The Curse of Iron

The Druids of Fridon call it The Curse of Iron. They have seen it many times over the centuries. Once a person or group uses weapons of iron they can never put them down again. Inescapably, others will come for their iron next. Or those around them will seek their own iron out of fear, tearing up the earth and felling the forests for fire to shape it. They will build stongholds and castles to keep it in their possession. They will enslave people to build for them and to work their fields. It will consume them and change them and all around them. And that is why The Druids and the wild elves and the hillmen of Fridon bury iron they find, praying for it to sleep again as they return it to the earth.

Posted in Lore / Worldbuilding and tagged by with no comments yet.

GaryCon 2022

The chief Unicorn (me) went to snowy Lake Geneva last weekend to play games with friends old and new.

The big project was DOUBLE SIZED DIVINE RIGHT, a larger version of the rare fantasy board game of yore. I love playing the game, but the original version is too small for my aging eyes and trembling fingers at this point. So I decided to make a larger copy both for home use and for traveling with. One of the fans on the forums suggested printing it on vinyl, and in spite of my aversion to plastics I did so. My local print shop did an awesome job scanning the board and printing a vibrant, durable, and portable copy.

For the chits and cards I used the .pdf files on the CD-ROM that came with the 25th anniversary edition. The same local print shop printed them on cardstock, which I glued down to matte boards with archival glue. Once they were dry I started to cut them out with scissors and art knives, but only got about halfway through when I ran out of time and hand strength. That matte board is tough stuff, but playing with the bigger chits was worth the work. Back to the local print shop which did a decent job cutting the remaining chits out.

Playing with the larger version on Thursday was great fun. I had two other players in the game, which threw off my plans. I had hoped to have 4 to 6 players, and I was going to play the Black Hand and mostly stay out of it. But with only three players that didn’t make as much sense to me. So we drew kingdoms at random and I got Pon. Ethan got the Trolls, and John got the elves of Neuth. I ended up getting good rolls and activating Suchhasum, then Mivior, then the Goblins, then the Black Hand. The others did not do as well on their diplomacy rolls. Once my armies were organized, I sacked the blue city in the south, then the Black Knights Keep, and then headed north to face the elven, troll, and dwarf forces attacking my cities. Upon the banks of the Loudwater River my combined army defeated the elves and their king was slain. Meanwhile the goblins had sacked Immer’s capital and captured their monarch. At the end of the day I had a tremendous number of victory points. But a couple lucky diplomacy rolls is all it really takes to give a player a big edge. Everyone showed great fortitude by playing all 20 rounds over the course of 11 hours (with breaks for meals and to see the wedding).

Now that I have all the chits organized, I’d like this to be a convention game that I run frequently.

Sending The Black Hand to break the siege of The Pits.

Besieging the dwarven capital.

In the aftermath of the battle, the Black Hand constructed The Colossus. None would dare approach The Pits again. Pon and the eastern powers had crushed their enemies.

Posted in Board Game, convention, Fantasy, Lore / Worldbuilding by with no comments yet.

Gamma Complex

In a distant age, at the edge of the galaxy, on a planet named Voek ( UWP: D525A76-6), industrial facilities in the wasteland churn out power generators, spaceship parts, and other machinery for the Grand Imperial Duchy of Abiodun.

Overview – Gamma Complex* is a city-sized science-fiction role-playing setting where a monopolistic corporation, criminal syndicate, royal family, communist dictatorship, or other totalitarian group controls every aspect of life for the residents of the technocratic, massive, hyper-efficient habitable Complex. In the below case it is presented as part of the Skein Reach setting.

Pages: 1 2

Posted in Campaign Setting, Location, Lore / Worldbuilding, Region, rules agnostic, Science-Fiction, Traveller and tagged , , , by with no comments yet.

The zone ghouls cry out, “Glob bloessss the wastelands!”


#NSFW #puppets #apocalypse #robot #mutant

Posted in d20 Future, Fiction, Gamma World, Post-Apocalyptic and tagged by with no comments yet.

Monastery of the Deep

Upon the black sand shores of far north-eastern Findor, a few miles up the road from an isolated fishing village, there is a three-story monastery of basalt stones. Beside it is a shrine to no named god, built beneath the shelter of the upturned prow of a wrecked sailing ship. The monks there will tell visitors that the monastery was founded by a sailor who washed ashore after a great storm, and who took shelter and a vow of silence beneath the wreckage of the ship. He built gardens and started building the monastery tower, and others joined him there in a peaceful life of contemplation of the dark ocean and the cold wind.

Now the monastery is well established, with a well, two fishing boats, an apiary and meadery, numerous chickens, and flocks of sheep and goats. Three monks oversee things, Brother Trausti, a mute human who teaches unarmed combat* and stonework, Brother Fardinb, a friendly half-elf who oversees the work of the younger monks on the monastery’s farms, and Sister Gretta, a studious hill gnome who oversees the library that takes up the top floor of the monastery tower.

Unknown to all of the residents the monastery has a magical connection to the astral plane. The sailor who founded the monastery had a vision of the Sea of Stars when he was dying of drowning, and meditated on it until he discovered how to travel there in his mind. His frequent psychic travels formed a weak connection between the training room that makes up the first floor of the monastery and the astral plane, and as a result planar travel and communication with the outer realms is slightly easier in the first floor of the monastery.

Through his meditation, and his time carving the stone of the training room, Trausti has begun to receive visions from the deep astral, as have the rest of the monks in the monastery. These visions, like those received by others scattered around the world, relate to the impending apocalypse of the Summer Frost, and are the result of White Eye’s secret spell to locate the pieces of the long lost Ring of Runes. With it in his grasp and reforged, White Eye intends to use its world-altering power to encase the world in eternal ice.



*Because one player wanted to play a monk in my Monday D&D game, I came up with this place on the fly during Session Zero. It turned out to be a great place to tie the plot threads into since we decided the warlock PC would also come from the same place. Good brainstorming in Session Zero really bore some great fruit, in terms of plot.

Posted in Location, Lore / Worldbuilding by with no comments yet.

Mind Flayer Lair

I came up with this dungeon when my players wandered into hex C2-20 in the classic Dungeons & Dragons adventure Descent Into the Depths of the Earth, a great old adventure which encourages DMs to fill inthe blank encounter areas with dungeons of one’s own design.

One of the players was playing a Warlock with the Far Ones pact, and I wanted to introduce a re-occurring Mind Flayer antagonist who would be a contact for the Warlock for their pact. The result was a nasty little dungeon filled with traps and horrors. When the Mind Flayer within contacted the warlock telepathically to offer magical secrets the Player Characters followed them right in.

mind flayer lair

The evil architects of this stronghold forced their slaves to build it as a spiraling trap, with a raised, hidden central area from which they could use their psychic powers on hapless intruders. As their prey make their way through the outer areas, encountering the mind-controlled slaves who dwell there, the Mind Flayers will lurk, peering through hidden peep-holes to use mind blasts and charm powers on their victims. If discovered, the Mind Flayers will retreat up 20 foot vertical shafts to the central passages and behind further secret doors.

Posted in 1st edition D&D, 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons, Adventure, Fantasy, Location, Lore / Worldbuilding, rules agnostic, Trap and tagged by with no comments yet.

Space Opera – Season 3 – Deepest Darkness

Having crossed the length and breadth of the Skein Reach

nurtured a nascent Droid Uprising

faced off against, and robbed

the Imperium, and the Ragranok Krew

made enemies innumerable

and killed many

and in the process saved many from death and from fates worse than death

the motley crew of the starship CALAMITY

navigate ever coreward

following the impulses of a strange cyber-brain

and a pieced-together map from a lost star empire

past dead star after dead star

attended by tiny chunks of rock

(each gathering sufficient hydrogen from the bright strands of bright, colorful nebulae to allow refueling)


nestled in the glare of a deadly pulsar

a blank globe

of deepest darkness.


Posted in Lore / Worldbuilding, Science-Fiction, Traveller, Uncategorized and tagged , , by with no comments yet.

The Boast of White Eye

The “Boast of White Eye”, as it is called by the magi of Setheria Isle, was found by the Magus Oahkill when a quest led him to the Ice Isles of northern Findor, some one hundred years ago. His written account of the journey contains the following passage. He first saw the sign of a simple spell, and investigated. His eldritch sight deciphered secret wizard-writing sorcerously scrawled across an iced-over engraving of the royal family of dwarves who had built the towers here so long ago.

I have slumbered through millennia
waited at the bottom of the sea
and passed through astral voids
undreamed of
while the spires of sons
rose upon the dust of their fathers
through your ages of heat and sun
until I was naught but the last spark
of cold in the dark
but now the cycle turns again
and the new age of ice has begun
and yes again
shall my glacial weight
scour all the faces of the world
clean and white, free as bones
of the flesh of your race’s delight
the waning sun
marks my counting
with flares and gutters
until my reign
freezes time
I am the white eye
I shall consume life

Posted in Character, Fiction by with no comments yet.

The Birth of the Nightmare

nightmare-300x190The sound of rapping at the door barely interrupted the thunderous downpour.  After the proprietor peered through the iron peephole and made out the huddled form, he let the stranger in.  A drenched Glenillyn from the Northlands passed the threshold, introduced himself, and asked for shelter at the house of Traer in the Southlands.  He was carrying a bridle round his neck and spurs dangled from his belt.

After a frugal supper filled with rich conversation, Glenillyn inquired as to what service he could render to repay Traer’s hospitality.  The dark host sat silent for some time, then he said to his guest, “I ask nothing of you save you bring me the prized mare held by my neighbor to the west.  He guards her with such precision that for months all my attempted ambushes have been in vain.”

Glenillyn said, “You in the South are certainly slow and cowardly by our standards.  We would have made an attempt to get her and even have died rather than hang about for moons.  Tell me where she is and wait here over the next night and see how I do.”

Said Traer, “We know all about the boasting of your people.  Cadwallon, the son of Uther, has the mare at Gelligaer.  She feeds by day in the midst of soldiers.  At night she slumbers on a fine brachan[1] in the far corner of his house, with the whole household between her and the only door and four of his best men between her and the fireplace.  In addition to repaying my hospitality, you shall get ten cows for the mare and five for the brachan.”  Traer strolled up unconcernedly to the face of Glenillyn, as no thief in the Southlands is arrested but is instead killed on the spot, so if the traveler were seen again it would mean success and he would have his prize.  Glenillyn nodded, took his rest, and in the morning set forth to retrieve the mare.

The night was dark and starless as Glenillyn approached Gelligaer.  With his knife he made a hole beside the door and let himself in.  He stole up to the mare and loosed her.  Then, with the lashing skills of the seamen of the north, he tied the fringes of the carpet to her tail.  The four men were sleeping on the carpet and following Glenillyn’s lead, the mare dragged the guards bodily through the fire, which consumed them immediately and with nary a shriek, their ashen corpses covered the rug as it was dragged outside the door.  Cadwallon’s remaining band set out after him, guided by the sparks.  These Glenillyn quenched, and mount and robber rode off into a nearby field.  Just before dawn, he returned to Traer safely, handed over the mare, received the cows and gained for himself great renown for daring as against the men of the Southlands.

Unfortunately for both men, the story doesn’t end there.  The mare herself sustained burns passing through the fire that night.  The ashes of the corrupt guards wore into the sores opened by the flesh wounds, infecting the mare with the evil intent that an unjust death does.  The next night, she broke free of the stables of Traer, breathing fire as bright as ever from the hearth of Cadwallon at her captors, her flesh still rotting yet clinging to her animated frame.  She galloped off across the land, set free by her power.  From the prints where her hooves stepped that night, no plant has since grown.

It is said she has bred many more mares in her corrupted image.  On starless nights, beware the whinnies that wind through the dells of the Southlands and the haunted dreams of men.

Inspired by the Welsh legend of Genillyn, the Thief of Glamorgan.

Posted in Fiction and tagged , by with no comments yet.