2018/10/10

OSR: The Angelic Amelia Bedelia

Gee, I  haven't done a clickbait title in a while...

Amelia Bedelia is a character from a children's book series. She's a maid. A very literal maid. Ask her to get the spots out of your dress and she'll grab the scissors. Ask her to take a seat and she'll pick up the chair. Ask her to dust the furniture and she'll carefully sprinkle dust over everything. Etc.

She's not malicious or deliberately obtuse. She's just... very straightforward, like a simple computer program. She's always confused as to why people want her to do these strange things, but it's her job, so she does whatever she's asked.

Amelia Bedelia is the opposite of a classic Faustian devil.


A devil wants to barter. Amelia Bedelia just listens and acts.
A devil wants whatever is precious to  you (up to and including your soul). Amelia Bedelia wants something completely free; your admiration and praise.
A devil is cunning and twists your words to suit its purpose. Amelia Bedelia is, bless her heart, a simple creature.
A devil will never help you unless it has to. It's sometimes difficult to prevent Amelia Bedelia from helping you.
Desperate people sometimes call up devils for assistance. People are usually desperate to get Amelia Bedelia to leave.

The conclusion is clear. Amelia Bedelia is a sort of angel. 


As such, it's only right and proper to inflict her on your PCs.

Angelica Carmelia

HD: 2
Appearance: a young woman with disordered brown hair, wearing locally appropriate but out-of-fashion servant's livery.
Voice: deliberately unaccented.

Wants: to help.
Morality: imperviously pious.
Intelligence: a sort of warped brilliance.
Armour: none.
Move: normal.
Morale: 12. Will only panic if people around her panic, just because it seems like the helpful thing to do.
Damage: none deliberately.

Angelica Carmelia is a prototype guardian angel. It didn't work. She's been sent to earth to help. She cannot deliberately be targeted by attacks, due to her angelic nature. Landslides will miss her (and only her).

She wants to help. She doesn't have any angelic powers (beyond sheer bloody-minded determination and supernatural good luck). Any domestic command will be obeyed. She'll strip sheets (tearing them into nice neat strips), chop firewood (into match sticks), and generally ruin everything. Any deliberately vulgar command will be met with a shocked look, a solid slap, and a great deal of trouble in the afterlife.

The only way to make her go away is to find someone who needs her help more than you do.

Example instructions:

"Check for traps": Angelica will put a check mark on four, but only four, traps. The fifth trap will be conveniently ignored.

"Attack that goblin." (not really a valid task but someone will ask). Angelica will throw a tack at the goblin.

"Hold this item." Angelica will hold the item like a small child or particularly passive cat until another command requires her to use her hands. She'll then put down the item and immediately forget about it.

"Tie this rope to that thing." Angelica will tie a knot: windsor, half windsor, or bow. None of the knots are particularly strong or suitable for adventuring purposes.

Do not trust the soup mimic.
Side Note: Wishes and Contracts
Any sensible genre-aware player, upon getting access to a Wish-type spell, is going to start drafting a fuckery-proof contract. No moneky's paw bullshit here, thank you very much.

And sometimes, that's fine, especially if the PC is both genre-aware and literate. But if they aren't... just mention to the player that their character might not be thinking things through with such care and deliberation.

In my experience the player usually runs with it. Sure, they could phrase every instruction to their new friend Angelica in perfectly clear and untwistable terms... but they could also not do that. And sometimes, it's deliciously fun to have a PC do things that the player knows full well are unwise.


Side Note 2: Angelica Carmelia is probably in the same divine order of beings as the Wyrms of Service, Mineral Wights, Restraining Ogres, etc.



Gygaxian Democracy: Amelia Bedelia spells.

This game is older than the internet. Pick a spell. Make it literal. Post it in the comments.

E.g. Find Familiar: target experiences a brief moment of déjà vu.
Fire Bolt: two objects are joined together by a large fastener made of flame.

Etc.

9 comments:

  1. Fireball
    R: [dice]x100' T: Ball D: Instantaneous
    A ball is launched [dice]x100'

    Hold Person
    R: 100' T: Person D: However long you can hold onto a person
    An arm appears and grabs a person arm, STR Save at -[dice] to resist

    Knock
    R: 100' T: Door D: [sum] seconds
    [sum] knocking noises emanate from a door, one/second

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fireball: target's groin starts to feel like it's burning for [dice] turns. Only works on males.
    Wizard vision: grants the eyesight of a 70-years old man to the target.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Magic Missile - A small (8" long) rocket made from a cardboard tube with paper fins, trailing sparks, fires out of the sleeve. It has a 10' range and deals no damage. It could conceivably replicate a flare cantrip.

    Floating Disc - A translucent disc appears in the air at slightly above arm's reach for a tall man. The disc will continuously levitate higher if any attempt is made to reach it, until it presses against a ceiling or other obstruction. It remains fixed 5' behind the caster and moves with them until its duration expires.

    Augury - This spell creates a well-made auger drill with a 24" iron screwshaft and wooden two-handed turning handle. The tool lasts for four plus caster level hours.

    Speak Language - This spell enables the caster to speak continuously without pausing for breath for upwards of ten minutes. It could just conceivably be useful at avoiding gas traps.

    Burning Hands: Out of the caster's sleeves flop two well-made false hands of leather, stuffed with straw. They are on fire and will burn slowly until consumed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. True Strike - The caster will give a frank and unsparing appraisal of some aspect of the target---viz. their sartorial choices, posture, behavior, or on further acquaintance a criticism of their worst character flaws, always as accurate as may be delivered.

    Charm Person - Person is never far away and he will always appreciate whatever this spell produces (flowers, gift basket, etc.) Person is a fairly average looking bloke but he has 4HD. Alternatively this spell may be used to charm a parson, if any is nearby.

    Sleep - The caster will do their level best to get some shuteye although it will be as difficult as you would expect given environment or immediate circumstance.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Summon Swarm - The target is pelted with letters telling them to arrive in court.

    Colour Spray - Will make sea foam appear in any colour one might wish.

    Cloudkill - Trust me, that cloud will never know what hit it.

    Dancing Lights - The perfect illumination for the grand ball.

    Disguise Self - Any authentic aspect of the caster's ego will be completely undetectable, with only superficial traits being discernible.

    Water Breathing - It might give the target a water spout breath weapon, or it might just fill their lungs with water.

    Acid Arrow - Coats one arrow with a potent hallucinogenic drug.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wonderful! Too bad my native language, being already very literal and precise, lacks puns and ambiguities of English.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hold Person- you walk over and give the target a loving embrace.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Holed person- A super fine laser punches a hole through the specified person.
    alternatively,
    -A servant appears. 3HD but he is bleeding from many deep wounds.

    ReplyDelete
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