Friday, January 6, 2012

Dark World: Introducing The Traveler's Guide to Pretty Much Everything

A publication of Zuorn Press, The Traveler's Guide to Pretty Much Everything, often called the "TGPME," or simply, "The Guide," was first published in Zuorn in 935. Its authors, an enigmatic duo known only as "Egbert & Chick," are said to regularly travel the World (and beyond) in a lifelong effort to keep the guide as up to date as possible. Addenda and errata have been printed every year since The Guide was first published, and have been included in reprints that have been published every 10 years.

Unfortunately, sales of The Guide have been sluggish, as few people have room in their homes for its 900 or so volumes, much less for the additional seven to nine volumes of addenda and errata that are published each year. As a result of its bulk, the guide is also of far less use to the average traveler than Zuorn Press had originally hoped. (One wizard, who wishes to remain unnamed, owns a copy of each of the last five prints and all of their associated addenda, errata, and collateral materials. He says he had to excavate the space beneath his tower just to make room for the nearly 5,000 massive tomes. He has nicknamed his subterranean library "The Dungeon of Pretty Much Everything.")

In recent years, however, progress has allegedly been made on development of a device that would make The Guide more user friendly. This rumored innovation, the "iParchment," is said to be a single magical scroll that can - at the direction of its owner - search The Guide's massive source library in Zuorn and retrieve and display an article almost instantly (with caveats for owners operating outside the iParchment's coverage area, eldritch outages, and the like). If the rumors are to be believed, the iParchment would allow an owner to have instant, up-to-date information as close as his nearest scroll case. Many find the rumors of the iParchment to be nothing more than silly marketing drivel - a mere attempt to generate interest in Zuorn Press and its publications and/or to drive sales of the print version of The Guide amongst those who are wary of it becoming obsolete or who are frightened of this new-fangled sorcery.

A Random Sample Entry from The Guide: The Wizard Brothers

A quartet of evil wizards, each of the “Wizard Brothers” claims that his epithet is his legal name, although no birth certificates have been produced to support this. The only other living family member, their father (known only as “Mr. Wizard,” and currently residing in a retirement community in Dunesrest) was once rumored to have countered the claim, stating that at least one son bore a different name at birth. But after a lengthy (and bloody) domestic dispute, no further counter-claims have been made. To this day, however, many wonder which of “the boys” bears the legal name “Gaylord Myron Wizard.”

The family has a foothold in every corner of the World:

In the north, Blizzard Wizard rules with a frosty fist from his cold, crystalline “Tower of Ice.” He is known by locals as the White Wizard*. They petitioned for the right to call him Winter Wizard, but were refused, as that name was too similar to one already taken by a reformed evil magic user who resides much farther north (and who emphatically claims to be “No relation!” to the brothers). A petition to instead dub Blizzard “Snow Miser” was started, but ultimately dropped due to “lack of significant interest.” (There were, however, rumors that threats from the estate of the Miser family had a chilling effect on the petitioning process.)

In the west, Lizard Wizard stalks the marshy lands of Mistmoor. Most of the local denizens aren’t very social, so not much local data has been divulged, except that they call him the Swamp Sorcerer and that his home is a flagstone manor deep in the center of the moors known as “Bog House.” Some have whispered that he rides on a giant, thunderous lizard and has various similar beasts under his command – but no sworn reports have been made to that effect, so it may just be local gossip.

In the east, Gizard Wizard rules the air above Upper Granwald. His “Evil Aerie” is on a crag, the highest point in the oldest and wickedest part of the wood. (It’s a sprawling section known as “Old Granny,” and it’s shunned by those who know their way around the forest.) Known by the forest folk as the Fowl Fiend, Gizard is said to have wings instead of arms; his feathered minions soar in the skies above and nest in the trees within much of the deep forest.

And in the south, the youngest sibling, Izzard Wizard freaks out the locals with his transvestigial ways from the fashionable-but-forbidding “Terrible Tower” (atop the rocky mass known as Hag’s Tor). Locals call him The Crimson Conjurer, as every item in his admittedly fabulous wardrobe seems to be some shade of red (with nicely contrasting accessories, of course). Some of the braver locals – usually during late-night pub conversations – like to make fun of him, calling him The Crimson Cross-dresser. Several groups of locals have gone missing after making such jests a little too loudly. (Interestingly, there seems to be a proportionate boost in the local toad population after such disappearances.)

*Here's an open letter posted on the Zuorn Press discussion board (a piece of wood nailed to the wall outside their offices in Zuorn, upon which people are allowed to express their opinions by tacking up notes):

"Zuorn Press has received letters and read posts here from several furrners [a colorful local word for out-worlders, extraterrestrials, and any other of the strange folk that frequently pop up on this world. - Ed.] wondering why the name "White Wizard" was allowed while others were not, as it clearly belongs to some allegedly "famous wizards" named "Gandalf" and "Saruman," or some such. It is not Zuorn Press' policy to speculate on the reasoning behind the decisions of the Governing Board of the Invisible School of Eldritch Wizardry. However, we do feel the need to take this opportunity to clarify a few things: all furrners are batshit crazy, and we do not appreciate being ranted at by every crank and loony that can put quill to parchment. We do not know who you are referring to - we know no Gandalfs or Sarumans. The closest would be Grand Dolph, the bartender at the Howling Monkey on Market Street. But he's no wizard. Not even close. And while we are at it, please stop ranting about "balrogs" and "hobbits." Previous entries in the first print of The Guide referring to these were mistakes, and as such were removed or corrected in later editions. They are demons and halflings, respectively - get over it already.

Sincerely, Zuorn Press."

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2 comments:

Trey said...

I like it. :)

Lili Des Ghoules said...

You are so talented and I wish you would use it more, or someone reading your blog in the gaming industry (preferably out west or Europe) would offer you a brilliant job(plus relocation expenses for you and one other). Where was I going with this.. Oh yes.. Nicely done as usual my most creative and talented guy. :)