2 hours ago
Sunday, May 1, 2011
The Killing Floor
The Shambles neighborhood of Empire Island is the center of the City’s slaughterhouse and meatpacking industry. It’s overwhelmingly industrial and sparsely populate--even its poor mostly immigrant workers choose to live elsewhere to escape the ever-present animal smells.
Thaumaturgists and alchemists sometimes visit the yards to purchase some animal-derived material components like bezoars. Occasionally, adventurers are consulted to hunt or kill monsters that are drawn to the offal--giant rats and osquips are probably the most common--though rarely something like an otyugh or carrion crawler will be found.
It’s long been rumored that the ghouls have an arrangement with some slaughterhouse operators allowing the the use of their facilities after hours for “dinner parties” in exchange for loot from the underground. Certainly, unscrupulous owners of knacker’s yards and livestock holding pins have--for a fee--been happy to oblige mobsters in the disposal of bodies.
From time to time, snatches of lambskin or the like are found inked with prayers or paeans honoring the Lord of the Cleaver. A full text (anthropodermically bound) honoring this obscure eikone is known to exist in a private collection in New Lludd. The origins and motivations of the Lord of Cleaver are obscure; some have suggested he’s a degenerate war god, while others believe he’s a twisted protector of animals, exacting a horrifying vengeance. Whatever his origins, his name is associated with sporadic outbreaks of homicidal madness.
Typically one individual is affected. He or she develops a maniacal urge to kill by direct and bloody means--and gains an almost superhuman ability to do so (see "Maniac" in the d20 Menance Manual SRD). Occasionally others become acolytes or accomplices of the maniac. The killing may go on for years--perhaps with periods of months without activity--but only truly ends when the affected individual is killed. After one maniac is destroyed, it’s usually years before the Lord of the Cleaver’s influence is felt again...
But one never knows.