Sunday, 28 December 2014

A Red & Pleasant Land: Playing Cards & Suits

Central European cards
When people think about a deck of playing cards, they usually think of the following four suits: Spades (♠), Hearts (), Diamonds (), and Clubs (♣).

In A Red & Pleasant Land, Zak S. has obviously used the four aforementioned suits, what with the Alice in Wonderland connection. The four suits feature prominently in Chapter III, Beasts & People, because of the various Orders named after the suits in the employ of the Heart Queen.

However, given the prevalent Mitteleuropean milieu of the setting, I think it would have been nice to introduce Central European suits, and also to expand upon their possible use with the game. This is what I am going to attempt here.

First, a word about playing cards— They were introduced from Mamluk Egypt to Europe via Italy in the 14th century. Italian playing cards (used to this day) have retained the original Mamluk suits of swords, cups, coins, and staves. In the mid-15th century, in Central Europe, these suits became leaves, hearts, bells, and acorns. At the end of the 15th century, the French derived the presently-known suits from the Central European ones.

Playing cards have, since the very beginning, piqued the interest of occultists and diviners, who have devised all manners of correspondences between the suits and various elements of European life, e.g.:

 Suit   Social Class   Season   Element   Divination 
 Leaves   Burghers   Autumn   Air   Hope 
 Hearts   Clergy   Spring   Water   Love 
 Bells   Nobility   Summer   Earth   Money 
 Acorns   Peasants   Winter   Fire   Trouble 
You will notice that Acorns correspond to both 'winter' and 'fire'... So much for consistency!

Another difference between French playing cards and Central European decks is in the area of face cards. Whereas French cards sport the well-known Jack, Queen, and King, Central European cards have three male face cards per suit: Unter (a lower-class knave), Ober (an upper-class knave), and König (King). Aces are also slightly different, as each ace in a Central European deck depicts one of the seasons of the year.

Bells, Acorns, and Leaves cards.

So how would the use of Central European cards impact A Red & Pleasant Land?

First of all, both French and Central European cards use Hearts as one of the suits, so at least there wouldn't be any change in this respect, and the Heart Queen would remain the Heart Queen (but see below).

The orders would be modified as follows:
✠ The Order of Clubs (soldiers) becomes the Order of Acorns
✠ The Order of Diamonds (courtiers) becomes the Order of Bells
✠ The Order of Spades (commoners) becomes the Order of Leaves

Another impact would be a reduced number in monarchs: instead of six decapitated lords, 3 kings and 3 queens, there are only three– the three Kings of Bells, Acorns, and Leaves.

As for Hearts, instead of having a timid king and a queen, the use of Central European playing cards would imply:
✠ The Queen of Hearts, female counterpart to the King of Hearts (works as the Heart Queen described in A Red & Pleasant Land) except that she's naturally the top ruler of Hearts
✠ The Ober of Hearts — use the King of Hearts described in the book in his role as the general of the Hearts' army
✠ The Unter of Hearts — use the Knave of Hearts as described in the book

Should you be able to get hold of a Central European deck of cards, you could use them along with the 'correspondences' table above to ad-lib the effects of spells (via the elements or the divination column), to randomly generate NPCs, etc. You may also add the following (even though I prefer not to use demi-humans in a faux European setting):
 Suit   Class   Race 
 Leaves   Magic-User   Elf 
 Hearts   Cleric   Human 
 Bells   Fighter   Dwarf 
 Acorns   Specialist  Halfling 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A Red & Pleasant Land: The Alice – A New Character Class

I am crap at writing reviews, so instead of writing a review of the marvellous Lamentations of the Flame Princess sandbox supplement titled A Red & Pleasant Land, I will be posting a blog entry for each of its chapters. That will be my way of writing a review of sorts, by showcasing how inspiring reading the book has been to me.

Chapter II of A Red & Pleasant Land is entirely devoted to the description of a new LotFP character class called The Alice. Now instead of merely paraphrasing this chapter (because that's pretty much all you can do with a technical piece such as a new character class), I'll be repurposing The Alice character class for the Monsters & Magic role-playing game, along the lines of what David Rollins has done for D&D 5e.

The Alice
a new character class for Monsters & Magic

Prime Attribute: Dexterity
Physical Hit Points: D4
Mental Hit Points: D10
Starting Money: 3D4×10

As explained in A Red & Pleasant Land, whereas your average adventurer sets out looking for adventure, in the case of Alices, it is actually adventure that seeks them. The Alice is a mysterious magnet for odd occurrences, perplexing phenomena, and extraordinary endeavours.

Alices are human, and from a civilised background.

Alice Traits
Light Armour
Simple 1-Handed Weapons
Tool of the Trade: Choose one particular Game or Musical Instrument
Luck Manipulation (as described in Aperita Arcana)
Read and Write
Exasperation, per the text in A Red & Pleasant Land, but use the Effect Engine instead of rolling the dice, i.e.:
  • Difficulty: whatever is causing the exasperation, or a GM-set value (p37 of M&M)
  • Minor effect, subtract 5 and read the resulting number on the Exasperation table on p31 of A Red & Pleasant Land
  • Major effect, subtract 10 and read the resulting number on the Exasperation table, allow for some leeway
  • Extreme effect, let the Alice choose the number on the Exasperation table

Alice Advancements
Each time the Alice levels up, instead of letting the player choose the advancement, have them roll 1D100:

 1D100 Roll   Results 
 01-20   The Alice may choose one of the Monk traits on p17 of M&M as an Advancement 
 21-70   The Alice may choose one of the Thief traits on p22 of M&M as an Advancement 
 71-74   per the text of the Alice D100 Level Up Table on p32-33 of A Red & Pleasant Land 
 75   The Alice gets Recognise Faction or Function of Any Voivodjan Aristocrat as an Advancement 
 76-79   per the text of the Alice D100 Level Up Table 
 80   The Alice may replace STR with CHA in a combat roll 
 81   The Alice gets Identify Drugs & Plants as an Advancement 
 82   The Alice gets Lie Convincingly as an Advancement 
 83   per the text of the Alice D100 Level Up Table 
 84   The Alice gets Voivodjan Etiquette as an Advancement 
 85-87   per the text of the Alice D100 Level Up Table 
 88   The Alice gets an extra language as an Advancement 
 89   The Alice gets Artistic Forgery as an Advancement 
 90   The Alice gets Appraise Treasure as an Advancement 
 91-93   The Alice may replace STR with DEX in a combat roll 
 94   per the text of the Alice D100 Level Up Table 
 95   The Alice gets Dodge Missiles as an Advancement 
 96   The Alice gets the Stalwart Defence stance (p42 of M&M) as an Advancement 
 97-98   The Alice gets Sylvan Sympathy as an Advancement 
 99-00   The Alice gets Utterly Blasé as an Advancement 

As a bonus, I am adding a further sub-class of the Alice, the Goose-boy, devised by yours truly, and inspired by Lúdas Matyi, the Hungarian epic poem written by Mihály Fazekas.

The Goose-Boy
a new Alice sub-class for Monsters & Magic

Secondary Attribute:Wisdom
Starting Money: 5D6

The Goose-boy is the commoner counterpart to the Alice. The Goose-boy starts as a young peasant boy who leads a quiet life but who is severely wronged by some upper-class NPC, and who sets out on an adventure to settle a score with the NPC.

The Goose-boy is a human from the sticks. The player must choose the reason the PC has become a Goose-boy; possible reasons are:
  • stolen property
  • someone forcibly married his sweetheart
  • killed relative

Goose-boy Traits
Light Armour and Shield
1-Handed Weapons
Country Bumpkin: Choose one particularly lowly profession such as goose boy, pig herder, etc.
Luck Manipulation
Disguise (p23 of M&M)

Goose-boy Advancements
As the Alice above, except:
75 Sense Orb Loc - the Goose-boy may detect the hidden human settlements of Voivodja
84 Exhort the Commoners - the Goose-boy may stir up trouble against the aristocracy
88 Thieves' Cant - the Goose-boy has learnt the secret language of lowlifes
89 Impersonate Trade - the Goose-boy may pass off as a trader or an artisan
90 Rigmarole - the Goose-boy may fast-talk his way pretty much anywhere

If you are using my 13C setting, Goose-boys are agents of the Trickster.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

13th Age in Csachticz − Detailed Icons, No.3: The Dracul

The Dracul is the name given to the Diabolist in 13C. The surname 'Dracul' stems from the Order of the Dragon, founded in 1408 by the then-Emperor Sigismund (1368–1437) and his wife of ill-repute, Queen Barbara (1392–1451). The scope of the Order of the Dragon is to defend True Faith against the Empire of the Crescent Moon. However, contrary to other similarly-purposed orders, whose foundation lies in religious vows and selflessness, the Order of the Dragon is firmly based upon personal oaths of loyalty and ruthlessness.

The first Dracul, or head of the Order of the Dragon, was Hermann II of Cilli, the father of Queen Barbara. After his death in 1435, the headship was passed on to Vlad II of Herdsland, henceforth known as Vlad Dracul. There were rumours of Queen Barbara and Vlad Dracul dabbling in forbidden magicks and being lovers. Whatever the truth, she certainly put her immense wealth and her political clout behind Vlad Dracul, who rose from being a secondary baron of the Empire of the One Faith to becoming its foremost champion in the south-east. After the Queen's demise, apparently caused by a necromantic ceremony gone awry — she was reportedly trying to become a lich —, Vlad Dracul resumed her dark experiments. He has seldom since been seen in broad daylight, and has always fought his battles against the Empire of the Crescent Moon during the night. These night attacks have terrified the Sultan's troops, especially since the Dracul is known to impale any prisoners taken during these battles.


The Dracul is seldom to be seen, except when leading his unsavoury host into battle. Rumour has it that he spends the rest of his time in his foreboding fortified tower at Argisch, deep in the most inaccessible part of the Oriental Range.


It is common knowledge that the present Dracul, Vlad Dracul, has been around for... something like 200 years, which is obviously very wrong. Since he's made few public appearances in the last 150 years or so, little is known about the means by which he's managed to extend his lifespan to such an incredible amount of years. Some say he has a huge laboratory where he brews life-extending potions; some others that he's transformed into a lich, using the forbidden necromantic lore accumulated by his erstwhile mentor (and lover) Queen Barbara; some others that he's become a vampire, and that his many war prisoners are his lifeblood.

His fortress~tower at Argisch, in an ever dark and stormy part of the Oriental Range, with barely any access road, certainly doesn't invite enquiries.

The few survivors from the notorious night attacks of the Dracul speak of a huge unholy horde of undead riding skeletal horses into battle, but these reports are dismissed as the ravings of disturbed madmen.


The Dracul is a fanatical opponent of the Empire of the Crescent Moon. For him, the end always justifies the means, so he's always looking for spies, assassins, and like lowlifes to further his diabolical deeds. However, anybody associating with the Dracul may find themselves shunned by normal adventurers should news of such an association leak out.


The Dracul is a villainous icon without any ally. Not that he thinks he needs any.


The Sultan is the Dracul's obsessive enemy, and obviously the Sultan also considers the Dracul as one of his foremost enemies north of the Empire of the Crescent Moon. The Superintendent and the Warlord, who do not agree with the way the Dracul fights against the Empire of the Crescent Moon, are known to have hired holy men and monastic knights to try and root out this evil from the Oriental Range. None of these agents are known to have ever returned.


The Dracul as such is quite a recent Icon compared with the others. However, he draws upon an ancient tradition of necromancy, forbidden lore, and cruelty that has been present in this part of Europe for centuries.


The Dracul is obsessed with defeating the Empire of the Crescent Moon, which keeps him busy. Should he turn his eyes towards his erstwhile co-religionists he might corrupt the Fair Kingdom and, beyond it, the Empire of the One Faith!

A Red & Pleasant Land: The Land of Unreason – Geography

Still reading A Red & Pleasant Land, at last now in dead tree format. The setting vividly brought to life in the book, the Land of Unreason, is described by Zak S. as being a mix of Transylvania and Wonderland (page 14):

the world in this book is a sort of alternate-universe Transylvania underneath your “real” Transylvania, reachable through mirrors

A close inspection of the map, however, reveals a land far larger than Transylvania, with Cachtice in the north-western corner, Zombor in the south-west, and Castle Poenari in the south-eastern corner. The north-eastern part of the map is more difficult to identify with any real-world place names, but the shape of the rivers and of the mountains suggests Ruthenia.

As a result, given these geographical limits, the Land of Unreason corresponds quite exactly to the historical Kingdom of Hungary, i.e., the model behind my very own “Fair Kingdom”.

The Land of Unreason used to be a unitary kingdom, the Once Palace. After the demise of the latter, it became a war-torn land, with the two main powers being the Heart Queen, based in the north-west, and the Red King in the south-east. This again somehow reflects the disunity of the Fair Kingdom, torn between the Empire of the One Faith, the Empire of the Crescent Moon, and the independent-minded nobles of Transylvania, who try to keep their distances from both empires.

Should you want to run a mash-up of my Fair Kingdom setting, with its icons, and the Land of Unreason, you could expand on the notion of Twins presented on page 16 of A Red & Pleasant Land. The Fair Kingdom is the geographical twin of the Land of Unreason (and vice-versa). Everybody has a twin in the other land (and vice-versa). The Heart Queen is the Twin of the Blood Countess. The Red King is Vlad Dracul's Twin.

Monday, 15 December 2014

LotFP Adventure Seed

I have several gaming blogs so as to keep my blog entries separated and dedicated to a given genre whenever I feel like posting. This present blog is dedicated to my early modern weird fantasy posts, but I'll briefly mention the Giannirator, my bookshelf-based random adventure generator, from my gaming blog dedicated to Sword & Sorcery.

I have noticed that, whenever I use the Giannirator, most results are geared towards Glorantha, which is actually not a surprise considering that the bulk of my gaming library is composed of RuneQuest/HeroQuest/Glorantha publications. So, in order to showcase a more diverse use of the Giannirator, I'll use my gaming PDFs, which are much more diverse in scope than my dead tree bookshelves.

NPC1 (from PDF One)
1D20 --> 18. Folder No.18.
1D6 --> 3. Start counting from the beginning.
1D30 --> 11. Eleventh PDF from the beginning: D6 Fantasy Locations.
1D6 --> 1. Start counting from the beginning.
1D100 --> 43. Worthington the Priest.

Location1 (from PDF Two)
1D20 --> 7. Folder No.7.
1D6 --> 3. Start counting from the beginning.
1D30 --> 15. 15th PDF from the beginning: A Mighty Fortress.
1D6 --> 3. Start counting from the beginning.
1D100 --> 75. the Scheldt Estuary.

Action (from Table One)
1D20 --> 19. Conquer / Invade / Raid / Pillage / Plunder.

Person/Object (from PDF Three)
1D20 --> 13. Folder No.13.
1D6 --> 4. Start counting from the end.
1D30 --> 23. 23rd PDF from the end: Night Witches.
1D6 --> 1. Start counting from the beginning.
1D100 --> 57. Forbidden Love.

Motivation (from Table Two)
1D20 --> 11. Selflessness.

NPC2 (from PDF Four)
1D20 --> 10. Folder No.10.
1D6 --> 5. Start counting from the end.
1D30 --> 8. Eighth PDF from the end: 13th Age Errata.
1D6 --> 2. Start counting from the beginning.
1D4 --> 4. Putrid Zombie.

Location2 (from PDF Five)
1D20 --> 14. Folder No.14.
1D6 --> 4. Start counting from the end.
1D30 --> 10. Tenth PDF from the end: The God That Crawls.
1D6 --> 2. Start counting from the beginning.
1D100 --> 26. a large "null space" of pure darkness.

Element (from PDF Six)
1D20 --> 5. Folder No.5.
1D6 --> 2. Start counting from the beginning.
1D30 --> 14. 14th PDF from the beginning: D&D 5e Player's Basic Rules.
1D6 --> 6. Start counting from the end.
1D100 --> 36. the Schools of Magic.

Result: Worthington the Priest asks the PCs to go to the Scheldt Estuary to Conquer / Invade / Raid / Pillage / Plunder a Forbidden Love. Motivated by their Selflessness, the PCs will end up confronting a Putrid Zombie in a large "null space" of pure darkness. During the course of the adventure, the Schools of Magic will feature prominently.

This really looks like a nice Lamentations of the Flame Princess scenario seed. So: Worthington the Priest, before settling down as a clergyman, used to be a chaplain in England's Royal Navy during the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). He even saw action at the Naval battle of Gravelines, in 1588, which saw the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English. Worthington, however, was stranded in Flanders and started a romance with a local Protestant woman, before being repatriated to England. Five years on, Worthington still thinks of his beautiful Flemish lover, and has asked the PCs to go and find her and, if possible, to bring her back to England. The PCs, being incredibly selfless, won't even ask for a reward.
Somehow, the PCs should learn that the woman is now the wife of a prosperous burgher and lives in the fortified Dutch city of Bergen op Zoom. The city is besieged by the Catholics, and the PCs will somehow have to benefit from magical help to get through the besiegers, and into the city. Unbeknownst to them, the husband of the woman is a necromancer and he has a portal in his cellar to the Negative Energy Plane.
The PCs will talk to the woman, she will agree to following them, but the necromancer will discover her plans and lock her in the cellar. The PCs will have to confront the necromancer and his putrid zombie, who keeps regenerating because of its closeness to the Negative Energy Plane.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A Red & Pleasant Land (Very First Impressions)

the Blood Countess, Zak-style
James Raggi has made available his latest batch of LotFP books for purchase on his web-site at last, and I have thus ordered A Red & Pleasant Land, the new version of Death Frost Doom, and No Salvation for Witches. I am particularly curious about the former since it is set in a fantasy version of Central Europe. Or should I write, in a Zak S.-ised version of Central Europe.

Lo and behold! One of the major NPCs is the Blood Countess herself. I won't add anything so as not to spoil the surprise for those who are going to play in A Red & Pleasant Land, but other tidbits similar to what has been appearing in my blog also appear in Zak's book, like her castle at Csachticz (spelled Cachtice in the book).

The art (obviously) is superb... More when I have time to read through the book.

Monday, 24 November 2014

The Knights of Rhodes

The Knights Hospitaller (Latin: Fraternitas Hospitalaria) were one of the most prestigious True Faith military orders during the Crusades, when they distinguished themselves in battle against the Crescent Moon. However, at the end of the 16th century, the order is but the shadow of its former self. The disputes between New Wayers and Old Wayers have rendered the presence of religiously-minded knights in battle utterly obsolete, since most battles of the day are now between Europeans.

After the fall of the Crusader states, the order had to relocate to Rhodes, and then finally to Malta in 1530. The order is now mostly known as the Knights of Rhodes after their earlier home.

Dispossessed of their lands in the Levant, rendered idle by the internecine conflicts in Europe, the Knights of Rhodes now resort to piracy against Crescent Moon ships in the Mediterranean, or have become sellswords at the service of the various European powers, and in particular of the Iberian powers, who are the only ones still actively fighting against the Way of the Crescent Moon in distant lands.

The original statutes of the order contemplated the service of the sick pilgrims to the Holy Land, and the defence of the Crusader states. Their habit is a red surcoat with a white Maltese cross emblazoned on it.

The order of the Knights Hospitaller as a role-playing clerical cult: 
Temple traits: Protect True Faith pilgrims, Wage war against the Crescent Moon
Worshippers' Alignment: any non-Evil/Worshippers' Allegiance: Old Way of True Faith
Temple Weapon: Sword
Spheres of Activity: Cure, Protect, Shelter the Faithful.
  • all Knights of Rhodes have the Tenacious trait (from the Aperita Arcana supplement)
  • Lawful Good Knights of Rhodes may choose advancements from the Paladin Traits pool on p18 of the M&M core book, replacing 'Evil' with 'Crescent Moon'
Holy Symbol: Maltese Cross.
Spells: Combat, Guardian, Healing, Protection.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

13th Age in Csachticz − Detailed Icons, No.2: The Alchemist

The Alchemist is the name given to the Archmage in 13C. The title 'Alchemist' definitely sounds more "early modern" than 'Archmage', which smacks of high fantasy. The Alchemist is the embodiment of the intelligence, of the spirit of research, and of the enlightenment of the age: in the 16th century, mathematics, physics and alchemy are not deemed incompatible — it is actually quite the contrary.

There have been many Alchemists in the history of the Empire of the One Faith, but none of them have been as influential as the current one, whose amity with the Emperor and with most learned men of Europe has put him at the exact centre of European alchemical and hermetic studies. If a major endeavour in any of these fields is under way anywhere in Europe, the Alchemist definitely knows about it — he might even be actively involved.


At his tower on top of Alchemist's Hill near the city of Brüx, approximately 50 miles northwest of Burgstadt along the River Biela.


Despite his being a well-known public figure, and despite his many appearances at court, little is actually known about the Alchemist. It is rumoured that he was born about 40 years ago in Albion. He is supposed to have worked as an apothecary at the court of Queen Gloriana, where he quickly rose through the ranks but fell out of favour just as quickly, finding then refuge on the Continent; first at Wittingau, then at Brüx, always enjoying the patronage of the Emperor.

The Alchemist has a huge laboratory in his tower that is rumoured to extend well beneath it into Alchemist's Hill, and even under the city of Brüx. This laboratory~dungeon is equipped with all manner of paraphernalia retrieved by the Alchemist's agents from all the corners of the Empire of the One Faith, and beyond. It is said that each section of the labyrinthine laboratory is devoted to a given art, e.g., one to optics, one to divination, one to summoning, etc.


As per the standard 13th Age core book under Archmage (p14)— the Alchemist hires adventurers to retrieve strange implements, to test new spells, and to volunteer for participating in his séances. Pay is high, but so are the hazards.


The Alchemist has sworn total fealty to the Emperor. Despite the Alchemist's incredible supernatural powers, the oaths he has taken are apparently even stronger.
The Alchemists professes respect for the tenets of True Faith, and in particular for those of the Old Way, but he and the Pope have never been know to actively co-operate. On the other hand, rumour has it that the Alchemist and the Superintendent have worked together to prevent the Sultan from locating certain magic items buried deep in the mountains of the Oriental Range.


There is an ongoing rivalry between the Alchemist and the Occultist, but it has never escalated into open warfare between their agents.
The Alchemist wants to bend nature under humanity's will; as a result, he has deeply hurt the Erlking and Frau Perchta, who are now openly opposing him.


There has always been an Alchemist working for the Emperor, despite the uneasiness his presence has always brought at court, and the whiff of heresy surrounding his works. Some were grand, some were petty; the current Alchemist is probably the grandest of them all.


Danger lies with the Alchemist's various experiments, and in particular his summonings of strange extra-planar creatures. He calls them 'Angels' — but are they?

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

13th Age in Csachticz − Detailed Icons, No.1: The Emperor

The Emperor is the ruler of the Empire of the One Faith, Europe's greatest kingdom, which covers Central Europe and much of the Romance-speaking areas of Southern Europe. He's also the head of many secular chivalric orders.

The capital of the empire does not have a fixed location; each new emperor chooses an imperial seat. The current capital is Burgstadt, which lies to the north-west of the Fair Kingdom.


In his castle at Burgstadt, the capital city of the Empire of the One Faith.


The current emperor, Rudolf II, was born in Wien in 1552, and has been ruling since 1576, i.e., for approximately 20 years (depending on when exactly the campaign is set), so he's well-established and his rule is unquestioned. He has never married and is rumoured to be bisexual. Even though he stalwartly supports True Faith, this may be more for political than religious reasons, as the Emperor is well-known for his interest in the occult arts and for his patronage of the Alchemist. He is also unusually tolerant of New Wayers. The Emperor, however, is a staunch opponent of the Sultan, and, at the time of the campaign, he is trying to set up a new Crusade.

The Emperor is a great protector of the arts, and there are numerous artists at his court. He also keeps a menagerie of exotic animals, botanical gardens, and Europe's most extensive "cabinet of curiosities", arranged in an encyclopaedic fashion.


Rudolf is distrustful of the Imperial bureaucracy and is often hiring adventurers for his missions. Because of his passion for the occult and for curios, these missions may have a wide range of purposes.


13C being a dark fantasy setting, Icons seldom have true allies; they rather have other Icons with whom they co-operate. The Emperor's patronage of the Alchemist has already been mentioned. The Emperor has also been known to associate with the Occultist. Given Rudolf's tolerance of New Wayers, the Emperor has closely worked with the Superintendent.
The Pope has an ancient relationship with the Emperor, as they both protect and promote the Old Way of True Faith, but this relationship is currently quite strained.


The Sultan is obviously the Emperor's main (and also oldest) antagonist; he's been conquering imperial lands for centuries, slowly moving northwards the boundary between the two great empires. The Great Boyar, on the other hand, is a new enemy, and the real clash hasn't actually happened yet.

The Emperor's brother, Archduke Matthias, is constantly scheming for the throne, helped by his right-hand man, György Thurzó. Matthias will eventually obtain the throne in 1612 after having held Rudolf prisoner in his castle in Burgstadt. Should the GM decide to use the rivalry among the two brothers as an important element of his campaign, Matthias should be 'elevated' to Icon status.


The Empire of the One Faith has been existing for centuries, almost for one millennium. It has shaped the arts, the language, the religion, the architecture of much of Europe. The Emperor is arguably the single most important Icon.


Whether they like the current incarnation of the Emperor or not, everybody recognise his authority and strive to support his rule, for the fall of the Emperor would be the fall of civilisation. This shan't happen, lest the Sultan and the Great Boyar should invade Europe's heartlands unopposed.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

13th Age in Csachticz − Icon Relationships

In an earlier post, I have presented a tentative set of 13th Age icons for a weird early modern Central European fantasy role-playing setting. Let's call it simply “13th Age in Csachticz” or even 13C [Csachticz was the name of the Blood Countess' home castle].

Now these icons must be classified as Heroic, Ambiguous or Villainous to be properly used with the Icon Relationships mechanism of 13th Age. Since 13C has been greatly inspired by Lamentations of the Flame Princess and its dark and gloomy setting, in which adventurers are hardly 'heroic', most icons in 13C will be on the 'Ambiguous' side. Feel free to modify this as suits your style of play (in the original 13th Age game, there are 4 Heroic icons, 5 Ambiguous icons, and 4 Villainous ones).

 13C Icon   Type 
 The Alchemist   Heroic 
 The Dracul   Villainous 
 The Emperor   Ambiguous 
 The Erlking   Ambiguous 
 Frau Perchta   Heroic 
 The Great Boyar   Villainous 
 The Occultist   Ambiguous 
 The Pope   Ambiguous 
 The Sultan   Villainous 
 The Superintendent   Ambiguous 
 The Trickster   Ambiguous 
 The Turul   Heroic 
 The Warlord   Ambiguous 

Monday, 20 October 2014

First Preview of Aperita Arcana

The good folks at Ebon Gryphon Games, who have already brought us the fantastically useful Collectanea Creaturae bestiary for the Monsters & Magic frp game are up to a second supplement for M&M.

Aperita Arcana adds a lot of new character classes and sub-classes to the main ones from the core M&M book.

The nice thing about Monsters & Magic is that character classes are not simply a bland collection of die modifiers, hit dice, allowed armour/weapons, or numbers of spells per level. In M&M, each character class is fleshed out by a series of traits and advancements that it may use but, again, not as mere 'plus sometings' but as narrative tools to enliven your role-playing experience (and kick ass — that's the magic of the Effect Engine).

Anyway, as a backer of the Collectanea Creaturae Kickstarter, I have received my preview PDF copy of Aperita Arcana, and I am simply astonished at the quality. I was expecting a number of new character classes and sub-classes (see my previous post), but there's much much more in Aperita Arcana:

  • Chapter 1, which is 62 pages long without the art, does detail the new classes and sub-classes, followed by
  • Chapter 2 with new races, and with new twists for the already-existing ones, but there's more:
  • Chapter 3 with lots of new spot rules and advanced rules for the Effect Engine,
  • Chapter 4 with equipment,
  • Chapter 5, new rules and variants,
  • Chapter 6, sample cults, examples of religious organisations...
  • Chapter 7, a lengthy discussion about the magical tropes in fantasy,
  • Chapter 8, Magic Items,
  • Chapter 9, Spells.

It thus appears that Aperita Arcana, which had initially been advertised as a small add-on to the Bestiary, has eventually become a kind of big "PHB+DMG+DDG" supplement — to use classic fantasy parlance.

Much like I believe that Collectanea Creaturae, because of the way it gives examples of monsters' motivations etc., is a must-buy supplement for any classic fantasy GM, I also believe that Aperita Arcana is a must-buy for any GM who wants to spruce up their classic fantasy adventures.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Elizabethan Weird Fantasy

The aim of this blog is to slowly build, disparate element by disparate element, a Central European-flavoured early modern setting for weird fantasy role-playing.

The idea is to remain rules-agnostic, even though a certain number of rule sets are put forward on this blog, namely: Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LotFP), Renaissance, Monsters & Magic (M&M) or 13th Age. Please refer to the sidebar for the relevant links.

LotFP, whose default setting is Central Europe during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) is the most obvious candidate because it shares the same geographical location as Lamentations of the Blood Countess (Central Europe), and almost the same time-frame — I tend towards the turn of the 17th century myself.

Well, if you'd rather you'd be playing brave Englishmen, I direct you to Jeremy Duncan's O Brave New World, a free PDF supplement to LotFP. The premise is as follows:

The year is 1589. PCs are English sailors, soldiers, gentlemen, and their hangers-on. A sudden TEMPEST struck whilst engaged with the galleon La Visitación de Nuestra Señora, and all hands lost beneath the waves. By the grace of GOD, you awake to find yourself and several comrades washed safely ashore on an unfamiliar beach.


Wednesday, 15 October 2014


Hermannstadt is a large, bustling city at the far south-eastern end of the Fair Kingdom. Many of its burghers hail from the Empire of the One Faith but have become New Wayers. The city is full of artisans, merchants, craftsmen, and all kinds of traders, happy to deal with both empires as long as money keeps flowing in.

Hermannstadt city centre

The city holds one of the largest markets in south-eastern Europe. The adventurers are sure to find all kinds of supplies here. It's actually two markets: one at the Grosser Ring, one at the Kleiner Ring (see map).

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

13th Age in Csachticz

There is a 13th Age in Glorantha Kickstarter project that has just ended a smash success. Because of this crowdfunding campaign (which I have backed, of course), I have started re-reading the 13th Age core book.

One section has struck me as particularly interesting:

Luckily you can port some of the best ideas from 13th Age to your own OGL campaign. Our one unique thing, icon relationships, and background mechanics could fir in well in a typical campaign. The same goes for the campaign map, the icons, and the world description. Increments, the escalation die, recoveries, and full heal-ups are portable as well. Help yourselves.

Well, one idea that I do like from 13th Age is the icons mechanism. Icons are extremely powerful, campaign-defining NPCs that the player characters tend to establish relationships with. These relationships then have an influence on the GM's campaign. It's a simple and cool way to give players agency whilst remaining in an 'Old School' rules framework.

As a result, I have spent the week-end thinking about campaign-encompassing NPCs for Lamentations of the Blood Countess, and here are the results.

The Alchemist
For all his support for True Faith, the Emperor has always protected the Alchemist and his strange experiments, which have enabled the Empire of the One Faith to remain at the cutting edge of weapons and (so it is rumoured) magic technology.

The Dracul
The Dracul has only one aim: to defend True Faith against its enemies, no matter the price that must be paid. The Dracul sponsors the Order of the Dragon, a powerful chivalric order, but also controls less savoury agents, because the Dracul firmly believes that the end always justifies the means.

The Emperor
The Emperor is the most powerful nobleman in Europe; he rules Europe's greatest kingdom, known as the Empire of the One Faith because of its temporal and spiritual nature. In the past, the Emperor and the Pope used to be in conflict for supremacy, but since the appearance of the New Way and the conquests of the Empire of the Crescent Moon, they have been co-operating to defend the Old Way.

The Erlking
The Erlking is the king of the Faeries. Although humans have been encroaching his lands for centuries, and although True Faith has cancelled any trace of Heathenry, the magic of the Erlking is still powerful, and it will remain so as long as the stars shine and men dream.

Frau Perchta
Frau Perchta is the spiritual and magical head of the spirits of nature and the covens of witches. She is the cold and pale virgin of the moon, the protector of animals and of their fertility. She is also the leader of the mysterious Wild Hunt.

The Great Boyar
Across the foreboding range of mountains on the eastern borders of the Fair Kingdom lies a vast and obscure steppe-like territory divided into squabbling petty kingdoms of ill repute. Shrouded in mystery, a figure has recently emerged from the squabble to unite them all under his iron rule. The last time a similar event happened, almost all of Europe fell before the Tartar horde. Will history repeat itself?

The Occultist
The Occultist is a loner without loyalties who works both for the Emperor and the Sultan. He does not really care as long as his forbidden researches get funded. The Emperor and the Sultan hate him but do not really have the choice if they do not want the latest sorcerous artefact fall in the wrong hands. It is rumoured that the Gipsies are his agents, which may explain why he is so well informed without ever leaving his tower.

The Pope
The Pope is the supreme pontiff of the Old Way branch of True Faith. As the leader of the oldest and most prestigious branch of True Faith, he still commands various orders of knights that he relentlessly uses to fight against the Empire of the Crescent Moon.

The Sultan
As both the temporal and the spiritual ruler of the southernly Empire of the Crescent Moon, the Sultan commands the loyalty of millions of faithful subjects. In Europe, he is viewed as a dangerous tyrant intent on conquering the Empire of the One Faith; at home, he is considered the embodiment of all the virtues of the Way of the Crescent Moon.

The Superintendent
One of the big differences between the Old Wayers and the New Wayers is that the latter have rejected the centralised and hierarchical way the Pope has been managing the church; the New Way faithful only obey God, their bishops are elected, and no bishop holds sway over the others. However, the New Wayers have realised that they do need a single spokesman; since his election by the New Way Synod in 1564, the Superintendent has been maintaining a careful balance between the two empires.

The Trickster
When the Pied Piper leads away the children of Hamelin, when Till Eulenspiegel plays his practical jokes on the burghers of a city, when a knight has a picaresque behaviour instead of a chivalric one, the Trickster is at work. He has been plaguing Europeans since Antiquity, and he always will be. Sometimes, as in the case of Mattie the Goose-boy, he is a welcome figure. It is said that vagrants are his agents.

The Turul
The Turul is the totemic bird of the ancestors of the Plains People. Even tough they converted to True Faith centuries ago, some of them still dream of the Tree of Life and of the Turul bird that perches on top of it, and that grants magical powers in dire times, as when King Matthias was saved from the Empire of the Crescent Moon by a pauper who breathed fire and ice.

The Warlord
The Mountains People are a proud and aloof people who guard the mountain frontiers of the Fair Kingdom. They are ruled by the Warlord who, despite his name, loves and protects peace. But woe to him who should cause the Warlord to choose war rather than peace, for his battle rage is immense and he is only placated when all his enemies are slain.

Friday, 10 October 2014

The Pool of the Dejected Rusalki

The Hill Cantons blog has organised a small 'competition'. Each contestant had to write a short Eastern European-flavoured encounter. The winning entries would be included in Hill Cantons' upcoming sandbox supplement.

Well, apparently many contestants beat me, so I am publishing my entry on my blog.

John William Waterhouse - Hylas and the Nymphs

The Pool of the Dejected Rusalki

A dense wood of birch trees conceals this shallow pool. The pool itself is surrounded by immense weeping willows, which look like brooding green giants or trolls from a distance. The water is very still and greenish. All berry bushes in the area grow incredibly bountiful.

A long time ago, a wandering knyaz (knight) stopped here on one of his errands. The knight was insanely handsome, but somewhat of a womaniser, so he made up a tale of him knowing some magician who could transform the rusalki into normal women to take advantage of them and bed the rusalki — yes, all 12 of them. The pool is currently inhabited by the offspring of the knight and the original rusalki, who are much more humanlike than your average rusalka (-2 to any spell that detects or affects glamorous/fey creatures, etc.)
The rusalki are still waiting for their father to return, break their bond to the pool, and transform them into human females.

If a party approaches the pool, 2D4 rusalki will exit the water and start walking, all beguiling smiles, towards the most 'knightly'-looking character, e.g., one wearing full plate armour or, if no PCs wear plate armour, one who looks or acts aristocratic.

Now two things may happen:

(1)- The party doesn't take any offensive action.
The rusalki will ask the "knight" to enter the pool with them. If he resists, they will try and drag him into the pool. If the party becomes aggressive see (2) below; if not, the "knight" is carried into the pool where the remaining rusalki assemble and ask him to vow to return with the magician. If the "knight" agrees, the party will be left alone, and even provided food, water, and more. If the "knight" refuses, the rusalki disappear under water never to be seen again. In the following 1D6 days, any woodland creature encountered by the party will be extremely aggressive towards them. Double the occurrence of any woodland wandering monster roll.

(2)- The party becomes offensive.
Whilst the initial rusalki surround the "knight", 3D4 more rusalki appear from the pool (just their head and shoulders) and start gazing at the other characters. A PC must successfully save vs magic or under his wisdom [depending on your favourite rules] or become entranced by the sight of the fabulously beautiful rusalki. An entranced PC will just stand idly and do nothing.
The rusalki around the "knight" will try and grab him to bring him into the pool.
(2a)- If the "knight" resists or tries to harm them, the rusalki will animate the branches of the weeping willows. Each rusalka may animate 2 branches. The two branches attack in co-operation: whenever one of the branches has successfully hit (it attacks as a 4 HD monster), it entangles its victim, which cannot move or fight any longer. The other branch then tries to strangle the immobile victim (it needs a hit); from the next round on, it will start suffocating it (1D6 automatic dmg per round).
(2b)- If the "knight" does not resist, he will be carried into the pool where the remaining rusalki assemble and ask him to vow to return with the magician. If the "knight" agrees, the party will be left alone, and even provided food, water, and more. If the "knight" refuses, the rusalki disappear under water never to be seen again. In the following 1D6 days, any woodland creature encountered by the party will be extremely aggressive towards them. Double the occurrence of any woodland wandering monster roll.

The encounter does not end here, though. If the "knight" has vowed to return with the magician, he has put himself under a strong geas, per the classic fantasy 'geas' spell, to find a magician who can transform the dejected rusalki into human females.

Friday, 3 October 2014

The Rusalka

Rusalka, by I. Bilibin
Even though the tentative weird fantasy setting described within this blog is supposedly "Central European"-flavoured, I will sometimes touch upon more Balkanic or Eastern European subjects. I particularly like Eastern European folklore; it is similar enough to the more familiar Western European folklore, yet it does retain some exotic aspects. I particularly like the Eastern European depiction of the fey people: the various rusalki, domovyie, vodyanyie, etc.

So let's enquire into the rusalka (plural: rusalki) today. The Wikipedia describes her as “a water nymph, a female spirit in Slavic mythology. She is the equivalent of a mermaid: a legendary aquatic creature with the upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish. According to most traditions, rusalki were fish-women, who lived at the bottom of rivers. In the middle of the night, they would walk out to the bank and dance in meadows. If they saw handsome men, they would fascinate them with songs and dancing, mesmerise them, then lead them away to the river floor to their death”.

Also: “Rusalki were linked with fertility and weren't considered evil before the nineteenth century. They came out of the water in the spring to transfer life-giving moisture to the fields”.

Well, causing young men to drown isn't particularly 'good' behaviour, but one may think that this was unintentional on the rusalki's side, and that they were overall 'neutral', much like druids are, because they are linked to Nature. Also, as life-giving fertility nymphs, rusalki are definitely the clear opposite of undead. So how come they are listed amongst the undead in many frp games?

I suspect the fault lies with the very first description of the rusalka as a D&D monster by Roger E Moore in issue No.34 of White Dwarf:

"Undead spirits"... OK, the Wikipedia states that “in nineteenth century versions, the rusalka is an unquiet being who is no longer alive, associated with the unclean spirit and dangerous”.

"Chaotic evil", OK, we've already seen that drowning people is evil... but why "female magic-users"??

"Who died by drowning"– now this is a complete permutation of the original creature: rusalki were supposed to drown people, not the other way round!

I may be mistaken but apparently there were no other rusalki in early *D&D products, except in issue No.290 of Dragon Magazine, which was a 'Slavic'-themed special issue. The rusalka was amongst the new monsters in that issue:
“Rusalkas [sic] are female spirits who dwell in the lakes, rivers, and streams of Russia. Their beguiling song is known to lure men to their watery graves”
“The rusalkas are believed to be the restless spirits of drowned maidens, tied to the place of their deaths”

They appear in Pathfinder as “cruel and bitter fey”, who “are not undead”, which is quite close to their true Slavic folklore origin.

The various retro-clones seem to have ignored the rusalka, except for Swords & Wizardry, which has the following:
“Rusalka are undead maiden-witches that haunt the cold rivers and lakes in which they drowned. In appearance, rusalka first appear to be comely maidens, clad only in fog. Upon close inspection, however, they are cadaverous with dishevelled hair and eyes that shine with evil green fire.”

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Monsters & Magic RPG is in the Latest Bundle of Holding RPG Pack

If you are True Role-Players I gather you already know about the Bundle of Holding web-site: it is an easy way to acquire a bundle of PDF files of role-playing games and/or supplements at a significantly lower price than the addition of buying each of them separately.

The other cool thing about the "Bundle of Holding" special offers is that ten percent of your payment goes to two charities, viz.
 - Amnesty International
 - Doctors Without Borders

Note that you get to set your payment yourself, but you have to beat a minimum amount to get hold of the "bundle". Also, there are usually two steps, one basic bundle, and one with more nifty stuff in it. However, there is no upper limit. This is a nice way to encourage giving to the charities.

But the bundles are short-lived, and you must act quick to grab 'em!

Well, all this premise to tell you that the current Bundle of Holding is  a treasure trove of seven indie RPGs by women RPG writers. Amongst the games of the second tier, the fantastic Monsters & Magic role-playing game (by Sarah Newton), which is currently my game of choice for high fantasy.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Blood Countess Died Exactly 400 Years Ago

Erzsébet Báthory, nicknamed the Blood Countess, died 400 years ago, on 21 August 1614.

(I would've posted this on 21 August, but I'll probably be without an internet connection on Thursday!)

She is probably the most (in)famous Hungarian noblewoman in history, as the No.1 female serial killer not only in Europe but in the whole world. She allegedly tortured and killed hundreds of girls between 1585 and 1610. After her trial in 1610, she was imprisoned in a walled area of her castle in December 1610, where she died slightly less than four years later. By the way, the 21st of August is the day she was found dead lying on the floor; she may have died earlier.

The most famous tale about the Blood Countess is that she had the girls bled to death so that she could bathe in their blood and retain her beauty. According to the Wikipedia, this is a later addition to her legend, a detail not mentioned at the time of her trial. Still according to the Wikipedia, György Thurzó noted the presence of horribly mutilated dead, dying, and imprisoned girls at the time of her arrest. György Thurzó was the man whom Emperor Matthias had asked to investigate the horrible rumours about the Blood Countess.

However, Emperor Matthias was heavily indebted to the incredibly rich countess, and, for political and religious reasons, he was also opposed to the Báthorys, who ruled large autonomous or semi-independent estates all over Central Europe. Some scholars argue that the whole rumourmongering and trial were the results of a vast conspiracy against the rich and independent-minded countess.

György Thurzó, the man who conducted the investigations and assembled the evidence was Archduke Matthias' right hand man before the latter became emperor. One of the consequences of the trial was that the Emperor never had to repay his debt to her.

Whatever the historical truth, you may use the Blood Countess in two ways in your campaign: as a horrible villain, or even as a vampire-like 'big boss' figure, or as innocent and fiercely independent woman. In this latter case, she could be the patron of the player characters, whose aim would be to thwart Thurzó's schemes in a politically-oriented campaign.

Aperita Arcana Nearing Completion

Aperita Arcana is a dual-system supplement for both the Monsters & Magic and the Fate game systems (to be honest, I want it because of what it brings to M&M).

It is being brought out by Ebon Gryphon Games, the very same good folk who are behind the fantastically useful Collectanea Creaturae supplement, also both for Monsters & Magic and Fate.

Aperita Arcana adds a lot of character classes to the basic ones in the M&M core book; the current roster is as follows:
 - Alchemist
 - Arbiter
 - Barbarian
 - Beastmaster
 - Blademage
 - Blood Mage
 - Bounty Hunter
 - Chosen
 - Cultist
 - Duelist
 - Elementalist
 - Enchanter
 - Gladiator
 - Inquisitor
 - Knight-errant
 - Martial Practitioner
 - Mercatant
 - Minstrel
 - Religious Scholar
 - Shaman
 - Summoner
 - Treasure Hunter
 - Vanguard
 - Wandering Sage
 - Witch Hunter

Some of these classes, e.g., the Alchemist, have already been posted on the Google+ M&M community. Check them out, they're really fantastic!

I used to hate new classes when I played AD&D, but for Monsters & Magic it is really different: since a class a mostly a collection of traits, they add wonderful role-playing potential in terms of what effect the player may try to attain.

The icing on the cake is that Aperita Arcana is going to be FREE for us backers of the Collectanea Creaturae kickstarter :-)

Friday, 25 April 2014

Collectanea Creaturae In Dead Tree

Collectanea Creaturae, the top-notch "monster manual" supplement for Monsters & Magic is now available in dead tree format from Amazon in the United States.

It should also be available soon from RPGnow and from the European Amazon web-sites.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Collectanea Creaturae Is Out!

I just love it when a Kickstarter project delivers on time. Collectanea Creaturae, the book of creatures (and more!) for the Monsters & Magic role-playing game has been funded in January 2014, and the availability date for my pledge level (PDF only) was shown as "Estimated delivery: May 2014". Well, I have just received from Ebon Gryphon Games the link to download my copy of the PDF, and it's only April :-)

The book is a whopping 170 pages long, with the following sections:

Introduction, 5 pages.
This is actually much more than a mere introduction. The 5 pages are chock full of great ideas about how to GM particular situations in Monsters & Magic. If you've ever tried GM'ing an old school module doing conversions on the fly, like I did, you'll find this part very useful.

A-Z List of Creatures, 130 pages
The creatures here are not mere stat blocks. Each of them is given motivations and effects, which are what makes Monsters & Magic really different from similar games. Some of the entries have so many ideas of cool effects and consequences that they provide all the necessary elements for an afternoon of gaming just by themselves!

Also, some groups of creatures are given their own stats, e.g., Bandit Gang has its own stats independently from Bandit. Wolfpack has its own stats independently from Wolf. Again, this is perfectly in line with M&M's elegant way of handling different "sizes" of encounters.

There are also many boxed texts interspersed through this section providing interesting facts about the various creatures such as etymology of the creature's name, differences with the classic fantasy version (if any, and why), possible variations (incl. powered up versions or "bosses"), constructs made or owned by the creature, suggestions to use some of the creatures as non-human races, etc.

Appendix 1: New PC Races, 7 pages
The races suggested as being available as PC races are: Centaur, Faun, Goblin, Lamia, Nymph, Orc, Tanuki.

Appendix 2: Familiars, Animal Companions, and You, 12 pages
The title says it all. Given the importance of companions, sidekicks, mounts, etc. in Monsters & Magic, this is again a very welcome chapter, chock full of interesting ideas.

I've only skimmed through Collectanea Creaturae, but I already know I won't be able to GM my M&M games without this book close by any longer!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

NPC: Faustus Verantius

The following introductory text is mostly from Wikipedia, but adapted to the setting:

Faustus Verantius (born ca 1551) is a polymath and former bishop from the Most Serene Republic of Venedig, but with close ties to the Fair Kingdom.

Faustus Verantius was born in the port city of Sibenning within a mixed Romance-Slavonic noble family. He is the nephew of the archbishop of Gran, and he has widely travelled throughout Europe and the Fair Kingdom. During his youth, he studied physics, engineering and mechanics in various Romance universities. Verantius was chancellor for the Fair Kingdom at the court of the Emperor of the One Faith in Burgstadt. He has been often in contact with Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe.
Following the death of his wife, Verantius took religious vows, and left for the Fair Kingdom. In 1598, he was assigned the titular see of Tschanad (in the part of the Fair Kingdom occupied by the Empire of the Crescent Moon), until 1608.
In 1609, back in Venedig, he joined the Clerics Regular of St Paul and committed himself to the study of science.
Homo Volans
There, he published, at his own expense, his magnum opus: the Machinae Novae, which contains 49 large pictures depicting 56 different machines, devices, and technical concepts: water and solar energy, the universal clock (Plates 6–7), several types of mills, agricultural machinery, various types of bridges in various materials, machinery for clearing the sea, a dual sedan travelling on mule (Plate 47), special coaches, and Homo Volans (Plate 38) a forerunner of the parachute. The latter has even been tested by Verantius by jumping from St Martin's Cathedral in Pressburg.

Verantius can be used as a patron for the PCs, or as a connection providing James Bond-like gadgets, like the rectangular-shaped parachute depicted on the right hand-side.

FAUSTUS VERANTIUS - Monsters & Magic version
Strength 11 (0)
Dexterity 11 (0)
Constitution 15 (+2)
Intelligence 17 (+3)
Wisdom 15* (+4)
Charisma 11 (0)

Class and Level Cleric 6
Age 65
Move 12
Armour Class 17
Physical HP 45
Mental HP 37

-Exorcism [Turn Undead]
-Religious Lore (Old Way)
-Clerical Magic
-Former bishop in partibus infidelium
-Cleric Regular of St Paul

-Amass knowledge (temple trait)
-Perform Ceremonies
-Signature Item: Dictionarium, +1 to any language-related check

Weapons: None.
Armour: None.
Languages: Latin, High Language, Romance, Slavonic
Allegiance: Old Way of True Faith

This post has originally been inspired by this blog entry.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Clerici Regulares Sancti Pauli

The Clerics Regular of St Paul (Latin: Clerici Regulares Sancti Pauli) is an Old Way religious order founded in 1530 in Mailand, one of the most prosperous cities of the Empire of the One Faith.
Its members emphasise study and knowledge rather than proselytism or the defence of the faith. They are also more usually found in large, prosperous cities than on the frontier. Despite this scholarly disposition, the Clerics Regular of St Paul do have their lot of strange practices, like over-zealous penance, and the ringing of church bells every Friday at 3pm. The Clerics Regular of St Paul live in community-like monasteries in which everything is shared.

The Clerics Regular of St Paul make, in addition to the three standard religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, a fourth vow never to strive for any office or position of dignity. Their habit is a black cassock.

The order of the Clerics Regular of St Paul as a role-playing clerical cult:
Temple traits: Amass knowledge, Teach the faithful
Worshippers' Alignment: any non-Evil/Worshippers' Allegiance: Old Way of True Faith
Temple Weapon: None.
Spheres of Activity: Knowledge, Learning, Teaching.
Powers: Double trait bonus on any knowledge-related check.
Holy Symbol: Holy Cross and Holy Book.
Spells: The Clerics Regular of St Paul favour knowledge-related spells.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

40 Years Ago, the Birth of a 32yr-old Hobby

Apparently D&D —and hence our hobby— have turned 40 today. I only discovered the game through Dr Holmes' so-called "blue box" in March 1982, so role-playing is a mere 32 year-old hobby in my life.