Friday, 15 July 2022

Adventures in the Kingdom of the Worm

 Long and low do lie the breathless rulers of the Kingdom of the Worm. Treasures they have and infinite time besides in a sunless realm where the nitre-tainted gold is black and the bronze so tarnished that it makes the only green in this lifeless demesne other than the phosphorescence of mycelia that bloom in wonder from the spiced limbs of long embalmed kings..

What can they desire that they may not attain? These pharaonic hierarchs who, while their flesh still blossomed, through it held, consumed and soaked-in every luxury and beat down every conquest, wounded only by their weight of crowns?

Youth perhaps, memories, the truth of long-forgotten arguments, night-blooming flowers. The Kingdom of the Worm is a land with no respect for life but much for memory, for everything has already happened in the past. Lightless, but not lifeless for here come Gem-Cutters, Feather merchants, Moth sellers Spice-Traders, Perfumiers, Embalmers, Drummers, (for one feels a drum-beat in one bones), Historians, Poets, and also adventurers, to be paid in prehistoric gems and fat gold coins stained black as coal which fall leaden from the bone fingers or Emperors unremembered in the oldest books, for the dead too have their strange desires, and will pay well for their fulfilment, in those brief eons of remembrance and selfhood which come ever more rarely in the long half-sleep of the immortal dead.

1. "A tune of my lost youth, played on great bronze bells."

Neither the bells nor the tune currently exist, travel, magic, scholarship and some exhumation would be required to research and re-make them.

2. "The skulls of each of my ten greatest foes I slayed while I still took breath."

(Some are kings in tombs, one a giants, one a demons, one a dragons skull, one utterly lost and one reanimated and actually belongs to another currently-active Skeleton Lord).

3. "A gift delivered to an old friend." 

(They are royal and long dead, gift involves a 'tombception', breaking in to a sacred tomb in order to leave something in the sarcophagus, rather than take something away.)

4. "I have neglected for .. a century? or two too long, the seals on the circle of Azalranbromith, the demon of the 9th level and my ancient foe and slave, whom I left encircled by charms and sigils in the dungeons of such-and-such a place. Those seals must be renewed lest the creature become bothersome."

(This is going to need child blood of some kind and probably the person who seals it will be trapped inside, that's what happened last time. Also this ancient dungeon now lowest level of a ruined and monster-haunted city etc etc.) 

5. "I recall a diverting experiment in thaumaturgy I left running in error, take thee this key and close it."

(Experiment is a wide-scale null-magic field, large city has grown up around it with a whole order of null-monks who think its divine. Also whole culture of the city is based on the effects of the Null-Field.)

6. "I remember I had a sword at some point, go and find it and being it to me."

(Sword was 'lost' Sauron style during invasion of the living world, now wielded by the head of an order of Templar knights.)

7. "I have an important secret to deliver to my living heir before I pass from existence."

(Their last living interaction was 5 centuries ago, tracing 'heir' locating them and somehow persuading them to come to the Kingdom of the Worm is going to be a problem.)

8. "I have been haunting the dreams of this child who is prophesised to destroy me and I want you to go and absolutely scare the SHIT out of them!. Don't accidentally fulfil or trigger the prophecy while you are doing it!"

(Child is that of worlds most powerful mage of light).

9. "Where is my cat? I want it I want my cat."

(Is one of maybe thousands of mummified cats in the labyrinth of the cat temple. There is also a cat god who doesn’t not like the cats being removed also probably other cat-themed challenges.)

10. "I want to try out to join one of these orders of knighthood they have these days. I will compete in a tournament in a closed helm just like in the stories, you will be my pages and make sure everything works out. (Also I want to romance a maiden heh heh heh)."

11. "I want it to be autumn here, I remember Autumn..."

(Realm is a lightless blasted wasteland of tombs with zero living trees).

12. "Take a message to my love."

(Long dead, no body, need to enter Hades get past guardian dog, ferryman, multiple rivers etc
track them down, deliver letter, wait for response, do the whole thing again on the way back).


  1. I like how you don't even bother specifying the challenges for the tourney one because there's zero way that premise could go smoothly.

    This is super fun--rich ancient wizard types with buckets of cash and obscene demands make the best adventure hooks. The party are Homer Simpson and the NPC is Mr Burns from that episode where he makes him publically humiliate himself.

  2. This is interesting idea because so many tasks are theoretically can be done without violence and don't have a violence as the end goal.

    I also imagined Skeleton Lords swapping various skulls that constitute their bodies like a fashion statement. 'Get me the skull which should be such and such, but not such and such, as it is such a passé now.'