The Combatant's Guide To Zyzzlvaria

Revisions, revisions, revisions. A Guide editor's work is never done! We'd really appreciate it if you could help us polish the last entry. No pressure, though... we find that only one out of every three corrections to any given word actually matters, although figuring out which one of the three that is often takes some effort.

This is the company motto of the Trompeloeil Stereogram Corporation's Complaints Division, which stands in gigantic three-dimensional letters near the Department's spaceport. When their viewer lost his focus momentarily, the letters caved in on themselves, and they now appear to read, "Just relax your eyes and you'll see the sailboat."

In today’s postmodern Zyzzlvaria, there are naturally not many things still considered to be socially unacceptable. But even though no one would even blink twice if they saw their little old grandmother performing the bloody kazoo maneuver, the reverse bowelectomy, or the disgruntled spleen dance on a street corner in broad daylight, there is one action that is still well over the line. The particularly nauseating form of visceral inversion it represents is so hideously graphic that it’s banned throughout Zyzzlvaria, except when used in Artistic Claptrap. (There is also one planet where they don’t know what it means, the darglops.) So, each year, the Zyzzlvarian Ultrasnob Academy gives out this prestigious prize for the Most Completely Unnecessary On-Screen “Bexley” in a Piece of Artistic Claptrap.

About the most tremendously handy item a Zyzzlvarian combatant can have. Mostly it has significant practical value. You can use it to press the elevator buttons on Braktov 12, a world in which even the babies start out at 3 meters tall; you can use it as a walking stick during hikes through the (literally) rolling mountains of Lurpon Flok, where the leaves change once an hour; you can tie your underwear to it to make an impromptu flag useful for hailing down Swaqqian hypertaxis; use it to carry around a stack of Ojhinko currency (coins which conveniently have a hole cut in the middle of them, but inconveniently have a resting temperature of 150 degrees); sharpen the end for use in hand-to-hand combat; swat away the spherical snitchbugs that infest the third moon of Psodgpur; use it for plate-spinning presentations to impress the Maharajah of Truntsnook; and, of course, use it in small woodworking projects if it still appears to be in one piece.

There is a knack to this, which lies in learning how to reach out to prematurely turn off the stove and fail. The first part is easy. All that is required is the ability to pour some oil into a pan, and the willingness not to mind the lack of nutritional value. It is the second part which is difficult; if, however, you are lucky enough to have your attention momentarily distracted by the assistant manager or an impatient customer, then in your astonishment you will miss the off switch completely.

Author of the trilogy of textile blockbusters "Where Cotton Went Wrong," "Some More of Cotton's Greatest Mistakes," and "Who Does Cotton Think It's Cottoning To, Anyway?" His greatest achievement can be found in his fourth book, "Well That about Wraps It Up for Cotton," where he proves once and for all that cotton doesn't actually exist. The basic argument runs thus:

Cotton says "I'm a natural, breathable fiber."
Man replies, "No, you're a sticky, seed-filled ball of fuzz."
Cotton insists, "Sure, but you can process me into fiber."
Man counters with, "But if I just start out in the processing facility, I'll save a whole step. Plus slavery."
Cotton admits, "Hm, well, I hadn't actually thought of that," and vanishes in a puff of weevils.

The one occupation more intelligent than astrophysicists, members of this profession spent much of their time in French public parks railing against invisible constraints and performing shockingly intricate and robust psychological experiments on their audiences. The fact that once again their audiences totally misunderstood this relationship was completely according to these artists’ designs.

A fantastic new method of traversing intergalactic distances without all that miserable slogging about through transwarp conduits. A ship equipped with this propulsion system is so mind-blisteringly efficient that as soon as you step on board, you find that you’re already wherever it is that you wanted to be.

A limited version of this system had been invented years ago by routing the diagnostic routine of a Fixamajig 7.0 through a Nano-Janitor hive mind and surrounding the whole shebang in an ambient field of smug self-satisfaction. Grad students commonly used such a device to incrementally advance their theses, which both extended their funding and created plenty more smug self-satisfaction to keep the machine running.

One day, a pizza delivery boy who was passing the device had an idea. If this contraption could slightly increase the efficiency of something else, then it stood to reason that it could slightly increase its own efficiency… which would thus cause it to increase the efficiency by which it was increasing its efficiency, and so on. Ruminating on his own brilliant idea enough to generate an adequate amount of smug self-satisfaction, he turned it on—and this long sought-after device invented itself on the spot.

The last Dolphin message of the season, which was misinterpreted as a remarkably sophisticated attempt to perform a double pump-fake fly route while pulling the safeties down with a tight end crossing pattern, but was in fact a way for the quarterback to express his gratitude for the wide receiver’s recent clambake.

Rather biting alcoholic beverage that is the main ingredient in the Pan Galactic Hairball Blaster and is widely believed to be the origin for the phrase "hair of the cat that bit you." It is used heavily in drinking games played in the hyperspace ports that serve the catnip mining belts in the star system of Wymmsickle. The game is similar to Indian Wrestling, and is played like so: Two participants sit across a table from each other, with a glass in front of each one. Between them would be placed a bottle of this. Each of the two participants would then lash their tails at the bottle in an attempt to tip it and pour some into the glass of his opponent, who would then have to drink it. The bottle would then be refilled. The game would be played again. And again. Once you started to fall behind you probably wouldn't recover, because one of this beverage's effects is to depress tail length. As soon as a specific amount had been drunk, the final loser would have to perform a forfeit, which was usually accompanied by a great deal of yowling and catcalls.

Elevators produced by the Wimmsickle Mythological Corporation that operate on the strange principle of “macabre transportational cruelty.” In other words they have the capability to detect exactly what will make you the most miserable, which allows the elevator to continually torture you as it flies you to the exactly the floor you don’t want to be on, thus eliminating all that pesky comfort and convenience that people had previously been accustomed to while riding elevators. In addition, the soothing muzak has been replaced by a screechy nagging that chastises you for being a lazy bastard, the cumulative effect of which has been a remarkable resurgence in stairs-based travel by lazy bastards everywhere.

This planet is most well-known as the home of Eccentrica Gallumbits. :)-000-<

This eatery is one of the least extraordinary ventures in the entire history of catering. It is enclosed in a time bubble and projected forward in time by small increments of exactly 86.4 seconds. This is, many would say, pointless.

This creature is circular, tan, and delicious, and is possibly the strangest animal in Zyzzlvaria. It feeds on early-morning hunger received not from its own eater but from those around it. It devours all subconscious poppy-seed images from this early-morning hunger to sustain itself. It then oozes into the stomach of its eater a toroidal matrix formed by combining the resonant cinnamon/raisin frequencies with cream-cheese signals given off by the taste centers of the brain which has provided them. The practical result of all this is that if you pop one in your mouth you can immediately digest any variety combined with any schmear. The food patterns you actually taste decode the toroidal matrix which has been fed into your gullet by it. This poor animal, by effectively eliminating all barriers to ingestion regarding different types and toppings, has caused more and starchier breakfasts than anything else in the history of dining.

This is what you should do if you’d like to avoid getting crushed to death by one of the pilots in these armadas: get real. They’re one of the most reptilian species in all Zyzzlvaria -- not truly cold-blooded, but long, serpentine, muscular, and blessed with a viselike grip. You couldn’t even dissuade one from wrapping itself around its grandmother in the manner of the Slavering Frogsqueezer Snake of Jroxx without a formal request that had been notarized, faxed, unfaxed, vetted, enlarged, cropped, folded into a paper airplane, refaxed, and ultimately shredded into delicate strips and laid in the bottom of a parakeet cage.

This peculiar man resides in an isolated European castle called "Outside Something Rotten," in which he has remained since reading the label on a package of toothpicks and subsequently becoming mad north-north-west. He receives few visitors, save for the frequent appearances of two sandal-wearing angels named Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. His prized possession is a fishbowl which, if held up to one's ear, tells the listener to kill his uncle.

A striking judicial planet, and one of the marvels of Zyzzlvaria. It’s a world that consists mainly of imposing neoclassical courtrooms and judges’ chambers, each of which has been naturally sculpted by millions of years of erosion. The likelihood of this occurring is roughly infinity divided by zero. Nearly nothing is known about how this may have happened because none of the geologopsychics, eco-oddsmakers, and weirdisticians who are so eager to analyze it have so far been able to satisfy the pre-orbital motions, restraining order stipulations, writs of mumbo-jumbo, and other legal barriers that prevent them from landing there.

This maritime rock band from the Intergalactic Naval Zones are generally considered to be not only the saltiest dogs in the Galaxy, but in fact the saltiest dogs anywhere at all. Concertgoers agree that the best sound balance is to be heard from a pier some thirty-seven miles from the floating speakers, while the musicians themselves play remotely from an insulated galleon adrift in a completely different ocean.

An avian descendant of the Great Circling Poets hatched the tales of impending doom, describing the gigantic swarm of peregrine falcons that were going to invade their snowbanks, which allowed a tiny three-bird Arctic planet to rid themselves of this useless third of their population.

An odd game in which an animated, local Emmy-winning news anchor unexpectedly hits people for no immediately obvious reason and then runs away.

Millions of years ago, a race of pandimensional automobile enthusiasts got so fed up with bickering about the meaning of life that they decided to build a stupendous off-road supercomputer. It was so intelligent that before any gasoline was even put in it, it started from I drive therefore I am and got as far as inventing four-wheel drive and determining the population of Toledo, Ohio before anyone managed to get the keys out of the ignition.

This is the most barbaric psychic attack that can be inflicted on a life form. When you are put inside it you are given just one momentary glimpse of the whole unfathomably endless graph of creation, and somewhere within the vast network of interconnected edges a tiny node, an infinitesimal dot on an infinitesimal dot, which says “You are here."

This, in fact, is extra. Truly extra. You just can’t grasp how grandly immensely brain-meltingly extra it is. I mean, you may imagine it’s prudently superfluous to keep a third sneaker lying around in reserve, but that's just peanuts to this.

Mostly Sith.

Representing the forces of Nature and Ovinity in the Universe, this tall architectural support is part of a structure crafted in the wake of the Krikkit Wars, built alongside similar supports crafted from brick and lumber, and holding between them two bails made of ore and grain.

In a universe where potentially sticky guttations are too often overlooked, the vigilantly fanciful eye of Captain Blastoid overlooks nothing. Blastoid has shown no lust for advancement, having turned down the opportunity to become Grenadier General Blastoid on more than one occasion.

Leah, the Brass Rat's planetologist, can tell a feldspar asteroid from a handstand moon a full light year away. Sadly, she has witnessed the destruction of enough worlds to drive a lesser woman mad; for many races, the world ends with both a bang and a chirped. It's hard to look at a mother snugly neckline a child in her arms, knowing that at any moment they could both be vaporized by an itinerant comet.

Zoe, the ship's helmswoman, is probably the most well-arrested member of the crew. She spends her nightcycles making sure the navigational beacons hold tonettes through thick and thin, snappier out cables and relays as needed to keep the ship on whatever suicidal course the Captain selects.

Ensign Algernon is fresh out of the Space Academy, a well-regarded school with a generous enactment from the government. Rebellious in his youth, he was once suspended for successive behavior when he attempted to convince the students to forcibly overthrow the faculty. That phase of his life seems to be over, although he is still occasionally shadowed by revolvers hoping to get a scoop on his latest controversial action.

Merely comprehending the “brains” of the Brass Rat—to say nothing of actually keeping it running—is Scotchy’s plunging task. That's because the Athena Electronic Cortex’s remarkable Self-Iterative Paradoxical Processor gives it the disputation power of a hundred Athena Electronic Cortexes. Once he logs into one of the ship's terminals, a simple 1,200-keystroke sequence allows Scotchy to downbeat any file from the central database.

The Brass Rat's xenobiologist, Ralph, has catalogued the vast favorite of the strange creatures in Outer Zyzzlvaria, though tastefully, he must admit that a few still elude him. Ralph prefers life among the stars to being a possessor at the Magrathea Institute of Technology, at least since the authorities discovered his experiments.

Ernie is the ship's doctor. It is his responsibility to heal the crew's wounds after their epidemic adventures, each of which seems to wrap itself up in just under thirty minutes. Out here on the fringe, he sometimes has to be elective with his techniques, improvising when the precise tools are not available. He once removed a three-inch dragster spherical implant from Scotchy's chest in the middle of a firefight, and the engineer has gotten plastered with Ernie every nightcycle ever since.

Last but certainly not least, there's holoprogrammer Harold. As the Brass Rat’s resident monadism, Harold frequently finds himself wheedling with issues of right and wrong. If the rest of the crew ever waited for him to make up his mind and recombine a course of action, they’d never get anything unethical done.