Apr 26, 2014

The Djinnbusters of Bandar Karahc

The desert town of Bandar Karahc is home to many strange things, one of them being the so called djinnbusters - ghost hunters of the dunes.

They're not organized.
It's not a cult.
They're not even particular good at what they do. They just happen to own an oil lamp that can catch nasty djinns.

A djinnbuster's oil lamp is his most important tool, but it's far from the only one. You see, catching a ghost is pretty simple: point the nozzle at the djinn and rub the lamp's body until the ghost is sucked inside.

Of course, first you'll need to find the bloody thing (I dare you to find an invisible djinn in the vast al-Musahhar desert).

Then, you'll need to prepare it. Preparing a ghost is what weakens it, and as all good djinnbusters know (e.g. all four of them), you can only catch a weakened ghost.
Some things known to weaken ghosts are:

  1. Burning incense
  2. Reciting poetry, telling jokes but leaving out the pun, crying
  3. Dancing, clapping hands, spinning around
  4. The sheer sight of wealth (and plenty of it)
  5. Anointing, smearing it with fat mixtures
  6. Chewing on your beard
Note: one djinn's weakness is another one's strength. The late djinnbuster Hadar abd al-Makul used to smear his body with almond oil to weaken ghosts (most djinns are allergic to nuts for some reason). That is, until he met the marid Halaba, who swallowed him whole thanks to the lubricant.

Learning the weaknesses of a ghost is what makes a good djinnbuster, and takes time, especially if you need to recite a special piece of poetry that the djinn hates, or burn a particular type of flower in its presence.
Or, you could gamble, and just throw a handful of dates at it and hope for the best.

After you weakened the ghost, rub your lamp and stay close to the ghost. If all goes well, the ghost is captured inside the lamp, immediately turned into fuel.

It's not the size of the oil lamp that determines how much fuel (e.g. captured ghosts) it can hold, but its quality in terms of material (clay, stone, bronze, gold, etc.), embellishment (carvings, gemstones) and sentimental value.

The most standard, lowest quality djinnbustin' oil lamp can hold roughly 4 units of fuel (+1d4 units/decoration that raises its quality).

The amount of fuel a djinnbuster can get out of a captured ghost is likewise determined by the quality of the djinn. Start with a base value of 1d4, and then add accordingly:
  • Size:
    • Capturing anything smaller than the size of an human adult is like pouring flour in your fuel chamber; it will just turn to a thick dough and you'll have to throw away the lamp.
    • Other than that, add 1 unit of fuel per wow-factor regarding its size
  •  Abilities (flying, shape shifting, invisibility, etc.):
    • Add 1 unit of fuel per ability
  • Age:
    • Juvenile: these ghosts are more trouble than they're worth (no extra fuel)
    • Old djinns: for every wow-factor regarding their age, divide the total amount of fuel by two. This is because their ectoplasm is going stale
    • Other than that: 1 unit of fuel

If a djinnbuster captures a ghost whose total amount of fuel exceeds the capacity of the oil lamp, one of several things may happen:
  1. The djinnbuster is possessed a number of days equal to the excess (e.g. capturing a 5 fuel djinn in a lamp with only room for 2 more units causes the djinnbuster to become possessed for 3 days)
  2. (If the lamp isn't empty) Fuel equal to the ghost's value is sucked out of the lamp, creating another djinn of equal strength on the spot
  3. The excess is stored in the djinnbuster's body: during the next couple of days (equal to the excess value), a new minor mutation occurs
  4. Lamp explodes, spreading fuel everywhere. Stained objects become animated

To empty the lamp, the djinnbuster must burn the fuel during the night time (1 unit of fuel/hour). You may also do like the legendary Fatima al-Sabiha and drink the contents; to this day, people still claim to see her drifting across the sky.