Nogoloth: The Emerald Ships

Wherein your humble scribe presents an NPC and an artifact (in Barbarians of Lemuria format) that he whipped up for his nascent Lovecraftian Fantasy setting, Nogoloth. You might note that this makes three BoL-based Nogoloth entries in a row. That, my friends, is starting to look something like a trend.

On the western shore of Nogoloth sits the city called Cwnuihd, where strange emerald-sailed ships crewed by ebon-skinned men dock thrice annually. None within the city claim to know the origins of these vessels, nor their destinations. All that is known is that the sailors who debark from the caravels and carracks speak – and often sing – in a tongue unknown even to the greatest scholars of Nogoloth. The captains of these crafts superficially resemble the men they lead, but can carry on great discourse in the common speech of the island-continent they visit each time the trade winds shift and the two moons of Nogoloth join together to raise the tides high enough to allow passage across the great reef that elsewise bars the harbor.

These mariner kings seldom speak of what they have seen in the unchartered waters of the world, but when they do they wax poetic, even rhapsodic, telling tales of great, impossible leviathans whose eyes burn with hatred for all the men and beasts of the land. It is whispered that only these sea dogs may traverse the greatest oceans of the world, though whether due to their extreme bravery or, perhaps, to some dark pact they have made with the rulers of the court beneath the waves none may say.

It is tradition amongst the women of Cwnuihd to greet the arrival of the Emerald Ships by dyeing their hair jet black and serenading the crews from the docks with songs that their mothers’ mothers learned from the first such fleets to brave the dark waters of the bay and anchor at the docks that were already present when the city itself was founded in centuries passed. The men of Cwnuihd are made ill-at-ease by the melodies that comprise these alien chanties – though, in truth, it is the frequently wanton behavior the ladies engage in when in the company of those who sail with the Emerald Ships that truly troubles the fathers of unwed daughters in the city. Despite the rather orgiastic scenes that often play out in the dockside taverns, no child has ever been born in Cwnuihd who even faintly resembles the sailors.

I happened to be visiting Cwnuihd one spring when the Ships arrived, and I struck up a brief-but-companionable relationship with the captain of one of the vessels – a man by the name of Vaul – in whose company I passed two fascinating evenings filled with stories of the sort that one would be inclined to take for little more than the tall tales of a man who has spent too much time away from even the sight of land. Yet there was, in his manner and upon his face, an indescribable sincerity so powerful that I would warrant his narratives to even Ste. Sibille the Blind herself.

It was from Captain Vaul that I acquired the Lantern of U’um’nn, an artifact of a different age that may well serve to render my ultimate goal achievable. Vaul refused to accept payment of any sort for the Lantern, insisting that he had already been well compensated for delivering it to my hands.

I am told by the old men of Cwnuihd that they had never heard tell of anyone – let alone a cripple such as I – being offered passage aboard one of the Emerald Ships. Yet I was indeed invited to sail with Captain Vaul and his crew when the time came for them to leave the shores of Nogoloth. I regret that I was unable to accept this unique proposition, but my work here requires that I remain ashore, at least for now. If I should chance upon the good captain and his crew once my task is complete, I will readily board their craft if the opportunity is afforded me again.

Captain Ertegun Vaul

A tall, powerfully-built man in his mid 40s, with the ebon skin seen only amongst the crews of the Emerald Ships that visit Nogoloth occasionally, Captain Ertegun Vaul is a charming conversationalist who has seen things and traveled to locations undreamt of by the inhabitants of the island-continent. He is fearless – or nearly so – and dogged in his pursuit of profit upon the black waters of the world. He has dabbled in sorcery, is more than a little acquainted with the ways of the gods (both benevolent and malign), and is a stalwart companion when trouble arises. Captain Vaul is currently in possession of the legendary Moon Dagger of Rhug-Dh’krhala, a weapon mentioned in both the Lzaaq Cycle and the Book of Nyshanib. He is loathe to discuss how it came to him, pointing only to the tenatcle-like scar that runs down the length of his left arm and smiling a melancholy smile.

Essences
Lifeblood 11
Hero Points 5
Arcane Power 10

Attributes
Strength 1
Agility 0
Mind 1
Appeal 2

Combat
Brawl 1
Melee 2
Ranged 0
Defense 1

Careers
Mariner 2
Merchant 1
Sorcerer 0
Priest 1

Boons
Born Sailor
Carouser

Flaws
Greed

Languages
Nogolothian, Emerald Shipman’s Speech

Equipment
Scimitar, d6+1
Alchemical Dagger d3+1 (rare, grants boon & ignores armor)
Very Light Armor (d3-1)

Lantern of U’um’nn

This artifact, which appears to the common eye as little more than a well-maintained ship’s lantern, reveals the manner in which those upon whom its light is cast will die. When lit, a large swarm of colorful moths are drawn from beyond space and time, and as they dance about the light the interplay of their beating wings shows individual’s death as though seen upon a moving tapestry. The lantern is highly magnetic and will render any compass within 50 feet of it unreliable for navigation.

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0 thoughts on “Nogoloth: The Emerald Ships

  1. G-man

    Now that’s a hell of a lot better than green beer!

    Once again I’m getting a strong Dreamlands feel from your Nogoloth material (and that’s a real good thing). Three posts in a row with BoL, too . . .

    The lantern sounds both enigmatic and morbidly wonderful. It makes me wonder about the narrator’s quest. And the narrator himself. Is this a character you’ve posted about before?

    Now we know that Nogoloth has two moons. What does that imply for any ‘Lovecraftified’ lycanthropes?

    1. the venomous pao Post author

      Green beer is something even Cthulhu wouldn’t force on his worst enemies.

      And again, I’m glad to hear that feel is coming through. It’s 100% intended, so the fact that it’s showing is good news! And yes, BoL does seem to be pulling ahead of the pack here, doesn’t it?

      I’m glad you like the lantern, G-Man. It’s definitely an oddity, and it’s quite unclear from the text just what the narrator is up to or how the lantern fits in. As far as who the narrator is, I don’t want to spoil things just yet by revealing too much. This “peel slowly and see” approach is fun 🙂

      I’m a sucker for places with two moons. I blame it on that image of Luke watching the twin sunset in Star Wars. Different type of object, but same overall image. Hmm, Lovecraftified Lycanthropes you say? I don’t think I’d risked the SAN loss of pondering such things. But now I won’t be able to stop. Thanks a lot, man! 🙂

  2. bat

    Whoa, very awesome. This echoes the bits of Lord Dunsany that Lovecraft adored and used in his Dreamlands work. Very well done my friend!

    1. the venomous pao Post author

      Many thanks, comrade bat! I’m just plain delighted that this one hit the notes I was aiming for. The Dreamlands can be a challenge to evoke without outright aping HPL and, by extension, Dunsany. Glad you enjoyed, amigo!