Tuesday, May 26, 2015


In myth—or at least in Wikipedia, which is practically the same thing—the Monaciello is a faerie from Southern Italy that frequents monasteries, abbeys, and villas.  As is usual for faeries, he’s a trickster fond of pulling pranks (made especially easy by Naples’s many underground passages), but with a habit of revealing treasure to those in need.

In Pathfinder…well, we’ve got plenty of benevolent fey already, so the monaciello has been upgraded to a full-blown chaotic evil gremlin with a habit of tormenting the clergy.  That said, they're not as destructive as many of their kin (though I’m sure weeks, months, or even years of harassment take their own toll on a monaciello’s victims) and if you can wrest the gremlin’s magic bag from it, you’ve got a decent chance at a hefty payout in gold coins.  All in all, that makes the monaciello a worthy first foe for a novice band of adventurers, and a flavorful side encounter even for more experienced low-level parties.

The abbey’s prizewinning ale has been tainted!  The abbot fears that the new brewmaster, a young man only recently appointed to the job after the death of Maester Bryan, may have inadvertently offended the abbey’s resident clurichaun (a variant leprechaun).  In truth, the clurichaun was easily slain weeks ago (his sorrow over Maester Bryan’s death having left him even deeper in his cups than usual) by a dastardly monaciello.  The gremlin has been masquerading as the clurichaun ever since, adding mold to the barley, soiling the hops, and making the new brewmaster’s life miserable.  The otherwise talented but inexperienced lad does not even know the “clurichaun” is an imposter, but the steam mephits who occasionally use the brewery as a sauna do.

Adventurers are sneaking invisibly into a monastery when they are caught by the monastery’s resident mischief-maker himself: a monaciello.  Hearing a noise where there should be none, the monaciello casts glitterdust over the party and then flees, raising the alarm.  For good measure, he dumps out dozens of stolen coins and other goods from his magic bag to make the adventurers look like thieves as well as trespassers.

One monaciello is bad.  An infestation is much, much worse.  And the infestation that currently dwells in the aqueduct system of Bartolo is well dug in, crafty, and protected by rats and venomous snakes.  In a fair fight, adventurers could easily exterminate the fey.  But in the crowded cramped tunnels of the aqueduct, the environment favors the gremlins.  Besides, extermination is not the goal.  Getting back as many pages as possible of the gold-leafed, illuminated Proverbs of the Seven Martyrs is—and bloodshed will only make the fey more likely to hurl the priceless book into the sewer and flee.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 144

Comments!  Anon weighs in on mi-go and Lovecraft stories.  Reader ohgodhesloose references gargantua, another classic “basic” D&D family of monsters.  OGHL also suspected my third mockingfey adventure seed had something to do with current events in Russia.  Total coincidence.  Actually, I was thinking more about the various traditions prohibiting idolatry (in certain Christian faiths and Judaism), the prohibition against depicting Mohammed in most Islamic traditions, and aniconism in general.  Since I wasn’t trying to make any kind of religious statement, a tsar/tsarina seemed like the right kind of monarch to be able to pull off a similar kind of countrywide prohibition in a fantasy context.  Whether the royal family is simply responding to the nation’s religious fervor, wholeheartedly supports it, or is simply manipulating it to their own political ends is up to you.

With the Monday holiday throwing me off my game, not only did I forget to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race (gasp!), but I also forgot to tell you that:

It is also my LAST Saturday radio show for a good while. (I’m moving to Tuesday nights this summer.)  Which makes it…a COLLECTOR’S ITEM!

(Link good till Friday, 6/29, at midnight.  If the feed skips, Save As an mp3.)

All joking aside, this is kind of a big deal for me.  To the best of my memory, I’ve had that time slot since December of 2007.  Setting aside the few months between when I stopped DJing professionally and restarted DJing for fun, I’ve been DJing Saturday mornings since 2004.  (And I think in 2003 I was on Sunday mornings—my memory is fuzzy on when I made the switch.) 

In fact, excepting grad school, if you count my college job rocking the reference desk and Maryland Youth Symphony Orchestra in my teens, I’ve had something scheduled on Saturdays since my sophomore year.  Of high school.  That’s 17 of the past 21 YEARS. 

That’s a lot of hikes to miss out on and BBQs to be late for.  That’s a lot of spontaneous road trips that didn’t happen.  (It’s also a lot of sleeping in and cartoons missed, but let’s fantasize that I am a well-rounded human being, huh?)  Point is, I love DJing and hope to keep doing it for a long time…but I am pretty excited to find out what Saturday mornings look like from the other end of the radio.

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