Tuesday, October 25, 2016

You can only smile for so long, after that it's just teeth

 
Theirs is a city of screams, laughing, and madness. Pictures Mangled By: Me.

Pictures Mangled by Me: Any picture with this in its caption means it is a collage I made using 19th and early 20th century illustrations. All these illustrations are public domain, meaning I didn't rob anyone by using these pictures for my own gains.

Author's Note: As you'll see, there aren't that many new illustrations. I will be adding some new ones to the blog later, my ability to make new collages was limited tonight.

They are the smiling ones, lips split to display teeth in all states of repair and ruin. Skin that runs the gamut of shades and hues, they draw from the full breadth that humanoid life can offer. As long as the race has lips to peel back to reveal teeth, they are free to be conscripted into this frightful group.

Those who are forced into their ranks, the sane, and those who willingly join, the mad, all have their faces stripped away. Replaced by a roiling static more at home on an aged television, their faces only retain lips and mouth to mark the passage of an identity. They become one and the same as the rest of the other grinning insanities. They become Smilers.

Grins that can crack mirrors and shred skin. Pictures Mangled By: Me

To most viewers they appear innocuous, normal faces among the crowds pressing into the Infinite City streets. Those that mark the face of a Smiler, might only recall a wide grin, if anything at all. Their madness is temporarily infectious, they are normal to themselves, so those around them count these Smilers as being mundane, unworthy of note.

The Smilers' agenda is incomprehensible, if they have one at all. Bringing murder and rending to one group, while passing another without incident. Preferring to place their Radio Idols among a crowd, then leaving, they avoid direct conflict unless pressed. When pressed, they pour the same charnel fury onto a target as their Radio Idols inspire in vulnerable masses.

If you can't smile in the face of screaming masses and torn flesh, then where can you smile?

If you haven't read my previous posts, you may wish to in order to understand this next part. Post 1 and Post 2

The face Olivia used to have.

Agency Site Surveillance Transcript
Site #: [REDACTED]
Observation Targets: [REDACTED] and Olivia Dravok
[REDACTED]: Hello, Olivia.
Olivia: Surprised to see me?
[REDACTED]: Not terribly, we knew this would be an eventuality given your previous situation and the means by which it was solved.
Olivia: I'd be very upset with the Agency right now if I could bring myself to care about what I used to be.
[REDACTED]: We thought that Nihilotics would permanently erase your soul. Believe me, we didn't want you to come back, your continued life was a burden to all parties.
Olivia: I'm touched by your concern, [REDACTED]. However, I have found new purpose, new [pause] drives. New hungers to feed.
[REDACTED]: I am happy to hear you are no longer in pain, Olivia.
Olivia: You know, the Agency has been very untruthful. Telling the citizens that the Smilers are just leftover Marchen 'horrors'. Telling your contractors that they are the victims of a Marchen 'Conceptualization'.

But the truth is, you gave that city cell, and all of those people to [UNTRANSCRIBABLE]. You were losing to the Marchen, and you found them in one of the Centers. [UNTRANSCRIBABLE] helped you, and you gave them hosts to manifest in.

All those people. [Pause] They screamed as they watched their escape routes closed, as [UNTRANSCRIBABLE] began to manifest within them.
[REDACTED]: They? Them? Let us not devolve into pointless play acting. We both know I am speaking to [UNTRANSCRIBABLE]. The only question is, which part am I speaking to?
Olivia: [UNTRANSCRIBABLE].
[REDACTED]: And that roughly translates to?
Olivia: The Hallowed Mother of the Unseen.
[REDACTED]: Lovely, you do realize that taking Olivia is a breach of contract? We agreed to a limited number of hosts. It wouldn't do for all of you to escape the Center. If you fully manifested, you'd kill all of reality and then yourself. You're risking us as well as yourself by taking more hosts than attrition would require.
Olivia: I needed a new host, one of my previous hosts was destroyed.
[REDACTED]: How? Our records do not show a host termination.
Olivia: I destroyed the host, I wanted Olivia.
[REDACTED]: Why? I [pause] I don't understand what value she could have had to you.
Olivia: Goodbye [REDACTED], a pleasure as always.
[REDACTED]: Do I need you to escort you through security?
Olivia: No need, I brought my own door.
[REDACTED]: [Speaking to intercom] Please bring me all available information about a contractor, last name Dravok, first name Olivia. Also, contact the Sphinx and Spider, inquire about any information they may possess. Inform them that we are willing to pay the normal rate.

[END OF Surveillance TRANSCRIPT]

Smile and the whole world smiles with you. Pictures Mangled By: Me

OSR / AD&D / LotFP
Activity Cycle: Any
Alignment: Neutral (Evil)
Intelligence: Superhuman
Treasure: Varies (Standard Treasure For Difficulty Level) and a Radio Idol
AC: 20 / 0
Move: 40 ft
HD: 8
THAC0 / To-Hit: 8 / +12
All Saves: 10
Attacks: 2 x Biting Ax or Laughing Scream
Biting Ax: The Smiler pulls a woodcutting ax from the folds of their clothing, the edge of its black iron head lined with gleaming white teeth. It does 1D10+3 damage rolling the 1D10 twice taking the better roll. The ax dissipates once the Smiler dies, or once it leaves their hand.
Laughing Scream: The Smiler lets out a cry that rides the border between a scream and a laugh creating a shock-wave. The attack targets everyone in a 30 foot cone, doing 2D6 damage. Those hit must make a save versus Magic, those that fail their save erupt into uncontrollable laughter, unable to take any action, for 1D3 rounds.

Special Abilities
Unassuming Madness: Despite their bizarre appearance and behavior, are treated as unimportant or mundane by those around them. When a creature first comes within sight of a Smiler, they must make a save versus Magic. Those that fail their save see the Smiler as being completely unimportant, no matter what anyone says to the contrary. Once the Smiler attacks or acts directly against the creature, the spell is broken and they are seen for what they are. Unless the ability's effect is broken, the creature will only vaguely remember the Smiler's clothing and their strange smile, but not their unsettling appearance.

Brought Their Own Door: The Smiler may enter any hallway or alley, and after taking a few turns (which were not in the hallway/alley originally) they emerge in their own horrible part of the city. Someone following close enough to the Smiler can follow them back to their own part of the city. They may also use this ability in reverse to enter into any building, street, or part of the city. 

Smile long enough, and world will change with you. Pictures Mangled By: Me
 
Pits and Perils
Attacks: 2 x Biting Ax or 1 x Laughing Scream
Level: 5
Move: 50'
Size: M
Side: N (Evil)
Number: 1
Treasure: Type III and Radio Idol

Biting Ax: The Smiler pulls a woodcutting ax from the folds of their clothing, the edge of its black iron head lined with gleaming white teeth. On a normal hit it does 1 hit of damage, on an exceptional hit the ax does 3 hits of damage.

Laughing Scream: The Smiler lets out a cry that rides the border between a scream and a laugh creating a shock-wave. The attack targets everyone in a 30 foot cone, doing 2 Hits of damage. Those hit must make a save, those that fail their save erupt into uncontrollable laughter, unable to take any action, for 1D3 rounds.

Unassuming Madness: Despite their bizarre appearance and behavior, are treated as unimportant or mundane by those around them. When a creature first comes within sight of a Smiler, they must make a save. Those that fail their save see the Smiler as being completely unimportant, no matter what anyone says to the contrary. Once the Smiler attacks or acts directly against the creature, the spell is broken and they are seen for what they are. Unless the ability's effect is broken, the creature will only vaguely remember the Smiler's clothing and their strange smile, but not their unsettling appearance.

Brought Their Own Door: The Smiler may enter any hallway or alley, and after taking a few turns (which were not in the hallway/alley originally) they emerge in their own horrible part of the city. Someone following close enough to the Smiler can follow them back to their own part of the city. They may also use this ability in reverse to enter into any building, street, or part of the city. 

Change enough, and the world will never be the same. Pictures Mangled By: Me
 
Into the Odd
Str: 14 Dex: 14 Will: 18 HP: 12 Armor: 2
Driven to create chaos and mayhem by planting Radio Idols and escaping. Driven to kill anyone who attempts to follow or corner them.

They always have a Radio Idol on them.

Biting Ax: The Smiler pulls a woodcutting ax from the folds of their clothing, the edge of its black iron head lined with gleaming white teeth. It does 1D10 damage rolling the 1D10 twice taking the better roll. The ax dissipates once the Smiler dies, or once it leaves their hand.

Laughing Scream: The Smiler lets out a cry that rides the border between a scream and a laugh creating a shock-wave. The attack targets everyone in a 30 foot cone, doing 3D4 damage. Those hit must make a Will save, those that fail their save erupt into uncontrollable laughter, unable to take any action, for 1D3 rounds.

Unassuming Madness: Despite their bizarre appearance and behavior, are treated as unimportant or mundane by those around them. When a creature first comes within sight of a Smiler, they must make a Will save. Those that fail their save see the Smiler as being completely unimportant, no matter what anyone says to the contrary. Once the Smiler attacks or acts directly against the creature, the spell is broken and they are seen for what they are. Unless the ability's effect is broken, the creature will only vaguely remember the Smiler's clothing and their strange smile, but not their unsettling appearance.

Brought Their Own Door: The Smiler may enter any hallway or alley, and after taking a few turns (which were not in the hallway/alley originally) they emerge in their own horrible part of the city. Someone following close enough to the Smiler can follow them back to their own part of the city. They may also use this ability in reverse to enter into any building, street, or part of the city.