Monday, 10 December 2018





It took two years to get to this point. Remember THIS post from the middle of 2017?

(This is also a Mockup)
And THIS post about crazy-ass Hugh Lupus?

Well now you can finally encounter Hugh in RPG form. I'm sure he never imagined that would be happening in his future.

This thing has been through so many changes and taken so long, its kind of mind-blowing. (It's still been twice as fast and Veins of the Earth.

A lot of crazy, crazy crazy shit happened to get us to this point. So look out for that documentary on whatever has replaced YouTube in 20 years time.

A great deal of thanks from me to Dirk Leichty, Christian Kessler, FM Geist and Jacob Hurst (And Chris McDowall for creating the rules), together we made something that is utterly unlike something we would have done alone.

This might also be the last, or one of the last, big massive project to come out of the G+ OSR community which will probably not exist in the same form in a years time.

This community, if it indeed is a community, or whatever it is, has got quite a lot done. 

(Stage One; the Lab. Stage Two; A Lifeless Underground, Stage Three; Worldwide.)

Not quite 'life from lifelessness' but a lot nevertheless.

Knave, Black Hack, Into the Odd and a dozen more rulselights all exist, easy to play and easy to explain.

There are writers, artists, a massive choke point regarding layout and Kickstarter to finance things.

The growth and distribution of the technology, the democratisation of financing and payment through Kickstarter and Paypal, and the linking together of talented people worldwide means that small groups of itinerant individuals can now do what previously only corporations could attempt.

And because small groups of people can do it, we can do it in the manner of people, rather than that of more-exploitative (because every relation has some power in it) capital.

For instance you get give artists more freedom and find ways to make that work so that hopefully the dominant form of art slides back to being actual art, rather than digital blurs arranged by art directors.

And with a small group you can have much more equitable (but not perfectly equitable, becasue nothing is perfect) arrangements of payment and ownership.

And because the world is what it is, the dark side of humanity comes along with it and changes with the technology. Many of the large personalities driving the movement have feet of clay, the American base that makes up the majority of the market and creators is very focused on t̶e̶a̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶p̶a̶r̶t̶ momentarily adjusting its culture, the social networks that facilitate it are decaying into, or revealing their nature as, profit driven byzantine automata, slowly falling apart, interpersonal relationships are no less flawed for taking place outside the structures of a corporate authority.


It should not be forgotten that things have been, and can be, achieved. Its harder than it seems and harder than we might hope, and it displaces the moral contest for decency from a distant authority, where we can all sneer and mock it, to our living rooms and bedrooms, where we all have to come to grips that we are possibly, at times, each the bad guy. But things can be done.

Eh, just listen to Carl Sagan;

"It's easy to imagine skeins of historical causality. There were many possible historical paths. 

Our ancestors walked from East Africa to Novaya Zemlya and Ayers Rock and Patagonia, they hunted elephants with stone spearpoints, they walked the Moon a decade after entering space.

It is beyond our powers to predict the future.

Catastrophic events have a way of sneaking up on us, of catching us unaware.

Your own life, or your band's, or even your species' might be owed to a restless few, drawn, by a craving they can hardly articulate or understand, to undiscovered lands and new worlds.

Each victory is only a prelude to another, and no boundaries can be set to rational hope.

Our particular causality skein has brought us to a modest and rudimentary, although in many respects heroic, series of explorations.

But it is far interior to what might have been, and what may one day be."

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Knight of Extinction

First, this is a mockup;

So this isn't *it*, but expect the Kickstarter to hopefully launch in the next few days.

another mockup

And now back to your regular, and previously promised programming;

NoRulesDM asked for "Avis Infernalis, and elves in mouse-mail". For those who don't know, this is a reference to the Knights of the Eclipse series from 2017. A kind of blogged setting book about an Azathoth-worshipping kingdom of Evil Chivalry.

Starts here.
Races of Men
Orders of Chivalry
Horses for them to Ride
Armour and Feathersmithing
Saints of the Black Church
Three Keeps of the Kingdom
Enemies of the Kingdom
And running Adventures there

So as requested, here is a little more, a direct translation from one of the books of the Saints of the Black Church;



1 A Knight He is, without body and without form. A Knight of the second night, when after the sun has set the stars themselves go down, one-by-one, and fall from their blinding diadem to reveal the face of darkness, when men shall grope at noonday as if blind.

2 He keeps, at a time, the deeps of the ocean and tourneys there with leviathan who alone of all mortal things can match the shadow of His power.

3 He haunts the sleep with dreams and great visions. He passes deeply in the sleep-within-sleep that maketh up the secret pillars of the firmament. His breath is fear, and from His step mortal terrors spring as the birds scattereth from the racing horse.

4 His sword is the stoop of the hawk: it cometh on with great speed.

5 His sword is the cry of the bat: that it sees with a sound and hunteth that which neither sees not understands what searches it out, yet is born to fear as the root seeketh dark.

6 His sword is the rage of the father against the wife, the rust of the latch, the twisting of cord, that it fray and its fraying not be seen, the slip and the fall and the bone and the crown of the head, the joint which turneth against itself.

7 His sword is the voice that whispereth from the walls, the line that striketh through and the ink that blotteth out. He maketh the parchment to smear and the quill to cut the page.

8 His armour is as the passing of children before their kin. Its plates are as the lightless centre of the fire which taketh the home, and no exit be found. The joins of His plates where they raspeth in the deeps of the earth or in the flexing and seeking of that which hideth behind the sun as it were a mask, is like the listing of names of those that are lost, though they cometh not, even though their names be called, and their place not found, alive or dead, in any firmament which man may search in all the days that are given; they are with Him and they answereth in the rasping of His mail and the shifting of His aegis, one piece against another and they say unto the caller; nothing shall be found, He cometh on.

9 His pennant is of terrible wonders and His arms are of a strange sign only darkly understood. He stealeth breath from the scream. He freezeth the soul in awe. Before Him there are no souls.

10 His mount is Void, its blackness cannot be measured with the pen or weighed against the deepest of places. The oldest of tombs and mines searched out in the marrow of the earth are as pale as rain and as white as down when balanced in the scale.

11 As Thought and Word are locks upon what-is, they freezeth beneath His gaze and are as still as ice. They melteth before the breath of His mount, even as the snow bows and becomes formless before the flame.

12 His herald is madness; in the babbling of the fool is His title given.

13 In the screams of those who scratch on walls are His victories described.

14 His name is in the gasp of the corpse and in the widows tears.

15 The wise may not know His titles, they are as lists of mirrored code. The sane may not see His victories, they are as the space between sounds or as breathing in an empty room. The upright may not speak His name, it is as an eye that watches unseen, its sounds are as steps behind the traveller in a darkening street, its letters are as the shadow of scales on the belly of the wyrm, they may not be divided, they may not be burnt, dead, yet they live and goeth where they will. To speak of Him is as child without kin holdeth the skin of a great snake and knoweth not what awaits.

16 In the deepness of the air He pursueth the birds. The waves fall silent at His passing as the starling beneath the passing of the hawk. The years paleth and hide themselves as at the shadow of the raptor on the murmuration of time.

17 Time hides itself and curls as doth the snail before the beak of the thrush. As the raptor to the bird, as the thrush to the snail, as the shrike to the innocent mouse so is He to what-is. There can be no hiding for all escapes are spirals unto themselves, as to the snail, and He waiteth beyond the shell.

18 There can be no safety, not in armies nor in wealth, not in knowledge nor in deeds, for as the ants toil in the forest floor and buildeth great things, so the bird passeth above, which they see not, though they look ever up, and they taketh the shadow of the starling for brief passing of night.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

What is Artpunk?

(Basically fancy slightly pretentious hipster-esque D&D stuff.)

In answer to a question by Mastered by Marquis asked below, one I can answer relatively easily and quickly as there isn't much to say about it;

"I'm super interested in this concept of "Artpunk OSR" that you've mentioned a few times."

I did not invent this word, nor was I the first person to use it, though I don't really recall who did or was.

Like most descriptive words its edges are permeable. I think of it as describing people broadly around the aesthetic which I tend to like and most often work within. So me and Scrap. Previously I would have said Zak. Throw in Emmy Allen, possibly Ben L, maybe Zedeck. David McGrogan possibly.

Dirks work on Silent Titans I would consider to be 'artpunk' (see sidebar).

Any of these people may or may not agree with their inclusion.

In most cases the rules system is something roughly analogous to LotFP or uses other very ruleslight emulators like Black Hack, ItO or Knave. But its primarily an aesthetic movement which tends to use a particular playstyle rather than a rules-investigation movement.

Obsessions include original art with a unique aesthetic which isn't necessarily trying to remind you of anything, decent-to-excellent layout and info design, a common use of the aesthetics of ruin and of alienation and lots of trans people making it. Most of the trans people in my circles who were or are making stuff for RPG's would fit into it.

Another obsession would be actually producing things rather than talking about producing things, or arguing about what other people are or should be producing, or arguing about what other people are or should be thinking about what other people are producing.

Politics would be unstated but effectively centre-to-left (based on the people who are in it), with a relatively high sense of personal separation, or division of feeling from person, in comparison to more 'community' oriented communities in which feelings are more prioritised and the division between person and feeling is lesser. The furthest right you would probably get is David McGrogan (though of course, he has left, and without, I note, any soulful comment threads on what we could have done to keep him).

As to what it isn't; it isn't Dragonsfoot-esque. So not deeply concerned with rules or rules emulation and while it has nothing against Gygax or gygaxian thinking, exactly where the rules come from and their exact development isn't of primary interest.

It isn't 'traditional' primarily, nor is it calling out to tradition, either a Tenkar-ish aesthetic or even a modern corporate-happy aesthetic. (Gabor Lux and others might disagree with this.)

Neither is is quite storygamy. It would preserve the object-orientation, high player freedom level, problem-solvy bits, slightly harder edge and 'game' parts of OSR D&D. And it probably won't throw up a lot of hyper-specific social-issue stuff. There might be social issue stuff in it, but probably sublimated into invented worlds and situations. It would make things that largely have no direct political point to make, but which you could maybe say something political or cultural about.

If you want a 'ten commandments' then this breakdown from the famous Scrap thread works as well as any;

1. This is a game about interacting with this world as if it were a place that exists.

2. Killing things is not the goal.

3. There is nothing that is "supposed" to happen.

4. Unknowability and consequence make everything interesting.

5. You play as your character, not as the screenwriter writing your character.

6. It's your job to make your character interesting and to make the game interesting for you.

7. If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.

8. The answer is not on your character sheet.

9 .Things are swingy.

10. You will die

By Gregory Blair, Brian Harbron, FM Geist, Zedeck Siew, Brian Murphy, Dirk Detweiler Leichty and Daniel Davis;

There's not deep theory here, I'm just trying to describe a 'scene' or social/creative web that I intuit more than see around me.

If you are someone looking for an OSR-descriptor world that will keep out the bad people you hate and fear, then this probably isn't it. It seems unlikely to me that Pundit, Satanis (or Tenkar) would want to be included, based purely on the aesthetics etc, but since there is no official definition you could hardly keep them out, and Satanis in particular will probably brand himself as 'Artpunk' just to i̶r̶r̶i̶t̶a̶t̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶f̶u̶c̶k̶ ̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶e̶v̶e̶r̶y̶o̶n̶e̶ bravely defend free speech.

But there you go, a word that means something close to what some of you were looking for, and which you can use with some utility until the culture war eats it and you need to come up with another one.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018


Plans to blog every day of December were clearly optimistic.

The book hasn't crashed yet. We are waiting on a guy. Will try to write tonight and blog tomorrow.

I am aware of how darkly hilarious this all is.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

The Stolen Skin of Sun - Princess Wren

The person who does the quote is sick, so apparently we are waiting on that.

Bit of a cheat today but here's the final NPC for Part Three that K asked for.

Part One Here

Part Two Here 

NPC's for Part Three Here 

She is always attended by Flamenco Princes. They surround an apparent girl-sized marionette dressed in a beautiful green silk dress, with long gloves over the arms, a high collar and hidden feet. A wide hat with a thick 360 degree veil.

The attendants have sticks and quickly and easily move the limbs of Princess Wren to illustrate her moods and desires. When she needs to move they gently push her and a rhythmic squeaking comes from below as she smoothly gusts about.

When not doing this the Flamingos discuss the most ridiculous and inane things with utmost seriousness and give you side-eye as if they had caught you listening in.

The Princess cannot look you directly in the eye, she has to look away from you and meet your gaze in a special mirror held up by one of her attendants. One pulls up the veil as another pokes her body to turn away and her reflection smiles at you.

She has fine features, like flower stems binding under dew-heavy cobwebs. She would be ethereal if she were not so very brown - extremely tan indeed, with symmetrical archipelagos of freckles leading her nose, which is sharp as a slice of cake.

Bright, lively eyes the colour of autumn leaves that flash back and forth seeming either humorous or sad, or both.

She sings everything she says, like a flute pronouncing words, though her voice is very beautiful and high. If she has to speak and great deal then the attendants close the veil and you can hear her panting inside, very quickly.

What Can She Do? - Her dad is the King of Birds so she can ruin your reputation with all birds forever. It's largely a status thing, she has few direct powers. The only person not slightly afraid of this is Queen Mab.

Why Does She Want The Skin? - "Oh to be a real, I mean, more real girl, and a Real Princess! Even if only for a little while. I would pay any price - and to have a beau to bring me food and build me a house! Just like the stories!

I get so tired of speaking to people in a mirror."

Likes - Lord Blue Beard; "What a strange and shining man. So full of ultraviolet light. Think of the worms in his fields - how downy his bed must be. How smooth and round his offspring will be."

Hates - Queen Mab; "Ugh! What a stupid mad hag, full of airs and lying thoughts. Who died and made her Queen? Saturn, that's who, and he cut his own head off "by mistake" while sharpening his scythe. If you believe that I've got an owl to sell you.

Weakness - Is actually just a wren in a cage. Also, has a moral centre and probably quite easy to persuade to not buy the skin if you tell her about Princess Sun. (Though if she does end up with it, she will not surrender it.)

Monday, 3 December 2018

The Stolen Skin of Sun - Part 3 (partial)

We are waiting on final quotes from Friesens, and possibly a few other things.

In the meantime, here's the first part of your request list. K asked for more on the Stolen Skin of Sun;

First Part Here;

Second {art Here;

You should probably read those two before you read this. This is by no means complete. It definitely needs at least Princess Wren, and then a lot more stuff to do with the location, like items, a map etc, but here are the basic NPC's.


You become very small and the One-Eyed hedgehog becomes very big - soon he is extremely huge and even more fearsome. He also has lice in his spikes.

"In you go!" He gestures fiercely with his wooden club.

What seemed a crack in the wood is now a tall black arch.

The lice wave hello and whisper "goodbye" in a soft sibilant voice, the sound like children.

The Hedgehog is extremely uncomfortable but if you can persuade the lice to leave he calms down a lot and can tell you something useful.

The lice do not wish to leave; "It's warm here."


You are met by a Ladybug (male), Orbulon Quick, occasional Trumpet Smuggler and current concierge. He will ask how you got here and who you are; "You must be very *serious* people.

The PCs will have to convince him they are Dangerous Characters and of High Status.

"Look out for 'The Master Thief', word is out on the branches - he intends to rob the Auction of Things That Cannot Be Sold.

He Would Not Dare!"


The Auction Hall is dark and looming, with Hot Mantis Courtesans and Millipede Waiters. And the Main Villains. What follows is a partial description;



She looks about a million years old, twisted five times (and in five different directions!). Nose like a capsized canoe. Eyes white and filmy, she seems blind as a cloud. Baby bones braided in her long grey hair, like soft fog pouring from a cold, cracked black pot. her fingers are fiddling and she smells of old bags.

What Can She Do?

She can curse people and turn them into pigs, make them blind, make their hair grow down through their skull and out through their eyes. She can make animals intelligent but these turn out very bad.

Why Does She Want The Skin?

"I might wear it and become Young again, or I might turn it into a BIG SAUSAGE! Can you imagine it? A big peachy sausage with a princesses face all stitched shut (I'd leave the hair on). DELICIOUS."

Likes - Lord Blue Beard. Would like to marry him.

Hates - Queen Mab. "So Ugly, so Graceless! Stupid daft woman! Its all in the wand! She barely knows any real magic!"

Weakness - Mirrors. They all have a mad old woman in them.

Also fears greatly being eaten - thinks most people are secretly trying to eat each other, especially her.



Like a man made of dandruff, or quarried from rocks with big crystals that got eroded away. How he has not worn away in full you do not know. Certainly dead, and rather worn. As dry as old lips. A black robe with silvery square stitch skulls staring out. The silver thread is fraying like guitar screens so the skulls looks like screens that have failed to load. One still has a needle forgotten in it. The robe has a bat-wing collar that has actual bats nesting in it. Maybe its just part of his look. A little black yarmulke kept on with a bright tack pin pushed into the skull (he doesn't seem to feel it).

What Can He Do? - He can raise the dead. He has a Death Touch; "It's a little black finger I have on my hand, don't let it poke you?"

One poke kills you and makes a zombie. Two pokes makes your flesh fall off and makes a skeleton. Three pokes makes you dust.

He can talk to spirits and find out creepy stuff about them if their parents didn't like them (this is why you should always be nice to your parents).

Why Does He Want The Skin - For his grand-daughter. "She's been dead for fifteen years and her skin is just _falling off_ - this would be *perfect*."

Likes - Queen Mab -"What a woman! So dark and mysterious!" Would love an introduction. Keeps looking over at her.

Hates - The Grand Vizier. "I don't know him and I don't care to know him. His kind either raises property prices, or lowers them, and I don't like either! Plus who rides a _camel_?"

Weaknesses - Solvents. Acids in particular. Backs away from wine, fears vinegar utterly. "I'm extremely alkali you know."



He is hanging out with a hot mantis courtesan who laughs at the jokes he doesn't make.

Beard as black as shining ink and as blue as night. Eyes like chips of ice. Exceedingly handsome, in a shadowy way. he's _very_ toned; "I do a lot of Pilates." His hands are sinewy and string, the muscles in his forearms twist visibly under the skin. He laughs and smiles a lot, revealing neat white teeth like square stars in the night of his face, though he never seems to say anything funny. If someone else does he says Ha. Ha. Ha." and changes the subject.

He loves young women and girls and puts his hands on their shoulders. His hands are cold and very strong. He leans in close, his beard is soft and honey-sweet (he uses expensive shampoo). He thinks you are Very Special, and he loves what you have done with your hair.

What Can He Do? - He has a sword. He is the best fighter around. (Better than Prince Brawn), skilful, quick, careful and clever. There is no-one who can beat him in a straight fight.

He has no problem killing women, even small girls, he stamps on their necks in the melee and later claims they fell.

Why Does He Want The Skin? - "I will return the skin to Princess Sun" (sounds good) "and in return she will marry me. And she will be mine. Absolutely. For as long as I allow her to live. And if she refuses I will burn her skin before the castle gates and cast the ashes into the wind. But she will not refuse."

Likes - The Wren Princess. Finds her innocence charming. "So frail, so delicate. Perhaps I will gift her the skin."

Hates - The Witch of the Black Woods. "Vile, twisted, ugly and stinks. What use is a woman like that?"

Weaknesses - None. Except he loves all attention to be on him and glows under it.



Lips red as berries, eyes as dark as the night sky. She is as ripe as a plum and as pale as ash. A crown of Golden Leaves set with Amber Gems. Gems around her neck, set in each os a little silver creature trapped in its centre. On closer inspection, these are armoured knights, made very small and trapped like bugs.

She goes barefoot and her feet are never dirty. She carries a wand, a long thin twig of pine with a pinecone at the end. She plays with it between her long fingers and though it stinks of resin it never stains her or sticks to her hand.

It is always cold around her, a breeze gets into your socks and chills your feet. She smells of ash and autumn and when she goes into a rage and stamps her foot pools of ice freeze onto the floor.

What Can She Do? - She rules the cold winds and can freeze things to ice. If she asks politely you must comply. (If she loses her temper and is rude then she effect disappears.) Men fall in love with her. Her wand can shrink things and trap them in resin, turning them into a jewel.

Why Does She Want The Skin - "It will make the most beautiful coat, and sail for my boat, and princess-skin slippers for myself and my maids. The softest boots there are."

Likes - Lord Blue Beard. "What an interesting man, with such interesting walls and interesting rooms full of interesting silences. I would like to own him."

Hates - The Wren Princess. "Princess of WHAT? Of _birds_? Who fly in *my* air and hide from *my* darkness? And I must treat her as royal? Pffft!"

Weakness - Not sure yet. Possibly summer and sunlight.



An extremely luxurious man. His beard waxed to a fine point. A magnificent multi-tiered hat, each level more magnificent than the last until the diamond tip which revolves via clockwork. His slippers are gold - with a silver bell on each pointed end. Each finger bears a ring with a differently-coloured gemstone, they shine like a rainbow as he gestures with his slender hands.

He is a gracile fellow, with fine-boned fingers. behind him stands an Executioner who will cut of the limbs of anyone who touches him. He has a Bird of Paradise that sits on his shoulder, its tail cascading down his back. He feeds it small seeds , carefully, seed by seed, with silver tweezers. He is anxious, slow fastidious man, with sad eyes.

What Can He Do? - He can see through lies very easily and he can buy almost anything on earth.

Why Does He Want The Skin? - Because it cannot be bought. "Perhaps I will take Princess Sun as my wife, since I own her skin, she is sure to be obedient. Perhaps I will trade it to her father and take his kingdom. But more and more I think I will simply own it. And keep it. As a thing that I have."

Likes - The Witch of the Black Woods. "There is a very unique and horrid woman of a kind I have never met before. I wonder what she might sell me?

Hates - Lord Blue-Beard. "A shameless bore and a pederast. A man without munificence, and with cheap shoes" (they are, under the polish), "and an inferior beard" (it is not). "If I cannot have the skin. I must be sure that *he* will not."

Weakness  - He hates to be touched, to be made filthy or to lose any possession, no matter how small. His executioner fears mice and the moon.

Friday, 30 November 2018

On My Way to Dragonmeet

I'm banging send and share on this as I go out of the door at about 6 in the morning.

(Edit - missed the train. Writing this on fresh train. This is turning out to be a very bad day.)

On my way to Dragonmeet in London, expect to be there around 10.00am (edit - no, around 11.00) if the trains work out.

I have about 20 copies of A Night at the Golden Duck,

 if anyone wants one.

I will probably be hanging around the tables for All Rolled Up and LotFP. I might also be playing something with Chris McDowall.

If you want something signed I'd be happy to.

If you haven't seen me before I look roughly like this;