Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Darvatius the Eternal

"Plague" by Stephan Alexeev

Born Vircir Inotem Tolius Xenvi, he ascended to the throne at the age of 17 upon deposing of his impotent and opium-addled father. The body of Tolius III had barely stopped swinging from the Bridge of Crowns when Tolius IV became Darvatius I, and he made his goal known to his people: to be the greatest emperor the world would ever know.

He would succeed.

The guard was changed immediately. His father’s bootlickers were removed swiftly and quietly, the ancient invertebrates replaced by a new circle of advisers. Fresh faces arrived in the capital; Younger men with sharper minds, pulled in with a broader net than the old order: Radical philosophers, heterodox military minds, mages returned from exile, apocalyptic clerics, anyone who might be of use.

Darvatius’s main support was among the lower classes and military, a base he had built since he first entered the public eye as a prince. He played to the fears and desires of those who had lost the most under his father’s haphazard policies, to great success. Offer a working man enough coin to keep his children alive and he will follow to the ends of the earth. Besides this, he was new, driven, and respectable in ways his brothers and father were not. His was the largest faction, but still an overall minority: If any of the major noble factions banded together he would be finished.

The executions followed. Anyone among the aristocracy who would have supported his older brothers was murdered swiftly and without question before they could organize against him. Midnight raids and public deaths threw rival factions into disarray. To this day, cities in what were the empires core territories still possess a major causeway named Crucifixion Street.

For a time, the empire ran red. Peasant uprisings, military coups, assassinations, a foaming chaos with Darvatius at the helm.

His brothers he spared from death, for reasons never adequately explained by historians or propagandists, though he left them both lobotomized eunuchs.

The older of the two, Heiron, was stationed at the Rock of Ienila as keeper of the lighthouse. He was the smarter and stronger of the two, but was more fit as a poet and harpist than as a king. By secret arts he remains at Ienila to this day, and sailors who trawl the route past the Rock often claim to hear his distant songs on clear nights.

The younger brother, Vanirem, was a reprehensible scab of a man, and was given to the care of a particular sorcerer of the court, with the instructions that “he is to be cared for, and his desires met”.

Vanirem died less than two years later in a disease-ridden villa outside the capital. His corpse was found with vaults filled with obscene, obscure erotica (worth a fortune for deviants with disposable income), a harem of twenty-one succubi (the bindings on which were never loosened), and a twelve-foot prehensile cock.

A year passed, and another, and the violence faded. Any significant threat posed to Darvatius was dead or exiled, and the government was filled with his supporters, promoted up from his troops and low-born loyalists. Stability was restored, and the empire seemed, for the first time in years, to be moving somewhere that wasn’t total destruction.

"Imperial Immortal", also by Alexeev


The wars, naturally, came next. For four and a half decades, there was no peace at all, and the empire flourished. Darvatius’ army went out and conquered all the eye might see or the mind might imagine.

To the north, he brought the squabbling barbarian clans to heel, paved over their burial mounds with roads and put their children in his schools. In the south, he drained a swampy sea for farmland, cut down the plague forests, and smashed the Schixold priesthood on the steps of their ziggurats. To the west he built the Golden Cities atop the wreckage of the mage kingdoms of Tarn Bornem. In the east he toppled the Kingfisher and united the Mead-Halls of the Flowered Hills. At home, he struck where needed to keep his nobles in line. Campaign after campaign, conquest after conquest. Cities sprung up from the earth, monuments rose like forests. The sword of civilization cut through the fabric of the world.

The Folk withdrew to the wild places in those years, and Darvatius did not pursue them; So long as they remained neutral, he had no need to waste men and money in the attempt. The gods too he held to this agreement. Toleration, so long as they remained distant. His focus was on the murder of men.

A dreadful day drew near, and then arrived like some horrible, yawning gulf, eating up the dawn.

The last free sovereign was the Golden Goddess of Pa-O Pa-O: a perfectly ordinary six-year-old girl without a touch of magic, from a tiny island in the furthest south-west. When the legionnaires landed on the white shores of Pa-O Pa-O, she greeted them with the sun-yellow flowers she had picked from the volcano slopes, thinking that they were just more pilgrims come to visit. She loved visitors.

The beaches of Pa-O Pa-O are no longer white, the water no longer clear, the trees no longer tall, and the flowers have gone away. The great stone heads of Goddesses past are silent, their faces stained by the shit of ragged black seagulls. Of the girl, the few that remain on the island now believe that, after signing over her nation on a treaty she couldn’t understand, she went back to her mother and lived out the rest of her days in peaceful obscurity.

They believe, though they know it is certainly not true.

At last, peace. There was peace, silent and terrible. The legions marched home. The wars were over, for there was no one else to war against in all the known world – the peoples of each land from horizon to horizon knew the rule of Darvatius. They spoke his language, paid his taxes, followed his laws.

And in a moment, the animus that had driven Darvatius and his empire evaporated. The mighty emperor, king of the world, was brought low by a power he had not conquered – existential crisis. He returned to his glorious capital in troubled triumph, and the celebrations of the world’s conquering continued for months without him. Darvatius retired to his palace, and the guards whispered of his wordless pacing of the columned halls or lonely sitting upon his marble throne.

Just before dawn, on the day of his final triumphal parade, he saddled his horse and rode out of the city.

And he began the war anew.

Darvatius raised a new army – from where, no one might say – and tore apart his empire, piece by piece, year by year. His people, too used to plenty and safety were slaughtered in their panic. By the time there was resistance the people were hurt and fractured, and had begun fighting among themselves as the mad emperor tore them further apart. He buried his capitol under a cloud of burning ash, laughing.

By the time he was finally killed, decades later, Darvatius had shattered civilization across the world. He was impaled on a spear by a woman whose name and nature have now faded to time. He was alone at the end. His body was pecked apart by crows, and his bones lost.

The Empire Today

The empire of Darvatius does still exist, in the form of the a thousand bickering claimants holding on the crumbling ruins of the empire’s third capital, Hispir. The city is a place of bandits and criminals now, with the Imperial Heirs incapable of even maintaining their own walls. Entire neighborhoods are swallowed up by anarchy. A fragment of Darvatius’ throne passes from faction to faction like a ball in a game.

The Imperial Tongue

The imperial language was once universal, but fell into disuse in the wake of the empire’s collapse. The development of the more easily-learnt Babel reduced it further to a dead language, fit only for dusty histories and wizards’ spellbooks. It is now mostly spoken by the Hispirians, scholars, and lawyers.

The Truth

Darvatius became a god. He died at the battle of Fendol Kaj, as all the histories agree, but at that moment a god was born. Ninety years he had carved the world in his image, and now the world responded in kind. This was not a proper apotheosis, nor was there continuity of identity, but that matters little. Man makes gods, and this was the one that sprung unbidden from the mind of humanity.

He sits now in Hell. He has stolen back his soul, his body, his legions, and all manner of demons are held under his hobnailed boot. He waits to march again.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The HAUL Reviews: Fire on the Velvet Horizon

I found two categories of creatures in Fire on the Velvet Horizon - “I could use this” and “I want to use this.”

By any standards for a bestiary that is a fantastic success.

The variety in the book is staggering. Single creatures could spawn entire campaigns. There are creatures to fight with, creatures to speak with, creatures to go on quests for and creatures to take quests from. There are creatures that are settings in and of themselves. There are creatures muddied by time and retellings, framed only by quarrelsome scholars counter-arguing. There’s an entire setting underneath it all, sewn out of passing references and small connections and themes. It’s a lonely world of splashes of color on waves of black, of birds and beasts to stumble across in the swamp or on the moor.

The book remembers something often forgotten in RPGs: these creatures are magical. Ineffable. They are what they are and do what they do because that is what they are and what they do. Their logic is a funny, fuzzy thing, just right at the border between what we can and can't grasp.

They're not mundane, is what I am saying.

The writing and art is pretty good too. I'm resorting to understatement here because much of what I could say has already been said, and it is so much better to experience it firsthand than listen to a much less skilled writer talk about it.

Naming everything I thought was cool would just be summarizing the entire book, but I must give credit in particular to:
  • The Abhorrer, for being an excellent summary creature to explain the book to friends.
  • The Flammeous Lads, because in any other book they would have been ‘fire goblins’ or something bland like that, and this is one time that what could have been is actually the thing we got.
  • The Navarch of Aaµt and his O’Neil cylinder to hell, which is just waiting to be run with the hellcrawl from Sickly and Pale.
  • The µkrogorµ, for being a really cool monster that i already want to terrify players with.
  • The Poignant Men, for prose that lives up to the name.
  • The Blathering Bird, for being what appears to be my spirit animal.
It’s all great. Even the creatures that I didn’t find particularly engaging or interesting (the Poyazuk, the Shrine-Oh, the Horolognomon) are still perfectly usable. It’d all still work if the entire thing were stripped down to just the bones, a sentence or two for each monster, and thank whatever mad muses Patrick and Scrap channel that they took that and kept going. Declining to include statblocks was an excellent decision, as it makes the book relevant across whatever game or edition might be used. A bestiary that everyone can use. Should use, even - even if not a single creature is actually used in game, the exposure to fresh ideas is the real gain here.

The only real negatives I have, both minor, are that the print size took a while to get used to, and that the thorn-hairball letter makes it exceptionally difficult to talk or write about some of my favorite monsters from the book. But these do not matter much in the face of the whole.

By the time I was done, I felt as if I had finished several hours of paging through Sandman. That sort of clear-headed, Lethe-drunk state of slowly rising to the surface of a dream despite never falling asleep. 

A good book for quiet, rainy days. An excellent book in general, but especially good then.




Sunday, June 18, 2017

Play Report: Tomb of the Chimera Kings - Session 1



IF YOU PLAYED IN THIS GAME DON’T READ THIS POST

I return once again to the depths of Skerples’ introductory dungeon, with a fresh group of players and a DM who now was flying by only one half of the seat of his pants.

The session was set in our group's setting of Fwéa, and our band included:

P, a lv1 Hirwego Fighter
S, a lv1 Chromatic Fighter
N, a lv1 S’sem monk
B, a lv1 Mountain Elf
D1, a lv1 Mushroom Wizard
D2, a lv1 Beetleperson

The session began right outside the dungeon, with the following simple setup: The s & P Bank has begun selling salvage rights to the eastern E-DIN Plateau. The party is working as a PDC (Plausible Deniability Company) for one of the merchant houses in trade town. Mission: break into this untouched tomb of the ancient chimera kings (late 29th dynasty) and bring anything valuable back. A couple wagons, some underlings to maintain the camp, and we’re  good to go.

It all went swimmingly. The players picked up things fast: Use your tools, check for traps, treasure = good. After the first room of the false tomb they had the smash and grab formula down: s would push open the door with his 10 foot pole, P would toss a rock in, B would go in with a cloth over her face and break open the sarcophagus.

D2 managed to get around the hammer trap by investigating the bar solo and hitting one of the trigger buttons. Lucky son of a gun dodged the hammer, too. (Granted, with 11 HP he could have tanked the 1d10 damage)

Of course, they decided to disturb the tombs in room 6, which caused the THREE PRINCES to explode from their tombs, posing flamboyantly.  Yes, I used the song. I am an awful hack job of a human being who should never be allowed to DM. This is what happens.

The skeletons themselves were defeated with little injury to the party, though of note was that D1 managed to kill one of the brothers with a vial of holy water after N had shattered its leg with a well-placed punch.

The statue in room 7 was pulled down after B clambered up top and affixed a rope to it (another great use of mundane items), and the party went into the floor below.

S decided to investigate the pool of water in the center of room 11 (he actually wanted to drink it, the madman), and was, of course, immediately attacked by one of the mummy hands and choked to his last hitpoint before B was able to pry the hand off and someone managed to stomp on it.

B grabbed the bow and three arrows from the terra cotta soldier room, D2 and P took a lightning bolt to the face in room 12 (and lived, surprisingly). N escorted S back up to the surface camp. D2 and P found a way to game the tombs of Xizor’s wives, by opening the lid just enough for B to do a visual sweep for treasure and not enough for the skeleton-wife to actually get out.

This was where we ended for the night, with the rest of the group all returning to the surface. Some miscellaneous notes include:
  • P guessed that there were other mummy parts in the pool in room 11 from only the hand. He has not yet found out if this is true.
  • A few party members believe that the three amulets in the false tomb will be of future importance.
  • S is going to have a real fun time when he learns the result of that save from the mummy hand scuffle.
  • The Three Princes were all seen to have ghosts departing from their bones upon defeat. I wonder what that means? 
This campaign, unlike the last run through, will be continued. Perhaps not soon, but they will return to the Chimera Kings.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The HAUL: Review series incoming!

Nothing special here, just a little update / announcement.

Through a combination of good luck and a bit of extra money I have happened across a respectable haul of new RPG books to properly sink my teeth into:
  • Deep Carbon Observatory
  • Fire on the Velvet Horizon
  • Anomalous Subsurface Environment
  • Yoon-Suin
  • Perdition
(If I'm going to be hanging at the cool kids table I need all the appropriate cool-kid accessories.)

My local game shop went A and B the C of D for Free RPG Day and I was able to snag a hardcover core book of Coriolis too, which I know almost nothing about but it looks interesting.

So expect reviews of all of the above in the coming time as I make my way through all of this.

Nothing better than a day when you get new books.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

ARNOLD K AND SCRAP PRINCESS ORCHESTRATED THE EMU WAR


THIS WAS THEIR DOING

Hear this! +Arnold K  and +Scrap Princess have lied to you! They are not enemies, no! They have been working together the entire time!

As punishment for their crimes against bird and man I decree there shall be MORE OPPOSITE MONSTERS.

Animated Object
Immobile Organism

A sessile, pillarlike creature with no limbs or sensory organs. Does not move, ever, even on a cellular level. Can be moved by other forces, however. Often used as signposts, building foundations, lamp-stands, coat-racks, etc. due to their pleasing coloration patterns and inability to run away.

Banshee
Very Quiet Beast

An unassuming male humanoid (not human – it triggers all sorts of uncanny valley warnings) who wears a nice suit and only ever makes faint white noise. Steals voices from newborns or new mothers.

Basilisk
Carnex-lapis

A slimy, serpentine creature that can turn stone to flesh through its mucosal secretions. Lives underground, can be size of arm to size of a bus. Mostly eats the flesh-dirt that it burrows through. Always hungry. Tunnel walls will decay over time, easily tracked.

Bear
Panda

Actually a veteran Triad hitman in a costume. Is sick and tired of eating bamboo and not having sex. Absolutely ready to stab someone.

Beholder
Blinder

A vast and terrible creature that can only be perceived when one is not looking at it. Can be heard and smelled (smells awful) if head is turned or eyes are closed. Cannot be seen using peripheral vision (cheaters). In possession of vast and terrible teeth: little else is known. Three legs estimated due to footstep noises.

The wizard’s college at Ol-Jemaggi has been training a crack team of blind men, hoping to release them on the captive Blinder in the thaumozoology department. They’ve been practicing on elephants for years now.

Black Pudding
Tapioca

A big white cassava-based pudding filled with pearls. Friendly and a tasty desert. Desires to be eaten, for reasons unknown. Peals might be actual pearls.

Catelopas
Sacred Cow / Golden Calf

A perfect bovine specimen, radiant and splendorous. Those who witness its divine golden glow throw down their arms at the sight, so that they may do it homage. Does not actually have any godly powers. Killing one will result in some fantastic steaks and a lot of angry worshipers.

Deep Dwarf
Bright Tall Ones

Appear in bands of 2d4. Up to 20 feet tall, limbs and body thin enough to wrap thumb and forefinger around. Always traveling west, chasing the sun.

Displacer Beast
Vigilo Confido

A lean white dog with massive ears and a long, long tail. It will always appear precisely where and when it is needed. Used as guard dogs by those that can aford them. Very lazy, on grounds of being able to reach food and catch balls with minimal effort.

Doppelganger
Opposant

Shapeshifters that can take the form of the perfect opposite of a person – opposite sex, coloration, height and weight (as compared to averages), humour, philosophical alignment, etc. This, of course, means that the person who is imitated is also an opposant.

Elemental
Compound

Spheres of undifferentiated matter, connected by thin rods. Immensely valuable to alchemists and high school chemistry teachers. Roll 1d118 for each sphere.

Flumph
BWOMM

A being consisting of hard edges, angry eyebrows, and loud noises. Aggressive, hypercapitalist liars who lack any sort of empthaty, psychic or otherwise. Absolutely untrustworthy in all regards, but irregularly so, so one cannot be assured that the opposite of their statements is the truth either. General hatred of anything on or under the ground – they live in trees and on cliff-sides. Will accost passers by by dropping on their shoulders and screaming “WHO IS JOHN GALT? WHY IS HIS HEAD A FOUNTAIN?” and other such nonsense until their general disgust of poor people drives them away.

Genie
Geasmaker

A dull and smoky spirit that, when released, will make three demands of the individual who woke them and will bind them by laying three curses upon their head, which cannot be lifted until the associated request is completed. Will often catch any associates in the curses as well, because they can’t be assed to aim straight. They just want their stuff, man.

Ghost / Shadow / Specter
Soulblob

The physical embodiment of the soul: a brightly colored, rubbery, palm-sized blob, similar to a water balloon. Each one contains an entire person in stasis, will be woken up if placed into a new host body (homunculi, skeleton, golem, recently deceased individual)

Hellhound
Angelcat

Like a normal cat, but hollow inside. Posses a mane of feathers, flames, and eyeballs. Will dump dead demons on the doorsteps of the devout.

Hydra
Monocaput

A large reptilian head with five separate necks and bodies. Deathly thin from lack of food and rarely able to coordinate itself to move anywhere. An ambush predator by necessity, often used as a guardian of treasure (they starve very, very slowly). If a neck is severed, it will greedily devour the murdered body.

Imp
Sinchecker

A tiny angel that will float about ones shoulders and keep meticulous track of every bad thing a person does. Keeps immaculate records on an endless scroll. Looks like a grey old man and a baby at the same time. Actively hates all fun.

Intellect Devourer
Ignorant Nibbler

A simpleminded, slothful creature that feeds on misguided thoughts and incorrect beliefs. Does not consume them completely, but if it stays around long enough doubt will be introduced into the mental ecosystem. Always has a dopey grin on its face. Very useful, and disliked in equal measure.

Kraken
Friendly Flying Shipstealer

Gigantic airborne cuttlefish that will pick up ships at sea and drop them off elsewhere. Will change colors and tentacle positions in elaborate semaphore. Ship-moving might potentially be a sort of game, further study needed. Burgeoning air-cuttlefish-ship industry is getting off the ground, but facing difficulty because it is quite hard to tell a giant flying cuttlefish where to go.

Lizardman
Mammalwoman

Shaggy creature from the snowy mountains. Breasts like the Artemis of Ephesus (5-in-6 chance of nursing young, 2-in-3 chance of being currently pregnant). Blood is scalding hot, will boil away snow and leave burn marks. Huge drooping whiskers.

Mind Flayer
Body Sculptor

Flesh and bone is as marble and bronze. Lone, mad artisans attempting to improve upon nature. Absolutely no sense of where it's best to stop. Tend to ask “why not?” They will make you BEAUTIFUL. A MASTERPIECE!

Minotaur
Helpful Maze

The maze is alive, and hates watching people fumble around for hours or days inside it. The path out is clearly marked with a series of large red arrows on the floor and walls. Usually accompanied with signs saying “THIS WAY TO EXIT” or “TRAP HERE, PLEASE AVOID”. In rich areas, will be able to upgrade to neon. If directions are not followed, will begin berating the lost, usually involving references to the back of cereal boxes.

Ooze
Motile Brickwork

Colonial creatures that will build all sorts of things if they are given enough time. Each hive has a Queen Brick, which one can easily identify due to it wearing a crown.

Phoenix
Drowningbird

An albatross that cannot die, and is stuck in a perpetual state of drowning about a foot beneath the surface. Only able to lay eggs when it washes up on the shore. If hung around the neck, it will drown on behalf of the wearer (it was already drowning anyway).

If somehow dried off, will undergo existential crisis and throw itself back in the water,

Revenant
Potentialant

A body inhabited by a potential soul, leftover from a birth – how someone could have been. Usually less of a disappointment to their parents.

Roc
Star-Nosed Tyrannomole

A tyrannosaurus that lives underground, and wants nothing more than to fly.

It is not very good at digging, due to its tiny arms. It is very not good at flying, and has to recruit bands of normal birds to carry it aloft with strings and strategically-placed balloons.

Rust Monster
Forgemouth

A giant iron pillbug that feeds on weapons and armor. A year and a day after eating, it will excrete a +1 variant of the item, hidden among several hundred pounds of charcoal and ash. Breathes fire normally, all the time. If the flames are not stoked, it will die.

Skeleton
Muscleton

A human musculature, with ligaments. Has a lot of difficulty getting around without bones to provide leverage, but tries admirably. Will attempt to make spooky rattling noises, but makes weird sputtering sounds instead. Really wishes it had bones, will attempt to take yours. Very good at grappling and squeezing.

Succubus / Incubus
Modesty Monster

Utterly terrified and appalled at the sight of skin. Will attempt to force people into ugly floor-length veils, and failing this, will stuff people in bags. Will actively hunt down practitioners of sexual activity, language, or thought processes and beat them with a large club. Does not actually understand how sex works, thinks children are a separate species that gets infected by parasitic acne-oozes during puberty.

Troll
Brittlebone Bridgetopper

A spindly, fragile creature that lives atop bridges (suspension bridges are the best, plenty of room to climb). Will be crippled for life if injured. Eats birds, collects eggshells. Feet have long, flexible toes and thumbs. Limbs have too many joints in them.

Unicorn
Shrikehorse

A midnight-black horse covered in spikes. Wild and unridable, which means people are always trying to capture and ride it. Will have 1d4 corpses stuck on it, 10% chance of each still being alive. Spines can be fashioned into swords, and are covered in micro-serrations.

Vampire
Hemogifter (Transfusicon)

Akin to a giant, land-based jellyfish (or huge plastic bag), filled with blood. The blood is filled with larvae, which must be injected into a host body to survive and grow. Save vs disease to resist blood-borne pathogens if struck. Commonly found sunbathing on beaches; inner lining hosts colonies of photosynthetic bacteria.

Vargouille
Blobbat

A bat head, but also a blob, crawling around on a single muscular foot.

Zombie
Embyrian

A fetus that recieved its soul too early, directly from the gods. Floats around in a sphere of amniotic fluid and placental tissue. Wants love and validation and hates the cold uncaring universe that woke it up from its wonderful, not-dangerous nap.
WE COULD HAVE STOPPED THIS






Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The world of Fwéa


 
On second thought, best not to go there: it is a silly place

A few months ago I gathered up a band of my friends (none of whom had RPG experience), and ran them through three sessions of Dawn of Worlds. The thought was that, in having hands in making the setting, it would be an easier jumping-in point for them all.

The end result was Fwéa. It is incredibly silly.

The first proper session in this setting is this upcoming weekend, so we shall see how well the test goes.

All dumb references are the responsibility of the friends who made them.
 
Races of Fwéa

Goblobblins
Soft, rotund, pastel-colored creatures. Their bodies are like marshmallow, their hair like red licorice, and they have little trunks for sniffing out gummi-truffles. They are the oldest civilization in the world, and have played at expansionism in the past. Those days are behind them, now.

Omnomlins
Foul, vegetable-eating cousins of the Goblobblins. A primitive people that have waged war against their sugary neighbors for centuries. They have developed broccoli agriculture and simple plant-weapons.

Mantisfolk
Secluded inhabitants of the southeastern jungles, who live in hidden villages along the ashen banks of the Red River. Masters of stealth warfare.

Wraiths
Violent, fiercely territorial undead that haunt the Yellow Wastes.
 
Nutbreakers
Burrowing rodents of the desert, with purple fur, orange paws, and strange, manlike faces. They live in vast underground burrow-cities such as Nutopya, defended by elaborate systems of pit traps and sharp spikes pointed nether-wards.

Hirwegos
A race of portly, mustachiod humanoids (the mode of dress is the only way to determine females from males) that go about cleaning up Oilspill Island from their base in Goodluck. 
 
Luijis
Taller, thinner variants of Hirwegos. They seek to spread the pollution of Oilspill island, though of naiveté, rather than malice. 
 
Groms
Six-inch tall stone men, native to the northern mesas. Driven south to the Minefield Plains to escape the oppression of the Mushroom Men. As they age, they will cease movement and become potent magical totems.

Mushroom Men
Cruel, poisonous myconids, hailing from the Fungal Forest and their rotten city of Mush. A warband marched across the entire continent to attack and enslave the groms for their mineral wealth.

Centitaurs
A nomadic people from the eastern planes, with elongated bodies lined with arms (8-12). Hairless, with distinct, colorful skin patterns. Famous as traveling merchants across the east. Founded Trade City at Blue Fork.

Crystal Oozes
Slime-beings animated the sapient crystals that serve as their skeletons, native to the Crystal Blight. Their great secret city lies at the epicenter under the Shard Mountain. They worship the Wolf with the Crystal Crown.

Boring Folk
A nondescript, plain people, prone to no passions of any sort. They are fit for civilization (if terribly dull civilization), and have developed many efficient schools of bureaucracy. They have founded three city states – Unnamed, Equally Unexciting, and Other City – along the Straight Road across the eastern plains.

Surrenderists
A subset of the Boring Folk, being a most delicate breed that shies away from conflict of any sort. They will surrender to any challenge, and rarely leave their homes.

Fishdogs
Creatures of piscine anterior and canine posterior. Of friendly and loyal disposition, making them common pets in coastal regions, especially in the West.

Teslamen
Tall, metallic stick-figures, the Teslamen absorb the lightning strikes and use it as both food and a means of communication. They live in Teslopya, more forest of their bodies than city, in the glass-coated heart of the Lighting Wastes.

Flingeels
Anurian-icthian beings from the southern seas. Violent raiders of land-based peoples. Send out parties from their nameless pit-city beneath the sea, while their kings live in a hidden citadel on a forested island, above the subterranean lake where their god, the Flower’d Fish, rests.

Treefolk / Treeple
Thinking trees from the forests of the Horn. Holders of the fortress-grove at Oak, to hold back incursions of necrotic beasts from the Deadlands.

Beetlepeople
Black-carapaced natives of the Chessfields and attendant cities of Succor and Pitch. The two sides wage a formulaic and traditional false-war against each other. They are the founders of the mighty S&P Banking Clan.

Mountain Elves
A semi-nomadic people from the mountains. They hold books, especially those of magic, in the highest regard. They possess a native tradition of warding magic and kinship with the black dragons.

Sky / Space Whales
Great airborne whales, held aloft by buoyant oil and thousands of tiny butterfly wings. In possession of magics that allows them to rise into orbit, where they feed on solar radiation and space-plankton. Their main station is Huuston in the Floating Islands, amidst the spore clouds.

Lava People
Molten rock granted life, shambling about the northern tundra in suits of obsidian. They are lonely creatures without true name, and woe to all in their path.

Marrow-Worms
Two-meter worms that live underneath the Iron Desert. Their mouth-parts form a rotating drill capable of burrowing through the soil, and this is ringed by smaller, similar appendages. 
 
Technicolor Space People / Chromatic Folk
Born of parasites that latch on to the Sky Whales as they swim in orbit, TSP are brightly hued, quite attractive, and live primarily in the vicinity of Lorin, on the Cookie Coast. They hold a secret art of building armor from whalebone, and worship the Red-and-Gold Monarch. They war against the Edizons over the fate of the Whales.

Muffin People
Simple, peaceful inhabitants of the Cookie Coast.

Baguette People
The warrior-caste of the Muffin People, specially bred and baked by Muffinin pastrymancers. Have hats like the French Foreign Legion.

Cupcake People
A foul, frosting-covered race. It is the icing that contains this diabolic evil, for underneath they are but the innocent-minded Muffin People.

Black Mountain Dragons
A race allied with the Mountain Elves through ancestral treaty and geas. 
 
Edizons
Parasites who feed upon the Teslamen. After developing the ability to store electrical energy in their own bodies, they began to expand, founding their city of Edizonville and beginning their war to subjugate the Sky Whales. They have the most advanced technology in the world, advancing to steam-powered engines and firearms.

The Scattered God
Fragments of a god that was killed during the formation of the world, who live in the land of E-DIN, between the two rivers. A chaotic people in constant warfare, each one believing that they are the true successor of their divine parent. 
 
Anglerfish Trenchfolk
A people known to none but themselves, who live in the nameless city at the bottom of the Falus Trench. There they refine the chemicals of the vents and the seafloor snow into the oily sludge that rises to the surface in regions in the northwestern ocean and coats Oilspill Island.

S’sem (Scaly Snouty Eternal Monks)
Reclusive creatures that live in small communes in the northern mountains and on the border of the crystal wastes. They are immortal.

Fisherfolk
Graceful, fishlike humanoids who live in the Lovely Lake, in their city of Plinget.

Flowerfolk
Cutesy, harmless beings rooted across the Heart-Land. Enslaved and devoured by invading Omnomnians.

LSD Flowerfolk
Indistinguishable from normal Flowerfolk, this subrace will induce intense hallucinogenic visions when ingested.

Glassfolk Menagerie
A varied and diverse group of glass-bodied folk, who remain at home in their city-state on the White Cliffs. Scattered throughout the region after a traumatic earthquake laid ruin to their city and their own bodies.

Crabfolk
Native to Red-Rock Face. Have heavily armored torsos and claws, but their heads are remarkably un-crablike.

Oceanic Crabfolk
Crabfolk that have retained their aquatic origins, living off the coast of Red-Rock Face.

Glow Worms
They live in the Pit, and generate energy there to give glow to the god at the bottom.

Chimeras
The other natives of E-DIN, chimeras are violent, composite creatures of origin unknowable. Some blame the Bio-wizards, but it is unproven.

Bio-Wizards
Bizarre pseudo-humanoids specializing in reproductive and hybridization biomancy. Live in a mighty tower-fortress upon a motile island. Offer their services for a high, but fair price. 
 
Jungle Elves
The elves of the southeastern jungle have, like their cousins, a great animal companionship – this time, with the bears.

Jungle Bears  
BEAR CAVALRY

Giant Hermit-Crabs
House-sized crustaceans living in the northern sea between the World-Roots and the Red-Rock Face.

Flying Fluffballs
Cute little puffballs, just a sphere of fur and a toothy mouth. They scream obscenities at everything.

Gods of Fwéa

Red-and-Gold Monarch 
God-King of the Chromatic Folk. Surprisingly hands-off for an immortal warrior god-king – he will emerge from his palace only in times of war or other crisis. Teaches his followers the art of scrimshaw power armor.

Wolf with the Crystal Crown 
God of the North and the Crystal Blight. A lonely wanderer in the cold.

Dark-Root Father 
An old and gnarled tree, rising high above the secluded, misty forest in the south. Its roots spread throughout the earth, so it might puppet its worshipers wherever they may tread.

Cess in the Pit 
A great mass of flesh, growing and dying at the bottom of the Pit. The source of both life and disease, this god’s worshipers will often attempt pilgrimages to the impossible island where it lives, to receive its blessings. The glow worms give homange, and the Cess is kindly upon them.

The Flower’d Fish 
God of the Flingeel, to whom they make bloody sacrifice. The Flower’d Fish lives in a deep underground lake, far beneath the island citadel of the Flingeel lords.

The Scattered God 
A god committed suicide during the making of the world, and the thousands of beings that it birthed through that death now fight eternally for the throne of the Many-Faced.

The Golden Corpse 
A comatose adolescent in golden robes, eternally asleep on a stone bed. Ferried between the cities of the Beetlepeople as part of their false wars.

The Black Lion 
A cruel and majestic beast, king of the chimeras. A distant lord of change and violence, whose visage might be seen on the distant hills of E-DIN when the night is dark and stormy.

The Unshattered High Priest 
A leader who emerged among the Menagerie in their times of trial, possessing a body of many colors and an unbreakable countenance. The survivors of the great quake use the shattered fragments of their loved ones as part of the prismatic rituals of their faith.

The Amanthrahamnun Dynasty 
Lords of the Mountain Elves who ascended to godhood through their studies of dragon magic.

The Nutcracker 
A colossal statue atop the hill of Nutopya. The Nutbreakers offer to it their slain enemies as sustenance, in hopes that it will awaken to smash all of their remaining un-slain enemies into a pulp.

The Faintest Courage 
A bodiless deity of the Surrenderites, ineffectively attempting to urge them to bravery. Fails often.

Notable Places in Fwéa

    I won’t go into the entire list right now, but that map up there includes:

  • Tropical candy jungles
  • The roots of a collapsed world-tree
  • Floating islands choked by mushroom spores
  • Necromantic Chernobyl
  • A desert filled with rocks that act like landmines
  • A miles-wide pit on a superheated island
  • A metallic desert, complete with lightning-rod monolith-trees
  • A permanent thunderstorm
  • Some of the straightest roads ever constructed
  • An island made out of a single ruby
  • Mountain Dew lakes
This will be our setting for this weekend, when I run Tomb of the Serpent Kings for the same group of friends.