamin Cumulonimbus Loki Moor, Chaotic Evil Gnome Pirate Lich, Oracle of the Dark Tapestry, and Scourge of the Bocan Isles

I write this account in one of my less and less frequent moments of lucidity. Although the publication of my story will serve only to damn me in the sight of mortals as I am damned already in the sight of the divine, I feel compelled to pen this narrative today. My life, if one could stretch the definition of the term “life” to encompass my profane existence, is soon to come to an end. Which Providence has granted me this, my final moment of clarity, I cannot say, for I know of none that would take such pity on as horrific a soul as mine. The only assumption I can make is that there was some Purpose to these last moments of freedom from my own madness. This, I suppose, was to commit my tale to paper, perhaps to warn others against following in my footsteps, or to serve as a final confession of all my sins to the free peoples of this world. I know I must face judgment in the next one.

—Sorry for interrupting. This takes place in the Meier setting I detailed in my previous posts. I am going for a Lovecraftian style with this one. Any similarity to actual persons, living or undead, is probably coincidental and you shouldn’t worry about it.—

The name by which I call myself is Bartemius Alexei Tollbert Sea-Bastion Benjamin Cumulonimbus Loki Moor. I am called by many other names, as well, but once upon a time I was known by a much simpler one: Barty. Barty Moor was my name, and I was rather proud of it. Fifteen years old is still early childhood for a gnome. I was still setting out on the voyage which is life, and had so much time to make names for myself.

My parents, good, brave gnomes both, had decided to move our family to the New World, for little reason other than the challenge of pioneering. I remember the voice of my father, Mr. Dilbert Istlewaith Silton Moor, more than I recall his face. In my memory, it was always angry, for it usually fell to him to correct my youthful misbehavior. “Stop not fidgeting!” “Don’t eat strange wild plants until Continue reading

Meier: The Orient, The Bocans, and Languages

More info about my campaign setting, Meier.

Orient
To both east and west of the continent called Occident is Orient, the other northern continent of the Old World. It is home to six major nations: Songae, Pin-Tu, Kampsha, Kamto, Shraa, and Cipok. Songae is loosely allied with Lasant, Cipok with Gard, and Kampsha and Pin-Tu with Urst. However, these alliances are meaningful mostly in terms of trade. Not since the time of old Gideon has any Occidental power warred with an Oriental power, although they have provided one another with aid on occasion.

Not much is known about these lands in the Occident beyond their names and these alliances. Different languages are spoken in the Orient; there is even a different Common tongue (Kamese, the native language of Kampsha and Kamto). Even less is known about Continue reading

Yale Splash Halftime Report: You Are A Pirate

My pirates class was a success. Due to some no-shows,the class ended up having only 17 people, but I think they all had a good time, and I know for a fact they all got an enormous amount of candy. I overestimated the amount of time it would take them to come up with answers for my discussion questions, so I nearly ran out of material. Fortunately, I had the idea of throwing it open for questions, and I got some good ones. Mostly they asked about what kind of weapons the pirates used, which is not something I would have thought to talk about, but did have the answer to.

I used PowerPoint, but only to display the discussion questions one at a time. I also had an intro slide. After taking attendance, I loaded it up. “In this class I will lecture for two hours using a simple PowerPoint presentation.” Next slide. “NOT.” Next slide. “We’re going to play a game.” There were general cheers at that. I had three bags of candy to give out for answering questions right, but since there were only 17 people, I used only two bags. At first I gave out candy from a bag that had things like Airheads, sucking candy, Smarties, and mini bags of Swedish Fish. I allowed people to trade candies if they didn’t like what they had, which a lot of people didn’t. Let’s face it, a lot of that stuff is lame.  Halfway through I announced that I would be switching candy, and brought out a bag of Hershey’s chocolate, Whoppers, Kit Kat, and Reese’s Cups. That got another cheer.

The class definitely lost steam by the last half hour, but that was okay, since they all had tons of candy by that point. They did pretty well in general on the questions, although the “come up with rules for your ship” question got some… intriguing responses. Examples: “Don’t throw anyone overboard without the Captain’s permission,” and “Anyone who breaks the rules gets no rum.” I don’t think they did very well at the true/false section, either. A lot of them were shocked that pirates did not make people walk the plank, and that they did not bury their treasure. There was one ringer who knew a lot about pirates, but not most of what I was talking about. And he got the question about pirates keeping parrots wrong — pirates did indeed have parrots aboard their ships, as a form of treasure. Parrots are valuable.

Anyway, they all had a good time, as did I. My other class, Functions and Other SAT Stumpers, is in two hours. It won’t be anywhere near as fun, particularly since my mom convinced me to give them a short quiz halfway through. I’ll just have to bribe them with my leftover bag of Tootsie Rolls.

Pirate Discussion Questions

My two-hour pirate class is go for next Sunday Saturday. Apart from the trivia questions I already posted, here are some more interesting discussion questions I plan on asking. More points/treasure/candy will be given out to the teams/ships with better answers. What do you think about these:

  • Why did piracy flourish in the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th centuries? (There are a ton of reasons, none of which is buried treasure.)
  • You are putting together a new pirate journey. You need to draw up articles for your voyage. Come up with at least 5 rules for your ship. Think about how the plunder should be divided, what things should be specifically against the rules, what should happen if someone gets injured while taking a ship, etc.
  • Now you need to recruit some sailors for your pirate ship. How would you find new pirates? Where would you look for them, and what kind of people would you look for? What would you say to them to get them to join up?
  • You capture a ship without any resistance. You steal all the treasure, obviously, but what do you do with the enemy crew? Hold them as hostages, or invite them to join your crew, or just dump them on an island somewhere? Or would it be more prudent just to kill them? Why? Continue reading