Back to
Barmy to
the Spire

What's all this barmy stuff?

Want to find out what has been forgotten in the Styx?

Not enough barminess for you?

Barmy to the Spire


Fourth Void of Mortis

November 28th, 1999


Barmy Spotlight of the Week

From: Planes of Conflict: Liber Malevolentae, page 53. On Hallowed Ground, page 69.
About: Arawn is the celtic god of the dead, a nice down to earth power. Making his realm, called Annwn, in the Ten Isles of the Cursed on the Gray Waste, most would say that's a bad place to set up kip, but I can assure you it has some nice ocean front with pine trees, and the gray tone is absolutely soothing on a cutters nerves. As mentioned, Arawn is one of the most sociable powers, a real humble person's power, the kind of power you could walk on over to his realm and talk to, even if he's, well, a god of the dead. And we know powering's a tough job on a berk, which is why Arawn even takes days, well years, off. Thats right, death does take time off. Unlike some of those other snobby powers that can't turn their backs without turning into pin cushions, Arawn actually has time off, intrusting his realm and powers to his proxy Pwyll every ten years, Now, what other barmy powers do you know who would trust a mortal king to rule their realm? There's also Arawn's queen, well, queens, the most beautiful ladies he finds on his vacations off, which he barmily drags back and makes queen. We knew rulership was thrust on some people, but Arawn seems to like giving rulership to people left and right. Of course, theirs also that rumor that he's trying to make all the Dustmen worship him, and not just general death (which doesn't have as good a social life), but a power has to have hobbies, especially when he gets a whole year off from decreeing things in his realm, and having to listen to all the petitioners mutter about there being to many pine tress and water around.
Barminess: A barmy power of death who has a punch-card and vacations.
Quote: "I hear the Blood Isles are good this time of year, and ooh, it says here that they just opened the new exhibit on the deaths, and lives, of famous planewalkers!"
Likes: Vacationing, surprisingly the whole death bit can get depressing after awhile. When Qaida decides to come home and visit Cauldron, you'd be amazed at the stories she can tell, even if Pwyll has to explain most of the puzzling bits and when she describes the corpsey parts Arawn puts his fingers in his ears and hums a tune he learned from a Norn.
Dislikes: When new petitioners come down from the Outlands, looking all happy, and then 
say "Oh, we got stuck in bloody Annwn," sigh, "I was hoping for the Isles of the Blessed," 
with a big frown, the sods. Other powers making fun of him for letting his proxy be in charge, but they always look jealous at the same time, you can tell.

Barmy Bonus:
Lady Antie N'mie, Queen of Cauldrons
The queens of Annwn, and their has to be a ton of them by now, ten years times a few millennia in a gods life adds up to allot, are some of the fairest ladies Arawn can find. Wooing them back to Annwn, living out their lives in the endless soggy gray afternoons. Some though take action in the realm, and with petitioners mulling about the place needing something to do to get on with their afterlife, there's no amount of people to move things around old castles, or row you out for a nice picnic around the isles. With Arawn always going off to vacation or messing with powery matters, the queen, and queens, relatively can run about the realm doing whatever they want. Here then is one of these fascinating ladies, a former queen that a cutter might run into while visiting the realm of Arawn.

Lady Anita N'mie (Pr / human / W3 / NE), has gone a bit stir crazy from her time in the realm, but her looks have only gotten more comely as she's aged. Called the mad old queen by some, she dresses in old royal robes, has a bent up old crown of leaves, and tends to always go around with some barmy drink or potion she has concocted. Always wandering about the realm, it's said she won Arawn's heart for a time, or more his stomach, not so much with her looks, but with her quick wits and a really good feast. Tired of her old boring life on the prime, in a boring kingdom, with boring adventures killing boring old dragons, the Gray Waste is actually an improvement. Now she's always cooking things for petitioners, Pywll, or visitors, gathering up some of the best ingredients around the realm, whether the famous gray waste potatoes of woe or trying to wrangle the neck of some plump fowl. She's also always inviting some of those 'nice old night hag gals' over for tea and bridge, and swapping various recipes with them on how to spruce up foods made of, basically, a bunch of gray stuff. Every few years, either to commemorate Pwyll's rule or a new queen, or just to have a huge bash, she brews up a huge batch of soup in the giant bowl carved out of the ground in Cauldron, enough soup to feed the whole realm for months.


Fourth Clerk of Mortis

November 25th, 1999


Bytopian Whisfall

"The great Bytopia, paired paradises, it mirrors us, the treants, like the layers mirror each other. One, a great root bed that we may sink our selves deep into, the other a glorious canopy of foliage, so that we may extend ourselves upward like the great stalagmites, mighty trunks in our beautiful home. And among these, our whispers pass back and forth, this plane of infinite forest a million of our voices."
- Gietroots, a treant bard.

The Whisfall has only recently been discovered, not because it was hard to find, but because scholars couldn't see it. It's a bit hard for scholars to learn much of anything on Bytopia, you'll notice quite a lack of chant from that plane, because "Why?" or "What?" questions are usually answered by the inhabitants along the lines of "Chop some wood, pump the water, and hall these sacks of grain, then we'll tell you." Needless to say, a scholar or adventurer from outside the plane isn't willing to do hours of back-breaking work just to ask about native creatures. Yet, the Whisfall does exits, only one of the many wonders that inhabit Bytopia.

A native will tell you all about it though, after you've done your fair share of work. What they say is that the leaves that fall from the trees on Bytopia, fluttering in the single sky as they fall from layer to layer, are actually creatures, messengers and informants of the treants. The tale they spin is one of the original treant of Btyopia, and elderly mother tree that inhabited the lonely plane, a time before gnomes or merchants, who saw the layer above her, and wondered what was there. For another treant was on the opposite mountains, but the two were rooted in their forests, unable to speak to each other. But the belief of the planes shaped the leaves around them, and thus were born the Whisfall, strange leaves of Bytopia. These new creatures could fly from layer to layer, linking all treants together though separated by the planes duel nature.

Though outsiders see them only as leaves, fluttering in the winds or turning all shades of red in the fall, the Whisfall, like the plane it inhabits, is one of two forms. Those who have been blessed by the treants can see the Whisfalls true shape, a small leaf with curling antennas and faceted honeycomb eyes. Curious by nature, the Whisfall flutter and buzz around the plane, always with the slight hint of whispered voices. A cutter they like, or one summoned by the treants, can become surrounded by whole swarm of them buzzing around him, whispering of deep sunshine, musky roots, and the voice of the treants. Those not in the dark will only see the cutter in a small whirlwind of leaves, nothing more then a natural trick of the wind. And though the treants use them to keep in touch with each other, it's also common to see a gnome or other native talking to a Whisfall, the little messengers taking messages to family and friends. A outsider might look at them barmy for talking to leaves, but they'll just shrug and smile.

The life cycle of the Whisfall is tied directly to the trees and seasons, turning a green and zooming with energy in the summer, falling throughout the sky in an orange and red blizzard in the fall, and turning brown and fluttering to the eternal sleep in the winter. As spirng once more sweeps through the twin layers though, buds on treants create knew Whisfall to fly through the sky. In fact the only clue scholars have so far that they exist at all is, unlike normal leaves which the natives rake up and use for mulch, the Whisfalls simply fade away.


Fourth Guild of Mortis

November 24th, 1999


Faces of Barmies

Another group of barmy sketches of, amazingly enough, barmies.

Faces of Barmies can be used both by DMs for NPC concepts, or by players as new characters. The pictures above link to larger for-print versions, and can be used freely for personal use. Thanks to Vicki Hood, Tom Bubul, and myself, Jeremiah Golden,  for drawing them.

Nurse Wahrschein (upper left) (Pl / Githzerai / P1 / Bleaker / NG ) Nurse Wahrschein isn't a man in a white coat. She's a lady in denim and kacki. Tending to the Gatehouses' barmies is her daily call (and her daily scream, moan, howl, gibber, and cackle), and she's been known to implement the Gatehouse's specially durable spoons in any situation necessary. Any. A matronly old caretaker and loved by all, the Nurse unshakingly brings her soup around the house, every morning. With a friendly word to the barmies and an ominous waver of a spoon at others, she is a fixture in the Gatehouse halls.

157932 (upper center) (Pl / Tiefling / Fated / LN ) Corpse number 157932 - a poor sod who made a Dead Contract with, well, the Dead. He's got his number scrawled on his forehead, so he doesn't forget (Fated can be weird about numbers like that sometime, but then facts and records could drive anyone barmy) - but unfortunately for him, it means the Dead won't forget either. As bleak and gothish (Not that he's gothish, more goshish maybe) as he is, he doesn't want to give up his corpse just yet - and has been seen running with his bedroom slippers and bathrobe through the streets of Sigil, perused by hordes of zombies and whatnot, shouting "Not bloody yet! I still have some things to do!". Needless to say, berks who have a tax collector show up in bathrobe and surrounded by zombies usually pay their taxes quickly.

Sch'loup (upper right) (Pl / Molydeus Tanar'ri / F7 /  Mercykiller / CE) Obsession, hungry for the pursuit of justice, and slightly confused, all trademarks of this two-headed tanar'ri that's somehow been caught up in the one true pursuit of justice. He will follow any lead anywhere - to get his stolen axe. He will bring justice to all those - who have stolen his axe. He will pursue all justice - to get his bloody stolen axe back. Thus his joining of the Mercykillers, and his now two thousand year search for his missing axe. It seems his two heads can never agree about how to get their axe back, the wolf wanting to break the door down, and the snake head wanting to bribe the door. Needless to say they tend to get a little confused, arguing with each other as people slip behind them. And what's truly puzzling is the chant says he simply left his axe at home.

Festivé Devék (lower left) (Pl / Githyanki / Sensate / LE) Devék served the lich queen well on the Astral, and happily prepared for his 'going to be absorbed for the glory of the race - away party' in blissful devotion. But as he had his floppy festive party hat on and was about to blow out the steady candles, the cake exploded (and instead of one of the gals dressed up as the lich queen, as he expected) a random, color pool, portal thing burst into existence. Devék was caught, and dumped into Sigil. After moping about not getting any cake except what he could get off his hat, he finally realized that he could keep on living and not be sacrificed. Ecstatic at finding this out, he decided to enjoy every single day of his life from then on, and joined the Sensates. Now he throws parties all the time around the Cage, and always with festive floppy hats and exploding cakes.

Entes Canard (lower center) (Pl / Human / Signer / CG) A speaker of some note, Entes is a common sight at the Hall of Speakers. He walks along the halls whistling, hands in his pocket as he imagines the universe, but what's truly striking is the bird on his bald head. If anyone is to ask him about it, he says 'I imagine the bird, and the bird imagines me'. Barmy logic indeed, but there's no denying that he can get the Hall's attention when he speaks, all eyes in the circular speaking room drawn to his face, well, head. And what's truly strange is that he always seems to be spotting a different bird as a hat, mostly ravens and pigeons but also the occasional exotic color bird or that one unfortunate incident with the sympathetic, which sympathized itself right out of the imagination.

J'll (lower right) (Pl / Fire Genasi / Harmonium / LN) J'll "The Cheese" is a devoted member of the Harmonium, and thinks she has penetrated into a cell of the Anarchists. In fact, she did. She penetrated into Anarchists disguised as Hardheads. And the Hardheads that the Anarchists are disguised as are pretending to be Anarchists, to infiltrate deeper into the criminal world's intricate net of confusion. J'll, for example, is quite confused. The fact that she's a fire genasi, her skin blending so well with the armor that it was her main reason for joining in the first place as everyone took her as a Harmonium anyway, right, the fact that she's a fire genasi with a short temper makes her even more confused, as she can't stop yelling at someone long enough to ask what faction they actually belong too.


Last Week's Chant

All content copyright 1999 Jeremiah Golden or credited authors.