Monday, March 18, 2019

Crypt Cities: What the Dead Carry.


Grave robbery?

No, that term is too dignified for what you propose. Corpse pillaging is what this is.

Were you listening to anything? Are you aware of the things your fellow Awakened have had to suffer through? The sanctity of one's death mask? The difference between collapse and perseverance embodied by the smallest of trinkets and sentimentals on one's person?

You are, and you just don't care?

... Smart. You'll go farther than most.

When one of you has just about had it, and all seems lost, the embrace of true death nonetheless remains elusive. Instead, you crumple under the weight of the Need as well as your own personal anguish, and turn inward. Without a body strong enough to carry you to a sarcophagus, your mind turns inward and consumes itself, slowly. You can look forward to weeks, months, even years as a tormented Husk, trapped inside of that desiccated head of yours. And after that, when you start to fall apart at the molecular level, the real fun begins.

Some of the damage can be reversed, if you were to be placed within an enchanted coffin of your own.

Of course most of the other travelers who come across your bleaching hide will be less interested in picking up and helping you, and more interested in helping themselves to the pickings of whatever you might have had on you when you went catatonic. If you're smart, you'll keep your eye-slots peeled too.

(Roll 1d40 whenever you come across a suitably lethargic-looking cadaver. Any rerolls ignore the same result twice in a row.)

Nothing But Dust
The Husk and any rags it has left fall to ashes at your touch, its mask crumbling into nothing. Have a moment of silence for this most grim of fates.
Tattered Clothes
Little more than a filthy, stained loincloth. Gain one rag. If you are feeling particularly brave, gain one bandage or article of clothing.
Encrusted Thing
This object is completely covered over in gunk, grime, or dirt. You have no idea what it is or does. Gain one crusty old... something.
Vile Trophies
This Husk must have been one sick puppy to collect all these. If you are not Hunted, become mildly unsettled. If you are Hunted, have a laugh.
Abused Rucksack
Spacious, but weakening in places. Gain a medium-sized container. If it is ever filled to capacity, it ruptures.
Ghostly Whispers
You find nothing, and the murmur of wind and ash fills you with a sudden, dreadful urgency. You suffer one additional day of Need.
Carrion-eaters and worse things have found the Husk before you did. If you fight or scare the competition away, reroll.
Noose Necklace
A piece of fashion commonly sported by alumni of gallows the world over. Gain one short length of rope.
Snipped Sinews
Several of the Husk's muscles are still good. Gain three uses of stitching, or one bowstring, cord, garrote, etc.
Old Child's Toy
A weathered wooden figurine or a threadbare doll, probably kept as a memento. Gain one bitter reminder of your own lost youth.
Rendered Human Fat
A jar full of fragrant adipose tissue. Gain five uses of fuel or oil, and attract predators at twice the usual rate.
Visceral Trail
Dried droplets of black ichor, the lingering reek of death-smoke, and the occasional severed limb point toward potential danger- and profit.
Shiny Rocks
Not even the dead are exempt from humanity's fixation on shiny things. Gain a bargaining chip.
Befouled Liquids
These vials or skins once contained valuable potions or life-giving water. Now they are spoiled and noxious. They make you nauseous to drink, but could be used as a stink bomb or olfactory concealment.
A Fistful of Coins
A few ancient coins of unclear mint and composition. Flipping them into a body of water and wishing might do something. Like poison the water.
Corpulent Swelling
Jostling the Husk causes its abdomen to burst and shower you in insides which quickly become outsides. You can be smelled from a much greater distance until you bathe.
Awful Poetry
In sanity, this Husk used poetry as a creative outlet and coping mechanism. In catatonia, it serves to make you groan. Gain one use of fuel.
Powdered Herbs
They might have been an apothecary's wares. Or an old pressed flower collection. Gain two uses of medicine. Or placebos. Or poison.
Rusting Fragments
Anything made of metal such as weapons or armor has long since broken, but the pieces remain. Gain one use of scrap.
At some point this body became host to a den of vermin or a squirm of large parasites. Gain one ration of food.
At some point this body became host to a den of small vermin or a squirm of large parasites. Now, so have you.
Old Wagon Wheel
Some Nomad cart won't be going anywhere without this. Gain a shield that breaks after deflecting three blows.
That isn't a Husk. That isn't even humanoid. And whatever it is, it looks hungry.
Gnarled Branch
Someone tore the face off of a particularly old Holt-Dweller, but didn't get around to working it yet. Gain one piece of wood.
Weaponized Femur
Whoever this belonged to must have had legs like a workhorse. Treat as a club that breaks after five successful hits.
Old Bone Dice
Bones for throwing, and a bit of idle recreation. They're probably not cursed.
A Ghost of Warmth
For the briefest of moments you feel faint, pleasant sensation that you'd thought dead for ages. Nothing about the Husk or its possessions tells you why or how to replicate it, however.
Crypt-City Brochure
An old flier both advertising for one of the smaller, newer Crypt-Cities, and calling for the violent expulsion of all Awakened. If you become lost, you may reorient yourself toward your goal once.
A Spare Limb
Everything seems to be in working order for one of the Husk's extremities. Randomly gain a spare left or right arm or leg.
Dislodged Corpse Nail
This foot-long wrought iron spike is hammered into the limbs and torsos of the Awakened by Hunters to affix them to a Groaning Pillar. Treat as a dagger.
Moldering Pages
Scraps of some old tome or journal. They may offer some insight into local dangers or past travelers.
Rot Blossom Sprout
Run. Run as fast as you can.
A marvelously underused pair of sandals. Gain the ability to travel the Wasteland in almost-comfort for the next hundred miles.
Passage of Death-Priest Psalms
These grim old hymns allow you to reflect upon your struggle and the goal which lies at its end, bolstering your resolve. You may ignore one day of Need.
Looted Mask
This Husk was once another corpse-pillager like yourself. Gain one blank death mask to use as a backup, and don't dwell overlong on this glimpse into your own future.
Map Fragment
Manic scrawling making use of parchment and ink of questionable origins outlines the general area and points of interest.
Mystery Cult Trinkets
Ritual tools and artifacts of ambiguous design and purpose. Using them correctly might allow for the casting of a single spell. Or they might explode.
Black Marrow
The bones of every Awakened become imbued with a hint of death-smoke essence over time, and these are still juicy. Become well-rested, if you can tolerate the grizzly, selfsame feast. Just ignore the nightmares.
Smoke Pocket
A pocket of death-smoke hasn't yet left the Husk's body. Split open the bubo-like protrusion in its flesh and huff deeply to repair light damage or remove one minor debilitation.
Not A Husk!
The corpse you're scavenging isn't entirely catatonic yet! Take light but unavoidable damage as it suddenly bites and flails mindlessly at the rude awakening.

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