Wednesday, August 14, 2019

We Should Throw Out All the Dungeon Master's Guides

We should throw out all the Dungeon Master's Guides...and replace them with the collected works of William S. Burroughs.

Need a baroque-weird, quasi-religious punishment for your fantasy setting? Ol' Bill has you covered with this gem from Wild Boys:

Criminals and captives sentenced to death in centipede are tattooed with those pictures on every inch on their bodies. They are left for three days to fester. Then they are brought out given a powerful aphrodisiac, skinned alive in orgasm and strapped into a segmented copper centipede. The centipede is placed with obscene endearments in a bed of white-hot coals. The priests gather in crab suits and eat the meat out of the shell with gold claws.

Need some decadent and deranged NPCs for your urban campaign? Interzone is chock full of people like these:

Hans sat several tables away. He was a German who procured boys for English and American visitors. He had a house in the native quarters--bed and boy, two dollars per night. But most of his clients went in for "quickies." Hans had typical Nordic features, with heavy bone structure. There was something skull-like about his face.

Morton Christie was sitting with Hans. Morton was a pathetic name-dropper and table-hopper. Hans was the only one in Tangier who could stand his silly chatter, his interminable dull lies about wealth and social prominence. One story involved two aunts, living in a house together, who hadn't spoken to each other in twenty years.

Need an adventure seed? Flip to any random page in Naked Lunch and you'll get something like this:

Squatting on old bones and excrement and rusty iron, in a white blaze of heat, a panorama of naked idiots stretches to the horizon. Complete silence - their speech centres are destroyed - except for the crackle of sparks and the popping of singed flesh as they apply electrodes up and down the spine. White smoke of burning flesh hangs in the motionless air. A group of children have tied an idiot to a post with barbed wire and built a fire between his legs and stand watching with bestial curiosity as the flames lick his thighs. His flesh jerks in the fire with insect agony.

or this:

Did any of you ever see Doctor Tetrazzini perform? I say perform advisedly because his operations were performances. He would start by throwing a scalpel across the room into the patient and then make his entrance as a ballet dancer. His speed was incredible: "I don't give them time to die", he would say. Tumors put him in a frenzy of rage. "Fucking undisciplined cells!" he would snarl, advancing on the tumor like a knife-fighter.

or maybe even this:

In the City Market is the Meet Café. Followers of obsolete, unthinkable trades doodling in Etruscan, addicts of drugs not yet synthesized, pushers of souped-up harmine, junk reduced to pure habit offering precarious vegetable serenity, liquids to induce Latah, Tithonian longevity serums, black marketeers of World War III, excusers of telepathic sensitivity, osteopaths of the spirit, investigators of infractions denounced by bland paranoid chess players, servers of fragmentary warrants taken down in hebephrenic shorthand charging unspeakable mutilations of the spirit, bureaucrats of spectral departments, officials of unconstituted police states, a Lesbian dwarf who has perfected operation Bang-utot, the lung erection that strangles a sleeping enemy, sellers of orgone tanks and relaxing machines, brokers of exquisite dreams and memories tested on the sensitized cells of junk sickness and bartered for raw materials of the will, doctors skilled in the treatment of diseases dormant in the black dust of ruined cities, gathering virulence in the white blood of eyeless worms feeling slowly to the surface and the human host, maladies of the ocean floor and the stratosphere, maladies of the laboratory and atomic war... A place where the unknown past and the emergent future meet in a vibrating soundless hum... Larval entities waiting for a Live One