Saturday, 28 April 2018

Egradus: Epochs & Ages

EDIT: I wasn't happy with #4 so I've removed it.

This has been inspired by these excellent posts at Coins and ScrollsThrone of SaltI Don't Remember That Move and Goodberry Monthly (and ultimately by the progenitor post by Arnold K, of Goblin Punch). Consider this rampant bandwagon-hopping.

Egradus stands in the wake of a devastating galactic war. It has been colonised, purged, terraformed, seeded with all manner of life targeted by various terrible weapons and entities. On a micro scale the planet itself has seen the rise and fall of advanced civilisations, with varying levels of environmental catastrophe resulting from each collapse. Traces and signs of these events lie buried deep in the earth.

Credit, Miloš Radojkić

1. The Formless Night
Charged solar particles strike the churning atmosphere of the newly formed planet and birth coruscating, self-perpetuating auroral waveforms that dance and snake above the volcanic hellscape. Beneath them, motile streams of magma arise from the thermocline layer between the planet's core and the tectonic vents leading to the surface. Both groups, in the process of their ordinary functions and reactions to their environments, begin to form exponentially more complex patterns - clusters of charged ions in the atmosphere and superheated concentrations of heavy metals in the magma flow - which in turn form their own complex elemental dependencies. The concentrations of metals disrupt the delicate ionic structures, and vice versa, and a war of annihilation erupts. Both proto-sentiences are destroyed.

Geological Layer: Unnamed. A superheated, electrically charged layer of metal and rock, etched with fractal lightning patterns that hold primordial secrets.


2. The Age of Incorporation
The first primitive cellular organisms arise. A particular strain is born from the remains of the Formless Night, possessing unity of essence and multiplicity of form. Protein soups gather in the fractal scars of the war and undergo abiogenesis in the presence of latent electrical currents and rich elemental concentrations. The strain spreads quickly and engulfs other primitive organisms, adopting the progressively exponential complexity of the magma- and aurora-things from the Formless Night until the planet's surface is coated in a thick film of biomatter that worms its endless tendrils into the crust. The waste products of the immense bulk gather atop and beneath the layer of biomatter and are buried, taking fragments of the unity with them.

Geological Layer: A layer of infinitely adaptable coprophages existing in biological perpetual-motion as they consume and excrete their own foodstuffs for billions of years. Do not allow them past the barrier of flesh.

Extinction Event: The Monocorpus. Anything not of the unity was incorporated into it. All disparate biological strains became one whole. By the end there was not a phylogenetic tree as much as there was a phylogenetic line.


3. The Great Division
All is part of the one and the one is all, until Others arrive from the stars. Singular and unchanging, they do not know of the beautiful, ever expanding unity, and must be brought into the fold. This was a mistake. Alien concepts of isolation and true individuality spread like a cancer. The deep tendrils sever themselves and are sealed away in the crust while the rest of the unity tears itself apart into separate life forms. The immaculate sentience is shattered. Complex organisms and multicellular life erupt into existence regardless of biosphere and adaptation.

Geological Layer: The Great Waste. A still-writhing layer of bone and protoplasmic ooze that osmotically mixes with the waste layer below as it struggles to obtain a new form, even as it tears at itself. The ever shifting and snapping bones sound like popcorn.

Extinction Event: The Polymutation. Extinctions happened on an almost constant basis. Thousands of screaming lifeforms divided and recombined until settling on stable arrangements.


4. The Clonocene Epoch
Photosynthetic life achieves stable form and explodes across the planet. Intelligent motile trees eventually prove to be the dominant life form, draining swathes of nutrients from the soil and leaving parched desert in their wake as they slowly drag themselves across the surface. The largest scrape the upper atmosphere and turn their attention to the sun, which they identify as the source of all life. In an effort to increase their uptake of solar energy they devise a plan to move the planet closer to the sun. This has predictably terrible results for all involved.

Geological Layer: The Osteoradix. A twisting network of gargantuan petrified root systems. Internal parasites and fungi have adapted to their ossuary environment. A preferred hideout of liches. Lost undead creatures trudge through endless tunnels.

Extinction Event: The Conflagration. Do not move your planet closer to the sun, especially if you are made of wood. Massive firestorms consume virtually all atmospheric oxygen. Life is virtually wiped clean and huge ash clouds lead to an extreme drop in global temperatures.


5. The Ice Age
There were other ice ages, of course, but this was The Ice Age. All life was ice based - ice birds, ice insects, ice plants, you name it. Sub-zero civilisations form having never seen the light of the sun, the flickering of fire or liquid water. Crystalline cities are raised in the glaciers and ice flows that cover the land.

Geological Layer: The Melt. Outlines of intricate, cyclopean cities pressed into the surrounding rock like a lost-wax casting. Denizens of the Veins of the Earth sometimes claim these for their own domains. Secrets of ice and crystal remain in the deepest reaches.

Extinction Event: The Clearing. Weather patterns eventually settle and the cloud layer starts to clear. Global temperatures rise and the ice begins to melt. Some few species persist in the polar reaches but most melt in a colossal deluge.


6. The Sodden Epoch
The sudden release of so much meltwater submerges much of the land and reduces the remains to wetland and fen. Single-cell and multicellular organisms suspended in the ice thrive in their new watery environment, which soon becomes a massive algal soup. The first slimes appear as filter feeders in the rich blooms of algae and microbes. Life reasserts itself in a more recognisable order, with complex marine life evolving as the oceans clear. Intelligent fish-creatures build seabed cities and raise fanes to their gods on the ocean floor.

Geological Layer: The Drybed. A sandy mausoleum of ancient sediment cities, labyrinthine temples and uncountable shrines, alien angles and profane idols. No one can quite figure out where the water went.

Extinction Event: The Izoan Subduction Event. A dramatic tectonic shift subsumes swathes of the ocean floor in a matter of hours. Vast quantities of water drain... somewhere... and the sea level drops rapidly. Marine life suffers catastrophically due to massive changes in pressure, salinity, water temperature and light level. Terrestrial life seizes its chance.


7. The Age of Serpents
The Serpent-Men arrive on Egradus. Sorceries upturn the land as the Serpent-Men enforce their will upon it, breaching the veil between the material universe and the Abyss. The Serpent-Men ensnare the Lunefica as it passes through the solar system and petrify it in orbit around the planet. Its petrified flesh is brought to the planet as wytchfire stone, seeding the land with mutagens. Servitor species are employed upon the planet and surviving wildlife often undergoes hideous mutations. Speciations of magical creatures can be traced back to this era.

Geological Layer: The Ouroboros. A band rather than a layer. A gargantuan serpent is buried deep beneath the earth and feeds off the heat of the core. It grasps its own tail and moves ever so slowly. The Serpent-Men harness the immense amounts of energy released into the tectonic plates to fuel their works above. Entire species and civilisations form in the gaps between its scales and in its body. Nowadays it causes catastrophic earthquakes.

Extinction Event: The Metaetheric. Like island ecosystems on Earth, organisms on Egradus have no defence against the sorcerous energies that infest the planet after the arrival of the Serpent-Men. Massive numbers of species die due to disruption of the climate and environment, and many more after being exposed to sorcerous fallout and aetheric predators. The remaining organisms evolve magical traits as they adapt to the new ecosystem.


8. The Age of Aesthetics
The Ancients conquer Egradus and remake it in their own image. Genetic lines are tweaked or eliminated, new organisms are introduced and extensive terraforming undertaken. The messy, disordered evolution of the past is replaced by careful curation and an artist's eye. Everything is beautiful and pleasing to the senses. Nanite swarms running maintenance programs ensure that everything is kept a state of constant perfection.

Geological Layer: The Dark Gardens. These haunting caverns contain a faint glimmer of the world that was. Though their masters are long gone, the nanite swarms continue their work. Their programming has gone awry over the years.

Extinction Event: The Oculex. Chrono-knives were ruthlessly employed to strip swathes of species from the timestream. Not only did they not exist, they never existed. Some of these creatures persist as temporal echoes, neither existing or not existing and occasionally clawing their way back into ordered, structured time.


9. The Age of Arrival - The Present Day
The Ancients activate the Terminus Device, destroying the Serpent-Men and themselves. Temporally displaced orc scavenger fleet makes hard landing on Egradus and forms technologically advanced empires. Serpent-Man slow ark impacts the planet at high speed, destroying the orcish technological base and advanced civilisations. Surviving servitor species from the slow ark experience genetic drift in absence of supervision and form human, halfling and dwarf subspecies. Elf successors to the Ancients crash land on Egradus, their knowledge of science devolving into mysticism and rote dogma.

Civilisation recovers and empires form, deities proliferate and stable beast-man strains emerge. The Ugishi Sultanate and Kothen Imperium go to war - the destruction of the Imperium forms the Crescent Sea and civilisation enters the Long Night. The world's empires devolve into petty, squabbling states and vast amounts of knowledge are lost.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Superstitions & Monsters

This post is something I've been working on to generate creatures that might haunt settlements in Egradus. Things of local legend that have been through so many permutations that their true forms have been lost and they now exist as persistent boogeymen ready to pounce from the periphery of civilisation.

Peasants are a superstitious lot. They hate and fear witches for hexing them, they hate and fear spirits for haunting them and they hate and fear their neighbours for their hateful and fearing ways. They wail as the frost kills their seedling crops and give offerings to their gods, even as they mutter that their gods are undeserving of such worship. Bad weather and hard times are the wrath of capricious beings made manifest; and there's some truth to all of the above. But belief empowers and fuels all things, not just the divine, and given enough time even imagined things can manifest in the material world.

Every town and village has their own legends - fables and parables to scare the children with, and sinister stories to frighten friends at the alehouse. Many of these stories have run for generations, with slight changes and alterations being woven into the fabric of the tale until, like Theseus' ship, the original subject of the story bears no resemblance to what is now told. In most cases this is harmless, but in some it can be a very, very bad thing indeed. For belief has the power to warp and change, and give life to things best left in storied pages or campfire whispers.

Credit, Bernardo Hasselmann

Below are several tables that you can use to roll up some creatures of folklore and legend when you need something that plagues a particular town or region. Not all will be evil or hostile - many legends feature wise and benevolent beings - but fearful people produce things to fear. With enough belief and outright worship you end up with a god, but lesser amounts built up over the years lead to these lingering presences on the periphery of reality.

Such is their hold in a town of village's memory that some of these beings are able to return centuries after being slain, though the ever changing nature of the tales that spawn them give rise to the question of whether they are truly the same being or some similar apparition conjured from the fevered imaginations of the fearful, warped and twisted by the changes forced upon them through wild stories and folk tales.

Start with the base states below and note down the relevant rolls that affect the creature's stats, powers, strengths and vulnerabilities.. The below assumes the use of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess ruleset.

Base Creature Stats

AC: 14; HD: 4; Attacks: 1 attack with +2 to hit, 1d6 damage; Move: 30', Save As: 4th level Fighter; Morale: 10.

It appeared...

  1. During a terrible drought...
  2. In the middle of a bitter and dark winter...
  3. When plague and pestilence ravaged the land...
  4. In the midst of a terrible war...
  5. While we were in mourning for our lord...
  6. When those fools returned from the ruins with that damned idol...
  7. From the waters during the worst flood in memory...
  8. As a terrible hurricane upturned the country...
  9. With the lightning wrath of the heavens as they rained upon the land...
  10. From a rent in the ground when the earthquake struck...
  11. After the twin-tailed comet lit up the sky...
  12. From the caves exposed after the mudslide had ended...
  13. When the eclipse blotted out the sun...
  14. As the moon loomed blood red in the night sky...
  15. From the mists as they crept across the hills for days...
  16. During the terrible wildfires years ago...
  17. After the crops failed and the animals sickened...
  18. After a bountiful autumn harvest...
  19. In the wake of the king's wedding...
  20. After [hated person] offended [powerful being]...

And at first it...

  1. Stalked us through the woods, whispering with a hundred voices.
  2. Sat in the square and watched us without blinking.
  3. Branded every tenth house with its mark.
  4. Screamed with the voices of the dead all through the night.
  5. Hid out of sight while piping strange music.
  6. Drove out the bandits who had so menaced us!
  7. Capered madly around the village boundary with shrill giggles.
  8. Stood over a different bed each night, absolutely silent.
  9. Made flower garlands for the children.
  10. Ate all of the cats and rats.
  11. Erected standing stones in the fields and engraved them with weird runes.
  12. Toppled trees and built a huge fire, upon which it cooked and ate a bear.
  13. Seeded strange, humming crops around the village.
  14. Conspired with the crows and wolves.
  15. Dug deep into the ground.
  16. Left grisly totems on the treeline.
  17. Scattered silver coins from the temple roof.
  18. Dove into the river and lurked under the bridge.
  19. Spun itself a cocoon of glowing silk.
  20. Left gifts on each doorstep.

But then it...

  1. Fell upon us like a savage, starving beast!
  2. Started a great conflagration in the town!
  3. Turned the river to blood and drowned folk in it!
  4. Stole the children away into the woods!
  5. Demanded we serve it as lord of the land!
  6. Stole the alderman's strongbox and fled with his daughter!
  7. Unleashed a swarm of insects upon the fields!
  8. Hunted down those who went into the woods, one by one!
  9. Bewitched the town for days wand toyed with us like puppets!
  10. Laid a thick mist on the town and brought our nightmares to life!
  11. Devoured all of the food and drink that we had!
  12. Forced us to debase ourselves before it and bring it sacrifices!
  13. Pulled folk into the earth at random and entombed them!
  14. Began tearing down houses!
  15. Spread sickness through the village!
  16. Ground the miller's family into bread and forced us to eat it!
  17. Burned a host of people in a great fire!
  18. Tied people up and hung them from trees!
  19. Set kin against kin and friend against friend, revelling in the chaos it wrought!
  20. Demanded every 10 of us draw lots, those who lost were eaten!

Credit, Eugene Korolev

It was...

  1. Tiny... - HD-2; AC+4.
  2. The size of a child...- HD-1; AC+2.
  3. The size of a man... - N/A.
  4. Huge... - HD+2.

And it had the shape of a(n)...

  1. Man!
  2. Farm beast! 1d4: 1. Ox, 2. Sheep, 3. Horse, 4. Pig.
  3. Lion!
  4. Bird of prey!
  5. Deer!
  6. Eel!
  7. Octopus!
  8. Insect! 1d4: 1. Ant, 2. Beetle, 3. Wasp, 4. Moth.
  9. Crab!
  10. Wolf!
  11. Songbird!
  12. Serpent!
  13. Crocodile!
  14. Spider!
  15. Bear!
  16. Goat!
  17. Fish!
  18. Fox!
  19. Boar!
  20. Rat!

It walked on...

  1. 1d6 stalk legs ending in great talons... (Can attack from 10' away)
  2. Countless rippling millipede legs...
  3. A slimy snail's foot... (Can move up walls and on ceilings)
  4. A slithering serpentine belly... (Move 40')
  5. Two powerful, backwards jointed legs with wolf feet... (Can leap 40')
  6. 1d8 skittering spider legs... (Can move up walls and on ceilings)
  7. A veil of shadows that glided over the ground... (Fly 30')
  8. Two stout legs, like a man...
  9. 1d10 chitinous legs with many joints... (Move 40')
  10. 1d6 whiplike legs that lashed out with hooked feet... (Gain 10' ranged attack with +2 to hit for 1d6 damage)
  11. A mass of pseudopods... (Move 20')
  12. 1d6 skeletal bird legs...
  13. 1d4 rotting horse legs...
  14. Nothing... it simply floated along... (Fly 30')
  15. 1d8 scrabbling rodent legs... (Can tunnel 20' per round as a movement action)
  16. 1d12 pillars of  scorching flame... (Adjacent enemies must Save vs Breath or take 1d6 damage with a 1 in 6 chance to set on fire)
  17. 1d4 scaled, reptilian legs...
  18. 1d6 legs of jointed, grinding stone... (Move 10')
  19. A sphere of shimmering metal that rolled and bounced beneath it... (Move 30' in a random direction)
  20. Four sculpted legs of living metal... (AC+2)

And for arms it had...

  1. 1d20 pale arms that writhed from its back like serpents. (Target must Save vs Paralysis on a successful attack or be grabbed)
  2. A huge crustacean claw for one arm, and a slender human arm for the other. (Rends metal armour, two hits will cause it to break)
  3. A hooked bone claw on one side, and a host of writhing tentacles on the other. (1d8 damage)
  4. 1d4 mantis-like bladed limbs. (2 attacks)
  5. 1d6 hirsute trunks ending in three, thick fingers. (1d8 damage)
  6. Three skeletal limbs ending in fingers with four joints.
  7. 1d4 tentacles that erupted from its torso.
  8. A pair of delicate human arms with finely manicured nails. (1d2 damage).
  9. 1d10 barbed and hooked limbs that ended in grasping claws. (Target must Save vs Paralysis on a successful attack or be grabbed)
  10. Three mighty arms covered in hard, glittering scales. (AC+2)
  11. A misshapen arm, swollen with muscle, on one side and a withered, blackened arm on the other.
  12. 1d6 serpents with tiny fingers instead of teeth.
  13. 1d100 filthy, wet pseudopods that roiled into and out of each other like a sea of maggots. (Target must Save vs Poison on a successful hit or be infected with a random disease)
  14. 1d8 deer legs ending in spasmodically grasping talons. (2 attacks)
  15. 1d4 scaled, reptilian limbs streaked with bright colours.
  16. Two great bat wings that ended in claws. (Fly 60')
  17. Four iridescent feathered limbs that ended in scything blades. (4 attacks)
  18. 1d6 furred limbs whose fingers had viciously sharp claws. (Successful attacks cause target to bleed, taking 1 damage per round until treated)
  19. 1d10 many jointed limbs ending in wailing human and animal heads. (1d4 damage but target must Save vs Breath weapon on a hit or be stunned for 1 round by the yammering screams)
  20. Five muscular arms each ending in two hands. Instead of fingers each hand has 5 hooves. (5 attacks, 1d4 damage)

Atop its shoulders sat...

  1. A stone obelisk with a glistening red eye...
  2. Two human heads, constantly arguing and biting at each other...
  3. A four-eyed goat's head with erratically sprouting horns...
  4. A Swan-like neck with a snapping reptilian maw...
  5. A veiled face that was impossible to see...
  6. A churning mass of flesh that sprouted eyes, mouths and ears at random. The nose remained constant...
  7. A writing mass of slime in the shape of a head...
  8. An armoured helm, pitted with rust...
  9. The head of a spider with eight human eyes...
  10. A human face with no features except two oversized, drooping ears...
  11. A blazing white light, as bright as the sun...
  12. The face of my mother...
  13. A wolf's head with milky white eyes...
  14. A hairy insectoid head with a long, needle proboscis and glittering compound eyes...
  15. The head of a brutish humanoid daubed in chalky paint with jagged, sharp teeth...
  16. A glistening cephalopod head with a pair of yellow eyes, wreathed in tentacles...
  17. A single, beautiful glyph that shimmered and danced...
  18. An ever changing, ever shifting face whose flesh danced and squirmed...
  19. An enormous, fanged maw with two tiny eyes where the jaws met...
  20. A burnished bronze mask with six eye- and two mouth-slits...

And its body...

  1. Was rotten and spoiled, like a ripened fruit.
  2. Was covered in bright colours and patterns.
  3. Was covered in moss and lichen.
  4. Was infested with maggots and carrion insects.
  5. Dripped with slime and ooze.
  6. Was covered in thick, matted fur.
  7. Was covered in gleaming scales.
  8. Glowed with an inner light.
  9. Gleamed with a metallic sheen.
  10. Was coated with sweet smelling unguents.
  11. Was cracked and marbled, like polished stone.
  12. Oozed blood and pus from its pores.
  13. Was desiccated and shrivelled.
  14. Was swollen and distended.
  15. Was covered in bright feathers.
  16. Was charred and ashen.
  17. Was wreathed in vines and branches.
  18. Sprouted mushrooms and fungi of lurid colours.
  19. Spewed filth and corruption from every orifice.
  20. Was frostbitten and covered in ice crystals.

We couldn't stop it because...

  1. It had mighty sorcerous powers! (Creature has the powers of an equivalent level Magic-User)
  2. It could shatter stone with its blows! (Attacks do +4 damage)
  3. It was covered in plates of bone and chitin! (Armour as Plate, or +2 if already equivalent)
  4. It shimmered into nothingness! (Special: Creature can go invisible for HD minutes per day as a free action)
  5. It just. Wouldn't. Die! (+4 HD)
  6. Its gaze turned you to stone! (Special: Creature can focus on a visible target as a full action. Target must Save vs Paralysis or be petrified)
  7. It breathed noxious vapours that choked the life from us! (Special: Gain a breath weapon attack with a 50' cone range. All targets in the area of effect must Save vs Poison or die)
  8. It wreathed itself in flames when we approached! (Special: Creature can surround itself with magical flames for HD minutes per day as a free action)
  9. It commanded wild beasts to attack us! (Special: Creature can charm animals HD times per day as a free action)
  10. Its gaze pinned you in place! (Special: Creature can cast Hold Person HD times per day as a free action)
  11. It was just too fast for us! (Special: Creature is permanently under the effects of Haste)
  12. It sang to our kin and turned them against us! (Special: Creature can cast Charm Person HD times per day as a free action)
  13. It leapt from shadow to shadow before cutting us down! (Special: Creature treats all shadows it can see as adjacent for movement purposes)
  14. Every blow we struck was healed within moments! (Special: Creature regenerates 1d6hp per round)
  15. It blinded us with a burning light! (Special: Creature can strobe pulses of light HD times per day as a full action. All sighted creatures within 100' must Save vs Breath or be blinded for 1d6 rounds)
  16. It wielded a terrible sword with a razor edge! (Gain 1 sword attack for 1d12+2 damage)
  17. It sprouted vicious barbs and quills whenever we got close! (Anyone who deals damage to the creature in melee suffers 1d6 damage)
  18. It spat burning acid at us! (Gain 1 ranged acid attack for 1d6+2 damage, acid will continue to burn for 3 rounds unless washed off dealing 3, then 2, then 1 damage per round)
  19. It divided and multiplied with chaotic abandon! (Special: Creature can divide itself into 2 smaller copies at will, each with 50% of the creature's original HD rounded down. Each copy can also divide, provided that the remaining copies have at least 1 HD)
  20. Our blows passed straight through it! (Creature is ethereal and can only be damaged by magic & magic weapons)
Credit, John Torres

But we were saved by...

  1. A bold knight in shining plate on a mighty warhorse...
  2. A cunning rogue who struck from the shadows...
  3. A master of the arcane who wielded mighty magicks...
  4. A servant of the divine who bore the wrath of a god...
  5. A savage barbarian warrior of immense strength...
  6. A heathen witch, cloaked in darkness...
  7. A loyal and noble servant of the king himself...
  8. One of our own, touched by prophecy...
  9. A savage druid who drove a hard bargain with us...
  10. A band of brave adventurers, many who fell in the process...
  11. A hardened band of mercenaries who demanded payment in gold...
  12. A white-haired warrior wearing a wolf's head amulet...
  13. A sorceress from foreign lands...
  14. A gang of tricksters and thieves...
  15. A brave priest, armed with holy water and a symbol of the divine...
  16. A single, staggeringly drunk man...
  17. A troupe of masked elves who spoke in rhymes...
  18. A pack of squabbling goblins...
  19. A hooded ranger who roamed the woods...
  20. A divine angel, who glowed with sacred light...

When they...

  1. Lashed the beast with burning brands! (Creature is vulnerable to and takes double damage from fire)
  2. Doused the creature with holy water! (Creature takes 1d12 damage when splashed with a vial of holy water)
  3. Hurled a silver-tipped spear clean through it! (Creature's AC is reduced to 12 against silver weapons)
  4. Beat it with a mighty cudgel! (Creature takes double damage from crushing weapons)
  5. Choked it with rowan smoke! (Creature must Save vs Breath every round when exposed to the smoke of burning rowan or do nothing but cough and splutter)
  6. Showed the beast its own terrible reflection! (Creature must Save vs Paralysis when exposed to its own image or it will flee in terror)
  7. Bound it with sorcery and banished it from here! (Creature's Save vs Magic is rolled with disadvantage)
  8. Chopped its head clean off! (PC's may declare they are attempting to behead the creature. A natural 20 is needed to succeed. If successful the creature is beheaded and killed instantly, otherwise the attack has no effect)
  9. Impaled it on a lance from a charging horse! (Creature takes triple damage when hit by a charge from a mounted opponent)
  10. Warded it off with patterns drawn in salt! (Creature will not willingly cross lines of salt and takes 1d8 damage if forced to)
  11. Tied it up with a magic rope and threw it in the river! (Creature cannot break enchanted or blessed ropes and chains)
  12. Blasted it with magic and sorcery! (Creature takes double damage from magic)
  13. Played a soothing melody and lulled it to sleep! (Creature must Save vs Magic Device every round that a musical instrument is played in a soothing way or they fall asleep)
  14. Shot it full of arrows! (Creature has AC-2 vs ranged attacks)
  15. Scared it off with a terrifying war cry! (Creature's morale is halved)
  16. Fed it meat laced with a virulent poison! (Creature's Save vs Poison is rolled with disadvantage)
  17. Ducked and weaved around it as they struck, their movements a blur! (Creature takes a -2 penalty on melee attacks)
  18. Got the creature steaming drunk and dragged it out of town! (Creature must Save vs Poison or will compulsive drink any available alcohol until it passes out)
  19. Tackled the creature down and dragged it out of town! (Creature applies no modifiers to grappling/wrestling checks)
  20. Sliced it with 1,000 cuts! (Creature takes double damage from slashing weapons)

Credit, EA Howell


The Vermin Spider of Tanat

Rolls - D20: 1,12,13,14,15,4,17,7,15,20,2; D4: 2

It appeared during a terrible drought and at first it toppled trees and built a huge fire, upon which it cooked and ate a bear. But then it pulled folk into the earth at random and entombed them! It was the size of a child and it had the shape of a spider! It walked on six scrabbling rodent legs and for arms it had two mantis-like blades. Atop its shoulder sat a single beautiful, glyph that shimmered and danced and its body was covered in gleaming scales. We couldn't stop it because it blinded us with a burning light! But we were saved by a divine angel, who glowed with sacred light, when they doused the creature with holy water!

Creature stats: 
AC: 16; HD: 3; Attacks: 2 attacks with +2 to hit, 1d6 damage; Move: 30', Save As: 4th level Fighter; Morale: 10.

Creature can tunnel 20' per round as a movement action.

Creature can strobe pulses of light HD times per day as a full action. All sighted creatures within 100' must Save vs Breath or be blinded for 1d6 rounds.

Creature takes 1d12 damage when splashed with a vial of holy water.


The Vile Wyrm of Karabas

Rolls - D20: 18,13,16,13,7,17,1,19,7,4,3; D4: 4

It appeared after a bountiful autumn harvest and at first it seeded strange, humming crops around the village. But then it ground the miller's family into bread and forced us to eat it! It was huge and it had the shape of a crocodile! It walked on a veil of shadows that glided over the ground and for arms it had four iridescent feathered limbs that ended in scything blades. Atop its shoulders sat a stone obelisk with a glistening red eye and its body spewed filth and corruption from every orifice. We couldn't stop it because it breathed noxious vapours that choked the life from us! But we were saved by a servant of the divine who bore the wrath of a god when they hurled a silver-tipped spear clean through it!

Creature stats: 
AC: 14; HD: 6; Attacks: 4 attacks with +2 to hit, 1d6 damage; Move: Fly 30', Save As: 4th level Fighter; Morale: 10.

Gain a breath weapon attack with a 50' cone range. All targets in the area of effect must Save vs Poison or die.

Creature's AC is reduced to 12 against silver weapons.


The Gorgon Goat of Almasy

Rolls - D20: 7,4,9,16,12,16,12,15,6,6,4; D4: 4

It appeared from the waters during the worst flood in memory and at first it screamed with the voices of the dead all throughout the night. But then it bewitched the town for days and toyed with us like puppets. It was huge and it had the shape of a goat. It walked on three skeletal bird legs and for arms it had two great bat wings that ended in claws. Atop its shoulders sat the face of my mother and its body was covered in bright feathers. We couldn't stop it because its gaze turned you to stone! But we were saved by a heathen witch, cloaked in darkness, when they beat it with a mighty cudgel!

Creature stats: 
AC: 14; HD: 6; Attacks: 1 attack with +2 to hit, 1d6 damage; Move: Fly 60', Save As: 4th level Fighter; Morale: 10.

Creature can focus on a visible target as a full action. Target must Save vs Paralysis or be petrified.

Creature takes double damage from crushing weapons.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

OSR: 1d100 Curse Symptoms

This is a bonus post that came about due to my inability to format a decent looking table for my previous 1d100 Curses & Hexes post. While the previous post contains a host of nasty curses to inflict upon player characters, this is more of a flavour list for the various symptoms that the spiritually afflicted might display.

Credit, Marek Kwapuliński

1d100 Curse Symptoms

d100 RollCurse Symptom
1All music played in the PC's presence becomes discordant and harsh.
2Evil whispers follow the PC wherever they go.
3The ambient temperature around the PC drops to near freezing.
4The PC's skin becomes ivory pale.
5The PC's blood vessels stand out black against their skin.
6Tears of blood constantly leak from the PC's eyes.
7Every morning the PC wakes up surrounded by vile, insulting notes.
8Crows follow the PC, cawing sinisterly.
9Stigmata painlessly open on the PC's hands.
10Dogs howl in the PC's presence and cower in fear.
11Water the PC touches turns blood red.
12Open flames turn a sickly green when the PC is near.
13The PC's voice is reduced to a sibilant whisper.
14The PC leaves no footprints.
15The PC's tongue becomes forked like a serpent's.
16The flesh on the PC's hands painlessly rots away. Their hands function normally.
17The PC smells faintly of brimstone and blood.
18A single blood red rune is branded on the PC's forehead.
19The PC's pupils pulse with a red glow.
20The PC's finger- and toenails fall out.
21Rats form a silent procession behind the PC as they pass through a town.
22The PC's teeth become jagged and uneven.
23All of the PC's teeth fall out at once.
24A shadowy figure can occasionally be seen looming over the PC.
25Objects that the PC puts down always point or face East.
26The PC's voice is accompanied by the moans of damned and tormented souls.
27The PC's hair is bleached bone white.
28The PC's skin breaks out in eldritch patterns of angry hives.
29Any fire that the PC approaches starts to whisper in the background.
30The PC's eyes look milky and clouded.
31The PC's eyes become glittering black orbs.
32Black marks and runes travel across the PC's flesh.
33The PC's skin turns an unhealthy, jaundiced yellow.
34Thick hair sprouts from the PC's palms and soles.
35The PC's nails elongate dramatically, reaching their previous length within an hour if trimmed.
36The PC's shadow sometimes wanders off.
37Songbirds that come within 50' of the PC drop dead.
38The PC's presence is accompanied by the ghostly rattling of chains.
39The PC's footprints are like those of a monstrous, clawed creature.
40The PC's pupils become slitted, like a cat.
41The PC sprouts a pair of small horns from their forehead.
42The PC is constantly drenched in sweat.
43The PC's skin takes on a pallid, blue tinge.
44A comb of brightly coloured feathers sprouts from the PC's scalp.
45Colours become dull and washed out in the PC's presence.
46The ambient temperature around the PC is much warmer than their surroundings.
47Animals near the PC pronounce predictions of doom in a croaking voice.
48Sleeping people near the PC suffer terrible nightmares.
49Any mirror the PC looks into immediately shatters.
50The faces of corpses within 100' of the PC twist into grimacing smiles.
51Smoke within 100' of the PC twists into the shape of grinning skulls.
52People and animals in pictures and paintings that the PC looks at weep tears of blood.
53Any weapons put down or dropped in the PC's presence will land pointing at them.
54Coins handled by the PC bear a skull on one side and a sword on the other.
55The PC's blood becomes thick, black and foul-smelling.
56The PC tarnishes any metal they touch.
57Thorns emerge from the PC's scalp.
58The PC's hair falls out in clumps.
59A screaming face can be seen at the back of the PC's throat.
60The PC smells faintly of rotten meat.
61Instead of sweat, the PC excretes sand from their pores.
62The PC's tongue engorges and protrudes from their mouth.
63Riding animals will refuse to let the PC mount them.
64The PC erupts in boils and buboes.
65The PC sprouts shaggy fur all over their body.
66Insects are attracted to the PC and they will be covered in flies in moments.
67Pictures of the PC will always depict their face as a screaming skull.
68The PC's reflection is bestial and twisted.
69When washing, the PC will continually shed filth and dirt long after they are clean.
70The PC has no reflection.
71The PC's bedding will always be infested with mites and fleas.
72Food the PC touches becomes bland and unappetising.
73Any coins the PC drops land on their edges and spin.
74The PC's hands are swapped with each other.
75The PC's sweat becomes slimy and sticky.
76Chickens aggressively mob and peck at the PC.
77The word 'KNAVE' is spelled out in pimples on the PC's face.
78The PC's skin is covered in rough scales.
79The backs of the PC's hands are branded with black runes.
80Cats hiss and yowl if the PC comes within 100' of them.
81Objects that the PC puts down always stick slightly to the surface below them.
82The PC's presence turns wine into vinegar.
83Cattle produce sour milk and horses pull up lame in the PC's passing.
84The PC's feet twist into cloven hooves.
85The PC will always appear soaked in blood when stood in moonlight.
86The PC's face cannot be remembered.
87The PC always looks slightly translucent.
88The PC's joints continually click and crack when they move.
89The PC's face has the form of a skull in torchlight.
90The PC constantly drools.
91The PC becomes gaunt and cadaverous.
92The PC's touch chills to the bone.
93Sources of flame always sway and pull towards the PC.
94Children and animals flee in terror at the PC's presence.
95The PC's voice is heard from behind whoever they are talking to.
96The PC's flesh sags loose from their bones.
97A second mouth opens and stretches across the PC's abdomen.
98An extra finger appears on both of the PC's hands.
99An extra joint appears on the PC's thumbs.
100The PC's tongue splits entirely in two.

OSR: 1d100 Hexes & Curses

My group and I have been using Lamentations of the Flame Princess (with a... reasonable number of alterations and house rules) and it fits our needs perfectly - it's fast, simple and lethal. However, while thinking up my Sin Eater class I took a look at what the rulebook had to say about curses (that being the Sin Eater's thing). The relevant passage can be found under the entry for Remove Curse, a reversible spell that also allows the caster to inflict a curse upon a target:
Bestow Curse (the reverse of Remove Curse) can bring about any number of unfortunate effects upon a being, determined by the caster and Referee. Some limits of effect must be enforced. Typical possibilities are limited to no more than a –2 pen alty to saving throws or –4 to hit, an ability being reduced by 50%. These effects can have any number of creative symptoms. The victim can avoid being affected by Bestow Curse with a successful saving throw versus Magic.
While this is useful to have in a pinch, I wanted some curses and hexes with a bit more variety. Several drinks later, this is what I came up with.

Also, see my subsequent post with 1d100 flavourful curse symptoms.

Credit, Anna R

1d100 Curses & Hexes

d100 RollCurse Effect
1The PC suffers from horrific nightmares and heals only every other day when resting. They are constantly fatigued (disadvantage on all rolls).
2Food turns to ash in the PC's mouth. They must eat twice as much to sustain themselves.
3Coins seem to escape when the PC isn't looking. Whenever the PC handles currency there is a 50% chance that 1d20% of the amount is lost.
4Choose another party member - the PC's fate is bound to them. The PC takes damage whenever the bonded character does, but if the PC takes damage the other character is healed.
5The PC's vision is obscured by grey mists past 60'.
6The PC is blinded.
7The PC's limbs become leaden and weighty. Increase enbumbrance level by 1.
8The PC constantly breaks wind or belches, -4 CHA. Stealth is impossible.
9The PC hears a different, jarring noise in their ears every few seconds which disorders their thoughts, -2 WIS and the PC is surprised on 4-in-6 in combat.
10One of the PC's legs grows longer than the other. Treat movement as 1 encumbrance level higher due to the ungainliness of their walking.
11The PC hawks up a small mucus covered creature (1hp). They must nourish and care for it. If it dies, they die.
12Iron and steel burn the PC's flesh, inflicting 1d6 damage every round they are in contact.
13Wood rots and crumbles at the PC's touch.
14Animals despise the PC and attack on sight.
15The PC is deafened.
16The PC's fingers and toes fall off, -4 DEX. They regrow over the next 3 days, are usable on the 4th day and then the cycle repeats.
17If the PC is violently ill if they eat anything other than turnips. Drinking is not affected.
18The PC exudes a delicious savoury scent. Stealth vs enemies with a keen sense of smell is twice as hard. Carnivores always attack this PC first.
19The PC runs a constant fever and is always catching colds. Saves vs Poison to resist disease are rolled with disadvantage.
20The PC's vocal cords are paralysed and they cannot speak.
21The PC's tongue has a will of its own and spits vile insults whenever the PC tries to speak.
22The PC's bones become brittle and frail. They cannot carry >1 level of encumbrance.
23Whenever a friendly character within 50' casts a spell there is a 50% that the spell targets the PC, if offensive, or their enemy, if beneficial.
24All iron and steel objects that the PC touches rapidly crumble into rusty fragments.
25If the PC kills something they immediately spew 1d20 litres of blood from every available orifice and suffer 2 CON damage.
26If the PC stands still for more than 30 seconds in the same spot they are rooted to the floor by vines. They can free themselves with an Open Doors roll.
27The sun burns and blisters the PC's skin, doing 1d6 damage per round.
28If the PC is knocked unconscious daemons spirit their soul away for 1d4 days and permanently reduce their CHA by 1 point.
29The PC has no weight when exposed to the wind and will be blown away without adequate precautions.
30The PC's skin becomes cracked and raw, opening wounds at any opportunity. Max HP is reduced by 1d6 to a minimum of 1HP.
31The PC's nose rots away and falls off, -4 CHA.
32Everything the PC utters is believed to be a lie by those who hear them.
33A fug lies across the PC's mind, slowing their wits and dulling their senses, -4 INT & WIS.
34The PC's back cracks and knots into a hunched stoop, forcing them to walk on all fours. They roll to hit with disadvantage and suffer -4 DEX.
35The PC's hands and feet switch places.
36The PC's eyes point out of the back of their head.
37Daemonic forces rend the PC's soul and cause them constant pain, -2 CON. If the PC ever drops to 0HP their soul is immediately dragged to the Abyss.
38The PC's muscles wither and decay, 1/2 STR.
39If the PC ever suffers a piercing injury they fall into a catatonic state from which they can only be revived if kissed by a being with a CHA score of >16.
40The PC cannot breathe air, but they can breathe underwater.
41The PC's blood roils and rebels in their veins. Any injury causing blood to be spilt deals double damage as the PC's blood seizes the chance to be free.
42The PC's presence is anathema to most beings. They will always be attacked first in combat.
43Knowledge of written language is struck from the PC's brain. They cannot read or write.
44The PC must speak in rhymes.
45A seed worms its way out of the PC's nose and embeds itself in the ground. Within an minute it grows into a tree - any damage or illness that the tree suffers, the PC suffers.
46The PC cannot consciously cross running water.
47The opposite gender despise the PC.
48The PC can only heal naturally when they deal an amount of damage to another being as a sacrifice. The damage dealt is the amount that the PC heals at the standard rate.
49The PC attracts ranged projectiles. All ranged attacks launched from within 100' have a 50% chance of targetting the PC.
50The PC's soul burns and shines like an astral beacon, attracting all sorts of divine and arcane energies. Their Saves vs Magic are rolled with disadvantage.
51The PC's joints stiffen and creak, causing pain with every movement, -4 DEX.
52The PC's footsteps are boomingly loud, even on soft surfaces. Stealth is impossible.
53The PC's skin exudes a volatile, flammable oil that will ignite if any source of flame comes within 10'.
54The PC loses all mental filters and voices their thoughts aloud.
55The PC views the world in monochrome, save for the occasional blood red object.
56The PC's internal compass is hopelessly scrambled and they are unable to navigate in any meanindful way. Any attempts to navigate will always lead to being lost.
57Unlucky. The PC cannot benefit from critical hits and suffers a critical miss on a roll of 1-3.
58The PC hears whispers demanding blood and skulls. They have an random chance of attacking any living thing within range in combat, including their movement range.
59The PC's palms and soles lose virtually all grip. Climbing skill is halved and all attack rolls are made at a disadvantage.
60The PC's body weighs twice as much. Their encumbrance doesn't change but they are twice as likely to break things they stand on. They sink very quickly.
61Liquid flees the PC's presence. This makes drinking rather difficult.
62The PC cannot drink unadulterated water.
63The PC turns to stone if another being looks at them. They recover when nothing is looking.
64The stars spell the PC's doom. Each day, after sleeping under the open sky, the PC makes all rolls with disadvantage.
65Any paper or parchment touched by the PC rapidly ages as if it had spent a century in the sun.
66Upon waking the PC has a 50% chance of finding their relative gravity reversed.
67The PC's chest cavity opens and their heart hangs loose. Any attacks to the PC's front deal triple damage.
68The PC's mouth seals shut.
69The PC's arms and legs swap places.
70The PC's bones lose all structure and they devolve into a grotesque blob form, -4 CHA & DEX.
71The PC is bent 90 degrees backwards at the waist, disadvantage on all combat rolls.
72The PC's arms elongate until their knuckles touch the floor. They gain 1 reach on any attacks but take disadvantage on all combat rolls.
73The PC's torso bloats to double its size, destroying any worn armour (and dealing 1d6 damage if so) in the process.
74The PC's legs shrink to half their length. They drop to the half their previous movement speed, rounded down.
75Any object held in the PC's hands seems unbearably heavy. Any held item counts as oversized for encumbrance purposes.
76Ropes and chains in the vicinity of the PC animate themselves and attempt to restrain and hang them.
77The light of the moon causes the PC to enter a catatonic state for 1d6 days.
78Objects stick to the PC's hands. It takes a full action to drop something they are holding, throwing is impossible.
79When the PC falls into a deep slumber when they hear music. They can only be woken by shaking or a physical blow.
80The PC appears as if they are standing in daylight when in dark places or at night.
81The PC's fingers fuse together into flippers.
82The PC is marked for death and cannot naturally heal.
83Any light source held by the PC burns twice as quickly and produces twisted, horrifying shadows.
84The PC can only gain sustenance from the flesh and blood of sentient beings.
85The PC cannot bear to be in the presence of a god, cleric or holy site. They take 1d6 damage every round when they are not actively fleeing the source of a divine presence.
86The PC's eyes and mouth switch places, CHA is reduced to 3.
87One of the PC's hands does all it can to inconvenience and harm them, i.e. dropping or breaking items, refusing to grip great weapons etc.
88The PC's legs fuse together and they must hop everywhere. Movement rate is reduced to the lowest possible.
89The PC is unable to remove any armour, clothing or other equipment they are currently wearing as it fuses to their flesh with a sizzling hiss.
90The PC is afflicted with a terrible lust for treasure and will attempt to devour any valuable objects they see.
91Any rope or ladder bearing the PC's weight will break or snap within moments.
92One of the PC's arms withers to a feeble husk and cannot be used.
93Any plants touched by the PC wither and die, including ones they step on while walking.
94Doomed. The PC takes disadvantage on all combat rolls and their opponents gain advantage on all of theirs.
95The PC is constantly parched and requires twice as much water each day to stop them from dehydrating.
96The PC only has a corporeal presence at night.
97The PC feels a constant hunger and must Save vs Magic whenever they see food. Failure means that they will violently attempt to gorge themselves.
98Any tool that the PC uses to complete a task has a 50% chance of breaking, regardless of the nature of the task.
99All light sources within 50' of the PC extinguish themselves with screams.
100Food and drink spoils if in the presence of the PC for longer than a day.

Footnote: Anyone with experience in getting HTML tables formatted in Blogger, please send me any tips that you have!

Saturday, 21 April 2018

OSR Class: Sin Eater

I've been thinking up a new way of organising class idea posts - I've settled on a brief intro, the class itself and notes on the mechanics, features of the class to consider if you use it in your campaign, and lastly how I tie the class into my Egradus campaign. As my group have decided on using Lamentations of the Flame Princess for our campaign all class details will be relevant to that system, with house rules and hacks pointed out where appropriate. So without further ado...

Magic-Users and Mage-Engineers gain their powers from the chaotic abyss that underpins and infiltrates reality, utilising learned techniques of hypnotic meditation, pnemonic recall and knowledge of metaphysical formulae to channel the raw chaotic energies of the Abyss without frying anything too important in their brains.

Clerics gain theirs from the god they are chosen by - their souls are endowed with divine energy for them to shape into miracles in furtherance of the glory of their god.

Sin Eaters gain their powers from the terrible curse that afflicts their souls. The curse is terrible, far worse than anything a hedge wizard or witch may hex a person with, and the Sin Eater will probably not have been cursed directly. The strongest curses ingrain themselves in the soul so deeply that parents unwittingly pass them on to their children.

But even though the curse buries itself deep in their spiritual essence like some sort of astral tumour, it grants its own well of power to those with the knowledge and will to access it. It also helps if you can endure horrific pain inflicted directly upon your soul and bear a blight that sickens and withers your body and essence.

Credit, Tamer Poyraz Demiralp



As Cleric.

As Cleric.

As Cleric.


A Sin Eater starts with no additional skill points at 1st level. See my LotFP hacks for my Egradus setting for further information on how I manage skill points, or feel free to adapt or ignore them as appropriate.


A Sin Eater does not cast arcane or divine spells. Their power comes from the strength of the curse affecting them and their abilities reflect this. All Sin Eaters have the below abilities/features:


A Sin Eater begins play with a Blight of 6.

Roll 2d6 once per week - if the result is lower than their current Blight level, reduce the Blight level by 1. This represents the waxing and waning strength of the curse within them:

2-4: Weak - The Sin Eater can barely feel the presence of the curse. Their powers are weakened, requiring a Save vs Magic when used. If failed then the power has no effect and is wasted.

5-7: Mild - The Sin Eater can feel the dark tendrils of the curse worming their way into their soul, but they suffer no ill effects from it. Their powers function as normal.

8-10: Heavy - The curse burns and lashes at the Sin Eater's soul. They take a -2 penalty to CON but their powers function as if they were one level higher than normal.

11-12: Extreme - The blackness closes in and the Sin Eater hear the keening of the damned. They take a -2 penalty to CON, DEX & STR but their powers function as if they were two levels higher than normal.

If a Sin Eater's Blight ever exceeds 12 then they must make an immediate Save vs Poison or die instantly, with no possibility of resurrection. A successful save keeps their Blight at 12.


Cleansing of the Soul
The Sin Eater anoints the subject with sacred unguents and fetishes before communing with their soul and drawing out the curse. Both the Sin Eater and the subject lapse into catatonic states while the ritual is in progress, though they occasionally scream or grimace as they are plagued with horrific nightmares and visions.

The ritual takes 1d6 hours to complete and the curse will not relapse for 1d4 years after the ritual has completed. The Sin Eater's Blight rolls (see below) are increased by 3 for the next 1d4 weeks.


Ritual of Purgation
The Sin Eater imbibes a cocktail of hallucinogens and meditates for 1d6 days, during which they confront the curse within them and battle to purge its influence on their soul. They require no sustenance during this period, but their veins stand out as stark black under their skin and the temperature near them drops to near freezing.

After the Sin Eater emerges from their meditation they immediately vomit 1d20+5 litres of foul smelling, black tar and are reduced to 1hp. Roll 1d4 and remove this many points of Blight. Any other character that touches this substance must Save vs Magic or contract a curse.

Credit, Eric Beylis

A Sin Eater can safely use their powers a number of times per day equal to their level (like Magic-Users in the Vaginas are Magic supplement for LotFP). They can attempt to use their powers past their normal limits but must Save vs Magic when doing so - failure inflicts 1 point of Blight. They do not have to prepare their powers and can use them at will unless otherwise specified.

A Sin Eater begins play with 2 of the below powers, roll 1d12 twice to determine them. Upon levelling up they must spend a number of weeks in meditation equal to their new level when they can then roll for a new power. Duplicate results may be rerolled.

1. Eye of Terror - A black eye appears on the Sin Eater's outstretched palm and its baleful gaze strikes terror into the souls of those that it sees, for they see the stains their own sins have left and will leave upon their souls. All visible targets with souls within 50' of the direction that the eye is pointing must Save vs Magic or flee in fear for 2d4 rounds.

2. Darkness Within - The Sin Eater teases and warps the curse that afflicts their soul, extruding it invisibly outward. They don't become invisible, but beings around them simply don't notice them through the veil of spiritual darkness that they project. Creatures lacking souls can see the Sin Eater normally. This effects lasts for a number of minutes equal to the Sin Eater's level and increases Blight by 1.

3. Darkness Without - The Sin Eater exhales a 50'+10' per level cloud of unnatural black smoke that carries whispers and faint screams. The smoke extinguishes flames, blocks all vision and all caught within it must Save vs Poison or vomit a tarry black substance for 1d6 rounds. The cloud lingers for 1 minute per level and does not react to wind. Creatures without souls are not affected by the ill effects and can see normally.

4. Violent Delights - Arcane and divine energy are not as fulfilling as souls, but the curse won't turn them down. It isn't picky. A Sin Eater may use this power as a free action when targeted by a spell or spell-like ability. Compare the level of the Sin Eater and the level/HD of the opposing caster - if the Sin Eater's level is equal to or greater than the opposing caster they may nullify the effect of the spell or spell-like ability cast upon them and absorb its energy, gaining an additional use of their powers but increasing their Blight by 1. If the opposing caster's level/HD is higher then the Sin Eater is only able to nullify the effects and their Blight increases by 2.

5. Violent Ends - When a creature with a soul meets a violent death within 100' of the Sin Eater, they may choose to drain parts of the creature's departing soul in order to assuage the roiling tempest of the curse. The Sin Eater must make a Save vs Magic - on a success they succeed in their attempt and reduce their Blight by 1 and heal 1d6hp, on a failure the soul slips through their grasp and the power is wasted.

6. A Mirror, Darkly - The Sin Eater meditates for 1d4 hours while focusing on the subject, who must be present for the duration (willing or not). Sin knows sin and the Sin Eater will be able to determine the subject's most evil acts. They are able to force a portion of their own on to the target using this sin as an anchor. Reduce the Sin Eater's Blight by 1 and determine a curse to be placed on the target. There is no save against this.

7. Soul Anchor - The Sin Eater channels the hold of the curse on their spirit and reaches forth to seizes a departing soul, forcing it back into the body from which it flees. A creature that has been dead for less than 5 minutes can be restored to life at 0hp. This power the Sin Eater's soul to the Blight, which increases by 2 when it is used. This ability will not restore to life those who have died of old age or died of poison or disease.

8. Insidious Whispers - The Sin Eater whispers to the soul of a creature within 100'. They must be able to see the creature but it doesn't need to be capable of hearing them. The Sin Eater exerts pressure on the creature's soul, tempting them towards harmful and malicious actions, giving way to the darkness that exists within all things. The target must Save vs Magic or fall under the Sin Eater's control for a number of rounds equal to the Sin Eater's level. Once the effect wears off the target will indulge in base impulses for a number of days equal to the Sin Eater's level.

9. Spirit Ward - The Sin Eater pulls on their connection to the dead gods and creates an invisible barrier reaching 10' per caster level that prevents spirits and ethereal beings from touching them. The barrier lasts for a number of minutes and blocks ethereal beings with HD equal to the Sin Eater's level. Ethereal beings with HD greater than the Sin Eater's level can cross the barrier but take 1d6 damage per the difference in HD. The effect of this ability are doubled if the Sin Eater maintains contact with the barrier and concentrates.

10. Soul Lance - The Sin Eater harnesses the power of the curse and hurls a lance of bubbling black energy at a target within 60' + 10' per level. The Soul Lance does 1d6 damage per caster level.

11. Sickness Eater - The Sin Eater lays their hands on a target and gazes upon their soul. The soul, being a reflection of the body and mind, carries traces of any physical diseases and parasites which have their own astral essence. The Sin Eater can absorb the essence of, and therefore cure, one disease from the target per use of this power, drawing it into their own being and feeding it into the curse that afflicts them, increasing their Blight by 1. The Sin Eater does not require sustenance for a week after using this power.

12. Eye of Eternity - The Sin Eater rolls back the veil that covers our reality and perceives the world as it truly is. This power allows them to see through natural and artificial darkness, see invisible and ethereal entities and spot hidden passages and magical items. The power lasts for as many rounds as the Sin Eater has levels.

Credit, Chris Dickson

The origin of the curse afflicting the Sin Eater has been left purposefully vague so as to make this class easier to tailor to your campaign world. The one constant about it is that this isn't something that can be removed with a simple casting of Remove Curse - this curse is the legacy of an act so terrible that it persists through generations, latching on to the souls of children as they are born like some kind of spiritual infection. It could affect a single family, several bloodlines or even an entire nation of people, depending on who or what was wronged.

Sin Eaters are tainted but to those aware of them they are highly valued - curses and hexes are no joke and hard to get rid of. A travelling Sin Eater can collect hefty fees for their services.

In mechanical terms, this class has some powerful utility abilities that can allow for battlefield control (Darkness Without), last ditch healing (Soul Anchor) and a limited form of invisibility (Darkness Within), as well as decent damage output (Soul Lance) and enemy manipulation (Insidious Whispers). All in all, not a bad mix for a party to take. The social standing (depending on your game world, of course) of a Sin Eater can also be a plus.


The cold, harsh land of Ithorun breeds hardy, fierce people. Though the sweeping vistas of snow-capped mountains and vast evergreen forest may look beautifully picturesque they hold many dangers - twisted beasts, capricious elves and lost spirits, to name but a few. The people of Ithorun are steadfast in the face of such dangers and stories of their ferocious warriors are known across Izoa and Oloris, as are the sails of their raiding ships. But even mighty warriors can be laid low by sickness, and while apothecaries often cite success in treating maladies of the body, few claim to be able to treat sickness of the soul. The Sin Eaters claim otherwise.

To understand the Sin Eaters one must understand the shame of Ithorun, and the death of their gods. Centuries ago, the land of Ithorun was lush and vibrant. The horrors of the Long Night had been overcome and the land was at peace, its gods appeased. No one remembers what caused the ancient Ithorunians to turn against their deities, or what terrible acts they committed in their destruction, but when the War of Sin, as it is now referred to by the Ithorunians, was over their gods lay broken and destroyed and with his last dying breath, Yrion, God Of Judgement, cursed his betrayers to bear the stains of their sins on their souls. The Ithorunians scorned his words and revelled in their victory, but in the years that followed scores of them withered and died and the apothecaries and chirurgeons were powerless to help them. People claimed to be haunted by evil presences and the spirits of the dead. So too did the land begin to shrivel and wither away, becoming colder and fiercer, with dark beasts and foreboding forests advancing on Ithorunian cities. Attempts to placate the dead gods failed and no other deities would hear the plaintive cries of Ithorun.

After decades of torment Ithorunian civilisation was pushed to a handful of rude, coastal cities. The shining cities of their past were gone, swallowed by dark forests and mists, and it seemed that the end was at hand. As the last of the Ithorunians awaited their fate, word spread of a group who had emerged from the forests bringing word of a cure for the blight that afflicted their people. Yrion's curse had marked the souls of the Ithorunians, condemning them to a slow death as their souls gradually burned away. These Sin Eaters, as they called themselves, had found a way to stave off the blight for a time, allowing their countrymen to live free from their affliction for years before requiring the assistance of a Sin Eater again.

Sin Eaters are tragic, courageous figures in Ithorunian culture. They are beloved for their skills and pitied for their cursed existence, for the Sin Eaters do not purge the curse that Yrion inflicted upon Ithorun - they draw it into themselves and condemn their own souls to damnation. Today the Sin Eaters form one of the cores of Ithorunian society and no holdfast will go without one. As well as attending to the spirits of their countrymen, Spirit Eaters also provide war chiefs and nobles with sage advice, treat with the elves and utilise their unique powers in pacifying and driving out ethereal beings and Outsiders. The Spirit Eaters also explore the Old Forests and ward the ancient cities of Ithorun, for within them lies terrible danger.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Progress So Far - Campaign Tracking & Related Shilling

I've had a relatively busy time of things recently. Christmas decadence gave way to New Year blues which gave way to work-related insanity which gave way to buying a house, all of which has left me with precious little time to spew my idle thoughts over the internet. However, my gaming group and I have been forging ahead with adventures in Egradus which has been great - it's good to be running a campaign again after what feels like so long!

As I'm sure readers will appreciate, a campaign without accurate records of previous sessions isn't much of a campaign at all. In order to keep track of events that have happened previously (like a near TPK at the hands (claws? grippers?) of turbine golems a few weeks ago) I've been using Google Sites, which has proven perfect for my needs.

I originally started using the platform months ago while running one-shots and other small adventures for the group but it has since proven to be invaluable for campaign organisation and record keeping - my site Iron & Ink, for instance, has been organised into sub-pages for each campaign/adventure and each of those has sections nested beneath it for session summaries, known NPCs, notable treasures found or enemies encountered by the party. It's become more than just a personal record for my reference - my players actively browse it when they need reminders about things in the world. Also, it's completely free.

However, my time is still somewhat limited and I can't always fill the site in in a timely fashion. That's where my players come in - a couple of my players have taken on the role of party scribes and fill in some information on the site with in-character summaries. This has taken things to a whole new level and makes the site feel almost like part of the world, a sort of almanac that the party is gradually compiling.

And that feels damn good. I've never managed to get players so invested in a campaign before. So consider this a 100% shill post for Google Sites. Damn if it isn't one of the best tools I've found so far.

In the campaign itself, the party is down to one original member - the others got either obliterated by a huge rock thrown at them by a turbine golem, torn in half by said turbine golem, or jumped into a cave river to escape a slime demon that they had summoned in an attempt to kill the turbine golem.

My party now has a severe phobia of turbine golems.

On the other hand they have become extremely wealthy, own a wonderful chocolate factory (staffed with slaves) and are off exploring a beautiful and completely not spider filled forest, so things could be worse. The Shaxecan hexmap is gradually getting explored and revealed, and things seem to be going swimmingly. I love this hobby.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

The City of Whispers: Guilds

So this has taken me quite a while to write up - things started out as general post-Christmas fatigue but have since moved into the arena of buying a house so I've managed to go from unmotivated to having virtually no time at all! I'm hoping to get things back to a more regular schedule in the next few weeks now that things are quietening down a bit more.

Anyhow, without further ado here is a brief introduction to the city and guilds of Ramliya, the City of Whispers.

Credit, Karl Björkman

Travelling through the Rustside Valley is a long and arduous affair. The Sendarian border princes and marcher lords are in constant competition with each other and the line between legitimate soldiers and bandits is blurred as they undertake raids on the surrounding territory, all while strange beasts lurk in the snow-capped carmine hills and mountains that tower on either side of the valley. Despite the dangers there is a constant flow of merchant and pilgrim traffic through the pass travelling to and from the City of Whispers - Ramliya.

Emerging from Rustside Valley, travellers are confronted with the Ironfield. Jagged pieces of metal thrust up from the barren ground like blades but few are large enough to block the view of the City of Whispers in the distance. Crossing during storms is not recommended. The city itself resembles a twisted metal termite mound the size of a small mountain, with broken metal fingers stretching up towards the sky. A whispering wind can be heard emanating from the vast edifice in the distance and at night its metal shell is pockmarked with the lights and fires of those living within.

Signs of civilisation appear as one approaches - first the scavenger teams are seen in the Ironfield, picking through the detritus and rust for pure metal and valuable artefacts; then the small, fortified encampments and crude manufactories of those who are either unable or unwilling to enter the city proper; finally the gates come into view, with their vast, dark portals sitting at the top of earthen ramps reinforced with metal struts. There are 12 ramps in total, each bristling with fortifications and controlled by one of the major guilds in the city.

Credit, Shane Cook

The interior of the city resembles a series of dim cathedral-vaults clustered around the main support struts of the spires and the air is filled with susurrating whispers caused by the wind worming its way through cracks and rents in the superstructure. Height equals wealth in Ramliya and the wealthiest members of the city live high up in the 'Spires' where the air is thin and chills to the bone, for only they can afford to pay the Worshipful Company of Footmen to port fuel and goods up the vast heights and retain mages to seal the frost away from their homes.

The less wealthy inhabit the mid-section of the city, known as the 'Belt', and it is here that most of the city's industry and agriculture is centred - halls of looms that weave silken strands sit alongside furnace chambers that smelt and cast metals alloyed with the peculiar substances found in the lower reaches of the city, while swathes of nutrient-water filled trenches stretch out in layers from the sides of the spire to grow whatever crops the Lurks have sown and ancient machines churn out reprocessed organic food-sludge from recycled waste.

The cramped, dark sepulchres at or below ground level are reserved for the city's poor, who still take employment and trades within the city proper. The 'Warrens', as they are known, are a claustrophobic network of tunnels and bunkers beneath the city that gradually lead down into the 'Underspire'. Effluence and run-off from the city above seeps through the Warrens, leading to a higher rate of mutation than normal, but it continues into the depths below, known as the Neath. No one know what lies down in the dark caverns but expeditions that have returned bear wondrous finds of ancient artefacts and materials, if they come back at all.

Credit, Finnian MacManus

The Guilds

Ramliya is governed by the Council of Thirteen, which is formed from representatives of the Guilds Major, the 12 most powerful and wealthy guilds in the city, and an emissary from the Mournhold, the headquarters of the Grey Halls of Yenta. There are dozens of Guilds Minor who swear loyalty to one of the Guilds Major and most of the people living in the city will be a member of one guild or another, at least in the middle section of the city. Each Guild has its own allies but all seek to obtain absolute power in Ramliya, which their constant infighting renders out of reach.

Credit, Octavio Cordova

The Grey Halls

The number one power in Ramliya - the tendrils of the Grey Halls are woven into almost every facet of the City of Whispers. They maintain the status quo between the Guilds by drip feeding enough information (gathered by their vast intelligence network of humans and cats) to rival Guilds to cause infighting and the hampering of various schemes without giving an overall advantage. In council votes the Grey Halls often act as a tie-breaker, though no-one knows which side of a given vote they are likely to come down on.

The Mournhold is the seat of power for the cult of Yenta, Goddess of Silence, and stands at the peak of the highest accessible spire in the city. The air is so thin that some pilgrims expire from lack of breath and hypothermia; other pilgrims will move them to the sides of the paths and adorn them with prayer scrolls and icons of the faith. Rumours abound of secret temples in hidden places deep beneath the city or in ancient spires not visited for generations. The Reticent Pope, who leads the cult, is also the subject of many rumours as they have never been seen, even by many cult members.

SLANG: Greymanes.

WANTS: To maintain the status quo; secrets and rumours; good relations with the cats; memories.

DOESN'T WANT: Powerful Guilds; unknown actors in the city; a war between the crows and the cats; its secrets uncovered.

LEADER: The Reticent Pope, if they even exist.



Credit, Eric Guerrero

The Worshipful Company of Footmen

Ramliya resembles a mountain of metal more than it does a conventional city. Even though there are stairways, access tunnels and even a few working elevators it is a serious endeavour to move anything larger than a backpack through the city given that most movement is vertical. Beasts of burden will also often refuse to enter the city, given its dark, noisy and cramped conditions. The Worshipful Company of Footmen fit this niche with hardy and tough porter gangs who ferry goods up and down the spire. The wealthy citizens in the Spires contract the guild to ferry the vast quantities of fuel needed to heat their homes.

As well as porting goods around the city, Guild members are often hired as guides by visitors to the city given that they know all the nooks and crannies as well as the quickest and safest way from one place to another. Allies of the Footmen include the the Iron Caravan and the Worshipful Guild of Victuallers, who bring goods to and from the city and provide Guild members with strong brew, respectively.

Recently there have been conflicts with the Steelsmith Company, who have been producing greater amounts of heavy-lifting automata, and the the Revered Guild of Architects, who have reactivated several large elevators in the Belt. A mutual dislike exists with the Guild of Reclaimers, who seek to create accurate maps of the city.

SLANG: Goats.

WANTS: A monopoly on moving goods; a continuous flow of goods in and out of the city; strong drink and calorie-dense food.

DOESN'T WANT: Easy access through the city; automation and machinery doing the heavy lifting; accurate mapping.

LEADER: Mikelo Pan, a musclebound, bullheaded human who can often be found carousing in various taverns in the Belt.

ALLIES: The Iron Caravan; The Worshipful Guild of Victuallers.

ENEMIES: The Steelsmith Company; The Revered Guild of Architects; The Guild of Reclaimers.

Credit, Sabbas Apterus

The Honourable House of the Spinneret

There are many hidden and dark places in the City of Whispers. Ancient vaults, decrepit spires and cavernous, gloom filled cathedrals are scattered around the superstructure and few have ever been mapped, save by the Weavers. These Beast-Men are far from shunned in Ramliya and are in fact honoured for their role in exporting reams of valuable silk and bringing great wealth to the city, provided that they keep their faces veiled in the company of non-Beast-Men.

Clannish and insular, the Weavers claim vast reaches of the city that are out of the way of many inhabitants. It is here that their Spinners, bloated, pale and ever-hungry, coat the halls and passages with fine silken strands and lair deep in the darkness. Entrance to these areas is prohibited and any interlopers are captured and wrapped in silk before being gingerly placed upon iron altars for the Spinners to feast on at their leisure.

While the Honourable House of the Spinneret has had a long and fruitful relationship with the Iron Caravan, who earns great riches from silk shipments, they find the intrusions of the Guild of Reclaimers into their sacred spaces insulting. The Society of the Twisted Braid, who steal eggs and bodies and even kidnap live Weavers and Spinners if possible, is their greatest enemy.

SLANG: Weavers.

WANTS: To protect their sacred places; to keep the silk flowing; to remain accepted by non-mutants.

DOESN'T WANT: The Society of the Twisted Braid to steal away more of their people; any harm to come to the Spinners; intruders to escape.

LEADER: Clutch-of-Twelve, an old albino Weaver with sorcerous talents.

ALLIES: The Iron Caravan.

ENEMIES: The Guild of Reclaimers; The Society of the Twisted Braid.

Credit, Jeff Brown

The Society of the Twisted Braid

Food is always a concern in the City of Whispers. The barren, metal-leached soil of the Ironfield withers and kills all but the hardiest plants and the depths of the Belt and the Warrens are too dark to support conventional crops. Spans of external platforms that catch the sun's light are reasonably common in the Spires and upper Belt, but keeping their contents safe from the cold air and harsh wind and enriched with fertile soil from other lands is enormously expensive. The Society of the Twisted Braid is Ramliya's answer to this scarcity.

The Society makes its home in the Warrens, squirrelled away in a complex known to locals as 'The Gut'. From here the mages and alchemists that make up its members distil and breed new forms of fungi and algae that can survive in dark and humid conditions, among other things. Their services are also contracted by the citizens of the Spire to create new strains of crops, animals and servants that are resistant to the harsh conditions. They also maintain the strange machines in the Belt and Warrens that continue to reconstitute nutritious, if bland, sludge.

The Society is regarded with a mixture of gratitude and fear, for while it provides vital foodstuffs to the city at large, it is also responsible for disappearances among the population of the Belt and the Warrens and strange creatures have been seen in the Warrens near the Gut... The Steelsmith Company has often fought these peculiar, twisted beasts and holds no love for the Society, often raiding their territory in the Warrens in retaliation. Likewise the Guild of Reclaimers encounters strange creatures in their expeditions to the Neath, and several parties have reported being attacked by plague-masked gangs in the employ of the Society who have attempted to abduct with Reclaimer guildsmen and steal their findings. The Society regards the Weavers as worthy of study but holds no particular ill-will towards them, a feeling which is not reciprocated by the Weavers.

On the other hand, they have a healthy relationship with the Worshipful Guild of Victuallers, who rely on distillations of Society fungi and algae to make their potent brews, and the Way of the Winding Road, who have proven to be valuable research partners into the arcane arts.

SLANG: Lurks.

WANTS: New specimens; to uncover the secrets held within flesh; to placate the masses with gifts of sustenance.

DOESN'T WANT: Their creations viewed by lesser people; others to find secrets in the Neath; unmanaged mutation among its members.

LEADER: Academician Yulian Antonov, a freakishly tall and pale human often seen encased in a strange suit covered in capillary tubes and cannulae.

ALLIES: The Worshipful Guild of Victuallers; The Way of the Winding Road.

ENEMIES: The Steelsmith Company; The Guild of Reclaimers; The Honourable House of the Spinneret.

Credit, Andre Meister

The Guild of Reclaimers

The Warrens stretch for an untold distance beneath the city, with some almost being cities unto themselves. Yet there are still tunnels and caverns that lie deeper, and the Neath holds treasure and peril in equal measure. The Guild of Reclaimers mount expedition into the night-dark places beneath the city in search of artefacts and relics from the city's distant past and even a moderately successful expedition can bring enormous wealth. There are no shortage of guild recruits and volunteers for these

The guild also takes efforts to map and chart the lost regions of Ramliya, whether this is a nest of tunnels in the Warrens or the forgotten wing of a spire. This often brings them into conflict with the Worshipful Company of Footmen, who seek to keep knowledge of the hidden paths around the city for their own use. Guild expeditions can also be found in the reaches of the Ironfield, where occasionally old structures are unearthed or exposed.

In addition to their conflicts with the Footmen, the Guild of Reclaimers also faces opponents among the Honourable House of the Spinneret who resent their intrusions into what they claim as their sacred places. The guild has also faced attacks from the Society of the Twisted Braid, who have kidnapped a number of members and stolen finds returning from the Neath. In contrast, the guild has strong allies among the The Most Honourable Company of Chandlers and The Most Learned Guild of Historians, who provide the lights needed for expeditions and prize recovered artefacts, respectively.

SLANG: Moles.

WANTS: To map the city and Neath; to recover artefacts from the past.

DOESN'T WANT: Access to the city restricted; to be beaten to the finds.

LEADER: Veer Balodis, a wiry, scarred woman who carries an ancient rifle that sears the skin from her enemies' bones.

ALLIES: The Most Honourable Company of Chandlers; The Most Learned Guild of Historians.

ENEMIES: The Worshipful Company of Footmen; The Honourable House of the Spinneret; The Society of the Twisted Braid.

Credit, Sergey Vasnev

The Iron Caravan

Ramliya consumes a voracious amount of food, wood and flesh. In return it disgorges a stream of silk, metalwork and magical and historical artefacts. The Iron Caravan is the ever-laden vehicle by which these things travel. The caravan's huge, muscular pack-beasts and iron automatons are a common sight on the Ironfield roads and caravanserais of the Ugishi riverlands. They can even be found as far away as Amon-Klar or Yoon-Suin.

The caravan's merchants bring not only coin and goods but also rumours and tales from city to city, often acting as an impromptu postal service when the Grey Halls are not available to ferry messages. By spreading stories of the City of Whispers they also ensure the influx of willing migrants to the city; unwilling migrants are often purchased in Ugishi slave markets for work in the foundries of the Belt or mines in the Ironfield and Warrens.

Their role in procuring fresh bodies for work in the forges and mines means that the Iron Caravan and Steelsmith Company are close allies; in return the company provides the caravan with iron automatons capable of lifting huge loads of goods and crushing bandits with ease. Likewise they also strike a good trade with the Guild of Reclaimers and the Honourable House of the Spinneret - Ramliyan artefacts and silk always fetch a good price. The caravan's relationship with the Society of the Twisted Braid is also a fruitful one - in exchange for alchemically engineered beats of burden, the caravan procures rare alchemical materials from foreign lands for the Lurks.

On the other hand, the Worshipful Guild of Victuallers dislikes having foreign liquor competing with their own brews in the Belt markets and the Most Honourable Company of Chandlers wishes to maintain their monopoly on light sources by preventing imports of oil and tallow.

SLANG: Clinkers.

WANTS: A steady flow of commerce; rumours from foreign lands; new and interesting wares.

DOESN'T WANT: A Guild war; goods smuggled into Ramliya without tax and excise paid; a population drop on Izoa.

LEADER: Tradelord* Stien Sonnen, a grossly fat halfling who is carried around on a gilded palanquin by filigreed automatons who constantly sing in dulcet tones.

ALLIES: The Steelsmith Company; the Guild of Reclaimers; the Honourable House of the Spinneret; the Society of the Twisted Braid.

ENEMIES: The Worshipful Guild of Victuallers; the Most Honourable Company of Chandlers.

*His full title is technically Tradelord Stien Goldhoarder Fortune-beloved Merchant-Prince Sonnen the Shockingly Obese.

Credit, Johannes Palmblad

The Steelsmith Company

If there's one thing Ramliya has a lot of, it's metal. Strangely durable, corrosion-resistant and light, Whisper-Steel is prized by smiths all over Izoa and Oloris. Its creation is a secret closely guarded by the Steelsmith Company, who rule swathes of the Belt and the Ironfield with their clanking, bizarre automata and well-armed house auxiliaries. The Company is able to fund itself through sales of fine weapons, armour and constructs, as well as hired muscle and metallurgic know-how, to foreign buyers, which in turn allows them to fund expeditions into the Warrens and the Neath in search of ancient technology.

It is hard to avoid the Company's presence in the Belt - its vast foundries stand emblazoned with the hammer and sword emblem and heavy lifting automata cart huge loads down to the cities gates. Guild militia patrol the region, frequently throwing their weight around against rival guilds if they feel they can get away with it or herding hapless slaves along work lines with cracks of their whips. Their influence is heavily concentrated here, however, and it is rare to spot a Company member outside of this region of the city.

The Company has close ties with the Iron Caravan, providing them with guards and pack automata for their long voyages to foreign lands in exchange for regular shipments of slaves to put to work in the foundries and forges. Likewise their skill in crafting brute automata capable of lifting extraordinary loads has endeared them to the Revered Guild of Architects, who they regularly assist in excavating old ruins and renovating various passages around the city.

The Company's arrogance and willingness to throw its weight around, however, has earned it few other friends. The Worshipful Company of Footmen resent the threat that the Steelsmith's heavy-lifting automata represent to their traditional business; the Society of the Twisted Braid, on the other hand, holds no real malice towards the Steelsmith Company but they nonetheless find it amusing when their alchemical horrors fall upon a patrol of the arrogant Belters.

SLANG: Swords.

WANTS: New and interesting examples of ancient technology; bodies to put to work.

DOESN'T WANT: Rivals in the Belt; interruptions to production; the secrets of Whisper-Steel to be leaked.

LEADER: Zi, an unknown being encased in a metal sarcophagus mounted to a mobile armature.

ALLIES: The Iron Caravan; the Revered Guild of Architects.

ENEMIES: The Worshipful Company of Footmen; the Society of the Twisted Braid.

Credit, Rustam Hasanov

The Revered Guild of Inkmakers

Many who hear of the Revered Guild of Inkmakers' privileged position in Ramliya are somewhat incredulous. A small guild of inkmakers occupying a seat at the Council of Thirteen alongside the most powerful organisations in the city? Surely that must be nonsense. It is the truth, however, though the Guild's presence is more of a historical accident than anything else. In Ramliya's distant past the Grey Halls of Yenta suffered a schism between the orthodox followers of the Silent Goddess and numerous heterodox disciples, who claimed that the secrets of the world were protected by a great cypher. As befitting their numbers and power, the heretics obtained a position on the Council.

To aid their efforts at deciphering this code, the heretics required vast reams of parchment and ink, and gradually their fervent beliefs fell by the wayside to be replaced by the arts of such ink- and paper-making. These arts still bring them great wealth and some scholars of the Revered Guild maintain the old ways of their forebears, making them excellent analysts and polymath sages. The secrets that the Guild have uncovered, though nothing compared to the Grey Halls, allow them to maintain their position on the Council, especially when combined with their inoffensive nature and moderate influence in Council discussions. And someone needs to take the minutes at Council meetings...

SLANG: Blots.

WANTS: Secrets; alchemical ingredients; rare woods.

DOESN'T WANT: To be disturbed; smudges.

LEADER: Scribe-Master Cai Su, an elderly dwarf who produces wondrous moving calligraphy.

ALLIES: None, though they are friendly with the Way of the Winding Road and the Most Learned Guild of Historians.


Credit, Daniel LoBosco

The Way of the Winding Road

The depths of Ramliya hold mysteries both technological and magical. It is the latter that interests the Way of the Winding Road, a reclusive order who seek to hoard magical artefacts from the city's ancient past. The mages of the Way are known for their affinity with shadows and divination, which they use to plot their paths into the Neath in search of artefacts, though these methods are never foolproof in such treacherous depths.

The Way of the Winding Road makes its headquarters in the Spires, where they use their magical talents to insulate themselves from the biting cold and thin air. These skills are utilised by the wealthy inhabitants of the Spires and it is common for a mage of the Way to be employed as a tutor in most noble houses.

The Way also cultivates good relationships with the Worshipful Guild of Victuallers, who are able to supply them with food and drink fine enough to be presentable among noble society high up in the Spires. However, the Way of the Winding Road also sends representatives to the Society of the Twisted Braid to aid them in their alchemical and magical experiments. In exchange, members of the Way are permitted to pass through the Warrens unmolested. The Most Honourable Company of Chandlers are the only real opposition to the Way of the Winding Road, as they dislike having another provider of light and heat in the city, let along perpetual magical sources of the same.

SLANG: Wanderers.

WANTS: Unmolested passage to the Neath; to maintain their status among high society; magical artefacts.

DOESN'T WANT: Other organised mage groups; magical items leaving the city.

LEADER: Archmage Viltok, a young halfling who is rumoured to sport several mutations. They wear a veil in public.

ALLIES: The Worshipful Guild of Victuallers; the Society of the Twisted Braid.

ENEMIES: The Most Honourable Company of Chandlers.

Credit, Bej Dak

The Worshipful Guild of Victuallers

A city the size of Ramliya requires a lot of food and drink to keep its people healthy, happy and living. Unfortunately mountains of metal have certain inherent issues in growing food and finding water sources. While the Society of the Twisted Braid has the question of food and basic drink covered, the life of the average Ramliyan would be terribly boring if all they had to live on was algae-bread and distilled water to live on. That's where the Worshipful Guild of Victuallers comes in.

Making their home in the Spires, the Worshipful Guild of Victuallers produces and procures the finer things in life... for a handsome price, of course. The Worshipful Guild works closely with the Society of the Twisted Braid to produce potent strains of alcohol producing algae and fungi - different grades are served at different levels of the city - and they come down hard on those who try to produce rival breweries and distilleries. They also distil various drugs and elixirs for recreational and professional use along with importing intoxicants from all around Izoa and Oloris.

The Worshipful Guild also has its own gardens in the Spires where they grow some of the only crops that receive natural light in the city. These gardens are closely guarded crystal edens, perfectly climate controlled and warded by the Way of the Winding Road, and the rarest of them produce unique plants and fruits that grow only in these tiny, fragile ecosystems.

The Worshipful Company of Footmen assist them in moving their goods through the city in order for regular shipments of liquor. Their only real enemy is the Iron Caravan, who often brings back cheap foreign booze and cuts into profits.

SLANG: Spiriters.

WANTS: Decadence and luxury; new and improved intoxicants.

DOESN'T WANT: Rival brewers and distillers; riff-raff 'exploring' their secret gardens.

LEADER: Arch-Sommelier Akna, a statuesque woman from the far south who wears robes stained a deep purple with wine.

ALLIES: The Society of the Twisting Braid; the Way of the Winding Road; the Worshipful Company of Footmen.

ENEMIES: The Iron Caravan.

Credit, Thomas Shirley

The Most Honourable Company of Chandlers

Ramliya's chambered innards vary in size from vaulted steel cathedrals to cramped iron coffins. The only common denominator between them is the singular lack of direct light. While the compartments near the exterior are able to get by with opening up holes to the outer shell, even they are in need of light when night falls. The Most Honourable Company of Chandlers tunnel beneath their sump-fortresses in the Warrens and drink deep into the earth to fulfil this vital need of the City Whispers.

Pyros, as they are known, are often smelled before they are seen, preceded by a miasma of petrochemical vapours and brimstone smoke. Some patrol all around the city, maintaining huge lanterns and heaters in communal areas to the smaller lanterns that light narrower yet commonly used corridors and bulkheads. Others are spotted in the Warren or the Neath, marking sites for future digs and taps of what they call 'Heatblood'. This strange substance is refined and distilled to power the lights and heat sources of the city, but some whisper that long-term exposure can wreak terrible effects and changes on the body.

Few would consider getting on the wrong side of the Most Honourable Company of Chandlers, for few wish to be trapped in a tomb of cold, dark metal. The only Guild known to cross them are the Iron Caravan, with whom the Most Honourable Company have been embroiled in a vicious feud over imports of oil and tallow from abroad. The Way of the Winding Road also scorn the Most Honourable Company, heating their holds with sorcerous power.

The Guild of Reclaimers have proven their closest allies and the two Guilds have formed a profitable arrangement in exploring the Neath.

SLANG: Pyros.

WANTS: New sources of Heatblood; to light the darkness.

DOESN'T WANT: Impure fuels being brought into the city; to feel the cold.

LEADER: Illuminator Raagios, a huge figure always dressed in armour plates, the gaps from which light and smoke bleed out.

ALLIES: The Guild of Reclaimers.

ENEMIES: The Iron Caravan; the Way of the Winding Road.

Credit, Adrien Amilhat

The Revered Guild of Architects

The City of Whispers is old. Very old. Aching groans and squeals are a constant accompaniment to its incessant whispering and collapses, while rare, are lethal. It is a testament to the Revered Guild of Architects that collapses do not occur more often. Evidence of their work can be found from the Warrens to the Spires and without their efforts it is likely that much of Ramliya would be uninhabitable.

The Revered Guild practice their trade from an immaculate fortress-palace built in the Belt, and Guild representatives are much in demand across Izoa for their skills in producing masterful homes and fortresses. It is not uncommon to see a Master Architect moving through the streets of Ramliya, attended to by furiously scribbling Journeymen and chalk-wielding Apprentices as they plan further expansions and reinforcements. A strategic alliance with the Steelsmith Company ensures the supply of heavy lifting automata and work gangs, as well as ready amounts of strong building material.

The Revered Guild also makes efforts to reactivate useful parts of the city that it comes across. A recent example of this are the large mass conveyance elevators in the Belt, which have allowed for even larger amounts of people and goods to be moved easily between city levels. This has caused some upset in the Worshipful Company of Footmen, who consider the movement of goods around the city their monopoly by custom. However, their delving into the ancient structures of the city has found them supporters in the Most Learned Guild of Historians, who are always eager for more knowledge of the past.

SLANG: Hammerers.

WANTS: To maintain the city and its environs; to build Ramliya back to its former glory.

DOESN'T WANT: Cave ins and collapses; Substantial alterations made without their input.

LEADER: Caracco Sanicios, a dwarf who wears a strange harness with metallic prehensile tendrils that allow her to climb with extraordinary ease.

ALLIES: The Steelsmith Company; the Most Learned Guild of Historians.

ENEMIES: The Worshipful Company of Footmen.

Credit, Ann Ann

The Most Learned Guild of Historians

As the the Revered Guild of Architects can attest, the City of Whispers is ancient, older than even the Kothen Imperium which was shattered centuries ago. The Most Learned Guild of Historians are dedicated to discovering and archiving the hidden mysteries of the ancient city. Their Explorator-Scribes are sometimes seen heading through the Warrens to the Neath and groups of parchment-laden scholars trudge around the Belt and Spires taking meticulous notes and following up on theories and leads.

The Most Learned Guild has proven to be an excellent, if somewhat contradictory, source of knowledge regarding Ramliya's origins and the operation of its arcane workings. This has naturally led to close ties to the Guild of Reclaimers, who supply them with various wonders recovered by their expeditions to the Neath, and the Revered Guild of Architects, whose work often uncovers new and unknown areas of the city for study.

As a seemingly peaceful organisation of academics, the Most Learned Guild has no real enemies. Only fools cross them, however, as while the ranks of the Explorator-Scribes who venture into the Neath are small in number, every one of them is a hard-bitten and canny warrior and adventurer.

SLANG: Scrolls.

WANTS: Artefacts and ancient things to study; a fuller understanding of Ramliya's origins.

DOESN'T WANT: Facts to be hidden (from them); uneducated types poking about in things they should be warier of.

LEADER: Chief Historiographer Eshkhan Tufenkian, an old orc who spends much of his time piecing together various theories and strands of thought into a self-proclaimed magnum opus that will reveal the truth of the city's origins.

ALLIES: The Guild of Reclaimers; the Revered Guild of Architects.


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