>Hollow Mockeries for old versions of Dungeons & Dragons

>AC equivalent to leather armour.
HD 3
Save as Cleric 3
Damage 1d6 (sharp hooves)
Movement 18
Morale 5

Hollow Mockeries have the appearance of the corpse of a horse, which has been whipped around the head and neck, so that it is covered in blood and strips of flesh, and much of the skull is revealed. They are usually festooned with bells and bright bows, as if they were to be presented as a gift.

Most scholars agree that they may be created when a person dies in a way which caricatures the purpose of their entire life. The idealist who builds so many prisons in the name of freedom that he is eventually hung as a tyrant; the woman who, desperate for a child to nurture, steals another’s baby and then starts a house fire while cooking for it, killing the baby and herself; the hunter who seeks food, freedom, and solitude in the forest, and then starves to death, caught in their own trap and with no one to call for help. The spirit of such a person knows no rest as the morbid irony gnaws at them, and so the corpse releases melancholic vapours which can coalesce into this spiteful creature. That at least is the most commonly-accepted theory of their origin. Another theory is that they are scape-goats – animals ritually filled with the sins of a community and driven into the wilderness – who were filled with spite and malice.

They are undead (immune to sleep and charm, can be turned). They are spiteful and vicious creatures, and will generally demand a ‘tax’ from anyone entering their territory (they speak Common). The tax can be any amount of money, or thing of value. Player-characters will feel an utter humiliation and outrage at the thought of submitting to the creatures’ demands. If they do so they will lose 100XP (and if they give treasure, won’t get any XP for that treasure).

The creatures are hollow, which has several consequences: Blunt weapons such as clubs do only half damage. Blades such as swords do normal damage. Pointed weapons such as arrows and spears do normal damage, and there is a 1 in 3 chance that the creature will be pierced. In this case it will react like a balloon which has been blown up without being tied, and then let go: the creature will whiz around the room and collapse, deflated and ‘dead’.

Optionally the DM may give the creatures some sort of poison – although it is unliikely to be fatal.

>George Psalmanazar

>In 1703 a man appeared in London who was believed to be a native of Formosa (now Taiwan), who had been kidnapped by Jesuit priests and brought to France, where he escaped.

The man, given the name George Psalmanazar, reported that Formosa was a prosperous country with a capital city called Xternetsa. Men walked naked except for a gold or silver plate to cover their genitals. Their main food was a serpent that they hunted with branches. Formosans were polygamous and husbands had a right to eat their wives for infidelity. They executed murderers by hanging them upside down and shooting them full of arrows. Annually they sacrificed the hearts of 18,000 young boys to gods and priests ate the bodies. They used horses and camels for mass transportation and dwelled underground in circular houses.

He had white skin like a European, which he explained by saying that the Formosan upper class lived entirely underground.

Many educated people believed him to be a fraud. Indeed he eventually ‘admitted’ that he was a European. Despite this, he was known in later life for his saintly aspect, “whereof he was so well known and esteemed, that scarce any person, even children, passed him without showing him signs of respect.”

It seems likely to me that this person may have been a native of the world in which Teleleli lies. In particular his description of  mass sacrifice reminds one of the latter days of the city of the vile Anhotep. It is possible that he was unable to communicate the nature of his travel to his audience (or decided not to do so for fear that they would fail to understand). Perhaps he did not understand it himself. However I believe he had at least some inkling. He is recorded as worshipping the sun and moon with complicated rites. It may be that these were in fact magical or scientific attempts to discern his location, misunderstood by his ignorant hosts.

It is notable that Taiwan is roughly in the area occupied by the hypothesised continent of Lemuria which, as I have detailed in a previous passage, is likely to be connected to Teleleli and its environs.

>Meeples

>Meeples are a race of self-replicating wooden robots. Their original builders are long-dead. They live on a fuel which is a mixture of wood, wheat and stone. They are a peaceful race, occupying their time with farming and road-building.