Mudsharks and ancient cradles

From: Bernuetz, Oliver: WPG (
Date: Fri 06 Feb 1998 - 23:39:04 EET

Erik Nolander asked:

>What exactly is a mudshark, and what does it look like? The only place
>I've found it is in RoC, and there only with stats and not a
>description. Come to think of it, I think Zappa mentions "mudshark" in a
>song as well...

Mudsharks look like mudskippers with teeth. For more pictures of
than you probably need go to:

Mudskippers are an amphibious species of fish that live in mangrove
swamp. They're quite comical to watch hopping around. Mudsharks
would be comical too if it weren't for the teeth.

Richard Develyn proposed an outline of events for his ancient cradle
suggestion. Here's my comments followed by an alternative scenario

>1. Cradle floats down Zola Fel and stops / snarles up at one of the bogs
>(in SC) when SunStop happens (as before).

The bogs actually start just south of Sun County.

>1a: "Gold Wheel Dancer": There may or may not be a GWD aboard. Where can
>I find out about these things? What would have happened to it during

The only place to learn about Gold Wheel Dancers (other than cryptic
to their extinction) is here on the Digest.

>4. Trickster knows what it is, and also knows that the SunStop can't
>last. So it drops the baby off somewhere and hurries back to the cradle.

This seems kind of strange. The Sun has stopped moving in the sky and
all this shaman can think about is looting a cradle? No one as far as I
(and I may have misinterpreted your comment) knows what exactly the Sunstop

>5. Before Trickster reaches it, the SunStop stops. The cradle's defenses
>re-activate. The GWD (if that is what it is), or maybe the cradle
>automatically, causes itself to sink into the bog, awaiting the return
>of the giant baby. Anyone inside is caught and held in stasis.

Nitpicking here but it would of had to sink into the river and then later be
covered by
bog. There's no way a boat that large is going to move over the surface of
bog. The Zola Fel flows through the bogs. Personally I don't like the bog
because it'd be almost impossible to dig the cradle up. You'd have to build
coffer dams, drain the water, etc., etc. Unless you're planning on saying
it rises magically?

>6a: "FoundChild": I did wonder if this baby could have been *the*
>FoundChild. I think this would mean this incident had to have happened
>during GodTime, which raises lots more questions. Is this an avenue of
>thought I should pursue?

Foundchild was "found" during the Darkness by HelpWoman (or Hearth
Mother in Balazaring myth) so this event occurs long after.

>6b: "Refuge": Where would HelpWoman have taken the child? There's
>Strockbjorn out in the Wastes. I would prefer (for campaign purposes)
>south towards the mouth of Zola Fel. The child would have had to remain
>hidden - or somehow un-noticed all this time.

This is going to be tough. How do you hide a 30 foot infant? Who's
feeding it? Who's (ugh) changing it? Who's going to make a 30 foot baby
do anything? My feeling is that the level of divine impact (i.e.
presence) on the RW is unprecedented.

>8. HelpWoman refuses. Her motherly aspect at the fore, she's insensed
>about the idea of floating babies down rivers at all, let alone to the
>underworld. She firmly but politely informs Paragua that the child will
>be returned to its cradle when it's right and proper to do so (i.e. when
>it's a bit older). Paragua has little choice in the matter (you can't
>argue with a woman over children).

Umm, I don't quite see the point of this. Giant babies go to hell to grow
It's not going to be any better when the baby's a little older. HelpWoman
may not recognize the necessity of the trip but if she doesn't why would she
agree to let the baby go when it's older?

>HelpWoman has decided that it's time the baby (now a toddler) be
>returned to its cradle. She has decided that it's too dangerous to walk
>the child up to its cradle, so she needs someone to bring the cradle

Is your campaign supposed to take place in the 1600s? If so I don't
think giants grow that slowly. (If anyone thinks differently let me know.)
You're talking over 1200 years after the SunStop. That's a long time.
Now if you're planning on running in an earlier era that's different. I
think that after that length of time you'd end up with a psychotic giant
teenager at least.

>HelpWoman isn't going to play her hand straight away. Rather, there are
>clues and pointers in the temple to get the PCs going, but it's going to
>be a while before they realise what they are involved in (realisation
>should happen when the other cradle turns up - this incident will
>re-inforce to HelpWoman just how careful she needs to be). However,
>HelpWoman will always be around, always easily contactable by any PC
>shaman, and always co-operative. When the time is right, she will lead
>them through the last adventures necessary to obtain the wherewithall to
>be able to raise the cradle. Then the PCs, once they've dealt with
>anything trapped aboard in stasis for centuries, will need to steer the
>cradle down towards Corflu (whose denizens will not believe their eyes),
>there to rendezvous with the giant baby girl who will hop on board and
>resume her journey to the underworld. The PCs may, optionally, stay on

Again, this is a lot of direct divine intervention. Another question is why
are the PCs motivated to do this? Why do they care what happens to a
giant baby?

The wherewithal to raise the cradle would be an enormous number of
laborers with the correct knowledge or a dredge. Why are the Lunars at
Corflu going to let this Cradle go by? There's a lot of them present,
the Watchdog to stop the Cradle. The original scenario postulated a lot of
warriors and priests being on the cradle when it hit Corflu.

Richard goes on to describe the two versions of the Lost Cradle story and
suggests that the horrible baby monster version is too high powered. I
don't think that's necessarily true. It depends on what the baby was turned
into. Here's a possible scenario (building on what I sent about the Mirror
of Amusements):

1) The baby (a boy) was sailing down the Zola Fel in 374. As the Cradle
was passing by the steep bluffs around Condor Crag the Sunstop occured.
The Cradle stopped as its propelling magic stopped. The riverbank which
had been shored up with magic collapsed burying the Cradle. Inside the
Cradle the baby had been playing with the Mirror of Amusement when he was
transformed into Cwim. The sudden halting of the Cradle and stopping of
magic resulted in the Mirror rolling into a corner facing away from the Baby
leaving him in his monstrous form. Terrified the Baby fled the Cradle
his way out of the landslide. In the process of fleeing into the Wastes the
buries the Cradle again. This puts the Cradle into stasis and prevents the
automated magical defenses from notifying the Giants. Since the Baby is
now Cwim the Giants cannot find him nor associate the Cwim with the Baby.
Cwim spends centuries wandering the Wastes looking for something he
doesn't know about.

The Present

2) Erosion exposes part of the Cradle which reactivates some of
the defenses. The defenses (Gold Wheel Dancer?) notifies the giants
that the Cradle was buried and the Baby lost. They don't know where the
Baby is or what may have happened to it. The Giants decide to reactivate
their connections with an old Praxian secret society, The Big Boot's
(They do this so someone can investigate without attracting the attention a
Giant would). This society still exists in Praxian society as a sort of old
club for the select few. The leaders are shocked at being contacted by
but agree to send out some braves to investigate. Suspecting potential
rich rewards representatives from a number of tribes are sent to the site
of the Cradle to investigate. Reaching the Cradle they find a party of
baboons who had partially looted the Cradle losing some of their party
to the defenses.

Entering the Cradle the party finds the guardian, a Gold Wheel Dancer?
some other species? and discover that the Baby had been transformed by
the Mirror. The Mirror keeps a record of transformations and the party is
told to look for a giant with one head and three bodies. (They may have
to return to Pavis to learn what this is). The trick now will be to find
(who isn't really a murderous monster just a poor lost baby looking for
(I can't remember who suggested it) a cuddle and a ba ba (bottle)) and
persuade him to return to the Cradle where he can look into the Mirror again

and be transformed back into his normal form. The trick after this will be
get the Cradle unburied, on the River and get it past Corflu. Possibilities
that collected tribes could dig it out or trolls (unlikely considering their
relations with Praxians) could do so.

This version would have some fighting but it's not all that murderous. The
MGF possibilities of persuading Cwim to do something and using the Mirror
without mishap seem very high. (Now why did I have to go and move my
campaign to Balazar?)

Anyways those are my suggestions/comments. Either version would work.

Oliver D. Bernuetz

P.S. Nice story Simon.


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