Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Erian Almanac: Harbringer

According to Skythian calendar the holiday known as Harbringer falls between the months of Octavum and Novium. From old this day marks the end of the harvest season, and signals the beginning of autumn. It is also a day of omens. Old men predict the winter based on the behaviour of mice and the shape of clouds, children born on this day are said to have the gift of prophecy, and auguries are never more accurate. It is also a day of the dead, and those wishing to commune with deceased relatives light bone-candles as night falls.

Some omens:
A horse that looses its shoe signals death in the family.
Rain at noon means an early spring next year.
The birth of a litter of kittens means good luck for the household.
If you break glass you will die before Nightfall this year.
If the wind turns while the cock crows this heralds betrayal.
Snowfall means that a hard winter will follow.
The maid who spills milk will never be married.

[Picture source: Wilson's Almanac]

Gaming in 2011

(Presented in the Foreign Tongue as a courtesy to foreign folk)

I've gotten my work schedule for 2011, and I'll no longer have every Thursday off, hence the need for scheduling. I've plotted the dates into the calendar. Give it a boo, and we'll address it on one of the coming sessions.

The calendar is located in the side-bar between the links and the art.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Chapter: Aftermath

The fourth chapter of The Black Spear.

Cast: Aegir of the Enæidùn, Mandan Bansl, Gryff Galan, Velimir Tito, Yolander van Zaar, and Toadface. Also, various NPCs.

The following takes place on 29 Octavum, YE 1022.

Following the victorious Battle of the Tower of Man, led by the Pius Cabal, various events takes place as the magicians take stock of the situation; van Zaar and Toadface takes an interest in genealogy, Bansl makes an alchemic breakthrough, two Black Friars delves into the dungeon, and nature reclaims what was taken from it.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Review: Itras by

Itras by means the city of Itra in English. It is a Norwegian roleplaying game written by Ole Peder Giæver and Martin Bull Gudmundsen, illustrated by Thore Hansen. It was published in 2008.

Friday, 24 December 2010

God jul, godtfolk!

(Happy Christmas, good people!)

In Norway, Christmas eve is the big day, so today we'll have our Christmas dinner, open our presents, and just enjoy good company. If you're wondering, yes, we're having a white Christmas, with -16 degrees (C) and a clear, blue sky.

Be well, and have a good day!

[Picture source: Selskapsmat.no]

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Featured Artist: Thore Hansen

This week's feature is a Norwegian artist, illustrator and author with more than forty years behind him. I think most Norwegians my age, and I'm sure, some of you foreigners as well, know Hansen from his illustration of the books about Ruffen, den lille sjøormen som ikke kunne svømme (Ruffen, the sea serpent who couldn't swim). I came across him again recently in the Norwegian RPG Itras By, richly illustrated by Hansen. I'll come back to the game later, but let me just say that those of you who don't read Norwegian are missing out.

The first set is composed of various images from the artist's career, starting  with Ruffen.

Click to humongify.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The Atapraxor Tablet, The Lord Wey Fragment

This is a handout that was uncovered by the Pius Cabal during the aftermath of the Battle of the Tower of Man. It appears as a ceramic tablet, 15 cm wide and 26 cm long, covered in cuneiform script in a dead language. For the full text, see this post, for a picture of the second fragment, see this post.

[Picture source: 1 The Brussels Journal; 2 own]


Over the course of the chronicle, e few new Merits have entered play. The problem is that these are more powerful, and have a different impact on the game, than what normally falls under the Merit-system. For that reason the need for a revision of these homebrewed merits have arisen. First of, a name is needed to separate them from the rest of the abilities of an nWoD character, and I've landed on Gifts.

As with all these posts, this is to be considered a draft, and any changes that appear after play-test or discussion will be edited in. New Gifts will also be added to this post as they are brewed up.

In the Dawn of Days, gods and elder beings walked on Argos. Some of them took human lovers, and their offspring came to bear the blood of the ancients. In those days, the children of the ancients walked the lands as mighty heroes. As the ages passed, these heroes wed the children of man, blood became thinner, and the might of the children of the ancients faded into myth. Still, even today, in the darkest hour, there are still those carry the blood of the ancients in their veins. These heroes can interact with creation in ways others can't. They may be able to perform great feats of strength, commune with gods, or call on Creation itself to aid them.

The Gifts take many forms, and while some changes the entire appearance of those who bear them, others are more surreptitious.  Some of the Gifted appear as tall, statuesque, heroes of legend, others are indistinguishable from their neighbours.

Gifts cost 5 XP times the purchased dot.

Heart (• - •••••)
The blood of the Ancient Heroes flows rich in your veins. You will stand out in a crowd, and most will know that there is something special about you. Whether they will seek to support or harm you depends on their disposition.

This merit also gives the hero special powers, and he may buy the Vampire: the Masquerade Diciplines Potence, Celerity and Fortitude (at a cost of 8 x next). The Dicipline-level may not exceed the Heart-level. Further, the Heart Merit also fonctions as a de facto Bloodpool, and each dot gives one Heart-point. These are replenished each day. Only available at character creation.

High Speech (• - •••••)
Creation speaks in may tongues, and some of these are purer and closer to the truth than others. The High Tongues are such languages, some were spoken by the Exalted, others by the first magicians, yet others by races or peoples long forgotten. But their words still command Creation. Magicians have long studied the truths of the ancients, and especially their words, for by understanding these, great powers can be harnessed.

For each two dots beyond the first, the Mage may add one die to any spontaneous or rote-magic dice-pool, e.g. 1 dot = +1, 3 dots = +2, 5 dots = +3. For a list of High Tongues, see this post.

Totem (• to •••••)
The player decides which Totem this Merit applies to when it is first purchased. Once this is done, it may not be changed unless under exceptional circumstances. The player may purchase more dots in this Merit to reflect a stronger bond to the Totem.

Each Totem has a Ban and a Boon, independent of the Merit rank. In addition to these, the Totem may also aid or guide its children. To gain its help, the character rolls a number of dice equal to the Merit rank, and successes are added as dice to the task in question. This bonus lasts for one scene, or one extended action. As with divine favours, the aid of a Totem is not something to be take for granted; ultimately, the ST decides whether the Totem will aid in a given task or not.

It is very rare for a totem to manifest on the Prime Material Plane, and usually it will only do so if summoned by a Theurge. In such cases, it follows the same rules as other spirits.

See this post for more information on totems.

Source (• - •••••)
These Merits define the Magician's metaphysical conection to Reality, or, from which Domain he draws upon his power. Each Domain has its own rules and Essence.

The Source may be used to replenish the Magician's Mana. To tap into the reservoirs of the Domain, he needs to establish a connection. This requires meditation; three successes on Composure + (affiliated skill) + Source roll must be accumulated to establish the connection. Each hour connected will yield one point of Mana. Note that this does not allow the Magician to glean any insight from the Realm, but he may be reached by those who dwell in it.

The Magician may also attempt an Astral Immersion. This may be risky, for by sending his mind into the Realm, not only can he interact with it, and its denicens, these may also interact with him. To achieve an Astral Immersion, roll Composure + Source, three successes must be accumulated. Each hour of Astral Immersion will yield a number of Mana points equal to the Magician's Source score.

It is possible for a Magician to be affiliated to more than one Realm, but he can only draw upon one Source at a time. It should be mentioned that by attempting to ride two or more horses, or serving more than one master, he may well find himself in a lot deeper than he intended.

The Magician is affiliated to the Realm of Gods, and draws his powers from it. Most who are connected to this Realm chose to draw their power from a particular God, or Mythos. This offers some advantages, and some limitations. The Gods may award those who act according to their wishes, and punish those who do not.

Connected Ability: Occult

The Realm of Dream is perhaps the most open of the Realms, but it is also the most dangerous one, for the Dreamlord is the Prince of Nightmares, and many of the more powerful Dreams have agendas of their own.

Connected Ability: Empathy

The Primordial Realm is that of the Elements, the Mountains, Hills and Plains. It is often considered to be the Realm of Creation itself. It is often distant and uncaring, but there is great power to be found in its depth.

Connected Ability: Survival

This Realm is that of logic, science, purity of thaught, cause and consequense. Many great ideas can be found here, but it is also the Realm that limits its affiliates's Magic the most, for it is defined by the Laws of Concensus.

Connected Ability: Academics

This is the Realm of the arcane, and though it offers great strength and power, it also exacts a great price from those who delve to deep, or to fast. In it, Hybris lies, patiently awaiting, and Quietus stalks the ambitious like a shadow.

Connected Ability: Crafts

[Picture source unknown]

Friday, 17 December 2010

The Birthday Skeleton

Click to humongify

Bjørge, a.k.a. Bombmaster Bansl's birthday was earlier this week. I hope he got a visit from the Birthday Skeleton.

Gratulerer med dagen på etterskudd, Bjørge.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Chapter: The Battle of the Tower of Man

The Third chapter of The Dark Spear


Cast: Aegir of the Enæidún, Mandan Bansl, Gryff Galan, Velimir Tito Toadface, and Yolander van Zaar. Also, as NPCs: Master Octavian Arbalestus, Onkel Smit, Admiral Colomb, Brigadier General Bothwell, First Mate Hawkins, a.k.a. Commander Spearhawk, and Adeptus Rupertus Ludenius.

The following takes place between 28 and 29 Octavum, YE 1022.

After a night of much needed debauchery in Göteshafen, the Pius Cabal sets sail again, and discover that the dastardly Thulists have established a base in the ruins of the University of Man. Toadface and Tito takes a bath in a river and decides that what they need is a mire. A hastily laid plan is made complicated and Bombmaster Bansl's craft becomes the target of criticism.

Featured Artist: Sidney Sime

This week's Featured Artist is the Englishman Sidney Sime (1867 - 1941). His fantasy-credentials has been secured not least through his work with Lord Dunsany. This collection is rather hastily put together, as my schedule this week has been somewhat hectic - and I have a Chapter-post to get done before play tomorrow. I also beg your forgiveness for simply forgetting the artist last week.

The Art of Sidney Sine on EMG-Zine

As always, click'em to big'em.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Magnus Emil

Master of the Arcana of Prime, Duke of Westerfold, Lord General of the Enlightened Army, Protector of the Truth, Consul of the Northern Realms, Marshall of Livonia, Baron of Höfenstahl, Viscount of Drang, Ritter af Borg and Helm's Hold. Thus runs the list of titles held by Magnus Emil. While of noble birth, his inheritance was no more than the old, though lowly title of Ritter af Borg, and a couple of estates in north-western Livonia.

Born in YE 995, as a boy Magnus Emil proved to be an exceedingly bright, although hot-headed child. He took to reading as a Wezellian to counting coins, and he also quickly astonished his father with his prowess in the martial disciplines. Magnus's father, Gustaf Emil, Ritter af Borg, believed that the Fates had a plan for his son, and on Magnus's seventh birthday, he took the boy to a soothsayer. The old crone foretold that Magnus would bring the Chained God back to Argos, and that he would grow to be feared by his enemies. To his father this was all he needed to know, and thereafter no expense was spared to make Magnus ready for his destiny.

The men of the Borg family have been members of the Knights of Angermar since time immemorial, and Gustaf Emil was no exception. He now called upon all the resources his family and the ancient fraternity could muster, for at last their goal of awakening Bolgen was within reach. The best teachers were hired, and and as soon as Magnus came of age, in YE 1015, a commission in a Livonian mercenary company was purchased for him. And so his military career was begun fighting in the Corillian War. His Awakening came shortly after his arrival in Corillia, and after having fought for six months, he needed to seek new horizons.

The following year he spent travelling the world, visiting Southern Eria, the Western Isles, and the Hannuman Caliphate. He arrived in the Caliphate as the War of Fate erupted, and he quickly lent his sword to the cause of Aziz. For the duration of the war, Magnus fought with the Mujahed against the Army of Light, and in YE 1021 he commanded an artillery unit at the Battle of the White Tower. It was in this battle that Grishnak, the fallen Daeva, was slain by Morfeus, the Prince of Nightmares, and when the Daeva fell, the surge of power caused mass Awakenings. Magnus, allready Awakened, came away with a new fire in his soul.

When he returned to Livonia, he found that his father had passed away and that he was now the Ritter af Borg. He set to leading his estates with an energy and a focus that soon made him a leading figure in the politics of the realm, as well as within the Knights of Angermar. 

Shortly after his return, he discovered a rich Tass-vein in the old mines of Helm's Hold, and his bid for power was funded with the profits from these mines. In his journeys he had also come across an artifact of great power, the Coeur de Dracon, and its power was harnessed to open new and deeper shafts. During this work he found a forgotten passage to Hardhagrav, the tomb of the Chained God. With the ultimate goal of the Knights of Angermar now within reach, they rallied behind Magnus Emil, and the work to finally free their god was begun. This work was interrupted in the first days of YE 1022, when the Pius Cabal stole the Coeur de Dracon, as well as a large amount of Tass.

Still, despite this setback, the Ritter af Borg continued to prove himself to be a dangerous and ruthless politician, and more than one opponent passed away under mysterious circumstances. In Eria the Great War had by now become a reality, and in Livonia Magnus strengthened his power-base. When the Arcane Congress was convened in Wezell, he attended as the Grand Master of the Knights of Angermar, as well as the ambassador of the Kingdom of Livonia.

Over the course of the Congress, Magnus Emil came to be recognised as the leader of the Party of Enlightenment, a coalition of cabals and orders within the Congress. Further, when the Enlightened Alliance, a.k.a. the Northern Alliance, declared war on the Enlightened Skythian Empire and the temple of Man Supreme, Magnus Emil was named the lord General of the Enlightened Army. This army, together with the Host of Man, has been tasked with conducting the war on behalf of the Congress and the Alliance.

Since the War of Enlightenment began in Sextum, YE 1022, the Lord General has led his forces deep into the Empire, and he is now gaining a reputation as the greatest war hero of this age. 

Sunday, 12 December 2010

NPC, the Game Master's Mouthpiece

Hindering game-flow or providing depth?

This is one of those post I just have to write. Tenkar posted a question a few days ago about whether NPCs should be used as a a GM's mouthpiece or not [edit: for future reference, Tenkar's second post on the matter]. In the comments a few people were rather unequivocal about how using such NPC's was sloppy game-mastering. I have to admit that that riled me a little. Since I have a soapbox available, I'll now climb up on it.

In my opinion, NPCs are the bread and butter of game-mastering. They are what makes the setting into more than a pimped up Monopoly-board, with the character sheets filling the role of little cars and fancy top-hats. They are everybody else. And all these people are played by the person sitting at the end of the table - the GM.

Both the GM and the players comes to the table to play a game, and I believe that regardless of the style of play, the above premise holds true.

I acknowledge that the role of the NPCs may vary according to gaming philosophies, but I still think there are certain mechanics inherent in the game. To argue this, I'll start by looking at three major philosophies in modern roleplaying. 

The first I'll address is the Sandbox. In this game, the world is created, be it by the GM or by a third party. NPCs, monster-lairs, dungeons, adventure-locations and cities are placed on the map, and the encounter-tables are stocked. The players then create their characters, and start exploring the world. They hex-crawl, they dungeon-crawl, and they kill monsters, solve puzzles, loot and gain experience. Most hard-line sandboxers I am aware of view any direct leading by the GM as a faux pas, and I am assuming that it is in this camp that most of the most vocal opponents to having NPCs act as GM mouthpieces belong. 

In the other end of the spectrum there is the Railroad. This may not be a philosophy in the strictest sense of the word, but more of a style. It is also commonly viewed as sloppy game-mastering, all across the board. Urban Dictionary defines railroading as, "to coerce, trick, or seduce others into a course of action they would not otherwise choose.[*]" Most roleplayers resent being railroaded, and justly so.

Lastly I'll look at Storytelling. This style of play was made famous with the various White Wolf lines, and builds on a level of trust between the game master and the players. The rules are placed in the back seat, and the focus is placed on the narrative, rather than the game. The game master, or as the technical term is, the Storyteller, is not only advised to, but is expected to overlook any rule that will impede the flow of the story. There are no encounter-tables in Storytelling games.

Before I continue, I should point out that I count myself among the last group, although I started my game-mastering playing AD&D 2nd Ed.

Now to the NPC as the GM's mouthpiece. In Tenkar's post he was referring to characters such as Gandalf being the game master's mouthpiece, had LotR been an RPG campaign, akin to characters such as Elminster of Forgotten Realms. I also surmise that those who spoke against employing such characters were using the same definition. And this is where I don't agree.

As a storyteller, I believe that every single NPC is the game master's mouthpiece, if for no other reason than that the game master speaks through every single NPC. Whenever a PC addresses someone not represented by a given person at the table, the game master will play out that role. If the NPC conveys a rumour about marauding goblins in the Northern Woods, it is in fact the game master speaking. The same goes for any information, or lack thereof, any NPC gives to any player.

I see that in a Sandbox-purist's game, an ancient, powerful, and wise NPC giving advice may be seen as instructing the PCs as to how to proceed, and that this may impede the open nature of the sandbox. In my view, however, removing any such influence say more about the setting than anything Gandalf might come up with. Are there no older, wiser characters in the world? Why so? If they exist, why aren't they taking an interest in what's going on in it? Is it beneath them? Or is it that they are working against whatever side the PCs are on?

As I've said, I view every NPC as a game master's mouthpiece, by virtue of the fact that as a game master, they speak with my mouth. Therefore I try to make sure my NPCs all have their own goals and agendas, and that I know what they know, and from where they learnt it. That way I the players will be able to get different information and advice from different NPCs.

I also believe that without any wiser, older, more powerful, and/or more informed characters inhabiting the world, the world becomes less believable. Even epic PCs will not know everything about the world by virtue of the fact that it is the game master who ultimately decides what lies around the next bend. Asking even the lowliest peasant may reveal information vital to bringing the story to its next stage, and even the lowliest peasant is the game master's mouthpiece. This is not railroading, this is game mastering and storytelling.

Even if the players have access to the source-material, the game master is still the one calling the shots when it comes to which adventure is open for play. My question is, how can the PCs gain any information about the setting, regardless of whether the game is a sandbox, a railroad, or a story, without interacting with the world as presented by the game master?

[Picture source: GameAxis Forums]

Thursday, 9 December 2010


Government: Monarchy
Ruler: Queen Caroline Augusta
Capital: Valagard

The Livonian Peninsula separates the Inner Ocean and the White Sea, and like Pendrell and the Order State, it lies on the Terra Borealis, not on the Erian continent. In the north, shielding the peninsula from the Wild, lies the Goblinshield Mountains, stretching from the Aelevian Peninsula in the West, to the Hermetic lands to the East. South of the Goblinshield the land drops and forms rugged hills that runs southward, climbing again to form the Galderspears mountain range that runs like a spine down the peninsula.

On the western side of the Galderspears the the soil is deep and rich, and easily yields rich crops of barley and rye. In earlier days, these tracts were covered by deep forests, but over the centuries, industrial logging has pushed the woods steadily backwards. On the eastern side of the mountains, the land is less hospitable, but sheep and goats thrive in the hills that roll into the the White Ocean. The southern part of Livonia is dominated by a low plain, and the soil here is unrivalled in all of Eria. This area is often called the Breadbasket, and much of the kingdom's wealth comes from this region.

Typical Livonian farm

Livonia is also famous for it's timber, and shipwrights from all of Humanity wish for keels of witchwood, banner, or iron-oak for their ships. Another important contributor to the realm's wealth is mining; both the Goblinshield and the Galderspears are rich with precious ore. The Tass-mines in Hammer's Hold is only one such example.

Recorded Livonian history dates back to the last century before the Covenant, when the Livonii tribe allied itself with the Penderii in the Elfslayer Wars. Before this time, Skythian sources speak of the Livonii as a fierce people, sometimes raiding Skythian settlements along the Erian western coast. During the Elfslayer Wars however, they accepted the philosophy of Macharius, and when the Lord Solar founded Pendrell and thus left the Skythian Empire, the Livonii soon after followed suit.

During the Age of Reason, the Livonian culture developed from one dominated by warriors to one of farmers and tradesmen. Still, Livonian mercenaries remained a natural part of most armies in most of the wars fought in Eria. Yet, even in this Enlightened age, honour has a strong place in the identity, and blood-feuds are still recognised as a legal recourse.

During the Reign of Reason, when the Ministerium's persecution of freethinkers and the Enlightened spiralled towards tyranny and madness, the Livonian Ministers did not agitate the Presbyterian cause, and many of the atrocities witnessed in the Erian realms never reached Livonia. This may have something to do with the precarious nature of Livonian Pure Though. While worship of deities were forbidden here as everywhere else, elements of the old faiths were still maintained in most layers of society.

Livonian officer and noble

With the Arcane Congress, and the onset of the War of Enlightenment, Livonia has become a major player in Erian politics. Led by Magnus Emil, Duke of Westerfold, and the Knights of Angermar, the kingdom has gone through a radical change. With the death of the old king, by mysterious circumstances, and the collapse of the Cabal of Pure Thought, a vacuum was left in the realm's power structure. This was rapidly filled by the Duke of Westerfold and his party, and Livonia has now become a part of the Enlightened Alliance, a.k.a. the Northern League.

The Knights of Angermar's goal has long been to bring back the Old Gods, especially the deity worshipped as Bolgen. To this end, Magnus Emil and a cabal of Knights attempted to excavate the tomb of Bolgen during the winter of 1021-1022. When this was thwarted by a rivalling Arcane cabal, the Knights turned to a different approach. Using the collapse of the Cabal of Pure Thought, and the myriad of ill tidings from the outside world, they started a campaign of violent agitation that spread like wildfire across Livonia. The target of this campaign was the Men of Reason. The claim was that these people were actively seeking to end the world, and that only by bringing the Old Gods back could this be avoided. Almost over night, temples sprang up all over the kingdom.

It is still too early to say where this will lead, but at present, Livonian resources are vital to upholding the Alliance's war-efforts. Further, a Livonian army, more than 30,000 strong, led by the Duke of Westerfold, is campaigning deep in the Enlightened Skythian Empire. It is also said that somehow the Knights of Angermar have managed to bring Bolgen into Argos, and that they now plan to set him loose on the Erian battlefields.

The most recent event in Livonia is the destruction of the capital Valagard by a great explosion. It is believed that this is the same kind of catastrophe that hit Rederhafen only days before.

[Picture source: 1 own (see: Atlas, vol. I); 2 texturedJohn on Flikr; 3 Wikigallery]

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Highly unlikely

"Quest accepted," my foot. It's never that easy.

From the webcomic, Looking For Group.

This is sort of a filler-post while I'm working on the realm-post I promised earlier. I should have it ready well in time for play tomorrow, though. Until then, I suggest you click through to The Adventures of Superhero Girl and get started on that comic before the back-log gets too long.

Also, by nature of being on the intertubes I've been following the developments of the production-soap The Hobbit, and now it appears that they have done the casting of the dwarves. I find myself unable to give a damn, even if it'll probably be bloody fantastic if and when. If you want to see who they've picked, pop over to the Topless Robot. Oh, yeah, and it looks like Galadriel will be appearing. Me, I'm still waiting for the 3D shoe to drop.

Take care, and I hope you get to do some playing soon.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Artifact: Hermetic Pistols

These pistols are of a type sometimes carried by Hermetics or prominent Proxima. They are forged by the Svartsmiths, a breed of swarthy and stocky humanoids in the service of the Order. The magics hammered into the steel are of a different nature than that harnessed by the wizards in the Tower, and examination will reveal a lattice of thaumathurgical strains woven into the fabric of the metal.

While they are fully functional firearms, and thus are able to fire mundane bullets, the magic of these guns gives them the ability to shoot magical missiles. When they are loaded with Vis-crystals the damage inflicted is capable of injuring occult creatures, and even entities from the Ethereal Planes.

This particular pair is carried by Adeptus Rupertus Ludenius, and was given to him when he was in the service of Master Severus Septimus

Hermetic Pistols
Artifact lllll
Mana 10

Mystic Projectile (equivalent of Prime lllll)
   Contingent: Cock hammer, aim, pull trigger; must be loaded with Tass.

Damage 4 -- Range 20/40/80 -- Clip 1 (10) -- Strength 4 -- Size 1

When firing the weapon using mundane powder and ball, firearms-rules applies. When a Mystic Projectile is fired, add 5 dice to the dice-pool. This damage is Aggravated. Each shot uses 1 point of Mana.

Storyteller's note: The rules have been fidgeted with to reflect the non-M:tAw nature of magic used in the manufacture of these pistols. They are technically not Artifacts, nor are they technically Enchanted Items. They fall somewhere in between.

These are also similar to one of the first magical items ever to fall in the hands of the heroes,. Since then, a set of four was gifted to the cabal by Master Septimus. Up until now, no formal rules have existed for these weapons.

This is a full and precise reproduction of the original post, courtesy of Carandol, as Blogger in its wisdom decided to eat the original. 

[Picture source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art]

Monday, 6 December 2010


Hanna woke up, cursing herself for having fallen asleep. She had no idea how long she had slept, but it was dark outside the hovel. She was still desperately tired, so she figured it was still the same night. Then again, she was always tired these days. How long was it since she last slept in a bed? Before she fell asleep, she had been crying like a baby because she had been thinking about her family and the large house they had lived in. She now distracted herself from that foolish thought by checking her possessions.

She counted the biscuits she had left. Eleven and a half. If she only ate three a day, she would have enough for almost four days. The thought of how proud her father would have been of her, for doing the numbers in her head made her eyes sting. She shook the painful memory away and wrapped the food back up in a stained tablecloth. She had one pistol, five bullets, more than enough powder, and a blanket. She checked to see if the powder on the pan was dry. Her father had thought her how to load and shoot a gun before they got him too.

Again she managed to keep the tears from flowing. She was not a little baby! She was almost twelve, and if she started crying, she wasn't sure she would be able to stop before she fell asleep. And she couldn't afford to sleep again. At least not here. She had to keep moving. She put the biscuits inside her blanket, rolled it up, tied a piece of rope around both ends, and slung it across her back. At least she had good shoes.

Outside it was raining, and the new day was barely visible as a dull, grey band low on the horizon. "Keep the morning on your left." That was the last thing her father had told her before they got him. That was how long ago now? Three days, she thought. If there really was a Yellow King, and if she could find his Sanctum, she would have food enough to get there. If she managed to keep walking fast enough. If they didn't get her too.


The farm looked deserted, but Hanna knew that sometimes they were cunning and hid inside the houses. She would have gone around it, but there was a well there, and she was very thirsty. Last time she drank was yesterday. If only she could find a bottle. She had one before, but she had had to run when they got her father, and she had fallen. The bottle had broken, but luckily she didn't cut herself.

She checked her pistol again. It had rained last night, and she hadn't been able to find a dry place to sleep, so she cleaned it and reloaded it again. "Always make sure your powder is dry," her father had told her, and, "aim for their head." 

She waited for a long while, watching the houses carefully. Somewhere to her right black smoke coiled slowly upwards.


Hanna counted her possessions. She had four biscuits, one pistol, five bullets, plenty of powder, a blanket, and a bottle. She checked the powder in her pistol and tucked it into the rope she used for a belt. She rolled everything else into the blanket, tied it up, and hung it across her back. She had slept a little she knew, because the sun was getting up. "Keep the morning on your left," her father had told her.

At least she had good shoes.

[Artist: Turhan Algan]

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Chapter: Shoreleave

Cast: Mandan Bansl, Gryff Galan, Toadface, and Yolander van Zaar. Also, as NPCs: Simon the Apprentice, Master Vermis Ludenius, and Rupertus Ludenius.

The following takes place between 27 Octavum and 28 Octavum, YE 1022.

After having destroyed the OUT base Fort Niebelungen, the cabal decided to anchor in the Hermetic port of Göteshafen. As this is probably the safest port on all of Argos, and since the crew of the Pius haven't had a proper shoreleave in months, they were allowed ashore for the night. The cabal meets a new patron, haggles over the price of Mana, and enjoys a night on the town before setting sail again.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Level Up!

According to the Sorcerer's Skull, The Book of Worlds is now a 5th level blog. 40 followers. That is exactly 6.66 times more than I thought I'd ever get when I started this blog in August 09. The fact that so many people are reading my ramblings is both baffling and humbling, and I am very grateful to all of you who stop by, both regularly and occasionally.

When I registered the Blogger account, my intention was to have a way of making background info available to my players, and before that I had tried a couple of less versatile platforms. Amongst other things, there is a Google group out there with a few early documents on the world of Argos. Then I found the blogosphere. The first follower I ever got that I didn't know personally was Shane Mangus from Swords Against the Outer Dark. Since then, a new icon has appeared under the Readers header every so often. I haven't said this before, but know that I appreciate you stopping by very much.

While The Book of Worlds was meant as a strictly in-house communication platform and data-base, it has evolved since then. I now look at it as a resource site, especially for myself, but also as a part of a multi-user, self-publishing, peer-to-peer hobby-magazine-thingy. I publish my stuff, and I read a bunch of other posts every day, and I am very excited to be a part of such a creative and informal society. It's like Dragon and Dungeon  Magazine, in the future! It has also opened a new aspect of storytelling, as I'm now able to plant plot-hooks and red herrings, as well as provide setting-information without taking up valuable time at the table.

One thing I've realized is that most of the people reading my blog are grown-ups, and most of the blogs I read are written by grown-ups. Some play the same games they did when they were still geeklings, while others now play whatever strikes their fancy, yet others have found their Game and faithfully stands by it, be it a homebrew or an interpretation of a straight-out-of-the-box setting. All of them have the love of the game in common. For my part, I started playing AD&D 2 Ed in -91, back when I lived in a secluded part of the world, long before I became hooked up to the internet. In the years before, the Wall had come down, and and in those days an empire was toppling.

This was also the same time that I got a conscious relationship to music. For me that began with the Black Album. Now, nineteen years later, I'm still playing, and I still think the Black Album is one of the greatest albums in history. The following video is from that same year, when Metalica played in Moscow. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a piece of history.

Thank you ever so much for stopping by, and you are most welcome back at any time. Leave a note if you will, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I will try to answer at the best of my ability.

Rupertus Ludenius

Note: This post has been edited and re-posted.

Adeptus Rupertus Themian Ludenius bani Flambeu began his career when he was chosen for apprenticeship at age fourteen. Born a Citizen, the first son of a northern farmer and his wife, he was brought before a Master at the annual Folkemoot, and there found worthy of being taken into the Order. Normally only children under the age of twelve, or those who have allready Awakened, are chosen at the Folkemoot, but the Master saw something in the sullen boy. And so Rupertus was enrolled in House Flambeu, one of the two recognized Houses of the Order.

While he proved to be hard working and focused, Rupertus's Awakening came late, and only at age thirty four did he finally get his Apprentice-robes. His teachers predicted a dull career for the gloomy young man, as most Hermetics his age now wore the robes of a Student of the Arts. They would undoubtedly have been proven right, had it not been for the patronage of Master Vermis Ludenius, of House Bonisagus. At this time, Vermis had only recently delivered his Masterpiece, and he chose the dark-eyed northerner as his first Apprentice. While it is not uncommon for a Master to take on an Apprentice from a different House than his own, this still caused some stir at the time. Some claim that the true reason for this was that Master Ludenius was not nearly a good enough magus to get the pick of the litter.

Master Vermis Ludenius was at this time assigned to the Mercantile Tribunal, and after that to the Chamber of Treasury, and over the course of the following twenty years, Rupertus studied hard under several of the Order's best teachers. It is said that one of his teachers once told Vermis that teaching the Arts to Rupertus was like explaining Etherial physics to a Presbyterian. Nevertheless, thanks to his own doggedness, and, some say, his Master's deep pockets, Rupertus finally won his Adeptus-robes in YE 1019.

The first year of his first mandatory two-year Adeptus praxis he served as Adeptus Secundus on the Aegathon under then Adeptus, now Master of the Fleet, Octavian Arbalestus. The second year he served as Adeptus Cataphractor for Master Severus Septimus in the northern borderlands. He received good evaluations after both these tours, and once he was released back to his Master, both his own and his Master's reputation had been vindicated.

By now the Great War had begun, and Master Vermis Ludenius had been appointed Burgmaster of Göteshafen. Rupertus became his Master's secretary and accountant, as well as serving as the Tower's Chair in the Town Council. At age fifty seven, he doesn't look a day older than thirty five. This is typical of the Hermetics, and the secret of their longevity is a well kept secret.