The Compleat Spell Book of Surfer Rosa

BONE MACHINE
At the touch of the caster, the bones of the affected person begins to move in strange patterns, unsettling and unfamiliar for most people.
This strange dance lasts for 31 rounds.


BREAK MY BODY
At the touch of the caster, the sorcerer is able to make every bone in the touched person's body disappear.
By some cruel fate, this spell isn't lethal though.


SOMETHING AGAINST YOU
When the sorcerer whispers this spell, he curses a person into believing that everyone he will meet over the next couple of minutes has a grudge against him.


BROKEN FACE
After pulling the earlobe of the desired object two times in a row, the sorcerer may rearrange the victim's face as he wishes for the next 10 seconds.


GIGANTIC
When sorcerers fall in love, bad things are bound to happen. If cursed by this spell, whenever the wizard sees the person s/he's in love with, he or she will grow in size.


RIVER EUPHRATES
A chanting spell that, when heard, causes anyone who hears it to start looking for a horse.


WHERE IS MY MIND?
When cast, makes the target float through the air as if he or she were under water.
How to cast: the wizard must stand on his head with his feet in the air -and then spin it.


CACTUS
With this spell, the sorcerer is able to send nearby clothes and stick them to a target for a minute.


TONY'S THEME
First, the wizard cast this spell on a group of people (no more than 20, but no less than 10).
Then, the wizard points at whoever he wants them to admire unconditionally. They will even try to chant his name (anyone not knowing the name of the one they're admiring will scream "TO! NY!" instead).


OH MY GOLLY!
The wizard is able to hide a secret message in his next sentence, even though it is spoken out loud.
Anyone meant to hear the actual message will hear it loud and clear.


VAMOS
This spell raises the heartbeat of the wizard. Or maybe it'll teleport the sorcerer to the nearest beach. I don't know, the writing on the page in the spell book is really crazy.


I'M AMAZED
The sorceress conjures three spirits from her past, to tell stories that lacks any moral. Anyone hearing this will be charmed senseless.


BRICK IS RED
At the touch of the sorcerer, the victim's eyes turns to diamonds, coloured pale blue. They're still functional, but most thieves are now more than willingly to pluck them out.

Monster's got the blues (or God is a bard)

Once in a while, the reanimated bones of a skeleton or the rotting corpse of an undead is struck by a distant memory from its past, from before it became what it is today.

In this moment of nostalgia, it is overwhelmed with sad feelings and an urge to release this sudden sadness. A few burst into fight, some are paralysed and frozen in place, but most burst into melancholic singing for some strange reason.

Unless attacked, the undead will complete its singing before returning to whatever it was doing before the memory struck.

There's a 5 % risk the singing will sadden anyone in its direct vicinity (that is listening). The affected person will be unable to act properly up till one minute after the singing ends.
All actions are performed with a penalty due to watery eyes.

The sad song is...
  1. ...gibberish words. Babble. But sad.
  2. ...the one about the farmer who fell in love with his scarecrow
  3. ...about a ghoul who was a fool to fall in love with the dove he just ate from a plate
  4. ...one food related word after the other
  5. ...about the dragon that ate a bride on her wedding day - over and over again, because they were stuck in time
  6. ...about how much it misses its mother
  7. ...about the boy who fell in love with the most beautiful person in the world, only to discover it was his own reflection (this is a duet)
  8. ...about the decline of a now long gone empire
  9. ...filled with words that rhymes with "love"
  10. ...about the dead hero who was resurrected by an evil necromancer, to serve as his minion for all eternity
If the undead lacks a tongue (and/or a throat), the song will be sung in silence.

(Image source)

The annual common goblin cold

During the long, cold winter, 1 out of 20 goblins is affected by the annual common goblin cold.

It's a short lived illness, lasting no longer than a a couple of days, during which the goblin besides sneezing will:
  • Put on a strange red hat
  • Disappear from the goblin village
  • And deliver presents

The goblin is struck by a compulsive behaviour, forcing it to hand out gifts whether the receiver wants it or not. It will do this mostly during the dark hours of the day.

The presents are wrapped in:
  1. Animal hide
  2. Expensive (probably stolen) cloths
  3. Used goblin underwear
  4. Torn clothes
  5. Moss
  6. A stained carpet
Unfortunately for the gift receiver, the wrapped present may contain anything the sick goblin finds during his travels, most probably something it steals from any settlements it wanders upon.
In general, the gift most probably contains:
  1. A wooden stick
  2. Kitchen utensils
  3. Goblin underwear
  4. A key
  5. A leather pouch containing three other things from this list
  6. 1d6 coins from another country
  7. A toe from a troll
  8. Wine with a strange taste of cinnamon
  9. A small iron box, locked. A sound can be heard from within.
  10. A leather strap with runes on it
  11. A bucket
  12. Dirt
The condition of the content is:
1-7. Normal
8. Broken/useless
9. The inverse of its obvious usage
10. Out of this world-magical
Although most goblins don't speak the human tongue, it never hurts to say "thank you".

Worunitongon


All worunitongons have four parents.

They can fly, but must look straight up when doing so. Otherwise, they will break their neck.

The horn is hollow and filled with: 1. gems. 2. nothing. 3. black ink. 4. the sound of the ocean.

The sword is dull, rusty and sentient.

The ribs will change colour depending on the worunitongon's current mood or desire. If broken off, they keep shining for another day in that same hue and may be used as portable light.

They communicate by banging their sword against different parts of their body: chest and down are used when talking to friends, horn when talking to authorities, and when they bang their shield you need to start running.

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Get your own set of silhouettes over at Telecanter's!

Cursed by a rutabaga

Every farmer knows about bad soil. It happens to everyone and when it does, you have two options:
  1. Burn the crop and starve through the winter
  2. Harvest, keep quiet and sell it to them don't-know-better-townsfolk
Bad soil produces living crops, and one of the better known are cursed rutabagas. Their tiny eye and small mouth are near impossible to spot (unless tickled), and since they don't taste all too different, not many will ever notice.

Some of the side effects of eating a meal containing living rutabagas are:

  • Invisible private sphere: an invisible field surrounds the person, stretching about one meter around. Disrupting this field by walking through it or just coming to close, will cause the cursed person to (1d6):
    1. Panic in silence, being unable to concentrate
    2. Start sweating, being unable to hold on to anything
    3. Look the other way
    4. Clear their throat until they go sore and can't speak
    5. Wait 30 seconds, and then take one step to the side
    6. Start fiddling with their spell book or weapon, until they accidentally hurt themselves (by firing off a random spell or just cut their fingers)

  • Every spell casting is concluded with a few words about the weather. And it's never quite the correct temperature.

  • At the end of a fight, the cursed person says "We must do this again soon."

  • Happily pays taxes and tithes when arriving in new towns.

  • Avoids conflicts at all cost. If forced, consult table above.

Man-Hydras


The disturbing Man-Hydra of the eastern woodlands is the kindest creature you'll ever know. It has thirty-six heads and each one loves to listen to gossip (except the thirty-fifth, because of a hearing problem). They're all vegetarians.

All Man-Hydras lose their heads during fall, to prepare the body for the cold winter (they grow new ones during spring). The heads will fall to the ground, and while most of them doesn't survive the drop, the ones that do are sometimes found by travellers and taken care of.

The head of a Man-Hydra is somewhat larger than a normal human head. To survive, it must be fed on a daily basis.

Neglecting the head or treating it badly is considered very evil by the ones aware of these creatures. Anyone causing a head to die will automatically have a price on their head, and will be hunted.



I carried a watermelon
If taken cared of properly and treated with respect, the head of a Man-Hydra have a wide range of properties that not only lonely people appreciate (besides being good listeners). Some of them are listed below:

  • Whispering a few words in the left ear. Later, when the right earlobe is pulled, the words will be repeated so loud there's a chance it will knock anyone in front of the head off their feet.
     
  • Kissing it on the mouth will make the head blush. There's a 33 % risk the embarrassment will manifest as scorching heat rays shooting out of its eyes.
     
  • Rubbing its cheeks will most often make it burp. The burp is harmless unless the head's been fed meat. In that case, the odour coming out of its mouth is toxic. (Feeding it meat is evil, and it will not forget this.)
     
  • If both eyes are covered, the head will start to whistle. The melody charms anyone within hearing range as long as it keeps whistling.
     
  • Massage, nose scratching, and hugs are vital for keeping the head happy. An unhappy head will most likely lose all its magical properties.
     
  • Covering both its ears will make the head glow. This is because Man-Hydras love to listen, and the glow is a sign of sadness (it tries to attract attention, so someone will come and talk to it). This is considered mean.
     
  • Bringing together several heads will make them smile at the sight of each other, and they will radiate an aura that may slightly heal anyone mortally wounded. Beware though, that they will become sad for a full day when separated again.

String demons


Witches, hags and other foul mouthed creatures such as school children, have the inborn ability to summon string demons by chewing on strings and then spitting them out on a hot stove.

The string demon manifests itself by taking control of the wet string, and forms a shape that most resembles the demons true form.

They will obey their master (chewer) for a brief period of time, before drying up and finally falling to the ground lifeless.

Once chewed, a string is useless for further summonings.

Carved rods (expanded from the notebook)

Words carved onto these may have a magical meaning. All effects stack, and are permanent.

  • Lover's name: raises spirit but lowers wisdom
  • Own name: negates all positive effects
  • Nemesis' name: unable to kill any of his/her relatives
  • Mother's name: easily irritated. 25 % risk of picking a fight with anyone
  • Own deity's name: watched. Will be struck down at first sign of breaking any commandment
  • Other deity's name: each night is filled with erotic dreams about the god
  • Reversal of any of the items on this list: same effect, only inverted
  • Any spell name: rod is loaded with a random, non-lethal spell (i.e. not the spell carved). If there's already a spell loaded, it will mix with the new
  • Name of birthplace: wielder is teleported three metres in random direction each time he/she is hurt
  • Names of animals: worships a new item at random each day
  • Words without meaning: rod becomes edible & nutritious for ten seconds, and will feel like a loaf of bread
  • Single letter: rod bends in the shape of the letter, with the risk of grappling the wielder
  • The word "WORD": the rod grows to twice its current size every time the wielder speaks
  • A typical dwarven name: rod turns into obsidian but loses its magical potency
  • A typical elven name: an ear grows out like a leaf. Whispering spells in it is one way to load the rod with power
  • Symbols that aren't letters: the rod takes flight like a rocket and disappears into the sky. It will explode loudly a minute later.
  • Name of a song: the wielder can hear the tune playing repeatedly inside his/her head the next 24 hours. If the rod is used like a lummi stick during this time, a random spell is loaded into the rod of same level as the number of minutes the wielder kept drumming (unless he/she plays out of tune; then the rod starts burning)
  • The word "ROD": random words are carved by an unknown force, each one causing an effect as usual (pick up the nearest dictionary and look up ten words randomly, and consult this list for each one)


Short note to self: the flesh of zombies

What if zombiism were a disease that made you...
  1. Slow as a turtle
  2. Afraid of people
  3. Tough as granite
  4. Naturally long lived
  5. Hunted for your flesh as it's believed it can cure diseases when digested
These zombies would eventually look like half-eaten corpses as people would try to chip of pieces of "medicine" from your body.

The trapped ex-lich

Background
Everybody knows of the Ruler of the Undead and Unholy, the lich of the west. The king that rules from his necrotic land of walking corpses, reanimates and ghastly horrors. Something as simple as touching the rotting ground with your feet may result in death, or worse. That's why you'd take the long way around.

One day, a fat pigeon takes flight from the mouldy green castle placed in the centre of the land - high seat of the undead king. It heads directly in the direction of the nearest larger settlement, with a carefully folded letter tied around one of its fat legs.

A furry, one-eyed bone behemoth watches the pigeon disappear into the horizon. Birds make great stew, the behemoth thinks before returning to its black cauldron of unmentionable flesh.


The letter

To you: have you ever rescued a trapped KING? Follow the directions of the map. Find me, get me out and to SAFETY, and I'll REWARD you greatly. But HURRY!
The rest of the small letter is covered with a crude but surprisingly accurate map of the undead land, with notable land markings and suggested short cuts ("purple pit = good hiding place", "bone behemoth patrols here and here", etc.).




Potential hooks
  • The players stumble upon the oversized, dead pigeon on the side of the road. It has a letter tied around one of its legs. Animals avoid the pigeon because of its necrotic state.
  • The pigeon finally loses it and starts attacking the party until it is killed, revealing the letter. A brain parasite changed its otherwise friendly nature.
  • The pigeon is taken and eaten by a farmer's cat, letter and all. During the night, the cat is affected by magic residue left on the pigeons body, rendering it hairless the morning after. The cat is later taken by an eagle, and fed to its chick, who after the feast loses all its feathers.Two days later it falls out of the nest, hitting one of the players.
    Examining the little bird reveals that the left wing holds the letter, while the right wing holds the map, very much like a tattoo.
    (yes, this one is pretty far fetched...)


So what's the deal with this guy
Before turning into a king of all things undead, George William was a bored nobleman living in the city. He spent his days dabbling with potion making and torturing vermin.

One late evening, after losing a bet to his drunken friends, George William swallowed down a strange concoct of past days experiments, turning him into a powerful but undead version of himself: the Ruler of the Undead and Unholy, the lich of the west.

Not being recognized any more, he fled and took refuge in a deserted piece of land no one seemed to care about. Over the course of the following hundred years, he slowly shaped it into his own liking of death and decay. The undead inhabitants of his new kingdom were bred from captured farmers forced to drink his experiments.

He built his green castle and surrounded himself with strange beasts to protect him. He was untouchable, like a baby in a cradle of bone.

But one morning, the king of the undead awoke to a mirror reflection he hadn't seen in years. He had reverted back to his former self; a normal, pale 17 year old nobleman with blonde hair. He even got his pimples back.

But now he was stuck in a necrotic land inhabited by hollow monsters, that lived to serve and protect the green castle where their beloved frightful ruler up until yesterday lived.

Poor, haunted Frank Jr.

Setup
Frank Jr. lives in an old apartment in the city. The last couple of days, he's been desperately seeking after someone that can rid his home of the poltergeists that haunts and taunts him verbally on a daily basis.


Frank Jr.
Frank is a tiny man, living in the middle class area of the city. He tend to blend in with the surroundings. He has a red scar on his forehead, probably after bumping his head. He has no recollection of it though.

Overall, he gives a rather confused impression.


Inside the apartment
Frank Jr.'s home is crammed with old, oversized furniture and horrible oil paintings ("that's my aunty Genna - and yes, she did enjoy eating irregularly"). Most people find it hard to breathe in there.

Poor old Frank Jr. will give anyone willing to help him a tour around the apartment. The poltergeists' voices can be heard anywhere from the floor to the ceiling throughout the apartment; the paintings, the old night stand or even little candles. They never manifest physically though. It's about three or four voices.


So what's the deal with this guy
Frank Jr. worked as a full time ventriloquist, before moving to the city and getting a "real" job. One week ago, he tripped over one of his fat rugs and hit his head against the kitchen table, and passed out.

When he woke up, everything about his former talent was wiped out from his memory, although his body hadn't forgotten.

Anyone paying close attention to poor old Frank Jr. while the "poltergeists" are speaking through the paintings and whatnot, might spot his lips not being completely still. He is in fact doing all the voices, although not to his own knowledge.

Helping Frank Jr. exorcise the evil spirits will be a hard task.

A case of the von Hohenheim

Anyone struck with this fever needs to seek out herbs and plants that resembles different parts of the human body, in order to cure that particular part.

Failure to do so may or may not end up with that part being replaced by the very herb he or she needed in the first place. This is referred to as the von Hohenheim-irony.

The hungry minaret

166 metres tall, with many floors, accessible through a single round staircase in the middle.

Every hour, it cries out a random low-pitched mantra (repeated three times), consisting of three words:


Roll one die for each column, and read from left to right.

The building is basically a flytrap that uses the mantra to either attract or repel (depending on how many there are inside it) nearby creatures - charmed or disgusted by its sound.

Creatures inside the mineret will not be able to hear the booming mantra.

The mineret depends on the creatures to kill each other, so it can starts its digestion. All the rooms in the tower are undecorated (with the exception of undigested things scattered around) and unlocked - except for two special rooms found somewhere near the top: the Heart and the Mouth.

The Heart-room consists of a single locked wooden chest. Inside, a beating heart can be found. Damaging it will kill the tower.

The Mouth-room holds a single thin, semitransparent string, that runs from floor to ceiling. Cutting it will render the tower mute, and it will be unable to vocalise its mantras, and therefore be unable to eat. Over time, this will starve the tower to death.

There's also Foot-room somewhere at the bottom. It is unlocked and smells bad.



What the curator offered me

(Inspired by Zak's table format found in Vornheim)

The Cursed Fighter

Believes she is a wizard, when in fact she's just cursed into believing that.

First round she'll always try to cast a spell (steadying hands, concentrating, whispering arcane words) - and will always fail. After that she'll use normal weapons.

If asked, will blame it on misaligned planets, wandering thoughts, or shoes too tight.