The Reliques of Tolti-Aph — 24 of 57

Graham Nelson

Release 1

Section S(c) - The Fallen Tree and the Fullers

The Fallen Tree is north of Longwall Street. "The overgrown ground, sloping gradually downwards to the north, is interrupted here by the fallen trunk of a giant of a tree. The trunk seems to have partially demolished an old town-house to northeast."

The trunk of a giant fallen tree is scenery in the Fallen Tree. Instead of climbing or entering the trunk, say "No need to clamber on it." The trunk of a giant fallen tree is wood.

The partially demolished house is scenery in the Fallen Tree. Understand "town-house" as the partially demolished house. Effect of casting mend at the partially demolished house: record outcome "but it's just too huge a task. This whole idea of rebuilding Tolti-Aph, one house at a time, is very commendable, but perhaps not very realistic"; rule succeeds.

The skeleton is a supporter in the Fallen Tree.[1] "Propped against the trunk in a parody of a sitting man, a skeleton - no, a woman's, to judge from the pelvis - shines white in the sunlight. The empty eye-sockets look up at the sky with a curious sort of expectancy." Effect of casting mend at the skeleton: record outcome "shaping flesh back onto her bones, until she sits - naked, since her clothes are not here to be mended - in front of you: almost, once, she blinks with disbelief, but the whole semblance of new life cruelly dissipates to merest air. It seems one cannot mend a skeleton, even with her own spell"; rule succeeds.

Instead of attacking or kissing the skeleton, say "That would violate a powerful taboo amongst your people: and besides, an alarming number of skeletons are not as dead as they seem."

A leather pack is in the Fallen Tree. "On the skeleton's lap is a leather pack." The pack is trapped. In the leather pack is a scroll called the immaculate scroll. The inscribed spell of the immaculate scroll is mend. The guardian harpy is a harpy. The pack is closed and openable. Instead of examining the trapped pack, say "It does seem... curious that the pack should be untouched, unlooted, when all else is gone, and even the skeleton's clothes have been taken." Instead of taking or opening the trapped pack: say "As your thieving fingers touch the dead woman's pack, a screaming noise almost throws you backward, and worse is to come: a harpy swoops down from the sky!"; now the pack is untrapped; move the guardian harpy to the location; mount an attack from the guardian harpy. The leather pack is flesh.

In the leather pack is a strength potion called the sea-blue vial. The sea-blue vial has additional strength 1d4+2.

A cursive diary is in the leather pack. The cursive diary is paper. The description of the cursive diary is "A diary written in a cursive hand, not taught in guild-schools these many centuries. The final entry makes you sigh:

No strength... so cruel to get so close...[line break]say your prayers little one,[line break]begone bleak days of drowning time -[line break]you loose-roaming clouds be with me -

She was clearly in a mystical state at the end. Strength collapse can do that to a magic-user."

Instead of going north from the Fallen Tree with the ornamental stone ball, say "It's hopeless: the stone ball cannot be rolled over the trunk."

Instead of going nowhere from the Fallen Tree, say "If it were not for the break in the wall to northeast, you would only be able to go north or south along the lane."

The Fullers' Town-House is northeast of the Fallen Tree.[2] "This may well be the most habitable room left in Tolti-Aph, though the craftsmen who built it - to judge by the frescos, fullers of cloth - were in no wise rich. And since then, even what little they could afford in the way of windows have been bricked solid."

Outside from the Fullers' Town-House is the Fallen Tree. Instead of going nowhere from the Fullers' Town-House, say "If it were not for the hole knocked in the wall by the recently-fallen trunk, this room would almost have been sealed completely tight, it occurs to you. It must be almost perfectly preserved."

A painting of a tobacco pipe is fixed in place in the Fullers' Town-House. "On one wall hangs a painting of a clay pipe, smoking tobacco." The description of the painting is "Written on the frame underneath, in common tongue, is THIS IS NOT CLAY." The painting is paper. Instead of taking the painting, say "It will not detach from the wall." Understand "picture" as the painting of a tobacco pipe.[3]

Looking behind is an action applying to one visible thing. Understand "look behind [something]" as looking behind. Report looking behind: say "You see nothing unexpected behind [the noun]." Instead of looking behind the painting, say "It seems to be fastened to the wall by some sort of mechanism, so that you can't simply pull it away to look behind." Instead of pushing or pulling the painting, try looking behind the painting.

A cloth loom is a supporter in the Fullers' Town-House. "The centrepiece of the room is the cloth loom on which the wispy strands of wool were once washed, combed and woven into cloth." The stretched scroll is a scroll on the cloth loom. The inscribed spell of the stretched scroll is circumvent lock. Before casting memorise at the stretched scroll, say "Under the terms of the recent Sorcery Millennium Property Act, all magic-users are now hypnotised to make it impossible for them to learn certain spells connected with the breaking or circumvention of locks or other devices intended to protect property. Like all magic-users, you resent the implication that you are some kind of kleptomaniac, and regard this as an outrageous infringement of your personal liberty. Especially since these are the same people who go on and on about the right to bear 'apocalyptic fireball' wands! Tsk." instead.[4]

The description of the cloth loom is "Painted around the base of the loom is the score, it seems, for a song, in the traditional tablature notation." The tablature song score is scenery in the Town-House. Understand "sing song" as singing. Singing from is an action applying to one visible thing. Understand "sing [something]" or "sing from [something]" as singing from. Check singing from: unless the noun is the tablature, say "You might sing from a score, perhaps, but not [the noun]." Before singing in the Town-House: try singing from the tablature instead. Instead of singing from the tablature: say "You walk slowly around all four sides of the loom, singing the song - a round, it seems, and the sort of cheery number written by those engaged in basically repetitive crafts. A pretty little song, but you're not sorry your father apprenticed you to a magic-user instead."; display the boxed quotation

"Oh the fuller turns

And the world turns

So turns the day

And the fuller turns

So the leaf turns

That turns the world

So everything turns".

Instead of turning the tablature, say "You turn the song over in your mind."

The old tobacco pipe is clay. Instead of turning the painting for the first time: say "You turn the painting around, and are astonished to find behind it a secret cache of tobacco - hidden from the wives of the fullers, no doubt. It has all rotted except for one old pipe, which you pocket in your usual kleptomanic way."; now the player carries the old tobacco pipe; award 3 points. Instead of turning the painting, say "Nope - no more pipes." Instead of smelling the old tobacco pipe, say "Extraordinary how long the redolent odour survives, but even so it's just the faintest trace now." Understand "smoke [something]" as burning. Instead of burning the old tobacco pipe, say "It's a vile habit, frowned upon by the contemporary magic-user." Understand the command "spin" as "turn".

The Internal Cavity is a container. The modest scroll is a scroll in the Internal Cavity. The inscribed spell of the modest scroll is silence. The Temporary Cavity is a container.[5]

The loom can be known to be broken. The loom is not known to be broken.

The cloth loom is trapped. Instead of turning the cloth loom:

say "Your fingers finally locate the hidden catch which turns the loom, and would have enabled the fullers to work on both sides of the cloth. ";

if the cloth loom is trapped:

now the loom is known to be broken;

say "But the mechanism is jammed in some way." instead;

say "The mechanism turns smoothly";

if something is on the cloth loom, say ", winding [the list of things on the cloth loom] out of sight";

if something is in the Internal Cavity, say ", bringing [the list of things in the Internal Cavity] up into view";

say " as the new top-side of the loom comes flat.";

now all the things in the Internal Cavity are in the Temporary Cavity;

now all the things on the cloth loom are in the Internal Cavity;

now all the things in the Temporary Cavity are on the cloth loom.

Effect of casting mend at the trapped cloth loom:

if the loom is known to be broken:

record outcome "which reach into the mechanism of the cloth loom - it's not trapped at all, just full of enmeshed gearing, and soon the obstruction is eased";

now the loom is untrapped;

rule succeeds.

Understand "kick" or "kick [text]" as a mistake ("In case you are the kind of adventurer who kicks things when frustrated, we may as well agree right now that this will not help matters.").[6]

Understand "weave" or "weave [text]" as a mistake ("Alas, the old crafts of the city are long gone, and it would only be sentimentalism to revive them now.").


[1]. Supporter in the sense that it can prop things up, not in the sense of politics.

[2]. This southern end of the city - where cargoes arrived - ought to be where practical trades and crafts were carried on, but I wanted to avoid obvious trades. Fullers were people who cleaned and carded cloth from wool: it's a trade which died with the Industrial Revolution, but the surname lives on in England, most famously through the poet John Fuller - which may be why I also wrote the fullers a tiny poem.

[3]. Cf. Magritte, of course, but the point of this little puzzle is that it tantalises the player with something made of clay - because the player badly needs a clay focus in order to cast "make sanctuary".

[4]. The Recording Industry Association of America may like to note that this annoyed the play-testers very much indeed.

[5]. When the loom turns, anything inside is turned to the outside and vice versa, and this means exchanging the contents of two containers, in effect. The easiest way to do that is to use a third location for temporary storage, hence the Temporary Cavity, which has no physical existence in the player's world and so does not appear in play.

[6]. There was a certain amount of loom-kicking when this room was tested.