Saturday, 21 September 2019

THIEVES LIKE US (Humans: the character class, a WIP)

Really, there are only two classes: fighters and magic-users. They come in various flavours, shapes and sizes, but ultimately there are i) bags of hit points who are good at melee and ii) squishy one-hit-wonders who, given the right set of circumstances, might actually evolve into glass cannons.

"But what about ro-"


I'm getting to that.

A picture by the creator of Dungeon Robber, the author of Blog of Holding

Fighters and magic-users may be born or made, but they aren't lifestyle choices. One has to possess a very particular set of characteristics to fall into either camp, characteristics that most of us simply do not have. That does not preclude 'normal' humans from picking up swords or unlocking arcane mysteries, but they will always be journeyman rather than a master.

Monday, 16 September 2019

The Spectral City

This is not a mirage, though it is seen in the desert when one is desperate and weak.

Inspired by The Pilgrims in Jack Vance's Eyes of the Overworld.
Contains paraphrased passages and quotes from that work, not cited. Fair use etc.

First it comes for those on watch, whose eyes become uncontrollably heavy. They will close them - only for  a second - but that is long enough. When they open them again, they see that the desert is quite different from how they remember it.

Saturday, 14 September 2019


Actual play adapted from module B4: The Lost City. Will contain spoilers.
Lost in the desert, the four foreigners (Luke, Kostas, Romulus and Xavi) have been whittled down to two by their fourth day in the pyramid above the city of Cynidicea: Kostas nurses an injured leg and Romulus has been inadvertently poisoned! The remaining members of the party were plotting with their allies when news came that the Cult of Zargon had cut off their supply lines to and from the underground city. Will they still proceed with their plan to depose Auriga? Will Xavi forgive Luke for the death of Romulus? Will Kostas ever drink wine again? Find out below (maybe)! Read the previous instalment here
Day 4, Continued...
After hearing the terrible news, Luke ventured that they call off their attack on Auriga and seek to unite against the common threat. The other two leaders were not convinced that Auriga didn't have something to do with it. The Madaruan ally, Helena, volunteered to scout out the chamber of worship, and to see if the Magi made an attempt to travel to the city, after Luke postulated that were AUriga behind the scheme, they would be able to do so unimpeded.

With time of the essence, Luke and Xavi escorted her through their secret entrance, and stood guard as the stealthy woman snuck into the chamber....

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

THE CRYSTAL SEAS, Episode 14... The Bishophtu Bath House part One

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. The party spent the night in a massage parlour with a good view of the local bath house, wherein they anticipate finding the wizard Kharzan.
This instalment includes lots of material adapted or drawn directly from The Boswitch Bathouse by Arnold Kemp of Goblin Punch fame. Spoilers abound! 

22nd Sositi

At dawn, the party decide to get breakfast at the local noodle house. They are shocked to see that the proprietors are the fat men they were spying on from the massage parlour the previous evening. They did not let the fact that they had already seen the men naked ruin their breakfast of fine noodle soup.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Old World Name Generator

I've been having way too much fun creating random generators over at, having already begun the process of making a character generator for Garblag Games' GRIMDARK RPG.

I recently added a name generator to it, combining Saxon, German and Celtic names, not divided on gender lines (and many names being unisex), and thought I'd share it here.

Behold, the Old World Name Generator!

Saturday, 7 September 2019


So here's a little experiment in random generation. This uses the GRIMDARK RPG system from Garblag gamesavailable free!

Image copyright © 2019 of Peter Lattimore.

08.09.2019 Background image and name generator added.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Three Peoples

A few weeks ago the perennial question of the role and nature of race in [fantasy] RPGs once more became prominent (mainly on Twitter but to a limited extent on the OSR discord), prompting this post. As someone with a background in social sciences, I have never been happy with the way the terms "race" and "class" are employed in RPGs: the latter term being a clunky legacy of OD&D that shows no sign of dying any time soon (and probably relates to the idea of "classifying" combatants, war game style), while the latter has a older provenance in fantasy literature, from JRR Tolkien's pen.

What follows is not an essay exhibiting any of my opinions on the subject directly: I think the two disparate currents in this debate are very well addressed by this Lyndsay Ellis video (Bright: The Apotheosis of Lazy Worldbuilding) and this reddit post by u/horcipotulree/
(TL/DR: The former is a dismantling of using fantasy races as real world racial analogues; the latter is an alternative approach to D&D's racial "essentialism")
..instead, I present three pieces of in-game lore concerning three entirely human races, and a conclusion which (I think) makes my opinion apparent.

Wednesday, 4 September 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 orchestrated a plot with the Sisterhood of Madarua. Now in their third day, the party continue to explore, in spite of losing Brother Theodosius to shapeshifting fox-people and Kostas nearly losing his leg.  The last instalment concluded with the bloody pulverisation of a pair of giant
tuataras. Read part seven here 

Aware of the sound of heavy breathing, the party dismiss the light cantrap and attempt to hide in the shadows. The heavy door flies open, trapping Luke behind, while Xavi and Romulus become aware of a dark lumbering shape squeezing through the door. Initiative is rolled!