Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Gongfarmers on Sea-Devil's Island

Inspired by this podcast - Christian B. has an entertaining and edifying and justice-aware view of the ways that business and corruption drive our lives.

So: the Dungeon Crawl Classics rulebook has a 0-level starting occupation that is a pretty interesting in that it's literally the shittiest job you ever heard of: Gongfarmer. What is a gongfarmer? well, it's someone who empties chamberpots and collects shit and piss for other things. I think historically speaking it was tanneries that used piss and shit in an economical way. Turning shit and piss into money is a special kind of alchemy, I guess. So - the job sucks, but within the framework of DCC you leave it (assuming you survive your first adventure) and become an adventurer. But like, a REAL adventurer who already knows how to muck around in the shit-soaked underground and bring out a living.

Thereafter, all your occupational rolls - anything involving the collection of shit and piss and underground exploration and survival - are at d20 rather than the lowly d10 that an unskilled check would involve. Pretty broad, because there's a lot of shit and piss in the world, and a lot of terrible places to fuck around in.

Brings me back to the aforementioned podcast - so in the mid 1800's in the US - around the world, really - it was discovered that nitrogen found in guano of birds (and later bats) could be reliably transformed into fertilizer. I think you would be surprised at what a big deal this is, and what having reliable crop fertilizer does for a population of humans. It's pretty transformative.

And so, inevitably, capitalists, indutrialists, colonialists, and all the other worst sorts of entrepreneurs seized upon the notion of finding sea-bird infested islands and stripping them bare of everything. Well, not everything, but all the birdshit which was the important part.

This really happened, and as I drove in a mindless lull, listening to this young woman relate the tale of desperate men on a blazing hot, shit-soaked island in the Pacific, struggling against weather and famine and oppression and rats, I got a sense of what a REAL Gongfarmer's Adventure would look like - something like trying to take on The Isle of Dread (X1) but instead of a sword all you have is a trowel at first and maybe some Kuo-Toa, and Cthulhu rising out of the cyclopean depths at the end...

Anyways, it's a decent podcast and Busted Business Bureau is totally worth a subscribe.


1. Shit-and-piss-proof boots

2. Canary in a cage (for deadly gas detection)

3. Umbrella/Umbrella hat for staving off the evil sun's hateful rays

4. UV50 protection sunscreen/paste/mud

5. Rusty pick (d6) - may cause disease on a critical

6. Rusty shovel (d8) - see 5 above

7. Guano-bag

8. Rat-poison pellets

9. Mermaid-resistant earplugs

10. Thick-soled leather knobbly-lugged climbing shoes

11. A rope with a lot of knots tied in it

12. Makeshift crampons

13. Hardtack/biscuits in a water-and-shit proof container

14. The nightshift has non-flame electric torches because the gas is explosive

15. Natural immunity or resistance to several terrible illnesses



Terrible "employers" (really slavers) just begging for an ass-whooping

Deep-Ones/Kuo-Toa cultists lurking around constantly

Mermaids - I mean what horned-up, broke-ass, desperate shit-miner wouldn't be tempted by mermaid song?

Pan-Lung water dragons, tired of eating seabirds and seals

Maybe a shit-encrusted temple underneath a couple of tons of/layers of rock-hard guano

Deep-One gold artifacts here and there (but the tyrannical slavers who run the place want it for themselves)

A well-guarded and ugly (but fast and seaworthy) ship to get away in when the guano hits the fan

Finally, and most-dreadfully, the imminent arrival of Dagon/Hydra/Evil Neptune/Nodens/Cthulhu telegraphed by weird astronomical and weather events, and freaked-out birds and rats

No comments:

Post a Comment

Buy 'The Hounds' - Click Here