Monday, 3 May 2021

Velvet Hooks: Vore Bull & Vitillary

Previously in this series;

Abhorrer & Aeskithetes
Anemone Men & Ants Of Neutrality
Atrocious Crows & Azul
Bedlam Birds & The Blathering Bird
Boa Boy & Boa Constructor
Brainstormer & Capitualtors
Colour Monster & Corbeau
Crimson Contrarodron & Cryptospider
Zen Beast

and now...

Vore Bull 

- Hecatomb empire - endlessly sacrificed
- kingdom obsessed with justice revenge and sacrifice
- nothing is forgotten
- deep secreted places, passions in stone
-  army of bulls 
- long darkness 
- hints of rebirth
- bull required
- entering the skinned bull
- slight frame
- virtually indestructible
- some lethal violence
- ferocity into the small beast
- spirit, mind and engine

Cow Country - you just need Bulls for the ritual and that means pastureland, specifically, cattle country. Either the pasture of river valleys or the cowboy-inhabited vast plains of waving grass. The Vore Bull will almost always be a monster of the farmlands or the Plains.

1. The Cult of the Long Darkness - a hidden Mithratic semi-faiths is actually what it thinks it is; the last relic of a long-dead empire, holding a few half-remembered scattered secrets of its magic. They will kill to defend their secrets but what strange memories of the dead empire lie hidden in the caves nearby?
2. The Bull Demon - one, or a series of attacks by a nightmare demon of skinless flesh in the outlands. Whole settlements laid waste and nothing seems able to stop it.  Big surprise the destroyed settlements all have a dark secret in that they ignored or took part in the destruction of an isolated minority community, the survivors of that event are now taking terrible revenge.
3. The Fierce Wee Beasts - a plague or eruption of insanely angry small animals, voles mice etc, which seem possessed by some disease of hyper-wrath. 
4. The Peaceful Ones. A group of abused and maltreated people seek peace in a ranch-like cult out in the valleys. They seem to have found it but their secret is that they are actually forcing their rage into small creatures and disposing of them that way. Like a drug which wears off, the rage re-grows each time, more rapidly and more totally and the surges of wrath are starting to become noticeable.
5. The Foolish Academic. A relatively innocent historical researcher is accidentally finding out stuff about the rituals and nearly making them workable but is being manipulated by a Dickensian grotesque who wants revenge on the world
6. Race for the Ritual. Some evil person heading a cult or org full of damaged people has the last part of the ritual - the Bull part, their own ranch and tbh pretty much everything you need to start up your own army of unkillable monsters and wreck the nation, but they don't know the first part, and the answer is... in a dungeon! Which you need to get to before they do and either control or destroy the info.

Could I go deep on this one? Most of the depth comes not from the circumstances of the origins of the rage - did I write a a .. STORY GAME MOSNTER?? NOOOOO. Yes I probably did. This one is more about people, alienation, societal cruelty victimhood and rage. And access to cows. The bull just makes the rage a physical thing that the culture needs to actually deal with.

The horror of an insect on your flesh which you can't get off. It feeds off tears, mates then injects eggs  which cause a highly specific disease with some odd upsides but which is always lethal. Vitillary Blindness makes you see the world 'as text', but text which is always 'true'. Essentially you are reading the code of the Matrix, or it seems like you are. But then your head bursts open and Glyphapillars climb out.

So I seem to have STACKED this one with possibilities. Insects and Multiple stage life growth patterns seem perfect for D&D somehow, the distinctness and uniqueness of each form, with different dangers, utility and cultural significance and the fact that it transmutes into useful but obscure "lore" as well, ahhh yeahhh baby.

Pretty much in the text:
1. Glyphapillar forest fire! There are known to be Glyphapillars in the woods. A fire has started in the woodlands, which wouldn't be that big of a problem, but its known that burnt Glyphapillars produce Vitillaries and now everyone is too scared to fight the fire. But if the fire goes on, Vitillaries will be everywhere..
2. FUCK THERE ARE VITILLARIES WHAT DO WE DO??? Jump in the fire? Ok does anyone have flour I can roll my kid in and then set them alight? Anyone have acid? How far to the nearest water I can jump in? Can someone hypnotise me or get a dumb monkey to pick them off?
3. Vitiallry suicide armour - you should never have fucked with those swamp drunks because now their shaman or main berserker has gone mental and is rampaging through town covered in fucking vitillaries which means nothing physical can touch them!
4. Bring me the Blindness! A shaman, magic user, maybe someone terminally ill, or a fanatic, wants to be infected with the Vitiallay Blindness so they can see the world "as it truly is". But for that to happen, they will need Vitillaries. Yes its another "find and transport an insanely dangerous animal" mission!
5. Vitillary Detective. Some deadly crimes are going on and the guilty parties have some super-technique or subtle magic to keep the law off their backs. Last resort - *someone* must be infected with the Vitillary Blindness to help them 'read the scene' and catch the baddies. The PCs need to either do this or find and protect someone who can. 
6. Vitillary Conspiracy. Some crime gang or evil conspiracy has a way of inducing and slightly controlling the rate of Vitillary Blindness, they use those infected as guardians and inquisitors to prevent infiltrators. The PCs need to find some way to infiltrate the gang without being discovered....

1. Human Testing!. Someone thinks they have found a way to slow, or even put into stasis the vitillary blindness so its non-lethal across the course of a normal human life and is offering money (or freedom, or forgiveness) to test it (this is illegal). Its getting you out of debt/legal trouble etc at least!
2. Search for a Cure! You get the blindness somehow and need to search for some way to end it before it kills you.
3. Glyphapillar Bombers! - some nutter has managed to somehow grab a bunch of them and plans to lock the doors on the longhouse and throw them into the fire - now EVERYONE will see the world 'as it really is'.
4. Aiding the Detective. Someone hires you or you pledge to help them look for a cure and they follow you about - however, their blindness does turn out to be veeeery useful while they have it, do you *really* want them to be cured?
5. Tombs of the Aurulent Empire. Are they a weapon, a tool that got out of control? It would be strange for the Aurulent Empire to leave a 'pure' weapon hanging around. If they are part of a larger, forgotten process, could there be systematically ways to control their effects? Perhaps incorporating them into a larger process? Maybe tomb raiding the Empires leavings will explain things.
6. The Sketchy Treasure. PCs get frozen of amber-held Vitillaires as treasure and/or payment, or an amberised glyphapillar. Its the ultimate in illegal hard currency! Do you try and trade them or do the honourable thing and search for a way to destroy them safely?

The Vore Bull, a giant meat-suit powered by rage and ancient rituals from a forgotten empire.

Lets see what we have here..


  1. The Bull Evangelion was one of the stronger entries in FoVH, I think an important dimension is lost by not attaching some mechanical handholds so the players might not only face the occasional one, but perhaps use it to their advantage. The potential of an ancient hangar/incubation tank filled with the damn things and an unscrupulous rival adventuring party to contest with in a race who runs out of Vorebulls is enough to stir the blood surely?

    At the risk of skirting familiarity did you ever get that copy of Swordthrust and if so, what did you think?

    1. By sheer chance I JUST FINISHED reading it and will probably do a review, or at least some sort of public commentary, soonish

  2. "Most of the depth comes not from the circumstances of the origins of the rage - did I write a a .. STORY GAME MOSNTER?? NOOOOO."

    I'm not quite so brain damaged yet so as not to consider you may be being a bit facetious here, but were non-physical solutions/problems/whatever typified as a story game thing before my time in """""""the osr"""""""?

    1. Its less about the solution than the cause. The setup of the Bulls strongly suggests a cult or organisation driven by people who either regard themselves as victims or who are just generaly very fucking angry whilst also being personally weak. So that strongly suggests an image of some pattern of societal alienation or resentment, which of course will be different depending on the kind of society you are imagining.

      Its that almost-necessary creation of a complex social milieux to be investigated that I think I had in mind when I (half-jokingly) called it a storygamy thing

  3. Just want to say I love everything you do man, you're a treasure to the ttrpg community. Can't wait to see what you come up with next.