Monday 7 December 2020

Character classes vs character types

 In Tunnels & Trolls Ken St. Andre decided against classes like OD&D had. Instead T&T has types, which aren't really specific professions but descriptors of broad kinds based on their relationship to magic. Whereas a cleric in D&D has specific encoding around pious warriors and undead hunters, anyone wanting to make a cleric in T&T could basically choose any type they want. A warrior type would be a non-healer, more like a Knights Templar. A rogue (who has some innate magical prowess) could be more like a priest with some spells (a Poor Baby, of course), while a wizard could easily be a divine monk with great magical abilities. 

The bonus of having a class is that you know what you're going to be doing - particularly in later editions where you're set into boxes. There's also no reason you can't play around with thematics. Earlier editions were more flexible this way while later editions would have so many extra rules and abilities that they became much more rigid. 

I enjoy both methods, but sway towards T&T's broad types. Later they would feature specialists, which is as close to classes as they ever got, but still broad. There was a great article in one of the Sorcerer's Apprentice magazines where Ken took inspiration from Arduin, helping readers create traders, assassins and others. Similarly there was a Trollszine article that explained how versatile the types system is, creating shamans, thieves and the like with just the types and stats available.

Sunday 6 December 2020

Interesting nuggets from T&T 5e

 It's commonly accepted that 5th edition Tunnels & Trolls is the finest foundation of the game. I say foundation because there isn't a single player who doesn't glom on a bunch of house rules. I wanted to take a look back through the US version of the rules (not the UK Corgi) to pick out some interesting tid bits.

Leprechaun lords are bureaucratic

Something I hadn't picked up on, because me nor my players have been leprechauns, is the rule that despite leprechauns being wizards, the Wizards Guild won't teach them. Why? Because the leprechaun lords won't allow branches of the guild to be build near their land. This has such great flavour to it and tells you a lot about leprechaun society in a short piece of flavour. 

T&T is built for a character stable

My players have only ever run individual PCs in our games but Ken days from the outset that it's preferable to have fewer players but more delvers. It's expected for each player to handle two or three delvers each. I'm going to do this next time.

Wizards can join hands to cast tandem spells

If two wizards are of too low strength to cast a single spell, they may join forces with another to share the load as long as the other wizard knows said spell. 

Magic staves don't have to actually be staves

A magic staff can actually be a ring, a wand or other wooden trinket based on the wizard's preference. Maybe even a little wooden pig. In addition, a deluxe staff is sentient, either a creature bound to the staff of one that IS the staff. Delicious.

Characters can speak pig

T&T deviates from its d6 only system to include a d100 language table. Aside from your usual fantasy languages there are some incredibly imaginative inclusions including porker (pig language), wizard speech, rodent and even pachyderm. Your move, D&D.

 Characters age based on the real world passage of time

Every 73 days in real time, a PC grows a year older. 

Saturday 5 December 2020

Wrapping up a bizarre year

So, 2020 has been... interesting and not just because of the global pandemic causing a paradigm shift in many of our lives. But it's also been an interesting year for my own game design progress, with the first anniversary of the release of Romance of the Perilous Land with Osprey Games this month. Speaking of...

I was brigaded by Varg and his nazis

Early in the year when Romance of the Perilous Land was fresh, ex-Mayhem white supremacist and murderer Varg Vikernes was so upset that there were depictions of BAME people in a game about British folklore that he told his mouth breathing followers to tell me just what they thought of that. Cue many, many tweets calling me a race traitor and telling me to drown myself in a bog. All super mature stuff. Of course, the whole thing backfired because the book started to get more sales in part because Nazis hated it. Hilarious. Osprey were good enough to put out some supportive messaging around it and we all got on with our lives. 

Star Wars got me in the global media

I decided this year to rewatch the Star Wars prequels because there was nothing else to do. After discovering a new found appreciation for the film's I asked Twitter to say a nice thing about them. Again, I was bored. A few days and a viral post later Rian Johnson and a host of celebrities had responded and the tweet was getting written up in places like Rolling Stone. Bizarre.

I worked on Against the Darkmaster

A game I've been really looking forward to release is Against the Darkmaster, a MERP homage that tickles me in the right way. I was lucky enough this year to work with the development team on writing an upcoming adventure, The Silence of Dawnfell. Excited to see it out in the wild.

Going global

Refugio de Ryhope, who published an excellent Spanish edition of English Eerie last year called Cuentos de Animas will be putting out a Spanish Quill in the future. Likewise, German publisher System Matters, who last year did a great German Quill this year put out the German English Eerie. Swapsies!

English Eerie Second Edition

Speaking of, I finally released a second edition of English Eerie. 


I was fortunate enough to be invited to take part in two panels to talk roleplaying games at Albacon this year. That was so much fun and I met some amazing designers.

Getting Merry

As part of the folklore game jam I created Merry Outlaws, a game set after the death of Robin Hood, along with a limited print run.

Seeking Hearts

Just a week ago I put out Heartseeker, a 2 page adventure game in the OSR vein. It's even got a soundtrack.

The Romance Continues

Because I now have the ability to publish official Romance of the Perilous Land supplements, I released the first in the line called Heroic Origins. Watch out soon for a new adventure (or two) and official errata.

Under Wraps

Other than that I've been ticking along this year working on some projects that are yet to be announced because they're for third parties. Both are extremely exciting in different ways - one for a range and publisher I've admired for a long time and another being a dream IP. All will be revealed in time.

Friday 4 December 2020

It's YOUR game

I seem to be talking about D&D a lot recently, so I promise to offset that with other games in the near future. This is just something I've been thinking about recently and I'm sure it's not gone unnoticed.

Now, I'm not getting at this individual at all - they're not the first and they won't be the last to ask a question like this, but I think this is a good indication of some of the current roleplaying ethos. Jeremy Crawford fields a lot of questions, many of them based on rules clarifications of mechanics. But every now and again I see questions like this crop up. I think the question is a reflection of how Wizards wants D&D to be, possibly more in 5e than ever. 

The game is YOURS. You and your group decide what is part of your game reality. You own the game and you don't need permission from a corporation to do something in your own game. I absolutely don't blame people for asking these questions, though. Wizards has been incredibly savvy with 5e about controlling the narrative. Books are released as events, with multimedia storylines tying into that one narrative. As a marketing professional, I think they've done an amazing job, but as a gamer I don't think it fosters the right culture. I'd suggest the marketing around D&D is partially to blame for a permission culture. 

At its roots D&D was about hacking the rules to your group's tastes. Fermenting and growing your own D&D. Even 4e, in which Wizards had a tight leash, encourages you to create your own world. Some players now seem to need reminding that they're in charge of D&D. I'm almost certain it says this in the 5e Player's Handbook, but that ethos seems to be at odds with the corporate machine.

Sunday 29 November 2020

Heartseeker - new cover and updated doc

Thanks to everyone who had downloaded Heartseeker since going live a couple of days ago. I've now updated the document with a couple of changes - the biggest being brand new art from Dean Spencer and an update to the font. 

Download from Itch or DrivethruRPG.

How 4e brought D&D (mostly) back to its roots


"It's a great tactical miniatures game, but it's not D&D" is the refrain we've all heard time and again about 4th edition. They're not wrong about the first part - it's a fantastic minis game. I don't agree with the second sentiment. 

I'm not going to say that 4e is basically OD&D because that would be a lie, but for me the maligned edition is closer to the philosophy of the older games despite the wholesale ground-up changes the designers made.

The Nentir Vale, what was the Points of Light world at inception, is hands down my favourite setting because it fits with that original sandbox intent Gygax, Arneson and co had in mind. The Vale is a frontier locale, where empires have risen and fallen leaving solitary city-states and towns dotted around a dangerous wilderness. The setting offers referees a canvas to fill in, making it a much more collaborative affair than, say, the Forgotten Realms. There's a real sense of danger and wonder in the Vale. 

I also believe the grid combat is very much in-keeping with those OD&D Chainmail days. The roots of the hobby came from wargaming and to wargaming they return. Ok, I'll absolutely concede that as the game grew over the late 70s and early 80s imaginatory play was more the design intent, but at its core D&D was about miniatures and fighting. 

Alignment in 4e feels more like the original law, neutral and chaos of old. This came as the game completely upended the Great Wheel cosmology in favour of the World Axis, which presented anymore organic view of the planes and their interactions. As a result, 4e uses lawful good, good, unaligned, chaotic evil and evil. Like classic D&D these roles as much broader and less stringent than the usual 9 alignments. 

Alignments aside, there's something core to 4e that feels very much traditional - putting the fun first. The designers flat out encourage you to reskin monsters, and swapping out powers is super simple. The game is so tight that you can chop and change magical items to create your own pretty much on the fly. 

Look, I'm under no illusion that 4e isn't an old school game. There's so much there to separate it from, say, BX, but in reality it's closer to that than its detractors realise. I love 4e, so much that I've been running a campaign for over a year. I also adore older editions (not so much AD&D). I have to admit that 5e still kind of leaves me cold, maybe because during the playtest it was meant to be a very modular game that could run in and old school way, but what we ended up with was more of a streamlined AD&D. Setting it in the Forgotten Realms by default makes everything high fantasy, rather than the pulp fantasy D&D came from. Even 4e, despite it being high powered, has a wild and dangerous setting where the PCs are the exceptional beings and the wilderness is dotted with unexplored dungeons. If exploration is one of the core tenets of 5e, why is it set in a place that has been fully mapped and filled out with decades of history? 

Anyway, if you want to play a game that has barely changed since the 70s, play Tunnels and Trolls. It's superior to D&D anyway

Art: Jeff Easley

Friday 27 November 2020

Turning off the firehose

 Over the past month or so I've drastically reduced my time on Twitter. Traditionally I'd spend 2-3 hours a day scrolling through that endless feed, getting annoyed, sharing cool things and blathering about my own crap. That's a long time to spend on something that really wasn't doing me any psychological favours. Now I spend that total time per week, if that. I flick through a few tweets to look for anything interesting being shared, send some supportive messages (since we all must contend with this awful year) and get out. As someone who suffers from anxiety, this has helped.

Twitter is such a double edged sword. On the one hand, as a game designer I want to use it to make connections and understand what's going on in the industry. On the other, the outrage-reward economy brings out the very worst in normal people. Minor discretions get blown out of proportion and the pile-ons begin. The circular discourse never ends, with the same points trotted out and the same arguments flaming up every couple of months. It's not healthy.

There's very much a 'if you're not with me then you're against me' mentality there. Often the best thing to do is just stay completely quiet - talk about the things you like and inject some positivity into a trashfire social. You're not at the behest of anyone to behave how they want you to behave. 

And me? I'm guilty of all of the above. I've called out random people I've never met out of some misplaced sense of righteousness that really gives you that dopamine hit. It's not right. We tend to become experts in philosophy and morality, or whatever the topic of conversation is that hour. Then we'll defend our position pretty much to the death. It's exhausting, both to do and to watch, which is why I'm using Twitter less and less these days. 

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Keep on the Borderlands - Heartseeker solo session


I decided to run a solo session of my new OSR adventure game Heartseeker today, and opted for B2 Keep on the Borderlands as I've only ever really played this when the D&D Next playtest was happening. 

I ran it by simply reading through the book as I went, ignoring any secret information and using a quick d6 oracle system to determine certain eventualities. 

First off I rolled up four characters: Nark the goblin pathfinder, Hawkmoon the human warrior, Elderflower the halfling cleric and Silverward the dwarf wizard. 

They all began at the Keep, starting their adventure at the Traveller's Inn. After buying supplies for their journey and gathering four rumours from tavern patrons, they paid for the good rooms and slept. At the crack of dawn they began what would be their doomed journey. Trust me - it went poorly for them. 

They decided to go through the forest, which would take around 4 days to get through and then a couple more to get to the caves. The first day was great - serene, even. Travelling overland they could see the forest looming before them. But they were cocky - adventure awaited them!

The second day was a problem. As they marches through the undergrowth they were ambushed by 7 giant shrews out for the hunt. Silverward managed to get a fairly weak sleep spell out to put two unconscious and arcane bolted another, frying its skull. But the group were soon overwhelmed, with Hawkmoon falling before Silverward. Elderflower and Nark managed to escape, guilty they had to leave their companions behind. After several hours they returned to the scene and found their bodies stripped to the bone. Picking up their packs they took several items and rations, ultimately deciding to continue to the caves.

On the fourth day they crossed paths with a band of 13 halflings scouring the forest for bandits. They were hostile to the characters and despite Elderflower pleading with them the halfling leader was taking no chances, having them stripped of all their belongings and marched to their camp where they were taken prisoner. 

For two nights they were tied up, not being fed. Elderflower grew weary and Nark knew he had to try escape. He lured over one of the guards while most of the others were out scouting. The goblin attacked with a headbutt and Elderflower attempted to barrel into the halfling, but to no avail. The halfling kicked Nark in the ribs and spat on him laughing. 

One the third night three wolves entered the camp and began savaging the halflings. Three were slain but the others made short work of the wolves. However in the chaos the characters managed to escape, albeit pursued by several of their captors. They managed to lose the halflings and the pathfinder got them back on track, foraging for berries and feasting for the first time in days. At this point they could have gone back, but they were so far into the forest they decided to continue their journey with absolutely no equipment. 

After emerging from the vast forest, Nark managing to sustain them with food the whole time they made their way across the plains and eventually sunk back into a forest, emerging into a rocky area with several caves. They made their way to a northerly cave, hoping to find some more food, but found themselves being ambushed by 8 kobolds. Nark went down fighting while Elderflower escaped into the undergrowth, panicked and wounded. 

After a few hours she came to a river, which she knew ran back near the keep. There was no way she could survive out here so spent the next five days travelling, starving for a few days and managing to find some fruit one day. On the final day she staggered into the keep, worse for wear. 

And that's where I left it. Elderflower is back in the keep and will need to find some other adventurers to go back. 

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Heartseeker out now

 Today I've released Heartseeker, my 2-page OSR game. You can grab it as pwyw from itch or DrivethruRPG.

Monday 23 November 2020

Coming soon: Heartseeker

Gosh, it's been a month since I last posted. Safe to say this year is one for the toilet. But designers gotta design, so I decided to create a 2-page OSR game called Heartseeker to pass the time in lockdown.

And with 2 pages, I mean full rules and bestiary, like In Darkest Warrens. No messing around over here. It's not exactly a replica of any D&D edition, but adventure conversion is a breeze. 

Each character has just three abilities: Physical, Aura and Mental. These also double up as saves, with a roll under mechanic. 

You have five classes: warrior, cleric, wizard, thief and pathfinder. Each has an HD that also lets you know how much damage you do. I like this idea (I'm not the first to use it) because it makes sense to me that a dagger in the hands of a warrior is more deadly than a dagger in the hands of a wizard. Bloodlines are races (I don't like the term race in fantasy). They're human, halfling, elf and dwarf. The only bearing they have is languages known. 

AC is ascending because that's what all the kids are into these days. I do like descending AC but when you're doing just 2 pages then you need all the real estate you can get. 

Spells aren't Vancian, but they're one and done until you climb the levels. Wizards automatically have 6 spells they can cast while clerics have 3 prayers (but are generally better in combat). There's no upper level, so it's possible to have a jacked up level 40 wizard who can cast 10 of each spell per day. You won't, but you could.

It should be a fun, familiar game that can be printed out and quickly prepped for a game night. 

Patrons will get a copy as soon as it's ready and I'll open it up in the public domain so anyone can remix and hack it. 

Friday 23 October 2020

OSE: Finger Gharks


I've just awoken from a series of strange dreams brought on by a mixture of rich pork belly and whisky swirling inside my stomach and screwing with my mind. This creature came right out of one of those midnight vignettes.

Finger Ghark


AC9 (10)

Attacks Swell (special)

Thac0 17 (+2)

MV 0'

SV as MU 2



Treasure NA

- Swell: The ghark swells the finger to twice its size. The victim is unable to hold anything in that hand and take 1 damage. If the ghark repeats the swell it explodes, taking the end of the finger with it, doing 1d8 damage.

- Attacking a Ghark: The only way to kill one is to stab or bludgeon the finger. Any damage the ghark takes, the host takes half that damage.

Finger Gharks are parasites descended from the gremlin family of monsters. They are no bigger than a bacteria, but once inserted subdermally, usually through making their homes on thorns, they rapidly grow into their second form. This form is an ugly face with little serrated teeth sitting on the ends of the victim's finger. One person can have multiple Gharks on their hand, each taking up a digit. Gharks grow to full form in 1d4 hours, becoming uncomfortable. They're then able to swell the finger and burst open, littering the area with new bacteria sized Gharks. Chewing the bark of the guma guma tree kills the creatures off without harming the host. 

Thursday 24 September 2020

Hired services of the Perilous Land

Art: Alan Lathwell

It only takes some coin to gain the services you might need on your adventures in the Perilous Land. Whether you're in need of a sword for hire, an invigorating musician or simply someone to cook your meals, this list of hirelings will offer you some help along the way (for a price).

Where to find hirelings

Services for hire can usually be found in larger towns and cities, where they're more likely to be able to play their trades. The local tavern is sure to have a few knocking around, particularly sellswords, pipers and thieves. Scouts are generally found nearer to vast areas of rugged wilderness, with travellers paying for safe passage through dark and perilous places. Torchbearers are ten a penny, often young whippersnappers who are eager for a taste of adventure, while healers often hawk their services on the street, or come recommended in smaller villages. Scribes are learned folk who tend to frequent more up-market drinking establishments and can be found in royal courts. Cooks are many, but cooks who would risk life and limb on a quest are few and far between. Sometimes local inns will advertise cooks for hire, but few like to venture further than their own kingdom without large recompense.

Paying hirelings

The listed prices below are guides. Some well-to-do scribe may only venture out to record the heroes' exploits for 20gp per day, while some desperate waif might bear torches for 2gp. Generally, hirelings will up their prices for danger pay, or if they're required to travel to another kingdom. Most wish to be paid a sum up front, such as if they know they will be travelling for four days, they will want at least half right away.

Disgruntled hirelings

If a hireling gets hurt, at the end of combat they must make a Mind check. If they succeed, they become disgruntled. A disgruntled hireling is in danger of leaving. They will question orders more and may cause issues in the party. If a disgruntled hireling takes damage make another Mind check. On a success they leave. Characters may try to placate the hireling by increasing their fee by 25% or succeeding a Persuasion check of tough difficulty. Placated hirelings lose the disgruntled status.

Hirelings may also become disgruntled every day they don't get paid. Use the same process as above, but at the end of every day they haven't been paid.

Cost: 10gp per day
Might 8 Reflex 10 Constitution 10 Charisma 13 Mind 12
HP 10
Talents: Wilderness Expert
Skills: Nature, Survival

Cost: 14gp per day
Might 10 Reflex 14 Constitution 11 Charisma 12 Mind 12
HP 11
Talents: Shadow Flourish
Skills: Stealth, Perception, Thievery

Cost: 9gp per day
Might 8 Reflex 13 Constitution 9 Charisma 15 Mind 12
HP 9
Talents: Leadership
Skills: Persuasion, Perform

Cost: 13gp per day
Might 11 Reflex 12 Constitution 10 Charisma 8 Mind 13
HP 10
Talents: Trapper
Skills: Perception, Nature, Survival

Cost: 14gp per day
HP 13
Might 15 Reflex 10 Constitution 13 Charisma 9 Mind 9
Talents: Critical Blow
Skills: Athletics, Intimidation

Cost: 5gp per day
HP 8
Might 9 Reflex 9 Constitution 8 Charisma 12 Mind 10
Talents: None
Skills: Perception

Cost: 10gp per day
HP 9
Might 8 Reflex 11 Constitution 9 Charisma 13 Mind 16
Talents: Master Healer
Skills: Healing, Nature

Cost: 8gp per day
HP 7
Might 8 Reflex 11 Constitution 7 Charisma 14 Mind 17
Talents: Sharp-Witted
Skills: History, Languages

Wednesday 23 September 2020

Explore your roots in Heroic Origins for Romance of the Perilous Land

Backgrounds help flesh out your character, giving them extra flavour, as well as skills and equipment. Now you can download the first supplement for Romance of the Perilous Land - Heroic Origins, which contains 20 brand new backgrounds.

Become an heir of monarchs with the Royalty background, which brings with it both privilege and enemies. For those who want a character to have a touch of the wonderous, the Feyborn background allows you to play as a hero from two worlds - the mortal world and the fairy Otherworld. Your origin could even be that of the Wytchguard, fearless undead slayers from the city of Beyonne.

Heroic Origins is available for $3 from DrivethruRPG and

Thursday 17 September 2020

The future of Romance of the Perilous Land

I wanted to give all of you an update on plans for Romance of the Perilous Land going forward as I'd imagine some people will have been wondering.

First off, there is an adventure in the pipeline. It's all written and it's just awaiting publication. This will be a free pdf starter adventure (one that of you came to my UK Games Expo or Gen Con games you will have experienced). Secondly, errata is also on the way soon - all with Osprey right now.

I've been incredibly proud of Romance and the reception it's had over the past nine months and it's been a joy to work with the talented team at Osprey. I'm also very keen to get more material out there because I have a tonne of ideas for adventures and supplements.

Right now these aren't something Osprey can facilitate, so I'm happy to say that Trollish Delver Games will be publishing the official material for Romance going forward. This is a really exciting time for me - the core book is out via a major publisher but I also now get to release material on my own schedule. This means zines, books and pdfs with more frequency.

The first of these releases will be a supplement of 20 new backgrounds. In the near future I'll be announcing the first print book supplement of the series.

All in all, an exciting time for the game, so watch this space.

Friday 28 August 2020

Merry Outlaws print + pdf available

Merry Outlaws is now available in pdf and print from Itch.

What's Merry Outlaws? I submitted it as part of the Folklore Jam - essentially Robin Hood is dead and you're continuing his legacy.

Henry III is on the throne and the baronies are running unchecked. Greed and corruption is rife in England and the heroes of old are gone. Friar Tuck burned for heresy, Little John gone into exile and Marian a travelling sellsword.

Players are Outlaws forging their own legacy. Each adventure is a stanza in your evolving ballad, an actual poem you write as you advance in fame. A simple d6 system powers the game, with players doing all the rolls.

The pdf is pay what you want and the limited zine is $10 (plus $5 if you're outside the UK). Go check them out.

Sunday 23 August 2020

Five new classes for In Darkest Warrens

Knight: 5 wounds. Valiant Shield: you may stop an amount of damage to you per combat equal to half your level rounded up.

Skald: 4 wounds. Orator: You may get +1 to Person a number of times per day equal to half level rounded up.

Scholar: 4 wounds. Studious: You may get +1 to Mind a number of times per day equal to half level rounded up.

Reaper: 5 wounds. Reaping: After slaying an enemy, regain a wound. Do this a number of times per combat equal to half level rounded up. 

Apothecary: 4 wounds. Salve: You may create a number of healing salves per day equal to half level rounded up. Each salve heals 2 wounds.

Monday 10 August 2020

Lore of the Perilous Land: The Burning Chapter

It's another lore post time, and this time we're talking about them loveable scamps The Burning Chapter.

The Burning Chapter are unique to Lyonesse - a band of disgruntled magic users with a vendetta against King Meliodas' anti-magic rule. Meliodas has strict laws against the use of magic in his kingdom - namely that magic can't be used under any circumstance. Those who are caught practising it are either imprisoned or burned at the stake.

So the Burning Chapter are sympathetic to the Sisters of le Fay, who often work together in their plots to cause chaos in Lyonesse and ultimately bring Meliodas to his knees (of which Morgan le Fay is more than happy to assist with). The group is organised into the following structure:

The Grand Veil
The Bishops of Blight
The Dread Abbots
Sentries of Flame
Doom Acolytes

Their patron deity is Morrigan, though a warped and twisted version unknown to the rest of the people of the Perilous Land.

Each member of the Burning Chapter has a grasp of magic to some extent. Some are hardened warriors with a cursory knowledge of the arts, while others like the Grand Veil are seasoned cunnig folk specialising in offensive, sinister magic.

They meet in secret forgotten temples, the cellars of sympathetic taverns and even in the houses of nobles who wish to use the Chapter to gain even more power. They sometimes hire mercenaries as guards, and bend vicious animals like bears, snakes and wolves to keep people out of their business.

Sunday 26 July 2020

English Eerie 2nd edition coming soon

I'm releasing a brand new edition of English Eerie, my narrative game of rural horror set in the English countryside. Patrons can download it right now.

English Eerie allows you to create your very own tales of terror based on English folklore and the horror writings of writers like Algernon Blackwood, M.R James and Arthur Machen. The Eerie Engine powers the system, using story element cards and scenario prompts to create a narrative. Whenever a Grey Lady is drawn the tension rises. The higher the tension, the more goes wrong for the protagonist. Simple resource management gives some strategy to the game, deciding how to spend your Resolve, knowing that the ending is determined by your resources.

The new edition is expanded and tweaked from the first, with a shared focus on both solo and group play. Not only are there more scenarios, there is a section on creating your own. Plus, the game is being released under a creative commons license meaning anyone can make English Eerie games and scenarios.

There will be a pdf and print edition, along with a special English Eerie Story Deck that will be available from DrivethruRPG.

Look out for further details in the near future.

Thursday 23 July 2020

The Black Knights of Castle Cart

In Romance of the Perilous Land there isn't just a single Black Knight - there's a host of them, all serving Queen Eleanor of Eastland. These are the elite of the elite - Knights that can best most of Arthur's lot.

The Black Knights are unnatural beings. They don't need sleep, nor food or water. There are many stories of where the Black Knights came from. Some say they are beings of the Otherworld, warriors of the Unseelie Court. Others believe they are undead - an army of revenants somehow bound by Eleanor.

The truth is much worse. Taken as children, Black Knights are subject to magic that rids them of their earthly needs - hunger, fatigue, love. They must undertake a strict, gruelling training regime. Only 10% of trainees survive. They are torment incarnate - their personalities and future destroyed. Now they are shells that exist for war and to serve their queen.

Black Knight
HD 9 (19)
HP 40
AP 11
Attacks: Longsword/Longsword
Damage: d10+9/ d10+9
Special: The Black Knight regenerates d6 HP per round as long as it has over half its initial HP left.

Sunday 19 July 2020

Adventure site: The Chapel Perilous

With that he saw by him there stand a thirty great knights, more by a yard than any man that ever he had seen, and all those grinned and gnashed at Sir Launcelot. And when he saw their countenance he dreaded him sore, and so put his shield afore him, and took his sword ready in his hand ready unto battle.

The Chapel Perilous is a doomed place. Once a building of sanctity, dedicated to the healing god Nodens, a place where travellers could rest their weary legs, is now a corruption of stone. The witch Hellawes now resides here, cast out from Camelot for attempting a spell of lust on the knight Lancelot. In her exile she has grown cruel and all around her callous roots grow and brambles slither around wretched stone. She has made a deal with Arawn, the ruler of the underworld, that should he give her a retinue of warriors, she would bring him Knights of valour. True to his word, the monarch of the spirit realm gave Hellawes a group of warriors to aid her on her foul quest.

The Chapel also serves as a final resting place for Sir Gilbert the Bastard, entombed in the lower level with his sword and wrapped in a crimson shroud. Legend says that the sword and shroud can be used in tandem to heal the gravest of wounds.


1. The Chapel Yard

A grave site and haunting place of two spectres (see ghost for stats), sisters who died after deserting their post when battle went sour. Two shields hang from a withered tree. Cutting a shield down reduces the HP of a spectre by half.

2. Chapel entrance

Within the entrance hall are two lit braziers, emitting an eerie green glow. Three Warriors of Arawn stand guard here, their eyes hollow and their tongues blackened. They are mindless for the most part and will attack intruders.

Warrior of Arawn
HD 5 (15)
HP 22
AP 6
Attack: Mace (melee)
Damage: d8+5
Special: Bladed weapons do half damage to a Warrior of Arawn.

- Wytchfire Braziers: When a Warrior of Arawn hold their mace over a Wytchfire brazier, the mace becomes a Wytchfire Mace. The next time the mace deals damage, the Warrior regains that much AP. After this, the mace becomes mundane again.

- Font of Blessings: A stone font containing corrupted water. Usually this would be used to heal, but touching the water does 1d3 damage, burning the hand.

3. Sanctuary

Lined with stone pews long lost to the grasping vines of the wood. Hellawes often waits at the altar for her prey, sensing their arrival and preparing herself. Stone columns hold up the cracked ceiling etched with tales of those who the chapel has healed. Two more Warriors of Arawn guard their mistress. Two Wytchfire Braziers burn close to the alter.

Hellawes will attempt to seduce her opponent, usually going for the strongest-looking in the party or a caster.

HD 7 (17)
HP 29
AP 7
Attack: Dagger (melee + ranged)
Damage: d8+7
Spells prepared: Restrain as if with Invisible Rope, Imbue with a Miraculous Enchantment, Conjure Fire from the Air
Special: Twice per day as an action Hellawes can attempt a magical seduction on one target she can see. The opponent must make a Mind save or be unable to harm Hellawes for 10 minutes.

4. Tomb of the Bastard

A door near the altar (locked - tough difficulty) leads down into the cold tomb. There are several coffins nested into the walls. At the end is a sarcophagus, the lid carved into the likeness of a praying knight. Herein lies Sir Gilbert with his shroud and sword. From the coffins crawl two Leanashes who speak of hungering for new flesh.

Sir Gilbert's Sword
Damage: d8 (d10 against undead)
Special: When placed on the skin of the wounded with Sir Gilbert's Shroud, the wounded person heals 2d8 HP. This can be used once per day.

Sir Gilbert's Shroud
Special: When placed on the skin of the wounded with Sir Gilbert's Sword, the wounded person heals 2d8 HP. This can be used once per day.

Saturday 18 July 2020

Romance of the Perilous Land: Rhongomiant

Rhongomiant is Arthur's spear (shortened to Ron), forged in the celestial fires of Gofannon's forge when the world was younger. The spear passed to Constantine, who used it in the Petty Wars at the beginning of the Age of Camelot. In turn it was given to Uther, who kept it locked away in the castle vaults.

Ron is a weapon of the valorous. In order to use its abilities, a valour point must be spent each daytday activate them for 24 hours. Otherwise it becomes a regular spear until a valour point is spent. Ron had the following properties:

Type: Spear
Damage: 1d8+1
Armour points: 2
Special: Ron ignores armour when dealing damage. When it's it's owner calls for it, the spear will return to their hand as long as it's within 100ft unhindered.

Monday 15 June 2020

Maps of the Perilous Land

Tim Bolton has been beavering away lately on a series of fan maps of the Perilous Land, covering all 11 kingdoms and he's done a wonderful job!

Saturday 30 May 2020

Quill scenario: Hallowed Be Thy Name

Letter profile:

- You are wrongfully condemned for murder and face the hangman's noose in three day's time.
- Your twin has framed you. He slayed a merchant called William Godfrey in the night. The crime has been pinned on you after a witness saw someone meeting your description. Your twin is not known here and you have no other family to back you up.
- You are writing to the captain of the guard to plead your case one last time.

Rules of correspondence:

- Monks/nuns gain an extra Heart die

Ink pot

Locked up/ incarcerated
Twin brother/ Fraternal twin
Merchant/ Higgler
Encourage/ Exhort
Dagger/ silvered Dirk
God/ His Holy Grace
Ambush/ ambuscade
Good/ virtuous
Proof/ verification
Noose/ gallows

Less than 5 points

Your poorly worded and reasoned letter is printed in the next day's gazette. As you're being brought to the gallows you're being mocked and jeered by the crowd. Some hold up copies of your letter and tear it up in anger. The noose is rough around your neck.

5-7 points

The next day the burly guard slips you a note from the captain. You open it feverishly, but your face drops when you read it. While your letter was considered, the captain is afraid the evidence isn't there. You will face execution, but the captain promises that if any new evidence comes to light you will be avenged.

8-10 points

Bleary eyed you see a figure step in front of the bars. The captain holds your letter in his gloved hand. He motions for the cell to be opened and he steps in. He helps you to your feet and cracks a smile before telling you that you are free to go. Your letter made him see sense and they are launching an immediate investigation into your twin.

11+ points

When day dawns you're awoken to the sound of a clinking cell door. You see the captain step in, sorrow written across his face. He apologises profusely and thanks you for your letter. It makes complete sense now - how could you have committed the crime? He is sending guards to find your twin and you will be awarded a handsome fee for the ordeal you've been through. You are let free, your head held high.

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Romance of the Perilous Land build: Diplomat

Next up in our series of builds is the diplomat, a build for the bard.

1st talent: Charming
2nd: Instrument of Valour
3rd: Leadership
4th: Improved Leadership
5th: Connected
6th: Bardic Resonance

Skills: Persuasion, bluff, perform, history, languages.

Background: Scholar

The diplomat is leader with a silver tongue. When they want information they're going to get it, usually through flattery, confidence and occasionally lies. Charming gives them increased charisma early doors and instrument of valour enhances their class features. Leadership and Improved Leadership offer the party a chance to get the jump in a fight, and Connected brings the allies out of the woodwork when you're in a bind. Finally Bardic Resonance further enhances those bard features.

Monday 18 May 2020

Romance of the Perilous Land build: Assassin

I'm going to do a series on different 'builds' for RotPL. We're starting off with the assassin, a build for the thief.

1st talent: Shadow Flourish
2nd talent: Critical Blow
3rd: Darksight
4th: Quick Shift
5th: Fleetfoot
6th: Sprinter

Skills: Acrobatics, stealth, perception, athletics, intimidation

Background: Militia

The assassin is all about moving quickly in the shadows and getting out of harm's way fast. Shadow Flourish allows you to max your Reflex to use your blade (and throwing daggers) while Critical Blow gives you a higher chance of dealing more damage. Darksight means you can sneak around in the darkness and get an edge on your critical strikes. Quick Shift is perfect for maneuvering around the battlefield to get away from flanking enemies, or to get in a better position. Fleetfoot stops natural difficult terrain from getting in your way when you're trying to quick Shift. Finally, Sprinter speeds you up, letting you strike even quicker.

Sunday 17 May 2020

Playing in the eras of the Perilous Land

At the end of the Age of Magic, humanity came to Ashta, which came to be known as the Perilous Land. The giants who once ruled the land had been all but destroyed by Queen Mab after her treachery, and Gogmagog the giant emperor was put into an enchanted sleep for centuries. The gods, seeing an imbalance between mundanity and magic in the world, created humans, who turned out to be determined and industrious.

While the default eras of play is at the beginning of the Age of Valour, when the battle between Camelot and its allies against The Black Lance and the Sisters of Le Fay has begun in earnest, there are several other eras that offer different kinds of campaigns.

Dawn of the Age of Humanity

This is a new frontier where much of the Perilous Land lay undiscovered to humans. This is pretty much your points of light setting: towns and cities are being built but there are only four new small kingdoms: Escose, Norhaut, Ascalon and Hutton. Magic is absolutely rife and survival is hard. Knights weren't a thing yet, they were soldiers. Cunning folk were in their infancy and few and far between. But there's a great feeling of determination and hope. Wars aren't really happening, aside from battles between the Unseelie court. The dragons, for the time being are content with their mountain empire and are mere rumours to humanity. This era has a frontier feel to it, bands of people trying to make their way in a harsh world.

The Great Expansion

At the tail end of the Age of Humanity was the Great Expansion where new kingdoms were founded. There was more war and bloodshed between humans as they vied for land dominance, sometimes even making pacts with dark creatures to do this. By this time cunning folk were found in courts and Knights had begun to be created to defend their kingdoms. If you want the players to take a role in shaping the Perilous Land, this is a good time for it.

The Age of Camelot

After Constantine had died, Uther became king before he was ready. He was young and reckless, but had to prove himself. The most exciting part of this era for stories is the lead up to the Dragonwar against the dragon Xeran and the subsequent war. Xeran demanded taxes from Uther as an easy way to gain treasure, bit when Uther denied him his riches many villages in Camelot were set ablaze by the dragon. After this, Uther gave in and agreed to the tax, leading to Camelot becoming increasingly poorer. In this era, players could easily be refugees from dragon attacks looking to scrape a living. They could be members of Uther's court as they hatch plans to destroy Xeran. They could help Uther get the enchanted shield Pridwen and the blade White Hilt which would be used to slay Xeran.

The Age of Doom

With Camelot flourishing and Uther a hero king, something had to go wrong. Uther is killed by a young Morgan le Fay, his illegitimate son Arthur pulls the sword from the stone to become king (leading to massive disquiet in Camelot) and the Knights of the Round Table are formed as a response to the growing attacks from magical creatures around the Perilous Land. The balance had swayed too far in humanity's favourite and now it was swinging back to darkness. This was the dawn of questing and the proliferation of witchcraft in the land. During this time people aren't keen on Arthur, so he faces as many struggles within his kingdom as without. This era is perfect for hack and slash monster hunting or political intrigue. There's treachery in Arthur's court and Mordred would betray him. You have the start of the Black Lance in its infancy - cells of spies throughout Camelot who look to bring down the king. Players could be a group of spyhunters weeding out the rot in Camelot, or they could be original Knights of the Round as they're just getting started.

Thursday 14 May 2020

Romance of the Perilous Land background: Green Warden

It's time for a new background! Real quick like.

Green Warden

You are a guardian of nature, whether it's a wood, lake or mountain. You may have heard the call of the Green Man to protect the natural world, or you may have been raised in the wilderness, becoming intrinsically tied to the landscape. Those who dare to harm your domain and the creatures within face your wrath.

Background Skills: Nature (Mind) and Survival (Mind)
Starting Gear: A pouch of mouse bones, gnarled staff, rune stones.

Sunday 10 May 2020

Romance of the Perilous Land optional difficulty rating rule

While Romance has been widely well received by the gaming world, one criticism I've had is around the unbounded accuracy of its difficulty rating. When I created this, I genuinely didn't think it would be particularly controversial - it logically allowed players to progress without being completely inept at any one attribute. That said, a lot of people have mentioned it, so I wanted to address a different option for difficulty ratings. Note that this is as of yet untested, so let me know if you use it and how you get on.

Very simply it goes like this:

Simple: 0
Regular: 4
Tough: 7
Severe: 10

This is completely untested, so if you do use it please let me know how it goes.

Saturday 9 May 2020

Lore of the Perilous Land: The Host of the Unforgiven Dead

Some battles never end. During particularly bloody battles there's a chance of warriors coming back as ghostly slaughs, rugged soldiers who join the Host of the Unforgiven Dead to continue to wage the wars that have been over for centuries.

Slaughs are driven only by battle - it's all they knew in life and in death it's all they crave. The Host is always marching and always fighting. There can be many hosts belonging to different undead generals and kingdoms - the Host of Escose marches to the eerie sound of bagpipes, emerging from the mist, while the Ascalonian Host shimmer with ethereal shining armour, spears proudly held aloft.

Most recently King Ban of Benwick has waged war against the Host, with the climax being the bloody Battle of Wandleton where the Host was joined by the ghost of a green knight that resides close to the nearby village. Ban's forces were nearly routed before a soldier called Barda rode in with the blade Gorfinnion, forged in fairy fires by the Seelie Court. The Host feared the light of the blade and retreated, but not before Barda slew the slaugh general. Barda has become a local hero, with a statue erected of her in the village of Wandleton.


A Host has reclaimed a nearby abandoned fortification to build up their forces. How? They have a mortal spy within a court who is advising their leader into battle.

A wandering slaugh has returned, but rather than join the Host, her battle is more personal. She's hunting down the king who waged war with her people.

A Host is mounting and soon they will meet a Kingdom in battle. The PCs must find Barda and her blade - but it's been stolen by the Black Lance, who are orchestrating a proxy war with the undead.

A local peace loving leader has been possessed by a slaugh (under the magic of the Sisters of le Fey). Now he is raising a force of mortals and ghosts to invade Camelot.

Sunday 3 May 2020

The City that Writhes Beneath

Akkarik City is a forest of limbs formed from the gargantuan parasitic worms that feast off the earth. On the surface, the smooth appendages have calcified, with those who dwell there hollowing out and residing within them. Far below the surface, though, the wriggling wretches are a smooth and sticky as they were when they came here 1000 years ago - in a liminal state of half-deadness. The surface dwellers call these the Hungry Roots. Occasionally a Hungry Root will devour something other than the rock and magma in the veins of the earth, like a millennium old magical ore system. When this happen the dead appendage buildings can alter. Sometimes they wrench themselves free from their near dead state. Sometimes they just up and turn into gas or blood. Akkarikians call these events The Writhing.

Writhing Table
1. The Hungry Roots release a pheromone that attracts the undead
2. The roots begin to sing a discordant hymn. D100% of the population starts to dig in the ground in search of relics
3. A building crumbles to dust
4. A building explodes into congealed blood. Anyone it touches suffers parasite nightmares for 1d10 years.
5. The sewer system becomes tainted with magic. Time starts to slow down.
6. A building reforms as a writhing appendage, lashing out in a 300 yard radius.

Who are the Akkarikians? They could pass for human in some places, but their purple mottled skin and yellow pupils show them to be something else. They were once human, but through centuries of Writhings and proximity to the parasites they have become People of the Worm. Each morning they bathe in the great Pool of Tothannon, a slick black sludge made of parasite feces, but is consecrated holy ground to these people. The Bishop of Knowing blesses all with a wash of this awful ichor before they begin their days. Visitors MUST cleanse themselves in the pool if they are to stay. Doing this for at least a week will give them nightmares of the Hungry Roots. For more than a month their complexion becomes increasingly purple and sore. They feel an affinity with the city.

Monday 20 April 2020

Squamous out now

I finally went and did it. Using the In Darkest Warrens system I've created a Lovecraftian rules lite d6 game called Squamous: cosmic horror roleplaying. Because it's the IDW system you get an entire ruleset and mythos bestiary on a single sheet of paper. Not only that, I've included a mystery (the Squamous way of saying scenario) too: The Dreaming House, where something has gone magically awry on a farm.

Oh, it's pay what you want, too!

Thursday 16 April 2020

The Impossible Pub

Pabst Blue Ribbon Ad

The Impossible Pub is purely patronised by magic users. Anyone who can cast a spell is able to enter the pub via one of the shadow doors that shift around town. Only magicians can see and enter through these doors and they only remain in one place for 7 minutes.

Inside is what can only be described as a visual and aural cacophony. Tankards or Abthug-ar's eyeball mead float from the bar to he table, interdimensional beings of impossible structures rub shoulders with human and dwarf as they place bets on miniature gargoyle races; demons occasionally appear in the ketchup.

Normals (magicians call them 'dulls') aren't admitted. In fact, without a Tristan's Cloak of Brilliant Magnificence any dull would fade out of existence, appearing in a random location back in town.

Nobody knows the proprietor in the flesh, but they call her Mandy because she appears in wizard dreams to de-mandy they play their tabs. Wizards love crappy puns. She appears as literally anything she desires, but usually likes the traditional 1000-eyed Seraphim look (which can land her in bother if she accidentally enters the dream of a dull - that's how religions tend to form).

Every night the beer of the day switches:
1. Gagmore's Ale: hoppy, sweet. Hangover symptom: you hear the confessions of cats within a block.
2. Ribald's Country Pale: crisp, light. Hangover symptom: you can only speak the language of mountains for an hour after waking.
3. Infernal Stout: hearty, strong. Hangover symptom: a devil wrecks your house and attempts to nick your clothes in the morning. It can be banished by throwing the beermat used to rest the stout at it.
4. Venkmoor's Curdled Mead: Sweet, thick. Hangover symptom: you experience your most cringe worthy memories all at once.
5. Bud-wiser: basically brown water. Hangover symptom: you wake up with a clone of yourself, but they're an infuriating know-it-all. They vanish after three hours.
6. Void ale: nothingness with a hint of elderflower. Hangover symptom: you wake up as the mouthpiece for the dread god Maduleth. When you speak it speaks, proclaiming the world of mortals to be doomed. It speaks mad prophecy. This lasts two hours or until exorcised with a hair of the dog (literally).

Penalties for not paying the tab are to appear over a vat of acid in the hollow dimension, become tied to the rotating spit of a blue giant, or be flogged through the streets of Abonen, the city on the edge of hell.

Money has no place here - coins are mundane. Wizards pay with a sacrifice of a tiny fraction of their power. The worst drunkards can do nothing but conjure a penny behind your ear. The magic goes back to powering the pub and helps charge Mandy's powers. Because if this, she's thought to be the most powerful magic user in the multiverse.

The Impossible Pub can occasionally be subject to magical invaders hoping to steal the mystery magic object kept in the cellar. Nobody aside from Mandy knows what this is. Time for a rumour table:

1. It's a pickled monk whose power was said to be unrivalled in life. Drinking his briny blood will offer immortality and true power

2. It's the last remaining Axe of Desolation, a mythical object that can raze entire cities.

3. The cellar is a labyrinth, of which at the centre is a sandtimer that controls the flow of all time.

4. The grimoire of Little Peter is locked down there. The incantations within will resurrect the gods buried in the Triforneon Graveyard under the control of the wizard.

5. The cellar is a doorway to the Last Land - a place 10bn years in the future run by the machine warlock.

6. The last bottle of Grim's Whisky, aged through time travel, is down there. It's worth more than the economic value of major countries.

Monday 13 April 2020

On non-variable weapon damage (and why it's cool)

In the game In Darkest Warrens every weapon does 1 damage, no matter whether you're using a dagger or a goblin skull tomahawk (a weapon a current player is using). In the same way, OD&D has 1d6 weapon damage for all weapons.

So how does a weapon differentiate itself? If you think about it, most weapons are designed to kill or maim, they just have different ways of doing it. Your warrior can't slit a throat with a hammer and can't crush a kobold's head with a dagger. Either way, the weapon is destroying its target in some way.

Even with non variable damage, every weapon is different and there's a different reason for a PC to choose one over another. One is the roleplaying potential. An elf may prefer using an ancestral elven blade than a human-forged sword. A dwarf's axe may be the only thing tying them to their family. Full sized bows may be impractical for halflings so they opt for a sling.

Then there's use in play. A dagger can be more easily secreted away on your person, so getting in to that masked ball just got a whole lot easier. Polearms can reach objects and switches out of reach. Axes can better cut up logs for the campfire or break down wooden doors. That goblin skull tomahawk might shake the morale of goblins you come against. The flat of a sword can slip under a door to slice the feet of whoever's listening on the other side.

So that's it. You don't need variable damage to differentiate weapons. There are some real practical and roleplay situations to consider when choosing a weapon for your character.

Sunday 5 April 2020

Vulpana, People of the Fox

The Vulpana are fox people. They used to be humans but now they can converse with and, occasionally, become foxes.

The Orinian wilds are mainly forested and the only place the Vulpana can be found. Only at adolescence do the children of Vulpana begin the 'scrutting', their eyes becoming more sly and their features more angular. Every Vulpana is born with a fox kit. The kit becomes an ever present companion to the Vulpana, and the Vulpana will defend it with their lives. Fox companion funerals are more elaborate and sad than for humans.

During scrutting, the child gain their foxname. Here are some examples:

- Bristlewish
- Redclaw
- Prickler
- Danceshine
- Dashsnout

Their beforename is based on the plant nearest to their birth.

Vulpana shamans are venerated. They hold the secrets of the fox connection to the Vulpana, but speaking this out loud would force them into exile to the Brashlands (a name for a literal physical hell on earth beyond the mountains). Only one shaman has been exiled for this, as was the person they told. Shamans are the only ones able to fully shapeshift into foxes at will after 3 hours meditation. Others are able to shapeshift at dusk at a new moon.

D6 objects you'd find in the Vulpana village:

1. Wooden icon of Vultis, the foxgod. Ten are made per year before being burned in the winter as an offering.
2. Brushles: while Vulpines have fox features, they do not grow tails. Brushles are imitation bushy tails. It's deeply disrespectful to touch another person's brushle.
3. Skulkstones: Each stone is polished and carved with the name of the owner. They are sacred and if lost the Vulpana compare it to losing their soul.
4. Painted fox skull: bright plant dye covers the fox skulls (like sugar skulls). They are used at funerals and scrutting ceremonies.
5. Pot of insects: Vulpana are omnivores, enjoying an insect meal with vegetables. Visitors are always offered a pot of insects called a skitterbowl the first night they stay.
6. Shrave: a spear tipped with foxbone and covered in poisonous bile.

Sunday 29 March 2020

In Darkest Warrens Ultimate Edition

I hope you're all staying well at the moment. I spend a lot of my time writing RPG stuff, so this quarantine has made this even more extreme.

I was contacted by a lovely chap in the military who's moving around a lot, so created a kit bag for In Darkest Warrens - it's seriously cool. He also inspired me to do something I've been meaning to do for ages - an In Darkest Warrens Ultimate Edition. 

So, here it is! A cleaned up, expanded version of In Darkest Warrens with some super rad art from the Stinky Goblin folks. It's 5 pages that include the basic rules, a referee guide complete with rules from supplements, and a brand new setting - Darkholme.

I've made some little tweaks to the rules here and there. Most notably, monster special abilities are no longer ALL actions. This allows for more variety and creativity with foes. I've dumped some problematic rules too (I didn't like two weapon fighting - not clean enough). Barbarians and mages can only wear hide armour now (I like the thought of a cool rogue decked in plate armour, maybe a faceplate too, so I'll allow them to keep that).

Anyway, it's pay what you want, so go grab it and enjoy. 

Stay safe.

Friday 20 March 2020

The Realms Between Playtest Released

You can now pay what you want for The Realms Between Playtest document, a game inspired by the Jirel of Joiry stories by CL Moore.

Doors are everywhere and behind every Door is a dreamlike realm ruled by eldritch god's and mad sorcerers. Heroes of faith living in a place akin to medieval France embark on perilous adventures into these infinite realms.

The Realms Between features:

  • A unique card-based system that drives the story, creating easily improvised challenges
  • Character advancement is directly tied to their fortification - the more the heroes grow the more sophisticated their fortification becomes
  • Foes use a keyword system that allows for quick creation, putting storytelling first

It's a departure from my usual design, so I'm interested to hear what people think.

Saturday 7 March 2020

Solocubes solitaire RPG engine

I recently posted an actual play report on MeWe around my last Romance of the Perilous Land solo adventure and there were a few questions about the engine I used.

In the past I've used Mythic, but since I like to play and note everything on my phone, particularly while travelling, this could be a bit clunky. Instead I used my owned janky system I call Solocubes. There are two main components: Rory's Storycubes and a d6. This is how it works.

1. Objective setting

You first need to figure out what the hook is - why you're playing the game. To do this, roll 3 Storycubes. Try using cubes themed around your game. For instance, with RotPL I used a mix of medieval, enchanted and mythic. You can interpret the results how you like. You might choose just one image to run with, mix images together or use all images to create a single objective. I rolled a treasure chest and a maze, so I decided a bugbear has nicked treasure from a local village and it was hanging out in a hedge maze. Simple.

2. Scene setting

The adventure is split into scenes. This is based on location and time. If location moves or time skips, consider it a new scene. Roll 3 Storycubes to define what happens in the scene. This could be an NPC you come across or a clue you find. Do this at the beginning of every scene. If you're not happy with what you've rolled, roll again! I tend to use random tables online to come up with names.

3. Consult the d6

The d6 is for asking questions to build out the scene. When you roll, the results are as follows:
1. No, and
2. No
3. No, but
4. Yes, but
5. Yes
6. Yes, and

Whenever you get a but or and you can make up what's logical (Yes, but there are TWO enemies instead of one) or roll 3 Storycubes and determine what the additional or exception could be.

That's pretty much it - easy stuff and it works for me. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Sunday 1 March 2020

Hrunting, the Sword of Beowulf

In Beowulf, hrunting was meant to be a sword that never failed. The problem was that in the fight against Grendel's mother the sword totally failed. The blade had been passed to Beowulf by Unferth who had failed to destroy Grendel with it, so it's thought his failure had been passed onto the sword itself.

To reflect this, the Hrunting sword gains power when dealing killing blows, but reduces in power if a day goes by without the blade slaying someone. I think this presents some interesting roleplaying opportunities. If it comes to evening and the wielder hasn't slain a for, do they just accept that Hrunting will be less effective or do they go on the hunt? Maybe they track down a petty street thief and gut them. Do they convince the rest of the party to venture into the woods to clear out some redcaps? Basically, does the blade drive the wielder to bloodlust? Surely this desire becomes worse on the second day when the sword is reduced to a mere d4 weapon.

Short sword (d8)
Special: If an enemy is dealt the killing blow with Hrunting, the sword gains +1 to damage for the remainder of the day. Hrunting can have up to +3 per day in bonuses in this way. However, if a day goes by without hrunting dealing the killing blow, it is reduced to a d6 weapon the next day, and a d4 if this happens the next day (it cannot go below a d4). As soon as a killing blow is dealt by hrunting, it returns to a d8 weapon.

Wednesday 26 February 2020

Quill now out with JellyMuppet Publishing

This is a very exciting day. The wonderful JellyMuppet Publishing is putting out a print run of Quill, my solo letter writing roleplaying game. The print book is available via Melsonian Arts Council in the UK and Exalted Funeral in the US.

I really think Quill is a one of a kind gaming experience that straddles the line between LARP and storygame and JellyMuppet is the perfect partner for the game. So, like, go buy it and stuff.

Saturday 22 February 2020

Dungeon Gits second edition is out now

I decided to give Dungeon Gits a bit of a refresh and release it as a second edition. Not a tonne has changed - I've clarified some rules, added a section on troupe play and expanded some items. The layout and imagery has been overhauled too.

If you don't know what Dungeon Gits is, it's a hyper lite fantasy RPG (but easily porter to other genres) with a system designed to be hacked and built on.

Patreon supporters will shortly find it available to download. Everyone else can get it at Drivethrurpg.

Tuesday 11 February 2020

The racism jumped out

Some of you may have seen a bit of a furore on Twitter after Varg Vikerness had a flap about PoC depicted in Romance of the Perilous Land and so set his white supremacist cronies on me Twitter is such a fun place.

Unfortunately for these imbeciles, the brigading just served to promote the game and as a result a load of people bought it. I was super happy to see all the support I got from my online chums and I really thank them for it. Osprey Games came out with a statement of support, of which I'm grateful.

The thing is, I'm pretty lucky. There are people - minorities and women - who face this shit on a daily basis. I don't know how they do it and those people will have my constant support.

Folklore is inherently inclusive. Countries thousands of miles apart share similar stories and traditions. Folklore is a map of human relationships, of beliefs and customs. Sure, some of it will have been transferred by force (invasion, colonialism etc), but much of it is benign.

Also, fuck racists.

Sunday 2 February 2020

Romance of the Perilous Land Appendix N

A recent interaction on the oft volatile Twitter which prompted me to put together an Appendix N for Romance of the Perilous Land.

  • Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
  • The Lore of the Land by Jacqueline Simpson and Jennifer Westwood
  • King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green
  • Slaine by Pat Mills
  • Merlin, the BBC TV series
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • The Pendragon Cycle by Stephen Lawhead
  • The Mabinogion

The following are gaming inspirations in one way or another:

  • The Fighting Fantasy gamebook series by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone
  • Tunnels and Trolls by Ken St. Andre et al
  • BX D&D by Tom Moldvay and Zeb Cook
  • D&D 5th edition by Mike Mearls et al
  • D&D 4th edition by Rob Heinsoo et al
  • The Black Hack by David Black
  • Swords and Wizardry White Box by Matthew Finch et al