After the first session of Godbound

The Holy Party has returned. The Monsterists believe that they return because of the pull of the Tarrasque, that the monsters they battle offer as many lessons and as much wisdom as the heroes. The Messianics believe the Holy Party is here to save this broken world and return it to its former glory. Thronists believe it is the place, generating reincarnations of the heroes who came here before.

Chev the Wanderer used his deep understanding of Beasts and Earth to give his comrades a feast when they returned to the First Tavern. And so we give thanks and prayers to Chev the Wanderer when we feast friends who return from a long journey or sickness for the bounty at our table.

Niwin’s torch was lit from the sun itself and relit the Sun’s Daughter’s Dawnblade, returning her to grace. The Order of Niwin now light candles during the Throne Keep’s darkest hours so that folk can find their way. Praying at these lights can offer grace to the downtrodden.

Qnan put the Serpent of Truth on the Devil that was squatting in the Wizard’s Tower. Now farmers around Throne are tattooing snakes on oathbreakers to remind them not to break faith.

When villagers need aid all over the Thronelands, they often put up a rainbow streamer, in honor of Krogan the King-Thief’s illicitly procured magical airship, The Prismatic Spray.

Folk all over the Thronelands and beyond pay respects to Borrell the Wizard when they sign contracts. They shake hands once at dusk and then return a day later to sign the contract and go over the written word one more time.

Played Godbound this past weekend and just wanted to think a bit about what I did and what I would do moving forward.

While folks were finishing up their characters and ordering food, I jotted down a few random encounter tables:

2 – Baalzebul out hunting a unicorn

3 – Manticore

4 – Vampire

5 – Owlbear

6 – Bandits, the Merry Band

7 – Dwarven Mercenaries

8 – Throne Knights

9 – Elf Hunting Party

10 – Griffon pride

11 – Mind Flayer

12 – Githyanki Dragon-riders


But they one of the players had a skyship and so I wrote another one for the sky, thinking back, I could’ve just written sky alternates on the land table:

2 – Storm Giant Castle

3 – Elf Griffon-riders

4 – Feral Griffon pride

5 – Roc

6 – Roll twice, those things are fighting

7 – Pegasi herds

8 – Lightning Elementals

9 – Skyship Galleon (3/6 Pirate, 4/5 Merchant)

10 – Manticore

11 – Wyvern

12 – Githyanki Dragon-riders


looking at page 134-135 of Godbound, I went home and wrote up factions, things mentioned during the game that I’d bring in if we continued playing.


City-state ruled by Grazz’t and his demonic forces

Power 3 / d10


  • Rival demon cities 3
  • Uppity Paladin Rebels 1
  • Demon War 1


City-state necropolis ruled by Orcus and his demonic forces

Power 3  / Action Die d10


  • Rival demon cities 3
  • Raven Queen Rebels 1
  • Demon War 1


City state on a mountain-top ruled by Kostchtchie and his demonic forces

Power 2  / Action Die d8


  • Rival demon cities 3
  • Dwarven Rebels 1
  • Demon War 1


Holy order of servants

Power 2  / Action Die d8


  • Infiltrated by devil-worshippers 3

Githyanki Landing Team

Scouting Squadron from the Lich-Queen in the olde capital’s ruins

Power  2 / Action Die d8


  • Githzarai Monks 2
  • Illithid 1

Beast Cults

Apocalyptic zealots who worship the Tarrasque, the Void Dragon and other world-ending beasts

Power 1 / Action Die d6


  • Hunted by all decent folk in Throne 2

Bard’s Pass Lorekeepers

Old adventurous bards, librarians and storytellers who keep records of the Holy Party’s adventures

Power  1 / Action Die d6


  • Throne has forgotten them 1

Holy Town of Hero’s Wake

The holy town where the Holy Party’s First Tavern still stands

Power 1  / Action Die d6


  • Bandits 1
  • Throne has forgotten them 1

Elves of the Twilight Realms

Nigh-immortal faeries whose twilit realms straddle the uncreated night and the astral sea

Power  4 / Action Die d12


  • Realm under siege by the Spider Queen 4
  • Divided internally between those who want to fight and those who want to fade into the Western Lands 1

Merry Band

Holy bandits who worship Chev the Wanderer

Power 1 / Action Die d6


  • Hunted by knights 2

Wizard’s Holiest Scribes

Record keepers and archivists of Throne

Power 2 / Action Die d8


  • Books lost during devil infiltration 1
  • Lost touch with populace during Wizard’s absence 1

The first game was fun. They wheeled and dealed with devils to turn the Tarrasque towards the demon city-states and found their lost paladin (the only pre-gen not chosen) on a castle on a dark spot on the sun.

Now I’d want to level everyone up and see where folks want to spend Dominion and Influence, see how they want to change the world, who they want to treat with and how the factions shift around in the meantime. I might even make the faction turn something I do in front of everyone, rather than lonely fun they hear about later.

A Godbound Adventure: The Holy Party

It is a tale as old as polyhedrals – a group of delvers goes into a series of monster-haunted pits, gathers riches and turn their ambitions and expertise to the real world.

You know where it goes from here. They take over, become heads of guilds and temples and kingdoms and eventually, why not, they break into heaven and become gods.

Only after the machinery of Heaven becomes damaged do they wake up to the desperate prayers from their shrines in the one-tavern-village where it all started because the Tarrasque has awoken and only this pantheon of demi-gods, The Barbarian God, the Ranger God, the Thief God, the Paladin God, the Wizard God and the Patron Saint of Torchbearers and Hirelings, can stop it.

A Godlike adventure.

Holy Party Character Sheets

The Holy Party Facts Words Powers

NOTE: The Facts on the character sheets are just vague ideas about the characters and not well written Facts. I have in the second PDF questions for the players to answer so that they will have useable Facts and will be able to add a touch of their own spice to the character. Thank you, Matt Weber.

EDIT: I’m going to update the characters based on playing the game last night. Updates will be up on the week of 6/8.

Need a map?

Sure, whipped this up on Wonderdraft:

Holy Party Map.png

Stats from whichever Monster Manual I have close at hand.

A shop for nerdy things…

Dreaming about Trollheim

Right before we headed out for a celebratory birthday dinner, Janaki saw the picture on the cover of the Cormyr sourcebook and said, “Are those goblins?”

“I don’t think so. I think they are trolls.”


Art by Jennell Jaquays

Maybe that is why I woke up at 3AM after having had a dream about Trollheim.

Trollheim is a city founded by trolls who figured out some way to traverse the World Tree to a world with a salty marshland that they claimed for their own. So they wouldn’t get lost and because they regenerate, they’d bury their hands under the city. Centuries of this tradition has led to trolls coming from all over the worlds to bury their hands under Trollheim, so that they might find their way home should they become lost. Even after their new hand grows back, they’ll follow an itch in their wrist to find their city.

The salt-water bog mummified the hands, allowing the troll warlocks who inhabit the city and mind its shrines to the Troll-mother and the Cathedral Bridge to call up mummified hands buried all over the city’s swamps to defend it in times of need.

Burning Wheel GM Apprenticeship

3 players at the table. Each player chooses one pair they like.

BW battle


Situation: The dukes are going to war and your manor is right on he border of two rival dukes on opposite sides. You must choose.


Situation: Your duke is going to war and is calling their sorcerer to their side. Your master was a trusted adviser and lived on the ducal estates but his children were raised in a religion that sees sorcery as sin. Will you answer the call?

Lady/Young Lady

Situation: The dukes are about to go to war, your castles are where these wars have historically begun and your lord is about to make a series of disastrous decisions that could get your noble house wiped from the ducal lists.


Situation: The dukes are at war and you must decide how the holy knighthoods will arrange themselves so that the church will best benefit.


Situation: Fucking dukes are feuding and your city is under siege. Gather food or make a run for it?

Bandit/Desperate Killer

Situation: The nobles are at war. The knights are busy. Time to profit.


What’s this now?

One person GM’s, other 2 players play characters. Rotate these roles as you come to satisfying chapter ends. All in the same world. Think of chapter-change-of-POV fantasy novels. Everyone should take turns GMing, playing the senior character and playing the junior character.

Rotate back, make sure everyone gets to play the tutor and the learner. Mix it up as needed. Things are going to get complicated. Lore for the world and an expansive list of NPC’s is going to get generated quickly.

The goal of this is to mix up the GMing so everyone gets a chance to GM for a small group. I would have never gotten the hang of running a game as dense as Burning Wheel if it wasn’t for the amazing players at my table helping me with rules questions. Right into my 20’s I told everyone I had no head for game systems.

If more people are going to GM, we have to set up games to help teach and mentor them to do so. It takes a table to run a game.

After some conversations about the mentoring that went into getting me to take up the GM’s seat back in the day and reflection on the people who have helped me get better at it over the years. I found myself wondering if we could structure games specifically so that the GM’s role is both modeled and handed over to our friends, hoping to de-mystify the process.



The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “The Two Armies” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1530.

Froghemoth Flats

This place has been in last year’s journal as an ugly map drawn while bouncing on a subway train. I picked up Wonderdraft and played with it and here we are. I’ve been trying to get bits and pieces from the journals I walk around with every day in my bag into blog posts and typed documents.

Froghemoth Flats 10.20.18 (2)

Using JRients’ twenty quick questions for your campaign setting

What is the deal with my cleric’s religion?

Which incarnation of the Queen do you have most prominently on your altar? The Olde Queen, honoring the dead, the old ways, family, clan, and tradition perhaps. Some are rallying around this shepherd girl among the forts, saying she is the New Queen or the Young Queen. She is preaching about birth and spring and new ways that make the elders uncomfortable. Most are blending the two. Perhaps you are one of those odd birds who has moved the Queens to the far side of your altar and has a lump of rock in the shape of the Frog God.

Prominent figures on local altars: The Arch-Duchess, The Olde Queen, the New Queen, the Frog God and a host of other gods brought from afar.

Think hard when you make camp and set up your altar for the night – how do you arrange them?

Where can we go to buy standard equipment?

Edwinae Cwen has fine merchants but most of the villages in the unmapped North Country will offer goods and the Shepherd Forts are well stocked.

Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?

Edwinae Cwen is probably the only city big enough but as adventurers flood in to the forts to hunt frogs and search out the 9th Warlock’s Ruins their smiths might grow more skilled and more bold.

Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?

Even in death the 9th Warlock casts a heavy shadow over the arcane landscape. Young Bibiz is gathering young and arcane minded scholars in Edwinae Cwen, trying to offer wizardly arts more regimented and organized than the Barrow Hills’ druids and the north country’s bardic traditions.

Who is the greatest warrior in the land?

Some day the chief of the Wyvern Riders and the best archer of the Shepherd Forts will do battle and whoever wins will have their name written in stone as the best soldier of this generation.

Who is the richest person in the land?

Master Unstin hasn’t thatched a roof in years but he leveraged his money and influence as the Chief of the Thatcher’s Guild to set up a mercantile enterprise, marrying into a family of drovers and wheelrights, running crops to the dwarven holdfasts in the mountains and running back beard-made tools and even some weapons.

Where can we go to get some magical healing?

Some roadside altars have a priest but there hasn’t been a proper temple since the Olde Queen’s cathedral was lost in the flood. The druids will heal you in the hills if you can pay their price.

Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?

The Barrow Hill Druids might do much of that but it will cost you. There are paladins and clerics among the forts, cleaning out otherworldly influences from the flats, seeking to once and for all purify the Warlock’s ruins.

Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?

The young, ambitious wizards in Edwinae Cwen are setting up a guild and might even try to have their charter recognized by the magocracy to the south or the sorcerer-kings in the east. Get in on this endeavor on the ground floor, I say.

Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?

Edwinae Cwen has some fine scholars and some crackpots whose ideas were laughed out of older cities whose roots reach deep into the earth and whose walls still bear scars from ancient wars. The forts has a few arcanists who seem to think the frogs in the Flats are from another world.

Where can I hire mercenaries?

There are always highlanders in the Barrow Hills who are hungry to spill blood and prove themselves before seeking out their wyvern. The forts has adventurers aplenty. Folk in these parts grow weary of any armed party larger than a dozen. Many fought in the ducal feuds of the past decade. The last war this land saw was an ancient one between Giants and Dragons – folk are likely to keep it that way.

Lake Country has its manor knights and occasionally you’ll find a group of squires or even a knight willing to hire out and guard you for a time but they’re known for being as homesick as they are romantic.

Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?

The highlanders are known to distrust wizards, warlocks and sorcerers of all stripes but they don’t have any laws against it until a spell leaves a scar or wound that isn’t healed in a fortnight.

Which way to the nearest tavern?

Most villages have a public house where the brewer or ciderist makes their home. Edwinae Cwen has fine inn’s and taverns of every stripe to deal with the influx of people who are making their way to these lands. The forts have shacks with tin cups nailed above the doorways where you can get liquor that might give you dreams of ancient days when the Warlock made war against the Dragon – more likely you’ll end up half-blind or married to a local.

What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?

The flats have their frogs. The mountains have orc and goblins and kobold aplenty. The Barrow Hills have wyverns but the highlanders consider them holy creatures, gifts left to them via their pact with the Olde Queen. Some say the mountains hold a dragon somewhere but none are sure where. If that rumor grows the rush of new folk will become a full-on boom.

Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?

Are the hobgoblin scouts an indicator of the Imperials coming south?

Will the New Queen gather her forces and attempt to collect on the Barrow Pact as is her due if she truly is the reincarnation of the Olde Queen?

Will the Northern Villages band together and get desperate enough to raid the Shepherd Forts?

Arm up and find out. Let me know how that goes for you.

How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?

The Druids are always holding ritual combats so young highlanders who want to ride a wyvern can be blooded and make their attempt. If you want blood, they’ll feed it to you.

Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?

Frog Cultists among the shepherds.

Warlock Messianics among the highlanders.

Dragon dreamers among the villages.

Even royalists who think these lands belong to some faraway duke if you want to get really shitty about it.

What is there to eat around here?

Goat stew is the recipe every area has a version of and thinks they do best.

Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?

The Warlock’s kit is said to be around. He was known for going into battle with sword and shield. Is it true there is statue of the Frog God with mouth that is a gate to a Chaos Realm somewhere in the Flats?

The Olde Queen’s barrow is said to be full of riches and her thane’s named weapons but you’d have to fight past angry highlanders and their wyvern-riders at the very least.

Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?

Scholars and bards insist that there is a dragon out there in the mountains who has been sleeping since the Giants hired mercenaries from the Fiendlands who were led by the 9th Warlock. If that is true, there is an ancient one out there among the orc and griffons and owlbears.

Froghemoth Flats

fetid swamp, chaos infected, amphibious god

2: Froghemoth

1-2 it is asking for your worship

3-4 it is hungry for something/someone you have

5-6 it is angry and is lashing out

3: A highlands Wyvern Rider is flying overhead

1-2 they are hunting the Froghemoth but hasn’t caught its trail

3-4 they were just in battle with the Froghemoth and it was a draw

5-6 they just helped some lost fools get out of a mud whirlpool

4: A giant mosquito swarm

1-2 buzzing around a goat, taking its blood, and hasn’t noticed you yet

3-4 smell your blood and are beginning to get agitated and hungry

5-6 are coming for you in bloodlust

5: Bullywug hunting party

1-2 have you prayed to the Froghemoth are placed it on your altar? If so, they are here to help, if not they are here to eat your skin

3-4 they are taking the pieces of a recent kill, a giant mosquito, back to their people

5-6 they are in a complicated rite to the Froghemoth to make their hunt plentiful

6: Mud whirlpool

1-2 geological anomaly sucking you down into the muck

3-4 mud maw is inhaling, trying to swallow you everything around you

5-6 early signs of a mud whirlpool are showing – air bubbles and giant insects – the whirlpool will begin in 1d3 days in this area

7: Tomb raiders

1-2, on their way in with nothing but equipment and hope

3-4 on their way out with nothing but scars and pain

5-6 on their way out with treasures and tragic tales of lost comrades

8: Shepherds

1-2 here to find their lost goat

3-4 here with an offering to the Froghemoth (1-2 a person, 3-4 a goat, 5-6 gold)

5-6 here to check their giant mosquito traps

9: Alligator, Giant

1-2 it is pretending to be a log, laying in wait for easy prey

3-4 it is content gnawing on a swamp goat

5-6 it is fiercely protective of a nearby clutch of eggs

10: Lizardfolk hunting party

1-2 it is getting cold and they are looking for a place to sleep

3-4 they are sunning themselves on some flat rocks

5-6 they are laying in wait, patiently covered in mud, waiting for the players to get close to their bait

11: Fiendlands adventuring party

1d6+1 Tieflings looking for the 9th Warlock

1-2 they have an ancient map that will guide them through the old spells that hide the ruins

3-4 they are lost, tried and fucking frustrated with this shit-hole

5-6 have left their allies at the ruins and are looking around a bit – considering settling down here and claiming the surrounding lands based on the 9th Warlock’s old boundaries

12: Dragon

1-2 hasn’t seen you yet

3-4 has your scent but isn’t sure exactly where you are

5-6 has you in its sights and is hungry

Elfstone Border

restless forest, ancient warning, capricious immortals

2: Emissary from the Elf Queen

1-2 we come with gifts for the New Queen

3-4 we come with demands for continuing peace

5-6 we come to visit our friend, the Olde Queen

3: Satyr Raiding Party

1-2 the raid is on, let’s steal everything that isn’t nailed down

3-4 the raid is over, let’s party and compare treasures

5-6 butting heads, deciding where to raid and what to steal

4: Ent-moot

1-2 humans need our wisdom, send an envoy to the Druids, let’s not be hasty and choose the perfect messenger

3-5 humans are an annoyance we can tolerate for a while longer

6 humans suck, summon the ents to war

5: Blink dog pack

1-2 protective of newborn pups

3-4 hunting a wounded lion

5-6 driving you away from their elf kennel-master, mortally wounded and out of sight nearby

6: Fey-blooded scholars

1-2 we’re huddled around an elfstone and are in awe of some minutiae

3-4 we’ve found an old battlefield and are gathering old arrowheads and bones

5-6 we’ve found something big and don’t want you to know about it

7: Treasure hunters

1-2 on their way in with nothing but equipment and hope

3-4 on their way out with nothing but scars and pain

5-6 on their way out with treasures and tragic tales of lost comrades

8: Lion(s)

1-2 lone lion on the hunt

3-4 pride on the hunt (1d3+1 lions)

5-6 pride at rest around a watering hole (2d3+1 lions)

9: Human trespassers, back after a century in fey country

1-2 we’re a mess but docile

3-4 we’re a mess and could easily tip towards violence

5-6 we’re a mess and are looking for someone to follow

10: Elf patrol

2d4 of the haughty bastards

1-2 you younglings need to be taught a lesson with arrows and spears

3-4 you folk are such noble savages!

5-6 someone stole from us and we’re on the hunt (roll again if you want to know who stole from them)

11: Elf exiles

1-2 thieves

3-4 kinslayers

5-6 devil-worshippers

12: Dragon

1-2 hasn’t seen you yet

3-4 has your scent but isn’t sure exactly where you are

5-6 has you in its sights and is hungry

Barrow Hills

green hills, haunted barrows, restless dead

2: Vampire Lord, former consort to the Olde Queen

1-2 hungry, filthy, newly awakened

3-4 with a merchant family posing as a servant for now

5-6 armored and armed, resplendent in all of his glory, riding an undead wyvern steed

3: Arch-Druid

1-2 was guided here by the Olde Queen to offer you all some wisdom

3-4 is fighting a young upstart who wants the position for their own

5-6 is here with 1d6 druids and 1d3-1 Wyvern Riders to offer you a strong rebuke from a past deed or if no past deeds work, something came up in a recent divination

4: Ghoul pack

1-2 eating a caravan they ambushed – content and lazy from eating all this fresh meat

3-4 hungry, jackal-eyed and on your trail

5-6 hungry, jackal-eyed but you are on their trail

5: Highlanders

1-2 on their way to a wedding

3-4 on their way to a funeral

5-6 on their way to call up a feud

6: Lowlanders

1-2 here to trade their goods with the highlanders

3-4 here to visit a relative who married into a local clan

5-6 here to pay a wyvern-rider to get a loved one taken in a raid

7: Treasure hunters

1-2, on their way in with nothing but equipment and hope

3-4 on their way out with nothing but scars and pain

5-6 on their way out with treasures and tragic tales of lost comrades

8: Highland Shepherds

1-2 moving their herd into a valley

3-4 moving the herd they got from raiding the lowlands back to their lands

5-6 going to talk to the local wyvern rider because a griffon is eating their herd as we speak and their sling stones are just pissing it off

9: Druid procession

1-2 enacting an ancient ritual that cannot be interrupted without dire consequences

3-4 enacting an ancient ritual that has a place for outlanders stepping in, welcoming them

5-6 hunting a runaway acolyte who is attempting to get to the lowlands with their secrets

10: Highlander, hunting down their wyvern steed

1-2 has tracked a big one to a nearby nest

3-4 is half starved and lost – being chased by a pack of ghouls

5-6 lost the track of a wyvern they almost saddled and now is being hunted by it

11: Wyvern Rider

1-2 patrolling the lands under their watch, stopping to talk to you

3-4 looking for a lowland trespasser

5-6 on the hunt (1-2 griffon, 3-4 rival wyvern rider, 5 manticore, 6 dragon)

12: Dragon

1-2 hasn’t seen you yet

3-4 has your scent but isn’t sure exactly where you are

5-6 has you in its sights and is hungry


unforgiving stone, lairs upon lairs, fell hunters

2: A manticore is not stalking prey but it is looking for servants.

1-2 orc are on its mind

3-4 trying to decide between feuding posses of kobolds and goblins

5-6 it has its heart set on your all to be its agents in the lowlands

3: Wizard posse from Edwinae Cwen, here to find a wizards’ tower lost to history, said to belong to one of the Olde Queen’s most trusted counselors

1-2 They have read the signs correctly and will reach one of the lost towers in 3d6 days.

3-4 They have no idea where they are or the meaning behind the scrolls that launched their expedition

5-6 They have badly misread some scrolls and are en route to the dragon’s lair.

4: An owlbear is upon you

1-2 it attacks as it is being driven mad with pain with a kobold bear-trap caught on its leg

3-4 if there is a wizard in the party the owlbear attacks the other members of the party, thinking it is saving the wizard from their aggression unless the wizard makes otherwise very clear

5-6 the wizard who raised the owlbear’s corpse is nearby in a dry streambed and the owlbear is protecting it

5: Orc hunting party

1-2, returning home a mess of claw and spike wounds after having tangled with a manticore

3-4 on the trail of rival orcs

5-6 on your trail, of course – if you just got here, their never-sleeping, one-eyed scry-god must’ve told them of your coming through a priest

6: Goblin riot

2d6x10 Goblins

1-4, they are infighting, tearing each other apart and will cut their own numbers in half in 3 rounds as long as their attention isn’t diverted

5-6 they are coming after you all with the bloodlust of a horde of rabid toddlers

7: Wannabe Dragonslayers

1-2, on their way in with nothing but equipment and hope

3-4 on their way out with nothing but burn-scars and pain

5-6 on their way out with treasures, singed eyebrows and tragic tales of lost comrades

8: Kobold trap grove

1-2 classic covered spiked pit

3-4 the old exploding tree

5-6 half dead human nailed to a good ambush spot

9: Hobgoblin Imperial scouting party

1-2 they are looking for word of the dragon

3-4 they are primarily here to assess the Northern Village’s defenses

5-6 they are here to find a site to erect a fort

10: Orc-hunters

1-2 elves from beyond the border here to playfully collect some orc heads

3-4 young Highlanders out to be blooded

5-6 dwarven veterans – cold and furious

11: The most famous knight all the way from Lake Country with squires, pages, a bard and servants, here to see the mountains

1-2 here with a false map to the dragon’s lair

3-4 with a token to trade for weapons with the dwarves

5 with a piece of a true map to the dragon’s lair but needs more

6 here to die in the mountains from a wasting sickness

12: Dragon

1-2 hasn’t seen you yet

3-4 has your scent but isn’t sure exactly where you are

5-6 has you in its sights and is hungry

Lake Country

idyllic landscape, unplumbed depths, naiads and knights

(Thank you, twitter-friends…)

2: Water Elemental Lord

1-2 Confused, remembering a time when this was all under primeval ocean-water

3-4 Caught in a powerful summoning circle prison, dead wizard who made the summons nearby.

5-6 Angry at how the ancient rites have slipped

3:  Nyad, known as The Arch-Duchess, showing up more and more on local altars:

1-2 diving from cliffs into nearby water, enjoying the water with her hand-maidens

3-4 armored up with her hand-maidens in full war mode looking for a criminal who broke one of her laws (can roll again to see who she is looking for, if you roll 3 she is looking for a rogue hand-maiden)

5-6 is holding court, listening to locals bringing disputes to for her judgment

4: Gnomish traders offering

1-2 total garbage made beautiful through illusion

3-4 solid goods made even more useful through illusion

5-6 magic items that allow users to utilize illusions to their advantage

5: Series of ancient wells in a verdant glade

1-3 friendly water weirds who seek to collect ancient tolls for the water

4-6 hungry water weirds looking to destroy any drinkers, bones are in the grass around the wells upon any kind of close inspection

6: Knight and small retinue

1-2 Collecting taxes

3-4 Fishing trip

5-6 Tracking down bandits (if the players have committed banditry it is them)

7: Fisher-folk

1-4 Fishing

5 Looking for drowned loved one

6 Beaten after bandit attack

8: Giants spiders with goblin servants

1-2 moving their communal webs, migrating with the giant bugs

3-4 eating a (1 – goat/2 – squire/ 3 – cougar/ 4 – gnome / 5 – 6 giant mosquito)

5-6 hunting you

9: Bandits

1 They ask you to hand over your valuables and be on your way.

2-5 They offer to be your guides for a reasonable wage, only robbing you by force if you refuse.

6 They shoot first, planning to rob your corpses.

10: Wizards from Edniwae Cwen

1-2 hoping to study the bottomless lakes, perhaps find a gate to elemental planes of water

3-4 here to study and/or pillage the courts of the Arch-Duchess, a powerful local naiad who is growing in power and prominence in the area

5-6 here to serve as manor wizards to local knights, hoping to create a bond between the Lake Country and the newfound wizard’s guild in Edniwae Cwen

11: Priests on pilgrimage from a faraway archipelago, to see ancient altars to ancient elemental waterlords

1-2 “Have you heard the good news? The Great Tide is coming!”

3-4 “We are lost and would appreciate your help.”

5-6 “From water you were born and so with time will the waves pound your flesh and even the stones of your tomb into insignificant sand.”

12: Dragon

1-2 hasn’t seen you yet

3-4 has your scent but isn’t sure exactly where you are

5-6 has you in its sights and is hungry

Along the River

spine, life’s currents death’s floods, from dragon to Froghemoth

2: The New Queen with a full retinue of her honor guard, the Saint’s Sisters

1-2 preaching, offering simple but beautiful statues for local altars made from local slate.

3-4 in the midst of a sermon to local river-folk, discussing theology, debating orthodoxy

5-6 in battle against those who think her and her folk heretics (roll again to see who her enemies are)

3: Wizard posse from Edwinae Cwen

1-2 taking a survey of river altars to see how it might effect power of the Froghemoth

3-4 looking at river-banks with engineers to see if future floods can be prevented to protect the city

5-6 on their way south to hunt for the 9th Warlock’s Ruins and to recruit from adventuring wizards to the new wizard’s guild in Edwinae Cwen

4: Gnomish traders offering

1-2 total garbage made beautiful through illusion

3-4 solid goods made even more useful through illusion

5-6 magic items that allow users to utilize illusions to their advantage

5: River Pirates

1-2 dividing loot after a score

3-4 in hiding, looking to take a barge coming downstream from Edniwae Cwen

5-6 recruiting, looking to bring the players in on an upcoming big score that demands more muscle

6: Knight and small retinue going to or from Edniwae Cwen to 

1-2 purchase warhorses

3-4 sell smoked and pickled lake fish

5-6 tracking down bandits (if the players have committed banditry it is them)

7: Adventurers

1-2, on their way in with nothing but equipment and hope

3-4 on their way out with nothing but scars and pain

5-6 on their way out with treasures and tragic tales of lost comrades

8: River-folk

1-4 Fishing

5 Looking for drowned loved one

6 Beaten after river-pirate attack

9: Fiendlands adventuring party

1d6+1 Tieflings looking for the 9th Warlock Ruins

1-2 they have an ancient map that will guide them through the old spells that hide the ruins

3-4 they are lost, tried and fucking frustrated with this shit-hole

5-6 have left their allies at the ruins and are looking around a bit – considering settling down here and claiming the surrounding lands based on the 9th Warlock’s old boundaries

10: Lizardfolk hunting party

1-2 it is getting cold and they are looking for a place to sleep

3-4 they are sunning themselves on some flat rocks

5-6 they are laying in wait, patiently covered in mud, waiting for the players to get close to their bait

11: Wyvern Rider patrolling the river

1-2 looking for river pirates

3-4 looking for a safe place to land their wounded steed

5-6 on the hunt (1-2 Froghemoth, 3-4 rival wyvern rider, 5 manticore, 6 dragon)

12: Dragon

1-2 hasn’t seen you yet

3-4 has your scent but isn’t sure exactly where you are

5-6 has you in its sights and is hungry

Need to grab some cool Old English words? This link is what I used for that.

But you didn’t make a table for the Northern Villages!

I’d just use a mix of mountains and Barrow Hills.

But you didn’t make a table for Edniwae Cwen!

I would’ve just gone with a straight 1d10 with lots of items from various tables and some odd shit that only shows up in metropolitan areas like minotaur who want to discuss their religion in which every decision in your life is a turn the labyrinth of your life or kobold masons who have turned their trap-making skills into building the city’s foundations. Add whatever odd shit you’d want to see in your fantasy; it all flocks to the city first.

Why are 12’s always dragons?

It was inspired by this post by Beloche Strike.

Planescape: Imbalance in the Outlands

There is an imbalance in a village in the Outlands where the Inner Planes and the Outer Planes meet in a kind of mess, like when saltwater and fresh-water meet in a brackish swamp but instead of water it is ideas and rather than mud you get raw elements charged with ancient passions.

Roll 3d8.

Inner Planes

  1. Lightning, Air and/or Vacuum
  2. Ice
  3. Steam, Water and/or Salt
  4. Ooze
  5. Mineral, Dust and/or Earth
  6. Magma
  7. Radiance, Fire and/or Ash
  8. Smoke

Outer Planes

  1. Law
  2. Good
  3. Chaos
  4. Evil
  5. Mechanical
  6. Magical
  7. Balance, True Neutrality
  8. Alien Far Realms

Wild Card

  1. Blood War spill-over
  2. Prime Material yokel nonsense
  3. Tides of the Astral Sea
  4. Reflective Glare from the Mirror Plane
  5. Demi-Plane of Dread Creepiness
  6. Realm of Dreams
  7. Big city interference from the hub
  8. Shadow Realms Obfuscation

These are the planes where elements and philosophy crash into one another causing alien landscapes to be born. Magma growing solid might be the cooling of an ancient feud. Salt might be preserving ideas that were better abandoned and decayed.

7, 2, 4

Radiance, Fire and/or Ash, Good, Mirror Plane

In the lovely village of Iggen every fire in the town has become a portal into the mirror plane, showing people their greatest good deeds. Some folk are walking into these fire, catching aflame and also destroying that moment in the past when they did good. People’s memories are becoming infested with fiery reflections of those who offered them kindness, screaming from the fire they walked through to get there.

4, 7, 3

Ooze, Balance, Tides of the Astral Sea

Usawa is a swamp-town in the middle of nowhere, poised on the edge of the Astral Sea but without a deep enough body of water to be a port without serious arcane-industrial dredging that none are willing to do. Lately, pieces of an ancient religion dedicated to a dead True Neutral Druid-Deity have been washing ashore in a state of perfect balance. When these ancient wrought-iron tools are exposed to any act of good, evil, law or chaos they become dangerous cursed, turning their wielder into agents of an ancient hunting pack designed to keep balance in a newborn universe.

Brushed up on the planes with this wikipedia article, Plane (Dungeons & Dragons)

All Who Fight & Pray are Monsters & Fiends

From this twitter-thread…

Those Who Fight (lords, ladies, knights, squires, kings and queens) Those Who Pray (nuns, priests, monks, cardinals and popes) are monsters, like right out of the Monster Manual and Fiend Folio. Dungeons are knightly manors, churches, cathedrals, castles and even burial mounds and tombs.

Very often monsters are in the dark forest, on the edge of town, out in the mountains and other places where people pushed to the margin might go. Let’s put them on thrones, at pulpits and at the head of armies and see what happens to the usual D&D adventurers.

In this setting, the idea of a human king or queen or any humanoid is laughable. Every once in a while there is an orc, troll, ogre or hobgoblin king but that is as close as it gets.

There is no human pantheon. Maybe there was one and the monsters ate it or maybe humans have never ascended. Clerics gain powers through scrappy saints who are tapping into wells of power so that humans can have access to healing and all that stuff. For the monster pantheon, I’ll build it off of Tiamat and Bahamut with some Gruumsh.

Keep all of the dynastic, crazy shit nobles got up to in history: inbreeding, feuding, marrying for political gain. Merchants who are baseborn human trying to upjump into nobility, marrying their children into desperate monstrous families. Their coats of armies are stylized humans giving them what they want.

It recontextualizes humanoids as creatures bred for specific purposes. Suddenly, Half-Orcs and their monster blood means they are most likely to rule along with Tieflings and Dragonborn, bred to specifically serve devils and dragons.

Adventurers are villains or villeins from the old meaning of the word.

villain oed

I love flipping through monster manuals. Here’s how we make up a monstrous kingdom. Roll 6d6 or flip through a monster manual or 3 and think about who…

  • rules this duchy
  1. Manticore
  2. Ogre Magi
  3. Hydra
  4. Medusa
  5. Angel or Devil of your choice
  6. Dragon
  • wears the the crown and who rules over the dukes
  1. Tarrasque
  2. Sphinx
  3. Rakshasa
  4. Kraken
  5. Unicorn
  6. Dragon
  • enforces laws and collects taxes
  1. Troll
  2. Will’o’the’wisp
  3. Orc
  4. Treeant
  5. Satyr
  6. Dragon
  • puts down rebellions
  1. Iillithid
  2. Modron
  3. Beholder
  4. Oozes
  5. Purple Worm
  6. Dragon
  • sees over local religious services, sermons blessings and marriages
  1. Elemental
  2. Ettin
  3. Owlbear
  4. Golem
  5. Kuo-Toa
  6. Dragon
  • executes vyleyns
  1. Yuan-ti
  2. Griffon
  3. Salamander
  4. Roc
  5. Vampire
  6. Dragon

We’ll start the game at a young fort-town, a human enclave struggling to survive. Humans have no idea how to rule themselves and so have defaulted to a kind of medieval anarchist glorious mess called Thousand Councils that is a messy mix of the chaos of the elves and the rigid guilds of the dwarves. Of course there is always some asshole who wants to be king. Or maybe there is no human enclave. Let the players carve it out of the world and see what kind of world the players set up.

What about undead?

Undead are what monsters say will inevitably happen whenever humans rule over anything. They are the disease that comes from non-monsters on thrones because of their villainous, non-noble blood. Radical humans say that undead are what happens when humans are corrupted by the evil feudal system. Undead hunters say that undead are just a disease that needs to be purged and nothing more.

What about good monsters?

Good monsters are still monsters. Unicorns, angels, gold dragons might treat Those Who Toil in a kinder way but only because they think it will serve them better in the end. A Lawful Good monster’s views on humans are still condescending and ultimately selfish; they still don’t think humans can take care of themselves and don’t think they should be autonomous.

What happens when different monsters breed?

butt monster.jpg

Pick a monster that seems like it would be made by those 2 monsters breeding. Make it one of the parents with a slight change. Make up a new monster. Have fun.

Do you need more setting?

There is a dragon-empress but she is sleeping and her children are not up to the task of keeping her empire together. Until she wakes up it is monster feuding and cold war.



Spencer Collection, The New York Public Library. “The doome warning all men to the Iudgemente” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1581.

“villain, n.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, July 2018,…. Accessed 8 September 2018.


Sorcerer – Poker Demons

Sorcerers are all playing in a Texas Hold’em style poker game where all of the cards are demons. Face-cards are demons that can pass as human. Number cards are objects.

Cards in the river are out in the world fucking shit up. Sorcerers can only make Pacts with cards that have relationships to their own cards, no bindings.


Once the sorcerers are done with gathering their cards the time for summoning is over and they traditionally fight to the death. Sometimes they form a cabal and if they go too long, often another game will start somewhere.

Going to 0 Humanity means folding, losing all of one’s demons and usually everything good in one’s life – so that is what is at stake, being bet on, though it is never spoken aloud.

When it is your turn to draw a card you do a binding, done through ritualized acts of crime that make sense for the card you are attempting to summon.

Media Inspirations: True Detective Season 1, Heat, Dog Day Afternoon, Thomas Ligotti short stories, Margaret Killjoy’s Daniel Caine books (The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion and The Barrow Will Send What it May), Rounders, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Casino, Go

EDIT: Thinking more about this on the G+ post on the Sorcerer RPG community:

I want to use cards as a way to give demons color and structure and relationships with one another – a kind of family/clan/rivals thing and thinking about crime and the seediest sides of gambling as inspiration

Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “Two of diamonds.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Champions Now: Return of Ms. Satan!

Champions Now intrigues me because we played Champions with 4th edition back in thte day. I remember the Perez cover well. Earlier edition supplements were still around but I wasn’t system savvy enough to parse through the different editions and figure out a difference.

Champions was my first hard glimmer at gaming as a skill because using that system to its fullest as a player was a skill I didn’t have. We had a few people in the group who loved to make up characters. After making a failed super-soldier from the first World War I decided that from now on I’d just describe what I wanted and have a buddy with the chargen skills do the accounting.

I was hoping to have my character idea, Ms. Satan, ready before the kickstarter ended but I’m not sure I’ll have that ready as my notes are coming together but not there yet.

Thinking just a touch meta – I picture Ms. Satan has a pulp hero whose rights were never attained by any of the big publishers. She’s an open source  super hero.

Ms. Satan was a 1950’s librarian who dabbled in the occult. Now she’s an older woman with a rageful demon inside her as she watches her colleagues go corporate. When she turns she becomes a hulking monster with a flaming skull. In my head she inhabits a place between Jessica Jones, She-Hulk (not Byrne’s 4th wall breaking era) and Ghost Rider with maybe a touch of the Demon.

Ms Satan Triangle

I’m figuring out the points for an occult library that allows her to know more about her enemies and some strength and such to smash things. I’ll post more about Ms. Satan once I have Champions accounting done.

The Wobbegong Crew: The Dunvil Rover Job

In which we meet Clave who gets out of Ironhook in time to do his first job with the crew just in time to put on Ironhook overalls on and pretend to be convicts in order to break in to a Leviathan Ship with a secret science-cult in its depths.

Dunvil Rover tweet

The Gang

Jason and Sean were back with us playing Maud and Charming, the gang’s Whisper and Cutter. Mad Jay joined us with Clave “The Wrench” Davaa, the crew’s new Leech. Clave was on the engineering team that did upkeep on the Imperial Army’s first War Hulls back in the war but was put into Ironhook after lashing out against his C.O.

The Unity War, specifically being involved in the battle at Barghast Bay is the magnetic force that brings the group together.

There was this nice player moment where Mad Jay had Clave say something cool and Jason’s Charming said, “I missed you, mate.”

It gave Clave context in the group and was a welcoming move and creative decision.

The Job with text

I was having trouble finding a grip  on the game and getting things moving and had one vague idea for a job. I spent more effort describing the folder the job’s intel was in than the job itself because let’s face it, the job was vague.

The Hive offered info on a science-cult on a Leviathan ship, the Dunvil Rover, that was their largest client in human trafficking. Nothing to steal, no one to kill, just info to do with as you will on a former client who might lash out now that their line on fresh humans is dried up.

There was a moment when I realized this might be just too damned vague and let them know that if this job wasn’t juicy enough, they could always take some turf.

Wobbegong Turf

In the end, they took the job that ended with a Leviathan ship on fire in the harbor – The Usual Suspects-style. The Heat on this job was astronomical – the worst ecological disaster in Duskwall history.

Duskwall again

An NPC named Cricket really came to life, so much so that Sean might play him for a while while Maude takes jail-time to deal with the crew’s Heat.