Merlin Township is a setting created by a few people on /tg/, which spawned from a horror thread that proceeded to be taken up by cute, horror-like supernatural happenstances. The current incarnation of Merlin Township has diverged a bit, going from being about horror-like happenings to a generally weird yet pleasant town located at the heart of Lethe County in Somewhere, USA. Threads featuring Merlin Township can be found here and here. This page is to detail the setting, including stories, fluff, and possible rules.
No native will ever use foul language stronger than "Darn". "By Callahan's Beard, it's easy to spot the newbies by their cussin'. "
Welcome to Merlin Township Sign(Sign changes on a whim)
- POPULATION: Living - 8,201 Dead - 5,179 Other - 2,366
- "A Nice Place to Exist"
- "Established 1856, 1888,1911, and maybe 3086
- "Home of the State Champion Merlin Banshees
- "Where the Odds are with you."
- Out of sight, in your mind!
- Home of whatever you could think of!
- Your home away from home... or is it?
- Home of Kipp Ashby's famous pie!
- You're still reading this, aren't you?
- Deep Ones welcome!
- Slogans are hard to come up with, you know.
- Home of scenic Lake Morgan and Camp Chupacabra!
- You're making my job a bit hard here, friend.
- Y'know what? Fine, no slogan for you.
- The Closest Faraway Place"
- The Living and the Dead Welcome You"
- "A Friendly Town Full of Friendly "People."
- "You Belong"
- "Enjoy Our Super Natural Wonders"
- "The Hidden Jewel of Lethe County"
- Established 227 AD, Wales, Britain - Sometimes.
- Try Mr. Frank's assorted "Cheeses"
- Don't try Mr. Stevenson's assorted "Cheeses"
- Home of the Sky.
- Birthplace of Birth.
- Try again later.
- Welcome Home
On the back it says "Come back yesterday!"
Merlin Township is a picturesque place with picturesque people. Depending on what you're looking at, this picture could be a Monet, a Magritte, or an Escher. Regardless of how you look at it, Merlin Township is a charming small town that has more than its fair share of oddity, and a nearly ever-present relaxing atmosphere. But despite how charming Merlin Township is, it has its share of problems. Rowdy visitors, overzealous pranksters, plain old human error, and more are there to ruin the day of an otherwise happy citizen.
Merlin Township is a real place somewhere in the USA, North of the Mason Dixon Line and East of the Rockies. It is not in the minds of crazy people, it is not through a Portal like Narnia, it is hidden- like Rivendell or Midian. Those who need it and those with an affinity for it may find themselves there. Some people for a visit and some can choose to stay. The more 'in tune' with the weirdness, the further down the rabbit hole you can go.
There are at least a few things in Merlin Township that don't follow physics, causality, chronology, or just plain sense. That could easily include its founding location, the heart of Lethe County in "Somewhere, USA".
After all, it was founded at least three times... Four if you count the time it was founded on the Moon.
Merlin Township is not on most maps. It might be a place you simply go to on purpose like any other destination. More likely you get lost while driving through picturesque countryside roads and pull into town, or you fall asleep on the wrong train and wake up pulling into Merlin Station with a couple of hours to fill, or you stumble into town after a day's hike through thick forest.
You find Merlin Township because it's the place you stop at before moving on to where you ought to be.
"Maybe you don't find it, it finds you." Shepherd Book
The people and things you see in the own are all there because they didn't have anywhere to go, or because when they got into the town, they decided it was better than where they were going. An entire town cast out from what would be considered "normal". But they're not bitter or upset about any of this, of course. Merlin Township is the place where they belong. It's the place where they can be a community. If your place is with them in Merlin they'd love to have you. If it isn't, well, they'd sure like to help you get to wherever that is. Merlin sometimes appears to be a ghost town when a lost person enters. It is kind of unsettlingly nice town
If Merlin is the place you ought to be, staying there won't be a problem at all. If you are just trying to hide there, away from the world and away from where you ought to be, what you see and do and learn in Merlin will give you the strength to move on in your own time. If you are a petty thug or an unrepentant brute you will experience bad luck and inconvenience as the Town "rejects" your presence until you leave on your own. If you break the law, you will be escorted out of town by the police.
Some visitors are drawn to MT because they need healing, this could include nasty ones who are aggressive and disruptive. Some can be helped by the ghost children giving them flowers, but some are so angry they run around tearing up the place. This setting is much more of a court intrigue type of setting that downplays or avoids combat, and it also begs the question,"Can't the locals take care of the problem without the PCs?" That said, perhaps a marauding nasty might need a smackdown to purge the evil. Example: The Slendercat is skulking around trying to eat the rainchildren. The locals want the PCs to mature a little and feel like heroes of the community so they let them hunt it. They fight it, and the killing blow splits open the horrid creature. The tiny spark of goodness it still had buried deep inside crawls out of the carcass as a sootykitten. Occasionally, the sun will fail to rise in the morning over Merlin Township. This is no cause for concern, because the problem is usually fixed by winding the clock in the Town Hall clock tower back up and setting it to the proper time again.
Given how hard the townsfolk have been working lately to make ends meet, the Merlin Town Council have decided to institute a new eight day of the week between Saturday and Sunday, named of "Sundurday." The Town Council believes that offering the hard-working, hard-playing citizens of Merlin Township an extra day each weekend to use as they see fit will do wonders for the Town, and hope that, if the newly created day meets with approval, that other communities might adopt it as well.
With startling regularity, objects left unattended seem to rearrange themselves when you aren't looking. These rearrangements usually only result in a general "tidying up" of the immediate area.
Cell phones almost never reach outside of Merlin Township. Yet, somehow, the most important messages always make their way to you. Sometimes they are messages that nobody sent.
- Most of the ghosts simply vanish out of existence about 50 years after their deaths, most of the time after accomplishing a major good deed.
Town Founders and Historical Personages
Seven founders were responsible for establishing Merlin Township along the Lethe River, in Lethe County, and are memorialized with statues in front of the Town Hall. These seven are:
- Abner Allegro Callahan, giant and possibly a descendant of Paul Bunyan. Stories about him are contradictory, at best.
- Skadi Gilling Callahan, Jotun and wife of Abner Allegro Callahan. At least seven feet tall, and an accomplished hunter, swimmer and fighter who helped feed the fledgling town.
- Odelia McKay, navigator possessing a preternatural amount of knowledge and strange machines, likely a time traveller. Some report seeing Odelia walk around the town in the present day.
- Marcellus Roland "M.R." Hendricks, who created the Merlin Town Charter and many of the public institutions, and whose vast collection of journals chronicled the early history of Merlin Township, including the devastating Reality Storm of 19-Something
- Vassia Gorista, a Greek wise woman who, along with her seven daughters, founded the precursor to Merlin's Bluebell Coven.
- Ermintrude Norman Founder. Born long ago in Southern England, Ermintrude was a robust woman blessed with unusual strength, constitution, and lifespan. When people started to notice that she was not aging normally, she moved to America, settling in upstate New York. Twenty years later, she needed to move again.and joined the expedition that founded Merlin Township. Throughout her long life she had avoided marriage due to her different lifespan than most men. Shortly after the founding of the township she met and married an American Indian shaman. This was the first wedding held in Merlin. In a few years, she gave birth to a daughter. Young Ermintrude Norman, (the father was from a matriarchal tribe) appeared exactly the same as her mother, no trace of her father's blood flowed in her veins. It was eventually discovered that Ermintrude reproduced by gynogenesis, a process that requires a male to instigate conception, but all of the genetic information comes from the female. The young Emintrude was an exact physical copy of her mother. After the birth of her daughter, the elder Ermintrude began to age and died 30 years later. The younger Ermintrude eventually had a daughter that she named Ermintrude Norman and the cycle has continued up to the present. The current Erminitrude Norman was born about 50 years ago and appears about 20 years old. She is as strong as a male Olympic weightlifter, once regrew a finger in a month, and is unaffected by most diseases and toxins. Not surprisingly, she is also a Hero of Merlin.
- The Unknown Founder, whose life and deeds were destroyed in the Reality Storm of 19-Something. Where his statue would be, there is an empty pedestal and a blank plaque.
- Lord Archibald Darling, an Englishman whose life was uneventful, who managed to make the town a welcoming place for the undead long after his own death. Passed on to the afterlife some time before the 20th century. Darling Street was dedicated to him after his passing. Although not a Founder, he was a key figure and pioneer.
Along with the founders, there were at least a few inhabitants that inhabited Merlin Township long before any human being stood foot in Lethe County.
- The Old Man, an enigmatic creature living at the bottom of Lake Morgan. It's generally reclusive, has only surfaced a few times in the history of the town, and seems to want nothing but solitude and a lack of crazy kids dumping things in his yard.
- Aunt Snarky, a 40' long Sarcosuchus that has apparently lived from 119 million years ago to the present age with no problems whatsoever. She understands English, German, Norwegian, and several American Indian languages.
- The Lake Morgan Monster is a giant freshwater squid, it never hurts anyone and have been known to save drowning people. The only downside is that it gathers items from the shore, both trash and useful items smaller than boats and puts them in its underwater cave. You can also play with it if you throw a ball to it when it surfaces on dark nights.
Notable Residents and Local Celebrities
- Kipp Ashby, disembodied voice and host of 77.7 Merlin Radio, residing in the abandoned-yet-operational Merlin Radio Station. Wise, folksy and always in-the-know, Kipp is beloved by the entire town, and is the closest thing Merlin has to a local celebrity. In addition to all this, he is also an accomplished piemaker. Part Mr. New Vegas, part Garrison Keillor. Part Nyarlathotep.
- The Callahan Girls, a group of several dozen girls who make up the entirety of the staff at Callahan's Corner Market. Despite claiming to be unrelated, they are all identical, redheaded, freckled young women who constantly complete each other's sentences. Seen by many as Merlin's "girls next-door," the Callahans have been the subject of many stories of young-love over the years.
- The Five Living Buddhas are a group of enlightened men and women that are scattered around Merlin Township. Only one, the man living on top of the water tower and trading enlightenment for a cheap meal, has been confirmed. The rest are purely speculation. The only reason that people know there are five of them is that the 'Tally Ho!' receives numerous anonymous submissions that clearly come from 5 distinct viewpoints and runs them in a regular column called 'Lightbulb!'
- Horace Griswold, a man in a sharp suit with a glimmering, iridescent pyramid for a head who is the president of the Merlin Township chamber of Commerce. He takes his job protecting the interests of the town's small business owners very seriously, but when not at work is a devoted family man, an avid bowler, and an incorrigible punster.
- The Merlin Township Party Planning Committee, or MTPPC, a shadowy not-so-secret society of crimson-cloaked figures who flit about at the edges of your perception and meet in their lair deep below Town Hall to plan local parades, celebrations and parties.
- The Custodian, keeper of the clock tower in city hall. Shadowy entity with an enthusiasm for tea. The Corvids are his eyes and ears around town.
- The Corvids A murder of crows hangs out in front of the clock tower at midnight, and scatters at one. They will grant one wish, in exchange for an equivalent amount of corn. Any harmful wish costs, by default, "More corn than you could ever give." Crows, ravens and other blackbirds seem to have an affinity for those in need, and have the oddest habit of leaving you small gifts and tokens of appreciation like bus tickets, coins, winning lottery tickets and pieces of jewelry.
- Mayor Wally Oakshott is a 3' tall butterball of a man in a pinstripe suit with boundless enthusiasm and a 'hands on personal' approach to life. He can read anyone's intentions and true nature. He is often found at local watering holes in the evenings. He is unmarried, in spite of the best efforts of the Curry Girls.
- Erik Jorgenson, Town Councilman, Hero of Merlin Township. Despite Erik Jorgensen's short stature and stout build, the man is as oak-strong and iron-bound as his barrel-like shape suggests, and as fiery as the liquor held within. Jorgensen used to be known as "The Bear of the Town Council" until an actual bear was voted into office in the last election. This caused less friction than was expected, as Jorgensen took an immediate liking to the newest Council Member, become fast friends and drinking buddies with the Bear. Jorgensen proudly claims descent from the Viking explorers of yore, in who's longship he just so happened to appear in Lake Morgan forty years ago. A proud and boisterous man, Jorgensen is known for his strong politics and, when the situation calls for it, a strong shield and axe as well.
- Councilman Bear looks and generally acts like a regular grizzly bear, he can't talk, wear clothes or even ride a motorcycle. He understands English and can type slowly using two claws. He usually sticks to nodding (I like it) or snarling (No, I'd rather have ticks!) and body language to communicate. He is known for having a temper. His opinion can be swayed by gifts of live salmon, but gets quite riled if he decides that it is an attempt to bribe him for political purposes. Doc Ursus acts as translator for him when needed.
- Mr. Edgeworth (a local Town Hero) is the town's librarian that seems to always know what sort of book you'd like to read. If you ask for a book and intend to use its contents for harm (like the sort of books that teach you how to make pipe bombs from household material) he will click his tongue disapprovingly and say: "That particular book isn't available at the moment." As Chief Librarian of the Public Library, Mr. Edgworth would have access to all sorts of arcane knowledge, the complete and unabridged history of Merlin Township, and secrets within secrets that few others possess. He might have seen the writing on the wall for a while, but was unsure about how to act on what he knew.
- Miss X'ltari, a local high school student that wears a space suit everywhere she goes and claims to be an alien. Miss X'ltari's extraterrestrial status is generally accepted as fact by her teachers, peers and the Township a large, and the girl is permitted lead her school's Astronomy Club and ride on her own "Martian-American Pride" float in the Independence Day Parade.
- Madeline Trant, a local high school student who, after an unexplained incident, joined the ranks of Merlin Township's many aquatically-aligned residents. Taking everything in stroke, Madeline now works as an intern for the town's Parks and Recreation Department at Lake Morgan Park, teaching swim classes and lakeside safety to park visitors.
- Knight of Summer. Hero of Merlin. Probably a contemporary citizen in disguise, based on his unorthodox use of Elizabethan English.
- Vivian Nimue, Dean of the Invisible College and women's swimming coach. Her ability to control water is unrivaled. All of the aquatic creatures hold Vivian in the highest regard, many seem to be in awe of her and a few are nearly worshipful. The reason why can be found in the Library.
- Officer Mike, Officer Flint, Officer Bill, Officer Smith, etc One thing they have in common is that their 'work' name is always one syllable. There does not seem to be a chief of police or even sergeants. Each officer knows what the others know regarding work related matters. Not really a hive mind, more of a real-time data link.
- Captain Aiden is the Chief of the Fire Dept. He is both a handsome young man and a medium-sized Western fire drake. His most useful ability is his mental ability to suppress existing conflagrations.
- Cindy Russell is a young firefighter who isn't just a fiery redhead, she has actual fire for hair. Apparently it cannot be extinguished unless she is immersed underwater.
- Agnes Nuthatch, gossip columnist and astrologer for the Tally Ho.
- Ms. Euphemia Hekaton a hundred-armed, hundred-headed, clairvoyant. the sole writer, editor, photographer, graphic designer and publisher of the Red Eye Report.
- Vindaloo 'Vinnie' Daksha Is a red skinned 4 armed, tusked restaraunt owner who likes to sing, play music, and dance - all at the same time. He denies ever being a minor deity. "My sainted mother named me after him."
- The Curry Girls (Rahbi, Idli, Prama, Shaa, Raskshi, and Nan), Six lovely and talented ladies who are skilled at many things, including cooking. None of them are married, all of them would like to be. It seems inevitable.
- "The Well Dressed Man" (aka "Mr. Omega"), as called by the people of Merlin, this admittedly very well dressed man is reported to have been renting the most expensive room in the Commodore Hotel for a very long time. He is always polite and amiable, and seems to be extremely generous with his money, but is at the same time an exceedingly private person who does not enjoy others prying into his affairs. The only other person who might know his business is Head of Housekeeping Luci Fergusson, but she is of course smart enough to respect her guest's privacy and stay out of the gossip all together. He recently opened the Omega Pawn Shop, which enabled people to address him by something other than "Sir".
- Old Lady Tassler, the town's longest non-living resident runs a clothing shop for ghosts.
- The Cabajero Hero of Merlin. He arrived one morning, riding his cheval on the rails to Merlin Train Station. He was alive then. He spent his morning asking for the whereabouts of a certain "gringo loco", then fell in love with Merlin Town, and decided that this place was as good as any to set in. He's known for teaching kids how to ride, galloping around in Merlin Town, and for putting some badass in orphan teens he deemed worthy, living out the cow-boy life without any fear of seeing his town raided by some bad guy. He and his horsed passed away at the same time, peacefully, only to ride out of this grave, leaving his corpse behind. Since then, he's... well he's pretty much been doing the same as when he was alive: galloping around, putting some badass in teens and letting ghost kids ride on his ghostly horse. Someone once asked him a question that no ghosts or undead in Merlin Town managed to answer simply: why he didn't choose to go to Heaven. His answer? "Because I'm already there, amigo."
- Roger Timmens has managed to die heroically in every major war Merlin has gotten involved in. Three times in the Battle of Gettysburg alone.
- "I lost this here leg back in the war when I..." "Which war, Roge?" ...Err..Balderdash. It was the one with the flag, and all the marching... "That describes nearly all of them." "They're all the same, someone shouts at you, hands you a rifle, and whoops, there goes your leg, just in time for the next one. Sick of it, to be honest."
- "How many stars?" "Say what?" "I mean on the flag. Fifty two? One?" "Four." "Alright, so we're in Worlds War II, gotcha."
- "Do you remember D-day at all?" "Sure, I remember charging up that blasted soggy beach in the sand. Miserable time. I didn't even want to be in that one, they drafted me." "I thought you joined voluntarily every time." "Nope. Each time I die, I get a little paper with two little tic boxes that say, 'Die' or 'Get drafted' and a pencil. Some Bonehead always scribbles out the 'Die' option, so I'm stuck in a rut a bit."
- "What do you mean you fought in the Clone Wars?" 'A lot of people fought in the Clone Wars! It wasn't just clones and robots going at each other." A tiny green passing ascetic stops for a moment, turn towards the chatting old men, and sadly shakes his head. "Hey don't give me that self-righteous guff! It was your job to keep the peace, your job to see it all coming! It was your lot who dropped the ball, magic man!"
- Luci Fergusson, Head of Housekeeping at the Commodore Hotel and Hero of Merlin Township. Luci is proud of her work and is considered the best at her job....well second best. Hard to compete with the ghost housekeepers sometimes. Don't have to sleep, dontcha know? She is a younger and overtly spooky version of Discworld's Granny Weatherwax. She doesn't show an incredible (or any) amount of emotion herself, but is an expert in "Headology:" reading people, knowing what they want and how to get it, and knowing how to get them to do what needs to be done for their own good. Upon discovering the threat, she might sigh, say "Well. There's that then." and deligate the day's responsibilities to her subordinate housekeepers so she could go and assist. "It has been said that the difference between headology and psychiatry is that, were you to approach either with a belief that you were being chased by a monster, a psychiatrist will convince you that there are no monsters coming after you, whereas a headologist will hand you a bat and a chair to stand on." It has been discovered by Commodore Hotel and Boarding House's management that their that Head of Housekeeping, Lucy Fergusson, has literally never taken a sick day or a vacation. This is a problem because labor laws mandate that Hotel employees need to take a day off from time to time. To these ends, they have forced Ms. Fergusson to take a week-long vacation to one of Merlin Township's Sister Cities. It turns out, however, that Ms. Fergusson was much, much more than just the Head of Housekeeping, and without her omnipresent influence and judicious application of Headology, the Hotel is in real danger of capsizing while she's away.
- Angela Reyes, another Hero of Merlin Township. Angela rarely takes her costume off. When she does, she often has to be reminded to put the wire back on her halo. Angela is a spitfire and quick to judge a person. This upsets her father, who lives out of town, but is well known for being a kindly welcoming individual. He sent Angela to live with her aunt Gabriella Reyes while he's away on business, hoping she'll learn her lesson and cool her heels a bit. Maybe make some friends.
- Lilac Bluebell 16, second youngest of the coven. She and Doc Ursus are the local veterinarians.
- Petunia Bluebell 18, does concoct a nice yet diluted Mead of Poetry. Secretly a Hero of Merlin. Dresses like Catwoman but with a cat's face glamour when 'On the Prowl'. Her Hero name is 'La Gata!'
- Mildred Bluebell Owner of the Bluebell Diner, coven member, and mother to Lilac and Petunia
- Doctor Ursula Ursus, a local veterinarian, is a extremely hirsute woman of indeterminate age from Inuvik, Canada. She can't actually talk to animals, but she does understand them. She is one of the few residents who can translate for Aunt Snarky and Councilman Bear. She says : "My granmere waz a grizzlee bar, an my granpere waz a real brave an real lonelee Inuit.!"
- Senior Suarez, the Talking Alpaca is from Bolivia. He speaks Spanish, Aymara, Guarani, Quechua, and English (with a thick Spanish accent.) If some one is rude enough, he will spit a foul acidic green goo at them with great accuracy. It does no lasting harm but it is very unpleasant and hard to wash off.
- Caleb the Chimney Sweep is an unusual man, even by MT standards. He dresses in traditional garb with a top hat. No one knows where he lives, and he seems to live outdoors and never sleep. He never talks, he appears thin enough to slide down the chimneys he cleans, and he wanders the streets followed by a herd of Sootycats, black cat-like creatures who do the actual chimney cleaning using their furry bodies. They take payment by raiding the customers' larder for food and drink which they share with Caleb. They do clean up their tiny sooty footprints on the way out.
- Bloody Mary People meet her, but can only remember: "There was a lot of Red...Everywhere!"
- The K'vaaleshi Coven including Adelphina West (12), Lilac Bluebell, (16), Petunia Bluebell (18), Mildred Bluebell (43) and 3 of the Gorista ladies.
- The Black Knight is a seemingly Intimidating Spirit who haunts small roadways, back alleys, suburb snickets and forest paths. When encountered, usually by lone strangers or small groups, the Black Knight issues out a challenge of skill to any who wish to cross his pathway he is "Defending" The Challenge of skill is utterly random, some are:
Trial by foam sword combat, Spelling bee, Dance offs:breakdance/Disco, Rap battle, Checkers, Beer Pong, Squash (when in alleys), 20 questions, and Cluedo. Failing the test offers no drawbacks, as the Black Knight will simply stand firm and refuse passage until he is beaten. When beaten, he simply vanishes declaring that it was a merely a draw. On occasion he has been sighted in the local watering hole during Pub Quiz night.
- Sir Charles Wensleydale Buckingham III A pipe smoking Welsh Corgi, prefers to play whist over poker. Resides at the Commodore.
- Spooky Sally - The Scariest Little Ghost Girl Ever She can scare off most other creatures. Even though she's just shouting "Go away!" While flailing her arms, even skeletons, zombies and ghouls will turn tail and run much like a child would with them.
- Little Mary Little has been little for a very long time. She has lots and lots of fun playing with all the living children over the years, and is sure to show up with a smile at any MTPPC event.
- Susan Willis and Mordecai normal teenaged girl and overly helpful spirit friend.
- John Smythe student and Maddie the Well-Endowed Ghost who dated Dickens.
- The Dunwich Wingman A creature shuffles out of the darkness towards you, its spidery limbs dragging a bloated form across the floor. "Excuse me, do you have the time?" Before you can respond, the creature shakes its head and says, "No, you don't." Before you know it, the creature is gone. In your hands is a bouquet of flowers, and a letter addressed to your sweetheart.
- Able Goodman. Sometimes, books are more colorful than the people that read them. One such example are the works of A. Goodman, author of the "A Great Person" series. They are a self help series that range from the general (like the sordid "A Great Lover" and the verbose "A Great Speaker") to the more arcane ("A Great Shaman", "A Great Parapsychologist") and even ranging to the not-so-greats ("A Great Mailroom Clerk", "A Great Sanitary Worker"). Each book looks normal from the outset, but opening one up leads to an unexpected discovery: the pages of the book form a human face. Each book speaks with its own unique personality and voice, engaging you in conversation while teaching you the principals behind its text. When the book flips to the last page, it will no longer speak with you. However, you know all the contents by heart, and if you look at the Dedications page, you'll see your name.
- Honest Jo. (Hero of Merlin - although reluctantly) Although Josephine McBrady is known as Merlin Township's resident "criminal element," she is mostly known for being rude, crude and dirty, only sometimes engaging in a little light shoplifting and pickpocketing. Oddly enough, despite her chosen "profession," Honest Jo has earned her name by being completely and utterly incapable of telling even the smallest lie.
- Ambrose Dorian Constantine There is a resident lich in this town, he lives in a shack in the outskirts. Instead of a skeletal corpse, his body is a combination of loose materials, odds and ends, metal utensils, and the like.His shack is filled with mechanical parts and strange constructs.His voice, although raspy and thin, feels almost gentle. when asked about his work, he will simply say that it's for one he used to love. He sometimes tends the graves, using dark magics to simply talk to the spirits. He is very open about his phylactery, which is a small music box. some fear him, others shun him. When asked about himself, he will reply: "Time with oneself will change all aspects of life. But the dead still want to see the world around them. it is with reverence that I indulge them."
- Rotty Gator (not to be confused with Aunt Snarky)There have been reports of a strange being in the river. This creature resembles a large crocodile, if it had been dead for weeks, it's scales sun-bleached, and bones visible through massive tears in the flesh. This creature has a habit of watching boaters and children on the shore. It never moves, unless somebody falls off of the boat, or a child goes too far out and has trouble swimming. Then it swiftly moves up to the imperiled person, lifts them upon it's decayed snout, and drags them to the shore. Children also often report that it reprimands them in a rough, creole accent. It is often seen walking semi-upright on the docks or the shore, but usually only in the presence of children or children's ghosts. When asked about the creature, many children have said that it likes to read them stories. More strange, is that the creature has a hard time reading, and more often than not, the children are the ones who read the stories to the creature.When it gets late, the creature tells the children where their parents are, and that they should go be with them. He also advises the ghosts of children about passing on to the next life, and several child spirits have gone to him shortly before passing on.
- The Child Oracle Children and young adults will sometimes visit a particular playground in a particular neighborhood late at night to visit with a very particular girl and her cat. The cat seems to be nothing special, but the girl is extremely pale and wears a strange sailor outfit, even in the depths of winter. If asked by a child, this girl will truthfully answer any question usually ignored or sugarcoated by adults. If asked by an adult, the girl will merely say "I dunno..." unless the question pertains to the well-being of a child.
- Old Lady Vespa's house is a little strange. Wasps and hornets can be seen almost filling the air around the house, but there aren't any hives visible on the many nearby trees and gardens. Wasps and hornets are almost unheard of in a six-block radius around the house, and everyone's flowers seem unusually vibrant these days,
- Jimmy Krausen The local yuckster knows everyone in town and just how to cheer them up. However, he rarely ever takes to the stage during the Yearly Joke Competition, save when a jokester is making cruel jokes. If that happens, he goes on stage and chides them in the form of embarrassing but ultimately not harmful jokes about their lives in intimate detail. He and Mister Horace are best friends.
- Wallace the Snack Boy There's a boy at the local high school that goes by the name Wallace. Every day, he enters the school, and goes down the hallway with a cart of assorted cakes, candies, and other sweets. His cart is always full, and he gives freely to anyone who asks. If you do not ask, the cake disappears from your hand, and you hear a stern lecture on the importance of not stealing in your head. Wallace has been coming and going from the school for forty years now. No one knows where he came from.
- Teagreen Grace, a popular Imaginary Friend amongst Merlin Township's children. She is childlike in form, with green hair and ram's horns, and carries with her a toy sword and bunny.
- Tuesday, the Park Ranger Every Tuesday, from 6:30AM to 8:30 PM, a man appears in the park. If approached, he will greet you in a friendly manner and, as if by instinct, he will begin to ask you about your problems. He's been known to give sound advice, leave food for homeless people living in the park, and stop any crimes and suicide attempts within the park perimeter. At precisely 8:29 PM, he drops everything he is doing, walks into the oncoming lane of the nearby street, and disappears.
- Sidewalk Sid, one of MT's colorful homeless men, often sleeps in the bus terminal. People bring him food and drink and listen to his uplifting stories. Many believe he is one of the 5 Secret Living Buddhas of Merlin Township. He never gives out bus tickets and claims to not know how to get one.
- The Three Winos named Merlin Don't bother wondering if any of them are really are him in disguise. Just be glad it makes them happy. Not everyone is secretly powerful, but everyone needs to feel that way. Give them a dollar or a beer. Then go wash your hands afterwards.
Merlin Township is separated into four districts. Old Town contains all of the older homes and prominent public institutions, such as Merlin Town Hall and Public Library. New Town is the more commercial district of Merlin Township, and contains more modern housing. The Lake Morgan area is mostly undeveloped woodland and countryside, but there are a few businesses and points of interest out there. "Cross-River" consists simply of the scattered neighborhoods and expanse of farmland across the Lethe River from Merlin town center.
- Old Town
- Town Hall The Merlin Township clock tower is part of the town hall. It is labyrinthine and unknowable. The layout changes every time you turn around, and the average limits of archaeology do not apply inside of its halls. No one has ever found the exit by themselves, but if you're lost for too long, you'll meet the massively tall Custodian. Upon seeing him, you're dropped outside of the clock tower, with a pat on the head and a cup of tea in your hands. Upon setting the cup down anywhere, it will vanish within seconds. A murder of crows hangs out in front of the clock tower at midnight, and scatters at 1 AM.
- Town Square At the center (give or take) of the Town Square, the Merlin Memorial stands to commemorate the sacrifice of every citizen who has laid down his or her life in defense of their town and country. Tall and stately, sombre and beautiful, and surrounded by a small circular hedge and flower garden, this stone monument is similar to countless others in small towns across the country, but for the fact that:
- The obelisk atop the monument routinely changes how many sides it has, dependent on which direction you walk around it, what names or battles you are looking for, or what time of day it is. - A lot of the wars and battles recorded on the monument are unfamiliar to you, and may have existed only for the town of Merlin.
- Some of the names and dates on the monument are a bit peculiar, like the World War I soldier named only "Slagathor," or the curious case of Roger Timmens, who apparently died three times at the battle of Gettysburg. An old war veteran still wearing his quaint military dress uniform sometimes comes to lay flowers at the monument. His nameplate reads "R. Timmens".
- Public Library The Merlin Township Public Library is an eccentric looking stone building built on one side of the Town Square opposite the Town Hall. Though a relatively small building from the outside, the interior of the library is as vast and otherworldly as the collection of books, records and town memorabilia it contains.
- Mr. Edgeworth is the town's librarian. He seems to always know what sort of book you'd like to read. If you ask for a book and intend to use its contents for harm (like the sort of books that teach you how to make pipe bombs from household material) he will click his tongue disapprovingly and say: "That particular book isn't available at the moment."
- The library is also the home of the Library Oracles. Four busts of famous librarians stand just inside the entrance; seekers of advice will often write a question on a slip of paper and slide it under the base of one of the busts. Another slip of paper containing the librarian's answer appears inside the next book they check out, but not until after they have checked out with it. The kind of answer one gets depends on whose statue one left one's question under -- Eratosthenes, Benjamin Franklin, Melvil Dewey, or Jorge Luis Borges.
- Merlin Train Depot The depot is near the town center, across the street from the Commodore Hotel. Sometimes people who fall asleep on their trains appear here. The passengers waiting on the platform or getting off the train are often from different eras of the town's past, like a WWII soldier kissing his sweetheart goodbye as a gaggle of girls in gingham were disembarking. "Ah, look. It's another train full of soldiers from the Fourth Robot War. That's the second one this week."
- The Commodore Hotel and Boarding House Only a short walk from the train station is Merlin Township's grand old Commodore Hotel and Boarding House, a handsome, homely, rambling building that gladly plays host to any and all who decide to visit for a while, are just passing through, or have nowhere else to go. Guests will often discover that the staff of the Commodore can anticipate their needs almost before they do, and have a tendency to appear and disappear at the silliest times.
- Merlin Police Department Officers Mike, Flint, Bill, Smith, Zack, Sam, Jones, Phil, Klaus, Jones, Dan, Stone, and are the 13 policemen for the entire town. They are all seemingly normal humans. One thing they have in common is that their 'work' name is always one syllable. There does not seem to be a chief of police or even sergeants. Each officer knows what the others know regarding work related matters. Not really a hive mind, more of a real-time data link.
The police force in Merlin are always at hand.That is not to say that there are so many officers around that their presence is oppressive and stifling, but rather that the instant you are in need of a police officer, one is already giving you a friendly pat on the shoulder, ready to assist you. People who commit serious crimes while in Merlin Township find themselves whisked to the cell in the town's police station. A stern-looking but rather plummy old man introduces himself as Officer Flint, asks whether you know why you're here, then proceeds to discuss your motives for the crime you committed with you. Finally, he gives you some pertinent advice ("I think you should talk to the folks at the Town Hall, they'll be willing to help with your money problems." "Have you tried asking them to stop bothering you?" "Next time, remember that other people use the roads, too. You wouldn't want it to happen to you, would you?") and lets you out with a somewhat Pythonesque "Now don't do it again!"
- St Mary's is the oldest church still standing in MT. Two older wooden churches burned on Meteor Day, 1881ish.
It is a Roman Catholic church run by Father Ilie Iorest, a tall and kindly Hungarian immigrant with a magnificent grey beard. He is extremely tolerent of all of the citizens of MT, for several reasons. He is actually Saint Ilie Iorest, of Transylvania, and yes he is a vampire. He survives on the wine from Holy Communion. He was born in 1601AD and died in 1643, making him one of the older members of the community. He can tolerate sunlight, has no aversion to holy symbols, and cannot change his form. In other respects, he is a standard vampire. He has a hobby of raising wolf-dog hybrids, and likes to spend time at the late night party areas and drink beer. He does allow non-Catholics to marry in his church, one of the few official rules he ignores. The choir of St. Mary's is currently all ghosts, but they would welcome any living Catholics to join. He maintains a facade as a living man for simplicities sake, but it is common knowledge amongst the wise and the observant in town. He is quite the history buff, and is hard to beat on Pub Quiz Night. Father Iorest currently wears black with a white collar.
- Chamber of Commerce
- Public Elementary, Middle and High Schools
- Callahans' Corner Market is Merlin's biggest, best and only grocery store, and is famous about town for its wide selection, reasonable prices and prompt, professional service. Unusually, every employee at the Market appears to be a copy of the same highschool age girl, right down to the freckles and fiery red hair in a messy bun. They usually dress identically to help with the confusion. They claim they're all related, but they seem to instinctively know what each other is doing at any given moment, complete each others' sentences, and number in the twenties at least.
- Roger Timmens Memorial Hospital Most of the doctors and surgeons are 25lb spiderlike creatures who are biosurgeons. their bite causes anesthesia, their mandibles and forelegs are scalpels and pincers, their sting is an antibiotic, and their webbing is bandages. they are very nice and have a great bedside manner.
- The Darling Street "Haunted House" (quotations intentional) is a communal music hall dedicated to Lord Archibald Darling for his help in establishing a place for the undead in Merlin Township. It's considered a cultural hotspot, and one of the prime music destinations in Merlin Township, due to it hosting the Summer Music Festival every year. Performers, living and dead, have had their start in the "Haunted House".
- Bluebell Diner The Merlin Township K'vaaleshi Coven are a quiet and secretive bunch, holed up in the diner on 13th and Humboldt. The Diner is famous throughout the township for their excellent scones and wide selection of teas. Prospective members and customers are greeted with ear-to-ear wide grins (quite literally), gingham tablecloths, and the nostalgic scent of freshly baked bread.
The Coven's duties involve predominantly apothecary-related work. A strapping young lad can acquire a love potion, for the small price of a clipping of hair, a dramful of blood and a few dollars. Be warned, though, if used maliciously, the potion becomes white-hot to the touch. This is why certain erstwhile proud sportsmen have light scortch marks on their hands. The back room smells rather like the cross between a souk and Granny's kitchen. A pot of soup is invariably at a gentle gulp on the hob, and spices hang from the ceiling. Adelphina West, the youngest K'vaaleshist is twelve years of age, and specialises in the Powdered Bunny tincture. All that is required is the powder, a small glass of carrot wine, and patience. After combining the ingredients and whispering the incantation, in but a few hours a minute, whiffly and fat pet will appear.
- "Camera Obscura" photography studio and camera shop is an old and venerable institution, the ownership and operation having been passed down in the same family for years. The "Camera Obscura" fabricates, sells and repairs special cameras capable of faithfully capturing ghosts, spirits and even imaginary friends on film, without distortion of aura-clouding, a vital service in a town with such a high supernatural population.
- Fleem's Drugstore is an old-fashioned pharmacy with a soda fountain. Along with Cokes and sandwiches, you can order the Blue Plate Special: Mountain Lobster - but you have to pay for it with silver coins. 'Doc' Fleem also has a back room with a gnarly old dentist's chair and will pull teeth for people. He does it by singing to the tooth and the only charge is he that he gets to keeps the tooth.
- Dullahan Express" Courier and Equestrian Services A messenger (Poteen Sturgeon) from Merlin Township that delivers any letters or messages by horse from the deceased to the living relatives of the residents of the town. That way they can be at peace in their stay at the town, while also providing peace to those they left behind in the living. Pretty much a Dullahan Pony Express. The Dullahan Express also delivers the daily morning paper, 'The Tally Ho', is available for carriage rides through the park and old Downtown, and even does pony rides for chilren's parties. It has always been here.
- First National BankThis bank is completely normal. Like Outside World Normal. Normal humans in suits. Normal professional politeness. Normal. Many residents find this place to be creepier than Bloody Mary's Bucket of Blood Saloon with the bleeding walls and the eyeball martinis. In truth, it is as nice as the rest of the town. It is the policy of the bank to encourage the customers to take money matters seriously, so they put on a serious attitude and resist the urge to hug anyone.
- The Hecate movie theater or "The Hec" as it is affectionately known, is a popular entertainment venue and Art Deco jewel found on one side of the Town Green.
- The "Merlin Daily Truth" town newspaper
- Tassler's Wardrobe Ghost Couture Old Lady Tassler, the town's longest non-living resident? She's got a little ghost clothes shop just down the lane from the hospital. Convenient for confused ghosts who just left the city morgue down in the basement of the hospital, you know!
Oh and it's simply darling how she'll take walks (well, floats) around the area, keeping an eye out for the embarrassed newlydead, ready to take them back to her store for company and a wardrobe. She's a blessing that our town richly appreciates, I tell ya. She's dealt with the newly dead so long, I've never even heard of her getting razzed up by their post-Mort panic attacks. And she's one heck of a designer too. I tell ya, if she could do with polyester what she can do with ectoplasm I'd be a regular customer. Well she does have a partnership with MkCales, that nice tailoring family, so if you like her designs, you can buy the living variations there.
- Swinburne's Spirited Sweets is both an old fashioned candy counter and toy store of the highest caliber, stocking candy and novelties in such astonishing and mind-boggling varieties that anyone is sure to find something to tickle their fancy, be they alive or dead, human or cryptid. If asked, many of Merlin Township's children would tell you that Swinburne's Spirited Sweets is their most favorite place in town.
- The Other Side Bar and Grill This cheery place is on the other side of the tracks from the majority of businesses. People say that they'll be "meeting up later on the other side."
- Merlin Barber Shop is run by Big Ed Hornsby, a 7' tall dark skinned man with 4 arms. Two of his hands have fifty fingers he combs hair with and the other 2 have long sharp nails that he clips hair with.
- Merlin Invisible College is somewhat less exciting than it sounds, it is not advertised and uses odd rooms and buildings spread over town. The admin building is at 82 Shallot St., the home of Vivian Nimue. An ornately decorated 2-story Itallianate facade encloses a single chamber with a grand swimming pool where Vivian lives. The Living Buddha is only one of the interesting professors who teach classes.
- New Town
- Celedon Creek was once the boundary line between Merlin town center and the surrounding farms and woodlands, but after years of construction and expansion has come to mark the division between Old Town and New Town.
- Paris Bridge is an ornate wrought iron bridge that was, yes, brought from Paris, France and reassembled in Merlin. Anyone driving, walking or floating over the bridge is compelled to speak and understand French for the duration of their crossing.
- New Stone Bridge
- Merlin Township Water Tower has been a part of Merlin's skyline almost since the beginning, and can be seen for miles in any direction. The usually meticulously kept town records are unclear as to why the tall steel water tower on the far end of the town center was originally constructed, as Merlin Township gets all the water it needs from Lake Morgan and the Lethe River. What is also unusual, is that you can sometimes see the water tower from certain locations and angles that should be physically impossible, the water tower does not cast the shadow it ought to for the position of the sun at any given time of day, and one of the Five Living Buddhas lives inside the water tower and will tell you what you want to know for some Indian food and a couple shared beers.
- Bloody Mary's Bloody Mary's Bucket of Blood Saloon is on Salem Street. It is not for the squeamish, although it is safe enough. The very walls not only bleed, the blood spells out the day's specials. Popular with the Living Impaired, the regulars like to have a little fun with newcomers, giving them a little scare now and then by slipping an animated eyeball in their drink or some similar jolly prank.
- Bob's TV Repair Robert Roberts is an elderly man who has repaired TVs since they were only black and white. Years ago he predicted the path of 'progress' and saw he would lose his livelihood to new technology. He created two rival UHF stations that broadcast locally, The Lethe Broadcasting Company (Channel 51) and the Barking Beast Corporation (Channel 23). Not only did this create dozens of local jobs, the limited range of UHF allows freedom of expression. Where else could a Wendigo get a job as a tv news anchor? "This is Rip Shredder, and that's the news, Sunderday, May 7.5th." It also encourages people to fix their old TVs instead of just streaming FOX online. Bob calls it "a Win-Win situation."
- Da Pet Shop Boyz are a pair of twin large goblinoids who run the only pet shop in town. The Sootycats are quite smart, but the others usually have a lower intelligence. Flyingfish, dropbears, bunyips, hoopsnakes, scapegoats, treehuggers, alicorns, jackalopes, drake-in-sheeps-clothing, snipes, catawumpii, and beardogs are available.
- "Dead Pets" Specializes in low-maintenance pets that do not eat, shed or excrete.
- Ester's Beauty Salon Ester Goodwife is a large jovial middle aged redheaded woman who is extremely talented at working with err.. challenging customers. Most of the zombies rely on her talents, and she has special equipment that allows her to work on the ectoplasmic ladies as well.
- Hal's Haunted Hardware Hal is a living human, but the other employees aren't anymore. Some are corporeal, many are ectoplasmic. All were employees when they were alive and they all return here when they pass on. It is a little crowded but the staff is very knowledgeable about hardware, plumbing, and 19th Century politics. Hal knows he will return here after he dies and is ok with that.
- Merlin Township Historical Society Museum is a small old building. It is finite with normal interior geometry, unlike the library. However, It is has 8 different collections and room arrangements, one for each day of the week. On Sunderday it houses the Mirror Collection: a varied assortment of 19-21st century mirrors, from grand and ornate, to modest bathroom mirrors. Each has one or more spirits of MT residents who died within sight of it. The mirrors all function normally, but the spirit can be seen, appearing in the prime of their life. No sound passes through, many have learned sign language to communicate with those in the museum. Many residents come to visit their parents and grandparents.
Sunday: The Prophesies and Predictions Collection A collection of some of the more famous prophesies made by Merlin Township's residents in their original media: dream journal entries, glyph-carved stones, reel-to-reel tape recordings, etc. etc. etc. Beside each one is an assembly newspapers and the like related to the prophecy in question, arranged in timeline fashion around the room so as to show how the prophesies interacted with each other, what the town's citizens thought about the predictions, and to what degree they ended up coming true. Tuesday is dedicated to the history of Merlin's Sister Cities, including Many Pillared Irem, Agartha, Hy Braesil, Aaru, Ys, and others.
- India Café This is one of the best places to eat, not everything served here is spicy.
Vindaloo 'Vinnie' Daksha runs a marvelous cafe, he often does a dance routine on busy evenings to entertain the diners. His kitchen and wait staff are all beautiful ladies who smell delightfully of curry. 'Vinnie' is a consummate and charismatic host and entertainer, and during business hours he is constantly bouncing from table to table, speaking with all his guests and ensuring that their dining experience is the best it can possibly be. Often times, it takes the gentle teasing and scolding of his staff to rein in his exuberance.
- McKales Clothiers is a high-end tailoring concern, and is THE place to go if you are looking to have the perfect bespoke garment made, man, woman or otherwise. McKales have a long-standing relationship with Old Lady Tassler, and will faithfully translate any of her ghostly garments into something the living can wear proudly.
- J. Miller & Sons Trade Jacks
- Omega Pawn Shop The Well Dressed Man has opened the newest business in MT. The day it opened it was packed with things, both mundane and marvelous. It appears as though it has been here for decades, the hard to reach places have a lot of dust. The Well Dressed Man works the shop by himself. It is open from 9 to 5 on Monday to Friday, it is closed on Saturday, Sunderday, and Sunday. He also closes for lunch and at odd times through the week. His back counter includes a repair bench filled with (mostly antique) electronic devices that he works on when not tending to customers. He is able to make devices function far beyond their limitations. Delightful classical music plays from a large reel to reel tape recorder. There are a few things with a 'Not For Sale' sign, namely six oddly colored taxidermied bison heads and a collection of chrome Art Deco toasters. The Well Dressed Man never removes his coat or glasses, but will take off his hat indoors. He responds to being addressed as Mr. Omega but everyone still refers to him as The Well Dressed Man. He is very generous with the poor and destitute, he was once observed purchasing a ball of dirty twine from Sidewalk Sid in exchange for a buffet coupon for The India Cafe.
- Merlin Bus Terminal The Greyhound station is a tiny unattended building. There are no schedules posted. The buses that arrive are all shiny and new, regardless of what year they were built. Bus spotting is a pastime for some locals, the earliest model seen is a 1914 Hupmobile. On rare occasions, a sleek bullet shaped bus glides in silently floating a foot off the ground. Once, one crawled in on a myriad of mechanical insect legs. Tickets cannot be purchased, but random strangers approach people who need to take a bus and give them a ticket.
- Lethe Riverwalk Park is the closest spot in town that Deep Ones, rusalka, and all other manner of aquatic residents meet up. Due to the fact that underwater construction has often been difficult, there isn't any specialized recreation equipment for the gill-bearing denizens of Merlin Township. Yet.
- The Grotto Cabaret is a night club in a series of watery caves under the Riverwalk Park. Most of the chambers are partially air filled to help with acoustics and to keep the drinks from getting watered down. It has entrances both underwater and from the surface. It caters,naturally enough, to an aquatic crowd, but the are also some facilities for surface dwellers. Food, music and merrymaking are the order of the day. Happy, the Dancing Fish is the owner of this swank establishment and dances most evenings as part of the show.
- Volunteer Fire Department is headed, oddly enough, by a shapeshifting, fire breathing dragon. Captain Aiden is both a handsome young man and a medium-sized Western fire drake. His most useful ability is his his mental ability to suppress existing conflagrations. He is facing competition, however, from Vivian Nimue who has put out several fires recently by creating water spouts from nearby sources to quench them. Captain Aiden claims his method is 'clearly superior' and causes less damage, "what without the Darn flooding".
Agnes Nuthatch, gossip columnist and astrologer for the Tally Ho predicts they will start dating within 6 months.
- Merlin Rec Center with Municipal Ballfields and Pool Home of Merlin Township's Parks and Recreation Department, the Rec Center is a small cluster of stately brick buildings built in the 1920s just across the Lethe River from the town center. The facilities there include a basketball gymnasium, a small community theater and meeting space for town assemblies and clubs aside from the municipal swimming pool and sports fields outside.
- The lobby of the Rec Center is lined with display cases proudly exhibiting the many trophies, awards and commendations Merlin's citizenry have won over the years. Prominent among these are the Merlin Banshees state basketball championship pennants, framed photographs of a "live" performance by the Darling Street Wights, a first place tourney trophy for the Callahan Girls' all-Callahan softball team, and the silver and two bronze medals won by Axel Reed, the world's first invisible Olympian in the 1952 Summer Games. Often, the basketball gymnasium or the theater will host a game or a lecture in which no players or speakers are visible. The ball will dribble and pass and shoot itself, and the glass of water on the podium will empty and refill itself from a handy pitcher nearby. Many Merlin citizens happily attend these events every month.
The number and variety of the sports fields behind the Rec Center seem to change, dependent on the current needs of the community.
- Eldritch Lanes Bowling Alley is a favorite gathering place for bowlers young and old alike, as well as for folks who like to stop in for the cheap beer and greasy-spoon fare served at the attached cantina. The interior of the bowling alley is decorated in a diverse and ecclectic collection of Merlin memorabilia, as well as hundreds of framed pictures of locals having fun at the lanes. Included among these are a number of autographed photographs of town celebrities, including a framed sheet of Radio Merlin Station 77.7FM stationary with Kipp Ashby's signature on it. Always a riot of activity, things get a bit more serious in Thursday Nights when Horace Griswold commandeers the lanes for his bowling league.
There always seems to be just the right amount of lanes needed plus a few extra, no matter how many people are bowling. The pins are reset by dozens of tentacles. Some of the "special" balls include several skulls, a cube, a marble, a pyramid, a massive d20, and several armadillos. Horace has been known to use the pyramid in casual games
- The "Red Eye Report" The Eye is considered a rag and a gossip machine by a good amount of Merlin citizens. Its sole writer, editor, photographer, graphic designer, and publisher, the hundred-armed, hundred-headed, clairvoyant Ms. Euphemia Hekaton, would say otherwise. Regardless of whose word is better, the Red Eye Report is the only source of gossip on topics such as the love life of Kipp Ashby, the existence of Smallfoot, and your own personal and private thoughts. The Red Eye is actually a online blog that is updated 3 times a day and is designed to fit on both sides of of a standard sheet of paper. Many businesses print copies for customers.
- The Tally Ho! is one of two newspapers serving Merlin Township, along with the "Merlin Daily-Truth." Each of the two papers has a somewhat different character: the "Tally Ho!" is written largely by regular citizens as an Op-Ed forum and community message board, and the "Daily-Truth" is a more professional production, with a bullpen of dedicated reporters and a wider focus. The two papers have a friendly rivalry, each being characterized as gossips and stuffed shirts by the other group.
- Lethe Broadcasting Corporation UHF 51
- Funky Fil's Fillerup Merlin's oldest and jazziest gas station is owned by Francis 'Filly' DaSilva, a young dusky skinned woman with an amazing voice. The jazz music plays day and night at Fil's, as she is a natural magnet for the spirits of jazz musicians. During daylight hours a couple of Uncle Tcho's clan (in snazzy tuxedos, no less) pump gas and clean windshields for the customers. After dark the joint starts jumping with a mix of living and ghostly musicians. Although she doesn't brag about it, she has admitted to being the half sister of Ella Fitzgerald. The numerous pictures inside of legendary Jazz players and singers bear silent witness to this claim.
- The Uber Convenience Store You're in a hurry when you stumble upon a little convenience store that you are absolutely positive wasn't there yesterday. It just so happens to be stocked with all the things on your shopping list as well as a few things you forgot you needed. They have all your brands and their prices are extremely reasonable. After making your purchases and leaving the premises, you discover that it has vanished when you turn to look back.
- Fuud Truk There is a mysterious vehicle that prowls about town each evening, a large box truck that has been completely "murdered out" with black paint, blacked out lights and darkly tinted windows. According to the crudely hand-painted signs on both sides of the vehicle, it is a "Fuud Truk," and the unseen chef inside can prepare for you literally any dish you can name.
- Lake Morgan
- Lake Morgan
- LaFey Dam and Hydroelectric Plant was constructed in 1919, and generates all of Merlin Township's power by harnessing the water flowing from Lake Morgan into the Lethe River. It was built by and is currently operated by Lethe County Light & Power, a company who prior to the construction of the dam worked with a decentralized power grid of lightning rods installed all across town, many of which are still visible on the roofs of public buildings and houses.
- LaFey Dam Bridge runs along the top of LaFey Dam, and it is said provides the finest view to be had of Merlin Township and the entire Lethe River Valley.
- Lake Morgan Town Park is a delightfully natural place, hugging the shores of Lake Morgan between the waters and the trees, and is a favorite destination for citizens and summering vacationers alike. The park's many features include beaches and docks for swimming or boating on the lake, the popular Lake House Snack Shack where every young Merlin resident wants to work during the summer, and rolling, grassy meadows perfect for picnicking, kite-flying and star-gazing.
- Camp Chupacabra Now has a petting zoo.
- Merlin Radio Station sits in the woods of Lethe County, the source of 77.7 Radio Merlin. Though there is what seems to be a decades-old sheen of dust across the entirety of the empty building, all of the recording equipment is operational and on. A box sits on the front desk, with a note stating, "Thank you for listening - Kipp Ashby" and a whole, fresh pie of the recipient's favorite flavor inside. Anyone who takes the pie, or leaves money in the box, is credited in tomorrow's broadcast as a "special prize winner" or "private sponsor".
- Northern Woods is ever friendly. If you decide to camp there and use dead woods and leaves for fire, next morning you will find flowers and fruits beside your tent. It is a sign of gratitude from the forest for "cleaning". The trees are filled with spiderwebs, but they all hang overhead without disturbing the average forestwalker, catch tons of annoying insects, and sometimes have greetings or good advice written in the webs. "The alligator is friendly."
- Mek Mechanical Shop
- Eagle Rock
- Lovers' Leap Bridge
- The River Lethe
- Lethe River Railway Trestle
- Forget-Me-Not Bridge
- Merlin Town Bridge
- Old Stone Bridge
- Lethe County Farmland
- The Fairy Wood is a small, dense grove of trees located smack-dab in the middle of Cross-River farmlands, nestled snugly between the oldest steads and encircled by a ring of low standing stones. The Wood is far larger on the inside than it is on the outside, and is home to Lethe River Valley's Seelie Court and a wide variety of nature spirits. The Fairy Wood is a favorite haunt of Merlin Township's children and Imaginary Friends.
- Barking Beast Corporation UHF 23
- Odelia McKay Fairgrounds
- Uncle Tcho's Classic Auto Restoration, Junkyard and Dump
ODDITY and Crunchy Bits
As you gain Oddity Points, you get mental and physical mutations. These mutations eventually go away when you're at zero Oddity, with a rate of one disappearing per week. Maximum oddity causes you to no longer mutate, but all existing mutations are locked in, and you're given permanent status as a Merlin Township resident.. I don't know about being rejected by the town if you're at Zero-Odd, per say, unless it were something like most people are naturally a little crazy and hover at around 10-Odd or so, and you REALLY have to work to bust yourself down to Zero-Odd, stone cold sanity.
What I might suggest is that higher levels of oddity imply higher levels of comfort in and acceptance by Merlin Township, which allow you to tap into latent magics or special talents, or improves your luck and happenstance while in town. How about as the oddity went up, part of Merlin becomes unlocked. I always see Merlin as a safe-house in our mind so accepting that Merlin exist will let the town open up to you
That makes a good deal of sense to me. It's less a measure of your sanity then and more a measure of how much you've accepted Merlin and its accepted you. Like reputation with a faction. At higher levels, you can receive summons to help the Merlin Township Party Planning Committee, you can safely explore more of the Public Library's spatially anomalous interior, you can start actually seeing imaginary friends and the faintest ghosts and spirits, etc. etc. etc.
The default would be ten, and Oddity would measure, more or less, the kind of mindset you'd need to be in to experience Merlin Township.Your average human Merlin resident would be 30 Oddity. Kipp Ashby would be a hard one hundred.
Then why not start crunching? A little rough character creation concept: There are six stats, each starting at one, with eight points to spread between all of them. They come in pairs:
- Strength and Speed: Strength measures general physical fortitude, speed measures reflexes, dexterity, and... well, speed. Together, they measure your physical capabilities.
- Rhyme and Reason: Rhyme represents creativity, lateral thinking, and mental flexibility. Reason represents logic, deductive reasoning, common sense, and general intelligence. Together, they represent mental capacity.
- Laughter and Lying: Laughter represents charisma, sense of humor, and talent at speaking. Lying represents capacity for mischief, the ability to impersonate others, and talent at telling lies. Together, they represent social capacity.
- "Skill checks" would be pairs of attributes, used in a certain way. Speed and Strength for a decathalon, Rhyme and Reason for an essay paper, Laughter and Lying for starring in a play, and other combinations, like Reason and Laughter being used to give someone therapy, or Speed and Lying used to sneak into a building in disguise.
Two traits would be picked at the beginning. They'd range from situational benefits, such as gaining a point of Lying against adults, to gaining Odddity beyond the starting level of 10. Oddity is pretty much >>32647282. Oddity would be gained by experiencing the very strangest sights, sounds and smells Merlin has to offer, such as the less conventional books in the town library. It would be lost by interacting with highly conventional places, such as the bank. At 0 Oddity, the only way you can go lower is if you are traumatized by a supernatural event. Negative Oddity is at odds with the generally-benevolent atmosphere of Merlin Township, and is only gained by bad experiences wit the supernatural, whether it's the death of a loved one or experiencing a haunting. Negative Oddity individuals attract the darker side of the supernatural/
Items wouldn't usually affect your attributes, other than Oddity. The items would produce largely narrative effects, like glasses that allow you to see thoughts as words floating in the air, or a knife that cuts bread perfectly, and nothing else. The items, as well as most of the traits, are up to the players and the GM to brainstorm.
All rolls are made using d6s, with the number of dice depending on what stats are involved. In a regular roll, your DM decides on a target number, and you must roll above that target number to succeed. In contested rolls, whoever rolls the lower number fails the contest.
The Heroes of Merlin Township
Merlin Township is a picturesque place with picturesque people. Depending on what you're looking at, this picture could be a Monet, a Magritte, or an Escher. Regardless of how you look at it, Merlin Township is a charming small town that has more than its fair share of oddity, and a nearly ever-present relaxing atmosphere. But despite how charming Merlin Township is, it has its share of problems. Rowdy visitors, overzealous pranksters, plain old human error, and more are there to ruin the day of an otherwise happy citizen. A lot of people would rather turn a blind eye to these problems, and go on thinking Merlin Township is paradise on Earth. But there are at least a few people who understand the expression, "The brighter the light, the longer the shadow." These are the Heroes of Merlin Township.
The Heroes of Merlin Township are a set of premade PCs for the setting, to serve as either someone to play or an inspiration for character creation. They can easily be inserted into a story as NPCs, as well.
- Angela Reyes - Darling Little Angel - Strength 3/Speed 2 Reason 1/Rhyme 2 Laughter 4/Lying 2
- Night Light: Angela emits a bright light at all times, enough to illuminate a room when it's dark. Doesn't hemp when she's trying to sneak around.
- Childish Demeanor: Angela has all the charm and grace of a younger girl, giving her a +1 bonus to Laughter when talking to parents and children, and gaining a -1 penalty around people who hate children (those monsters).
- "Lil' Slugger": Angela's got a bat, and she isn't playing baseball. Gain a +1 to Strength tests that require a baseball bat.
- Oddity: 42
- The Knight of Summer - Probably Not a Knight - Strength 4/Speed 2 Reason 2/Rhyme 3 Laughter 2/Lying 1
- Stalwart Defender: You budge for no man, woman, or elder thing! Gain a +1 to your roll in any instance that someone tries to move or attack you, physically or verbally. You cannot give as well as you get, however. take a -1 penalty to any roll where you are attacking, moving, or otherwise physically engaging someone.
- Chivalry is alive and well, thank you: Gain a +1 when defending someone in any way, insult or injury. You must come to the aid of anyone in danger, even if it puts you in danger. Especially if it puts you in danger.
- Summer's Embrace: A heavy suit of metal, definitely not made out of discarded pots. You gain a +1 when defending yourself from physical attacks. Don't swim in this.
- Oddity: 33
- Mr. Edgeworth - Scholar and Sage - Strength 3/Speed 2 Reason 5/Rhyme 1 Laughter 1/Lying 2
- Inscrutable Investigator: You've seen this before, it's only a matter of jogging your memory. Gain a +2 to a roll involving investigation. You must investigate for over an hour to receive the bonus.
- I read this in a book: The foe you face is rather cliché. Gain a +1 in a contested roll against any non-human.
- My private collection: Just the essentials. All twenty pounds of them. Gain a +2 when researching any clues or events.
- The Cabajero ghost cowboy - pistols. lasoo, boleros, fists, and his faithful ghost horse 'Thundermug'
- Luci Fergusson headologist
- Petunia Bluebell aka La Gata! witch, alchemist, and Catwoman Cosplayer. potions, whip
- Honest Jo - Thief, not a 'rogue'. - Strength 2/Speed 5 Reason 3/Rhyme 3 Laughter 2/Lying 0
- Honest Crook - +2 to any attempts to sneak or break into a structure. Cannot lie, ever.
- Tongue like a knife - +1 to any attempts to insult or taunt someone. Only applies to lawful citizens.
- Tools of the Trade - Lockpicks, knife, sap, spray paint, rocks... anything you'd use to cause trouble. Gain +1 to any crime-related action.
- Oddity: 30
- Erik Jorgenson short Viking Berserker, axe, throwing axe, more axe
- Erminitrude Norman 'Erm' has short black hair and pale skin. She appears about 20 years old. She is as strong as a male Olympic weightlifter, once regrew a finger in a month, and is unaffected by most diseases and toxins. Possessions: Lightning Stone (from her shamanic 'ancestor', it captures and stores lightning and a nice new axe handle - they tend to break regularly.
Major Antagonists of Merlin Township
- 2 stupid crooks Recently some incompetent crooks have found their way into the town, immediately noticing the museum's apparent lack of security they begin to plan a heist.The PC's overhear them and it's up to them to save the antiques
- The Slendercat a Bad Thing that needs smiting to save it.
- The Unborn a group of sentient possibilities and could-have-beens denied true existence and angry about it. They cannot be harmed or chased off, they have to be reasoned with.
- Henry F. Potter. I imagine the BBEG of the setting being an evil otherworldly corporation CEO that constantly orchestrates series of complex plots and unfortunate events that lead to a large part of the city being sold to him, so he can do something like demolish it and put a hallway on top.
He'd command a small army of bureaucrats who will invade the city in the form of hygiene inspectors and the like, leaving it up to the PC's to spook them out of town In a setting where the mundane and the magical coexist happily. the worst enemies are those so entrenched on one side that they can't see the value of the other: the corrupt CEO who can't see the value in the town besides economic exploitation, or the paranormal entity that can't comprehend or accept the normal emotion and sentimentality of the citizens. the evil CEO ought to clash with the rural old town setting more.
He travels in a Corvette Limo, surrounded by bodyguards and constantly barking commands at his employees over his cellphone, which seems to resist whatever supernatural force is trying to keep it from working like the other ones.
He's like the polar opposite of Merlin, ghosts around him disappear until he's out of their range, any magic used on him doesn't work.He can only hear static when he turns on the radio, and will just think all the nonhuman children are wearing their Halloween costumes. His presence may disturb the fabric of reality in Merlin, causing the previously mentioned bad spooks to form.
His immunity to Merlin's oddities means that the PC's are the only ones capable of getting him out of town.