A considerable debate on herbs sprang up the other day on the VsDM discord channel. The core rules provide a great mechanic for coping with the player whose animist wants to spend every spare moment gathering medicinal herbs. Basically, you work together to create a list of herbs and their properties. The player gets to create their own herbarium with artistic sketches and growing conditions in a journal that everyone can look at it with awe when they open it up at the table. Except, what if you are not that creative? What if you don’t have time to create a list of herbs? What if you need a herb for the game on the fly?
Spurred on by the idea that there might be a need for such and with a transatlantic flight to fill, John has been busy at work creating a list of herbs for use in your game. Here is a little taster of what will be appearing in Imaginary Turtles Herbarium.
Cloud Cutters of Aenwyld are an exclusive form of transport across the world. Most people will never be able to afford passage on one more than once in a lifetime. Piloted by the Wayfinders, who are able to use Arcane magic to navigate the streams of Aether that flow across the Aenwyld, these majestic vessels are a magnificent sight.
In Falling skies, we are planning to make the description of such vessels as generic as possible so that the GM can craft descriptions to match player expectations. We thought it was worth going down a rabbit hole. What could a Wyrdhorn Cloud cutter look like? Throwing many iterations through various AIs generally throws up a standard ship (usually poorly rendered) which sometimes looks like a skyborne galleon.
Why settle on this though? These magical trees, already embued with Aether, can fly. Why rebuild it into a new shape? Wyldlings and Aenths guard the Wyrdhorn forests. Perhaps, the Cloud Cutters of Aenwyld are not made but organically crafted into a vessel; each one unique to the Wyrdhorn. Branches that capture Aether act as sails to propel the Cloud Cutter of Aenwyld onwards. After many hours of seeking a concept idea that fits these ideas, we found this with AIBY AI. Let us know what you think.
Andressa watched the drunken party of half-elves stagger out of the Sun’s Solace yelling curses at the implacable bouncer. All privilege and drunken bravado, when she could easily see that Jaroz’s new doorman was more than the five could handle in their current state.
He was, in fact, one of the reasons she wasn’t inside the Solace watching the Bounty. If Marko spotted her inside and decided to cause trouble, she wasn’t sure on whose side the hulking enforcer would come down on. She had a hunch that it wouldn’t be either and she would risk losing her mark. The price on his head from the Post Office was not great but it would buy passage on a cheap Cloud Cutter and she was going to need one soon if she was to follow the lead on Walt Bellows.
The rowdy revellers began to stagger down the street singing loudly; within moments other more shadowy figures began to leave less obtrusively. The first left with a box in a satchel. He moved with the confidence of one who had grown up in the Shade, a casual wariness marking him out from those who do not fully appreciate the dangers of the district. Some moments later, Marko and a few others are framed by the bright light of the door before melting into the night.
Andressa checks the Valari on her belt, the curved metal boomerang that is the birthright of the Akheela-Taan, before following Marko and his cronies down the streets. It quickly becomes clear that they are intent on parting the nobles from their coin, which suits her well enough as a distraction. Two of the companions peel off down a side alley. She can see they are working round to box the group in, probably in Knot Lane. Saucy Sal keeps a basement establishment there and it is often frequented by those seeking entertainment in the Shades.
The band of nobles weave into Knot Street as expected, bright beacons of wealth in the poverty of the Shades. Marko and his other companion follow slipping between the deeper shadows and where they step Andressa follows.
When the singing stops, she knows that is her cue. She hears the yell and crunch of knuckle on nose before she reaches the corner. Hears Marko offer to relieve the revellers of their coin as she slips the Valari from her belt and whispers a blessing of the tribal spirits on the curved blade. It leaves her hand as a glowing blur that arcs around the heads of the stupefied victims and fells both of the thugs blocking their escape. “Marko Giotta, seems you’ve been stopping Couriers from doing their job,” she purrs. “Post Office have a bounty on your head, matters not to me how I collect it.”
Marko yells and launches himself at her, a short blade swiftly appearing in his other hand alongside the cudgel he had been hefting intimidatingly at the drunken party. Andressa catches the blade on her Valari before kicking hard at Marko’s kneecap. The thug goes down quickly allowing her to launch the Valari at the other would-be robber. He stops and ducks and grins, which allows her to free her scimitar. Swiftly, she brings her hilt down hard on Marko as the other feels the full force of a returning Valari. The brief fight over, Andressa retrieves her Valari from the fallen robber, cleaning its blade before stowing it at her belt. Marko is not a small man and although she doesn’t care how pretty he looks when she delivers him to the Post Office, she doesn’t fancy dragging him halfway across town. Looking around she spots a broken sack truck abandoned in the alley at the back of Saucy Sals. Andressa shrugs. It’ll have to do. She straps Marko to the improvised sledge as a song and laughter bubble up the steps of the basement tavern and drags it towards the Mercantile district of Salkanalle.
Who did that oaf think he was? Clearly, the country bumpkin had only just got off the latest flea-bitten wagon from the provinces if he couldn’t recognise the Lumene name. Teme let their intoxicated anger subside. Beside them, Renete and Diwa were drunkenly fumbling at each other. Vybrant eyes lustfully locked on each other. If Teme didn’t get the party to move on then the night would be wasted. After all, their cousins and friends were here to celebrate Teme’s new venture with one last hurrah in the Shades. Within the month the “Last Swallow of Summer” would be refitted and ready for her maiden voyage as the newest Cloud Cutter in the Lumene fleet and owned entirely by Teme themself.
The party staggers on, away from the Sun’s Solace, as Graf strikes up a bawdy song about a horny toad and a princess. Teme joins in lustily with the others when they reach the chorus. Teme forgets the bulky bouncer for now. There will be time for them to make sure he doesn’t work for anyone they know. For now, there is this evening and their new venture.
Graf forges on down a side street towards a faintly lit sign that promises the chance of new entertainment. “The Saucy Sal” glows with the promise of a fine night’s revels as they surge towards the sunken doorway. “He showed her his Horny Toad!” echoing off the walls of the increasingly shadowed walls. Teme giggles at the idea of shadowy Shades. They stumble and is immediately enveloped in the wandering hands of Diwa and Renete as they are hauled onwards.
The horn! The horn!” sings Teme until they hit the back of Graf, who has suddenly stopped. Before them, two shadowy figures block any further progress. The steps down “Saucy Sal” are lit like a lighthouse promising a harbour too far to reach. Helph squeaks behind them. Teme spins to and tries to focus bleary eyes on the two figures that are behind them. Not so bad they are five against four they think as suddenly Graf roars and leaps at one of the figures. There is a sickening crunch and Graf’s roar is cut short.
“Now then, ladies and gentlemen, there is no need for any unpleasantness. Just keep your hands away from those dart guns and me and my friends will just relieve you of your coin. Then you can go on your way with only a slight headache in the morning.”
A faint whisper of wind disturbs the earring dangling from their ear as a pale, glowing object arcs round striking the two thugs behind the drunken revellers.
“Marko Giotta, seems you’ve been stopping Couriers from doing their job,” says a tall female figure catching the glowing object. “Post Office have a bounty on your head, matters not to me how I collect it.”
Marko lets out a yell as he and his companion launch themselves at the newcomer. Teme and the others don’t wait around to see the end result. Leaving Graf unconscious on the floor they make good the chance of escape.
Tomasz watched. He watched the doorway. He watched the patrons of the Sun’s Solace, a seemingly reputable tavern in the Shades. The longer Tomasz had been here the more it seemed that appearances were deceptive. Then Jaroz wasn’t paying him to make moral judgements; just for his bulky presence and to watch.
Most of the patrons were hard-bitten grafters of the Shades, but one or two were a little too well-dressed. Some came in gaggles like preening peacocks and others ghosted in with less well-dressed companions. Tomasz had already intimidated a small group of Amthorians from causing trouble with their sense of entitlement.
The five half-elves had entered full of privilege and arrogance earlier in the evening. The temperature and noise level had fallen as if it was an early winter morning back in the northern wilds of his homeland: not that Amthorians had noticed. He had no doubt that if he had left it five minutes more, one of the party would be lying in a gutter with a fatal wound. Not that he was worried about their well-being, but Jaroz paid him to keep trouble from the Solace’s doors.
He rounded them up and told them to find somewhere else to drink. Of course, the entitled fops flashed coin at him to let them revel in “such a fine establishment” which had made more than a few eyes in the darker corners turn in their directions. Tomasz had sent them packing into the night with screams of “Don’t you know who I am?” and “I’m a Lumene! You’re finished little man!” as the intoxicated group weaved their way through the darkened streets. Tomasz watched…