Gazillions of years have passed since the Time of the Flush and the extinction of the vaunted Hoomanrace. The descendants of cockroaches, snack cakes, worms, and lowlier things now rule the Oith and society is greatly influenced by the (often misinterpreted) archeological evidence of said Hoomanrace.
Low Life is a tabletop roleplaying game (and a continuing series of related games and products) by Andy Hopp and Mutha Oith Creations. You can nab yourself some Low Life jazz at LOWtique, the official Low Life online store.
(As excerpted from Low Life: The Rise of the Lowly – ReDredged from the Muck by Andy Hopp)
Greetings, fellow denizen of Oith. Toucanacondor Flaminguez here; ceaseless rambler and peripatetic observer of things. The task has fallen upon me to scrawl the opening gist of this tome. To simplify the process I find it advantageous to assume you are ignorant and oblivious to the ways of everything in general (except how to read or at least to listen). Perhaps you are a newly wakened tizn’t, happening across these words as you wipe the crud from your eyes and gaze upon the Oith for the first time. Maybe you got bonked on the head and can’t remember anything. Perhaps you drank something you shouldn’t have, or too much of something you should. Whatever the case, if I’m telling you jazz you already gob, kindly move on. It’s not personal. You’re just not the target audience.
The Oith wasn’t always the festering paradise it is now. In fact, if it weren’t for several dozen catastrophic apocalypses, unlikely cataclysms, erstwhile calamities, gawdly interventions, and gazillions of years of transformation, we might be sipping juice boxes with the ancient Hoomanracians right now. More likely, we’d be squirming through the muck beneath their tootsies, barely sapient enough to exist and as far from our current glory as Clorb’s Wang is from That One Place with All the Sand. Our murky, fulvid skies were once blue and vibrant. The Big Drink, those stagnant and greasy, churning and tumultuous, briny murks that drench much of the Oith were once majestic, azure expanses of crystal foam and rippling surf. What once was verdant and bold now bulges with moss, fungus, and rot, or else is twisted and gnarled beyond description. The Oith is forested and carpeted and drenched and whatnot, just with different stuff than once it was. Funkier stuff.
A Really, Really Long Time Ago
In the beginning, or shortly preceding
Nothing much happened, nothing worth heeding
What happened was nothing and nothing was lame
So the gawds got together and started a game…
Of course, there were things before there were the things before the things we know. There were things before there was the Hoomanrace just as the Hoomanrace was a thing before most of Oith’s current residents were a thing. This age refers to the time before anything we know as anything was anything. Speculation abounds, but since nobody was around yet, nobody knows what transpired. We don’t, for example, know How It All Began. We don’t know From Whence Jazz Came, nor do we know Why Anything is Anything. Sure, we have scriptures and dogmas aplenty, laying the blame or the credit for the creation of everything at the behest of one gawd or another or as the result of one cosmic causality or another, but nobody has ever been able to offer a theory with enough conviction to persuade everyone else. In fact, the assertions of one creed often run completely counter to those of another. It’s a big mess.
We’ll discuss origin stories and theological doctrines elsewhere in this book and others. Whether the Oith was crapped into existence by some cosmic beast, invented as a game to entertain bored gawds, “Let there Be”d by Jelvis, rolled from the residue of creation by Almighty Boorglezar the cosmic dung beetle, painted by Boss Rob, illegitimately sired by a thousand celestial strumples during an orgy to end all orgies (the so-called Big Bang), or simply showed up one day after taking a wrong turn at the Nether Regions doesn’t matter. It’s here now and a thousand holy wars won’t change everyone’s mind. Let’s move on.
A Really Long Time Ago
From mud, muck, and ooze and things quintessential
The bubbling morass produced things with potential
Nothing too fancy worth writing about
But given some time it would work itself out
The Oith existed about now. There wasn’t all that much going on, though. Sure, some critters and plants and stuff probably did their assorted thangs, eating each other and whatnot. Time passed. Things transpired. None of them were particularly interesting. It’s believed the first ancestors of today’s croaches and werms showed up, but that’s not very interesting either. The Primordial Soup Kitchen opened for business. It would be several gazillion millennia before the first customers would arrive.
Way Back in the Day
A Big Ass Monster with scales
And spikes, horns, and teeth on its tails
Devoured with pleasure
An assortment of treasure
And plopped gleaming stones in its trails
This was the age of the Big Ass Monsters. These huge reptilian critters roamed the Oith, kicking butt, taking names, and generally being awesome. So bad of ass were they, the theory goes, the Oith literally couldn’t handle it. A cosmogonic eviction notice was posted and the Big Ass Monsters departed, leaving nothing but their stony bones and the remains of ravaged groupies. Where did they go? Nobody knows for sure, but conjecture is rampant. Perhaps they now rock the Nether Regions, their armored scales and bristling maws adorned with flames and chains and other hardcore jazz. Were they banished to some subterranean pit or distant island? Do they now dwell within the Keister of Gawd, as posited by such gadabouts as Ubbercat Dung and Huxeltranious Swivelteets? Maybe they all just got sick and died or something. Such arguments have sent more than one wisenheimer to an early grave, victim of a spork wielded by a differing opinion.
Back in the Day
A Hoomanracian peep with a grin
That stretched from his nose to his chin
High-fived every stranger
(He wasn’t in danger)
They grinned back and slapped him some skin
It was during this era the vaunted Hoomanrace, those delightful paragons of existence, were birthed and lived. A peaceful and industrious species, they knew little of strife and violence (at least for a time). The favored offspring of Mutha Oith, these beings were powerful custodians of the land and architects of philosophy, art, and poetry. They lived in harmony with all creatures, shaping the land and enacting wondrous miracles of spirit, science, and artifice.
Such was the way of things for long and longer. Happiness dripped like sweat from every pore of every beast and a palpable funk of joy and friendship clung to every danged thing in existence. It was the best of times, apparently, and it lasted until it ended.
The Time of the Flush
The peeps had enough of this crap
Constant smiles were making them chap
With a half-hearted shrug
They opened a jug
Of ruckus all over the map
Eventually happiness got boring and poop got real. Through various outrageous debacles of Fundamental intervention (a lot of peeps insist Stan was somehow involved), geologic upheavals, otherworldly incursions, foreign visitations, tectonic toe-stubbings, environmental ravages, pathogenic proliferations, incendiary holocausts, celestial collisions, domestic disturbances, trips, stumbles, spills, and sprained moral compasses all sorts of wack jazz went down. Horrible, terrible, no good things like war and hostility were invented. Cats got astrophied and aclysmed out the wazoo. Basically, things started to suck and they haven’t stopped sucking since.
How did it all go down? I’m pleased I pretended you asked. Nobody knows, but if we’re making stuff up anyway here’s what happened: Drama! Probably somebody drunkenly said something about somebody else at a party or something. Word got around to the other peep. Things were said. Faces were slapped. Opposing significant others were seduced. Weapons were improvised. Guts were punched. It’s a tale as old as dirt and, like dirt, the crud just kept accumulating. Satisfaction was demanded. Sides were taken. Vengeance was sworn. Escalations were escalated. More weapons were invented: stabby things and slashy things and clobbery things. Lines were drawn. Lines were crossed. Words were exchanged. Harsher words were exchanged. More weapons were invented: shooty things and throwy things and spiky things. Aggressions were vented. Boundaries were formed. Treaties were signed. Pacts were broken. More weapons were invented: flaming things and explosive things, invasive things and things best undescribed. Armies were formed. Armies were crushed. Goats (whatever those are; probably some kind of ancient breakfast cereal) were scaped. Populations were oppressed. Uprisings uprose. More weapons were invented: pestilent things, corrosive things, nukular things. Societies crumbled. Others arose. Others crumbled. Peeps croaked in droves. Droves croaked in throngs. Throngs croaked in hordes. Populaces diminished. Poop, as I said earlier, got real.
All was not lost! Not yet, anyway. Sure, the Hoomanrace was devastated. Yeah, things sucked. Mutha Oith had been violated without so much as a goodbye kiss. The planet was wrecked, cracked open, frozen, thawed, boiled, and ripe for the picking. Things were about to get worse. Much worse.
The ancestors of today’s oofos, beings from various cosmic elsewheres, had been infiltrating the Hoomanrace for millennia. Until now they generally kept to themselves, occasionally popping out from behind a shrub to probe somebody or trampling a few crops now and then. No longer. Invasion was the order of the day and the crippled vestiges of the Hoomanrace were ill prepared for the onslaught. No worries, though, the triumphant oofos were even less well prepared for the next phase of what I just decided to refer to as Mutha Oith’s Apocalyptic Clustergoose.
Maybe the gawds were getting bored with watching all the wars and invasions and enslavements and whatnots. They were jaded and needed more action. Why not? Poop got real a while ago, now it was about to go down.
Hurricanes, himmicanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, oithquakes, floods, mudslides, waterslides, landslides, curly slides, avalanches, blizzards, heat waves, famines, typhoons, tsunamis, brush fires, limnic eruptions, boils, blights, plagues, torrential downpours, and minor inconveniences ravaged the land as never before. The lost continent of Egglantis rose, sank, rose again, and sank again, returning to Oith the misplaced zazz of hocus pokery and other Fundamental arts. Cataclysmic forces opened a door connecting Oith to the eldritch realm of Middle Oith then quietly shut it in embarrassment, but not before admitting all manner of rampaging horcs, frolicsome smelves, and the like. Bombardments from elsewhere, immense flaming rocks of ice and stone, fell from the skies. Something huge crashed into the backside of the moon, cleaving a great rift in that booty and hurtling tremendous pasteurized chunks of moonflesh Oithward (creating the Moonular Cheese Fields in the process). Things were unleashed. Horrid, malevolent things. Unpronounceable things from unpronounceable places. They rampaged for an age, sopping up and subjugating most of the obliterated residue of Hoomanrace and oofo civilization before heading back home to sleep it off. Shambles and ruination remained. The Oith had been dumped,wiped, and flushed.
After the Wipe
The gawds weren’t entirely able
To discern what was real or a fable
They gazed ‘cross the lands
Threw up their gawd hands
And knocked the game board from the table
This era marked another period of relative inactivity on Oith. The essentially annihilated remnants of life clung desperately to existence, mutating and devolving into strange new forms or disappearing entirely. Most of Oith’s resident organisms were extinct by now (including, if we’re singling anyone out, the illustrious Hoomanrace). Those that remained struggled tenaciously to survive among the blighted grounds, contaminated seas, and polluted skies, eking out a subsistence almost as lowly as the primordial werms and croaches slowly crawling their way from the muck.
The Rise of the Lowly
Rather than starting from scratch
They reused the dregs of the batch
One gawd to another
Said “listen my brother
Let’s you and me have a rematch”
The Hoomanrace was gone and Mutha Oith was a disgraced, ravaged strumple ready to be taken advantage of by those with the means and inclination to do so. Thus arose our predecessors. Over the span of a gazillion and twelve eons (give or take) our forefathers and foremothers (all eight of them) evolved, devolved, spawned, and begat, creating the awesome assortment of peeps and denizens that currently inhabit the Oith.
The forsaken cities and wondrous achievements of the antediluvian Hoomanrace lay crumbled and buried. The remnants of that ilk have either croaked, fled, or been warped and mutated beyond recognition, victims of continuing exposure to cosmic, nukular, and pestilent influences left in the wake of the Flush. The dominant beings of the planet, the noble cockroach, the tenacious worm, and the imperishable snack cake have evolved into grand new forms. The descendants of those few abandoned oofos who survived the Flush strive desperately to reclaim their past glory, their astounding technologies lost to the anus of history.
Audacious times are upon us. Lost lands and forgotten civilizations await discovery. Terrible monsters and grand treasures lurk behind every rock (usually one or the other, occasionally both together). There are hoards to nab, foes to stab, and tales to blab. These are the days of Low Adventure, where destiny is shaped not by circumstance of birth, but by strength of snazz, zazz, and jazz. It’s a bold world for bold peeps, where life is relatively inexpensive and even the lowliest werm can become a king by his own mop.