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.

13 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

Good stuff and excellent picture.

satyre said...

Anthropodermically! So rare you can work that into a conversation...:)

Excellent stuff. Wonder if it's a critical mass thing causing stockyards to attract that kind of attention.

Trey said...

Thanks guys.

@Angry Lurker - That pic was a fortuitous find. Yay wikipedia!

@Satyre - Indeed. :) I thought about just "bound in human skin," but then I though: "What would Clark Ashton Smith do?"

I wondered about the same thing. ;) I thought about speculating on that in the post, but figured that was best left to the imagination.

Needles said...

http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/12/31/book-bound-with-human-skin-of-a-would-be-assassin-bought-at-car-boot-sale/
You might like this but turn the pages carefully.

seaofstarsrpg said...

The cleavers often used by these madmen are of ancient make yet still in excellent condition for the task they are used for. At least one recovered was made of Bronze and seemed to date back millennia. Who distributes these blades are unknown but the authorities would like to find them.

Trey said...

Nice!

christian said...

As usual I am going to *zoink* a few of your ideas. I love the idea of filthy and foul creatures being attracted to the slaughterhouse. I like it!

Trey said...

"Zoink" away. :)

Chris said...

I can't imagine the City Elders are too happy about this Lord of the Cleaver causing havoc in The Shambles. He might draw attention to their carefully concealed sweet pork butchery operation.*

* Source of the ritually slaughtered sacred flesh which forms the centrepiece of the annual Invitation Only Feast Unknown?

(hat tip: Clive Barker, Midnight Meat Train, the short story, not the film)

Trey said...

@Chris - It is shocking just how deep this sordid business may go...

Justin S. Davis said...

Dag, yo. Great, evocative piece.

Trey said...

Thanks, Justin.

NetherWerks said...

Cool. Howlin' Wolf provides a great soundtrack...unless you prefer Skip James...