Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Map of Europe at the Time of the Blood Countess

This is a map of Europe at the Time of the Blood Countess. It is based on the real Europe at the turn of the 17th century, with some simplifications.

Minor States
1: Most Serene Republic of Venedig
2: Patrimony of Saint Peter
3: Principality of Schwarzenberg
4: Sultanate of Maghribia

The Fair Kingdom
A: part of the Fair Kingdom under the suzerainty of the Empire of the One Faith
B: part of the Fair Kingdom occupied by the Empire of the Crescent Moon
C: Principality of Transylvania, semi-independent vassal of the Empire of the Crescent Moon

Other vassals of the Empire of the Crescent Moon
D: Bogdania
E: Herdsland

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Mr Selden's Map of China

Being obsessed with the history of East Asia, and in particular with the history of China and her neighbours during the early modern times, I have bought and read Mr Selden’s Map of China: The Spice Trade, a Lost Chart and the South China Sea by renowned Sinologist Timothy Brook (Profile Books).

The book is an account of how a detailed map of the East and South China Seas came into the possession of the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, accompanied by many considerations about sea voyages in the 17th century, mapmaking in the East v mapmaking in the West, and social mobility in early modern England. In the end, I was slightly disappointed by the fact that the main focus of the book was not 17th century China, but 17th century England. The so-called Selden Map of China, which gives its title to the book, was made by a Chinese mapmaker in the East Indies (certainly not in China, where it was forbidden to give maps of the country to foreigners — under pain of death) for a factor of the British East India Company. It was later bequeathed to the English scholar John Selden, who willed it to the Bodleian Library.

As I've mentioned above, on top of dealing with maritime travel and trade in East Asia at the beginning of the 17th century, the book also provides intensive insight into English society in the early modern period, with a particular focus on the rapid social advancement of people like Samuel Purchas, John Saris, or John Selden; people born at the lower end of the social ladder but who managed to climb close to its top thanks to the patronage of various powerful people: bishops, members of Parliament, wealthy traders...

I think the book can give great input for two different but highly important aspects of a 17th century Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign game:

1) How to introduce player characters to wealthy patrons. This can provide a (somewhat railroad-y) spark for many scenarios: “OK I buy you equipment but you go and pilfer <insert MacGuffin> from this rival of mine.” or: “Can you please escort me to this old abandoned mansion I have inherited from a childless uncle?”
It can also explain how some lowly ruffians (the player characters) can get information about important facts in the realm.

2) It gives detailed information about the inner workings of the British East India Company, which can be very useful should the referee want to set up a maritime campaign.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Raggi Interview

I am not a big fan of podcasts, but there is one which I really like, called the Good Friends of Jackson Elias, that is devoted to Lovecraft and the weird~horror genre.

The latest episode features a long interview of James Raggi, the man behind the weird fantasy role-playing game Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The Horrors of Middlehelm

This is fresh in from the Google+ LotFP community. Christopher Kubasik has written an adventure that serves as a bridge between A Stranger Storm and Death Frost Doom; it is available here.

Saturday, 10 October 2015


I have just read Altai, a novel by the Italian writers' collective Wu Ming. Here is the official blurb: When a fire breaks out in the Arsenal of Venice in 1569, the enigmatic Emmanuele De Zante, spy catcher and agent of the Venetian secret service, finds himself in jail accused of treason, having been betrayed by his lover. He escapes and embarks on an odyssey that takes him to the Sultan's palace in Constantinople. Spiralling through a series of deadly political games, De Zante and his companions head toward a conflict that threatens the very nature of civilisation. A historical epic spanning a continent scarred by war, Altai went straight into the best-sellers list when first published in Italy. It is a coruscating portrait of the divided world - east meets west - in the sixteenth century, where the great empires of the Republic of Venice and the Ottomans are on the verge of an epoch-making conflict. In this dramatic landscape, the authors' collective Wu Ming has created a powerful narrative of danger, identity and adventure.

What I can add is that the story is extremely LotFP-ey, what with the extremely grisly depictions of the military events and of the torture administered to the prisoners of war — except that the usual northern-European background is replaced with a slightly more mysterious and exotic Levantine one.

I can see a GM building a campaign of epic proportions, obviously not by having the PCs slavishly follow the events of the book (a novel is not an RPG scenario!), but by setting a mostly naval campaign against the backdrop of the Venetian-Ottoman rivalry in the cosmopolitan East Mediterranean, and by borrowing some key scenes from the novel like the siege of Famagusta and the battle of Lepanto.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015


Kronstadt (sometimes also spelt Cronstadt) is a wealthy burg in the mountainous eastern half of the Fair Kingdom. Much like Clausenburg, it is firmly in the hands of the New Wayers.

A large part of the population consists of people descended from colonists from Teutonia who settled here between the 12th and the 14th century. The location of the city at the intersection of trade routes linking the Empire of the Crescent Moon and Western Europe has made it extremely rich. As a result, many guilds and traders houses of the eastern half of the Fair Kingdom are headquartered in Kronstadt.

Castles of the Fair Kingdom

If you navigate to this web-site and click on the word ‘részletek’ next to the name of each single castle, you will see a drawing of said castle. Here are some of my favourite ones:

Castle Boldogkő

Castle Zeßnegg

Castle Großwaschon

Castle Inselsburg

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Slight Changes to LotFP's Skill Mechanics

James Raggi has announced on the Lamentations of the Flame Princess Google+ community that he was working on a slightly revised version of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess rules.

At the moment, he’s only "leaked" the following information:

1) There will be more elements for maritime adventures; in particular, there will be a Seamanship skill within the set of new skills (see note #3 below).

2) The Cleric character class will be moved to the appendices as an optional character class; it will be more difficult to get healing! Demi-humans (in line with the more "Early Modern Europe" look and feel of the latest adventures) are also going to be moved to the appendices.

3) The skill system will be re-worked and expanded. There will be, in particular, more skills to choose from at character generation, and the players will get to distribute a set amount of points among these skills to create their starting character rather than all have the same set of starting skills [this is a good step towards a classless D&D-ish system, he he...]. The mechanism itself will move from roll-under to rolling a D6, adding the number of skill dots, and having to get 7 or more to succeed.

All in all, these are all very welcome moves in the right direction.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Leonardo Da Vinci's War Machines

Polymath Leonardo da Vinci designed a lot of war machines during his career. Luckily, I have recently been able to visit a display of wooden models of his inventions in a Tuscan museum. The sheer amount and diversity of his inventions is simply mind-boggling. Luckily (?) it appears that none of his designs were ever actually used, but if you're a weird fantasy referee, you may safely transform your Renaissance setting into a "Renaissance-punk" one.

Leonardo da Vinci lived almost exactly 100 years before the Blood Countess, so you may consider that, by the times of the Csachticz campaign setting, whatever secret machines he had created had spread all the way to the Fair Kingdom and the surrounding warring empires.

You may have a look at this blog entry here, and at my pictures below for inspiration.

Glider (simpler design, with a rudder)

Glider (wing-like)

Vertical Parachute

Artificial Wings


Mechanism to counter siege ladders

Scythe Chariot

Ninja-Style Climbing Gear

Ninja-Style Water Walking Gear

Friday, 27 March 2015

LotFP Web-Store: Free Shipping Sale

Raggi is celebrating the fact that he's hit 1,000 followers on his Facebook LotFP page and on his G+ LotFP community by giving us free shipping on his web-store. Here are the exact details:

Coupon code 1000YOUNG at the LotFP web-store will get you free shipping worldwide as long as Idea from Space, Scenic Dunnsmouth, Qelong, Tower of the Stargazer, Fuck For Satan, Forgive Us, The God that Crawls, The Monolith from Beyond Space and Time, or The Doom-Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children are part of the order. You can add other items to your order and still get free shipping as long as the order includes at least one of the listed books. The coupon code will expire MONDAY 30 MARCH 2015 10:00 EET.

(When ordering, the place to enter the coupon code pops up after choosing a shipping method, ALL ORDERS USING THIS CODE WILL BE SENT ECONOMY CLASS.)

Monday, 23 February 2015

LotFP Magic Item Contest – The Shrink Bullets

James Raggi has unveiled the results of his LotFP Magic Item Contest and I was not amongst the finalists. As a result, I am publishing my entry on the blog. Enjoy.

The Shrink Bullets
This magic item assumes you're playing in a Renaissance campaign, which anyway seems to be the focus of the latest LotFP supplements.
The Shrink Bullets are created by black powder-inclined magicians only. Their creation requires assistance by an alchemist that has undergone training in modern chemistry, and who shall hence be paid the double wage normally expected by an alchemist. Each Shrink Bullet requires 1D6 days of laboratory work and 1D12×50sp worth of materials.

Each Shrink Bullet is worth 5,000sp (because of its magical properties; the materials themselves are worth as per above). The Shrink Bullets can only be used in a perfectly hand-crafted gun, worth at least ×10 the price of a standard gun.
Each Shrink Bullet ignores up to 5 points of armour protection, but does 1D4 of damage only. If the result is a natural '1', the bullet doesn't inflict any actual damage but releases its dweomercraft. The target must save vs Magical Device or be "shrunk" and captured within the non-exploded bullet.

Later on, the magician may use the non-exploded bullet containing the captured victim against another target. This time, upon impact, the bullet won't inflict any damage but will release the 'captured' victim, full-size, right next to the intended target. The 'captured' victim will fight on behalf of the magician, at his full strength and capacity at the time of capture, for a duration of 1D12 rounds. At the expiration of the last round of bondage, the victim will have no recollection of what happened to him after the bullet impact that captured him in the first place.

A magician is limited by his level in the number of captured victims that he possesses in his Shrink Bullets at any given time.

Captured victims are constantly and unconsciously trying to regain their freedom. Every day, there is a cumulative 1% chance that a captured victim is spontaneously released from its Shrink Bullet. When this happens, the freed victim attacks the closest creature for 1D12 rounds as per above.

Creatures only hit by magic weapons have a +4 bonus when saving against a Shrink Bullet.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Csachticz Weapons

A few commonly used weapons and protections at the time of the Blood Countess:







Despite the increased use of firearms, plate armour reaches its peak at the time of the Blood Countess, and the full suit of armour, commonly perceived as “mediaeval”, is actually only a feature of this period.
plate armour


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

What's New with Phil & Dixie

Apparently the full run of the deliciously Old School comics What's New with Phil & Dixie by Phil Foglio, which used to run in the pages of Dragon magazine, is available here.

I remember how much I used to fantasise about Dixie's pert boobs as a teenager....

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Aperita Arcana Done

Ebon Gryphon Games have at last released the finalised version of Aperita Arcana to us backers — see my earlier posts for a description of the Aperita Arcana supplement for the Monsters & Magic role-playing game.

The cover art is nice, with a good balance of light and dark, if slightly too much on the dark side. I am not a big fan of 'digital' art [this is actually an understatement] but the elfin lady on the cover truly has an incredible expression, her eyes showing both surprise at the appearance of the demon and a firm will to control it. The demon is slightly less realistic but I really dig the "glow-in-the dark" pentacle.

Aperita Arcana is available in PDF format from RPGNow. I have no idea whether a dead tree version is in the works.

Edit: Aperita Arcana is now available from RPGNOW both as a softcover and as a hardcover book! Should you have bought the PDF, get in touch with Ebon Gryphon Games to redeem a $10 coupon to buy the book.

It is also available from Amazon but then only as a softcover.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Aperita Arcana Available by End of Month

Duchess Phenaella
If you don't know about Aperita Arcana yet, please refer to my previous posts, here and there. In a nutshell, it is a Monsters & Magic supplement by Ebon Gryphon Games that expands on the core M&M rules by adding new advancements, new spells and spell lists, rules for ad-lib spells, and much more. I warmly recommend this supplement, even if M&M is not your go-to system, if only for the excellent GMing advice scattered throughout the supplement, and for all the material that can be salvaged irrespective of your gaming system (e.g., the advanced ‘language’ rules).

Well, here's the good news: according to the latest KS update (12 January 2015), Aperita Arcana should be available before the end of the month!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

13th Age in Csachticz − Detailed Icons, No.4: The Great Boyar

The Great Boyar is the name given to the Orc Lord in 13C. The name 'Boyar' shall obviously evoke the mysterious lands at the easternmost end of early modern Europe. At the turn of the 16th century, the historical Muscovy had fallen into a succession crisis known as the Time of Troubles because Feodor I, the last of the Rurik dynasty, died without leaving any male heir. The land was devastated by famine and by the civil war amongst the various claimants.

In 13C, a figure has emerged from this squabble to unite all the petty kingdoms east of the Oriental Range under his iron rule. Little is known about the Great Boyar, except that he commands ruthless hordes to do his bidding.


The Great Boyar is shrouded in mystery, and so are his whereabouts, although he is rumoured to dwell, attended by beautiful rusalki, at the centre of a vast and foreboding marsh guarded by fearsome vodyanyie.


The Great Boyar being a figure shrouded in mystery, and his lands being far and isolated, little is really known about him. Some say he's far taller than a normal person, some say he's not really human, some others that he is of an amphibious nature; some others yet insist all of this is true— and then worse. Yet some argue that all these rumours are purposely spread by the Great Boyar himself to instil a sense of fear in his enemies.


At the moment, the influence of the Great Boyar doesn't really extend over the Fair Kingdom, so adventurers shouldn't feel his influence (yet). However, it is rumoured that the Great Boyar commands many aquatic creatures, such as the already-mentioned rusalki and vodyanyie, and he may have started to gain hold upon the waterways and the marshes of the north-eastern borderlands of the Fair Kingdom.

Also, adventurers who like to plunder more than law may look favourably upon the Great Boyar and the promises of looting that the onslaught of the Eastern hordes might bring upon the Fair Kingdom.

A particularly interesting PC background could be that of the exiled knyaz, a wandering knight pertaining to one of the noble houses on the losing side of the Muscovite civil war. These adventurers would have a conflicted or negative relationship with the Great Boyar.


The Great Boyar operates on his own. He's also a big unknown because he's a recent addition to the roster of Icons. The Emperor will certainly try and manoeuvre him so that he turns his attention towards the Empire of the Crescent Moon first, and the Sultan will try and do the same but with regards to the Empire of the One Faith.


No actual enemies yet. The Emperor is known to have tried to prevent the Great Boyar from reuniting the petty kingdoms of the East via his proxies there, but he has failed.


Little is known about what the Great Boyar was before gaining his current title.


At the moment the Great Boyar is but a distant threat. However, the other Icons would do well to remember that the last time a single individual managed to unite the Eastern lands, almost all of Europe fell before the Eastern hordes. Will history repeat itself?

Should you want to run a mash-up of my Fair Kingdom setting and of the Land of Unreason from A Red & Pleasant Land, the Great Boyar could be the Twin of the Colourless Queen, or even her spouse, who manages to influence events in the Land of Unreason via its many canals.

In this case, the distant eastern domain ruled by the Great Boyar is the geographical twin of Nephilidia.