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Barmy to the Spire


Second Void of Regula

January 14th, 2000


Sleepy Gloom
(Location, Niflheim, Gray Waste)

I had signed on with the 'loths mercenaries, bunch of bloody swell lads, but nothing, not even back in my first days when a horde of slobbering lemures flooded down on us and we where trapped for a week, don't even ask what we ate, or the time the tanar'ri decided they wanted to be humorous and tied the whole legion up to strings with wigs so they could put on a play, not any of those sodding things are as horrible as the time I stumbled onto the true evil that is Sleepy Gloom. 

My legion, the 1st Barmy Sods, were marching along on theWaste, a grizzled gray road covered in light white snow and drizzly mud, the whole ragged bunch of humans, tieflings, one mad kobold drummer, and group of snickering mezzoloths were thumping along the dripping gray trees in search of our enemy, that being any one who was sodding barmy enough to attack us. The gray trees looming about us, the battle began. Tanar'ri, baatezu, 'loths, and one mad dog from somewhere began an epic battle to end all epic battles, even though and half the casualties were running into bloody trees. As the snow began to fall in drifts of gray flakes that made the nose itch and half the battlefield was giggling. Slightly dazed and confused, the last straw was when a sodding pine tree decided to upend all it's snow down the back of my spiky armor, and I stumbled off into the blizzard. 

Nothing but white swirls around me, I lay in a snow drift and counted the spiky bits of my armor as I tried to make out the time, when a muffled sound made it's way through the floggy snowdrifts. As I watched the snow seemed to move, white on white coming closer and closer, until in front of me sat a small fluffy sheep, which went "Baaaaaah". Sod, it makes me shiver even now. Stranger still, on it's back rode an old crone, grinning madly, as she said, "Oi, seems a little lost soul 'as found ol Sleepy Gloom, deary, deary me."

Character: I curse the day I heard that sodding bloody sheep, and wished ten thousands times over I had just gone barmy. Aunty Karonie, a fiendish crone of a night hag, had dragged my back to her kip in the middle of Sleepy Gloom's valley, though I had no idea where it was at the time, and had put me in a big fluffy gray checkered bed, and began to torture me by fiddling about and serving me gray soup (A potato broth to be exact, which isn't so much gray as an off-brown. It's healthy, if monotonous. - the Editor). This place of hers was truly the most boringly evil place I had ever been, it radiated how horrible the Gray Waste can be, as not only was the place gray like everything around it, but it was dull, annoyingly dull. As she slowly, oh so slowly scooped the broth and put it between my lips, the time dragged on forever in lazy afternoon boredom, a listless feeling between taking a cozy nap and going bloody barmy with nothing to do settled over the place. And through it all, as the old women smiled and talked of her last dear cousin who's nephew knew Grazz't and was a proud old lich now, I heard the baaah, baaahing from outside.

Description: When I had recovered from the cold enough to hobble around with the wooly blanket about me, I went out and had a look of where I had ended up, but before I saw what the little shed looked like, I saw the sheep. Under the gray foggy sky, it was drizzling a bit, and under the sparse pine trees here and there that dotted Sleepy Gloom like twigs, were a mass of sheep. It couldn't be called a herd at all, as they didn't so much as move as just bounce slightly up and down in the sea of them. Just trying to count the things was making me slightly tired, and I was still slightly dizzy when the hag came out with a cup of her broth, and grinned at the sheep, "Oi, admirin' my little dears, are ya? Far site prettier then a swarm of icky yello' worms," she shuddered as she said this, "An' the little dears in their fluffy white coats and little black eyes go better with the countryside, they do." With that I could see what I had missed about the sheep before, as each black head sticking out of the fluffy white coat looked at me with the twisted face of a larvae, but strangely each still had the placid and dreamy looks of sheep. (It seems that Karonie has found a magical means to make larvae turn into sheep, the dark of it being that she just rocks them asleep until they change in their dreams. - the Editor). Maybe there happier as sheep, a nice quite life of placid boredom, and it did seem less strange then a bunch of worms. 

Sleepy Gloom then was just this little dull white-washed and extremely gray shed of an old lady and her sheep, the very dullness of it in the middle of the most evilest plane in the multiverse is probably the barmiest thing. Around the edges of the gray rolling hills and muddy dark patches, here and there giving a semblance of some drab color, was a short small fence of posts made from old gray pine that kept the mass of sheep in, though any fiend or predator bloody idiotic to take on that mass of wool and fuzz was just asking to be trampled... and then forced to be tediously fed some broth in the big bed in the hag's kip.

Ruler: She's bloody barmy, that hag Aunty Karonie (Pl / Night Hag / W7 / NE), and just as sodding boring as the rest of Sleepy Gloom. That day she 'rescued' me, the gray blizzard swirling around like it wanted to turn the whole place into the White Waste, she rode forth on an old snarled sheep with her striped stockings on her legs hanging to either side. Clothed in strange assortment of robes made of patched yarn and wool stuffing, she looked like a pillow with a deep gray-purple wrinkled face, and eyes that looked more like she was going to fall asleep right there on the spot. She was the same when I woke up in the kip, except as she sat at the edge of the bed, in her hands she absently knitted a gray stripped sock, the annoying whisk, whisk, click, click, intermingled with the sodding barmy baaahs from outside. She might tell a berk everything she knows, but not without enough broth, rambles, and frivolous tales in between to makes the sod's mind drip out his ear and slosh onto the ground.

It was then she told me of what was so special about Sleepy Gloom, and why she had made her sodding home here in this depressing valley, "Oi, it was, ol' Sleepy don't just go taking your colors 'n your feelings, never minded that much me self 'cause it makes it easier to pick out me clothes in the morn', but the valley 'ere sucks the evil, it does." She cackled a bit, as if she where happy about it, and I was finally able to feel it myself as the very dullness of the place made me want to just barmily curl up and have a nice lazy nap instead of go out an bash someone's head in. This bloody place and it's sheep was the most evilest place I'd ever visited on the planes, it was so bloody evil as to be peaceful.

Sites:  Besides the hags kip, which I got to bloody close a look at I can tell you, just behind it sits a small lean-to, just as gray as the surroundings but also with enough creaks to set a cutters nerves on edge. Inside, when I had a chance to sneak around and take a look, the beady eyes of sheep following me the whole way thought the wooly blanket disguised me a bit, where all sorts of strange tormenting devices I was sure the hag had been hiding, from straps to a wicked pair of blades in the corner. (The shearing shed obviously, and chant has it this fiendish wool is a far site more protective then any armor and a far site comfier, even if a sod will get laughed to the length of the Styx and back for being fluffy. - the Editor.)

Muttering about how to get past the sheep and sneak out of the valley, I about fell over into the gray mud - and bloody risking letting a mass of sheep take a lick at me - when I saw what was on the other side of the hags kip. Twenty feet tall at least, soggy and smelling even worse then all the sheep, and looking like it was the incarnation of some carcerian sphere, sat a sodding huge ball of yarn. (The yarn, sheared from the baaahing larvaeish sheep, while not only being one of the Wastes thirteen wonders and enough to clothe an entire army, it also holds enough raw power to make any lich or fiend get the urge to play with it like a kitten - the Editor) With a sucking sound the thing about rolled me over as I unsettled the mud, and I sopped back to the house where Karonie took one gander at my dripping muddy blanket and sneezing like a bloody maelphant, and sent me back to that sodding sodding bed. And what was worse, as I curled up in the fuzzy blanket to take a nice dreamy sleep, it felt nice.

Current Chant: Zzzzz, mmmm, sheep, baaah baaaah, zzzzz. (Though our correspondent didn't know it, and had to be coaxed out of bed to write about Sleepy Gloom in the first place, lately a number of high-up Yugoloths have been visiting the little valley and it's sheep, seeking a nice place to take a rest from all the planning and barmy politics. In fact, chant has it that recently the ultroloth prince from the Wasting Tower himself was caught by a barmy paparazzi sketch artist as the fiend was seen suspiciously having tea and biscuits with Karonie at Sleepy Gloom. Unfortunately the artist was trampled be sheep who wanted to just cuddle up to him, and so the reports were never confirmed. - the Editor)

Second Hive of Regula

January 12th, 2000


Philosophical Assassin
By Tom Bubul

Role: The following interview was taken from the Gatehouse's Open House Day logs, between Morkus, a janitor, and Obe Killani, visitor.

Morkus, greeting Obe at the door: "You're a funny looking one."
Obe Killani: "Name's Obe Killani, P.I., cutter."
M: "Pig's Innards?"
O (quietly): "Philosophical Assassin."
M (with contempt): "One of those berks who walks around the Lady's Ward and jumps out behind Guvnors and starts proving their thesises wrong?"
O (smiles grimly): "I do my job."
M (playing with a shovel): "How did you ever get into such a profession? You look more of a posh sod to me."
O: "If you've ever seen the looks you get, it's worth every minute."
M: "Believe me, I get some funny looks. My job takes talent, all you have to do is jump out and yell to get funny looks."
O: "Ahhh, but anyone could do that. We do it for quality, and only for the highest paying customers."
M: "What sod would buy another sod to scare a third sod?" 
O: "Rich ones. If we philosophize at someone long enough, they disappear."
M: "You mean they get sick of you and leave town."
O: "Well, yah."

Philosophical Assassins are assassins of a different order. Hired out only by the very rich and very eccentric, Philosophical Assassins are a bizarre crossbread between a Guvnor's logic and a blood hound's persistance. Usually the curious little kids who grow up with their noses in books who constantly hound their parents with silly facts are the odd urchins that grow up to be the much-feared Philosophical Assassins of Sigil.

Employed by the barmy to do a barmy task, Philosophical Assassins "philosophize their targets with extreme prejudice" against whoever their target is. The first and most infamous, a dwarf named Kindiss Grunkshribbon, wandered the Lady's Ward for thirteen years. In his time, he convinced a Hardhead factor to convert to Anarchy, after three years of constant nagging, and an Anarchist cell boss to join the Hardheads the very next day. His son, Kindissson Grunkshribbon, convinced several scientists in the Foundry that they didn't exist. Those who continue to walk in the shoes of the Grunkshribbon family have been dubbed Philosophical Assassins.

Weapon Proficiencies: The Philosophical Assassin has been known to manipulate pointers, clipboards, and other visual aids in trying to undermine other people's beliefs.

Nonweapon Proficiencies: Any proficiency involving sneaking about and catching someone unawares is in a good Philosophical Assassin's reportoire, but disguise holds a place in the true assassin's heart. There's nothing better than pretending you're a victim's mother, reasons a Philosophical Assassin, then pulling off the costume and gibbering anew.

Equipment: A pointer, clipboard, and collapsable easle for visual aids.

Special Benefits: While debating comes in handy for an assassin, Kindiss Grunkshribbon once said that "If you can't convince the buggers, confuse 'em." Philosophical Assassins are thus grand at confusing people, by philosophizing at the most untimely moments. If a sod is being stalked, and is on a fancy date at the Fortune's Wheel, he can expect his assassin to be under his table, spouting philosophy until escorted outside. Where he will wait for his target, so he can continue. Persistance is the name of the game, and a good assassin can't be shaken. Assassins gain a bonus to any roll involving getting closer to a target. This includes escaping prisons, convincing guards to let them into exclusive parties, and so forth.

Special Hindrances: When two assassins are contracted to convince eachother of something, it is said that both retire to the Outlands for 1001 days of debate - the victor returns to Sigil, the loser retires permanently. Debates of this nature have been used in the past to determine rank, within the assassin hierarchy, but hiring assassin against assassin has also been used as a tactic by crafty Hardheads to splinter and distract the bizarre geniuses from their actual work.

Second Clerk of Regula

January 11th, 2000


Barmy Spotlight of the Week
Celestial Etheroscope

From: Planewalker's Handbook, page 134.
About: One of the stranger items found on the planes, even with it not being magical in the slightest, gizmoish yes, but not magical, the Etheroscope is a device to find the fortune of a plane. A mad collection of whirling bits, sliding lenses, and a wee little stand make up the small two foot device, complete with a kaleidoscopic brass tube filled with bubbling liquids to peer your eyes down into so you have something to look at while you ponder the planes future and a little spinning planet on top to amuse the onlookers. A trained planologist, and only a train planologist, well, any sod who learned a litle planology by telling that the sixth lord of Baator would sprain his knee at exactly the same time a mortai had a nice shower on the third layer of the Beastlands but only when the sods knee was aching, can use the Etheroscope to tell a planes future by simply rolling their shirts up, cracking their knuckles, tumbling around the place and looking under rocks to get their bearings, pulling out the Etheroscope in a convenient spot, and giving a gander down its tube. With a grin on their face they can easily tell if the plane will see good fortune, such as a rain of frogs, or bad fortune, such as a rain of frogs. The only truly puzzling bit, as there's nothing puzzling at all about telling the forecasted fortune by looking into a capped tube, is why it's called a Celestial Etheroscope. Can you see a celestial, a nice holy planetar, sitting down and gnawing his obviously glowing and holy lip as he carefully leans down into the two feet whirling brass device and looks into the future? I didn't think so. We just shudder to think what a Fiendish Etheroscope would be like.
Barminess: A barmy contraption to see the future, without even having to fiddle with the occult.
Quote: "In these swirling depths of the Etheroscope I see good and abounding fortune for... oops, that was just a smudge on the lens."
Likes: A nice rug, with little patterns, some sod is always carrying it around like it's a bloody compass or a bobbing mimir, and not treating it with the respect and care it deserves as an important piece of foreseeing equipment. When it sees a good fortune in store for everything in the infinite plane around it, so it doesn't get the boot because it forecasted a downward trend in the need for humble fortune tellers with spinning gizmos.
Dislikes: Drippy messy candles placed on it's top, it's not like some sod couldn't look into the future in the dark. When some berk wants to give a look in case he can see his kip across the hill through the tube, which is going to bloody have the bad fortune to get a rain of frogs, I can tell you.

Barmy Bonus:
Etheroscope Troubleshooting: Getting the Best Out of Your Fortune
The celestial etheroscope is a tricky device to use at best, between setting the whole whirling contraption up just right to bluffing your way out of a tricky situation when the thing decides not to like you, and for a first time sod trying planology, the results can be disastrous. That's why we barmies have worked up this wonderful little troubleshooting guide, so you can get that last squeak out of your etheroscope and start forecasting good fortune before bad fortune befalls you with a squeak.

When I look in my etherescope, I don't see swirling colors or the tides of fortune for Pandemonium, but a small cabbage laughing at me. What's wrong?

Your barmy, obviously.

After extensive testing in the laboratories of the City Court, the ones just past the lavatories, I've discovered that a celestial etheroscope when coupled with an enchanted hexal-sphere of luck, no longer seems to operate as we intended, that is, not only forecasting fortune, but spreading it around the place and in our socks. Could you offer any suggestions?

Your barmy too, but this is a troubleshooting guide, so. The problem is you need to throw in four lucky rabbits feet, in this case still attached to the rabbit, in a small gear, so the whole device shakes when it runs after a carrot. This will cause the two to get along, and good fortune is bound to spread, or at least make everyone run away from the shaking and banging etheroscope.

The swirly liquid in my etheroscope leaked all over the place when my slaadi customer decided it's best fortune was to see how it tasted, and now the it only shakes and forecasts that bad bad fortune will befall the color green everywhere. What's wrong with the sodding thing?

Your swirly liquid has been tainted by chaos, I'm surprised you haven't found small exploding bubbles and fish in it, and needs to be dumped out and filled anew. Strangely enough, that same slaad might of hooked you up with a good source on refilling your tube with the best swirly liquid attainable. A merchant by the name of Surlaw I Am (Pl / Githzerai / W3 / CN) in the upper planar part of Limbo, the one that borders the rest of the celestial planes - you'll know your there when things seem happier and the chaos looks like fluff allot - deals in a number of exotic liquids from the planes, any of which you can slosh into your tube to make it happy.


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All content copyright 1999 Jeremiah Golden or credited authors.