Monday, June 24, 2013

Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition

A good friend of mine recently talked me into pledging my support for the newest iteration of Call of Cthulhu - one of may favorite RPGs of all time.  Information about the Kickstarter campaign may be found here:

I am happy that CoC is receiving the love that it deserves.  It is, in my opinion, one of the greatest RPGs of all time.    I actually enjoyed the demise of my character, the esteemed Dr.Whitfield Gropes.  Ironically, he didn't die in some asylum, slavering and howling at the moon.  He died in a plane crash.

Given the fact that the six previous editions of CoC are perfectly fine, I suppose a new edition isn't imperative.  However, this edition could be the greatest edition of all.  I am so excited about it that I have started to dream of cyclopean architecture and tenebrous darkness. 

We'll have to see what happens.  I am sure that the finished product will not disappoint.  I plan to use some of it in my Hrulvir campaign. 


Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Sellswords of Hrulvir

I have been toiling away at my first paid writing gig, so I haven't had much time to devote to Hrulvir.  Having said that, I took a break and stumbled upon this evocative illustration.

If someone were to ask what the typical scoundrel looks like in Hrulvir, I'd refer them to this image.  This is actually a rendition of one of the myriad groups skulking across the unforgiving lands of Westeros. 

Suffice it to say, I am quite furious with George R.R. Martin.  His scrofulous city of Braavos is a complete ripoff of Hrulvir.  Mr. Martin shall hear from my representation shortly.  I kid, of course.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Old Ones

No, I'm not referring to THE old ones.  In the world in which Hrulvir is perched, I've introduced a race of humans that are, for all intents and purposes, Melniboneans with the serial numbers blacked out. 

I did this because I wanted to use Moorcock's Young Kingdoms as a departure point and morph the setting into my own. 

Accordingly, I decided to use the Melniboneans as a palimpsest.  The old ones, if legend may be trusted, are a mingling of human and demon.  No one knows exactly why or how this mingling took place, but the remnants of this erstwhile culture are treated with suspicion and disgust.

Human tends to project upon this diaspora all manner of perversions.  The old ones are believed to have practiced cannibalism, incest, child sacrifice, and other sordid rituals that are better left unmentioned.  The truth, probably, is somewhere in the middle.

In truth, the old ones once ruled an empire that threatened to span the entirety of the known world.  Their armored legions, at one time, were the most fearsome fighters on the planet.  The remains of this once vast demesne are scattered like bones.  The characters have yet to discover one of this race's tombs.  It will happen, though. 

I have also been thinking of American Buffalo, again.  I was struck this morning by the notion that this race was so wealthy that their noble families used to mint their own currencies.   Collectors go to obscene lengths to obtain these unique, and sometimes magical, coins.  What if the players are hired by one such collector to break into the home of another collector and steal his or her collection?

More importantly, since one of the players is a halfbreed old one, I wonder how he feels about this sort of looting. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Many Characters that I've Played

As we all know, one of the hardest things to do is to wrangle a four or five thirty-somethings into sitting around a table and throwing plastic dice at one another.  No one has the time, really - family, work, etc. take precedence.  One of the things that I've done in order to keep gaming, is that I play some online games through RPOL.

I do this because I am inveterate lover of rpgs; I love write; and I love to play new games.  The problem with online games is that most of the games tend to fizzle out.  There are a few, however, which have withstood attritition, and have kept on keeping on.

As a matter of fact, one of the games was so epic, and the group of players so disciplined, that I had to bow out because their posting rate was far too quick for me to participate.  It also didn't help that the game had been going on for five years.  It is very difficult to participate in a game with that much backstory.

There are other games, however, that have been quite amazing.  The game Lacuna comes to mind.  Although that game has ceased, the two years during which that game was active remain some of the most fantastic gaming experiences that I've ever had.  I attribute the lion's share of success to the GM, a great guy named Don.  Don had the ability to roll with whatever oddball decisions our oddball characters made.  He gave as good he got, in other words.

I have also been involved in pretty epic, picaresque Talislanta game.  Although the game does experience protracted lulls, it always picks up again.  The GM of this particular game is also pretty darn fantastic.  The players are great as well. 

I am currently involved in Amber game, as well as a Dying Earth game.  We are in the process of creating characters, which is always fun.  Here are the descriptions of the two characters that I am going to be playing.

From Amber:

The greys and reds of Rene's trump suggest gathering clouds and slashes of blood.  Physically speaking, Rene possesses the graceful musculature of a cat.  His hair is as dark as wet coal, and tangles about his head.  Easily tricked, he's prone to vengeful fits of anger – especially when the past reminds him that few wrongs can be forgiven or forgotten.  
When asked why he loves jazz so much, Rene shifts his tortoise shells and says that the convolutions of bebop remind him of the whorls and curves of the pattern.  There is magic in allowing one's fingers to scuttle and weave across frets, creating melodies from shadows.
When he is not loitering within the halls of Amber, Rene Thomas haunts dark cafes and theatres, playing songs that evoke the melodies of Cherokee, Avalon, How High the Moon, All the Things You Are, and Ornithology.  Onstage, he prefers to concede the spotlight to Dexter Gordon, Charlie Parker, Bill Evans, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, Pops, and countless others.  He keeps company with men and women of a fey disposition- a lost generation of soldiers, poets, and novelists who speak nostalgically of wars and crumbling regimes.

From Dying Earth:

Balthazar Vaughn IV comes from a long, distinguished line of rakes and libertines.  The entire male line of this family has either been jailed, or succumbed to one excess or another.  It is rumored that Vaughn's father and grandfather murdered one another in a duel over a mistress.   Not wanting to be outdone by his forebears, Balthazar Vaughn IV has spent his days cheating, gambling, and amassing enemies.  He is, like his forebears, utterly convinced that he can talk or feint his way through any predicament, and that he will always remain one step ahead of his fate.

It sounds like a lot of work, but, most games on RPOL unfold at leisurely pace.   The best thing about playing these games is that I've been able to hone my writing skills a great deal.  Everything is text-based, so one has to be able to desribe their character's actions as vividly as possible.  This doesn't necessarily require paragraphs, by any means.  It does, however, require clarity.  Less is often more, as the saying goes.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Game of Thrones

So, I know that I'm probably one of the last people on the planet who has not already completely digested Mr. Martin's magnum opus, but I am now caught up with the HBO series, and I have carved my way through the first book.  As far as fantasy goes, I mostly prefer the pulpier short stories that were written by Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Lovecraft, Leiber, and Moorcock.  I have never been a huge fan of the sprawling, high fantasy epics.

I've certainly read The Lord of the Rings a couple of times, and I read the first book in the Wheel of Time series, back when I was 14.  That was 24 years ago.  I suppose I don't have the patience to stick with a series that spans thousands of pages.  I did read War and Peace, recently, which was around a thousand pages.  I wonder why Robert Jordan couldn't sum up his epic within a similar number of pages.  We all know the answer, of course.

Getting back to A Game of Thrones, I was surprised that I liked the first book as much as I did.  I mean no disrespect to George Martin.  He is, in my opinion, a fine writer.  He earned his stripes toiling in Hollywood and the genre mines.  The prose is, by and large, spare and evocative.  He uses the word crunch a bit too much for my taste, but that is a minor quibble.

I guess I like the series because George Martin knows how to create interesting, multifaceted characters. Although the series features knights, castles, and tournaments, there is none of the chivalry that typically accompanies these tales.  The knights in these stories may wear baroque armor, but most of them are little more than brigands and rapists encased in steel.

I appreciate the fact that Martin's stories, in a certain sense, subvert the tropes that are typically associated with this genre.  Morality in Westeros is presented in various shades of grey.  For example, the rogue who shoves a child through a window saves a woman knight from being violated by a pack of bloodthirsty warriors.  I find myself hating and respecting him, simultaneously.  No one in the tales is wholly good or bad.

My loyalties, such as they are, are very divided.  It is very hard not to side with The Starks, even when their confederates prove that they are capable of the same atrocities as the soldiers fighting under the aegis of the rival houses.  It is also difficult not to smile when Tyrian the dwarf's cunning helps his family prosper.

I'd say the only character that I truly despise is the young dauphin and king of the Seven Kingdoms.   While appreciate why the young boy acts as he does, Martin makes it very difficult to like or respect the young king.  I suspect that this might change as the story develops.  For now, I reserve my right to despise the flaxen-haired bastard.

From what I've read so far, I am enjoying A Game of Thrones, and I look forward to finding out what happens to each of these characters.  I have my suspicions about how certain plots will play out, but I hope that George is cagier than I am, and that he outwits me and takes these stories in unanticipated directions.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Atlantis: The 2nd Age Kickstarter

What do you get when you mix Elric, Conan, and a D20?  You get Atlantis: The 2nd Age. For someone who loves the genre of sword & sorcery, this is probably the most enticing copy that has ever been written.  It is for this reason that I gleefully decided to support Jerry Grayson's Kickstarter project to relaunch the rpg Atlantis: The 2nd Age. 

Even better, I recently had the opportunity to participate in a one-shot adventure which was run by Mr. Grayson, the mastermind behind this hellenistic reboot.  I'd prefer not to blather on about the game, because you can learn about it directly from Jerry, at

It should also be pointed out that Jerry is one of the brains behind Khepera Press, which produced the great games Godsend Agenda and my beloved Hellas.  I haven't had a chance to play Godsend Agenda, but I've heard nothing but good things about it.  Hellas, in my humble opinion, is one the best games that has been produced in the last decade.  The production values are outstanding, and the concept is even better.  I am, therefore, quite excited that Atlantis is the hands of such a capable press, and that it seems to share similarities with Hellas.

Atlantis, as the name implies, is an antediluvian setting.  As such, it teems with sandals, swordsman, cunning sorcerers, and most of the other tropes that one expects to find in a sword & sorcery game.  All this iron-thewed goodness is fueled by the same system that propelled the outstanding Talislanta 4th edition.  That is to say, a single D20, a bit of number crunching, and reference to a simple table - period.  That's about as complicated as it gets.  One rule to rule them all, as the saying goes.

A system such as this easily accommodates a free-flowing, cinematic type of game, and suits the genre quite well.  During the one-shot, I played Callidus, a scarred Atlantean swordsman.  It should be said that characters in Atlantis are a cut above the unwashed masses, and they begin their journey far more skilled and storied than beginning characters in other fantasy rpgs.  While some people may not appreciate this, I am a big fan of portraying heroic characters with rich backgrounds.  It goes without saying, then, that I enjoyed every minute of it of Jerry's play-test.  I'd provide a post-play rundown of what happened, but I think Jerry plans to run the adventure again, so I won't spoil it for anyone else.

I could speak ad nauseam about how great this game is going to be, but no one wants to hear my prattle, least of all me.  Visit the Kickstarter page and have a look.  Jerry is kind enough to provide a hefty .pdf of the rules for folks to review.  I believe that the game has changed significantly since the publication of this .pdf, but the document certainly provides enough flavor to let you know quite clearly what Atlantis is all about, and what it aspires to accomplish.

I should also mention that Jerry is a really wonderful guy.  I had a great time getting to know him during the one-shot, and  I am happy to support this project.  I look forward to the finished product.  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bran Mak Morn

It has obviously been a long time since I've posted.  Life, leisure, and laziness are responsible for this ebb in activity.  In other words, I have no one to blame but myself.  Fortunately, my current diet of Robert E. Howard has wrenched my from my torpor.

Although Tolkien was instrumental in drawing me to the genre of fantasy, the sinewy tales of a particularly saturnine Cimmerian really inspired me.  I think the main reason Howard's stories (warts and all) resonated so much is that they got on with it, as it were.  Tolkien had the luxury of time and space to describe the minutiae of his beloved Middle Earth.  Howard, on the other hand, was laboring under the scrutiny of pulp editors, who wanted stories that were as kinetic and titillating as they were short.

In my case, I started out with the ACE paperback version of Howard's Conan - the ones that attempted to place Conan's stories in an artificial chronology; more offensive still, these books, with their lovely Boris and Frazetta covers, included many stories written by other writers.  Some of the stories were not bad, but no one one but Robert E. Howard can write like Robert  E. Howard.

I came back to Conan early in my third decade, and, after reading all of Howard's Conan stories, I moved on to Solomon Kane, Kull, and, recently, Bran Mak Morn.  I am currently reading the fine story called "The Worms of the Earth".   Bran, the direct descendant of the Pictish warrior Brule the Spear Slayer, is a lithe, doomed leader of a race that is reverting to savagery.  Bran is more like Solomon Kane than either Conan or Kull.  He is, in some ways, the most nuanced of Howard's characters. 

Although the stories are clouded with a patina of historicity, they are, in essence, just as fantastical as any other of Howard's tales.  What I love most about the tales is that Bran seems far more human than Kane, Conan, or Kull.  He does not share Kane's puritanical zeal or the equanimity of Conan's freewheeling youth.  He is similar to Kull in that he shoulders the burden of kingship.  In his case, he leads a moribund race teetering on the brink of extinction.  He seems to know, intrinsically, that he is fated to lose both his battle against the encroaching Romans, as well as his struggle to rescue his people from reverting to out-and-out savagery.

Bran is, in point of fact, of a different bloodline than his people - a line that can be directly traced back some 100,000 years to Brule the Spear Slayer, Kull's trusted companion.  In the story that I'm reading, Bran is poised to achieve a Pyrrhic victory over the Romans.  Without spoiling too much, suffice it to say that Howard and Lovecraft corresponded a great deal; this story bears the fruit of that correspondence.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Southern Jungles

The jungles of the southern continent stretch for thousands of square miles.  Many refer to this region as a sea of jade.  The jungle is a  miasma of scattered tribes, ancient ruins, and internecine strife.  An empire of degenerate sorcerers once ruled this region.  Their reign, however, was undone by the corruption engendered by their wicked magics.

Most sorcerers do their utmost to mitigate the corruption inherent in the casting of spells.  The sorcerers of the southern jungles embraced this curruption and allowed it to warm and twist their bodies and minds.  All of them eventually forfeit their humanity as they delved deeply into their sorcerous arts.
It is rumored that many of the odd, horrific beasts which wander through the depths of the jungle were once the very sorcerers who ruled this land.  Instead, they haunt ruins of their abandoned cities like ghosts.  It is also rumored that many villagers worship these monstrosities as beast-gods, and routinely sacrifice fellow villagers to appease the appetites of these terrifying creatures.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Cult of Sheol the Strangler

Hrulvir, like most fantasy cities, is infested with cults, secret societies, crime syndicates, you name it.  One of the many cults that is rumored to exist is called The Cult of Sheol the Strangler.  Its adherents may not refer to themselves as a cult.  No one knows anything about this secretive religion.  In addition to murmurings of sacrifice, all manner of profane rights, the cult is rumored to possess an effigy that hearkens back to time-before-time.  The statue, fashioned from pure gold, is said to portray a massive serpent with moon-shaped eyes, woven around a dying sun.  The sun, it is said, has been fashioned from gem of the blackest hue.  If the statue exists, it is probably worth more than a small kingdom.  This rumor has inspired countless fools to venture into the sordid depth's of Hrulvir's sewers.  Few - if any, ever return.   I am obvious drawing heavily upon the original Conan the Barbarian film for inspiration.  Here's a picture of the leader and his two underlings.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Of Ghouls and Gangs

Well, after a long hiatus,  2/3 of my group got back together to resume their exploration of Hrulvir: City of the Groaning Gate.  After a recap of our previous session, Jethras and Yauk, a pair of morally bankrupt mercenaries, decided to collect a payment that owed to them for a service performed on behalf of an effete nobleman named Sepharis Vulnoor.  This minor task was interrupted by skirmish between two street gangs. The fracas erupted in a courtyard ringed by abandoned towers and shacks, just south of where the characters reside.

The gangs, distinguishable solely by either black or white sashes worn upon their forearms, seemed intent upon killing one another.  Jethras and Yauk opted to side with the white sashes, and they killed several of the black sashes.  The expeditious manner in which they butchered what were essentially street thugs in their late teens frightened the white sashes so much that they scurried off before they could be accosted by the two heavily-armed interlopers.

After their bloodlust was sated, Jethras and Yauk fled the scene just before The Ravens arrived.  As they made their way through the convolutions of The Narrows, they were nearly flattened by a fallen chunk of masonry that had been pushed from the top of one of the myriad leaning towers.  Enraged, the  two mercenaries ascended the empty tower and reached the top in time to spy a pair of young hoodlums scampering across the rooftops.  Black sashes were displayed prominently upon their arms.

Yauk managed to fire an arrow at the retreating saboteurs, but the arrow streaked harmlessly over their heads.  Frustrated, the twain left The Narrows and entered Hrulvir's commercial district without further incident.  Whilst making their way through the commercial center, they overhead a man say that pickpockets may be deterred by wearing a thief's finger around one's neck.

They finally arrived at Sepharis's manse and, after exchanging pleasantries, were awarded what essentially amounted to a check for 1000 bronze eels, as well as instructions to present the writ to one of the clerks at The Vaults - a bank.   Angered that their patron did not have the money on hand, the characters made their way to the vault.  The clerk who accepted the note was taken aback by the duo's mean appearance.  He was especially offended by the pouch of clacking teeth which is tethered to Yauk's throat.  His face curdled when he realized that Jethras was partially Lemuran.  Suffice it to say, it took the clerk close to an hour to certify that the cheque was legitimate.

After several minutes of haranguing, the clerk returned with a bag of bronze eels, and seemed quite eager to see the mercenaries out of The Vaults.  Jethras was bold enough to enquire about how he and Yauk could requisition a vault of their own, but the clerk derided him and seemed even more eager to remove them from the premises.

The pair then decided to visit the fence Dobbas.  They found their colleague at his tavern The Frigid Moon.  The fence, normally inebriated or suffering from the effects of recently being so, was uncharacteristically pale, and was seen coughing blood into a dirty rag.  When pressed about his condition, Dobbas admitted that he'd been poisoned several years ago by Balthazar, the leader of a particularly vicious syndicate known as The Long Hoods. Dobbas admitted that he'd cheated the man out of a significant amount of money, and that Balthazar had gotten even with him by poising him with a rare, slow-acting toxin. 

Balthazar has spent the last five years feeding Dobbas small quantities of the antidote to stave off the poison for short periods of time.  In doing so, he has been able to force Dobbas to carry out menial and often dangerous tasks, free of charge.   Dobbas asked the mercenaries to infiltrate the stronghold of a cult worshipping the god Sheol the Strangler.  Rumors hint that the cult owns a statue made of solid gold.  Balthazar is convinced that the rumors are true, and he has forced Dobbas to carry out this nigh impossible task.  

Dobbas tells the players that egress into the cult's headquarters may be obtained through the sewers.  Dobbas promises to pay the characters handsomely for their efforts.  He offers to safeguard the money that they've just collected; additionally, he offers to hire a locksmith to fashion a vault or safe and have it installed within the tower in which they inhabit.

The players visit Madam Nu's House of Pleasure, with Jaliel at their side.  After having an awkward conversation with Nu, they convince the madam to allow them to use the sewer entrance located in her basement.   The brothel basement is full of cages, as well as every torture implement conceivable.  The characters descend into the sewers and wade through a cavern of filthy water.  After several minutes of walking, they encounter a dead beggar floating facedown in the water.  Upon turning the body over, they see that something has eaten the corpse's face, as well as much of its torso.  

Rounding a corner, they spy a ghoul devouring another beggar.  A fight breaks out between the ghoul and they players.  The characters dispatched the ghoul without much effort, but two more ghouls showed up and complicated matters.  Although one of the additional ghouls was also killed, the last emitted a scream that was so terrifying that it stunned two of the three players.   Jaliel, by some miracle, managed to withstand the effects of the horrid scream, and managed to fight off the ghoul until Jethras and Yauk regained their senses.   Yauk managed to behead the last ghoul as soon as he regained his wits.  

Moments later, they players arrive that landing described as the secret entrance to the lair of the followers of Sheol the Strangler.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Dead God's Palm

Although this game world is being built collaboratively, I've decided to shoehorn in a huge swathe of wasteland called The Dead God's Hand.  This waste, east of the Barrier Peaks, is bone-dry ocean marred by a thousand caravan routes, strange ruins, and fearsome tribes that are nations unto themselves.  Additionally, I am using the wonderful Spider God's Bride for inspiration.  As much as I love the setting that is outlined in the book, I have decided to graft it onto world that I and my players are building.   It would be cool if the characters stumbled upon a relic such as the one that appears in this photo.  I notice that there's graffiti written upon.  What if the entire thing was defaced with profane sigils known only to a secretive desert cult that worships a slumbering god?  The ideas are endless.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

20 Urban Encounters

City Encounters
1.           Two nobles prepare to engage in a maiming duel.  One or both will offer the characters money to fight on their behalf.  Although these duels have been outlawed, the Raven can be easily induced to turn the other cheek.
2.           A piece of rubble falls from an overhanging wall or tower.  20% chance of landing on one of the characters.
3.           Rival gangs (two or more) are either seen or heard fighting in the back alleys.
4.           A pimp beats one of his or her whores on a side street.
5.           A quarrel between two men escalates and results in the overturning of a produce cart.  This is actually an elaborate ruse; a pickpocket lurks nearby and will attempt to steal something from one of the characters while they are distracted by the fight.
6.           A squad of Raven accosts the PCs and questions them.  They are either looking for a bribe or they suspect that the PCs perpetrated a recent crime.
7.           A fisherman has just been dragged from the river after losing a limb to a large eel.  He is bleeding out and begging for help.
8.           A mendicant scrawls obscenities with excrement and offers to divine the PCs’ futures for a few bronze eels.
9.           A shifty-looking fellow offers the PCs a powerful narcotic called Dream Lotus.   50% chance that it’s fake. 
10.         The PCs witness the assassination of a local crime boss.
11.         An assassin begins to stalk one of the players after mistaking him or her for someone else.
12.         A fire erupts from a nearby building in which people are trapped.  (2D6 rounds before the building collapses).
13.         A sickness breaks out in the poorer districts.  The dead are carted off by haggard-looking men in sackcloth.  Someone or some group is actually poisoning wells.
14.         The Day of Secrets.  A procession of priests of Groan garbed in ash-colored vestments asks the characters to write their secrets on paper and toss them in a burlap sack.  The secrets will be burned on a large pyre at the tolling of the last hour.  Unscrupulous priests blackmail those who are foolish enough to write their names on their confessions.
15.         A group of persistent beggars attempts to weasel money from the PCs.  They will retaliate if they’re ignored.
16.         Someone is seen putting up wanted posters which feature a rugged-looking warrior, allegedly a bandit, who hides in nearby caves.  If the PCs ask, the individual reveals that he is a member of the Bounty Hunters’ Guild, and that he has too many contracts to handle on his own.  He will offer the PCs 500 eels to apprehend the brigand – alive or dead.
17.         The PCs see wanted signs which feature someone that closely resembles one of them.
18.         The PCs cross paths with an enemy, a former associate, or both.
19.         Men gather around a wooden trough in which two eels fight.  Bets are being accepted.  The PCs are welcome to wager on the eels.  The fight is fixed.  Perception roll to notice that one of the eels is blind. 
20.         People gather at the wharves and peer at a dismembered torso that floats in the water.  This is one of many such occurrences, and isn’t long before the dark, shimmering waters teem with the ridged fins of predatory eels and remains are devoured.       

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Spider God's Bride

I purchased an electronic version The Spider God's Bride, through DTRPG.  Mongoose has threatened to publish this product for quite some time, but I was beginning to believe that it would never see the light of day.  In short, although I was about to give up on this, now that I've seen it, and can say unequivocally that the the wait was worthwhile.

Mongoose did a great job of adapting this product for their Legend System, which is itself an adaptation of the old BRP version of Runequest.  I have never played Legend, but it's quite compatible with the BRP rules that I'm using to rune my Hrulvir campaign.

In addition to providing several pages worth of information on setting, religion, and magic.  The tone I think closely mirrors that of Howard or Clark Ashton Smith.   The world is very exotic and antediluvian in tone.  There are tons of sun-bleached runs, nefarious cults, and tawny swordsmen.  I think that anyone interested in running a sword and sorcery game in the vein of Howard or Smith could do a lot worse than the setting that is presented in this book.

Since I am hoping to evoke more of medieval, city state feel,  I am probably going to draw more heavily from the ten adventures outlined in the book than I am from the setting - as wonderful as it is.  Without giving anything away, these adventures are modular, flavorful, and are packed with all the tropes that one would expect to encounter in a collection of sword & sorcery scenarios.  There are plenty of scheming nobles, creepy cultists, and countless opportunities for derring do.

I am going to choose one of the adventures and adapt to my setting for an upcoming gaming session. I look forward to doing so immensely.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Prison Barges

The City State of Hrulvir warehouses criminals in one of two places: the bowels of The Citadel, as well as aboard one of the many prison barges which float upon The Quietus - the vast grey sea into which the River Hrul empties.  It is not unheard of for inmates to rebel and commandeer these vessels.  It is said that some criminals prefer the gallows to one of these dismal ships, since life aboard these waterlogged gaols is wretched beyond description.



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

River Eels

The black water of the River Hrul teems with gigantic eels.  The terrifying beasts are rumored to be able slither onto land to capture prey.  Despite their ferocity, these creatures are caught and sold by the rough fishermen who reside within the meaner districts of Hrulvir, as well as the many towns and villages that exist along the River.  Many of these fishermen have been practicing this trade for multiple generations, and they are extremely proud of this dangerous calling.  It is not unheard of for a large eel to yank fishermen from their boats and attack them.

Although eel meat is not necessarily the tastiest fare, it is abundant and takes seasoning well.  In addition to protein, eel hide is used for all sorts of accouterments, since it is as supple and as sturdy as leather.  Thieves and assassins often wear eel skin armor, since it is light, cheap, and protective.

20 Rumors

Here are twenty rumors that one may hear while traipsing through Hrulvir.

1)      The Lord of Whispers commands legions.
2)      Those found guilty of trafficking in sorcery are fed to beasts that lurk in the belly of the citadel.
3)      The Old Ones have demon blood threaded through their veins.
4)      When the Nine-Headed Crone bears three sons, the sky will hemorrhage blood and dogs will gnaw upon the bones of stars.
5)     The Old Ones were granted Orichalcum by their profane gods in exchange for the sacrifice of their firstborn children.
6)     River eels slither onto land and eat children.
7)     Groan will not pardon your sins on The Day of Secrets unless you write your name on your confession.
8)     Priests of Groan blackmail parishioners who are foolish enough to write names on their confessions.
9)      If you lacquer your blade in your own blood before a battle, you will be victorious.
10)   You will deter pickpockets if you cut off a thief’s finger and wear it around your neck.
11)   Thieves’ Finger is a medicinal herb that will staunch bleeding, suture wounds, and mend crushed bone.
12)   A subterranean city exists beneath the sewers.
13)   Ruins of the old empire jut from the earth like splintered bone.
14)   If a crone murders a girl and drinks her blood, she will become young for a year and a day.
15)   The Vozhd, neither seen nor heard, is a golem stitched together from the rotting flesh of the former rulers of Hrulvir.
16)   It is inauspicious to kill a raven.
17)   Something terrifying lurks in brine of the old sewers.
18)   The Old Ones bide their time, and should not be allowed to live among us.
19)   Although impolite, it is nonetheless auspicious to brag on certain days.
20)   Rats are sacred.