Saturday, 15 September 2018

The Slow Creep of Night

There is a world tidally locked to its sun. One side faces the sun; it is warm, lush. The other side is permanently dark.

Tidally locked except—not quite. Some precession of the world's core imparts a tiny rotation. It does have a day, but it's two thousand years long.

Each year, 20 leagues of dawnlands are touched by the rays of the sun. Behind them, 20 leagues are claimed by twilight.

Beacuse of this, every living thing slowly migrates. Moving east is an instinct in the soul of every rodent, bird, and people. The giant trees, lichens, and the seething legion of insects beneath the soil stay where they are, but everything else gradually resettles.

It goes on like this for billions of years. The early people were by necessity nomadic, following the dawn. Early tribes would sometimes flourish and expand, taking over swaths of territory and building permanent settlements.

These early kingdoms would appear successful (and through the development of writing would contribute disproportionately to the myths of the world), but each would end in disaster. Torn apart by civil war and chaos as twilight upended their short-sighted arrangements, or sailing stubbornly into the night to be devoured by the things of the dark.

Adventures in the World of Creeping Dark



1. The east is a frenzy of exploration and settlement. Lush new lands are opening up, and the dawnland kingdoms are competing for control of the islands, new trade routes, and a defensible positions for fortresses. There is good money for adventurers, mercenaries.

2. For the truly desperate, ranging far into the pre-dawn nightlands offers the possibility of a precious discovery that could be sold as information, or perhaps even claimed and fortified.

3. Some of these footholds in the pre-dawn night take hold, but to stay viable they must be supplied with news, food, medicines, and specialists.

4. Fighting the vestiges of night. Day comes last to the the valleys, crevices and ravines of the dawnlands. For decades they are inky pools of shadow, and the terrors of the night-side lurk there. Before the lands can be safely settled, these must be made safe.

5. Some of these cannot be disloged, but must be bargained with, placated—or sated.

6. In the far west, the inevitable abandonment of settlements happens unevenly. The day-dwellers rarely give up before they have to, as there are resources that are hard to give up. Mines, fertile lagoons, a final harvest or two of the century crops—all would bring much-needed cash and supplies for the great migration eastwards. But sometimes the dark surges forward - waves of monsters, or lone horrors come soon. These must be fought off, chased back into the night, or at kept at bay while people evacuate.

7. Some things simply cannot be moved, and forays into the darkness to reach them are sometimes necessary. The great fortress of Ing, where the life-giving fountain splashes. It may be a hundred miles into the darklands, but it is the only known cure for the Duke's white palsy.

8. Though they don't like to speak of it, sages have figured out that the daylands are getting narrower. (Court administrators have noticed this too, for that matter.) According to legend, it was once half the world, as you might expect if the world was a sphere. Now, geographers agree: it's a narrow strip, scarcely 800 leagues across. The useful period of human settlements is now barely 40 years! If this waning continues, the people of the day might soon be completely eclipsed.

Sooths from nine kingdoms all claim the same vision—there is a sorcerous cabal in the darklands, the princes of night. Their great working is shrinking the day. They must be stopped, if they can be reached at all.

9. The Duke believes that they have agents on the day-side, moving among us, but this is obviously just the ravings of a man stricken with the white palsy.

EDIT!

This is apparently a recurring idea in fantasy, so there are more resources if you're interested in this.

Scott Charlton was apparently developing the idea at exactly the same day as I was..

Dave McGrogan's The City Standing like a Candle in the Night.

Jahmal Brown has written a full setting based on this idea, apparently to be published through Evil Hat.

Gareth Wilson points out that there's a (non-fantasy) book by Dave Duncan, 'West of January' that is based on a similar idea.

Monday, 3 September 2018

The Sorcerer's Feast


For a late-empire Seree sorcerer, a secluded forest vale must have seemed like the perfect place for a home away from home. Build a hall to entertain your guests, have some quiet evenings with your fiancée. Hunt boar, finally catch up on those endless Lycaeum periodicals. Maybe turn the servants into goo to showcase your automaton-building skills?

After all, you've got to keep the mind busy.
Download PDF

I missed my self-imposed August deadline with this one—mostly because I spent so long modelling the Lycaeum. As I worked, it became clearer and clearer that there was no way I could do justice to that place in two pages, so I was going to have to break it up.

The Sorcerer's Feast is actually a location within the Lycaeum's garden quarter, but you could easily plop it down in any otherwise pleasant, lush location. The more pleasant the better, probably.


There are a few things to beware of. First of all, Seree wizards don't publicly showcase their most useful magical items; their esteem is based on the deadly, cursed stuff that they've managed to bring under control. Too venemous to get within thirty paces of it? That will look great on the mantle, everyone will be so impressed.

If you're using this as a one shot, consider making retrieval of the cursed item the actual objective. Otherwise, consider sprinkling some surviving scrolls amid the library detritus, and some gold in the destroyed bedroom.

Other than this, the main danger is the boars. If you're playing a super-heroic fantasy, then this will be a low-level adventure. If you're playing something grittier, it's potentially quite dangerous. Play up the signs of boars before adventurers get inside—facing multiple, pony-sized boars in an enclosed location is a great way to come to a sticky end.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

2G2BT: Cracker Jack Run

I ran a playtest session of 2G2BT tonight, with a reduced group: two players, Tim playing the Rigger, and Stephen playing the Prodigy.

We continued with the Darnan Offensive campaign (the one in the PDF)—this time, they were given a "short notice" mission to go and hit an apparently stranded convoy of Fiedan tanks.


Playtesting a game that I've had on the back burner makes things feel a lot less emotionally charged for me, which is a welcome relief. I'm not delivering a newborn up for judgement, I'm showing my friends this thing I have in the garage so we can kick the tires together.

A number of things went well:

I really like the NPC group traits table, that was useful. The players' mercenary company has recently come into possession of a Troll dropship, which has four slots, and they immediately tried to press some Republic tanks into riding along with their mission.

Rolling on the table got me, 'Favored' and 'Green', which naturally translated into them having dragged long some Republic general's children on a show tour. Woops!

Later, after all the action, the players had some prisoners. The question came up as to whether the prisoners would try to escape, or what. Rolling on the NPC table got me: Locals, Vengeful. Obviously they will!

Also, the establishing roll, SNAFU, all felt very natural in play. Despite the adventure being literally a two-sentence description, it was enough to generate a nice setup. The Prodigy's weird plans move also worked out nicely.

Too Tough!

Less successful was incoming fire—the PC mechs are waaay too tough for the fire that was coming their way, and there was a lot of it. 2-armor means that the Prodigy in his Angel can basically shrug off 4d Direct fire, which isn't right.

All in all, I think this miscalibration comes from me treating mechs in the game like main battle tanks. In The Regiment, troops are mostly unarmored (they only get armor late in the game). They're going to die quickly if they take the full brunt of enemy weapons. They need to really make use of the battlefield cover, the squad's heavy weapons, and suppression fire to achieve their goals.

The way I've written up the mechs, they're like tanks, but better all around. I think they make more sense as a high-tech way to protect very highly trained elite infantry; tough, compact, responsive, and deadly. But still, they'd definitely avoid head-on shootouts with heavy tanks.

So, I think I need to reduce armor (tough mechs should have a few more damage boxes, with 1-armor being pretty rare).

Theatre of the—wait, where was group B?

The other thing is subtler, and may involve more extensive changes. Tim's fondness for the Firefight mechanic from Burning Empires is starting to rub off on me, and I think building out the moves so they are creating battlefield terrain would be sensible. Spotting useful positions (and naming them), sites of tactical advantages, that sort of thing gives a very concrete context for the ground-taking moves like assault. If I can do that without making the battlefield overly player-authored, I think it's worth exploring.

Similarly, doing damage to large number of NPC vehicles feels unsatisfying. They're anonymous, and individually not that fictionally interesting.. when they don't have a concrete position. I suppose a chess pawn is a useful analogy: all of its tactical significance comes from its exact placement.

This makes me think that the weapon systems in PC hands can be simplified a bit. There's no need to obsess over the precise AOF and cover damage dice all to find out you do 3 points of damage to tank #2 out of 6. The player engagement and fictional payoffs don't seem that great. (I remember feeling this way about The Regiment.)

I'm wondering if weapons systems could be reduced to much simpler things, mechanically. I may actually take a page from Fortnite, which I think does a nice job of making its weapons feel distinct, yet balanced. It's really handy to have a shotgun (great damage at short range, but it falls off very quickly) vs. an SMG (also deadly at short range, but the recoil makes them no use at range), vs. assault rifles (modest ROF, but accurate enough to dish it out at medium range), vs. sniper weapons (slow, awkward, require aiming, but highly damaging and able to reach at long ranges).

Also, the current damage mechanics don't do much in terms of letting players engage with the salvage rules. Salvage is important to the grind (earning cash, buying upgrades). Taking enemies relatively intact with careful disabling shots seems a thing to bring into the game.

Much thinking to do!

Friday, 24 August 2018

Lost Lair of Lorethain Sharr

I wanted to support the One Page Dungeon Contest this year, and Luka Reject hit upon the perfect method—offer an illustration as a prize!

It was a bunch of work to comb through the entries to find one that could benefit from a map, but yet was clear enough—and interesting enough—to illustrate well. It made me respect the judges all the more, as they had a mighty pile to go through indeed!


In the end, I selected Jeremy DS Marshall's Lost Lair of Lorethain Sharr, mainly because of its clarity and richness—it's chock full of things to draw. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

His Eternal Progress

Emperor tortoises have walked the earth since before the rocks were cool; each is followed by a train of pilgrims hoping to glimpse the wisdom of the gods. No wizard has ever managed to capture one, not even the Seree—until Nauz, Lycaeum head necromancer found a horrid way to breach the ancient shell. But now what?

Link to PDF

Okay, I admit it, this is a weird one!






Thursday, 19 July 2018

Tips for Patreon Campaigns

This is an edit of an old G+ post I'm republishing here for posterity.

1. Explain what your project is immediately—ideally, the very first sentence. Every paragraph between the start of your Patreon pitch and that will cost you 75% of your remaining readers.

2. Describe the value that your Patrons are getting. So many pitches explain how the money will be useful to the creator, or try to bank on our fondness for the creator as a person.

You might be a lovable rogue who's been playing RPGs since you were 8, and feeling a little shy about putting up this campaign.. but if so, welcome to the club. Instead, say what you're doing plainly and tell us how it's awesome.  We'll be interested in your biography once you're famous.

3. Seriously consider releasing your content for free, so it can become part of your marketing effort. Patreon's user interface makes a terrible storefront, so if you don't already have a huge user base, locking down your stuff is a guarantee nobody will see it.

4. Structure your rewards to match Patreon's revenue model. Patrons come and go, they set monthly maximums, they sign up for one month and see everything, and sometimes their payment doesn't go through.

5. Don't create rewards that up the ante beyond what you're willing to do.  As people back you, it can be tempting to respond to their enthusiasm by giving away more, making it easy to cross the thin line between enthusiasm and exhaustion. But for many creators, free time is the limiting factor, and money doesn't translate into more time very smoothly.

6. Make sure your rewards scale with the campaign. What makes sense to do when you have 5 patrons might be impossible when you have 50.  Also, make sure your rewards are more profitable than the base campaign. It makes no sense to blow your profit margin on some custom, labour-intensive physical good that nets you only a few extra bucks when your base campaign is a digital good with fixed production costs.

7. Work-in-progress posts seem to be especially popular. I'm not sure why this is, but I think it's because it makes what you're doing accessible. It's easier for people to imagine themselves doing what you're doing when they can see the intermediate stages.

(Stolen from others)

7. Make your campaign something that you'd be doing anyway, without Patreon.  The money isn't going to be enough of a motivator for some time.

8. Start early. There's no need to wait until you've got a backlog of content built up. This is especially true if you're giving away content for free.

You will sweat over the wording, the images, etc. All of this can be revised after you launch. Pull the trigger and start revising.

9. Make sure your content points back to your Patreon campaign. Your images will get pinned on Pintrest without attribution, your videos will get copied to Vimeo. Make sure your images, videos, or whatever else is all clearly labelled as yours, and has a URL to wherever you want people to go.

Speaking of which, mine is http://patreon.com/adventures!

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Do it for the Beast

Then the strange man, still holding my wrist, drew his knife across the palm of my hand. Before the pain could set in, the most wondrous thing happened! A red serpent, bright as blood slithered from the wound, and rose in my hand. I was transfixed, but the strange man seemed unsurprised. "You can stay with us," he said, "or you can leave and return home. But whichever you do, you must do it for the beast."


This is a creepy cult lair, but it's not a self-sufficient community. To survive, the cult must have tendrils into a neighboring community (or several)—this is the easiest way to hook adventurers into it.

  1. On her death bed, a wealthy widow confesses that her entire life has been lived 'for the beast'. This causes a great stir among her relatives, who are divided between wanting the matter investigated and hushed up completely.
  2. The cult is straight-up kidnapping people. The town guard has been turning a blind eye, but the cult's bribes are a bit thin, and 
  3. A scholar turns up a roadside tavern, distraught and without possessions. He is telling a tale of being forced to entertain a 'talking lizard' for months by a clan of brothers.
  4. Old Seree documents reveal a cave up in the hills as the the location of the 'Column of Red Might', reputed to be inscribed with a half-dozen magical incantations.
  5. A pair of monks were caught stealing whiskey from a public house. The publican's sons gave them a sound thrashing, upon which one of the "monks" fell clean into two pieces, or so it's said.
  6. Weird-looking brothers have been asking around for trappers with experience with large game—extremely large game.




As always, thanks to my patrons for supporting this project. Because of your generosity, all of the text and imagery is free for non-commercial use under CC-BY-NC 4.0.

I'm also thrilled to bits when anyone helps spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, G+, or wherever you hang out!


Saturday, 21 April 2018

Isometric Dungeon #8: 2D to 3D


I've just posted isometric dungeon tutorial #8: how to convert a 2D map into a 3D isometric map.



Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Kickstarter: Wightwood Abbey

Soon there will be a Trilemma Adventure for which you can get actual 3D printed terrain. Read on!

I'm walking the halls of Breakout Con when I stumble across a vendor table where a 3D printer is busily at work. Mmmmmmmmmrt. Mmmmmrrrrrt. It's printing the most jaw-dropping piece of medieval architecture, the Wightwood Abbey Scriptorium.



My pen hand starts twitching.. I have to draw this place! Imagine my surprise when it turns out the guy behind the table is James Binnie, local swell guy and my Night Witches GM from the con the previous year.

James and his partner Dawa have teamed up as 'Infinite Dimensions', and they're making right at the tail end of a kickstarter to make print-yourself 3D miniature terrain. Look at this thing. Look at it!


It's not just a scriptorium, it's a whole set of buildings - scriptorium, church, stables, gate house, the abbot's house, and walls to go around the whole thing. It all comes apart, it's built for miniatures play, and it's gorgeous.



Anyways, long story short—James and I were apparently having exactly the same idea. So: I'm going to set a two-page adventure here. Dawa (the model whiz) is going to get me some higher-res reference shots to work from, and it's going to be so much fun.

Wightwood Abbey is already a storied place in James and Dawa's gaming, and I'm going to be tapping into that when I write the adventure.

But, that's all in the future. Now, there's only one thing to worry about: the Kickstarter is nearly over!

Go there now, before it's too late!




Sunday, 15 April 2018

The God Unmoving


The monstrous god-avatar of a drowned nation presides over the unholy alliance between the living and the dead. It leaves prosperity in its wake, but its demand for sacrifices is insatiable.

Adventure #42 is The God Unmoving.

I thought I'd try something different this time and do an overview video, explaining how I imagined GMs might use this adventure in their sandbox worlds, but I also present some one-shot hooks.


Some hooks for one-shots!

1. Rumor has it that the Panurians are treating with the Porth-Montoon. What could come of this strange alliance? Infiltrate the Porth-Montoon and find out what the Panurians are up to.

2. Rumor has it that the usurped former King of Panur is hiding out in Narin's Ring. Find him, and bring him back—or maybe just his head!

3. How is that a simple fishing people are awash in gold? What have they discovered? This could either be a fact-finding mission, or an invitation to straight-up murder-hoboing.

4. Safe passage across Narin's Sea would be a tremendous boon. Go to this so-called "High Steerswon" of the Porth-Montoon, get an audience, and find out what they want to spare our ships from piracy.

5. Alas, the Lord of Somewhereton has been taken at sea by pirates. The fleeing vessel was last seen heading toward the center of Narin's Ring, where it's known the pirates congregate. Get in, get the Lord, and get back out. If pirates get hurt in the process, so much the better.

6. The pirates of Narin's Ring have become too bold. Take your party and strike a blow that will make them think twice about bothering our honest, peaceful people.

* * *

As always, the art and text is released under CC-BY-NC 4.0. Thanks Patrons!




A Porth-Montoon Fisherman


Undead Reaver


Wednesday, 11 April 2018

One-Page Dungeon Contest 2018

Luka Rejec had the fantastic idea of offering up a illustration-as-prize for this year's one page dungeon contest, and I'm joining him.

As you've probably heard, the one-page dungeon contest is now in full swing for 2018! If you're not familiar with it, it's just what it says on the tin—do up a dungeon that fits entirely on one page, submit it, and win glory and acclaim. You've got until the end of April, and not a second longer!*


There's also a list of cool prizes as long as your arm. Well, Luka and I are making the list as long as your arm with outstretched fingers. If you win (and you select this as a prize), Luka will do up a black and white illustration inspired by your adventure, and I'll convert your map into an isometric 3D version. Something like this:


..except it'll be the dungeon you came up with.

You'll be free to do whatever you want with these. Release a revised version of your 1PDC if you feel like it, include them in your 6-page deluxe expanded edition, put it on a t-shirt, tape it to your ceiling so it's the first thing you see when you wake up, it's up to you.

The only thing you need to do is submit an entry.

* Seriously, not one second later than midnight, UTC. Any later and all you are is crazy early for the 2019 contest.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Isometric Circular Stairs

I've put together a tutorial for one of the more brain-boggling aspects of isometric dungeon drawing, circular stairs.


If you're just watching it to see that it can be done, enjoy—but if you're watching to actually do this and draw some, definitely watch the (less exciting) video on how to draw isometric circles. Circular stairs are (no surprise!) riddled with circles and bits of circles.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Can't Sleep—Clowns Will Eat Me

The good folk of Juniper's Crossing haven't slept a wink since the circus arrived, and not for lack of trying. People are starting to see things that aren't real, and—even worse—some things that are.

This adventure was written by Stephanie Bryant, whom you might know as the author of the Threadbare RPG. She has served up an intense, layered, horror experience.

To spill the beans, deep inside the circus is something horrible, a "dream eater" that both keeps everyone awake, and causes their insomnia-fuelled hallucinations to manifest as shared illusions.

To top it off, the thing nests in a mirror maze with a quartet of dopplegangers. The potential for gaslighting by gaslight is completely over the top.


This adventure is potentially set in a different time than some of the others—P. T. Barnum clowns definitely evoke a period of American history in a way that my other adventures don't, and I really enjoyed where this took me, personally.

There's this aspect of fantasy worlds that are artificially eternal, as if somehow gunpowder, internal combustion, and industrial revolutions will never occur. At the same time, I find it fascinating to imagine a modern world that is somehow living out the past echoes of violent, fantasy world with its  hardscabble holds surrounded by monster-infested wilderness.

In my imagination, the nightmares of Juniper's Crossing are like the PTSD of a whole landscape, brought into painful reality by the dream eater.


Anyways, that's just my reaction! You can just as easily treat this as a slice of modern Americana, mythos investigation by gaslight, or just treat it as straight-up D&D-esque fantasy adventure.


I also have to say, a distorted mirror maze is one of the most dastardly places I've ever heard of stocking a mimic, that's just evil.

As always, the text and illustrations are all released under CC-BY-NC, so feel free to use and remix them non-commercially.

Friday, 30 March 2018

The One-Page Halls Untoward

+Goblins Henchman has done a very cool thing, and turned the Halls Untoward into a single-page dungeon.. using Excel.

Here's a video tour:


If you want the Excel version (or a blank template), you can snag them from the Goblin Dropbox!

At the same time, beast-quester +Ben Milton is at work on a similarly motivated project, laying out the Halls Untoward as a series of one-page dungeon fragments, so he can kill his fifth-graders. Check it out!


It's pretty cool what happens when you release stuff under creative commons.

Monday, 19 March 2018

2G2BT v0.12

No huge news on the 2G2BT front, but the game has accumulated a small number of clarifications and very minor changes, and it seems silly that the last word on this game is a few versions out of date.


Thursday, 8 March 2018

Kickstarter Plans

Time to talk a little bit about my upcoming adventure compilation, which I'm going to Kickstart this year. All of this is tentative, but I figured it can only be helpful to open up my plans and get some feedback.

What will it be?

I'm taking all of my adventures, and putting them into a book. By the time I'm ready, there will be something like 45 of them, all lovingly written up and illustrated.

Beyond this, they will all be:

  • All re-edited, and in some cases rewritten for clarity
  • Brought up to the same stylistic look and feel of the newer ones
  • Replacing a map or two (Steeps of Ur-Menig is really bad)

It will also contain the adventure A Clutch of Shadows, which was never widely released. There will of course be a brand-new compilation-only adventure! Maybe a couple.

The Format

As you may know, some of my adventures are landscape-letter, and some are portrait (tall and skinny). I'm reformatting all of them to have the same orientation, the super-wide and cinematic letter landscape.

If all goes well, there will be three formats to choose from:

A hardcover edition, something on the order of 110 pages. A little more depending on stretch goals. For comparison purposes, this is the of the classic 1e Monster Manual, but of course turned sideways. This is an unusual format, but I think it works really well with the layout.

A saddle-stitched edition. This will come as two or three slim books—stapled, with no spine, they will lie flat. This version is meant to be spread out behind your GM's screen, with everything you need to run one of the adventures right there.

A PDF of the single-volume edition.

Fulfilment

At this point, I'm looking seriously at DTRPG POD for the printing. I'm going to be carefully looking at samples before this is for sure, and it does have the "buy twice" symptom: people will pay once for the Kickstarter, which gives them a coupon for an at-cost copy from DTRPG, with shipping charges worked out at the last moment.

This feels like the right move for me to Kevin Crawford this to a sensible conclusion, in a way that works both for backers and the complexities of my life.

This lets me keep the project very DIY, while at the same time reducing shipping charges for European customers ('cause copies can be printed in Europe).

Extra Content

Here are the types of extra content I'm planning. I'm deliberately keeping the stretch goals modest. My plan is to try to complete the project very soon after funding, so stretch goals that jeopardize this are not an option. No T-shirts, buttons, or anything else I don't know how to make myself. Nor anything that depends on stretch goal writers.

Although.. I have been working with some fabulous guest writers recently, and that will continue over the coming months. In a sense, I'm picking writers I've really been wanting to work with before the Kickstarter campaign, which is a little bit like knocking out stretch goals before the campaign starts. :P

When I ran a poll many moons ago, by far the biggest request for additional content was gazetteer information about the world these adventures are set in. I'm planning to have a few pages on the major regions, and the history of the place. There will probably also be a few regional random encounter tables.

EDIT: A section on hooks for one-shots. What should the party be trying to do in order to engage with the adventure most fully?

I'm seriously considering a section on how to chain adventures together to form larger campaigns. There are some obvious links now, such as Oracle's Decree -> Roots of Ambition -> Lair of the Lantern Worm, and the various underworld adventures that lead to City of the Carreg. Then there are less obvious links, like Circle of Wolves -> Chains of Heaven.

There are now enough new creatures and unusual peoples in the adventures to warrant a short bestiary. This will likely be a paragraph on each creature, as well as systemless awesome stuff they do in combat. This will look a little like a Dungeon World monster stat block, just without numbers.

More detail on the magical items and treasures in the adventures.

Maaaaybe Stretch Goals

Color plates of select adventures—what would it look like from an adventuring party's perspective to arrive at this place?  I have already had one commissioned, and holy snot it's so cool to see it painted. If I go this route (if the math works out), then I might do a few more as a color insert in the middle of the book.

System-specific stats for the bestiary. Probably (in order of likeliness):

  • OSR-friendly B/X or Lamentations stats
  • Dungeon World
  • 5e (maybe)
What Do You Think?

What kind of feedback am I hoping for?

1. That sounds great, especially ____________________
2. I'm interested in this project, but I would much rather buy ______________
3. I have run a Kickstarter of this sort and don't forget ________________

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Mulciber's Flute

In the Motes of Eternity, the old world has been ploughed under, demigods and all. I've been mulling over this process - was it cataclysmic? Was it gradual? I find that fascinating, the idea that the mythic underworld was once the surface world.

Perhaps it's the regional demigods, the ancestral hosts that protect pockets of the world being lost. Maybe the mountains are hollow, each one an ancient cyst.

Either way, not all of the powers would accept their fate gracefully. Mulciber's Flute is an adventure set in hell - well, a specific kind of hell: a pocket nightmare, the sort of thing you might expect if a demigod went all Vlad the Impaler.


In a way, I suppose it's my take on a paladin in hell, but with the prospect that adventurers could do something about it, without having to upend a spiritual pole of the entire universe. This is a hell without a heaven.



I kinda love Mulciber. :)





Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Sirens of Sea and Blood

In collaboration with Kira Magrann, here's Sirens of Sea and Blood. A trio of horrifying sirens lives in a twisty set of sea-side caverns. They've got a taste for man-flesh, but they're more than happy to bestow the gifts of their ocean-goddess upon any women willing to endure their violent ritual of indoctrination.

This adventure can be set pretty much anywhere you have a coastline. The sirens could be the answer to a number of local disappearances, or they might have arcane secrets your adventurers need and must bargain for. Daring women adventurers might even take up the sirens on their offer! This map (like Hounds) was drawn digitally, so it's a little crisper than the hand-drawn ones.


As always, thanks to the generosity of my patrons, the text, map art and the siren illustration are all available for non-commercial use through CC-BY-NC 4.0.



For more of Kira's writing, check out her patreon. She's also recently published A Cozy Den, a story game about lesbian snake women trying to stay cozy during a long winter!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

City of the Carreg

Down in the lightless depths of Ur-Menig, beyond where surface dwellers can breathe, is Sifoon, the City of the Carreg. Once a jewel of the underworld, the laconic clay-people have seen their hold over the city dwindle to barely three districts.

Ever since the Carreg first made an appearance in the Steeps of Ur-Menig, I've been wanting to write more about this place.

Sifoon is half settlement and half adventure - divided between safe and lost districts. Like Moon is a Mirror, there's a random element to the danger and treasure in each lost district; my goal is for each district to be an interesting landscape for the encounters to play out.

As written, reaching or leaving Sifoon requires either magic or help from the Carreg. If that doesn't work for your campaign setting, consider making Ur-Menig a lake or sea surrounding an island with an atmosphere problem.
As always, thanks to my generous patrons, the text and art is free for non-commercial use under CC-BY-NC 4.0!

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The Hounds of Low Tide

The muggy tropical coasts of the Caribbean have many dangerous harbours, but the unassuming Frigate and Barrel Tavern is one of the worst. If the scoundrels and thieves don't get you, the proprietors certainly will.


This adventure is a collaboration with Ennie award winner Kiel Chenier. Wasting no time on a victory lap, he's hard at work on a wavecrawl setting and toolkit book called Weird on the Waves.

"Weird" is an unofficial Lamentations of the Flame Princess supplement, and the adventure assumes a pseudo-historical setting of the Carribean islands in 1655 during the rise of buccaneers, just prior to the golden age of piracy.

Of course, this setting is just a suggestion. This adventure can be used in any fantasy setting of any time period, provided there’s a coast and fishing boats to sail along it.

In any case, there are two versions of this adventure a systemless version, and one statted out for  Lamentations!

As always, thanks to my generous patrons on Patreon, all of the text and art is free for non-commercial use under CC-BY-NC 4.0!