Thursday, August 26, 2021

De Luminaria Minima Caelestis Hierarchiae, Or: The Angels We Don't Use Any More

     Perhaps you've encountered clerics in your travels, or perhaps you are one yourself. No doubt you've heard of or studied from the Young Cleric's Illustrated Primer or other sources. Angels are the tools the g_ds used for creation. While most are scattered, or lost, the ones that heeded the call of Aeshe (pbuh) now serve those who wear the Masks and follow the Tenets. Some of them — with names like Heal, Examine Self or Zone of Truth — are powerful tools and miracles.

    But there are others.

Source: Jack Chick

Angels We Don't Use Any More

    Many of these angels are associated with Red Heresy, which is reason enough to keep them under lock-and-key. Most are too niche in application for the average cleric to seek their company. Most are too dangerous to be practical.

Make Dog
R: 30' T: one living non-plant D: permanent until dispelled by a [dice] MD counterspell.
She is tall and gaunt, and wears only a white coat and a pair of jeweler's loupes.
    If [sum] is higher than target's current HP, target saves or turns into a Really Good Dog of equal level. They may choose to fail this save. Any damage they had sustained is immediately healed.
    Useful in combat only to disrupt command lines; a fresh 4HD Really Good Dog is rarely welcome in a close fight. In most circumstances, a damaging angel is preferable. She saw limited use as an exotic form of punishment by the early Black Mask Clerics. Her usage eventually declined due to ethical concerns, and the undeniable fact that nooses are much more convenient. 

Reality Break
R: 60' T: a thinking creature D: immediate
She is invisible except for heavy, six-toed footprints. She is inaudible except for her constant giggling.
    Target is gripped by awful madness unless they pass a save. If [best] is a 1, 2 or 3 their madness consists of a horrible, true vision of the future, which consumes all their senses. At 4 or 5, they scream until their throat fills with blood, and all who can hear them take [sum] fire damage. If [best] is 6, everything and everyone within 120' is taken somewhere else.
    An unpleasant way to die! Assuming that those who disappear are killed. The alternative is probably worse.

Permanently Delayed Blast Fireball
R: unlimited T: a point in space you can see D: permanent until dispelled by a [dice] MD counterspell.
She is short, matronly, and appears to perpetually be nodding off.
    Waits at the targeted point until dispelled or otherwise disrupted, at which point she causes a massive explosion for [sum] damage to everything within [dice]*50'.
    It is believed at least three Permanently Delayed Blast Fireballs are waiting on the surface of the sun, two are stranded at the bottom of the ocean, and two are on or inside or beyond the star known as Mercy's Gate (depending on if the star is, indeed, a gate, and if it is open). Use has been banned since 1787 on moral grounds.

True Strike
R: n/a T: self D: 10 minutes
Her shoulders are wide and her hands are crooked and strong. Marches to an unheard tune, occasionally mimes playing. Afraid of insects.
    Seizes caster bodily and directions their movements for the duration. Add [sum] to all attacks for both to-hit and damage, but your own AC is reduced to [dice].
     Though probably helpful as part of a last stand, or otherwise when your own death is certain, the opportunity cost of keeping her prepared is very high. Famously used by Nosam as he reclaimed Apostelene. You are not Nosam, and you will die if you try to imitate him.

Locate Traps
R: n/a T: self D: 10 minutes
She wears heavy clothes and a dust mask, and twirls a fifty-pound digging bar like a pencil.
    Identifies "traps" within [dice]*10' of you and smashes them as if with a heavy blunt object. "Traps" are here incompletely defined as things which can hurt you unexpectedly, were designed to do so, haven't been noticed by you yet, and Locate Traps doesn't consider a "weapon".
    An inexpert demolitionist was always a risky choice, but she was still in wide use before the invention of the anti-personnel landmine. Invariably hilarious as a companion.

R: n/a T: self D: 24 hours
She wears a drum, pair of cymbals, sitar, elbow-pipes and harmonica strapped to her body. Looks exhausted all of the time.
    Produces loud music with [dice] instruments of her choice. Tries to play tunes appropriate to the current situation. Cannot be persuaded to stop.
    While only audible to civilians after being cast, she is constantly audible to supernal senses. Better clerics than you have been driven to madness by the BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss-BA-dum-tss of her step.

R: 30' T: a spherical volume 300' in radius D: instant
    She resembles a young woman when viewed from one angle, and a silhouette when viewed from any other.
    Produces a sound like the end of the world. If you were expecting it, choose two of the following effects:
  • Eardrums burst.
  • Teeth explode for [dice] damage.
  • Flung 20' in a random direction (including straight up and straight down).
  • Shit your pants, fall over.
  • Blinded for 10 minutes.
    If you weren't expecting it, suffer everything. Inanimate objects are destroyed as if by dynamite. Constructs or inorganic creatures suffer [sum]*[best] damage.
     A deeply unpleasant experience, unless you're already old and toothless and deaf. Her efficacy against fortifications are undeniable. The consequences of using her in a populated area are unconscionable. Old-fashioned sapping can achieve similar results with less collateral damage.

Finger of Death
R: touch T: a living creature D: instant
Her eyes are haunted, her cigarette is bent in the middle, and her camo gear is muddy and torn.
    If [sum] is higher than target's HP they die, no save. Their veins burst with black tar, and their corpse immediately rises as a loyal and powerful undead.
    As the souls of the undead are trapped in their decaying bodies, the Black Mask clerics consider this angel to practice mental domination, and therefore slavery. They will hunt you to the edge of the world.

Conjure Fey
R: n/a T: n/a D: n/a
Large bite marks have been taken out of her body, like a gingerbread woman. She watches you with a constant smile.
    It is not immediately obvious what happens when she takes your MD and runs away. She returns within [dice] minutes with an object, typically useful, typically valuable in proportion to MD invested. These MD only return when you lay the object down and look away long enough that it disappears.
    While circumstantially helpful, many respected clerics have suggested there might be consequences for... whatever it is she's doing. Her refusal to explain herself certainly doesn't inspire confidence.

Witch Bolt
R: 30' T: a creature D: [dice] rounds.
Her arms twist like the limbs of an old tree and are green with mosses. Her hair is full of mushrooms, and her eyes have fallen back into her skull.
    Gesture threateningly, and you are bound to the target by a tether of crackling lightning. Once per round, target saves or takes the damage of one [die] in the order rolled. If one of you attempts to break the tether (it's not much sturdier than twine), take all remaining [sum] as damage immediately, no save.
    Despite her effectiveness against enemies who are attempting to flee, she has never been a popular companion. Superstition holds that those who look upon her face directly will die. This is true. Everyone will die, eventually, except for Nosam.

Friday, August 13, 2021

A Catalogue Found in a Bus Stop in Karok, CA

     The following is a transcript of a document obtained in late 2001. Also obtained at that time were a severed human hand, three human teeth, and a set of keys for a nearby Honda Accord. For a list of items recovered from the vehicle, see addendum BA-2001-OS25. If you believe you received this transcript in error: shut off your device, exit the building, lie face down with your hands behind your head and wait for a recovery team.

Dear ________,
    In response to repeated inquiries, the Committee would like to clarify that recent events will not affect our schedule. The Black Auction of 2001 will be held on floor 107 of 2 WTC. Guests who anticipate difficulty in reaching or perceiving this floor are strongly encouraged to accompany guests who do not.
    Nightlife is not expected to be significantly disrupted, but the safety and comfort of all guests is our highest priority. The Committee has made arrangements with a local restaurants to provide catering for guests who wish to remain in the relative safety of the auction site. As Dorsia is always busiest around the Solstice, they have requested that guests with dietary restrictions contact them at least six weeks in advance.
    As usual, a partial and provisional catalog has been enclosed for your examination. With the death of the Invisible Hand of the Market, certain special-reserve items will be available for the first time in this history; we trust you anticipate the first Auction of the new millennium as much as we anticipate your patronage.

Yours in confidence,
    The Black Auction Committee
    September 15th, 2001


    A VHS cassette containing at least 1,500,000,000 kilometers of magnetic tape at the time of writing. The video consists of a set of repeated actions; an unidentified male narrator places the camera before an open grave, deposits a corpse shrouded with a black trash bag, and begins to bury it while making occasional comments on its life. These comments are usually positive, though he will complain of overwork if the interred was responsible for the loss of human life. After ten minutes and the completion of the burial, the narrator moves the camera several meters to the left and begins again. As the video depicts the burial of every human who has ever died, the tape grows longer faster than normal playing speed.


    A single request, to be fulfilled by an individual identifying himself as Vernon. He has indicated willingness to fetch objects, recover information, kill specified targets or "anything you want" [sic]. The Committee cannot guarantee he is capable of fulfilling these requests, but can confirm that since his appearance in our offices no attempts to remove him have succeeded, due to equipment failure, sudden weather catastrophe, or previously unknown medical conditions in security personnel. At the request of the item, bidding will begin at $786.00 and does not include his bottle. 


    A document produced in 1975 by John E. Douglas, an FBI profiler. It lists a set of factors which predict an individual will become a serial killer; these include obsession with firestarting, sexual abuse at an early age, and violence towards animals. Certain entries (such as participation in the furry community, enthusiasm for riddles, and a preference for non-digital watches) were erased from the list during the examination of this item. Correspondingly, these factors no longer correlate with serial murder. All entries are written in pencil and can be easily edited, save for "PEES THE BED — HAHA", which is marked in blue ink.


     A 6.5mm rifle of Italian manufacture. This is the firearm used by Rafael Cruz in the assassination of then-President John F. Kennedy in 1961. A similar firearm was used by Lee Harvey Oswald in the murder of Kennedy's body double, but that is now believed to be a coincidence.


    American author Frank Herbert's first typewritten draft for a sword-and-sandals fantasy epic called The New Testament, heavily influenced by Herbert's Jesuit education and the multiple perspectives of the film Rashomon. The story follows a messiah-figure named Jesus Abu Yahweh who founds a revolutionary society in 1st-century Rome and is eventually betrayed by one of his own lieutenants. Herbert grew to dislike this project and repurposed most of the material for his better-known Dune series; the early draft eventually became the Christian religion. While the bulk of the novel remained unchanged, the original Jesus was much more explicitly supernatural, and his Twelve Apostles featured more prominently and had more developed backstories.


    A revivification machine containing the nervous system, heart, lungs and mouth of the thirteen-year-old Alexander Engel Huber. At the time of his death in 1942, he was fluent in his native German and seventeen other languages. He had an intuitive mastery of algebra, calculus, molecular biology, cryptography, quantum physics, and several fields not known to current science. When activated, the machinery is capable of interpreting his screams of pain as answers to questions. In the time since his death he has become intimately familiar with the seven Hells of the Celestial Bureaucracy, and can provide answers about his interrogator's place in the universe.


    One year of healthy adult human life, sourced from a cruelty-free farm in Cambodia. Six-hundred units will be available. Do not take with alcohol or while operating heavy machinery.


    A copy of the second printing of Tanio Akisabi's 1986 novel Hellskin. The author committed seppuku in protest of the Japanese government's thorough expurgation of his first printing. Though only ⅓rd the length, the second printing is terrifying enough to permanently destroy the reader's ability to feel fear from any other source. Suitable for personal use or as a training aid for security personnel.


    A keyring in the shape of an 8-ball with four carefully-labeled keys, along with associated documentation. These keys were the property of Charles Prifti, an American student, until his untimely death in 1998. When these keys are used to unlock a door on Earth, it will open onto a random door in an alternate Earth. After obtaining these keys from an unknown predecessor Prifti explored these alternate Earths extensively and left several volumes of notes for his presumed successors.
  • VORE WORLD — Diverges from baseline reality at least before 800 A.D.
        After a meteor impact in the eastern Mediterranean vaporizes the Classical World and leaves most of western and central Asia irradiated wasteland, a rising Nahuatl-speaking empire conquers the Americas and eventually makes its way to Africa. Access to previously untapped human resources leads to a population explosion and a strict racial hierarchy, with noble-blooded Mexica at the top, the Yoruba tribe comprising a priestly caste (due to a misunderstanding derived from their dark skin), common Mexica and all other Africans as a lower class (whose communities must provide yearly tributes of human meat), and the irradiated and mutated descendants of undifferentiated Eurasian peoples (as livestock or wild game, freely hunted by all other castes).

  • COWGIRL WORLD — Diverges from baseline reality at least before 4004 B.C.
       After the death of YHWH, and following the absence of the historically-attested worldwide Noahide Flood, humanity develops in a world with less than one-one-thousandth the volume of water as ours. Society is far more wicked and depraved in this timeline, which may be of interest to some patrons. All major communities are built near a water source and are dominated by superhuman Nephilim. They are opposed by a scattered handful of gunslinging vigilantes armed with enchanted revolvers forged from the bones of G_d.

  • FEMDOM WORLD — Diverges from baseline reality at least before 400,000,000 y.b.p
        Despite the earliest documented divergence point of any of the worlds, and a complete inversion of gender roles across all species, history follows an identical path until Gaia Julia Caesar successfully fends off her assassins by transforming into a werewolf. In modern times the earth is dominated by a global fascist superstate of Latin-speaking wolf-women. Prifti discovered several details which indicate development of this world was intelligently directed:
    1. Alternate history corresponds to our own on more key points than can be predicted with even the strong Blue Stoplight Effect.
    2. The immortal Imperatrix of Roma has invented several novel methods of entering and conquering nearby universes, in contrast to the early-industrial technological level of her world.
    3. Worryingly, the Latrodectus genus of spiders (the Black Widowers) bear red markings resembling the English words "HELLO CHARLES".

  • MINDBREAK WORLD — Diverges from baseline reality an unknown length of time ago.
        Those who open a door to this world feel a strong desire to leave behind all physical possessions and enter it. Neither Charles Prifti nor any of his predecessors have been recovered after entering this world. For this reason, the Committee requests all payments for this item be made before delivery of the item.


    A perfect (all words in major dictionaries, uncapitalized and unpunctuated) 14-square, the first word of which is "impracticality". It is, in addition, palindromic; but the final word resembles the name of a certain entity who objects to its casual use. You are strongly encouraged to neither consider this name for extended periods of time nor write it on any material besides lead ceramic.


    A rare opportunity to join the ranks of the historic Old Berkeley Hunting Club. This is simply an opportunity; the application process is the responsibility of the prospective member. The Hunting Club expects applicants to be familiar with all club regulations, to own their own rifle, and to be ready to declare under Melbourne Rules (hunting dangerous game), London Rules (hunting expendable game) or Boston Rules (hunting game who deserve it).


    An abstract machine which operates on a sequence of symbols according to the rules of a unique philosophy of mathematics human civilization did not pursue. Vast axiomatic differences make certain impossible problems easy, or vice versa: under this philosophy, P=NP, the Collatz Conjecture can be trivially disproved with basic arithmetic, and major kabbalistic techniques are impossible to operate. Cryptography is also impossible, not only because P=NP but also because numbers actively defend themselves from attempts at obfuscation.


    You! Yes, we know you lifted our catalogue from the pocket of one of our less-experienced patrons. Yes, we can see you, sitting in the third row from the front on the right-hand side of that Greyhound bus. Yes, the bidding has already begun. You will find a loaded gun and a suit of body armor underneath your seat. The Committee requests, for the entertainment of our patrons, that you try to run.