Thursday, May 20, 2010
The Epipletic Cart bears no physical characteristics to differentiate it from an ordinary two-wheeled dung cart, and a particularly worn and rickety one at that. It's the kind of dung cart the stingiest of land barons would be embarrassed to see his serfs haul dung in. Better to make them carry it in their arms than to have such an eyesore mucking about the place.
Thankfully, the cart never stays around long, instead choosing to dart across the countryside both driver- and horse-less, tottering on it's two wobbly wheels. It is also an infrequent visitor, only showing up on those rare hours before Wednesday and after Tuesday and then leaving again, its tracks fading away just a few yards from where it was last seen.
All in all the Cart would be a pretty boring occurrence, if it didn't always take a few children with it, never to be seen again.
It does so by taunting them, luring them away from their homes by cavorting about until, at last, it allows them to catch it and climb atop. It then immediately darts off, escaping the sight of any witnesses, and vanishes with the children aboard. In no report has it ever been accused of stealing a child that did not willing get in it.
Should an adventurer manage to interrupt the Cart's hunt, it will flee. Should they grip it long enough to be dragged several feet before letting go, they will stand up to discover it is 1 month later for every foot they moved while in contact with the cart, as well as one mile in the direction the cart was heading. Should they hold on for more than 100 feet, or climb aboard and fall off, they will notice the landscape is less akin to what it should be the further they go (for instance, if they knew a church was five miles north, when they've gone five miles north on the cart there may be a volcano). These unfortunate souls will discover it is many, many years later than when their short journey began, far, far away in a completely alien and unrecognizable land and to add insult to injury: a random piece of equipment had vanished. What, where and how far in time they've traveled is for the DM to decide.
Should the cart be destroyed, the effect is the same as above. Indeed! But should it be subdued, or the players merely manage to remain aboard it (it will not try to throw them off, dump them, or knock them against a low branch. Unless it does.) they will discover it has an intelligence and is capable of speech - although mostly preferring erudite, one-word responses.
Keeping the cart intact and at-hand is, of course, the preferable option. After all, it's the only way to get at the cart's secret, find the lost children and, with any luck, return home.
(Not to be confused with the Epipletic Bicycle. Turning a talking bicycle into a DnD monster would be silly)