Crucible: The Walking-Notes of Truuug Vanderplatz ‘The Daunting’

Crucible: Ardahl and TruugHere’s another “Crucible” extra from co-creator Smuzz, focusing on our resident medical expert, Truug Vanderplatz, set before the first adventure.

There’s more about Crucible here, and you can read the strip on Tapastic (publisher interest welcome).

Truug’s notes are presented as a series of entries in his notebook.

Some notes are scribbled in margins.


I am decided to be experimenting with formal titles. After much of considering and many trial-names, it is ‘The Daunting’ pleases for now. Mayhap it will stay. Possibly not so.


At things beginning, I’d been thinking Friend Ardahl had not the sense of humour but after a snellting of acquaintance, I came to see that, beneath his Grt-Ran-the-Brantler Heroism there does run a tinkling stream of levity. True, bellingly, his jokes all do seem to involve fecal matter –often, I’m finding, in a combination with a transcendental quality.

I’ve come to the presumption the humour of the thing hinges in some way upon the Kjntt of the meeting of the fecal with the immaculate, but – in calm – I’ve still not fully felt out the workings of the joke.

Crucible_TapTastic-Ep06-03-SNIPIn certain, it’s not in the habit of Friend Ardahl to make jokes to hear the laughter of others. It’s enough to the dear thing that he, himself, finds his jokes funny. If anyone laughs with him, he’ll find delight in that for its own sake. Though, but he’s a softest face of rock I’ve known for many a year.

The laughter of the Kjisttling is like to an irritation of the diaphragm, that to cause explosive, truncated shouts like that of a drunken Melder barking at a fire. In calm, humour being the true essence of a Friendship, I’ve developed a noise that sounds quite the same thing. Being the sociable fellow he is, this makes Friend Ardahl happy so he’s to making the laughter himself at the noise I’m for making. Now – and this is the trick of it – this laughter of his is such a ridiculous noise for a man to be making, it makes me laugh too, in the real.

So it is, we are each laughing at a joke the neither of us could explain to the other and yet the both of us finding the thing funnier than ever. In this manner, though we = unable to share meat, we’ll be sharing a joke from the opposite ends like the two mnestallers and the juff-nest.

Tic-Tic-Nac Jokes

I, for myself, have not heard a decent Tac-Tac-Nac joke in months. It would be unnatural if I’d not tried teaching this joke form to Friend Ardahl but – though the fellow’s polite in the extreme – his show of interest is plainly the courtesy rather than a man genuinely entertained.  A rare pity for, isn’t the combination of assonance in the first two propositions + the allusion in the third response one of the great joys in life.

Tic-Tic-Nac Joke:

There’s a A N-yrttgg fails to leave an inn.

And then, wouldn’t you hear a kind of wind searches for no-one’s shorts.

Between the two of them: A ticket for a ball of G’Nrttn.

(Roll on Floor laughing)

Crucible: Truug Botanical Sketch



Truly, the plants of Shoorec are very different from that of my home, but I notice their structure has an internal poetry which glows in the mind’s eye. Now, like our own plants, some are useful + some, useless, some heal + some are of the poisonous kind.

This, the world of plants is, to a seeing being, a world of offered materials to be put to use easing the passage through life, or to make that passage more hazardous.

Like any reasoning people, the Kjisttlings have not been ignorant of their plants+ the harvesting of many of these does provide useful foods + materials.

One Three of these are the exception –of a very similar family of plant.

The Speggir bush, the Tindleclump + the Yanders-Mane are to be seen in many places. Calm, on our travels, we’ve found them often. Certain, they all share a loudly differing leaf system to any other plant in Shoorec  but not a one of them looks strange in a field.

I’ve been noticing first, the Tindleclump because of its marked similarity to the Orvtrin which we at home do love to cultivate (The excellent sap, you see, can form into so many useful items). Then why, I had to ask myself, had no-one thought of growing this invaluable plant to provide the many smooth + shiny tools we use ourselves?

Why, then I realized, wasn’t the Yanders-Mane but regarded as a common weed? So now calm, why was it the Kjisttlings were so ignorant of a plant they must have known for centuries? For there’s to be no shortage of tradesmen looking to increase their profits + yet no-one has once looked at this plant as a source of revenue.

Calm then, I’m no longer asking the locals about it. If not a one of them has the snelting that this ugly plant might provide a material like my own vest (With its great pliability + able to stop an arrow) I’m thinking do we not have the makings of a profitable business?

But then, Friend Ardahl’s not willing to be considering of a business making armour from Yanders-Mane. For faith – the Kjintril  man’s not to be even interested in my providing him with better armour than that wooden trinkle he wears.

A Business. That would be the thing.

And how to begin such a business? It would be capital I am needing.

Crucible: Truug Knee Sketch



Always, isn’t the Kjisttlings anatomy so very similar to our own, yet alien as you could imagine. It would be in the normal way of thinking that this would give a sense of Valluk to a decent fellow. And yet, isn’t it the very opposite? So utterly preposterous are those joints that there’s no call but for laughter. For then, any time I find the journey to be taxing my good nature, don’t I but take a peek at Friend Ardahl’s knees and there I am, laughing to myself the next few minutes. And, doesn’t Friend A join in, so it is that when no-one may depend on good weather, the Hmffrinl on our long journeys is supplied by the wonder of knees.

I thinking I shall never see.

A limb more funny than a knee

Note to self: There’s being a song in this somewhere – Develop!

Funny things Friend A does




His sleeping – the way of it.

I’d not be hoping for a more Hmffrinl companion.

34th Brendle


So often the Lalhoint of a journey is in the differences to one’s own home, I must have mention of The hmffrinl Weather.

It’s the suddenness of the thing – not the slow change of seasons from hot to wet but that walking from one hill to another will be including rain, mist (what mists they do have!), bright sun and keening wind, all in new and freskyly combinations.

Never can one be bored by these playful weathers.

Capital for Business: Where?

Whom should I be asking for a loan?

Friend Ardahl is much against this, the borrowing of anything. In certain, he’s right – for, as soon as looking at us, any banker would be cheating us of the secret.   In certain, Friend A is in peace with working but to for working “In a building ‘til we are grey + bent double” he is not.

And heartfully, I must also be agreeing to this.


Isn’t it the way that when Friend Ardahl is presented with a problem –  doesn’t he stare fixedly at the middle-distance + make an act of thinking deeply as if the solution will be convinced by his acting + appear before him in all it’s clarity.

Thusly, I’ve noted Kjisttlings do behave when puzzled. In asking of this, I’m told it’s only related to prayer in the most tangential fashion. In certain, it’s vrantingly funny + haven’t I, to avoid offence, manytimes had to walk away to laugh to myself.


And now it’s me finding I’m Frentling to myself. For the mivlesty joke with myself. I’ve noticed the terrible habit-forming quality of the thing + I may well be doing it quite seriously now. It’s the kentling sense of tranquility that it gives that makes for its appeal.

Crucible: Truug's Teethybox Sketch



And in certain, is it not the raakdist question of diet that arises each day. Now, none could say I’d not noticed the way the creatures here eat. For most of them will be eating food that’s still hard by GnxTyt and – even if the stuff’s cooked to cinders, still it’s uneatably raw. Certain, this has a disgusting quality about it, but then I’d be a poor explorer if I expected foreigners to be the same as I.

But as to my consuming flesh when it’s freshly congealed, falling off the bone or  + near liquid ripe, Friend Ardahl has no such philosophical tolerance. The sadness of this is we must forever eat at a distance from each other. It’s the smell is, it seems, an issue with Friend Ardahl (+, indeed, all Kjisttlings) + forever he’s making requesting I wipe my mouth after a meal.

But for I, am fascinated by the way by which Kjisttlings – indeed, almost all animals of this world – consume tough, still-solid flesh which, at the very most, died only a few days ago. This is done through the ‘Teeth’  with their tearing + grinding of the lumpy solid pieces.

Teeth. Teeth. Teeth. Teeth. That word, isn’t it the most stimulating sound? For certain,  I’m adoring the word. Teeth teeth teeth. Hilarious!

Teeth – That would be an array of cutting + grinding implements like the hardened bone, set at the entrance to the maw. Only after this grinding is complete are the solid food particles allowed down the throat. Certain, it’s quite the most entertaining thing I’ve ever seen + I’d be loving to watch this performance every mealtime – if only Friend Ardahl would not enforce the etiquette of  ‘Six paces back + downwind’.

The teeth themselves are, by being such vicious + startling things in a mouth, quite the most hilarious things you could be hoping to see.

If there’s nothing else of interest in the whole of Shoorec, and indeed the whole of Shaarn, then I’m glad I’ve seen the teeth, for – aside from fatherhood – they are the most entertaining thing I’ve enjoyed in my whole life.

To be my idea of a perfect joke would be a set of teeth, set in soft gums moving entirely on their own across a table.

Note to self:

Would there be a clockworksmith that could construct this?

Would the joke grasp the Kjisttlings?


Since our arrival in Shoorec, both FrA + I’ve been Kradddled from one end of the country to the other by the Permit system.

Indeed, almost everywhere we go, it’s the permission from some authority we must have. Assuredly, they’ll wish to know a variety of tedious facts – upon who’s business we travel, where from, where going, what purpose, whom attest our identity & c & c. Thusly, to travel more than a few days walk on any major road you’ll surely meet with people who wish to know this Jiiet.

As to the taking of other routes, this can be hazardous in itself  + the bribing/ fighting/ drugging unconscious each guardpost we come to is attracting the attention. Timely, our travels will cause a flurry of search parties to be sent after us.

A solution:

Would not the ‘Quest’ system allow us free and calmly transit through many permit authorities? Better still – Permit offices may offer basic supplies + emergency medical support (Though, from the watching, I’d not be to trust their medics more than I’d be trusting a Wrunk to massage my own spine).

The better – whilst our roving is with little idea of a plan, the Task Office expends great skill in the obtaining of Hrrosttrnn items.

+ Venturing where the Old Time has left its clues.

+ Ghosts of the ancient wisdoms.

In certain, we would be mad to deny the possibility that these might be of use.

There is, it’s true – in Tasks no small danger – being undertaken by the most desperate of society.

But now, wouldn’t these dangers occur to us chancingly were we to be searching for such rare items alone? Friend Ardahl, in his boyish enthusiasm, is in the way of welcoming such a challenge.

For myself,: The advantages of a Quest team:

Further allies in combat who may provide us with the answers we seek.

How to the finding of a Quest Team?

– Apply to Quest Office + Refer us to Central booking system.


Impress on Ardahl: Vital in avoidance any hints of Own Inquiry.


In certain, without the trandling of a hearty song, no good walk may be complete.

Have tried to interest Friend Ardahl in this to the forming of a duet. FrA does for the singing if patiently encouraged + does have a curiously tone-ful voice with a charming exotic note structure.

Saddening, FrA shows unable to hear of my trandling. The presuming is that the hearing of Kjistlings is more limited than that of ours.
A pity as, in calm, we do duet very well, were he only able to hear it.



NB: This is only the terms known to date. It will, over time, expand. For the full Truugationary, click here

Bellingly: Ironically. With thundering yet much-avoided inevitability. Bathetically.

Chk’Rath: Truug’s species (see Episode One)

Frentling: Pantomiming deep thought whilst hoping someone else will solve the problem.

Freskylly: Ever changing. Random. From Freskyll – a stage of the baking process in which Lyndll seeds transform into unpredictable patterns. Freskyll are often collected/stolen by children for use in games.

G’Nrttn: Anyone’s guess. An industrial product? A text?

GnxTyt: A Chk’Rath philosopher, dietician and bon viveur, a fervent advocate of the need to eat raw food for good digestion. Died tragically young.

Grdettering: Rotting in a pleasantly delicious manner. Mouth-watering. Prepared to perfection. A compliment. Metaphorically compliment of/to a member of the ‘opposite’ sex.

Grt-Ran-the-Brantler: Heroic character of children’s stories. 

Hmffrinl: Convivial. Comfortable. Unendingly varied in delight.

Hrrosttrnn: Things of perceived value whose functional value may remain dormant or undiscovered. Originally: Family heirlooms. In the case of Shaarn: Vestiges.

Jsknyyill: Unnatural. Wrong. Eerie. Upsetting to the digestion. Unnerving. Haunted.

Jiiet: Expletive. Damaging to the balance of a tranquil mind.

Keltering: A thing that occurs before one has acknowledged, let alone formed a practical reaction to, it. Over before it’s started. Idiom: The moods of females in oestrus.

Crucible_TapTastic-03-02-SNIPKentling: Out of sight. An object which, if looked at, disappears but remains visible on the edge of a field of vision. Idiom: An idle thought. A musing. A fancy.

Kjisttling: Humanoid. Not of Truug’s species though they may be of widely differing civilisations. The people of Ardahl, Sylvana, Beloc and Zingamy.

Kjntt: Clash. Incompatibility. A failed mating of plant and animal.

Kjnttril: Mythical beast comprising of both plant and animal. The subject of many stories of stupidity and futile projects. Cf: ‘The Kjnttril who tried to wash fire’ & c. colloq: Willfully stupid person.

Kjnttrilish: The act of a willfully stupid person.

Kradddled: The habit of  performing complex actions to achieve simple results due to Kraddlish (ibid). To be fully kradddled is to continue the complex action when the Kradddlish is no longer present cf: Superstition.

Kraddling: To perform a Kraddled action.

Kradddlish: Mobile obstruction, i.e. a badly designed system, tool or law.

Krutting: Not so much fighting as messing people about so much that they no longer wish to be near to you. Practical Joke with extreme prejudice.  Sometimes confused with bullying.

Lalhoint: Nicely rotten. The point at which meat comes off the bone easily but is not quite liquefied. Metaphorical: The perfect time.

Melder:  Hexapod animal of medium intelligence, used for protecting villages.

Mivlesty: Bitter-sweet. An item of food that is delicious when eaten after another item (Jivlesty), by way of contrast, but quite tasteless without the juice of the first. Idiom: A personal joke which one does not share with anyone else as explaining it would ruin it.

N-yrttgg: Anyone’s guess. A drunk?

Orvtrin: A plant cultivated by Truugs people for the construction of durable material such as tools and protective clothing.

(The Parable of the) Two mnesrallers and the Juff-nest: The tale of two mould-hunters who harvest from both ends of a Juff-nest (Something like a horizontal termite mound). A children’s classic.

Raakdist: Ever-present. An ache that began so long ago that you only notice when it stops. ie: Arthritis. Idiom: A social awkwardness. A redundant tradition.

Snelting: The first sprout to emerge from a seed. (Radicle: Invisible unless the seed is germinated above ground). Idiom: A smidgen. A hint. Easily misinterpreted. Also: Glancing blow before inspection by a trained medic.

Tic, Nic, Nac Jokes: Joke structure incorporating assonance in the first two propositions and an allusion (Invariably ironic) in the third. Somewhere between a syllogism, a haiku and the joke form ‘An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman’ jokes.

Trandling: Stomach-singing. Usually at a frequency too low to be heard by Shaarn-ites though might cause a sense of tranquility. NB: Some notes may cause biliousness in Kjisttlings.

Trinkle: Indefinite article. Literally ‘Thing over there, look for yourself, I’m busy’. Given to any item not worthy of being noticed enough to name.

Trow: Archaic idiom. ‘Trow’ as in ‘I bet’ or ‘I promise’.

Valluk: Aesthetic dissonance. The unhappy meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella in hostile lighting.

Vranting: Something that, by its prohibition, becomes hard to keep secret. ie: A joke that one must keep quiet about. Thus, a joke that becomes so funny that one cannot avoid laughing. Vrantingly: A Vrantish situation. There is also Vrantling in the negative sense – a sorrow hidden so deeply (ie: Out of a desire not to be ostentatious) that the person hiding it becomes consumed with their grief.

Vrantler: Person beyond the control of social mores and conventions. A madman.

Wrunk: A large mammal commonly used in the treefelling industry.

Crucible Links

• Crucible first appeared in print in STRIP: The Adventure Comics Magazine and currently features online on Tapastic

• Crucible on Facebook

• Rules of Tasking

• The Glyphs of Shaarn

• Visit Smuzz Official Site:

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

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