Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The House Militias







The House Militias are the primary source of Law & Order within Salt in Wounds. Each Meridian House is charged with ‘Paying, provisioning, and organizing’ no less than 1000 fighting men ‘to enforce the laws of the township and contribute to the general welfare of Salt in Wounds.’ However, interpretation and implementation of this edict varies greatly depending on house. On one end of the spectrum, there are houses who outfit their militia with the bare minimum and then leave the militia to its own devices: these groupings usually act like traditional city watches you might find in any large city. In the extreme opposite, Sixth House outfits a militia of 7000, armed and trained more for war than policing. Complicating matters further, many Meridians Houses also run House Guards who are distinct from House Militias; with House Militias having a duty to enforce laws while House Guards do not.

Basically, House Militias -while technically serving the city as a whole as opposed to their respective house- still often act as an extension of their house and instrument of its machinations.

Each Meridian House manages hiring, firing, and promotion within their militia. Meanwhile, House Militias are held to a code of behavior which includes -amongst other things- prohibitions against favoring one house over the law of the city with severe mutilation penalties doled out by the largely independent courts for failure to serve the law.
These twin influences leads to much secretive conflict, intrigue, sabotage, and checks & balances between the House Militias which is in part an extension of and in part distinct from the power games played amongst the Meridian Houses themselves.
Typical armament for a House Militiaman is studded leather armor, round shield, hand-axe, and crows-beak.  


Read more: The Monsters of Salt in Wounds Part 1 & 2


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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Beast Crown District

 
The Beast Crown is the posh district located in the northwest corner of the city, bound to the North by the city’s walls, to the south by Salzinwuun, in the south-west by the Throat and the south east by the Tail Stones.

The district is further divided into House ‘neighborhoods’ - each populated by members and those favored by each Meridian House. Each neighborhood is presided over by a Manor-Tower, a looming structure intended by its owners to display the wealth and power of their respective Meridian House. Most of these towers, intentionally or not, also reflect the character of its house in addition to featuring repeated instances of the house number. Even those unfamiliar with the district can fairly easily find their way around.

The streets here are clean and jealously patrolled. While any may freely access the district, individuals who lack an ‘aristocratic bearing’ (or -alternately- fail to produce a token of a Meridian House) face a veritable inquisition by the resident House Militias, a process that will be repeated every few blocks as a traveller passes into a different house neighborhood.

In addition to serving the the sprawling Meridian House families, the Beast Crown District is also home to numerous boutique shops, pricey entertainments & diversions (of which the world famous Salt in Wounds Opera is the most prominent) and most of the official administration buildings of Salt in Wounds including the courts, tax & trade offices, House Militia barracks and more.

 
Notable Locations
  • The Salt in Wounds Opera - Owned and operated by 8th House, the Salt in Wounds Opera is known to attract skilled players from around the globe who perform to the haunting accompaniment of a custom built organ constructed from hollowed out finger bones.
  • The Stage Courts - Constructed in the style of covered amphitheaters, each of the dozens of courts features seating for hundreds (which have been known to overflow during particularly captivating trials). When in session, each of these courts ring a sitting judge who listens to arguments of accuser and accused before passing judgement (for particularly prominent/important cases, a counsel of six judges will be assembled). Such courts process scores of cases a day, with judgement decided and punishment (usually some form of amputation, mutilation, flogging, branding, or even execution) immediately dispatched in front of the excited crowd. Watching trials is a popular pastimes of Salt in Wound residents from all walks of life, with most judges relishing their secondary role as entertainers.

 
Notable Residents


 
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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Meat, Manufacturing & Alchemy: Making Use of the Tarrasque





The Tarrasque is utilized in a number of different ways to feed the populace and grow the economy of Salt in Wounds. What follows is an overview and common knowledge of some of the most common Tarrasque derived products generated by the city.

Meat

The most commonly used part of the Tarrasque is the meat; muscle and fat tissue cut out and consumed. Meat comes in many forms the most common of which is stringy basale which is boiled in bulk and practically (or in some cases, literally) given away. As such, it is considered the

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Salt & Steam (Fan Contribution)

This is a fan contribution, suggested by reddit user 0thMxma (and expanded a bit by me).

He began his pitch by writing; I was thinking, let’s take this into the future a bit, where's this place gonna be in a few centuries…




In the nine centuries since the binding of the Tarrasque, Salt in Wounds has grown from a fortress, to a city-state, to one of the great empires that now rule the globe. Rail tracks run for miles in every direction; great locomotives made of carved bone and burning gasified tallow ship meat to conquered kingdoms, ship back

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Tail Stones District



Formerly referred to as the Hind Quarter, the Tail Stones District is the area north east of the fortress Salzinwuun, the central core of Salt in Wounds. The Hind Quarter was massively damaged during the 12th Meridian Crisis with thousands killed and many more wounded. The underfunded repair efforts for the homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure in this area is still underway (where it has not been completely abandoned).

By far the poorest district of the city, the Tail Stones is

Monday, December 7, 2015

Salt in Wounds Inspiration Collection

I made a new collection on Google Plus of work, images, music and more that I find inspirational to Salt in Wounds. If you're curious, check it out here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Throat





The Throat is the name for the (mainly commercial) district extending roughly from the outer portcullis of the fortress Salzinwuun to the main gate of Salt in Wounds proper; then spilling out further into the area outside the city in a tangle of merchant stalls, caravans, and brightly colored tents.



The Throat can further be divided into three main sections:


  • High Throat - The first segment is High Throat which is located directly outside Salzinwuun; this is where the freshest cuts of meat are supposed to be had. High Throat also serves as home to a number of mid-list merchants.

  • Core Throat - Core Throat is where numerous high end merchants resides, jewelers, slavers and a scattering of alchemists & wizards (though many of these can be found in Sage’s Row or clustered around 5th House’s Manor Tower). This section is sandwiched west of High Throat towards the front gate but spreads out further into the city as many of these vendors prefer not to conduct business along the main thoroughfare of the city.

  • Low Throat- Finally Low Throat is the area around (and directly outside) the front gates. This more chaotic section houses sellers of everything else, and a little of everything.
Merchants are further organized into clusters; multiple blacksmiths opting to work near to one another, or multiple bakers, or coopers. Hence, while giving directions, a citizen might describe their second floor apartment as ‘Brown Building, Confectioner’s Row, Core Throat.’

 
Supposedly, the name for this section of the city comes from a joke told by one of the first dozen merchants to encamp around Salzinwuun. Between the intermittent roars of the Tarrasque, the constant sounds of work, and the barking of other sellers; the merchant quipped that ‘Success here has less to due with business acumen, and more to do with the strength of one’s throat.’





Notable Locations


  • Twin Spikes Tavern


Notable Residents




Read more about Salt in Wounds here.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Helenie: Ex-Master god-Butcher and Hero of the 12th Meridian Crisis



Helenie
Race Human, Female
Age 52
Affiliation God-Butchers (Former Master)

Description


Helenie is a human woman who sits in the corner of the tavern, carefully strapped to a chair. Despite the fact that she has no eyes, arms, or legs her matronly face seems almost peaceful. Every few moments, another individual will walk up to her, bow, and ask her a series of yes/no questions about what she would like before fetching it for her or -more commonly- telling her a joke.

Backstory


Born to a comfortably middle-class family, Helenie worked

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Circle of Release

Note: The following post is for GMs. If you're a player and don't wish to encounter spoilers, check out the 'common knowledge' post about the Circle of Release here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Title of Binder-Lord and the 13 Immoveable, Meridian Harpoons


Note: Technically, the 'Meridians' are the places on the Tarrasque's body where a immoveable harpoon has been sunk, while the immoveable harpoons themselves are the magical item controlled by its respective command words. However, sometimes the term 'meridian' is used to refer to the physical object of the harpoon, or even the Binder-Lord controlled ‘zone’ around it.



Each of the 13 immoveable harpoons that have been sunk into the Tarrasque, binding it in place, is controlled by a command word. Knowledge of each of these command words is a closely guarded secret, not only due to the practical dangers of

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The 12th Meridian Crisis


The 12th Meridian Crisis is the name of the largest scale disaster to befall Salt in Wounds thus far. For reasons that are still unclear, several years ago the Tarrasque was able to free its tail and it took several hours for the God-Butchers to regain control and containment of the creature. In its thrashing and flailing, approximately 2500 people lost their lives from being struck by debris or the monster directly. In addition, numerous pieces of God-Butcher equipment was destroyed, and house sized boulders were flung into the Hind Quarter smashing homes and businesses. While this was happening, a large scale panic gripped the city, and -fearing that the end had finally come- swarms of people tried to flee. In addition to the thousands or so who lost their lives to the direct actions of the Tarrasque, an additional 4000 or so were trampled and killed in the madcap attempts to evacuate Salt in Wounds.

Were it not for the actions of (then) Master God-Butcher Helenie in illegally using her knowledge of the 12th Meridian Harpoon command word, the Tarrasque very likely would have freed itself.
Eventually, the Tarrasque was brought back under control but with numerous lasting consequences.

Consequences

On the most basic level, Autoxia Marcellun (then Binder-Lord of 12th House) was usurped by Tolviko Marcellun; then a lesser cousin of 12th House. The God-Butchers suffered a massive setback in public perception and internal shock, with as many as 20% of its ranks leaving the organization (although much of this was influenced by the post-crisis treatment of Helenie). The Hind Quarter was transformed into what is now commonly referred to Tail Stones, an area of the city yet to be fully rebuilt and practically given over to lawlessness and grinding poverty.

Moreover, the newly confirmed Binder-Lord of 12th House Tolviko shocked the city several months after the crisis by granting the extraction contract for the 12th Meridian to the newly created Marrow Miners; an organization led by former God-Butchers and staffed largely by the so-called ‘monstrous’ races.
As no official answer has ever been offered as to how the Tarrasque was able to free itself, numerous theories abound (see Circle of Release). The most widely accepted theory is that Autoxia had lost the favor of the God’s and so his charge was ‘unloosed.’

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Monday, November 2, 2015

The Circle of Release (Common Knowledge)


This is the commonly held knowledge about the Circle of Release.

The Circle of Release is a group of adventurers & others operating covertly in the City of Salt in Wounds with the stated goal of ending the Tarrasque’s imprisonment. Their reasons for doing so vary depending on the telling, but the most common reason involves restoring the natural balance upset by the current state of affairs.

This cabal is primarily comprised of evangelical druids,

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Fungal Sieve



This piece originally appeared on Tribality.com as part of my System Agnostic column. You can read about this concept (not related to Salt in Wounds, with notes on how to adapt it to your scifi or fantasy game) there.


The Fungal Sieve

Controlling Dungeon/Creature at the Core of Heartsblood Marsh


History


After spending decades of his life establishing Heartsblood Marsh, Afrindi Gunterhix despaired. Given its artificial nature, he didn’t have faith that the marsh would continue serving its purpose without a steward. The grippli he’d imported had descended to base savagery, and every other druid he contacted considered his life’s work an abomination. Without other options,

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Heartsblood Marsh



The imprisonment of the Tarrasque has been a catastrophe for the native ecology around the city of Salt in Wounds. This would have been an even more severe and far reaching problem if not for Heartsblood Marsh, created to act as ‘waste management’ for the outflowing essence of the Tarrasque. However, the seeds (or more exactly spores) of a tremendous threat even now bud amidst the fungal blooms and towering mushroom stalks of Heartsblood Marsh.




History of the Heartsblood Marsh


When the binders of Salzinwuun used

Monday, September 28, 2015

Water: The Red River and Clear Water Aqueduct






The Red River


When the Tarrasque was first bound, a large, sweet stream -almost a river in its own right- ran nearby the fortress Salzinwuun. Along with several wells the watch drug, the denizens of the fortress and early binders felt that they would always be well supplied with ample water to sustain the men and animals.
The spreading of the Tarrasque’s essence into the stream, the soil, and the surrounding water tables proved this early optimism unfounded.
Within months of the Tarrasque’s binding

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

5 Ways to Get Involved With Salt in Wounds

Like what I'm doing? Want to encourage me and make more Salt in Wounds happen? Here's how you can help.


1. Share


If you like a post (or even the site in general) the best thing you can do is share. Share on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, a forum, or even tell your friends about it in real life. Doesn't matter how you share, sharing helps me make this work and builds the biggest & most vibrant community. And when you share, it's probably best to start here at the Origins and Overview of Salt in Wounds.


2. Comment


I love comments. If you have an opinion -even if you don't like/disagree with something I posted- please comment; your feedback helps make my work better.


3. Write a Fan Letter


When you take the time to write a fan letter and tell me I'm doing a good job it makes all the difference in the world.


4. Fan Art + Fan Builds


Have you made art about Salt in Wounds? I'd love to see it and -with your permission- post it. Alternately, have you made fully statted out characters, monsters, ect in your favorite RPG system? I'd love to see + potentially post that too. Send it all my way, and help provide other players with inspiration and material.


5. Become My Patron


The best way to get involved with Salt in Wounds is to become a patron over at Patreon. Patrons get an increased say in the development of Salt in Wounds, get to vote on upcoming posts, and get special access to what's next. You can check out the Salt in Wounds Patreon campaign here.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Salt in Wounds Patreon Campaign







I just launched the Salt in Wounds Patreon campaign, for anyone interested in financially supporting the development of Salt in Wounds. You can check out the campaign here.



If you're not familiar with Patreon, it's a crowdfunding service where you can become 'patrons' of artists and creators you like (like me, for instance). By giving at a certain dollar amount per month (or per article/creation for other creators) you can help a campaign/creator reach goals; putting out more content, putting out better content, or any number of things. (We've already reached the first goal for Salt in Wounds to become a weekly project for me.) Also, depending on your support level you get bonuses and special rewards. These rewards for Salt in Wounds include things like gaining access to my notes, playing in the 'canonical' master game, getting to vote on what part of Salt in Wounds I work on next, etc. and so on.



If you're interested in financially supporting my work, please pledge today! And even if you're not, if you could take a look at the campaign and message me any suggestions you might have about rewards, goals, etc would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to check it out, and thanks for being a fan of Salt in Wounds.





Friday, September 4, 2015

5th Meridian Binder-Lady Keolemita & her Consort Merrin Chyn



Kuolemita is a tall, middle aged, female human with onyx black skin. Whenever seen, the powerful aristocrat is dressed in incredible finery; always well-tailored and at the height of fashionability. As Binder-Lady & command word possessor of 5th House, Kuolemita is extremely politically powerful, with the influence and fortunes of her house only growing since the influx of numerous undead into the ranks of 5th. Kuolemita is viewed as being extremely shrewd, unfailingly polite, 'fair' enough although with a ruthlessness to be expected as one of Salt in Wound's oligarchs. However, most can only scratch their heads at her choice of husband.
Merrin Chyn is the non-aristocratic consort of Kuolemita. He is a male human of middling height with gray hair and tan skin. He can usually be found in soiled, ill-fitting clothing wherever drink is to be served, and whether he imbibes to excess in the seediest establishments amidst of Tail Stones or at lordly functions seems to make no difference to the man. Unlike Kuolemita, Merrin is viewed by the town as a drunken fool, infamous for his philandering ways.


Secrets

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pathfinder Fan Conversion for Weal and Woe Tarrasque-Fed Mutations

This is a conversion by Salt in Wounds fan Aeschenkarnos of the tarrasque-fed mutations for the Pathfinder Roleplaying game. 


All creatures effected by Tarrasque-fed mutations gain the following qualities:
  • Gain the Magical Beast creature type
  • When subjected to detect evil, will give positive results regardless of actual alignment (detect good etc will also continue to give positive results if applicable)
  • You can understand the spoken language Aklo but cannot speak or read it unless you have spent a skill point on Linguistics to learn it

WEALD

  1. Increased Strength:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

More Mutations, Taints, and other Pathfinder Character Options from LokiOathbreaker

I wanted to share a ton of alternate options and suggestions created by reddit user LokiOathBreaker (shared with permission, of course). These are all created with the Pathfinder Role Playing game in mind, but can pretty easily be adapted to a bunch of alternate systems.


Tarrasque Taint


This system assumes that all residents of Salt in Wounds live under the threat of potential mutation, though the rift between rich and poor is quite evident. The threat of mutation is tracked by how much 'Tarrasque taint' or simply 'taint' people carry within them.
Simply being within Salt in Wounds long enough exposes a character to the Tarrasque's essence. The water, meat, even the very air they breathe is tainted to varying degrees and as such Taint automatically increases by 1 point per week of living in Salt in Wounds. It must be mitigated or reduced if one is to avoid mutation

Thursday, July 23, 2015

More Monsters for Salt in Wounds

These are monsters likely to be encountered by adventurers in and around the City of Salt in Wounds.


This post is part of a multipart series, and you can find information about more monsters here.


Harpy
5e Monster Manual pg 181 | Pathfinder Version


Numerous flocks of harpies roost in the mountains around Salt in Wounds, harassing travelers and traders. Uniquely, these harpies include a large number of witches, many of whom have forged a pact with Agony. (Agony is the largely secret, sentient embodiment of the Tarrasque's suffering which acts as patron to many of the witches of Salt in Wounds.) These harpy witches (and the flocks they lead) are used as assassins and operatives to further Agony's schemes.


Otyugh
5e Monster Manual pg 248 | Pathfinder Version


Before the legalization of ghouls in Salt in Wounds, hundreds of imported otyughs were used to help dispose of the masses of rotting meat. After 5th House and its sanctioned undead picked

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lazarius and Kreval - Failed Diabolist and Disfigured Imp



Lazarius & Kreval


Failed Diabolist and Disfigured Imp


Race Human, Male and Devil (Imp), N/A Respectively
Age 24 and 100365
Affiliation 8th House, Hell


Description


Lazarius is a haggard, young male human in fine arcane robes that have been badly laundered. On his face he always wears a pained, plaintive smile. Kreval resembles nothing so much as a flying, ruddy cheeked human baby. His expression is almost always one of fury, which only manages to make him appear cuter.


History


Lazarius is a fourth cousin, twice favored, once removed of

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

6 Monsters for Salt in Wounds



The following monsters are often encountered by adventurers in and around the city of Salt in Wounds. You can find even more monsters here.


Animated Objects
5e Monster Manual pg 19 | Pathfinder Version


Animated Objects, used as inexpensive sentries and guards, are a common hazard to thieves or 'explorers' in Salt in Wounds. Alternately, magical instructions placed to guide these objects tend to decay with time or were inexpertly applied in the first place; leading to more than one incident of an unwarranted attack about town.


Ankheg
5e Monster Manual pg 21 | Pathfinder Version


Ankhegs are a native apex predator to the region around

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Alternate Names

One of the issues I hear about most frequently with Salt in Wounds is about the name. Most people (myself included) think it's pretty neat but there are some who loathe it. I'm not sure which camp you're in, but I wanted to make a list of alternate names people have been using. Because, wouldn't a rose by any other name smell just as sweet? Or, in this case, wouldn't a blood drenched horror city by any other name shake just as much from the tarrasquequakes?





Note: the following names are all reader suggestions used here with permission.
     
  1. Salzinwuun 
  2.  
  3. Salzidwuun
  4.  
  5. Salted Wound
  6.  
  7. Solv Rana
  8.  
  9. Abbotoir
  10.  
  11. Tyranny's End
  12.  
  13. Tarascon 
  14.  
  15. Amarimbul
  16.  
  17. Meridians
  18.  
  19. Beast Bind


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Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Church of Macinfex







Macinfex
God of Butchers




Macinfex is the (Demi)God patron of butchers. For the world at large he is a minor figure; often considered to be barely a divinity or dismissed as an upjumped saint; honored only occasionally in an odd window of butcher's row. Salt in Wounds is not like the rest of the world, and here he is a if not the primary deity; worshiped by many, respected by all. Only the church of

Thursday, June 4, 2015

God-Butcher Diagram



Diagrams like this are studied by God-Butchers to determine how to most efficiently harvest tarrasque flesh and reagents without freeing the beast or encroaching on the territory of a different Binder-Lord. They are also used by alchemists, butchers, and other merchants to explain the origin of their products and vouch for the quality of their goods.


Art by Jeffrey Chen


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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Secrets

Note: These pieces of information are generally unknown to Player Characters and the population of Salt in Wounds at large.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Factions




What follows is a list of the major factions operating within the city in addition to some 'common' knowledge about each:

Binder-Lords Hereditary oligarchs of Salt in Wounds, control the city and engage in endless scheming against one another. Each house was founded by one of the heroes who bound the Tarrasque, with the mantle of leadership of the house being 'possession' of the magical command word to release the associated harpoon.

House Militias The combined army/police force of Salt in Wounds, controlled by the Binder-Lords.

The Guild of Blood Merchants Merchants in charge of selling Tarrasque cuttings, more than anything insist that the flow of viscera continues and (preferably) grows.

God-Butchers Knightly order that takes their mission of maintaining the Tarrasque's imprisonment seriously, while sometimes motivated by money they still are (mostly) dedicated and exceedingly competent.

Marrow Miners New guild founded by a former God-Butcher, utilizing experimental techniques to extract more viscera and increase efficiency. The Marrow Miners are open to employing ‘monstrous races’ like goblins, orcs, and mites. Perhaps surprisingly, the Marrow Miners have a better idea of the Tarrasque's current vs the more ritualistic and less analytic God-Butchers.

Process Guild Association of factories that render extracted Tarrasque viscera into commercial products.

The Church of Macinfex The largest religious institution in Salt in Wounds, worshipping the God of Butchers and heavily involved in proper weights & measures in addition food safety.

The Council of Sages Loose, professional association of wizards and alchemists working within Salt in Wounds.






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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The 13 Meridian Houses (Aristocrats)

When the Tarrasque was first subdued, thirteen ‘immovable’ harpoons were sunk deep into its body, each with a long, thick chain running to an iron anchor sunk magically into stones. As the founders built the fortress Salzinwuun they appointed 13 guardians amongst their most popular and well considered number; each a hero in the binding of the Tarrasque. Each guardian was personally responsible for ensuring that the harpoon in their charge held fast in addition to making arrangements to deal with unforeseen changes.
In the last hundred and fifty years, the status

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Vocabulary

The following terms are used in Salt in Wounds generally and by the Order of God-Butchers especially:

  • By the 13 (Meridians) Curse akin to taking a god’s name in vain
  • Twelfey or Twelfth man Insult used to denote someone or something as idiotic
  • Bone Sap A term for success or ease
  • Last Cuts or Last Wednesday's Cuts Term for trash, garbage, shit; exceptionally low quality and undesirable; often used to sexually demean women.
  • Burke A hard man or woman well suited to life in Salt in Wounds 
  • Scraper/Skav Slang for a low class person/scavenger, especially used for people who seem to have no regular employment and are most likely criminals.



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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Notes on Good Characters in Salt in Wounds



Salt in Wounds is an evil place. While the binding of the Tarrasque is perhaps necessary, the city has been built upon its callous torture with no current legitimate efforts to minimize its suffering. More or less everyone in the city is party to this, and while that does not mean that every individual evil it does tend to engender a general disregard to inflicting pain and suffering. As such, a significant minority (and most of the leadership of the city) can be considered to be evil. With the addition of ghouls, good and nature aligned characters may have increased difficulty operating in Salt in Wounds.
Complicating matters further, due to a variety of ‘incidents’ in the past, the powers harbor a great deal of suspicion towards paladins, druids, and rangers (see The Circle of Release). Unless convinced of a compelling reason such an individual would be in the city and greatly assured they will not attempt to disrupt ‘business as usual' the House Militias and God-Butchers will actively harass these sorts of individuals.
Here are some suggestions for how such characters may manage to operate:
  • There are currently multiple paladins, druids, and more who operate in the city covertly; individuals who keep quiet both their mission and essential nature. Your character(s) can certainly be one of them.
  • For similar (or similarly motivated) characters operating in the city overtly, remember to focus on the larger mission/winning hearts & minds rather than overt force (which will most likely be cut extremely short).
  • If you character(s) have a deity or force that you worship; ask its advice about how to operate in the city.
  • Your character’s arc might be to transform from good to evil.
  • Lastly, remember that good characters in an evil situation do not necessarily have to change their character type in order to function but they are probably going to be called upon to be more creative and inventive to operate effectively. Surprise the GM by being effectively, unexpectedly good as opposed to being ‘lawful stupid.’


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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Briddu Yittano, Journeyman God-Butcher




 
Briddu Yittano



Race: Human, Male

Age: 33

Affiliation: God-Butchers (Journeyman)


Description


Briddu Yittano is a large, heavily muscled man with black hair and gray eyes. His face is well lined from a hard life, his skin is light brown except for his right arm which is an enlarged wrap of throbbing muscle, red as though it were meat devoid of skin except where large brown scales have grown over the exposed flesh. Briddu has a near-permanent scowl on his face.


Early History


Briddu grew up poor in the Hind Quarter (what would become the modern day Tail Stones District). During the 12th Meridian crisis, Briddu’s family’s hovel was one of the innumerable residences smashed by stones sent careening by the Tarrasque's tail. While his family was gathered around the dinner table, a large boulder crashed through the roof. Briddu's mother and sister were killed instantly, while the stone settled upon his screaming father’s legs. This was only the beginning of his trials.
In the days to come, as the God-Butchers worked day and night to get the beast back under control, as leaning buildings collapsed and ankhegs stalked the Tail Stones district unchallenged; Briddu would do his best to care for his trapped father and little brother. He tried to get help to move the large stone that pinned his father, but no one would listen to the scrap of a child crying for aid amidst the cacophony of the grieving city. The boy shifted focus to just getting enough food and water for what remained of his family, on just getting through the day. When his father’s legs began to sour, Briddu assisted the older man in cutting himself free, gathered the maggots to eat away at the diseased flesh till the stumps bled again, and finally sewed and sealed the flesh with fire. After, his father was never the same and a fifteen year old Briddu vowed that he would die before he would ever be diminished in such a fashion.
In the weeks to come, he spent every dawn waiting for hours in the long 'relief' lines, trying to get through the crowd of panicking refugees to beg for his family’s ration of water and gristle-hard Tarrasque jerky.
As the monsters and brigands were (mostly) cleared from the streets and the Tail Stones District was returned to a semblance of order, Briddu found work where he could. In an effort to rejuvenate their tarnished image, the God-Butchers began a large scale recruitment drive, specifically targeting the lower classes. The teenaged Briddu leapt at the chance to join.


The Development of a God Butcher


Even on an apprentice’s salary, Briddu earned enough to provide for his maimed father and sensitive brother, and he has continued to support them ever since.
Briddu quickly rose through the ranks of the God-Butchers; getting up sooner, working harder, striving to be better and always pushing through the hardships like a man possessed. If he became strong enough, then he’d never have to feel the fear, the vulnerability of being that beggar boy from the Tail Stones ever just three days away from watching his little brother die of thirst. By the time he reached journeyman status, Briddu had gained a reputation as a tough-as-horn burke who worked without quitting and terrified his underlings while deferring to his betters. He spent some time serving on several different meridian details until he’d finally gained enough ‘yay’ votes from other God-Butchers to attempt the Rite of Mutual Recognition.
 
The Great Failure
 
Everyone expected Briddu to pass the Rite of Mutual Recognition without incident. But when he stared into the eyes of the Tarrasque he saw the boy he was; trembling, afraid in the ruins of a home while his father wept. In the beast’s pupil, the scared child he’d denied so long stared back at him. He tried to ignore his fear, charged forward to sever the tongue anyway. But his footing was off, and a the delay of a single stutter step caught him in the beast’s jaws.
The Tarrasque tore off and consumed his right arm and shoulder, tossed him away like he was nothing more than the Tail Stones trash he always secretly believed himself to be. As Briddu bled out, struggling to use his greatsword to prop himself up to stand, his God-Butcher brothers & sisters rushed in to help him; screaming for the surgeon-alchemists.
Applying a pancreatic poultice to his ruined shoulder, the healers only intended to staunch the bleeding. While limited regeneration is not unknown when using Tarrasque derived alchemy, it surprised everyone, Briddu included, when the limb grew back in its current form. Briddu Yittano is the most successful such recovery to date, so much so that he was able to resume his duties as journeyman God-Butcher, dedicating himself to retaking the Rite of Mutual-Recognition.
 
Behavior
 
Briddu has a tremendous chip on his (disfigured) shoulder, due in equal parts to his personal history, his failure in the Rite of Mutual-Recognition, and his sensitivity about his appearance. As such, he uses his status of God-Butcher as well as his own obvious martial prowess to bully his way through life deferring only to Master God-Butchers. Briddu regularly picks fights, is belligerently drunk on blood wine much of the time he’s not actively working.
 
Goals
 
To pass the Rite of Mutual-Recognition, either by growing strong enough or by gaining some unknown advantage.
 
Plot Hooks/GM Uses
 
  1. Briddu is best encountered by the party when they are at much lower levels than him. Perhaps he does the classic shoulder bump, pushing past a PC to demonstrate his power; maybe ignoring them or demanding an apology.
  2. The party might be hired to abduct Briddu, the miraculous recovery of a limb stronger than what he had before is of great interest to several local alchemists who would like nothing more than to dissect him.
  3. Briddu could hire the party to help him pass the rite of mutual recognition, alternately this contract may be arranged by a benefactor looking for leverage over a Master God-Butcher (this could be accomplished by stealthily reflecting sunlight into its eye with a giant, hidden mirror or secretly suppressing, wounding, or distracting the beast when Briddu is supposed to be facing it alone).
  4. Briddu might be involved in the criminal underworld, using his status as God-Butcher to engage in ‘light’ smuggling or using his fearsome appearance for enforcement. In such a role, he could be either be an obstacle or questionable ‘ally’ for the party depending on their activity.
 
Art by Jeffrey Chen

 
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Saturday, April 4, 2015

House of the 5th Meridian



The Fifth Meridian is based on the harpoon that pierces diagonally through several of the Tarrasque’s ribs, into the liver, and other vital organs.
5th House is led by the Binder-Lady Kuolemita; daughter of Odsfall, son of Dofen. Historically, 5th House has been one of the richest. Due to their access to various vital organs of the beast they’ve been able to sell high priced alchemical reagents, with many of their early successes focused on providing Tarrasque derived options for life extension. A large minority of alchemists and apothecary shop owners belong to 5th House, with nearly all the others

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Order of God-Butchers



 
Even amidst the city as bustling as Salt in Wounds, the God-Butchers are hard to miss.
Hugely muscled men and women, grown strong from a working life of toil and a diet of some of the freshest, most choice cuts from the ever-providing body of the Tarrasque. They carry their stylized greatswords nearly everywhere. Contrary to popular opinion, these weapons turned tools are not exclusively adamantine; many nowadays are forged of the Tarrasque’s bones or horns, material that cuts through its armored carapace well. Still, those who dismiss the butchers as dumb brutes wholly underestimate the order; these are hard eyed men and women who must be intelligent enough to understand the beast’s intricate and shifting anatomy, who must deal regularly with crafty merchants, domineering aristocrats, and suspicious laborers all to perform their duties.
While greatly connected to the economic flows of the city, and perhaps not wholly immune to the influence of the coin, the God-Butchers nonetheless take their sacred charge of keeping the beast bound seriously. And while the recent tragedy of the 12th Meridian Crisis over a decade ago has marred their reputation and the Marrow Miners (with their greatly eased selection criteria) now enjoy a surge in popular support nearly everyone agrees that the God-Butchers have done a remarkable job keeping the Tarrasque bound for the last two hundred and fifty years with only minimum of loss of life.
The chief complaint levied against the order is not that they’ve been corrupted (although, if you know the right God-Butcher any reagent or substance from the beast can be made available tax-free and irrespective of its legal status) but rather that they are too hide-bound to tradition, over reliant on the tactics of the past and notions of the ‘Sacred 13 Meridians’ which are increasingly useless as the Tarrasque's regenerating body adapts and (unbeknownst to most) the creature grows in strength.
 
Training and Advancement
 
The God-Butchers recruit heavily (irrespective of class and station, ensuring that they are generally well-liked by the public and quietly mocked by the aristocracy) although most recruits are drummed out within several months due to the intense rigors of the training regimen. They also promote based on a more or less functioning meritocracy, with only a minimum amount of nepotism.

Most members of the God-Butcher Order are not fully fledged ‘Master’ God-Butchers, around 95% of the order’s roster only complete their basic requirements and reach ‘Apprentice’ or ‘Journeyman’ levels. These members, despite their lessened titles, are nonetheless highly esteemed by the community and well compensated. Moreover, for most city residents a God-Butcher is a God-Butcher and there is little distinction based on rank.
First and foremost, when recruiting and promoting the order is looking for strength, as it takes incredible physical power to break the creature’s armor and cut through its flesh. And while much of the work now is done with cranes, titanic screws and other butchering equipment the size of siege engines; not a day goes by where a working God-Butcher isn’t called upon to draw his blade to sever a vital artery or slice a tendon to keep the creature from wreaking havoc.
To this end, while a use can always be found the strong, advancement amongst the butchers beyond the ‘apprentice’ level requires the aspirant to be intelligent as well: able to memorize innumerable details of anatomy and theory, understand intimately the meridian diagrams showing how the bindings have been placed and how the beast is held fast.
The other requirement to reach journeyman rank is that God-Butcher aspirants must also be able to lead and inspire men. Despite what those outside the city may think, not everyone who works on the Tarrasque’s body is in fact a God-Butcher; there are countless machine operators, laborers, porters and more work on or in close proximity to the beast (not to mention the entirely separate organization of the Marrow Miners). Every hour of every day requires an intricate bustle of working men cutting away into the Tarrasque’s body to keep it sedate and to acquire some cut of meat or reagent for the market. When catastrophe strikes (a collapsing fold of flesh, emergence of ramora flea or other monster, runaway regeneration, etc.) a God-Butcher must be able to quickly access the situation and lead those around him either to safety or into danger themselves to prevent a greater danger to Salt in Wounds.
 
Status and Culture
 
As an organization, the Order of God-Butchers is fairly egalitarian, although relative prestige can usually be determined by their Meridian assignment 1-13 (excepting 12, which is now on assignment to the Marrow Miners), with each Meridian corresponding to what general part of the beast the individual works upon.
While legally the 13 Binder-Lords each have the duty of keeping their Meridian bind functioning and overseeing the section of the Tarrasque assigned to their house, this -as a practical matter- has been ceded to the God-Butchers and -recently- Marrow Miners as the Binder-Lords have turned their attentions to the economy of Salt in Wounds, games of political intrigue with respect to their rivals, and the pursuit of their own pleasures.
 
The Rite of Mutual-Recognition
 
If a God-Butcher has distinguished himself in strength, intellect, and leadership they are invited to take part in the most sacred rite of the order, that of Mutual-Recognition. The difficulty of doing so explains why the number of full fledged ‘Master’ God-Butchers has remained fairly low (and perhaps why the order has remained largely effective and honorable in a city not known for such qualities).



An hour before the rite begins, all work on the beast stops. The Tarrasque is allowed to heal, to regain as much consciousness as the God-Butchers dare. Then the aspirant must approach the first Meridian, the creature’s head. As the workers, curious citizens, and their fellow God-Butchers watch, the aspirant must stare into the eye of the Tarrasque for a full minute. In so doing, they are supposed to gain a fuller understanding of the beast they keep bound. Staring into the creature's eye as the beast roars and snaps causes some aspirants to flee; perhaps leaving the order or even the city forever.

The mindless destruction and hate they see within the beast’s eye can unman even those who have lived in Salt in Wounds their entire life.
Those who manage to continue to gaze into the creature’s eye will note a change in the beast’s behavior. Gradually, its endless screaming and thrashing slow. Its vision changes, focuses. And, for a moment, it see them; sees this man or woman who would keep it bound, who would cut it and serve up its strength to a hungry city. Then the Tarrasque will cease to roar and take a single moment to inhale through its nostrils, wind whipping past the aspirant towards the Tarrasque’s maw as it truly marks the God-Butcher’s scent. The accepted wisdom is that the Tarrasque to committing this individual to memory, will recall this smell of the individual. Should the Tarrasque ever gain freedom- the God-Butchers expect that it will hunt all such aspirants and their families (those who resemble the aspirant's smell) even unto the seventh generation.
In turn, the God-Butcher takes in a long breath through his nose to mark the smell of the beast.
As the roars, the endless thrashing against its bonds resumes, to achieve master rank the God-Butcher then ventures between its snapping jaws, timing a single strike to sever its tongue and heave the mass of flesh clear.
The order will then have a huge feast that evening from the tongue, welcoming another full fledged Master God-Butcher into the fold.
 
Notable God-Butchers




 
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What is Salt in Wounds?


The City of Salt in Wounds is a living Tabletop RPG setting created by J.M. Perkins.


The City of Salt in Wounds is a blood soaked powerhouse city-state whose economy is built around the perpetual butchery of the regenerating, unkillable Tarrasque.


Original Idea


Back in 2004 on the RPG.net D&Dish forums, user Thomas T. suggested the idea of a city built around the D&D monster the Tarrasque which, for those not in the know, is an nigh-unkillable kaiju leviathan which can regenerate from nearly any wound. 
The basic concept for the city is that, discovering that they were unable to kill the beast, a party of heroes figured out how to contain the monster; chaining and anchoring it with immoveable harpoons. A fortress was built around the chained creature, and a schedule of ritualized butchering was instituted to keep the Tarrasque from ever regaining enough strength that it could break free.
Within a generation, the wardens of the monster began to realize the incredible value of its butchery and that's exactly where I stopped reading the forum thread (after a few entries), not because the posts weren’t great (they were, and judging by the length of the thread there must be gold there) but rather because I wanted to make my Tarrasque city, because my brain was already obsessing & teasing at possibilities, and I wanted to provide as much insulation for that process as possible.


The thread made a composite Tarrasque city and you can view the pdf here.


This website is a sketch for my Tarrasque city: The City of Salt in Wounds.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

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