The Immensity of Lotus Blossoms

The Undercroft #2 is finished! More or less. All that stands between it the printer is a couple of minor bits. What a to do, what a to do.

I must say, bi-monthly is looking more and more feasible. Stay tuned. Or don't, I'm just a blog post not your mum. Anyway, have some content:

The Yellow Lands

The Immensity of Sky

Climb to the top of Mt. Yatenga, the Sky Tower, without help or tools. You must climb without food or supplies, with your bare hands and feet until you reach the perfectly flat, barren top. Here you must lay down and commune with the Immensity of Sky, nowhere else are you so close to its Vastness. Each day of laying there you have a cumulative 1% chance of gaining favour. If you eat or drink the chance will reset. Every morning there is a 1 in 6 chance enough dew forms on you to count as drinking for that day (does not reset the chance of favour).

An nganga at work

  1. Qadhi gives and takes away, though he has no urgency. Cure Light Wounds once per day per wisdom modifier. Each additional time this is rolled upgrade it to Serious through Critical and finally Heal.
  2. Everything on A'ard's face is merely a few steps away. The nganga walks out of sight around a corner and appears elsewhere as Word of Recall, once per day.
  3. The walking dead are anathema under this Immense Sky: you may Turn Undead once per day per wisdom bonus. You may do it at will while the Roof of the World is above your heads, forcing the dead to look up and see infinity awaiting them.
  4. No sorcerer can lay his evil eye upon you. Witchlamp Aura once per day per wisdom bonus.
  5. The Eye of the Sun burns fiercely in The People. Bless once per day per wisdom bonus.
  6. After communing with the Old Leech mortals are simple creatures by comparison. Suggestion once per day per charisma bonus.
  7. The Sky covers the world, not only at the peak of Yatenga. Contact Outer Sphere once per week per wisdom bonus.
  8. You understand the subtle interactions of the gods and can influence their flow. Control Weather once per week per wisdom bonus.
  9. You can cast out evil spirits with authority. Dispel Magic - Dispel Evil once per day per wisdom bonus.
  10. We are all Children of the Sun. Speak with Animals once per day per charisma bonus.
  11. Qadhi can be entreated to loosen his grip. Speak With Dead once per day per charisma bonus.
  12. An Nganga speaks with knowledge of the gods and understands the deep magic, no blade may touch him. Protection from normal weapons once per day per wisdom bonus.

Llamalackelkloulothllimptishavakothvoutxikliklalpvanipvan, The Devourer

Albinos are sacred and pegged for greatness
Eating the laklishi lotus bulb is an act of holy communion directly with the spirit of the great swamp. They are, however, incredibly toxic. Save vs. posion or take 1d10xd10 damage and cannot talk for d3 months and will need help walking for a week as you have suffered what resembles a stroke- though the swamp people insist it is merely the response of a weak mind in the presence of the Devourer. +3 to your save if you are an albino. If you are successful, roll on the table below.

An alternative and altogether more risky path to enlightenment is through eating demonic flesh. The denizens of the sub-worlds can meet a final death in the belly of the Devourer. To do this one must eat the majority of the creatures, including its head and heart or nearest approximation of both. Once ingested, the diner must spiritually "wrestle" the dinee, using wisdom bonuses instead of strength. If the shaman wins, they may roll on the table (and may shift 1 point up or down per demon HD, the Devourer especially enjoys this), if the demon wins they will possess their body. The demon can then shift back to its original form or that of the priest at will. The cleric is of course dead.

1-5 - You spontaneously Commune with The Devourer with no possibility of upsetting it. The experience is immensely pleasing and produces a profound feeling of connectedness.

6 - In a world where Dutch courage isn't a thing, laklishi courage is. Cast Heroism on yourself once per day per constitution modifier.

7 - If you can quieten the blood pounding in your ears you can hear the rich undercurrent of voices. Ability to cast Augury once per day per wisdom modifier.

8 - The most holy of acts, the consumption of sentient beings, perfected into an act of singular connection. Ability to cast Last Meal once per day per wisdom modifier.

9 - The great swamp is full of dangers. You may suck out poison from others or sweat out poison in your own system thanks to a prodigious resistance to toxic effects. Works as Delay Poison once per day per constitution modifier and requires you to physically suck it or sweat it out. If this result is rolled again, the effect becomes Neutralise Poison.

10 - When they say it's just the laklishi talking you turn and tell them "I am the laklishi". Your bodily fluids will cause Feeblemindedness if consumed by others. Approximately a teaspoon will do.

11 - It takes a force of will, and you must squint just so, but you are used to mind altering situations and can Detect Illusion once per day per constitution modifier.

12 - You have seen the logic that lies beneath and can explain it if only they will listen. You may inflict Forget once per day per wisdom bonus. You must both touch and talk to them to do this.

A beautiful laklishi blossom

Some contend that The Devourer isn't a god at all, merely the hallucination of a nation of drug users. So far no ambitious theologians have taken the trek into the Great Swamp to argue their points in person, but they assure us they will get around to it any day now.

The Jabóbo & the Mystery Cult

Mystery Cults were one of the three flavours of Hellenic religion, and one that hasn't been gamed anywhere near hard enough. Typically RPG religion is a matter of worshipping Angry-Jesus or Pretty-Standard-Nice-Jesus or maybe even Probably-A-Little-Bit-Racist-But-Mostly-Harmless-Shaman-Jesus, and only that. How dreary.

The Hellenes recognised the multiplicity of man and thus offered a rich platter of spirituality in the form of three main branches: the state or local religion (the standard idea of what religion is), mystery cults, and philosophic religions. One person would typically follow the local religion, possibly a mystery cult or two, and rarely a philosophic religion unless they were of the upper classes.

Traits of a Mystery Cult:

  1. Observance of the seasonal cycles. Death and renewal were central themes.
  2. A focus on secret ceremonies and initiations. Each layer of mystery unveiled offered the initiate new insight into the cult's god.
  3. Mystery cults have no interest in doctrine or correct beliefs. It's all about making a strong emotional connection with the initiates with the aim of becoming closer to god.
  4. Inducing religious ecstasy, usually through theatre, chanting, dancing or drugs. You can see the influence of mystery cults on Christian passion plays.
  5. The primary goal of a member of the religion was union with god, or whatever it is they worship. Possibly in the form of salvation, spiritual or physical immortality, or redemption.

You can see that the a major difference between this and a state religion is that one is for the masses and one is for the individual. A mystery religion is a very personal experience centred around your journey to unity with the godhead, in whatever way that was appropriate. This system can happily be set alongside traditional cleric classes or my previously explored ideas of killing them off and replacing them with random tables of stuff. You can have a religion and be part of a mystery cult or two (or three) as long as your god doesn't have a problem with it. Even then, it's conceivable that a god would have many mystery cults dedicated to them. Think about all the Christian heresies, look at the passion plays, go read about the cult of Mary. Easy stuff.

Jabóbo fertility cult of the Prior Kairnlaw

Jabóbos flourish in Prior Kairnlaw as they do nowhere else on earth. The beasts are big quasi-bipeds, about twice the size of a man. They are cleanly (they wash themselves in the manner of cats), short-muzzled, small-eared and, except for their thick, stubbish tails and huge thighs, have a rather anthropoid aspect. They are valued for their milk, not their flesh, and no more males than are needed for breeding are ever raised. The females have remarkably pronounced mammary developments which are, if I may so phrase it, directly and immediately exploitable by men. The herdsman’s feeling of communion with such a breed is—imaginably—great. Not to put too fine a point on it, jabóbo cults—originating in various fertility-promoting rituals informally practised by herdsmen—now abound in Prior Kairnlaw. Sacred herds are designated and the rituals centred on them are reported—probably reliably—to have both dionysiac and priapic features. The herds are often called, by local cynics, “sacred seraglios.”

1st Mystery

Better to build strong children than repair broken men.

Initiation: The initiate is staked to the ground while a heard of jabóbos are allowed to meander around them. If the herd settles and grooms then they are accepted into the first mystery. (Reaction test adding your wisdom bonus to the roll, needing 6+)

Reward: Your next character's strength and constitution will be at least 13.

2nd Mystery

If your herd is strong you can make the devil plough.

Initiation: The initiates must suckle from the breast of the herd matron. To do so they must wrestle the the young (though still enormous) young away and be accepted by the matron. They must successfully wrestle away D4 STR 14 young and either have a reaction test of 9 (adding your wis bonus) or wrestle her for 2 rounds (the matron is strength 20). If the young pin them or the matron rejects and resists them then they have failed.

Reward: The character has one chance to say no to the GM, and he must accept it. Once it has been used it is gone.

3rd Mystery

We reap as we sow.

Initiation: The initiates are set amongst the herd naked to engage in the jabóbo mating season. Men must secure a strong female for copulation and possibly defend themselves against an enraged bull (strength 18), asserting their authority over him. Women must attract the amorous attention of the bull. 

Reward: The character is incredibly fecund. Any sex will result in pregnancy and those children will be strong and healthy. What's more, for each child the character spawns they will receive an additional single use rebuttal as seen in the 2nd mystery.

4th Mystery

What is bred in the bone will not leave the flesh.

Initiation: Initiates attempting the 4th mystery present themselves to a Golden Calf. One will be selected to bear its child and shall enter the final circle of the mystery. Men will bear this child, the details are up to you to decide (caesareans are very advanced in the Kairnlaw since they are a nation of herdsmen).

Reward: The character will produce children with anything they have sex with. Any man, any woman, any animal. Their fertility is boundless. However when copulating with members of other species consult the following tables:

Roll 1D6:
1 - The child is a healthy human blessed by the gods, roll 4d6 and keep the best three for its stats. 
2-5 - An animal is born. It is especially fine in every way.
6 - A Golden Calf is born, a chimera of both its parents.

Golden Calf chart:

  1. It has the head of the animal that spawned it, 1 in 6 chance it can't speak human language. The thick pelt extends down its back to the base of its spine.
  2. The child matures at an astounding rate. Within a month it will be fully grown.
  3. Their skin is that of the animal. Their natural armour class is now 13.
  4. It looks exactly like its animal parent, except it can talk and is incredibly wise from the moment it's born.
  5. They have ungulate legs where human ones should be. They move twice as fast as normal.
  6. A tail adorns the base of their spine. It twitches and whirls with a mind of its own but is not altogether unattractive.
  7. They are barrel chested and thickly muscled. Strength and constitution 18 when they mature.
  8. It receives unquestioning adoration from all those who view it. Save vs. magic or be positively inclined towards it. Save again to strike it, and each future attempt.
  9. The child has all the rewards of the highest initiation in the mystery cult.
  10. They can talk to animals.
  11. Roll twice (re-roll 11s or 12s)
  12. Roll three times (re-roll 11s or 12s)

Rumours born of jealousy of those seen as being too successful or too popular are often accused of being golden calves. None in the Kairnlaw would take it as a point of pride to be accused of being the love child of a cultist and a beast.

I think this is all gameable in its current form, but let me know if you think I've left anything out and I'll clear it up. All this stuff has been part of my campaign world for ages so it's easy to forget bits that seem obvious to me.


So I killed clerics.

Let's invent clerics! Or paladins, paladins are cool. Or whatever a sneaky disciple of god is (Jehovah's Witness? Mormon enforcer?). Everyone is welcome to embrace the deep-heart beliefs of god(s) and be their chosen few if you have the strength of conviction. To be the instrument of divine power is no small feat but is open to all who look for it, not just the spell slinging hymn humpers. 

Become the bodhisattva, a hoary guru, Joan d'fucking-Arc. A god will have people who embody them entirely. These persons could well be prophetic figures, although just as often will not. A god of war may pick a great warlord that fits his requirements, regardless of his perceived piety. Maybe unbeknownst to him he has become all that his god desires in mankind. 

This path is open to all PCs, whatever class they may be. All they need do is fulfil the tenets to gain favour and a roll on the table of divine gifts. Further gifts may be gained through the same process.

Note: The player must actively pursue the favour and worship of a god/gods to gain their favour. If they ever ruin the relationship they will lose all powers. May only have favours from one source.

Assume all "equal to wisdom modifier" bonuses are a minimum of 1.

Qadhi, god of the End of All Things

Garner favour via severe ritual scarification. Must be administered by the nomads of the Ekidna desert or another suitably knowledgeable and equipped remote guru. Each application drains d3 permanent constitution, takes a full day of preparation and 500sp worth of tools, including rare inks, blades, hammers, piercings, hot coals and scorching white sand. You will be extremely distinct and noticeable from then on, unable to hide your markings with anything short of a burka.

You will lose these powers if you somehow become immortal.

  1. The Kindly one gives, but any gift is a theft. You can heal others by transferring your own hitpoints to another with a number of d8 equal to your wisdom modifier per day. You may use them all at once or one at a time, but you must transfer the full amount rolled.
  2. You can Turn Undead with the Fear of What Lies Beyond once per day per Wis bonus. Cleric level is equivalent to class level.
  3. You are inured to mundane suffering and prepared to meet Qadhi. Instead of dying from an otherwise fatal wound you can take the fatal damage as permanent Constitution loss. Your body will bear the scars but it is a small price.
  4. Speak With Dead once per day. They never get a save to resist answering questions as they come from Qadhi's realm and relish the release.
  5. May Commune at will. Qadhi's realm is the terminus of all things and exists outside of time so offers an excellent vantage point for the aquisition of knowledge. However, Qadhi doesn't have a pleasant afterlife and the caster will age 1d10 years regardless. There is no penalty for casting it regularly, Qadhi doesn't care, you'll all end up in the same place regardless.
  6. You are The Hand That Felled The First Tree and they dare not look upon you. You are invisible to non-sapient undead, and sapient undead struggle to meet your gaze. They must save vs. magic to strike you.

Bashu, the Summer Lord

1 in 100 chance of a favour for every day's food worth of trapped animals you release when in desperate need of them (less than three days of food while more than three days from civilisation).
Gain a guaranteed favour if you can catch and release Bashu.

You will lose all powers if Bashu is killed

  1. You can sneak about in natural environments as though you had 6 in stealth.
  2. You can use Clairvoyance to look through the eyes of animals once per day per point of wis modifier. If it's unlikely for there to be an animal at the desired location, 2 in 6 chance there is.
  3. If you travel alone you can cover up to 100 miles per day. To you it just feels like a bracing hike through the forest, to others you disappear behind a tree and reappear from behind another 100 miles away that evening.
  4. The seasons breath through you. Extremes of weather no longer harm or slow you.
  5. Speak with (mundane) Animals at will. They will not necessarily be inclined to help but they can at least understand you.
  6. You can intensify the weather either towards summer or winter. It will be shifted one increment (DM can figure out what that means to them, though something like " rainy to clear to sunny to scorching" is intended) per day you maintain the desire to do so.

Invenit, who Makes Clear the Way

1% chance of gaining favour for every 100gp (5'000sp) worth of (total, before splitting) lost treasures you find in a single location. It must be in a place that has not seen human feet for at least a generation and was previously forgotten. Add an additional 50% if it is an item or place of great cultural importance that was believed lost.

Lose your powers if you ever buy a home or settle down.

  1. Though lost, inevitably found. Always search as though you had 6 in 6.
  2. Can cast Vision once per day, but may only ask for directions and may only sacrifice wealth. On a failure the Geas put on the devotee will be to travel to a far away place for a forgotten treasure. They will know the direction and nothing more until they find it. What they do with the treasure is their own business.
  3. Invenit provides for weary feet. Wherever you are you will find a mount not far away. They will be loyal and sturdy and if lost, another will approach within d3 days.
  4. Locate Object once per day per point of wisdom modifier.
  5. Legend Lore once per month.
  6. You can entrust your path to Invenit, follow the Blue Goat and be lead to the quiet places. The player may instruct his DM that he is following Invenit and is starting off in a seemingly random direction to find great adventure. The DM will provide this and is obliged not to screw with them in at least so far as there must be a significant payoff at the end. Gaining the party's approval for this is obviously recommended.

It's all rather rough at this point but I think it's a functional foundation to build on.

Dear LotFP Clerics,

Disclaimer: this is not a revolutionary manifesto. I won't break into your house and vandalise your cleric character sheet. It's cool if you disagree entirely. 

Clerics, why are you so lame?

I want to make you gifts like I do for everyone else. I want to wrap up this new spell that makes a hair fall out for every sin the recipient has committed and give it to you with amorous intent. But no, I can't. You are a magic whore and insist on having everything. An esoteric fatty! Every cleric spell is at your finger tips and every gift makes you better, stronger, weirder than before. The magic users do not approve.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in bed with balance. I'm happy that a level 1 wizard with summon can cause no end of world altering mayhem. But you have to treat your children equally, or at least appear to.

So, to spare any favouritism why don't we just... kill 'um and take their stuff? Pretend they didn't exist and shower the magic-user with more magic. To use.

Arguments I have heard and made up for keeping clerics:

  1. They add variety
  2. I want to wear armour and cast magic
  3. The onus of healing just falls in the lap of the wizard


  1. Ninjas add variety. Dwarves and elves add variety. All of them have been CUT. Each one brings with it cultural baggage that forces you to do some mental acrobatics to slide them into a campaign that wouldn't otherwise consider them. Why is a ninja in euro-land? Secret assassin cult! I'm just badass! Why do I have to have elves in my world? Screw elves.

    Clerics, though it may be hard to notice, are very very Judeo-Christian. Most historical religions have not been monotheistic. Barely any. Very few religions have been aggressively evangelical. Barely any. The roving god-talking crusader/paladin/religious nut is very specific. If I replaced the base cleric with ngangas or yamabushi people would question why. "How would I fit those in my campaign?" The same way you did with clerics. Just 'cos.

  2. As far as LotFP is concerned, you can get away with wearing everything other than plate. Aren't you cool enough? The fighter doesn't have much going for him other than hitting and being hit. Let them have the glory of being able to stomp around in a tank. Why take that from them? Plus high ACs make everything sloooow. I don't populate the world with things with AC 17+ unless there's a bloody good reason. It's boring as hell rolling, missing, rolling, missing. Kill, kill, done, that's the ideal

  3. This is a fair point. Every time a party asks "so, who's going to be the cleric?" I die a little inside. It's a symptom of choice, or lack thereof. They feel they need a cleric. Someone must make that sacrifice. True, this isn't always the case but that's how generalisations work.

    Once you have said heal battery character you always have the obligation to keep a heal or two in your pocket, limiting what you could have. Fun stuff, weird stuff, anything but heal. But how about scrolls? Wands? Staves? They exist. If we just folded the cleric into the magic-user they could pump out 50 cure light wounds potions and stick them in a bandoleer on their back. Or they would finally have an excuse to get that bishop's crook they've always wanted and stuff it full of healing magic.

    Also, why do all clerics heal anyway? Say I worship Mictlantecuhtli, do you really think I can magically heal you? Any wizard on the other hand would have a very good reason to learn how to fix bodies, after all they don't want to die and neither do other people. Healing rich folk could be a nice little earner for a neophyte juju jongleur

    Of course you could just decide to be a religious magic user that worships a healing god(s) and heals everything everywhere. Top job! You're living the dream.

I don't think classes should make many assumptions. The fewer the better in fact. LotFP wisely changed rogues into specialists with, I imagine, the intent of releasing them from the role of professional dick. You can't help it, "I'm a rogue, I feel roguish". Language is powerful, how we label things is massively influential in how we think about things. The more specifically we name the more narrowly we view.

I'm a yamabushi, don't think of me as a magic Japanese hermit. It's hard isn't it?

If we take their name away we allow more freedom of thought. It's just a magic-user. They use magic, all magic. You want to be a druid? Cool, go summon stuff and have sex with trees. Research all kinds of weird spells that scream "druid". A sorcerer? Necromancer? Mage?


It's all the same stuff. Or at least it can be with a little elbow grease. Say there's 10 spells per level that you roll from to get your free levelling-up spells. How about we decide those lists based on what you say you are? A monotheistic vengeful healing god lover would look like a typical cleric. A wizard would look like the current magic-user. Either of them could learn heal, or summon, or lightning bolt. Go read a book, learn to raise the dead. We're just adding flavour without limiting what we can do if we really want to. What we're also doing is allowing ourselves to go mental with adding spells. All spells, steal them from everywhere and make a list a 1000 pages long, it all adds to the coolness of clerics/magic-users

You could claim that this waters them down, allowing the peaceful healing cleric to learn Power Word: Kill. I'd say you should learn restraint. If the player cared enough about her concept she wouldn't learn inappropriate spells, and if she doesn't then what the hell, go to town. Some people don't make high concept characters, some do. It's all good.

Another thing that I've considered is Gods. Much like above, if players don't care about gods when they aren't clerics then that's fine. In my case, my player's like gods regardless of their class so I'm okay. It's all down to taste. However, what if gods still gave gifts to the chosen? Only they weren't so set on just elevating those gifted in magic. How many religious warriors have there been in the real world? A fuck-ton, that's how many. Of course they would still be picky, they would still need a person to be the very embodiment of their core values. They would live and breath the god of yams, or whatever it is they're into, and in exchange he would give them a boon. Maybe a little magic ability, maybe they're just lucky, maybe they get a talking dog, maybe they can smell like a wolf and wrestle trolls naked in the name of the thunder god, maybe they let you wear platemail, you big baby.

A cleric isn't what you are, it's what you do.

One door closes, another door opens.

One of my very smart and handsome players had a great idea. Instead of making lists, why not just swap out the "every magic-user gets read magic" with a specific spell depending on what flavour of magic guy you are? A cleric gets cure light wounds. A demonologist gets summon. An enchanter gets charm. And so on. BAM, flavour.

Calendar of Vornheim and the Kairnlaw

The calendar observed by Vornheim and the Kairnlaw consists of 18 months of 20 days each, with 5 days left over.

The 5  "Lost Days" are considered unlucky and people do very little. Work will be cancelled, theatres will shut and battles will be re-scheduled. Foreign visitors would be shocked at how fervently the citizens of Vornheim shut themselves away and avoid eye contact or even basic acknowledgement of anyone. On these days the herds of the Kairnlaws govern themselves.

Both Vornheim and the Kairnlaw claim the origins of the calendar as their own but less politically minded scholars look to the distant Empires and note the convenient similarities.

The month is marked by a number and a symbol, ensuring even the lowliest unwashed mass keeps good time. When discussing the date they would say "1 Crow", "2 Pigs", "5 Soldiers", and so on. Each month has folk associations that can vary from place to place, superstitions and observances specific to certain people. Where there are agreed upon elements they have been noted.

The 5 Lost Days don't have names or numbers and people try their hardest to ignore them. Fortunately both peoples are painfully superstitious so they don't spend much energy questioning the reasoning behind it.


In the tundra and steppes there's not much subtlety to their seasons. They have brief scorching summers followed by interminable autumns and a capricious winter. Spring barely registers as the winter falls like a loosed curtain. Only the herdsmen of the Kairnlaw differentiate it from Father Summer as their herds grow.


  • Crown (this is depicted as a royal crown in Vornheim and a heavily pregnant cow in the Kairnlaw)
  • Cottage


  • Tower (a proud tower in Vornheim, it is considered in a negative and somewhat pompous light in the Kairnlaw)
  • Rut
  • Pig
  • Soldier


  • Crow
  • Moth
  • Lover
  • Bear
  • Death's Head
  • Stick
  • Beast (the beast depicted is unrecognisable as anything. It has legs and arms, maybe a head. The odd thing is that everyone agrees on how it looks)
  • Lunatic (Since the 476th cycle this has been a rough depiction of Lord Zyklon, the mad old Duke of Vornheim)


  • Finger
  • Toe
  • Mountain
  • Wolf (both nations agree this is an ominous month, both for its associations and as the last month before the Lost Days)


Years work in cycles, batches of years of variable length (typically between 27 and 56 years long) that can tick over at any point in the appropriate year. They are measured by astrologers and other interested parties, though some suspect that they choose new cycles based on when a national holiday is needed. 

The details of the system are so awfully dull and, as is generally opined, a waste of time that very few people outside of dedicated historical societies bother to pay much attention to it. If it weren't for the holidays involved people would likely forget they existed entirely. Both the Kairnlaw and Vornheim agree that we are currently on the 478th cycle, though what they have been counting from is hotly debated amongst those with little better to do.

Africa-land Mapping

Signing in to confirm my continued existence. This last week has been a solid wall of play testing and map making for Africa-land and Dead City stuff, plus my usual gaming obligations. It's got to the point where both groups are on the brink of heading straight into the desert to find the city so I've had to pick up speed as a result.

I've continued to chop away at Spears of Dawn until it fits the hole I've set aside for it in my campaign, namely to frame the desert that will house the Dead City. The latest step in this process has been to re-imagine the map. I've tried to stay close to the source material in spirit, keeping most of the names and general spacial relations, but changing bits and pieces as they suit my style (both aesthetic and gaming). The result is quite pretty, I feel.

It looks small because it's zoomed way out. If I were to print this it would be about two metres long. So, rather big. From this distance you can hardly make out the rivers or the words, but that's JPGs for you.

Click here for the outrageously huge and high quality version.

Here's how it all fits together so far.

The big red rectangle is the above map overlayed on the world map. See that tiny red square in the top? That's this map. The Three Lands and adjacent Ekidna Desert is rather big in comparison to puny old Vornheim and the Kairnlaws. The desert itself stretches off into the heart of the continent, hiding the Dead City in it's drifting dunes.

I'm working on a bigger scale than I'm used to and have so far enjoyed it. Fewer rivers to figure out, no roads to draw, and I can quite legitimately not mark anything other than the largest most important places on the map. When a hex is 36 miles across you can hand wave all sorts of things.

Differentiating weapon choices

Some more rules to make weapon choice a little bit more relevant without adding much to think about. All these are assuming use with Lamentations of the Flame Princess rules, where weapons' damage die is determined by roughly how large it is.


+1 to hit opponents with AC 16 or more. Otherwise, -1 to hit.

As I stated in my previous post: anti-armour weapon. Possibly anti-undead.


Swords are versatile killing tools typically used as side arms. They can be worn conveniently and don't provoke unwanted attention. Having a spear or flail slung over your shoulder suggests violence.


+1 damage, -1 to hit.

Axes are clumsy but inflict horrible wounds.

Polearm (spears, poleaxes, halberd etc.):

+1 to hit vs. anyone not wielding a similarly quick and long weapon. Can be mixed with other categories. For example, a poleaxe would be a percussive polearm and have +2 to hit targets with 16 AC or more.

Lose all bonuses and get -1 to hit if in a place with very little space to move (if you can't stretch your arms out in every direction without touching a wall).

Polearms have been the default killing implement for as long as anyone can remember. And with good reason, as they're fast, long and versatile. However, carrying one down the street would be regarded in the same way as walking around with an M16: that you are crazy and dangerous.


They have inherent bonuses because of their form and socially accepted status, inherent penalties because of their small size.


Ignore shields, on a natural 1 you twat yourself in the head.

Not the sanest of weapons, but they get a specific job done.

Metal Gods and Secrets

Two zines, both on their first issue, both are pretty damn cool.

Metal gods of Ur-Hadad looks to be focusing it's considerable energies on the single location of its titular city. The content is light on rules, high on flavour and random tables, painting in broad strokes the image of a post apocalyptic, sweaty, and brutal place where mankind lives on top of itself in layers, one crushing the other into a fine pulp, all clinging to an indifferent world that will brush them away before long. So, idea rich and high concept, exactly how I like it.

It reminds me of the city of Duhn from GOD KILLERS: ancient, cyclopean, it's inhabitants little more than parasites on its face. The city is its own character and it doesn't much care for you.

Very fucking metal.

It's about time I talked about Secrets.

I've had this for a while and neglected to give it a good going over. Again, this zine is based on its own setting, and again is mostly lists of things. Which I like. The bulk of it is magic and items, neither of which are quite to my tastes, being more of a standard old fashioned D&D fair. The monsters however, are great. Each one reads like it came out of a medieval grimoire, as weird and blatantly made up as those things always seem. They're weird and charming and best of all come with a mini-adventure attached. These little vignettes place them firmly in the world and show you how the author intended them to be used. This is so obviously a great idea that I may just judge everyone who doesn't do this in the future a little worse. 

So yea. ZINES! Go give these people your money so they'll write more things for me.

Morning Letters

"That particular confusion is remedied", Garu nudged the man with his foot. "He was alive."

The corpse twitched and blood pumped from the hole in its chest as though bailed out by tiny hands. Kahn let the shard slip back to the white sand, slick with blood.

Garu was already headed up the dune, feet crunching through the glass, "I wouldn't throw yourself into the sand because of it. We have important work to pursue and he was undeniably slowing us down. In quieter times we would have cleared the shards days ago. It is fitting they be used to test his mortality."

Not sadness, not guilt, more an irritation and disappointment. He was wrong and wasteful. This man was not of the city.

The Immensity of Sky

A rough outline of a the pantheon I'll be using for a LotFP hack of +Kevin Crawford's Spears of Dawn. It'll be further fleshed out as the weeks go by and players start needing more info on the religion they're involved in.

It is assumed that the details of worship vary hugely from kingdom to kingdom, from village to village, so we can only talk in generalities and may cheerily change it as we please.

A wealthy urban dibia (priest) performing her craft

The Immensity of Sky 

The creator, source of the world, father of earth, mother of stars, the point of departure and conclusion, the origin and the end. It is a disinterested god and those wishing to honour him have had to go through intermediaries who are not so distant from humanity so as to be unreachable. Traditionally it hasn't been worshipped directly but a dedicated cult have achieved popularity in recent years.

Major aspects:


Earth goddess, literally the earth we stand on.

Mapenzi, Will of the people, Who Brings the Thunder

The free will of the people. God of thunder and lightning. Popular in times of war, worship of this deity has ensured the people of the Yellow Lands their reputation of being indomitable in the face of foreign control. Though they may inflict the most horrendous aspects of war upon each other they are all of the People and those not of the People will not stand over them.

Bara-Ondi, Eye of the Sun

Lives in the sun, the eye of the Sky, the eye of eyes. Seen as being the perfect example of what a human can be, perfect in every way.

An unrelated gentleman standing guard

Roog, Husband of A'ard, The Rainkeeper

Primary fertility god, responsible for the harvest as he brings rain to his wife, A'ard.

Lesser aspects:

Qadhi, He Who Felled the First Tree

God of healing and death. Nomads of the Ekidna desert worship him exclusively and have a far more fundamental and nihilistic attitude, befitting those committed to watching the Dead City. For the more typical dibia, Qadhi is merely the embodiment of The End and not quite so fatalistic.

Ndogo, Guardian of Yams

In some kingdoms there is a tradition of young children being sent from their homes and dedicated to the service of this deity. They take the name of Ndogo and till the fields. As adults such children are expected to become prosperous yam farmers, one of the few routes into nobility. As such many poor parents are eager to have their children chosen for this honour.

Baba Zetu, All our Fathers

The amalgamation of every ancestor spirit. People have a very personal relation to this deity and will often talk to it for months after the loss of a close loved one. These conversations won't be exclusively in a ritual context, indeed it's common to see a bereaved husband talking happily to his dead wife while performing his chores.

Place of Strength

A personal god. Usually depicted with a wooden statue in the home and worshipped by the family in times of struggle or industrial endeavour.

The Old Leech

God of chaos and upheaval. People pray to him when bargaining as he is said to guarantee success in conflict. Typically worshipped in war times and banished in peace to avoid his presence causing bloodshed.


Parassik, The Night Serpent, The Tree of Tricksters, The Watcher at the Threshold

The Trickster deals misfortune to those that do not offer adequate tribute to the gods. Regarded as the divine messenger, master of languages, The Tree of Tricksters is responsible for carrying messages and sacrifices from humans to the Sky. Lurks at gateways, on the paths and at the crossroads, where he introduces chance and accident into the lives of humans. Has a great variety of names.