Here’s an excerpt from the forthcoming Low Life Core Rulebook (currently in progress):
The Inspiring Yet Pathetic Tale of Yort and His Stick
Oith is a big spot. There’s a lot of stuff in it and a lot of places to which a peep might want to travel. It’s entirely feasible someone might find herself wondering things like “How far away is Floom?” or “How tall is the Hoomanitarium?”. Maybe she’s wondering “How long is the Incredibly Huge Monster™?”, “How much does that salami weigh?”, or “Do these socks make me look fat?”. To answer these questions and others the peeps of Oith have devised system after system. The problem was nothing was standardized. The Torklian squiggalurch and the Oorlquarian rutt, although both units of distance, were about as relatable to each other as the Ewgian slump was to the Aggoggian smelfpunt. Similarly, the woft, used in Goss for centuries to determine how many worbs could fit in a bunscrollup, was completely useless when trading with waremongers from the Dingdom of the Dong, where the blarb and the dloaf did that job. Something had to be done!
To address the issue, in the year 409 yafwaf the High Exalted Glorious Infrizium of Knowledge in New Oorlquar called a meeting. Diplomats, wisenheimers, and other thunkular peeps were invited from all the civilized plots on the glob. They gathered in the city to think things through and work out some sort of compromise to the benefit of all. Of course, as is often the case when such peeps gather, peaceful discourse was soon abandoned in favor of shouted threats and entitled whining. Torkle wanted a squiggalurch based scheme. The boss of Aggogg demanded (and nearly went to war over) one in which the smelfpunt was the foundation. Templars representing the Ding of the Dong insisted on the blarb, which elicited a kick to the shins and a round of wedgies from the Babajuanan emissaries. Names were called, eyes were gouged, feelings were hurt, and the whole thing almost fell apart with no nation enriched or edified by the experience.
Finally, after days of chaos, a voice of reason piped up (in the person of one Frump Whimplebottom III I/III), a wisenheimer from the town of Circuspi on Keister Island) and they finally agreed on a solution. They’d hold a contest the following year, hosted by the Infrizium and sponsored by all the attendant sovereignties. It was settled. Competitive grub-gobbling was, as always, the answer. One champion from each domain would take up the bib and the winner would decide the whole shebang. The main course? Circuspi nuts, obviously.
For the uninitiated, Circuspi nuts are these hideously vile delicatrocities. Most peeps would rather chug a steaming bowel of broccodile dung than pop a Circuspi nut in their craw. They’re also ridiculously filling; a single one constitutes a full day’s meal for anyone desperate enough to eat it and mighty enough to keep it down.
Forty three competitors sat at the buffet, banners waving and bibs rampant. Steaming heaps of lukewarm Circuspi nuts filled the bowls. A bell rang. A gong sounded. Chaos! After several hours of furious gobbling and even more furious vomiting a veritable cataract of secondhand grub coated the assembled masses and a winner emerged (literally).
With six hundred seventy nine Circuspi nuts forced down his gullet and not a single chunder to his name, Yort, a young bodul from Koozle’s nefarious Backside District, wavered to his feet, immersed in the emissions of his foes and the applause of his adoring fans. With a vigorous belch and a nod to his mommy, he stood forth and claimed his prize. From that day on, henceforth into perpetuity, as proclaimed by international treaty, all units of measure for distance, weight, size and so forth would be called the yort. That’s it, just the arbitrary yort. Yort was hungry but not particularly creative.
Yort only knows how big or heavy a yort actually is. Although it’s used to determine just about everything, from the distance between Clorb’s Wang and That One Place with All the Sand to how much glop can fit in Umbley’s bucket, peeps are even more confused than they were before. To remedy the situation, or at least to confuse it further, Yort travels the world bearing the so-called Yortstick. He wanders constantly, a gadabout’s gadabout, sizing things up and marking them with what he claims is an accurate measurement in yorts. Many independent attempts have been made to quantify the unit based on Yort’s markings, but they never seem to jibe with the markings he left elsewhere. How, one would be forgiven for wondering, can Yort be trekking the world when he was supposed to have lived over a hundred and fifty years ago? Apparently, the attention he received when he won the Infrizium’s challenge turned him into some sort of gawd or something. He hasn’t aged a day since and his hide is still caked with the curdled residue of his opponent’s meals.
And that, my son, is the story of why borlos have blue buns.