Haunted Dragon Bones

Image by Freemdeem from this reddit post.

hard landing



It is a bringer of death and a funereal rite. Fire destroys but the ashes are often fertile ground for future planting.

  • What is some destructive metaphorical fire that your treasure-hunter suffered through but found something fertile in the ashes after the fire had been extinguished?
  • Is there anything in your life right now you need to set fire to?

Sometimes I forget to ask questions during the encounter/adventure. That is okay. The results of the adventure and treasures will stay with the players for a while. When it comes up or when they are remembering back on this, keep the questions in your pocket and use them to make the adventure relevant to that very moment.


Haunted Dragon Bones

Dragon-lore players might not know is in italics. Perhaps they do know some dragon-lore. If so, ask how they learned it. Was there home village burned by dragonfire? Was their wizard-teacher a dragon-mage? Did they steal a book on dragon-lore from a mage’s library?

Set Goal

Get out of there with the rare dragon bones without bringing dangerous dragonfire ghosts along with them.


  • The feeling that someone’s gaze is on you and that this gaze has a palpable heat.
  • Birds chirping cheerfully in the distance but none getting close to the dragon’s corpse.
  • The smell of something burning, an inferno, even though your other senses say no such fire exists.


  • Dragon Bones: Brittle and brown, covered in muck and mud, they seem like normal bones.

Do the players know their dragon lore? Once treated with intense white-fire heat the bones will become harder than steel.

  • Dragonfire Ghosts: The ghosts are off in the distance, just out of sight, only able to manifest when a fire is lit near the dragon-bones.

Dragon-lore: Dragonfire ghosts manifest through fire – night or day is the all the same to them.


  • The dragonfire ghosts will come if the players light a campfire or torches of any kind.

Dragon-lore: There is one dragonfire ghost for every tooth in the skull. The ghosts can be put to rest by burying the teeth in a formal funeral ceremony (even if the teeth are dug up later). Or they can leave the teeth here and the ghosts will stay with the teeth.

Dragon teeth can cut ghosts.

Dragonfire Ghosts, 4

dice-six-faces-one Scream and writhe as if burning

dice-six-faces-two Poltergeist-move fires towards anything flammable

dice-six-faces-three Share their memories of fire and blood

dice-six-faces-four Babble in draconic about being unable to reste

dice-six-faces-five Cut themselves on the dragon’s teeth while pawing at the skull

dice-six-faces-six Insert themselves into memories of fire and doom

Defenses: Noncorporeal , physical weapons have no effect

Weaknesses: Prayers of mourning and funereal rites, need a fear to be nearby in order to manifest


If you need this to be more recent, have the players see the dragon fall to the ground. The encounter doesn’t change much.

How much are the dragon-bones?

I’d roll 2d6 and keep the highest to see how many of the bones are useful. If they think to grind the bones into dust and sell it to alchemists, roll 3d6 and keep the highest.

If they use it for their own shenanigans, have fun making up uses for dragon-bones.

Encounters like this, mini-incursions are great if you are using these travel rules.

Wouldn’t it be cool to have a whole pdf or book of one-set mini-incursions for when the treasure-hunters run into dangerous things out in the wilderness? Yeah, I’m thinking about that. Maybe I’ll make something once the Village… is done.

If you use this in your game I’d love to hear how it goes.

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Find this design and more in the Geek Media Studies collection…


Burning Greyhawk, Episode 2


MP3 link

Gauntlet Patreon Link

Burning Wheel

Locien’s Spellbook

Using Art Magic from the Burning Wheel Codex

Fiery Phoenix Sword

Summons a finely balanced flaming hand and a half sword with phoenix iconography.

Sorcerous Weapon, Obstacle 3, Superior Quality


Locien’s Burst of Speed

Grants the caster fleetness of foot.

Advantage, Obstacle 2, +2D to Speed for a Conflict


Link to previous episode’s blog post.


Spencer Collection, The New York Public Library. “Front cover” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1909 – 1887. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-3f90-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
British Library. “Castles and their Heroes…With Illustrations, etc” British Library Flickr. 1891. https://flic.kr/p/hWA5wk

War in the Mante Wheel


Bulldog Flotilla Press

Networked stealth fighters manned by adventure-journalists


Battle of Fatimah System

The Lalita Navy, consisting of strike ships and the Guevaran Capital Fleet, calling itself, the Most Holy Navy, traded fire. The Lalita Navy was decimated and Guevaran capital ships sustained been damaged in the exchange.

Tensions have been growing between the Guevaran Hegemony’s forces and the governments of the Mante Wheel since their capital fleet arrived in Jurre from the Holy Cluster last month. When clerical law declared a cessation of any pre-tech artifacts being taken off Jurre with strict laws against any ships the clerics declared as having smuggled xenoartifacts out of the system, the Lalita Navy mobilized against the Most Holy Navy.

Cleric Diplomats speaking for the Guevaran Hegemony would not disclose how many of their own forces were lost, nor would they disclose how many Lalita naval officers were captured in the engagement. Dropship pilots on Jurre Station make their living taking artifact hunters onto and off of Jurre during the dangerous geological shifts reported that they personally witnessed several escape pods hit the surface of the planet during the battle.

The Cleric Diplomats would only say that they were attacked unprovoked and plan to take steps to see to their own defense.


Chaos on Jurre Station

Jurre Station is now seething with tension after a firefight between unknown forces and the Guevaran officials. Rumors are a Guevaran was kidnapped but no one has stepped forward to ask for a ransom. Video-files from the violence clearly shows psychic powers being employed against the Guevaran forces along with weapons consistent with Gudridim Hunters. Gudrid is the planet in the Shobhna System, in the Holy Cluster, where most of the Guevaran Space Marines are recruited.

The link between these Gudridim is unclear.


Pirates’ Fall

The Comet Dogs were a pirate cartel operating in the Abidah System, centered around the domed cities on Arecilaos just a little over a month ago. When the Most Holy Navy arrived near Jurre, they took over the planetary government, hoping to fight off the Guevaran incursion.

The pirate fleet was manned by former Lalita Fleet officers who received medals in what they called the Bug War and by other sailors whose department was far less reputable.

Just a few hours ago, the Most Holy Navy’s capital fleet entered the Abidah System, taking heavy damage from the difficult-to-navigate comet clouds that have plagued the system since the days of Perimeter Fleet Naval ships patrolling with authority from Olde Earth. The Comet Dogs were ambushed by the capital fleet, moving under the cover of the comet clouds.

Once again, it is not known how many casualties were sustained, nor how many ships were destroyed.

The cities of Areci and New Laos have armed their citizenry and organized them into militias in anticipation of Guevaran Space Marines landing.


The Bulldog Flotilla will continue to document the Guevaran Hegemony’s incursion into the Mante Wheel with journalistic integrity.

Upcoming stories:

Where is Orithya? The Oritheen Legates (or Psi-Cops, as some call them) have been synonymous with law and order in the Mante Wheel for over a century. While the Most Holy Navy decimated Mante Wheel born fleets the Legates were in conflict against the Free Air Society’s terrorism.

Is the destruction of the Lalita Fleet the end of our sector’s last link to Perimeter Navies that linked us to Olde Earth?

It is known that there is a civil war between the Archivists on Eryphyle and Samihah continues. Eryphyllan archivists escaped Guevaran holding cells on Jurre Station. More on this as it develops.

If you want to keep an eye on the powerful and make sure the sector’s governments are kept honest, please consider clicking on the link below and keep our bulldogs among the stars where the news happens…

  • For a payment of 100 credits, you will receive an annual subscription to our newsfeed.
  • For a payment of 500 credits, you will receive the the above item and access to our raw data.
  • For a payment of 1000 credits, you will receive all of the above items and we will tight-beam your news directly to you and you will get access to our rumor files with raw data as we draw the strings together and make the news. See how the sausage is made!



Bulldog Flotilla Press, a fictional group of journalists in our Stars Without Number game, is not to be confused with Bulldogs!, which while Space Opera awesome, is a different flavor of pew-pew-pew fun.



Sorcerer, Comic Strip AP, Sessions 1-3

The Comic Strip AP site.


Here are the first 3 episodes, all in one place. As a listener, I dig the short, punchy format with a few dice rolls and reveals an episode. As a player, playing 15 minutes at a clip is an odd, cool thing that I’m still processing. My hope is that the Comic Strip AP format will allow us to look at techniques and the episodic format will allow us to locate them easily.

SWN 8: Boarding Parties and Business Deals

RAZORnet Review: Astral Dragon LLC

The Astral Dragon LLC took on an ASSET RECOVERY job and completed the job with professionalism and finesse. They hired skilled freelancers to compliment the gig’s goals and managed their mercenary hires admirably.

We look forward to working with these freelancers again and encourage others in the sector to do so.

Star Rider


Strachan turning the Gurdridim intimidation on the Lalita Navy Intel Officer.

Everyone smoking up with the Melite Exchange Consular once he turned his internal network connections off.

Deiter’s amazement and disappointment at Circe’s population living in decommissioned capital ships.

Star Rider

To: Astraldragonllcboardofdirectors@astraldragon.com

RE: Asset Recovery, Gig #456A397  

Please forward your coordinates to this comm channel and we will send a consul team to assess the recovered asset. Please include any complications that might put our assessment consult team into danger. Please be specific.

It is our understanding that the asset was a laboratory site for some computer science that interests the Exchange. If this cargo is left in an untampered state on the asset, your remuneration will be exponentially improved.

We are prepared to pay you in straight credits or offer free passage to you and your corporate operatives to the Mudsassar shipyards, where we will pay for the outfitting of your own ship with your repo fees taken as down-payment on the finest spaceships built in all of Sector Hades Zeta. The specific accouterments of the ship’s systems and hull would be decided by the coming assessment.

If you have any questions, there is a Melite Exchange office in this sector with consulars standing by. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.


The Exchange

Link for reply


Report from the bridge of the Patrol Boat Tasmania, Captain Rajani Ojo

As per the Condition Blue procedures, our patrol boat boarded and scanned the Free Frigate Exceptional Object in orbit around Kaprianou well within the planet’s dangerous nanite cloud. The ship had recently been legally repossessed by the Astral Dragon LLC. All things considered, the signs of the repo boarding and battle were minimal.

Melite Exchange Consular Kazi backed up the legitimacy of the repo gig and rendezvoused with the Exceptional Object, with the Free Merchant Invisible Hand escorting the Frigate back to the Orbital Syracuse, where it docked in the Exchange bay. The Exceptional Object was given rudimentary probe scanning for weaponized atomic radiations, nanite storage and illegal data gestation.

Navy Intel Officer, Lieutenant Yash Cordova conducted interviews of several former Lalita naval ground-pounder and a Circe planetary grunt, personel #’s included in the data packet. Lieutenant Cordova also interviewed a Gudridim Hunter, Strachan Natana. Lt. Yash’s interview techniques managed to avoid any direct conflicts but did not manage the interviewees into different spaces so that stories could be compared. Further training for the lieutenant is recommended upon return to the Orbital Madrid. Mr. Strachan showed disdain for the Guevaran Marines that is worth investigating.

The Tasmania is in need of a hard hull scrub after being that close to Kaprianou’s shit-cloud.


Comic Strip AP: Sorcerer

Comic Strip AP: Sorcerer 01


Comic Strip AP is something the Gauntlet podcast started on their Discern Realities podcast. At the end of the episode they’d have a 10 to 15 minute actual play example with a recurring character. When I heard they were starting a podcast featuring it, I went to Rich and we decided to play Sorcerer.

I am outside of my comfort zone in a bunch of different ways in this thing. I’m playing Sorcerer without any setting gimmicks and I’m making mistakes. The setting is NYC, a dense place that I don’t feel qualified to pull off even though I live here. The history is too dense for me to be fully comfortable. And of course there is that funky Comic Strip AP format.

Playing in 15 minute bits every week is an odd thing. We try to get one interesting conflict or decision in every episode but the killer, to me, is the downtime. I have too much time to think over my GMing decisions and pick myself apart in a way that I don’t do in my usual gaming, or at least I don’t do it in 15 minute increments.

Right before the third episode I panicked, I nearly e-mailed Rich and told him that the game wasn’t working. I nearly told him that we should ditch this game and start something else before he dumps anymore time into editing this thing. I didn’t and wouldn’t you know it, the third episode is where things start to really click.

Thank you, Rich for rocking this AP with your amazing play and editing skills. Rich posted interesting thoughts in the Comic Strip AP G+ Community.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Traditions of the Swordlords: The End

The End

We started our Burning Wheel campaign using the Kingmaker Adventure Path more than 2 years ago.The game started with Zora and Hajek traveling south to the bandit fort. Then we saw it all again through Ivo’s eyes as he traveled south and saw the effect Zora and Hajek had been having. Then we saw it all again when Cyril came into the game and we get to experience the Riverlands through fresh eyes, with knights on the map. We’ve been re-contextualizing the journey from Restov to Olegton, southward to Spider Hill and finally to Fort Hajek for two years and it has been fresh and new and exciting every time.

Zora was a idealistic knight, ill-suited to bringing people together peacefully after a life of war and battle. Hajek was a jaded soldier who wanted to see the best in people and gave up his life serving a Swordlord who he believed would be a truly noble leader. Ivo came to the Riverlands having seen the worst of the rulers of Rostland.

He had little faith in the system Zora was trying to salvage and so he helped her build something new.

In the History of the Charterlands it is Swordlord Zora’s ability to find solutions that obviated bloodshed and her deftness at picking up the sword and leading her soldiers when necessary that shaped these provinces as much as Ivo’s love of the common folk and willingness to take harrowing chances on epic level sorcery and summoning.

In the last game, Ivo realized that his apprentices would learn Sorcery within the next month and smiled; he used his powers to help his friend have a child, also an heir that would bring stability to the region for another generation at least.

In the last game, Zora won a Duel of Wits with an angry Swordlord whose bitterness threatened to tear apart what she had built and through her curt, effective words – ended the argument the way she ended her battles.

Meanwhile, back in the real world…

I knew Rachel and I knew Drew before the game started but we weren’t as close as we are now. In the two years during which our game took place I got married and shifted over to a different library. My consistency has been negligible in all areas of my life – physical culture practice, jujitsu and writing. The main consistency in my life has been this game.

Traditions of the Swordlords has had a huge effect on the way I think about world building and basing games on established material.It deepened my understanding and love of Burning Wheel.

More important than any of that, 2 good friends became dear friends. Rachel would start some games by saying, “I missed your faces!” Aw.

Meanwhile, back in the Riverlands

We’re hitting the fast forward button and coming back to the Riverlands as elves. They will see their favorite characters and their work through new eyes, re-contextualizing everything all over again with fresh eyes, coming back to this place we’ve made decades later…


Godbound: The Cresthill Trinity goes giant-hunting

What do you want to do?

What do you guys want to do in the game?

Deal with the armies of the Raven and the Goat (pssst, the goat is Orcus’ army, which is waging war against the Raven Queen’s army)?

The winter raiders who come down out of the mountains and leave villages in frigid desolation?

Seek out a place to store the Wand of Orcus?

I forgot that we stored the Wand of Orcus with Gitta, the Storm Giant on her cloud citadel.

The trio chose to hunt the winter raiders.

  • Lowell plays Kayban Silverluck the Thief-god
  • Rich plays Marton the Barbarian-god
  • Fraser plays Myfanwe the Wizard-god



The trinity was re-united as Myfanwe and Kayban found Marton in the town square, bench pressing a yack. He made his strength roll, having gotten in 52 reps.

I looked over Frost Giants and a relevant Demon Lord (if you know your monster manuals, you know which one) and off we went. It took a while to get going. We all really thought the game was going to be a one-shot, so folks didn’t hold on to much. The game started in Cresthill. Refugees from the mountains were pouring in with terrible wounds and frostbite.

They talked to Gadise, a lovely old lady who led the refugees here, having heard that Cresthill is no longer ruled by a Demon Lord and is a just place with a trinity of fine young gods. I described how the villagers leave offerings of flowers and fruit on their doorsteps, except for Marton, for him they leave offerings on the tower they took down.

I read the Monster Manual entry on Frost Giants that Myfanwe the Wizard-god, who has the Knowledge word, found in the castle’s scrolls. Gadise talked about how the raiders took the town, how the frigid winter winds blew in and the knight was killed and oh yeah, there was a big guy who looked just like Galluk, Marton the Barbarian-god’s brother.

“We’ll need winter gear.”

“The villagers pour winter clothes on you, offering you whatever they have. Do you have anything you want to talk about on the way to the mountains? Otherwise, I’m just going to Indiana-Jones-red-line this shit.”

They rolled to track down a Frost Giant scout and failed.

“A lone scout leads you into the broken remnants of a mountain castle. It totally is not an ambush.”


The Ambush

Frost Giants are 10HD monsters. I didn’t give them strength modifiers to their damage and I probably should have. My bad. The Frost Giants were barraging the trinity with boulders from all angles.

There was a point where I could feel their frustration growing. There was some wiffing but there might’ve been some bad math at hand too.

Anyway, I described the giants growing frustrated too, explaining that most humans stuck in their kill zone die fast and die ugly. The giants weren’t ready for a morale check until the Wizard-god and his summoned undead minions (undead Githyanki, wtf happened in this castle?) took down their first giant and Marton knocked over a tower when his attacks were falling flat.

They got the scout who led them into the mess, letting the rest scatter into the mountains and got directions to the Gateway Mountain. Marton has a cool word all about making friends and so he made friends until Myfanwe gave him a death stare and did damage (for no reason other than the Frost Giant was an evil eff).

We had started late in the evening, after this week, I wanted a game to look forward to tonight. Tired, we ended there.


Yeah, have some stats written out, Judd. The stat blocks for the game aren’t that big and with the Monster Manuals as a guide, it isn’t difficult.

Morale is a great way to end combats that are dragging, especially when a Barbarian-god punches down a tower and a Wizard-god summons undead Githyanki, not even to mention when the Thief-god threw a shoulder of a boulder at a giant and it hurt.

These characters can take a pounding.





The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “The Elevated Boulder, Bartlett, N.H.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-8c44-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
General Research Division, The New York Public Library. “Yak.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1809. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-512c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99


SWN Session 7: Hunkering down on Kaprianou

When they arrived in the Lalita system, a drone patrolling the outskirts dropped a data packet to their ship’s comms, announcing that their ship would soon be boarded before they reached Circe. The Lalita Navy was on high alert with the Guevaran Capital Fleet on Jurre, just 2 hexes away.

Deiter did some fancy spike drive flying (and wasn’t all that evasive on a roll of a 6, even with the Expert re-roll). I rolled up what kind of ship in the Lalita Navy would be boarding them.


Kaprianou has pre-tech satellites around it. Apparently, if anyone orbits the planet for too long they send out nanites, a virulent maltech that takes ships apart. Deiter failed a Nav roll in trying to find a piece of land on Kaprianou that was uninhabited.

I had made up a table to see what kind of outlanders were around. I used that to see who was inhabiting the island Deiter found. I rolled up refugees and decided they were from Orithaya, a planet without air. They’d been there for almost a year.

Strachan failed a Stealth roll to sneak around the town and take stock of it.


Arkady offered the headwoman of the village a gift and they had tea and made a deal. The Astral Dragon crew would take over the village’s castle, that they were using to smoke fish and in return, the A.D. posse would help them find alternate food sources (with science!) and train the villagers in combat and help the little girl in the village with MES to gain some control of her powers.

The village of Maga and its headwoman, Kaori Turrov have made a deal with the Astral Dragon LLC.


Deiter remembered to introduce Arkaday as Roy (his incognito travel name) just in time for Arkady to decide that he was going to tell Kaori his real name.

Tough moment when Strachan failed his Stealth test. I didn’t want to fuck with his bad-ass aura but a failed roll is a failed roll. I decided the village had cameras that he hadn’t anticipated.

I felt like I should’ve had a predator stalking the bison-scarabs for some alien danger – a missed opportunity, I think.

It was a low energy game but still, a good night in space with the fellas.

It is staggering how much background info has been generated for this game and even among the little world directly around the players, we’ve only scratched the surface.

Next week, the Exceptional Object is boarded by the Patrol Boat Tasmania under the command of Captain Rajani Ojo.

What are you playing?

This used to be a thing back in the day. The hope is that it will allow folks to think about what is happening at their table, what they would like to happen in the future and inspire conversations.

Past 3 games played, Best 3 games ever played, 3 games you want to play:

Played: Stars Without Number, Burning Wheel, Sorcerer

Best: Burning Wheel, Apocalypse World, PTA

Want: The Warren, D&D, Dogs in the Vineyard

If you have any questions, please ask.

Feel free to post your own answers in the comments or links to wherever you choose to answer if you’d like.