Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Hexcriveners Of Suphis II

The Hexcriveners, better known as Mentor Bugs, live on Suphis II, a planet in a solar system marooned inside a bethorm or pocket universe. Mentor Bugs are arborial insectile scriveners that range from 3-10 cm in length. Mentor Bugs can be found covering the bark of the Axis Mundi trees that ring the planet's equatorial continent.

Hexcrivener bugs live their brief lives in the summer month of Thermidor. (In the remainder of the year, they exist first as eggs embedded in the trees' bark, and later as soft grubs feeding on the leaves of the Axis Mundi trees.) In the month of Thermidor, mature Mentor Bugs descend from the branches of the Axis Mundi tree to attach to the bark of the trees' trunk. They consume the quantum liquor of the trees using their long, diamond tipped proboscis, and intoxicated by that liquor, begin to etch a variety of spells and psychic sutras into the bark of the tree on which they reside. During Thermidor, the trees glow at night with the numinous runes etched by Hexcriveners. Seen from orbit, the equatorial continent's nightside becomes one shimmering band of light.

Reading trees is one way for sorcerers, shamans, and priests to learn new spells and psychic sutras, as well as unusual variants of common spells. Care must be taken in the interpretation of these etchings, as the bark of any given tree will be a palimpsest consisting of several layers of etchings by one or more Mentor Bugs. Approaching the trees while the bugs are active is also quite dangerous - while the bugs are alive and etching, the spells are alive, and may be triggered by someone's approach.

The best courses of action for learning spells directly from the Mentor Bugs is to observe active etchings  from a distance, using a spy glass. Scrying and clairvoyance spells may be dangerous for this purpose, triggering the discharge of bark-etched spells. So use non-magical means of observation. The etchings will reveal the nature of the spell. Hexscriveners use one or more of the magical languages commonly used to inscribe spells on scrolls. Finally, prayers and offerings to the Bug Gods are often used to try to influence which spells the Hexcriveners will inscribe next.

Once the month of Thermidor ends, the Hexcriveners lay their eggs in the bark and remain on the trees as lifeless husks. At this point, members of the Peelers Guild will strip the bark from many Axis Mundi trees and use the bark to fashion spell scrolls and scroll books. The Guild is quite protective of its harvest rights so it is best to avoid the areas where they are stripping the bark of the Axis Mundi trees.

Many brave the dangerous, remote wild areas of Suphis II's equatorial continent to harvest bark spell etchings unmolested by the Guild. Such travelers are often followed and harassed by Guild members when they return to more civilized lands. It is often best to memorize and transcribe spells acquired from the Axis Mundi trees, recording them in a proper spellbook before returning to civilized lands. The bark can then be burned; the ash of the Axis Mundi tree is useful as a spell component.


  1. Interesting. I Does this planet exist within the same universe (or multiverse) as Tekumel.

    Also, the French Revolutionary government would no doubt appreciate their month names surviving into the future.

  2. I thjkmHereticwerks may have posted about this some time ago, but one of the missed opportunities that is part of Professor Barker's legacy is that aside from leaving us Tekumel, he also left us the fact that 722 other worlds fell into a Bethorm. Yet hardly anyone has created anything that plays,off that gift. Aim-4 is one example that plays off that direction, and readers can learn more,about it at but there should be others as well. And yes, we are something of a fan of revolutionary calendars.

  3. I love this. Really brilliant. And I have in the back of my head the idea of developing one of these worlds and sending it in vastly different directions than Tekumel.

    1. Brett, thanks for your very kind words. I can't wait to see what you come up with too!

  4. Correction! I believe the post on the 722 other worlds was from Hill Cantons:

  5. Hi John, This looks like great good fun, and yes, we did post about the other 722 worlds dropped into pocket universes on more than one occasion in the blogospheric past. The bit by Chris K. is a nice prod to go forth and create your own pocket universe as well. Suphis II could be a great addition to the roster of 722 fallen worlds...

    As to wasn't dropped into a pocket universe, but rather it contains multitudes, so to speak. There's a lot going on under the fractured, festering crust of that dismal and neglected world. Between you and Porky, we're going to have to return to that world and reveal a bit more about it...soon.

    does your Xeno-Meso setting connect into Suphis II, or are you going to pull some Diaspora-stuff into it? Diaspora could easily serve as the backbone system for a game based on exploring hundreds of interconnected pocket universes...

    Of course, some pocket universes are a bit more interconnected than others...