Monday, 2 October 2023


 For semiurge’s Glogtober prompt: “Modern horror shotgun scenario.”




Here’s the briefing:

Two weeks ago, an American cargo ship that has been missing for six years washed up and ran aground in Long Cove, on Deer Island, Maine. 

The ship is called the Honesty. It was fitted with amateur deep sea diving equipment, and was last recorded in the Flemish Cap region (a raised area of seafloor east of Newfoundland).

Satellite and on-ground imaging indicate most of the deck cannot be seen for a large mass of seaweed and coral which has grown onto the ship.

It was owned by Landsend Shipping, an incorporated company based in Boston, with ties to a Group of Interest.

The group in question is the Esoteric Church of Dagon, known in the area of New England since at least 1890. They have been significantly aided by the ability to use fictionalisations of their activities as a form of cover in itself - exchanging the position of originator and admirer. 

We think the crew are just buttonmashers. It’s unlikely they would know the precise effects of what they had dredged up. The Flemish Cap is the most probable location of “Dagon Reef”, an island that sinks and rises tricentennially for reasons not adequately understood by science. 

Base-camp has been set up at the town of Sedgwick - the population have been evacuated on premise of a chemical spill from the wreck of the Honesty. 

Consult this image for a rough description of the radii of the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary effects.

The blue triangle is base camp. 

Primary effects include fog reducing visibility to 100m, and the presence of large mobile plumes of cyan fire which hover at about 9 feet / 2.7 metres off the ground, henceforth “will-o-wisps”. Contact with a will-o-wisp is almost invariably fatal, as the fire moves towards any biological material that contacts it, quickly spreading along flora and fauna and consuming them. 

To counteract this, your fireteams will be equipped with fully body plastic suits, which have been explained as HAZMAT suits for the chemicals aboard the Honesty

Secondary effects include fog reducing visibility to 20m, electromagnetic interference which renders traditional communication methods ineffective, and the presence of anomalous sealife in the bay. It is not recommended that you interact with the anomalous sealife. Untested chronological effects are common with creatures of this kind. 

Tertiary effects occur in the following sequence, advancing in stage with roughly ten minutes of exposure. Until Stage 8, ten minutes of no exposure will reduce your stage by 1. 

  1. Subjective decrease in core temperature of affected body.

  2. Mild headache. Runny nose. 

  3. Audiohallucinations of “fish noises''. Cold feeling on back of neck. 

  4. Slurring of speech. Numbness in feet. 

  5. Inability to recognise self in the mirror. Eyes commonly unfocus.

  6. You no longer recognise your hands as your own. Desire to consume saltwater.  

  7. Ability to blink lost. Long-term damage to eyes is guaranteed unless exposure is ceased nearly immediately. 

Past Stage 8 the case is irreversible.

  1. Hands tear off, become autonomous. Mind’s capacity for language is eliminated. 

  2. Death and reformation. Deep One created. 

You will be equipped with one requisitioned Coast Guard speedboat per Fireteam. You will depart from Sedgwick dock at 2100 hours and move on the Honesty.  

You will get aboard, use explosives to clear a way into the coral, then move room to room. 

The crew are still aboard. They have been seen in the windows. It is extremely unlikely that any remain unaffected by the anomaly. If you find an unaffected survivor, recover them. 

Otherwise, liquidate.  

Sunday, 1 October 2023

GLOGTOBER '23: Three Disastrous Blood War Battles


Answering the Famed sites of disastrous battles of the Blood War for Glogtober 23'

Katechon Gulf

Formerly, a sea of acid on Cathrys, a layer of Carceri dominated by deadly scarlet jungles. 

To the north, a shapeless peninsula dominated by spiritual representations of all the sin committed during plagues, happily inhabited by dribbling, multiplying Tanar’ri. 

To the south, a harsh shore cleared of jungle and rendered to acidic maroon soil, dotted all over with Baatezu earthworks, under the eye of a massive central battery. 

This was the hold-point for the entire network of Baatezu defences on Cathrys - the demons couldn’t get through the water, and the devils’ copper ships could raid the enemy with violent impunity, lancing the jungle with explosive harpoons and devastating seizure-spells. 

The Tanar'ri often made efforts to assemble bridges their usual way (from stacked corpses), but the acid consumed the corpses too quickly for it to be feasible. 

Eventually growing sick of being throttled by ship attacks and pecked at by the silver-shot artillery of the mortal Dreg Legions on the high shore, the Tanar’ri retreated into the jungle and tore open a portal to an unprepared Prime World. 

Tearing through a place with too few paladins and too many distracted lords, the Tanar’ri Wormed the locality, and dragged a huge section of it into Carceri, dribbling with Tanar’ric matter and occupied by screaming, unfortunate Primes. 

Nearly instantly the acid sea became a stone block, and it all went to Hell (ha, hah) from there. 

Zhulgor Escarpment, Fort 6

On the front lines near the Styx, in Avernus. 

A row of forts on a gigantic block of godstone (the calcified remains of a god, apparently a god of mortification and starvation, judging by the remnant prayers extracted by theoalchemists in Hell’s employ.)

A catastrophic supply-depot explosion tore through Fort 6 for unclear reasons - official Hellish sources attribute it to mortal sabotage, and not, say, improper storage of explosives. As they say, the road to Hell is paved with nitroglycerin. 

The explosion was about seven miles tall at the highest point, and it was hot enough to rip a temporary portal into the Plane of Elemental Fire - a little screaming, burning exit wound in the fabric of that which is. 

The influx of stone, molten devilbone and flaming mortal souls on the other side shattered the beautiful molten-metal pleasure gardens which a lava-ifrit of significant age and power had been slowly perfecting for around six millennia, and his rage was so, well


That he made the inadvisable decision to invade Hell and kill Asmodeus, for the slight. He raised his fire-elemental vassals, his firenewt janissaries and his explosion-cavalry (explosionry), and made his way blazing and catastrophic right into the middle of the clash between the fiends over the ruins of the Zhulgor Fort. 

Turns out, getting shot in the side of the head by volcanic ejecta will kill you even if you are immune to fire. 

The situation stabilised eventually - the lava-ifrit is recognised King-President of Zhulgor, respected peer in the Hellish aristocracy of Avernus, because the resources needed to dislodge him are just a mite too high to spend willy-nilly, and he’s actually rather polite. See him sitting in the Citadel of the Generals, on a visit, sipping on hot uranium tea. 



A minor town in the Grey Waste, a halfway spot between the City at the Centre and the line of Baatezu fortresses that control the black nettled plains. 

In the centre of town was an old ruin which occasionally opened a portal into Sigil, the City of Doors. There was a little camp of enterprising Sigilites doing their usual thing (that is, poking around all the aeons of ruins and digging up gold baubles and magical trinkets). 

The war came to Zhadzhadgor in five brutal pitched battles. Neither side was winning - utterly pyrrhic on both sides, the Abyssal hordes splattered against shieldwalls, and entire Hellish legions were consumed in acid rains and lightning-chains. But, when both sides of the Blood War suffer 90% casualties, the demons are winning by a country mile, because they’re swimming in reserves.

Something had to be done. If the demons took the town they’d be impossible to dislodge from the plain. So, the Pit Fiend in charge of the operation contacted the Yugoloths, and said: “wipe Zhadzhadgor off the map”. 

The Oinoloth conjured it up - a plaguebomb. A random Sigilite was selected and infected, compelled cordyceps-like to head for the portal. On the other side, the devils made a show of retreat - the cannier adventurers in the area knew something was up and cleared out, but the frenzy of looting kept many in place. 

The infected stumbled through the portal as the demons smashed into the ranks of looters, and the virulence was released. Within minutes, Zhadzhadgor was an uninhabitable death-zone, a worse-than-death-zone, covered in piles of treasure and the suppurating bones of demons. 

The plague didn’t stop there, of course - it slid out of the old town, like a greasy shadow, and poured along the roads of Hades. Eventually, there was an intervention - Celestials descended from the Seven Heavens and arrested the sickness in place with powerful magic. They were later commended, and then demoted for acting without orders.

The air in Zhadzhadgor is sick - chunky vomit falls instead of rain. The fog reeks. The walls are splattered with pustulous tanar’ric slime. And all the treasure left behind leaks a foul miasma.

Don’t visit. 

Sunday, 24 September 2023

1d10 Counterspells

 The original “Counter Spell” is older than recorded history, probably - it’s extremely crude, temperamental, and unreliable. Basically nobody uses it, because about 3-in-6 times you cast it, it fucking explodes. 

Old texts suggest it used to work just fine - perhaps some flaw in a copy has become the mainstream, or perhaps, like some other ancient spells, it simply no longer works the same way… 

Here are ten alternatives and the eras they came about in.


Some notes for this post - As much as I love MD, they don’t quite fit with how I picture spells working in Aclas. So, I am trying out a sort of Spell-Point deal.

This is just me bashing at ideas. 

The new spell things to keep track of are:

  • [level], which is in square brackets after the name of the spell. Doesn’t usually change, unless shit like metamagic or wizard specialisations get involved. 

  • [cost], which is how many spell points were spent to activate the spell. Cannot be lower than [level].

  • [sum], which is [cost] + [level], in this paradigm. 

To make these spells useful for normal GLOG, I guess replace [cost] with [sum] and [level] with [dice] or [highest]. 

The Counterspells

  1. Blur [1]

This spell can be cast instantly with a thought, without any preparation (i.e., it doesn’t require an action in combat).  

For [sum] seconds, your silhouette becomes an overlapping fractal blur, obscuring your exact position. This provides a -4 penalty to hit you, if the target cannot see through illusions.

Only technically a counterspell, designed primarily to evade stabbings, but it works on targeted magic too. You need a 6-sum Blur to be blurred for a whole round.  

Blur is regarded as a “Prehistoric Spell” by the College of Spires.

  1. Friulo’s Disjunction [2]

Creates a cylindrical area of space somewhere within [sum] metres. It exists for [sum] minutes. Without using an action, you can apply a revolving force to the interior of the Disjunction, turning things clockwise around a vertical axis. This can cause arrows to miss or throw people off their feet. 

Friulo the Yragosi was a famous wizard in the employ of the Church of the Maker, in its glory days after defeating the angels in the Tyranny. Friulo is the traceable origin of the habit of wearing a blue robe with big silver stars on it (the wizard’s equivalent of, say, a hi-vis vest. Informs everyone who you are, and that you’re not a maniac). 

  1. Warding Wind [3]

Produces a tiny, personalised windstorm around you for [cost] minutes. This wind will automatically deflect all light projectiles, like arrows and small stones, and will drive back any person insufficiently weighed down trying to come within [level] feet of you. The personal windstorm also wrecks environments you walk through, musses your hair, and thoroughly dishevels you in the process. 

An ancient, some say primordial wizard-spell - the College of Spires suggest it came about some nine thousand years ago, probably among lithic proto-Nevechi sorcerers. 

Warding Wind was obscenely popular with practitioners right up until the invention of guns. 

  1. Calvec’s Dampening [3]

This spell requires at least [cost] litres of water, which are consumed by the spell. 

This spell has [cost] charges. 

If, within the next [level] hours, you are about to take fire damage, a wet spray materialises from thin air to mitigate the issue, reducing the fire-damage by Xd6, where X is the number of charges you chose to use. This usually has the consequence of soaking you and everything near you. 

Calvec was the first and last “professional hydromancer” at the College of Spires. He graduated in Transmutation some 300 years ago, and attempted to reinvigorate the College with a paradigm based around the four elements - however, the discovery late in his career that there were at least 30 elements, all made up of little indivisible particles, put a bit of a… dampening on the whole affair.

  1. Anjung’s Sphere of Safety [4]

Summons a glossy, opaque white sphere around the caster, with [cost] * 7 HP. The sphere is immune to fire and does not transfer heat to the interior. The sphere exists for as long as the caster can hold their breath. The sphere rolls on inclined surfaces and can be flung around by something with sufficient strength. 

Anjung was a famous Serpentist wizard from Safvar, who had a habit of questioning dragons to qualify exactly what precisely they meant when they said this or that to a Serpentist cleric of old. The need for a perfectly fireproof defence evolved naturally from there. 

  1. Húen’s Directional Shield [4]

Creates a sheet of force with [cost] * 5 HP, which exists for [level] minutes, and is [level] feet square. It hovers in front of the caster’s left hand and can be swung to interpose between one source of damage per round. Damage that overspills the shield’s HP is done to the user. 

Húen was a fairly respectable abjurer of the late 800s until he was discovered to be experimenting with astromantic rituals in an attempt to resurrect his deceased husband. He was arrested by the Church and confined to a prison in Howlic. However, his captivity wasn’t to last - presumably by his own initiative, though it’s never clear with astromancy - he bodily transformed and compressed down into a massive, glossy black gem, his flesh opalising. The Húenstone is still kept in a sealed temple at the foot of the Holy Mountain. 

  1. Upland’s Disjunction [4]

This spell creates a pool of [sum] points, and a faint red glow in the air around you.
When a creature comes within [level] feet of you, you may have them save - if they fail, you may choose to expend a number of points equal to their HD and fling them forcefully in any direction you choose, up to [sum] feet away. 

Upland was an ochlocratic revolutionary in western Corelia a few centuries ago. He appeared, in effect, from nowhere, among the anti-authoritarian Tunneller sect.  He was regarded as a necromancer by some, and a champion of the common man by others. They identified him by his hand tattoos, and burned him at the stake without a trial, at the Church’s behest. His case, and the apparently disproportionate, sudden retribution it contains, fascinates historians to this day. 

  1. Rubicant Redirection [6]

In an area [sum]ft square centred on yourself, you produce a glowing red 3D crack in the air that somewhat resembles a cobweb. When lightning, or anything charged with electricity enters the cracked area, you can redirect it as you choose. The area lasts for [level] hours. You can leave the area and have it remain active. 

Rubicant Redirection is of unknown origin. A common misconception is that it was created by a wizard called Rubicant - there is no evidence for this. Rubicant has nonetheless become a stock character and a point of reference among academic magi - a theoretical wizard they can blame for their problems. “Rubicant lost Teleport, Rubicant broke Counterspell, Rubicant lost the secret of immortality,” and so on. 

  1. Mirembe’s Refraction [6] 

For the next [cost] minutes, you can choose to redirect or refract all incoming light from a direction of your choice. This allows for crude invisibility, or defence against those stars whose light tends towards the scouring and inimical. The unfortunate and inevitable consequence is directional blindness, since you need light to see. 

Mirembe is the nearly-mythical inventor of conjuration. She has the same frisson to the average Aclan as Merlin or Odysseus to us - an ancient hero of great skill and ingenuity. She supposedly wrote a hundred spells, of which about eleven have passed down to us in the modern day (or, well, eleven attributed to her, anyway). 

  1. Massimo’s Unassailable Antispell [9]

This spell can only be cast if you are touching a black glass cube, at least a slot big.

This spell can be prepared to cast instantly when the practitioner is in danger, so long as they have enough spell points. 

Summons [cost] cubes of stuck-force, all inside each other like a matryoshka doll. The central cube contains the caster. Each cube is immovable in relation to the planet. If there is not enough space for the cubes to form, the spell fails, though the forming cubes can easily destroy weak structures and knock over walls and cars to make space. The cubes are maintained until the caster dismisses them, or dies. The gap between each cube is a metre, and if people are within the area of the spell, they may get stuck between the walls of the cubes. Each cube has 150HP. Good luck getting through that!

Four recorded instances exist of something getting through that.

Massimo Vetorra was a mad Zymani archmage from around a thousand years ago. He ruled Nivera as a king and was supposedly driving towards lichdom, when he very suddenly died of severe food poisoning.