Saturday, September 12, 2020

Along the River Petrichor: A F-122 Challenge Setting

My response to my own challenge.

The river Petrichor winds sluggishly southeast across the grasslands. Past those seas of green, there are the hills, and beyond the hills there are the mountains, and then the Great Dust beyond them.

The city states here were built in the shadow of the Old Ones, by their crumbled ruins and long dead war machines. The people here tread lightly on that legacy, for though they are ignorant of that secret history, it is clear that the Old Ones died, either by hubris or their own hand.


  1. Swordwife - Women who have forgone land or marriage for mastery of the blade.
  2. Earthsea Mage - Those who know and keep the secret names of all creation.
  3. Adipomancer - If magic stored in the body, a vast body means vast magic.
  4. Mech Pilot - War machines of the Old Ones still wander the world. Enlist and fight them.
  5. Bell Exorcist - Those sworn to quieting the restless dead.
  6. Mouse - Quick-pawed, honorable folk from the grasslands.
  7. Zouave - Not all is peaceful along the river, nor in the grasslands nor the hills nor beyond.

(This was to keep it all in the GLOG and each one from a different source. Lucky runners up were the Cryptozoologist, the Elephant, the Goblin , the Adept the Canonneer, Sanctioned Cambion, and the Inventor Necromancer.)

The Questions

1.What wizard is anathema?
Dominators, those who use true names to control the actions of other people, are reviled across cultures. They are hunted down without hesitation when they emerge.

2. What existential threat exists that locals don’t understand?
The environment is holding on by a thread thanks to the careless malice of the Old Ones, and is still subject to the poisons and depletion of the Old Ones. Worse, the Old Ones are still alive out among the stars, and in hindsight they consider the billions dead in their wake "acceptable losses".

3. How are membership societies structured for initiates?
Entry into one of the Lodges requires the sponsorship of a member, though ancient compact dictates that all Lodges must grant an audience to all applicants. This is often abused, and there is constant struggle between conservative and new-blood factions. One can always tell there is drama afoot when new Lodges sprout up like mushrooms.

4. What is the highest complexity of metallurgy attained? 
The metals the Old Ones used their machines can be smelted and recast, but not replicated. The most common of these, orichalcum, is lightweight, easily shaped, and resistant to corrosion and damage. Its primary use is in the construction of war machines for the Mech Lodges.

5. What crafts are constrained by resources?
Artistic use of Old One metals can produce some of the most beautiful metalwork crafts in the world, but as nearly all of it goes to weapon making and industrial uses (mechs do not build themselves), it is terrible difficult to acquire more than a few ounces of it at a time.  

6. How do you know someone is a magic user?
Lodge exorcists are easily identified by their regalia, and adipomancers are just huge and terribly hard to miss. True-name wizards are more difficult to identify, but their slow, careful, and respectful manner is easy enough to pick out when one is familiar with the signs.

7. Are ancestors spirits ransomed from the church?
Soul-ransom is the domain of the Ancient Church and has been since only a few centuries after the departure of the Old Ones. What began as a means of placating lost and tormented spirits of that terrible, death-filled era, swiftly became the primary money-maker for the Ancient Church. It was their attitude towards actually leading the dead to rest, and their exploitative stance towards the public, that led to the formation of the Exorcists' Lodge.

8. What cults venerate pleasure?
The venerable House of Red Silk has long been the proprietor of all manner of nightly delights, but in recent years it has been challenged by the bacchanal practices of the Carniphile Carnival

9. Are wizards registered?
The Lodges keep extensive ledgers of their members, but secular authorities go through certain channels to gain access to those records.

10. What foods are associated with major festivals?
Yearlong Eels are caught in the river en masse during the New Year celebrations, to be cleaned and pickled and stowed away so that their fine fermented odor might grace the palate next year.


  1. As it turns out, I like having a lot of classes.

    1. Nice short list. The call to expand is so much more tempting with options like those

  2. What GLOG do you use?

    This whole setup is great!

    1. I am actually a huge poser and have never run straight glog

    2. Ha, no worries. I have not run GLOG yet but from what I understand that would make you the MOST GLOG.

  3. What effect do you think would be yielded if a swordwife alloyed orichalcum into a blade?

    1. Off the top of my dome: it might actually be a reverse situation, where you start with the alloy and over time break it down and reforge and refine it and it keeps getting stronger. Like you start and its just equivalent to good steel and by the end you have an Auntie Maya style broken piece of shit that that cut atoms.

  4. I'm getting a bit of an Ursula Le Guin vibe here.

  5. The Cryptozoologist has a nice way of interacting with the environment. Thanks for linking to that one, even if it didn't make the cut for this setting!