Saturday 30 March 2019

Somon (Homo-Sapien) for Eldritch Foundry

In a world of special para-species can you take absolutely standard humanity and make them interesting, specific and imbued with a sense of history?

Possibly not but I gave my best effort below. This is the current-draft entry for 'Somon' with Eldritch Foundry. What you get when you pick a standard human.


For such fragile, ferocious and short-lived creatures, their ambition burns like fire.

Somon are a people always running out of time, always doing, and to the other races of humanity, even the meditating mystics of the Somon seem a little frantic. Everything has to be done now, without thinking first.

Living for about eighty years, Somon have just enough time, in the opinion of the older races, to get really good at one reasonably complex thing before they die. Maybe two things if some level of genius is involved.

Unfortunately, they can get very good. The greatest Somon mages can challenge the 'High' Aeth, though their magic is an insane jerry-rigged mish-mash of concepts and methods from almost any tradition they can access, and the greatest Somon craftsmen can match the abilities of the Deoth, though they tend to produce objects and art of unusual aspect, without natural balance and with aesthetics seemingly pulled from thin air.

The usual response of Aeth and Deoth to these individuals is to remain broadly tolerant and simply wait for them to die, which they will do soon enough in most cases. Usually within three decades.

Very few Somon become truly great at anything, but there are a lot of Somon, and though the odds are against any particular one, sheer mathematics suggests that at least one of them will make it to any particular goal.

And almost ALL Somon believe, intutatively, that they are, or could be, this particular rare one. No matter how deluded that might seem in reality. It is a kind of racial imperative towards functional narcissism and may be the source of their famous refusal to give up, even when they definitely should.

When your life only lasts 80 years, you might be willing to bet it on some pretty long odds.


Their reputation for adaptability, diversity of thought and form and relentless hyper-focus on singular goals is partly undeserved. It is simply that there are so many Somon, millions at least, that it isn't hard to find an exceptional one, and so many that they almost cannot help but be diverse simply through weight of numbers.

They are adaptable creatures, (as a group, if not as individuals), and can find ways to live almost any environment, from great hive cities to agricultural settlements or as nomadic hunter-gatherers. They tend to be sociable creatures, it's rare to find Somon alone, they look for each other.


Somon look like nothing so much as a vertical, bipedal, nearly-hairless ape, and this is a name used for them amongst some other people. Ape-Men, or 'Speaking Apes'.

They vary in size from about four and a half feet to around six and a half feet tall and vary in skin colour along a single axis with most difference provided by a single biochemical element. Their narrow hips and vertical stance give them a remarkable persistence in travel. Though a Deoth will usually out-work a Somon, a Somon will always travel further. They move with less speed than an Aeth, but greater stamina. They can cover remarkable distances on very little food.

You are never really entirely safe from them. They can turn up anywhere, and though not usually exceptionally powerful as individuals, there are so many that if a group or large social structure becomes riled up, they can act almost as a tidal wave, a wall of armed and angry flesh which can tear down mountains and empty seas.

Thankfully for the other races, the main interest, and primary enemy of Somon, is other Somon.

"They spend nine hours out of every ten climbing hierarchies, declaring war on each other or trying to breed" - Vosis Fail, excommunicated sophont of Yga (and a Somon).

Somon can breed a lot, males are fertile from adulthood until death, females from adulthood into middle age. They remain sexually active all year round, with no breeding season, and even when breeding is impossible. Their intense and continual sexual interest in each other, or in pretty much anything, is a primary driver of Somon society, and also a primary threat to Somon society.


The idea of 'Humanity' as being made of the conscious, bipedal and 'dreaming' races, is largely a construction of the Somon. Since they make up the vast majority of beings with which the other races must deal, and since this construction of 'Humanity' includes them, they tend to either go along with it or enthusiastically support the idea.

Somon can breed, occasionally, with Deoth and Aeth, but they can breed with Orcs as well, and with more reliability. They do dream, but the idea that 'Monsters' cannot do so is difficult to exhaustively prove. It certainly seems that some do not, but how exactly can it be tested? Often Somon cannot even remember if they dreamed at all, and victims of Yggsrathaals Dream-Thieves absolutely cannot dream, are they to be considered 'monsters'? Some Aeth prey on Somon in exactly the same way as 'monsters', should they be considered so? And of course Somon have been known to eat each other, and even wilder things.

Still, this basic concept of 'Humanity' continues, either because it is true, because it works or because no-one has had a better idea. 'People' are bipedal, can speak and think, come in physically coherent groups, are self-aware, generally don't try to eat you, or each other, and, crucially, they dream. And this means Aeth, Deoth and Somon are "in", and Monsters, the Children of Yggsrathall and crucially, Orcs, are very much "out".


Somon dreams are murky, incoherent, inconsistent and flee the mind upon waking. Though their awareness is coherent from day to day, in sleep, their minds seem to fly to a myriad of other realms "like glass breaking" (Usamah McKan, Deoth philosopher and Somon specialist), with no real consistency as to where they go, or why, before returning home to the skull.

To the other races of humanity this is deeply curious and strange.

The strangest element is that, while they are dreaming, Somon almost never realise that they are in a dream. It may be this veil of ignorance that allows them such diversity of possible experience.

"Amidst the kinds of Somon dreams, I have failed to complete even the most general map, plan or list, but even the shortest and most abstract must include; Prophetic Dreams, Symbolic Dreams, Dreams of Planar Travel, Dreams of Classical Travel, Scrying Dreams, Nightmares, Social Dreams, Dreams with Dogs in them, Sexual Dreams, Lucid Dreams, Divinely Inspired Dreams, Stimulatory Dreams, Dreams of Mental Stress, Ash Dreams, Reasoned Dreams, Psychopomp Dreams and Magical Dreams. And this is only a cursory look at the possible range." - Usamah McKan, Deoth philosopher and Somon specialist.

Those who claim to serve one or more of the Sleeping Gods of Uud say that they receive communion in dreams; "Sleeping With the Gods", and they do sometimes awake with specific magical powers.

More sceptical analysts point out that the powers gifted in sleep often seem inappropriate for the tasks brought to hand the following day. The faithful reply that this is due to their own failure to comprehend the Will of the Gods, the actions of evil powers, either monstrous or entropic, or just possibly the Gods timeless sleeping state which might cause them to deliver the right thing at an imprecise time.

The dreams of Somon magicians can be catastrophic, especially if their minds are occupied by high-powered and aggressive meta-concepts during unguarded sleep. Almost all schools advise that magicians scrub their minds of these paradigms before bed and re-learn them in the mornings.

Persistent failure to do this has destroyed a lot of Thaumaturges, as well as those around them, and sometimes nearby populations and environments.


It’s almost certain that Somon were once the dominant intelligent race of Uud.

Myths, legends, partial histories and semi-successful chronal scrying, imply an ancient world-system. All of Uud, if not united, then linked, primarily through vast Kingdoms or Empires of Somon.

All of that has passed away, eaten by Ash and hidden by mist.

The Blackwater culture must once have been a Refugee Empire. As the wastes closed in and ate the reminder of Uud, wiping much of it from through and memory, floods, caravans, crusades and cavalcades of Somon closed in on Blackwater, on the cities held by the High Aeth Emperors and on the Mountains of Reality. As they came they brought their food and faith, clothes and cultures, animals and agriculture, craft and magic, weapons and technology, with them

Several thousand years later, this semi-stable combination of feuding city-state and feudal mountain Queendoms is what remains, but cultural relics of all these can be found somewhere in Blackwater; a marginal village, forgotten valley, urban ghetto, of people who look different, sound different, carrying  half-understood or time-changed relics of an ancient culture and perhaps with no clear memory of exactly where they come from.

Or it may be that they do remember, or claim to, and that a side-street or lean-to holds a supposed 'Emperor of the World' or King of a Nation forgotten for millennia, lost in the ash, sustained on the vaguest of tales and the slenderest of dreams.

It’s a largely unstated assumption amongst the Aeth and Deoth that the Somon, even if they don’t know it yet, are going to try to take back Uud. The Somon themselves, with their short memories and rapidly-churning generations, may not have consciously realised this, but the older races are convinced that the impulse is definitely brewing.

Whether this will be good or bad, lead to triumph or disaster, for the Aeth, The Deoth, or the Somon themselves, is yet to be seen."

Click to go

Friday 29 March 2019

I seek the Brighthammer.

(It's at times like this that I really miss G+)

Have any of the people who paint in super-bright colours, like Louise Sugden, ever released painting guides, how-to's or just any general commentary or advice about painting minis REALLY BRIGHTLY?



Wednesday 27 March 2019

FIGHTER - For Eldritch Foundry.

For anyone curious what the tonality would be for that Eldritch Foundry World Creation project I've been talking about, here is the text that should come up when you click the option 'Fighter'.

Basically had to take the entire concept of a Fighter, condense it into words, relate it somehow to the world (not sure if I did that), then re-write it after the first draft was too harsh.

The simplest things are the hardest to define in an interesting way.

"Coming from nothing, and facing everything, you need to be ready to try anything.

You think of yourself more as a problem-solver, except you solve problems with your body first. Tongues lie and minds deceive, but the body is the truth. If you underwrite your actions with your flesh, if your currency is your own blood, you are True, no matter what they say.

You might be a walking catastrophe in every sense but this; socially, mentally, financially and, let’s face it, probably morally, but your deeds are true, no matter how dumb, mistaken or crazy you might be.

The important thing is to act. There are few who do. These beside you are amongst them.

It might be said you picked them up in fights. Saw the mage getting hassled and got involved. That thief - you nearly broke their fingers in your pocket.

People don't realise - fighting is communication. If you want to know someone, to really know them, you have to fight them, or see them fight.

Not that you necessarily go around punching people to see what happens. Or that they need to win.
Or that fighters are always good, and the peaceful weak. But you need to feel the give in someone
- like the flex of a bow or the weight of a sword.

A rapier will shatter against plate, but it’s still a good rapier

Other people.. sometimes they are rusty, badly weighted - the core cooled to quickly or too slow. They will splinter and fly apart, even if use rightly. Beware of those.

Look, things always go horribly wrong, but if you don't try - you never find out. Nothing happens.

The Spindleman taxlings wreck another families finances - nothing happens.

Another girl goes missing on the margins of the mere - nothing happens.

The messed-up vet from the last failed war kicks over a table and starts screaming about conspiracy and subhumans, he has a sword, and training and he's crazy. People stay quiet, they hunch and look away - nothing happens.

Another family wakes up with their names stolen. The grey thing that took them was seen creeping away - nothing happens.

The Waste creeps a little closer - nothing happens.

Uud dies a little more - nothing happens.

If there is one thing you are tired of, it’s nothing

It’s time for something.

As to what, that gets difficult.

You know there is absolutely nothing special about you, except your willingness to get back up after they knock you down.

You never got a Sifu. No wise Templar placed their hands upon your shoulders, you never had a vision from the gods - the first time you met a monster the only idea in your head was to hit it in the face - real hard, so that's what you did, and, with some interruptions, you have kept doing it.

And you are damn sure you never had a destiny. Every choice you made, you made yourself, with your body and your hands.

People say "anything", like it’s easy to deal with;

"You could do anything"

As if the infinity of choice was simpler than a single path.

You have not found it so.

This one - the faithful Servant of the Sleepers (they act like a longsword, but you see a mace inside, simple overpowering strikes, no parrying or foigning from them), they have a hard path, but they know what it is, the destination is in sight, albeit far away.

You must choose, both the path and the destination, the means and the end. With every possibility in play, there is no end to what you need to know. You can never stop learning, never stop adapting, you must experience it all so you know what is right to do, and how to do it.

This other - the Mage (a pale spear, light and long-flying - thrower gone before the strike hits home), they have their problems, endless tests of thought and comprehension, but they too have an end in mind, and a method set,

The Rogue (acts like a Glass Dagger but more like a thick sword-breaker to you) wants money, or thinks they do. A simple cause, if that’s really all you want.

There are still good things in this world, though they are clothed in violence and hiding somewhere on the Path of Blades.

Honour, truth, charity, love, the past, the future, even hope and the breath in your lungs, either someone is willing to fight to keep them, or someone worse will fight harder to take them away.

You want these things, or you hope you do, and you are fundamentally willing to start some shit, now, and I mean right NOW, this instant, because someone, or something is coming to take them away, and most of whatever else you have along with it.

Violence never ends well, but things are bad for you right now. The world is bad. Everything is bad for everyone. And what are they going to do? Write a book about it?

The only book you know is written on your skin in bruises, cut and scars.

Someone has to be ready to take the hit and deal out hurt, and if nobody is, then you have already lost.

And, truth be told, you like it. And you’re good at it, that tenth of a second when the impact shock runs through your bones and your body realises it is still alive, with all its organs still within the skin, that you were a slim slice of a moment faster, or stronger, or smarter or just lucky, it doesn't matter which – it’s a hit. You got them. Steel bites and for that exact fragment, wound and weapon are the axle of reality, everything, every dream and plan, every past hope and possible future, all of it, wheels like stars around the singular, certain and absolute fact that metal entered flesh. The war at the heart of things flexes and the pulse of reality beats.

Time to start a fight."

Monday 25 March 2019

The Black Dwarf - 28 Magazine

Everyone I know who's into Minis is already well aware of this but this blog has some readers who might just be general arty types and this is good enough that really all of you should be aware of it.

If you know what White Dwarf is, its Games Workshops in-house magazine where they talk about the minis and games they make.

Well there is now a cooler, arty, less corporate free magazine in which many of the people inspired by John Blanches art and builds have just taken it in a wild number of directions with a huge amount of energy, imagination and invention.

The magazine is called 28. I've just spent a few hours having my mind absolutely wrecked by it. They've been promising something life this for a while, and you can see a lot of this stuff on blogs and instagram, but to see it all assembled into what Alan Moore would call 'a meaningful wedge of culture' is quite something.

Isaac Tobin, also known as Weirdingsway

Much bigger, denser, stronger and more beautiful than I was expecting. This isn't really just for mini people or people into kleinplastik its for people into art really.

So if you like art, the gothic, the macabre, wreathes of dying worlds, postapocalyptic dream visions, interviews with Ian Miller and just a whole range of other stuff, take a look.

PDF is free and if you are not familiar with the form just set it to two-page scroll and roll through it till you see something that interests you.

Stephane Giraud

I apologising for stealing these images but I had to give you an idea of what it was about.

Go and have a look for yourself.

Saturday 23 March 2019

Rise of the Community (the reason I was asking)

So I asked the 'Community' question mainly because of my own feelings on the matter.

(Yes this is my yearly Doom Saying Post)

Deleted my G+ when they shut down notifications, but that had been dying for a while for me.

Tried the OSR Discord, kind of a 'Greetings Fellow Kids' situation.

Facebook is pfft.

Twitter - NO.

Instagram is for minis.

Am in a handful of less-visited Discords where not much happens (exactly how I like it).

So there is silence. Which I both like, and is slightly discomforting. I genuinely have no fucking idea what is going on with the 'scene' or if there is even still a 'scene', sometimes this is a relief and sometimes it perturbs me somewhat.

I feel old and essentially out of place in a way I haven't before. Seems like the Zaklash combined with the death of G+ really does mark a new age of sorts. Like most historical moments, this is a culmination of slowly-growing historical trends reaching a kind of tipping point, not that different from the moment before but crossing some kind of line where you can reasonably say 'yes, this is a new thing now'.

The age of Wizards in towers is over, or at least, in permanent decline. (Wizards in towers kind of half-like being in decline though, so it might remain that way for a looong time).

But the twin gods of loneliness and capital have formed a Kaiju for the new age and its has risen from the deeps and is roaming loose.

The Community.

What is a Community?

The community is integrated, and has rules, the rules are for everyone's benefit. It is emphatically not just a group of random people who happen to share an interest in something, its this other thing, you can buy a T-Shirt for it.

I've been looking at pictures of the crowds for stuff like Critical Role and its derivatives and yes, that looks like a 'community' (and holy fuck there are a lot of people). DCC definitely has a community. LotFP almost doesn't. Possibly more people may or may not play LotFP, but, even though they have T-Shirts, they are not a community, they are just a group of individuals, you can't see them together in a crowd in facebook photos, if you asked them to chant something it would take a while for them to work out what and it might get bleeped out. The Gauntlet is definitely a community. RPG.NET is a community, even though they don't have a T-Shirt.

Deep in my heart I am an alienated man who sees a community as a group that I will fail to fit into and that will silently judge me and freeze me out when I can't match its gestures and noises. Then slowly and invisibly turn on my and destroy me. That is why for me, freedom from community is more important than right *to* community.

And I am probably the worst community actor in whas is/was the OSR, silent, irregular, unsupportive, carping, diffident and not willing to make friends.

And I have a dark mind so I'm curious about the paradoxes.

A thing about communities is that they repeat again and again and again that they are open to everyone, its really important that they be open to everyone, and that everyone feel safe. But in effect, the views, gestures, behaviours and usually politics for getting in and staying in are, while often intuitive and unstated, really fucking precise.

So these things which are 'for everyone' are actually prefect filters catching a really specific band of people.

Which - nothing necessarily corrupt about that. Every group on earth is for a particular range of people, that's why its a group, and not just 'humanity', but the unrecognised conflict in narrow groups of cognitively, socially and political similar people strongly maintaining Universal values is interesting.

And I'm interested in the interaction between groups and capital. Sometimes it seems like human groups are like these schools of little fish that like to hang out, and that capital is a big shark hunting them, and if too many of them hang out in too big a school, they are going to get Capitalised. So they scurry away and disperse.

But it also seems like Capital often aids people in making connections, like it wants and doesn't want people to be friends, it has this schizophrenic relationship with society where integrated groups can make money, provide markets, do marketing, even create product, but it also makes people less lonely and capital really needs people to be a little more lonely so they buy more. So there is this continuous push-pull situation with that.

And the extent to which we have adopted the values of Capital as our values without realising - "support marginalised creator buy buying their stuff". What if you wanted to support them without buying their stuff? It almost doesn't make sense as a statement. Without deeper connections the money relationship becomes the dominant, maybe only relationship.

Friday 22 March 2019

What does 'Community' mean to you?

Are you in one?

What are its borders?

What are its rules?

What does it mean to be in or out of one?

Whats your borderline between 'community' and 'not community'? Like between a bunch of people who happen to hang out and an actual 'community'?

Under what circumstances can someone be removed from an community you are in? And who decides? And have you ever been afraid of being kicked out?

Do you ever have dark feelings about your community that you can't tell anyone?

Saturday 16 March 2019

A Review of The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison

Where to even start?

I found this to be an exceptional book. A work of the imagination alone, self-sustaining and self-excusing, an Ouroboros indeed, feeding mainly on itself it need ask no permission and make no explanations.

You would need a few degrees in English to do forensics on the language I think.

I read this aloud over a few weeks, encountering each new element as I gave it voice and I would recommend that as an excellent method of encountering the book. Before and above anything it is a word of sounded prose (either sounded aloud or sounded inwardly) and if you don't like that part of it then I can see little reason for you to deal with it at all.

The story is introduced through a dream-visitor from our world who possesses a chamber which allows him to experience a saga in a single night. The dream and a magical bird summon our man to the planet Mercury and introduce him to the Lords of Demonland and their intrigues.

All of this is forgotten within a few chapters, the dreamer disappears, it doesn't really matter that its Mercury, being entirely unlike any version of that planet from either fiction or any record of reality.

We are left with a pocket-world full of feudally top-heavy pseudo-cultures. As in chivalric tales, the economy and peasants are simply a background and substructure created in order to allow the existence of Magnificent Heroic Nobles who roam about the place doing incredible things.


"In his autobiography Eddison’s childhood friend, Arthur Ransome, reflected on their early games, which included characters from The Worm Ouroboros, ‘The language, the place-names and the names of the heroes were for me an echo of those ancient days when Ric and I produced plays in a toy theatre with cardboard actors carrying just such names and eloquent with just such rhetoric. Gorice, Lord Goldry Bluszco, Corinius, Brandoch Daha seemed old friends when I met them nearly forty years later’."

This seems to have been based on a paracosm created by Eddison in childhood, and simply built up upon for years and years afterwards.

It has some of the same strange structure of other Paracosm fiction, especially of those developed since childhood, like Year of Our War by Steph Swainston and Gondal by the Brontes.

There is a deep sense of the accretion of detail, with one conception being layered on another, without disavowing it, but only embellishing and complexifying. It feels like layers of flesh with a hot heart beating underneath. Much of the construction is adult but the core motivations and primal concepts are things that would make sense to a child. They are like an engine, still working at the centre of the story.

The strangeness and the layering of different qualities of idea, some from the child self, some added by the adult self, is part of this. The ideas of a child can be good or bad but when they are good they are usually original, strong and indifferent to integration in a wider more comprehensive world. They make less 'sense' but have more power.

The ridiculous, intense boyishness of the world exemplifies this. It is a place for heroic men to roam around having amazing fights. Many of the deepest emotions are around heroism, honour, bravery, respect and hatred for equally honourable, or dastardly enemies, love of movement and having amazing stuff. The home, in this, is a place to fill with amazing stuff, defend from or rescue from invaders, or to invade yourself, like boys from one side of the classroom charging across it to collapse a fort. The rest of the time it is barely lived in, though it has most of the signs of life, it is a place to leave and to return to.

As in Star Wars and Lord of the Rings (and I don't know how many other fictions) friends are people you rescue after they get captured, usually traveling across half of reality to do it, and who you *do things with*.

The feeling and concept of space is vast, and the areas described regularly referred to as 'the whole world' or 'the entire world', but if you look at it, its demographically small - about the size of Ancient Greece or the North Sea. I have found that most adventure worlds tend to even out at about this size, for no doubt complex and subtle reasons. They are a neat scope for things to happen in, for some things to be distant, others close and small enough for everything to affect everything else, while also having enough range for wilderness and places to hide.


It’s been described as pseudo-Jacobean, but I'm not sure if any Jacobean or Elizabethan ever spoke, thought or wrote like this. It seems to me the language of play itself in its purest form. Eddison has reached out to grasp the whole history of a language, run his fingers though it and grabbed gold and gems and jammed them together in ways pleasing to him.

Here is a piece of the internal monologue of one of the best characters, Lord Gro, towards the end of the book;


"Gro said in himself, "How shall not common opinion account me mad, so rash and presumptuous dangerously to put my life in hazard? Nay, against all sound judgement; and this folly I enact in that very season when by patience and courage and my politic wisdom I had won that in despite of fortune's teeth which obstinately hither to she had denied me: when after the brunts of divers tragical fortunes I had marvellously gained the favour and grace of the King, who very honourably placed me in his court and tendereth me, I will think, so dearly as he doth the balls of his two eyes.

He put off his helm, baring his white forehead and smooth black curling locks to the airs of morning, flinging back his head to drink deep through his nostrils the sweet strong air and its peaty smell. "Yet is common opinion the fool, not I," he said. "He that imagineth after his labours to attain unto lasting joy, as well may he beat water in a mortar. Is there not in the wild benefit of nature instances enow to laugh this folly out of fashion? A fable of great men that arise and conquer the nations: Day goeth up against the tyrant night. How delicate a spirit is she, how like a fawn she footeth it upon the mountains: pale pitiful light matched with the primeval dark. But every sweet hovers in her battalions, and every heavenly influence: coolth of the wayward little winds of morning, flowers awakening, birds a-carol, dews a-sparkle on the fine-drawn webs the tiny spinners hand from fern-frond to thorn, from thorn to wet dainty leaf of the silver birch; the young day laughing in her strength, wild with her own beauty; fire and life and every scent and colour born anew to triumph over chaos and slow darkness and the kinless night.

"But because day at her dawning hours hath so bewitched me, must I yet lover her when glutted with triumph she settles into garish noon? Rather turn as now I turn to Demonland, in the sad sunset of her pride. And who dares call me turncoat, who does but follow now as I have followed this rare wisdom all my days: to love the sunrise and the sundown and the morning and the evening star? since there only abideth the soul of nobility, true love, and wonder, and the easy glory of hope and fear."


The recursive line - "and this folly I enact in that very season when by patience and courage and my politic wisdom I had won that in despite of fortune's teeth which obstinately hither to she had denied me"

The very high tone - "when after the brunts of divers tragical fortunes I had marvellously gained the favour and grace of the King"

Solidity, and specificity of sensual detail - "so dearly as he doth the balls of his two eyes."

It is high, it is labrynthine, it is solid and sensuous. Almost no-one in the book says anything stupid. They are wrong, often insanely utterly wrong, but they are wrong in the most interesting and exciting way available to them. Everyone says and thinks the best possible thing at the best possible time.

There are people who did speak like this; they are the heroes of memory and recollection, not of fact, they are memories of great events, polished by bards like water over stones, until they say only the most concrete but beautiful thing they could possibly say. They are the people of the minds eye and their speech is the poetry of performed recollection, here not recalling but bringing to life. (And we see again that the mind of memory and transmission and that of creation and invention are like proteins folded across different axis or ghost images in the same optical illusion).

The language and forms would fit Zelazny's Amber perfectly. Like that, this is a court drama expanded into an epic.

It also reminds me of nothing so much as the better speech of the better 'Historical' films of the 1950's, which, I assume, mimic the speech of the theatre of the early 20th and late 19th Century. Not necessarily the high poetry or the well-known plays, but the 'upper middle' of theatre, what Charlie Brooker would call the Gourmet Burger theatre. It’s an archaic (to us, about 70 years old) impression or creation of what that generation would have considered deeply historical speech.

It's even a little like 'Merry Marvel' olde-timey language, if it was very good.


Characters in The Worm are simple one or two point individuals. They have direct, overwhelming emotions and desires which tend to proceed one at a time. A lot like small boys, action heroes and Greek heroes.

They sometimes have one or two other emotions that conflict with or contextualise their main emotion or desire at moments of high drama.

The energy, innovation, intensity, cleverness and particularity of the characters in speech, action and form comes from this deep layering and enormous concentration of imagination and thought onto how they express themselves in the world. They are like little diamonds glimmering under the enormous pressure of Eddisons concentrated mind, spilling out spectra of wild colour, simple in arrangement but vomiting rainbows.

Greek heroes really, in the bodies and amazing costumes of Renaissance courtiers. Their opposites are villains of magnificent badness, awesome power, marvellous flaws and hissable nastiness. Nobody dies in a pale way. Glory and magnificence, especially at the end are what is called for; suicide after the murder of friends due to enchantment, torn to pieces by an uncontrolled hippogriff, suicide by poison at the death of husband and hope, pierced through the guts while smashing your greatest enemy to the ground, in the middle of an exploding tower of magic, gutted after one too many betrayals. Heroes and villains both hate and mourn each other.

These traits could only really sustain us so far, which is why the comparative shortness of the book, compared to other epics like LotR, is so vital and important. The 'heroic' Greek morality and relative simplicity of inner character would become deeply wearisome if continued too long. Tolkien was probably an inferior prosidist, and he could not glitter and shine like Eddison, but he could make people you could spend time with, Eddisons characters are magnificent in scenes but they would poison a continuing world I think.

In a Manichean world (which this is not quite, but it is a world heroes and villains which is close) there is always one 'grey' character who absorb all the misty paling of humanity squeezed out of the other characters and concentrates it. A Snape essentially.

In this world that part is taken by Lord Gro. The academic, introspective, cunning, occasionally brave, lucid, perceptive terminal and continual traitor. Before the book begins he betrays his original lord for Witchland, then finally betrays Witchland for the Demons, and that is not the end of his twisting and turning.

None of his betrayals are for personal advantage, he is moved by some complex inner drive. As he says, he worships the morning and evening, but hates power in its ascendancy, and so shifts like a shadow. He holds to this deeply odd inner nature with perfect sincerity.

He seems to hate being alive. At one point, when accused of dishonesty, he asks his friend to kill him rather than doubt him, and seems utterly sincere. Gambit or truth? Probably both

The other most-interesting character, Brandoch Daha, of a below-given splendiferous description, doesn't hate life, and seems to enjoy it, but he does seem to share somewhat in Gro's alienation from the world. His almost ridiculous lightness, courage, competence and extremely airy and sardonic attitude is fascinating, frustrating and captivating. He is reminded multiple times by his closest friends that his ridiculous attitude is a massive liability, yet they would never be without him. Both the best and worst friend you could have.

He exemplifies the charisma, violence, courage, invention, bravery and nobility of the Demons, and he seems more perceptive than some of them. His lightness may come from his recognition of the closed role of the Demons; they are pure heroes and while that is a magnificent thing to be it is, in its way, a limited thing to be.


Clothes, food, entertainment, architecture, magical accoutrements, aspects of the environment and especially feudal levies are listed in incantory rubrics, which are much better read aloud, but even then get a little bit much after a while.

As in Spencer and I think in Shakespeare, processions give geography as both a scene and a list. Every feudally loyal group comes from a particular place on the map, when summoned they gather and file past in a line, and are counted and named, so the strength of a kingdom on the land becomes a line of men, becomes a list of names and places and becomes a poem of the power of a kingdom all in one. Here is the 'bad guy' list from the King of Witchland sending his guys out to conquer Demonland;

"And on the fifteenth day of July was the fleet busked and boun in Tenemos Roads, and that great army of five thousand men-at-arms, with horses and all instruments of war, marched from their camp without Carce down to the sea.

First of them went Laxus with his guard of mariners, he wearing the crown of Pixyland and they loudly acclaiming him as king and Gorice of Witchland as his overlord. A gallant man he seemed, ready-looking and hard, well-armed, with open countenance and bright seaman's eyes, and brown, crisp, curly beard and hair. Next came the main foot army heavil armed with axe and spear and the short Witchland hanger, yeoman and farmers from the low lands about Carce or from the southern vineyards or the hill country against Pixyland: burly swashing fellows, rough as bears, hardy as wild oxen, agile as an ape; four thousand fighting men chose out by Corsus up and down the land as best for this great conquest. The sons of Corsus, Dekalajus and Gorius, rode abreast before them with twenty pipers piping a battle song. Surely the tramp of that great army on the paven way was like the tramp of Fate moving from the east. Gorice the King, sitting in state on the battlements above the water-gate, sniffed with his nostrils as a lion at the scent of blood. It was early morn, and the wind hung southerly, and the great banners, blue and green and purple and gold, each with an iron crab displayed above it, flaunted in the sun.

Now came four or five companies of horse, four hundred or more in all, with brazen armour and bucklers and glancing spears; and last of all, Corsus himself with his picked legion of five hundred veterans to bring up the rear, fierce soldiers of the coast-lands that followed him of old to the eastern main and Goblinland, and had stood beside him in the great days when he smote the Ghouls in Witchland. On Corsus's left and right, a little behind him, rode Gro and Gallandus. Ruddy of countenance was Gallandus, gay of carriage and likely-looking, long of limb, with long brown m moustachios and large kind eyes like a dog."

Eddisons glorious and sensual descriptions of clothes, rooms, castles and nature perhaps are not quite lists, but they are rhythmic, processional windings of near-verse back and forth the physicality of the described world.

This is the initial description of Brandoch Daha, the 'lancer' of Lord Juss and after Gro, perhaps the most interesting character in the book;

"His gait was delicate, as of some lithe beast of prey newly awakened out of slumber, and he greeted with lazy grace the many friends who hailed his entrance. Very tall was that lord, and slender of build, like a girl. His tunic was of silk coloured like the wild rose, and embroidered in gold with representations of flowers and thunderbolts. Jewels glittered on his left hand and on the golden bracelets of his arms, and on the fillet twined among the golden curls of his hair, set with plumes of the king-bird of Paradise. His horns were dyed with saffron, and inlaid with filigree work of gold, His buskins were laced with gold, and from his belt hung a sword, narrow of blade and keen, the hilt rough with beryls and black diamonds. Strangely light and delicate was his frame and seeming, yet with a sense of slumbering power beneath, as the delicate peak of a snow mountain seen afar in the low red rays of morning. His face was beautiful to look on and softly coloured like a girls face, and his expression one of gentle melancholy, mixed with some distain; but fiery glints awoke at intervals in his eyes, and the lines of swift determination hovered round the mouth below his curled moustachios."

It's one thing to simply say your characters are the greatest, it’s quite another to paint them in words like Rembrant or Holbein, and yet another to have them speak like, if not Shakespere, then at least Marlowe. Layering in language, embossing in action, gilding with sensible beauty and hanging lists of magnificence like necklaces of amber or diamonds around their necks.


Eddison is not just a lister of things or a poet, or a thief of poets, his is a dramatist too, and a good one. His powerful emblematic, textured but largely monodirectional characters would be of little worth if they were not thrown together on the stage to clutch at, and rebound from, each other.

And these are *scenes* too, not mere situations, each is like a short story with a powerful single narrative through-line, a strong geographical or architectural situation and a handful of driving, distinct heraldic characters sparring with each other in Eddisons luxurious language.

An example follows, Corinius, the extremely unpleasant and rapey Lord of Witchland has invaded Demonland while its rulers are away, defeated every army brought against him and now besieges Lady Mevrian, the sister of a ruler of Demonland, in her castle.

He really wants Mevrian, and forces, or threaten/persuades his ally, the extremely civil and largely gentle Lord Gro to take a message to her, if she comes out and marries him, he will let her people go, if not, he will break his way in, kill them, and rape her.

- Gro to Mevrian


""Madam," said Lord Gro, "I would not have brought your highness this message nor delivered it, but that I know full well that did I refuse it another should bear it thee full speedily, and with less compliment, and less sorrow than I."

She nodded gravely, as who should say, Proceed. So, with what countenance he might, he rehearsed his message, saying when it was ended, "Thus, madam, saith Corinius the king: and thus he charged me deliver it unto your highness."

Mevrian heard him attentively with head erect. When he had done she was silent a little, still studying him. Then she spake: "Methinks I know thee now. Thou are Lord Gro of Goblinland that bearest me this message."

Gro answered, "Madam, he thou namest went years ago from this earth. I am Lord Gro of Witchland."

"So it seemeth, from thy talk," said she; and was silent again.

The steady contemplation from that lady's eyes was like a knife scraping his tender skin, so that he was ill at ease well nigh past bearing.

After a little she said, "I remember thee, my lord. Let me stir thy memory. Eleven years ago, my brother went to war in Goblinland against the Witches, and overcame them on Lormeron field. There slew he the great King of Witchland in single combat, Gorice X., that until that day was held the mightiest man-at-arms in all the world. My brother was as then but eighteen winters old, and that was the first blazing up of his great fame and glory. So King Gaslark made great feasting and great rejoicing in Zaje Zaculo because of the ridding of his land of the oppressors. I was at those revels. I saw thee there, my lord; and being but a little maid of eleven summers, sat on thy knee in Gaslark's halls. Thou dids't show me books, with pictures in strange colours of gold and green and scarlet, of birds and beasts and distant countries and wonders of the world. And I, being a little harmless maid, thought thee good and kind of heart, and loved thee."

She ceased, and Gro, like a man hath taken some drowsy drug, stood looking on her confounded.

"Tell me," said she, "of this Corinius. Is he such a fighter as men say?"

"He is," said Gro, "one of the most famousest captains that ever was. That might not his worst enemies gainsay."

Mevrian said, "A likely consort, think'st thou, for a lady of Demonland? Remember, I have said nay to crowned kings. I would know thy mind for doubtless he is thy very familiar friend, since he made thee his go-between."

Gro saw that she mocked, and he was troubled at heart. "Madam," said he, and his voice shook somewhat, "take not in too great scorn this vile part in me, Verily this I brought thee is the most shamefullest message, and flatly against my will did I deliver it unto thee. Yet with such constraint upon me, how could I choose but strike my forehead into dauntless marble and word by word deliver my charge?"

"Thy tongue," said Mevrian, "hath struck hot irons in my face. Go back to thy master, If he look for an answer, tell him he may read it in letters of gold above the gates."


Not something Tolkien would write, partly because his was a world almost without women and without sex, but it would be rare to see, in any of his interactions, such a complex fluxion and layering if different kinds of power and weakness, and such subtly flawed people.

And it does all feel like theatre. Or like 1950's cinema, when new colour cameras were too big and heavy to move easily so scenes became dense with arrangement and people entered and exited as if in theatre.

The Witchlanders capture their enemies and have them at their mercy, but during a surprise visit by an allied lord, all they need do is *not mention the capture* and keep it secret, to keep it safe. But the slow accretion of alcohol, ego, family dysfunction, supressed rage and arrogance slowly and inevitably unpicks their plans over a single night.

In the palace of the Red Foilot, near the beginning of the book, a great list/scene of magnificent entertainments takes place, during which, two Doormice do an incredible dance to wild applause.

Are mice people in this world? Are they mice dressed up as people? Is this magic or are things like this normal? No-one remarks either way and they are never mentioned again, like a dream.

There are 'scenes', in which people enter and leave a single 'stage'. There are magnificent nature walks in which people encounter nature, and battles, and that is mostly it. It's relatively rare for people to move about in the middle distance, inside a building for instance.

Nevertheless, Eddison builds natural worlds as well, in huge and splendiferous detail, especially related to place names. He has not created a pseudo-linguistics in a Tolkien fashion, but simply assembled and accreted, pulling from here and there, inventing and embroidering.

(This must have been *agonizing* for Tolkien to read. They are in each others cognitive penumbra - a painful space to encounter anyone. To see words and language heaped up like sea-wrack or nazi gold, pawed through and assembled in play, for momentary pleasure or joy of invention - with so little regard for *structure*.)

Demonland is, I think, mainly the Lake District, where you find Owlswick, Lookinghaven, Rammerick Strands, Westmark, Elmerstead and so on.

The mountains are largely the Himalayas I think, where you find Akra Garsh, Koshtra Pivrarcha, Koshtra Belorn and Zora Rach Nam Psarrion.

Witchland I am not sure, I think southern England, maybe the fens?

There are far too many to speak of.

In the centre of the book is a single chapter based entirely on the ascent of the highest mountain on 'Mercury', Koshtra Pivrarcha, the peak which must be climbed first before the semidivine shangri-la like mountain of Kosthra Belorn can be attempted (only those who have looked down on Koshtra Belorn from above may enter, all else will be destroyed).

This is one of the best single pieces of mountain-climbing fiction I have read (though I have not read many), you could pull it out of the book entire as a piece of remarkable nature writing, except that the nature it describes, though it seems entirely real, is the slightest breath of the imagination.

Eddison has a thing for battles, but we see relatively few of these first-hand, more common is the scene-of-the-battle-report, in which a character who was present meets others and describes the events from their own point of view and with their own words and prejudices. This lets him play mild Rashamon games when two messengers come and describe the same battle to the King of Witchland in different terms, and it translates the sometimes-numbing description of feudal hack-fests with events and interpretations at the human scale, making venetian blinds of strategy and conversation as we switch back and forth between the scene in which the events are described and in the described events themselves. (And becomes faintly ridiculous when, for instance, a soldier returning from a battle pivotal to the fate of his nation and family, arrives from said battle, and insists on telling the whole story in-order, over quite a while before getting to the end and revealing if the house in question is safe or not, which if it took place amongst real people, they would slap the shit out of him.)


Poets always love the wind, but Eddison loves NIGHT. And the sky generally, and air and space and changing light. Again and again and again characters stare into the dark, look at the darkening sky, wrap themselves in evening.

Its pretty rare that someone does *not* soliloquise against a darkening sky. He is a poet of the night as he is of nothing else.


Prezmyria waits – “

Gro walked with the Lady Prezmyra on the western terrace in Carce. It wanted yet two hours of midnight. The air was warm, the sky a bower of moonbeam and starbeam. Now and then a faint breeze stirred as if night turned in her sleep. The walls of the palace and the Iron Tower cut off the terrace from the direct moonlight, and flamboys spreading their wobbling light made alternating regions of brightness and gloom. Galloping strains of music and the noise of revelry came from within the palace.”


Juss and Brandoch Daha on their great climb –

“Since before noon avalanches has thundered ceaselessly down those cliffs. Now, in the cool of the evening, all was without a cloud. The fires of sunset crept down the vast white precipices before them till every ledge and fold and frozen pinnacle glowed pink colour, and every shadow became an emerald. The shadow of Koshtra Pivarcha lay cold across the lower stretched of the face on the Zimiamvian side. The edge of that shadow was as the division betwixt the living and the dead.”

The Demons witness the sad doom of an enchanted warrior –

“And he said, “Depart from me, since now approacheth that which must complete this day’s undoing.”

So they fared back to the spy-fortalice, and night came down on the hills. A great wind moaning out of the hueless west tore the clouds as a ragged garment, revealing the lonely moon that fled naked betwixt them. As the Demons looked backward in the moonlight to where Zeldornius stood gazing on the dead, a noise as of thunder made the firm land tremble and drowned the howling of the wind. And they beheld how the earth gapes for Zeldornius.

After that, the dark shut down athwart the moon, and night and silence hung on the field of Salapanta.”


Queen Sophonosbia prays to the Gods –

“In a while she raised her eyes to heaven; and behold, between the two main peaks of the Scarf, a meteor crept slowly out of the darkness and across the night-sky, leaving a trail of silver fire, and silently departed into darkness. They watched, and another came, and yet another, until the western sky above the mountain was ablaze with them. From two points of heaven they came, one betwixt the foreclaws of the Lion and one in the dark sign of Cancer. And they that came from the Lion were sparkling like the white fires of Rigel of Altair, and they that came from the Crab were haughty red, like the lustre of Antares. The lords of Demonland, leaning on their swords, watched these portents for a long while in silence. Then the travelling meteors ceased, and the steadfast stars shone lonely and serene. A soft breeze stirred among the alders and willows by the lake. The lapping waters lapping in the shingly shore made a quiet tune. A nightingale in a coppice on a little hill sang so passionate sweet it seemed some spirits singing. As in a trance they stood and listened, until that singing ended, and a hush fell on water, wood and lawn. Then all the east blazed up for an instant with sheet lightnings, and thunder growled from the east beyond the sea.”

Joust of the Snails

By Simone Tammeta.

Thursday 14 March 2019

The Ballad of Sir Chesslike Hand (Verses 1 - 11)

It's March and I'm still doing the December requests. NoRulesDM asked for 'Snail Knight Ballads'.

Well I couldn't do a full ballad quickly but I could do a few verses, so here are the first eleven of "The Ballad of Sir Chesslike Hand". If you want more, comment and I will try to keep adding to it.

Curl your ears for heres a tale
Fro-om the Curlicue Land,
Tells of a true Knight of the Snail,
That man, Sir Chesslike Hand!

Oh low did the Whippoorwill sing,
When came the heralds hail,
Hand heard the summons of the King,
And straight saddled his snail.

That snails shell was of purest gold,
It glowed like sun of noon,
It's beauty matched no form or mould,
In song or rhyme or tune.

Sir Hand set off into the dark,
And silver glowed his trail,
In sword and shield the stars cut sparks,
And on his golden snail.

His arms with star-fire were alight.
They came from a distant land.
Bronze-beaten days and lucent night,
Whence came Sir Chesslike Hand.

That knight a precept kept heart-near,
One clear thought had that knight
His hand would venture any deed,
But that the thing be Right.

"Oh let no ill, however slight,"
He spoke within his soul,
"Slip past my grasp, evade my sight,
For I'll not then be whole."

"To wreak out wrath is not my fate,
Nor seek the blades edge-light.
To bind what's cracked and seal the break,
Undo wrong and make right,"

"To make hearts whole and full of peace,
My hope is, and my bond,
Else break faith with mine own self, lose
My name - Sir Chesslike Hand!"

Sir Hand sang out his own name clear,
He pealed like a bronze bell,
A peal to blast from night the fear,
And quail the hounds of Hell.

"Sir Hand, Sir Hand, Sir Chesslike Hand!"
So crooned the conchiler.
"I'll sing my name in any land,
For any man to hear!"

Tuesday 12 March 2019

Who Makes Maps?

Back in 2017 I made a big post of artists in the OSR, I'd like to try to do the same thing for maps.

Unfortunately, G+ is gone, and while I knew a few artists to begin with, I barely know any map makers.

So I will be relying on you, the readers of this blog to help me out.

So, if you are a map maker, or know of one that you would want included in this, then drop a comment below and I will update the post with each new map-maker.

In the comment I need;

- A Name (or whatever online handle they use).

- Any websites where they show examples of their work. (The link itself, not the name.)

- An example I can put up on the blog. This can be a map or a fragment of the map. (Because of the way blogs are formatted, rectangular images the shapes of books show up better and can be shown at a bigger size.) NOT INSTAGRAM I CAN'T DOWNLOAD FROM THERE.

I can go through their stuff and grab an image but its a LOT easier in a lot of ways if there is a handy image somewhere I can just use directly without the dicking about with formats, downloading, deciding which is the most representative, deciding whether to cut it down to shape or not etc etc.

- Contact details (IF they want them on this post).

- A brief, VERY brief description of who they are, what they do and why people might be interested in them.

- I would prefer it if the people shown were vaguely somewhat close to the OSR in a general sense, or at least, not this random person who's maps you happened to see at some point online.

- And if they've worked on stuff that's available then links to that would be great.


I will check the comments on Reddit and Facebook when I can, and update when I can, but comments here are much more likely to be seen, will be seen more quickly and are less likely to get lost or forgotten.


Abigail (Alien Sunset)

I'm Abigail, aka @Alien_Sunset on Twitter (and pretty near everywhere else)

I make dungeon maps and pen & ink illustrations.
You can find my maps at
people can feel free to contact me through Patreon or twitter

a map example can be found here:

I started playing RPGs with 2e back in '99 and have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I recently became fascinated my the old school/OSR movement and really enjoy making maps and imagining what may be lurking in them. I currently run a LotFP west marches/mega dungeon/open table game on Discord. And am working along side a ton of other super talented OSR folx on a Zini for the Beneath the Canals Kickstarter that just finished (



Hey Patrick,

My name is Grant, most of my stuff is on my instagram. I'm a graphic designer/DJ who's loved rpgs since he was a kid.

this is a hand drawn map in biro -

Map created in hexographer then modified in photoshop for my current campaign -

Continent scale map of my current campaign world, made in illustrator and photoshop -

Detail of campaign world -

Example of biro pen drawing -

Example 2 -

Plus I have a heap of maps aping the style of first edition AD&D modules...


Ed Allen

I'm Ed.
Most of my maps are black and white line art and on my website at; 

One made it into a kickstarted module, but mostly they are just for fun, to scratch the map making itch.

I'll have to start posting there again since G+ is going away.

Chainmail from '73, D&D from '75.

I'm on gmail as ed.allen1 Twitter @edallen MeWe:


A bunch of my maps are also accessible via my "drop a room number on the map and see it get populated" old school dungeon generator at



-My website is

-I have a map gallery here where you can see everything I make:

-You can contact me on my twitter @caeora or on discord and my username is Caeora.

"-I have a background in game design but I've been working full time as a mapmaker for over a year now, I also make a bunch of useful things for all kinds of tabletop roleplaying games from tokens to assets and I even have a few articles on mapmaking on my website as well.

-My maps are being used for a few things but most recently the kickstarter Humblewood that you can see here!


Pat Eyler

Twitter @mountain_foot

"The best way to contact me is through my twitter, above.

I started playing OD&D/AD&D in 1978 and DMing shortly thereafter. I stopped playing when my kids were born, and came back to the hobby about a year ago. I rediscovered my love of RPG maps, and love to share them. Most of my maps are available for personal or commercial reuse, with attribution.

I'm the official mapper for Best Left Buried, an OSR adjacent horror-fantasy RPG, and have done maps for a number of projects that are nearing publication."


Jez Gordon

Contact: gibletblizzard at gee male dot calm
Twitter: @GibletBlizzard

Example: Keep on the Borderlands Greyhawk Map
This has been the base of operations for my Greyhawk D&D campaign for the last three years. The Gang's been all over this place

"Sydney, Australia based creative working on a variety of award-winning RPG products over the last ten years as a graphic designer, illustrator and cartographer."

Published Works:


Kelvin Green

Twitter @thekelvingreen

"I've been working in OSR and OSR-adjacent stuff for a number of years, drawing for the most part, but also a bit of writing. I did my own maps for my adventure Forgive Us and people took notice of the way I did them; since then I've done maps for DIY RPG Productions, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and Necrotic Gnome."



I go by eri, or j3w3l

@ausj3w3l on twitter 

Website with a map gallery -

I've been making maps for a couple years now, mostly focusing on battle maps but also occaisionally doing city, dungeon, and world maps.

Typically draw all my maps on pen and paper first, and then colouring on the computer. 

You can also get my work over on patreon -


Cze Lee

Name: Czepeku

Hey Patrick, I'm Cze. I make maps with my partner Peku. We like making painterly battlemaps but also large scale campaign maps. Soon we'll be releasing some old school dungeon-types and town/city maps too. We're also world building campaign settings for OSR games, which I cover on the blog linked below. 

(both links include map examples)



Billy Longino

I can be reached on Twitter ( or by email:

Also, a lot of my work can be found on my blog MegaDungeon (

Though I'm mostly writing now, I've drawn maps for a few people, including all of the adventure site maps for The Dark of Hot Springs Island. And I still draw maps for commission and occasionally post them on Instagram ( and on my blog (

Here's a sample of my dungeon cartography: 

And a sample of my overland cartography:

and another style of overland:


Natalie of NB Maps

I have a wordpress at which is just a gallery for the stuff I've made.

You can contact me through the wordpress, or email me at

Hey, I'm Natalie and I’ve been making map-style stuff since I was really young just messing around in paint using the fill tool on the countries on the wikipedia world map template. From there, I got into map-making properly through maps for ‘Civcraft’-genre Minecraft servers in about ~2014, and from there have done things for personal worldbuilding projects, tabletop campaigns and collaborative settings.  

A specific map example would be my Nationstates project which is one of the things I'm most proud of, here;, but there's a lot of stuff with a decent variance of styles on the wordpress. 

As you can see I generally do large-scale political/regional maps, sometimes with features like topography, rather than dungeon-scale things.


Jonathan Newell

Twitter: @Edweirdian

Description: I make maximalist pen & ink maps, mostly for weird cities. I run a campaign in my Hex campaign setting, a sprawling, whimsical metropolis. I run OSR games and 5E with OSR sensibilities.


Pete (of Garblag Games)

"I've been roleplaying for 30 years and most of that has been DM/GMing. I've run a club in my home town for 15/16 years and 2 years ago decided to create an actual play youtube channel. I have create maps, turn them into adventures and then try to play them on the channel.

I am now on cartographic duties for Grim & Perilous Studios who produce ZweihanderRPG and Powered by Zweihander games which can be found at . My maps feature in the Main Gauche expansion and I'll be working on future projects for them, such as Colonial Gothic and Tetsubo.

I have just started producing a series of open source fantasy adventure locations which are aimed more at darker fantasy and OSR games. I give these to patrons and they are also available here."


Justin Pitt

I good example to use would be

Best way to reach me is email, justin [at] thepitt [dot] ca

Only recently started drawing maps but I've been a player and a GM for several years and have gotten heavily invested in the OSR over the last year.


Michael Prescott

"Toronto writer/illustrator publishes free 2pg adventures, with CC-BY-NC isometric/perspective dungeon maps."




Hello! My name is Karl, but I go by skullfungus mostly.

The easiest way to reach me is to just dm/tweet me.

I think this map is pretty representative of my overland style.

I've worked on a bunch of different projects, some personal and some for other people. Here are a few projects that I am especially proud to have been a part of:

A twitter hexmap. What Ho, Frog DemonsOperation UnfathomableThe Black Hack, 2nd Edition.
Jungle Tomb of the Mummy Bride.


Jason Thompson

"- a third-party list of my RPG maps with links to art is here.

"- my best contact email is myfirstname @ mockman dot com"

"Some quick info: I'm an illustrator, storyboarder, and game designer (Mangaka, Cartooner and the upcoming Dreamland) with a background in comics. I've been playing TRPGs since I was 8 years old and I've gradually had the good fortune to get to work more in this space."


Rodger Thorm

I'm Rodger Thorm
Contact: rodger (at) antherwyck dotcom
Twitter: @Antherwyck

I do a variety of mapping styles ranging from Dysonesque dungeons to hard-line graphic science-fiction. I'm interested in experimental forms, isometrics, cross-sections, and other odd, non-traditional map-making.

Sample image:

A range of other samples is on the portfolio page. Most recent published works are a couple architectural drawings for "Mother's Love" adventure for Cthulhu Hack.

I've also organised the Exquisite Corpse series of collaborative dungeons, and you could glean another dozen names from there with other map makers.


Niklas Winstedt

My Instagram account:
My website:

Hi, I'm Niklas and I draw fantasy and sci-fi maps mainly meant for old school games. I go by the handle Paths Peculiar. I enjoy doing different styles of maps, top-down, isometric, vertical and overland hex-maps.

Typical dungeon map (sci-fi): 

Typical isometric map (fantasy): 

Typical overland map (fantasy): 

And finally a typical vertical map (sci-fi):