Monday, 28 February 2011

Chapter: Moonwalk

Cast: The entire Pius Cabal. Also, as NPC's: Illandra of the Rubayan, Master Ludenius and Onkel Smit.

The following takes place between 10 and 14 Decanum, YE 1022.

After discussing the imminent assault on the OUT's moon-base, the war-council agrees that more intelligence is needed; Toadface promptly volunteers himself, Bansl and Dr. Drake for this job, Tito expands expands his maps, Aegir enters the slave-business, and Galan stares at the moon.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

RPG Industry: The Way of the White Wolf

There's been some talk about how the game-companies are doing over the last few months. For understandable reasons, the buzz in this corner of the internets has mostly been about Wizards, and to a certain extent, about Paizo. My system of choice is nWoD, and so my dealer is White Wolf.

Back in July 2010, I blogged on White Wolf's discontinuing of the Mage: the Awakening line, and since then I've picked up rumours about other lines being scheduled for cancelling as well. Apparently that is not so:

"We haven't ended print runs on the World of Darkness. Most of our releases will be electronic first, and we're going to be leveraging PoD, but PoD's just another printing method. For example, we've used small PoD runs to supplement our other printing for a while now, though I don't think anyone's noticed. [...] PoD will be an option for many books -- right now, we're rolling out our back catalog in PoD. Not every electronic release will immediately have a PoD counterpart, though."

The quote is drawn from the White Wolf forums, and I think this is nothing short of brilliant. First and foremost, this means that out-of-print will cease to be an issue, then there is the lowered price, and there are the environmental issues. The down-side here can be that game-stores may find it harder to market White Wolf's products, but here I'm only speculating -- there may well be deals and/or strategies already in place to make products available over the counter.

The new place to go for your Storyteller-fix is DriveThruRPG. 

[Picture source: Julien Robitaille Photographie on Flickr]

Friday, 25 February 2011

Who is Solomon Kane?

 "A tall man [...] clad in black from head to foot, in plain, close-fitting garments that somehow suited the somber face. Long arms and broad shoulders betokened the swordsman, as plainly as the long rapier in his hand. The features of the man were saturnine and gloomy. A kind of dark pallor lent him a ghostly appearance in the uncertain light, an effect heightened by the satanic darkness of his lowering brows. Eyes, large, deep-set and unblinking, fixed their gaze upon the bandit, and looking into them, Le Loup was unable to decide what color they were. Strangely, the Mephistophelean trend of the lower features was offset by a high, broad forehead, though this was partly hidden by a featherless hat."

"He never sought to analyze his motives and he never wavered, once his mind was made up. Though he always acted on impulse, he firmly believed that all his actions were governed by cold and logical reasonings. He was a man born out of his time -- a strange blending of Puritan and Cavalier, with a touch of the ancient philosopher, and more than a touch of the pagan, though the last assertion would have shocked him unspeakably. An atavist of the days of blind chivalry he was, a knight errant in the somber clothes of the fanatic. A hunger in his soul drove him on and on, an urge to right all wrongs, protect all weaker things, avenge all crimes against right and justice. Wayward and restless as the wind, he was consistent in only one respect -- he was true to his ideals of justice and right. Such was Solomon Kane." 

Both quotes are from The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, by Robert E. Howard. The first is from the short-story Red Shadows, the second is from The Moon of Skulls.

[Picture source:]

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Fantastic Science and Inspired Crafts

Houserule [EDITED]

As you may well know, one of the characters in my group plays a bomb-maker/gun-smith/mad inventor. He's constantly wanting to create some (often outlandish) contraption. This I have no problem with -- it's very setting-relevant, besides, it's good fun -- but the rules are at best hazy where building and creating something is concerned. This has been bugging me for more than a year now, and it's about bloody time I address this issue.  

As with all such posts, concider this a draft, and what is presented herein may be changed according to feedback and play-testing.

This is also posted for discussion in the White Wolf forum.

The player makes the appropriate extended roll. Time per roll equals hours times the number of successes needed, modified by task complexity (Reproduction, Invention, or Creation). To determine the number of successes needed to construct a given item, see the tables below. Table 1 covers the item's base complexity, and table 2 its size. Add the numbers from both tables to get the required successes. Tools, instructions and the like can modify this roll, as per table 3.

Assistants may assist, as per canon.

If the object the craftsman wants to build is composed of multiple complex constructions or mechanisms, e.g. a sailboat, a grain-mill, or a steam-powered wagon, calculate and roll for each major component.

Simple (knife, axe, boots)..............................................1
Composite (cross-bow, sword, gunpowder)...................2
Complex (musket, saddle, water-wheel)........................3
Elaborate (steam-engine, clockwork)...........................4
Advanced (combustion-engine, electric mechanism)....5

* The Storyteller has final say on which category an item falls under, and whether it is possible at all.

1 - 3...........................1
4 - 6..........................2
7 - 10........................3
11 - 13......................4
14 - 16......................5

* If the craftsman wishes to create multiple items, multiply size-modifiers by the required amount.

Item available.................................+ 1
Relevant scientific texts available...+1
Blueprint/instructions available.....+ 2
Superb workshop...........................+1 - 3
Superb tools...................................+1 - 2
Improvised workshop.....................-2
Improvised tools............................-3

Task complexity is devided into three tiers: Reproduction, Invention, and Quantum Leap. Reproduction encompasses all tasks where the craftsman sets out to build something which he is familiar with, e.g. a gunsmith wants to make a musket. Invention covers all tasks where the craftsman sets out to create something new, although covered by the ruling paradigm, e.g. a 17th century gunsmith wishes to make a breach-loading rifle. Quantum Leap comes into play when the craftsman wishes to construct something that breaks with the established laws of science, e.g. the gunsmith wants to invent an automatic rifle.

Skill-level requirements, dice pools, time-modifiers, and results are all determined by task complexity.

Requirements: Crafts (appropriate speciality), tools and workshop, materials
Roll: Composure + Crafts
Time modifier: 0

Dramatic Failure: Material used is ruined, but may be salvaged for parts.
Failure: Item will be flawed, but may still function.
Success: Item will function as normal.
Exceptional Success: Item is concidered mastercrafted (increased value, hardness, or similar bonus).

Requirements: Crafts (appropriate speciality) 4, Science 3, tools and workshop, materials
Roll: Intelligence + Crafts
Time modifier: +2

Dramatic Failure: Materials used are ruined, and some minor mishap occurs (fire, ruined tools, etc.).
Failure: Item will not work as intended, materials may be salvaged for parts.
Success: Item works as intended.
Exceptional Success: Item works as intended, but with some unforeseen function or effect.

Quantum Leap
Requirements: Crafts (appropriate speciality) 5, Science (appropriate speciality) 4, tools and workshop, material
Roll: Intelligence + Crafts
Time modifier: +4

Dramatic Failure: Disaster strikes (explosion, voilent fire, et al.), and all materials are lost.
Failure: Item will not work, some materials may be salvaged for parts.
Success: It works! A new breakthrough has been made.
Exceptional Success: Item works as intended, but with some unforseen advantage.

A word on Magic and Crafts
While magic allows for marvellous feats, the mage still has to understand what he is creating. Someone who have never seen a watch may attempt to create one, but unless he has the appropriate skill ranks, he would not know where to begin. In most cases, magic can be used to aid in two ways, either to provide bonuses to the roll (e.g. Craftsman's Eye, et al.), and/or to supply materials and bypass tool- and workshop-needs. Here normal rules apply. Creative thaumaturgy can of course influence the process in other ways as well.

[Picture source: Wikimedia Commons]

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Fragments of Truth and Fiction II

"I'm told we won the Battle of Radhof, but how anyone could call what happened on that field a victory I cannot understand. We fight for truth and humanity, they tell us. I saw neither that day. What I saw was fear and terror, hatred and rage, suffering and death. But they tell us we won, and I guess that's better than the alternative."

"Lord Rector, the factories are at full capacity, and I'm informed that the new student-regiment has performed better than expected. I believe we are ready to teach His Majesty the Emperor a lesson quite soon now."

Again the alarm sounded. Falangist Arham rushed to his post, a shallow trench in the grey and lifeless soil west of the settlement. They were drilling harder than ever, and rumours had it that the witchmasters of the Pius Cabal could appear any day now. They had been told that the dogs would be able to detect the warlocks in advance, and Arham could only hope that was true -- he had heard stories.

Beloved Catherine,
I do not know when or if you will receive this letter, but still I write to you each week. Since we arrived on Argos, we've been training and exercising almost each day. We hear little from the outside, but they tell us that soon now we will see some action. I hope that is the case, Catherine, for I've grown weary from the long months of waiting. I think of you each day, and I dream of seeing you again.
With love,

"Aeons ago, when a great and terrible darkness seemed to smother all the lands, and the Enemy appeared to be undefeatable, three great kings led their people to new worlds. They left their homes behind, and sailed across the vast and empty spaces between the stars. At long last they arrived at strange and virgin shores, and there they settled. This, my son, was how our forefathers left Argos, our home."

[Picture source: 1, 3 & 4 unknown; 2 Jeffrey M. de Guzman; 5 Svet Mateev]

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Chapter: Council of War

Cast: The entire Pius Cabal, as well as several important NPCs.

The following takes place between 7 Decanum and 10 Decanum, YE 1022.

Following the victorious Battle of the Blight, most of the cabal gathers in the Barony of Geistwald for some gardening, while Gryff heads North to be with his daughter and acquire some meese; thereafter the companions joyfully gather again, and several prominent personages are invited to attend a palaver in the Black Man's Mill.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

CONTEST: New Banner

The BoW Internet Beautification Program

Old banners in Salisbury Cathedral

As the astute reader will be aware, I experimented with a couple of DIY banners for the blog a while ago. That didn't work out. Therefore I now turn to the wonderful world out there in my search for something to welcome people to the Book of Worlds.

Here's what I'm going to do -- I'll take a page from Loq's book, and ask anyone who are interested to make a header/banner for the blog. The dead-line is in a little over two weeks, on 9 March 2011. Thereafter, a jury composed of members of the BoW crew will vote on a winner. As for what you'll win, that'll be a three-fold thing. First and foremost, there's the fame and celebrity that comes with having your creation on the internets, then there's the joy and elation you'll get from having contributed to making those very same internets a more bautiful place. Lastly, you will receive an actual prize. What this is will be a surprise for now (it also depends on whether it has to go by international mail). It will not be extremely flashy, nor very expensive, but I do wish to reward the winner.

If you want to participate, I ask that you limit yourself to three entries.

  • The banner must include the name of the blog, as well as the description-text (the one just below the title).
  • It must somehow be fitting for the blog.
  • It has to be at least 930 pixels wide (wider is preferred, as Blogger can shrink to fit, and the overall layout may change).

Things I like are swords, krakens, and books, but you don't need to let that limit your creativity. If you have questions, or if you wish to submit an entry, email me at nitromidasatlivedotcom.

[Picture source: Zenali on Flickr]

Friday, 18 February 2011

Moon Base "Nattland"

Storyteller's note: This post will attempt to put what information has been gathered thus far in context (here: what is known by Onkel Smit and Master Arachnidus). As with the previous connect-the-dots posts, little or no new information will be presented.

The Ordo Ultima Thule has had a base on the dark side of the moon for at least 25 years. It is believed that this is the logistical and command centre of the Thulist activity on Argos. Nattland lies in the Crater of Yogoth, deep in the Ocean of Despondency. The crater measures about 36 furlongs across, its walls reaching up to about 2,300 feet from the crater floor, and some 1,000 feet above the external surface. Six fortresses line the crater's edge, among them Tower Helreginn. Situated on a lofty peak South West on the rim, this tall tower is assumed to be the heart of the moon-base.

The actual function of Nattland, whether it be supply, troop- and/or fleet-base, research, or perhaps even a colony, is not known. Still, that the base represents an important anchor-head for the outsiders is beyond doubt. 

East in the crater lies what appears to be a town or larger settlement, and a rudimentary analysis suggests that it can house somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 people. Apart from this, the other installation large enough to house a significant number is the fortress guarding the pass allowing entry to the crater from the North. The crater's floor is criss-crossed by roads that allow access to the various sites and installations, and Reavers patrol incessantly above the lifeless landscape.

Scouting of the area has so far not revealed any natural occurrence of neither water nor vegetation. While the Thulist civilization is well adapted to living in constructs deep in the void, according to the Commonwealth, they are to a certain degree dependent on supplies from nearby worlds -- either through plunder, taxation or trade. Reports from the Waymar Islands point towards regular shipments of minerals and victuals, as well as slaves, going off-world, most likely to the moon.

Available information also suggests a high level of fortification. Given what is known about the OUT defensive doctrine, as well as the fact that Nattland has been successfully breached once before (ref.: Morfeus and the incident concerning the Key of Ahuramazta), one can assume a high concentration of artillery, over-lapping and semi-independent defensive sections, as well as occult/arcane countermeasures.

Lastly, according to certain ancient scrolls, when the Dead Star entered the Plane of Argos, a piece broke off. This piece crashed into the far side of the moon and buried itself below its surface (note that conflicting interpretations exist). Again referring to the Legend of Morfeus, it is assumed that the Thulists were in the process of attempting to somehow harness this power when the Rogue Navigator intercepted the Key of Ahuramazta, and subsequently freed some entity from a black crystal. Which, if any, significance this has on an assault on the moon is unknown.

[Picture source 1 & 3 unknown; 2 Iron Sky]

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Chapter summary: Into the Breach

This time I'll go for a slightly different approach, as 1) it's been a week and a half since we played, and 2) we did about 22 hours of gaming in two days. What follows is a not necessarily chronological, or even entirely accurate, account of the events.

Cast: The entire Pius Cabal, including the long lost Dr. Drake, a.k.a. Arkrash Mnarkl, a.k.a. Percival O'Conner.

The following takes place between 29 Novium and 7 Decanum, YE 1022.

After lengthy preparations, the cabal mounts an attack on the heart of the zombie plague; they face the OUT in personal, if highly magical, combat, they make new alliances, acquire new resources, are faced with problems of far reaching proportions, and Bansl wrecks a bakery.

Monday, 14 February 2011

The Airship Pirates are coming!

I'm a little late with these news, but that's how it goes. I take a weekend off, and people insist on moving the world ahead. This post is to let you fine folk know that Messrs Cakebread & Walton, Purveyors of Fine Imaginings, have launched the website for their upcoming line, Airship Pirates. The game is based on the fictional world of the steampunk band, Abney Park. So far, the publication promises artwork by Aaron Weiss, Myke Amend, and Mandem, and the system that will be used is Cubicle 7 Entertainment's Heresy Engine. This is a system I know little about, but who knows, I might have more for you in a later post.

What follows is a teaser from the website:
It's 2150. The Earth's recovering from the Great Apocalypse of 1906.
From the steampunk sky-cities of Isla Aether and High Tortuga come the airship pirates.You hoist the Jolly Roger, spin your propellers and take to the skies. Yours is a life of adventure, plunder and infamy.
The American wilderness lies below. Beast-haunted wastelands are criss-crossed by the tracks of the freedom-loving Neobedouins. Armoured railroads connect the Emperor's widely scattered domains.

I've reported on this case before, and I'll try to stay updated on this as more information becomes available.

[Picture source: Airship Pirates]

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Denizens of the Shadowrealms

"When I was a child, my grandmother told me stories. I thought myself a clever one, and knew she only wished to scare me. I knew that when I grew up, I would not be afraid of hags and marsh-wights. What a fool I was."

"Allow me to introduce myself, good sir. I am sir Malkemus of Geistwald, knight of this realm. You may not think much of it, but I can assure you that you'd do wisely to turn around and leave. Your kind are not welcome, and you may say my rudeness is for your protection. Good day, good sir." 

"Be wary of the little men, for they are cruel and have a wicket wit. Their delight is suffering and pain, and honesty to them is but a joke. They hate humans more than happiness, so should you hear their laughter, quickly turn away."

"Heed the King's Oath! Do not enter the Elfswood, for while the elf has left, the forest is awake. Strange things stalk the gloom, and none are friend to man or steel or fire."

"Aye, friend, 'tis a grim job, but every job needs doing. Every year there's more of 'em, and his Lordship wants his woods pure, so he does. So I set my traps each eve, and gather 'em come morn. A ha' crown for a fairy, three quarter for a gnome. Besides, next you know a child goes missing. Then you'll all come a howlin'."

[Picture source: 1 Vanja Todoric; 2 Omar Rayyan; 3 Adrian Smith; 4 unknown; 5 Steven Stahlberg]

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Erian Shadowrealms

Blind folk see the fairies.
Oh, better far than we,
Who miss the shining of their wings
Because our eyes are filled with things
We do not wish to see.
~Rose Fyleman

Beyond the Gauntlet lies the Shadow Realms. Here, in the Near Umbra, the landscape resembles that of the material world, the Terra Firma. Everything here is a mirror of the world of men, or rather, it is a mirror of that which has an essence. New constructions will at best appear as pale shadows of their material forms, and the spirit of the old tree that was recently cut down, may take decades to finally wither and die. This is also the realm of the Lesser Spirits.

These spirits are not necessarily lesser than those found in the Ethereal Planes or in the Underworld. Instead, they are more bound to the forms that rule the Material Plane. They are the woodland spirits, the animal-spirits, nymphs, knockers, gnomes, necks, and nisse. They are bound to realms in the Near Umbra, often a forest, a swamp, a river, a mountain, or other such areas where man hasn't driven the spirits away. Should these areas become settled or otherwise regulated -- a swamp may be drained, a river dammed, a forest cut down -- the native spirits will either wither and die, or they may drift deeper into the Umbra and forget their former manifestations. Some have gone mad and hateful.

There are many legends of the Lesser Spirits, and in the olden days, it was common to respect the local spirits. In the Hegemony of Man, these practises have long been seen as primitive at best, and heretical at worst. Those who still venerate those who live beyond do so in secret, lest they become accused of witchcraft, paganism, or worship of malevolent entities.

As a rule, it can be said that as the landscape is bound and shaped by man, the Gauntlet will thicken, and the Shadowrealm will become more of a shadow than a living world onto itself. Such is the case in Eria today, and there are but a few areas where the spirits still live close to the world of man. This may be changing as magic returns to the world, but spirits are still officially seen as naturally hostile, unwanted, and enemies of progress, in all the Erian realms.

One of the greatest influences on the Near Umbra these days is the the Flood's arrival. This nation has a deeply rooted relationship with both their own spirits and those native to the lands they travel through. Combined with an ingrained distrust towards science and technology, this has led to an upsurge in spiritual activity in conquered areas. One ambassador to the Flood wrote of having taken part in a ceremony intended on awakening the spirit of a river. As the report goes, this involved tearing down no less than five bridges and three mills.

There are two other events that also greatly influence that which lies beyond the Gauntlet. One is the Elven Scourge that led to large tracts of Pendrell being swallowed by the Elfwood, and the subsequent banishment of the Ministerium from the southern parts of the realm. Over the summer, many have turned to the Younger Gods for comfort and protection, but some, especially in rural areas, have returned to ancient druidic practises. So far, King Rowar II has turned a blind eye to these activities. The second development is that of the Redlands. With the evacuation and wide-spread mortality of the Duchy of Diemed, and with the Blight in Zalburg, the Gauntlet has been severely weakened. The Syndicate has set down a committee tasked with developing a strategy for reaffirming reality in this area.

See also:
Metaphysical Topography

[Picture source: 1 Omar Rayyan; 2 Simon Favreau McNulty; 3 unknown]

OUT Rank-and-File -- Poll Closed

The results are in, and I am surprised and pleased by the turn-out. Twelve people voted, and the results were unequivocal. The Ordo Ultima Thule twelve-a-dozen thugs are now called Falangists. I'm quite pleased by that, as it was my favourite, and after having used it in play, I find it rolls easily off the tongue. It also distinguishes them from the other types of allies and enemies in the setting.

The results were as follows:
Legionaries: 0 - 0%
Falangists: 7 - 58%
Hirdmen: 3 - 25%
Other: 2 - 16%

A special thank you goes out to Trey, Toadface, and C'nor, for contributing with new suggestions. To the rest of you, thanks for helping out.

I'll edit this into the Villains-post ASAP.

Origin of the word

Falange is Spanish for falanx, and came to mean the Falange Española de las J.O.N.S. During the 1930's it was one of the parties in the Spanish Civil War, and it eventually became a unified party under General Franco. The members of the party were called Falangists, or in Spanish, Falangistas. [Wikipedia]

[Picture source: 1 & 2 unknown]

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Juggling Geese, or GM-ing a Large Group

Image unrelated

Last weekend was spent in a cabin with all of the players (seven all told), playing heavily. According to my calculations, we managed about 22 hours of gaming in two days. My brain was severely over-heated by the time I got home on Sunday afternoon, and I've been watching the recharge bar climb slowly back to green since then. I have to tackle the chapter-post(s) at some point over the next week, but I still need some time to marinate before I get started. I do have a few other posts to write as well, as we've gotten a brand new faction on the board since last week -- I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out. I'll give you a hint: Spirit Courts.

So how did it go? It was bloody brilliant, is how it went. I over-planned, but I usually do -- with my group, I never know where they'll end up taking a given scenario, so I tend to lay down a massive ground-work. I also knew GM-ing for seven players would be hard, and it was. The really difficult part is to get as many of them involved as much as possible. Here I think I could have done a lot better. With three dominant players, I think I tend to rely on them leading the game a little too much.

At one point I came down pretty hard on one of the players who were following up a solo-scene while the rest were waiting for the wrap-up. I could have handled this better, but hindsight is, as they say, 20/20. Another thing I regret is not providing a hook for one of the guys so that he could've gotten into the action in a more exciting manner. As it was, he ended up playing technical support for the group for most of day two.

Still, I think everyone had fun, and while I'm not sure I'm ready for another weekend just yet, I'd definitely do it again.

My question for you guys is whether you have any advice for running large groups.

[Picture source: Oscar Perez]

Monday, 7 February 2011

OUT Corpse Soldiers

The Ordo Ultima Thule has had an interest in the Red Death almost since it arrived on the Erian shores, and the order's scientists have been working on ways to weaponize zombies for just as long. Dr. Hildebrun Möttelgrab, one of the leading inventors in the field of goethic medicine, was appointed as scientific commander of Operation Auferstehung's Tactical Developments Section, and her reports have so far been very uplifting. Despite several failed experiments, at least two types of Sonderkampfleiche (SdKpfLce), lit. Special Combat Corpse, have been developed to a state of combat deployment readiness. What follows are excerpts from Dr. Möttelgrab's reports to Deep Command.

SdKpfLce I-c (Leichensoldat)
"By injecting the subjects with Abytombtredyxaltid (ATT), a serum refined from extracts from the spinal fluids of the more potent of the natural specimens ("prowlers"), and infusing them with Ketholabyssalditraxid (KAD) throughout the incubation period, while exposing them to continuous enforced impressional therapy, the result is a vicious soldier who will attack without regard for personal safety. The advantageous secondary and tertiary effects are, respectively, short term collapse of enemy morale, and possible long term undermining of the enemy's civilization. They will not target friendly personnel."

Intelligence 1, Wits 3, Resolve 1
Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 1
Presence 1, Manipulation 0, Composure 3

Brawl 2 (bite dice-pool 5)
Firearms 2 (rifle dice-pool 8)

Health 6
Size 5
Initiative 5
Defence 2
Speed 9

SdKpfLce III-b (Sturmleiche)
"Type III is constructed using the same serum as with Type I (ATT), but instead of thaumaceutical treatment, a psychoscoptic device (Obermas's neuro-syncophant Type 23) has been implanted in the subject's cranium, and wired to the cortex. Further enhancements include an optical implant connected to the weapon (machine-gun/grenade-launcher/flame-thrower) a short range vox-caster connected to the OT-23, as well as constant exposure to XT-107 (delivered through a standard V-XIV gas-mask). The subject is mounted on a modified Waldmeier 47 bipod. The result is a semi-autonomous weapon system -- an officer can issue simple orders (fire, cease fire, advance, retreat, right, left, etc.) via the vox-caster."


Intelligence 1, Wits 2, Resolve 1
Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 3
Presence 1, Manipulation 0, Composure 3

Firearms 3 (dice-pools MG 12 + auto; GT 8 + dmg 8/8; FT 10 + burn)

Health 8
Size 5
Initiative 5
Defence 2
Armour 4
Speed 19 (+10 equipment factor)

[Picture source: 1 Dead Snow; 2 Keith Thompson]

Friday, 4 February 2011

Plague Demons


In the dawn of time, Mekelrad was a Bane Lord, a powerful spirit of the nether regions of the Umbra. After the Sundering, his realm was swallowed by the Abyss, and Mekelrad was drowned. Since then, he has appeared in legends a few times as the Lord of the Red Death.

Rank: 5
Attributes: Power 15, Finesse 12, Resistance 15
Willpower: 30
Essence: 36 (max 50)
Initiative: 27
Defence: 15
Speed: 37 (species factor 10)
Size:  12
Corpus: 27

Influence: Red Death 5
Numina: Blast (dice-pool 27 + Essence points, range 150 yds - Lethal); Consume the Tainted Soul (dice-pool 27, each success gives one Essence - destroys one zombie); Create Nerguldamoth (dice-pool 27, cost 5 Essence); Underworld Gate (dice-pool 27, opens portal to the Underworld for one scene, can be kept open by Essence).
Ban: Cannot actively harm a true believer.

These spirits are conjured from the mass-graves of those who die nameless deaths during a plague. They appear as large humanoids composed of countless decaying corpses covered in lye, and will normally attack any living on sight. The attacks of a Nerguldamoth carries the infection of the plague that killed its corpses.

Rank: 3
Attributes: Power 8, Finesse 7, Resistance 9
Willpower: 17
Essence: 20 (max 20)
Initiative: 16
Defence: 8
Speed: 17 (species factor 2)
Size:  9
Corpus: 18

Influence: Plague 2
Numina: Abhorrent Stench (dice-pool 15, -Resolve, scene, target takes penalties on all actions); Puterfy (dice-pool 15 vs. hardness - all organic matter rots).
Ban: May not pass the Gauntlet unless through a portal.

[Picture source: 1 unknown; 2 LordNetsua]

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Chapter: Preparations

Cast: King Aegir of the Gypsies, Masters Bansl, Galan, Tito, and van Zaar, and Toadface of the Great Woods. Also, as NPCs: Queen Ylvana of the Terema, Mistress Severa Septimus, Master Octavian Arbalestus.

The following takes place between 23 Novium and 28 Novium, YE 1022.

After the naming ceremony of Gryff's daughter, the heroes start planning their assault on the Redlands, first by discussing the situation with their allies, then they undertake a complex ritual so as to scry the city of Zalburg; the whole thing is delayed by heated negotiations over the new members's status within the cabal.

A slight delay...

The chapter-post will not be up for a few hours yet, but that gives me the perfect excuse to post this bloody brilliant vid. Strike all that nonsense you've heard about Darth Vader's childhood, here's the true story. At least as it should have been.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Mid-week musings [POLL INSIDE]

I've got one more post coming before the Great Adventure, and that's last session's chapter-post. That should be up around midnight tomorrow, I'm hoping. Until then, I'll give you some light entertainment, as well as the opportunity to exercise your democratic muscles.

Let's start with the poll, shall we. As regular readers, and of course my players, are aware of, there is a faction of badguys in my world called the Ordo Ultima Thule. As any proper evil order, they have all sorts of minions to call upon to fuck up the plans of our heroes. What I'm asking you to help me with is decide on the name of their rank-and-file. So far I've called them "the Legion/Legionaries". I'm not really pleased with that, hence the poll.

The options you can chose between are: Legionaries, Falangists, Hirdmen, and Other (specify). On the latter, please leave a comment below. There are no prizes attached, apart from eternal gratitude and unmeasurable glory.

As for the entertainment, I'll leave that to Jonathan Coulton. It's more than a little relevant to the current plot-line ;)

The picture is by the super-talented Daniel Lieske, the creator of the online graphic novel the Wormworld Saga. You really should check out his stuff.

For my players
As you seem to have taken an interest in connecting NPCs with old legends, you should read the following posts, as I will not accept creative interpretations based on mere speculation.
The Legend of Trond
The Legend of Brōdar

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


The Red Death plagues Eria, spreading like wildfire across the western parts of the Enlightened Skythian Empire. It is a disease that attacks both the body and soul of its victims; the body will die, but the sick soul will not be able to leave the decaying corpse. The result is a walking corpse, all resemblance of its former self eaten away by the terrible plague. The victims are driven by a mad hunger for human flesh, and each bite carries the infection to another host. Those who succumb to the Red Death are called zombies. No known cure exists.

The Enlightened Alliance has kept an eye on the plague, and has so far managed to stop it from spreading into their lands. Most of the Syndicate's forecasters predict that unless the Red Death can somehow be stopped, it is only a matter of time before it gets out of control. In this case, they believe the Erian civilization will end within a year.

What follows are the two types of zombies identified and recorded by the Enlightened Alliance's doctors.

The majority of the infected become shamblers. These walking dead are devoid of all semblance of intelligence. They behave almost like a swarm of netherfish, converging in great numbers where there is food (i.e. living humans). It is not believed that they are capable of communication in any understandable fashion, rather that their infected souls have some way of sensing when another zombie has found a prey.

Intelligence 0, Wits 1, Resolve 1
Strength 2, Dexterity 1, Stamina 1
Presence 1, Manipulation 0, Composure 1

Brawl 1
Health 6
Size 5
Defence 1
Initiative 2

A few of the diseased turn into prowlers. As with their lesser kin, these undead have lost their personalities, but somehow (it is believed that these were particularly resourceful humans in life) they are more cunning than the lesser zombies. They seem to share the same connection as the shamblers, but they have been known to use more sophisticated techniques to get to their prey, e.g. chasing them into a dead-end or opening doors. One report also describes a particular prowler who seemed to lead a pack of shamblers from farm to farm.

Intelligence 1, Wits 2, Resolve 1
Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 1
Presence 1, Manipulation 0, Composure 2

Brawl 2
Health 6
Size 5
Defence 2
Initiative 4

The Red Death
Infection: Bite
Resistance: Damage - Stamina

If the target fails the resistance-roll, it will lose 1 Willpower point each (hour x Willpower). Once the Willpower is reduced to zero, the target dies, and becomes a zombie.

The following three posts also discuss the topic:

[Picture source: Troll in the Corner]