I have worked on a couple of these 'weird Americana' series of monograph-type things, since it pleased me to lay things out in a clever, pleasing way, and offer them for a pittance. But I really do believe more content ought to be shared around for free, and not gussied up in fancyboy PDFs and on-demand prints. They are loosely based on my early life in various bits of Florida, as well as the dreams that I have. You might say that Thrend is a rough analog of my Dreamlands South-Eastern U.S. populated by anthropomorphic animals and wicked fairies and absolutely no fucking orcs or goblins or other standard fantasy bad guys. I note with some irony that Today, the day of this post's posting, is actually Emancipation Day for real. Gods Bless Robot Lincoln and his push for freedom for all robots, constructs, golems, androids, subandroids, and crafted persons
If I had bothered to put in some pictures, just imagine some seedy Key West equivalent, or maybe Saint Augustine, or like the Peace River, Dismal Key and the Ten Thousand Islands area...
The Coral Crypts of Centralia
A system-agnostic rum drink for OSR and Narrative games
I often dream of driving on placid highways where views of scrub oaks give way to the tops of palm trees whizzing by. I can see the clocktower of the local college off in the distance, too. The town is quiet and everyone is off work for the endless holidays in this town. People and other things laze about drinking fruit-laden drinks and washed-out old men hit on young waitresses in their sinister friendly way. They laugh over their rum-drinks and tell me not to peer into the roundabout crypts since doing so would give offence to THEM and so the days are spent milling about looking for obsolete Computron cartridges and admiring the tanned skin and weird floral patterns of the dresses of locals. Everywhere is the smell of suntan lotion and surfboard wax. By the way, I loathe, and I mean LOATHE, Jimmy Buffett but it seems like it’s always on the radio… Parrots and Islander shirts. Little paper umbrellas. After a while, you don’t mind anymore.
There is loot to be had down there in the crypts, and you can hear the roaring of surf like the beating of drums inside the tunnels. Rumors of gold doubloons washed up on the beaches, but you never make it before the tourists have scoured the pink sands clean. Then one Tir’s day afternoon a swarthy dwarf approaches and offers you a parched map to a jackpot of gold hidden away by Spanish freebooters but he can’t get to it. If you could give him enough for some Candwiches and rum, you could have the map; nobody believes in its value and he hasn’t got much left to live with this liver fluke issue...
Fruit and Rum Capitol of Thrend
Don’t Forget Your Flip Flops!
The cutesy tourist trap named Centralia lies practically smack-dab in the midst of a highway to the Southern Isles from up north. A couple more miles down the road will get you to the Million-Mile Bridge, so named because although it is affixed to 127 mangrove islands, reef-keeps, and abbholethsk-lobster dens it actually spans about 35 miles. It just feels like a million miles to drive that way during the heat of the summer months, stuck in traffic, praying for a toilet or convenient reef-keep with a Slurpong machine. The highway nicely bisects the Mid-Kingdom waterway at 9 different locations, and so to accommodate the corpse-barges, cargo ships, and blimp-carriers the drawbridges raise in a staccato hindrance to forward auto-conveyance traffic. Many tourists give up and stop instead at Centralia, which has pleasant-enough beaches and not-too-seedy motels.
The ancestors of the current Centralians, the Mighty Ancients, practiced the curious policy of interring their dead in open pits carved into the coral substrate of the land and using the mighty blocks of leftover stone to erect towers and ziggurats that have almost all eroded away thanks to the acid rains that plague this zone. A few of these towering archaeological curiosities remain astoundingly intact, drawing crowds of drunken college rowdies year-round. On the other hand NOBODY disturbs the Coral Crypts. Doing so, it is said, would cause the tourist appeal of the whole region to wither up, vanish, die, blow away. You know the drill. The multifarious fruit-farmers of the region depend upon unhealthy levels of rum-based drink consumption nationwide to drive demand for their weird and exotic fruits, and indeed a college was once erected here to perpetuate the practice of horticulture. The whole region has given way to pawn shops, thrift stores, tiki bars, Gentle-persons’ clubs, and fantastic beaches that are often awash with Deep One gold and Spanish Doubloons.
As you might surmise, the locals never really took to Prohibition. In fact, they don’t take well to inhibition generally and walk around almost all the time in various states of undress, ranging from ‘casual’ to ‘very immodest’ to “St. Issek’s Thong”. The biggest local holiday - March-Eve - calls for ribald parades, loud music, drunkeness, and debauchery since The Mighty Ancients arise the following day and capture stragglers and hungover beach-bums to drag into the crypts. It is their right, as is the custom, and it ensures good fruit harvests and so watch who buys you drinks.
Robot Lincoln’s Incept Date
Android and Construct Emancipation Day
March of the Mighty Ancients
Spring Break I
Spring Break II
Milo’s Secondhand Electronics Shop - cartridges, weird manuals, milspec, wires, vacuum tubes
The Mid-Kingdom Waterway
City Squares (actually elevated graveyards, usually with a mausoleum in the center)
Roundabouts (actually gaping entrances into the Coral Crypts)
St. Athabascan’s Horticultural College
Church of Cypress Knuckle Jesus
Non Player Characters
Emperor Walton McDonald
Fruit Elves - These dryadic fairies live in fruit trees all through this region of Thrend, and it is pretty evident that they had close ties to the Mighty Ancients of yore, whose absence they resent. The had some very long-standing obligations to be cared for in exchange for bountiful harvests, and assurances that the handsome spirits of the pre-human ancestors would dwell with them in Fairy-Land forevermore. Any time the spirits of the dead are rankled, it is reflected in the irritation of the fruit dryads and dryad-men and satyr-things that trollop through the orchards. They even take the most fetching of current mortals to party with them forever and ever.
Swimming-hole Nymphs - These live in the various cenotes of the region - beautiful and infinitely deep springs worn (or is it carved?) in the bedrock coral of the land itself. They are able to move through the aquifer and above-ground streams to other swimming holes, and they love to drag unsuspecting skinny-dippers into the Elemental Plane of Infinite Hydration, where they usually grow weary of their victims within a few minutes.
Pelicannibals - Not quite harpies, not quite barflies. They hang around on the wharfs looking for handouts, and are prone to beg for meat. They aren’t above a spot of cannibalism when times are lean, and will happily trade shiny objects from the surf for cooked meat. They have strong leathery, bat-like wings that span 15 feet and so they are able to lift less-heavy adventurers as a favor. Hard to tell if they do it in the hopes of friendship or to drop “friends” from heights, so bring a pork shoulder just in case. Usually infested with liver-fluke larvae.
Salt Water Mummies - An interesting side-effect of the local peoples’ long-standing habit of stacking their dead like cord-wood in the pits at the center of town is that the wind, sea-air, and salt tend to preserve them nicely despite the damp. These are not reanimated Mighty Ancients (see below) but it is probably that they catch some of the faeric and elemental energies that the region is rife with, and they are obliged to fend off intruders into the Coral Crypts. The townies whisper that if you party in a laid-back enough fashion for long enough, the Mighty Ancients and their fruit-dryad friends will accept you into a rum-soaked afterworld and all you have to do is kill intruders for a pleasant eternity. Not a bad deal. Sometimes infested with liver-fluke larvae, also.
Jimmy Buffett Whaler Dwarves - Men used to call them Spriggans, but these are diminished, rum-sodden derivatives of the tricksters of the Old Country. They frequent the whaling boats, love rum, and are a dab hand with javelins, spears, and harpoons. They never need to sleep and liquor doesn’t much affect them, and so they are supplied gratuitous amounts of fruit-ales, fruit-rums, and other distilled spirits to steady their aim. They have lost the ability to increase in size, but they never get lost in caverns or mines, although they mostly stay away from the Crypts unless invited. Hypothetically, the ability to change size dissappeared with their newfound fondness for swimming.
Dimensional Man-O-Wars - These things exist on the boundaries of dimensions, and are believed to come from some hypothetical mathematical realm that is accessible only rarely everywhere else but frequently in Centralia. The smell of hyacinths - not really a pheromone but a direct neurological invasion of the olfactory glands - signals their approach and makes victims confused, complacent, and docile. When they impinge upon this dimension, they appear to be a trilobed shark’s head with several rows of teeth, a whisp-y ventral bulb, and 1d12 trailing tentacles. They freely move through matter, and are not struck except by magical weapons, meteoric iron, or silver. They can be dispersed by methods that would affect gasses since their molecular stability on this plane is tenuous at best. The merest caress of the tentacles causes not only overload of the nervous system of victims, but also dimensional instability as the monsters try to drag their prey into whatever hell-plane they spawned from. If killed, victims will vanish into some aether never to be seen again, with no chance of recovery. Luckily, the energies required to maintain contact with this plane are immense and so these awful things may only manifest in our world for 1d4+2 minutes.
Surf Elementals - These fun-loving water creatures are powerful as the tide, and love to deposit swimmers and surfers roughly onto the shore, or if their victims are rude, onto rocks and reefs and into maws.
Giant Liver Flukes - the life cycle of these parasites depends upon the ingestion of raw fish or shellfish (or else spattering with viscera), a period of ill health and dormancy in the victim, and gagging regurgitation of eggs. After ejection, they grow and seek out the ocean where they do combat with sharks and barracuda. If they win, they consume their foe and become larger, and if they lose then they explode in a shower of gore, infecting their foe and any nearby creatures. Everything in this region is prone to infection by giant liver flukes. Any process that taxes the liver will make one more prone to infestation, and furthermore infection by liver flukes makes one seek these lifestyles out.
1d20 Weird Fruits
- Love apple
- Gibbet Berries
- Shadow Cherry
- Virgin’s Plum
- St. Orbun’s Pome
- Vinis Victoria
- Dutchman’s Arse
- Great Quince
- Blue Fanny
DD30 Debauched Bar Names/Tiki Totems
Mixed Concoctions (sadly unfinished)
A Die-Drop System for Coral Crypt Elucidation (I mean, come on, there’s like a million of these already)
Laid-Back Bar Patron’s Guide to Random Mighty Ancients (pick like a wight, ghoul, or shadow and tack on like 4 rolls from my random undead table)