Friday 30 August 2019


Actual play adapted from module B4: The Lost City. Will contain spoilers.
Lost in the desert, four foreigners (Luke, Kostas, Romulus and Xavi) found refuge in the mysterious city of Cynidicea, joined the Brotherhood of Gorm and secured an alliance with the Sisterhood of Madarua. Now in their third day, the party continue to explore in the hope of uncovering a way to get back to civilisation. In the large base of the pyramid, the party - accompanied by Brother Theodosius - happened upon a suspiciously charming pair of red-haired siblings praying before a statue of Madarua... read part six here.

DAY 3, END OF TURN 4 (just after dawn)::

The party rolls for initiative as the red-haired woman is evidently preparing some kind of spell!

Monday 26 August 2019

THE CRYSTAL SEAS, Episode 13... Nahemot Nights Through the Eyes of Ursula

After a week of rest and recreation in Romani, the remaining party members are seeking the favour of the local lord, Geta Shaoul. They are to carry out the assassination of the sorcerer Kharzan, at the behest of Geta Shaoul's second wife, Lila. Ursula reflects on what they have gone through, and considers what they may yet face ahead.
(this "thirteenth episode" is actually our fifteenth playing session:
write-ups are sometimes smashed together when not a lot happens. 
Not a lot happened in this session...)

Like this but at night. Use your imagination, dammit.
21st Sositi
As the small sailboat glided across the dark of the Ishmakh lake, Ursula allowed her hand to trail in the water. Initially she had felt pangs of nausea: boarding the one-masted sail boat had reminded her of the unpleasant voyage across the Crystal Seas a month ago. Letting her fingers glide through the cool water somehow ameliorated her queasiness.

Looking to her demi-human companions in the faint light of the sailboat's sole lantern, she detected no outward signs of similar sickness. Indeed, her comrades seemed never to show much suffering at all. Perhaps it was in their blood. Like her, Analicia had been horrifically burned by the blue reptile (she hesitated to call it a dragon, it still seemed so unreal), and was still unable to wear clothing close to her body. Yet while Ursula had spent the week wallowing in pity at Rebekah's decrepit infirmary, Analicia had diligently plied her trade as a carpenter down by the harbour at Romani, and had hustled a handful of silver coins for her troubles.

Friday 23 August 2019


Actual play adapted from module B4: The Lost City. Will contain spoilers.
Lost in the desert, four foreigners (Luke, Kostas, Romulus and Xavi) found refuge in the mysterious city of Cynidicea, joined the Brotherhood of Gorm and have been leading a recce into the pyramid in the hope of capturing agents of the fellowship of Usamigaras, teaming up with a party of prospecting gnomes. However, bruising encounters with spectres and gargoyles have left the party and their gnomish allies injured, and possibly trapped on the fifth tier of the pyramid... read part five here. 

Day Three - Goodbye Cicadia

When the party awoke, one of the injured gnomes was already looking fit and healthy. Xavi, too: though he was grateful for Luke's healing miracles. Romulus rubbed his eyes:

"Is it morning already? No blasted sun in this place."

"I would have though sun-up'll not be upon us fer another three hours at the very least son!"

After just two nights in the pyramid, the party's body clocks were beginning to get a little off kilter.

Friday 16 August 2019


The second in a series of city posts, begun with Nahemot.

For adherents of the New Temple faith, Nahemot is the most holy of cities: it was the site of his birth, and today houses his tomb. But the city that bears his name, Ezra, is home to far more of his followers, struggling to make his centuries old ideology in a changing world.

It is a fortified city with a strong military tradition. It stands at the crossroads of two major trade routes. It was once known as the city of 100 names. To foreigners it is known only as the city of noise, for it is a city without written language. To its inhabitants it has only one name, and that name is EZRA.

Egyptian Memphis Reconstruction - Ersatz Ezra


The whiteness of it is blinding, especially on the southernmost side, where the albido effect has led to many a tired navigator ploughing his vessel into the whitewashed walls. They rise up to almost one hundred feet in places, even on the sides of the city facing the Inoko river.

Thursday 15 August 2019


Actual play adapted from module B4: The Lost City. Will contain spoilers.
Lost in the desert, four foreigners (Luke, Kostas, Romulus and Xavi) found refuge in the mysterious city of Cynidicea, joined the Brotherhood of Gorm and secured an alliance with the Sisterhood of Madarua. After successfully mapping the uppermost tiers of the pyramid, the party ran into a group of gnomes who agreed to assist them in a spot of tomb robbing. Sadly, one of the gnomes was slain by a mysterious shadow and the party are currently hiding in a secret storeroom on the fourth tier.... read part four here. 

Respite from the Undead
Luke convinced the gnomes not to retrieve the body of their fallen comrade until the coast was clear. Confused as to their location, which was the gnomes showed them the secret door in the wall by which they had initially entered, and led the party into a large, sparsely furnished chamber which now served as a bedroom. A white robe was draped over a single chair in front of desk, bereft of all but a wooden holy symbol of Usamigaras. 

The party conducted a thorough search, and uncovered a secret door in the same wall as the one by which they'd entered, on the far left. It opened into an identically sized chamber, but  contained a large tapestry of a desert scene and a treasure chest., which the gnomes immediately began to inspect for traps. One of the gnomes grew distracted...

"Is that tapestry.. moving?"

Wednesday 14 August 2019

Tactical Solo RPGs (Three Concepts)

Space Hulk I'm sorry, come back to me!
The box itself was fucking enormous.
So someone made this post in the RPG design subreddit today, which I have copy and pasted below:
Let's come up with some ideas for how to craft a tactically-focused RPG that an individual may play solo.
How do you get a player to feel like they have meaningful planning and execution options while still creating interesting and surprising resolutions? Tactical RPGs tend to require multiple brains working in cooperation and contest to make things interesting... Solo games tend to be theater [sic] of the mind / choose-your-own-adventure... How do we flip both those things on their head? How do you provide a tactical experience without overloading a solo-player that doesn't have a GM to bounce off of?
Rules: You don't have to design an entire system, just spitball some ideas for the concept. No real rules other than that.
...and immediately I thought of Space Hulk (pictured! above!) and how sad it makes me to think I no longer own that great big box and all the miniatures and interlocking corridors... because I spent many, MANY hours playing that game, by myself (admittedly with the rules for solo play provided in the Deathwing expansion boxed set) and I made this reply:

Sunday 11 August 2019

Sorcerer of Thrane

This is a playable sorcerer class I have had running around my head for a little bit. If you would like to skip the fluff and bite down into the crunch (although I'm not sure that's how you eat cake), you can find a dedicated, B/X compatible page here: 

If you like the some of the fluff but play a more modern system (5e, Pathfinder etc.), consider using your preferred sorcerer class but with the bard spell list.

Special note: the hit dice as spell dice mechanic was in part inspired by the GLOG, and you can read the original notes on spellcasters here


Throughout the territories within the iron grip of the crusading New Temple, the practice of all magic is criminalised as witchcraft: it is devilish, blasphemous, and punishable by burning at the stake. However, many of the Thranian families of Nahemot continue to practice sorcery in secret, whilst outwardly professing obedience to the tenets of their Kyran overlords' faith. Like their Kyran cousins, the Thranes have a strong oral tradition and their arcane traditions have withstood the New Temple's purge of literature and literacy.

Tuesday 6 August 2019

The City of Nahemot

Pixelart on reddit by u/IRudim ...
(Kyrans aren't ersatz arabs, but until I draw a cityscape myself, this evokes the right kind of atmosphere)
A glistening white sliver on the narrow horizon - hugging the lip of the deep, still waters of the Ezran Oasis - comes into view. As the boat draws closer, the air is thick with the scent of shelfish and roses. An uncommon mix, but one that is redolent of Nahemot, the most Holy City of the Kyrans. These tall, dark-skinned men and women wrap themselves in robes of brilliant white, the bleaching of which keeps a whole quarter of the city gainfully employed. The rich and proud among them adorn their bodies with gold jewellery, while the poorer - whether man or woman - ornament themselves with fresh flowers.

Occasionally, the black-robed followers  of Belphegor, lord of the dead, might be witnessed among the crowded concourses at the harbour, pushing dung carts or collecting rotting fish. Perhaps more rarely, a bold young Thrane might eschew the fashion conventions for the colourful robes of their ancestors. The Thranes number as many as the Kyrans, but for the most part they have adopted the sartorial habits of their cousins.

So, here is Nahemot: where the flower sellers, herbalists, fruiterers and perfumiers of the local region congregate to sell their wares, and merchants from the west come to stock up before returning to their more affluent cities. But amongst the hustle and bustle of brisk commerce is a steady flow of pilgrims, travelling to what is also the most holy of cities.