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.