Thursday, 26 February 2015

More dungeoneering under Threshold

The boys have been at it again - they've ventured back under Threshold to see if they can finish flushing the bugs out of the tunnels under Old Beren's warehouse, and claim the pitiful reward that he agreed to give them. Instead of finding any bugs this time though, they found a whole different heap of adventure.

To backtrack - the last session saw them crawling out of the tunnels under Beren's warehouse with a bag of giant insect parts (3 three dead Robber Flies and the luminous glands of 3 Fire Beetles) while Bjorn (a Dwarf) and Wizard (a Magic User) vomited profusely and Bromeen (another Dwarf) didn't (having been injured to the point of death before Bjorn and Wizard were bitten by Giant Centipedes).

So, to this latest session. The trio went looking for Old Beren, who had after all promised them money, but didn't find him. Instead they bumped into Fotri the Dwarven alchemist-sage, who had asked them to be on the look out for interesting insect parts. He bought the 9 luminous glands off them for 4GP apiece, so that made them happy. Then he told them where they may be able to find a shop open to sell them some torches.

Bromeen (who doesn't have a very high Charisma) attempted to buy a sword from the shopkeeper (weapons must be licensed in Threshold, and Bromeen's sword had been disolved by the Green Slime, meaning the Guard could potentially arrest him for not producing a licenced weapon). I thought maybe the shopkeeper was corrupt enough to have some illegal weapons for sale so I rolled the reaction dice. A double-1. Hmmm. 'Immediate attack'. Not so likely in a shop I thought but not a good result (Bromeen's -1 CHA modifier seemed a bit superfluous at this point). So I told him that the shopkeeper started screaming at him and tried to throw him out.

There was nothing for it - the party made its way to the Town Hall, which is where the Town Guard hang out. Bromeen started to explain his story but the Guardsman decided it was above his jurisdiction and called the Captain (the same who dispatched one of the PCs in a previous session). Somewhat disinclined to believe stories of weird beasties on the Island, the Guard Captain asked for proof. Luckily, the PCs still had the slightly-mashed corpses of the 3 Robber Flies, which they duly showed the Captain. Time to roll for reaction again... and it came up double-6. Even with Bromeen's lack of interpersonal skills, the Captain was fair convinced. He agreed to write out Bromeen a new certificate and provide a choice of armament - hurriedly rolling (consulting the random magic weapons and taking away the magic...), the Captain checked a chest of unclaimed weapons and found a normal sword, a warhammer, a dagger and some crossbow bolts. Bromeen took the sword - for a deposit of 10GP. But, given that he could potentially have been arrested, that probably wasn't so bad.

So newly re-armed (and be-torched... and yes I have seen the youtube videos posted recently about torches) the PCs ventured back into the caves and corridors that riddle the north end of the island. This time, instead of turning left (east) they went right at the bottom of the stairs.

This is the map that I'm using, a terrible barely-readable print-out, but such it is. The first couple of sessions were spent exploring the eastern and southern caverns of this little complex, all the way round to the square room half-way up the west side, where Wizard and Bjorn were bitten by the Giant Centipedes.

So this time, they found themselves in a long corridor with doors right and left. Checking the door to their right, they found what appeared to be a recently-used bedroom, where there was little treasure beyond a bag of silver pieces. Bromeen pocketed them, somewhat to the consternation of the others, who wondered if Old Beren was such a miser he slept down here and the money-bag belonged to him.

Then they tried the other door - I told them that the small room they'd entered looked like it had only been used to get from the corridor into the room beyond, and that searching the desk brought no results. So, they kicked the next door in and in jump Bjorn (AC2 and Warhammer), Bromeen (AC4 and Sword) and Wizard (AC8 and a dagger, but also a Magic Missile) - surprising the gaggle of evil cultists who were hiding out down there (the party knew they were evil because they had on black armour and their shields had a bright green snake on them)...

The PCs had the advantage. They were at least armed and standing up. But there were 5 armoured dudes (and dudesses, evil in this case being an equal-ops employer) sitting about having a post-evil debrief. "What are they going to do?" thought the party. "Intruders! Get them!" shouted the Evil Cleric. Two of the evil dudes were dead in the first round of combat, one to Bromeen's sword and one to the Magic Missile. Bjorn, the tank of the party, wounded another.

And then the fun began...
... because the leader of the cultists - who were let's face it severely depleted now - stood back and started muttering. A glow surrounded her as she completed her Protection spell.Then the three remaining clerics fought the party to a standstill, even given that one of them fell in another couple of rounds, not to the sword or warhammer of the Dwarven warriors, but to the thrown dagger of the Magic User. In fact, what with the Magic Missile and the thrown dagger, Wizard managed to dispatch 4 of the 5 (two were injured and Wizard delivered the coup-de-grace). The mental image of Wizard dancing round the room (he has quite a high DEX for a Magic User) grabbing the dagger from the head of a snake-cultist and flinging it at another, was pretty groovy.

But for poor Bjorn, Tank of this Parish, one evil Acolyte was enough. In a toe-to-toe fight he didn't manage to land one blow successfully on the cleric fighting him (he'd likely have killed the fellow if he had done), and took three mace-strikes in return. Despite the fact that he had 9hp and his opponent had 5hp, the Acolyte had the best of it, and Bjorn fell, wounded to death (for a given value of 'death'). The Acolyte fell with the MU's knife in the back of his neck, and then Bromeen and Wizard started binding Bjorn's wounds. Bjorn did make his CON roll; he now has 1hp, one less point of CON than he had before, and can start the recovery process. So they hauled him out of there and back to the tavern they've been using as a base. It's probably going to take two days of bed-rest to get him back up to strength. But if the right people hear that the PCs have wiped out a gaggle of snake-cultists? There are at least three cults active in town that hate the snake-god. Bromeen may, possibly, get a little more help if they get to know soon enough...



Friday, 20 February 2015

Church of Issek calendar



This calendar uses the list of saints found in the wonderful 5th issue of 'Brave the Labyrinth' which I found recently, having seen a review at Tenkar's Tavern. I'm just using the names, and fitting them to my own campaign. I'm not, unfortunately, porting the entirety of the Church of Law and Order (what I know of it) from Amherth, because aspects of it don't fit my campaign background, but it was a great list of saints just at the point that I needed something of the kind.

So, I've taken the saints and added them to those of my 'Church of Issek' that already exist - according to DDG, Issek's avatars are all people being tortured on the rack, so the saints on this list are all martyrs for the faith. I've already included 'St Cuthbert' and 'St Carmichael' (who are mentioned in B1 as the patrons of the Clerics Tassit and Dohram, respectively), and assimilated to them the Sts 'Keth' and 'Mikael' of the BtL list, then added the 'St Giles' featured in the AD&D/Dragon Warriors scenario 'A Box of Old Bones', from WD71.This means, with the rest of the list from BtL that there are now 48 saints; easy enough to roll a d4 and a d12 to randomly-select a saint, though perhaps if I'd remembered about St Carmichael earlier, I could have just added Cuthbert, Carmichael and Giles to the 47 saints on the list and got a nice even 50 (I was so excited about producing the first calendar I forgot St Carmicheal and went for 48).

I will have some things to think about with my mushing together of the pretty Christian background of 'Box of Old Bones' with the info I have for the Cult of Issek though. In DDG, clerics of Issek are described as 'bald and wearing red loincloths'. I'm assuming this is just the male clerics, though female clerics are listed as existing. Perhaps I should take it as written and have shaven-headed female clerics in loincloths too. I think, however, that this mode of dress is probably environment-dependant. Issek is a god of the deserts in the Lankhmar stories, and my adventures are not, at the moment, set in any deserts. I assume that in cooler or wetter climes, clerics wear robes (perhaps with their red loincloths underneath).

Googling 'red robes', I came across the following images that seem sound enough for male and female clerics of Issek:


Male cleric from:
http://www.larpinn.co.uk/abraxas-robe-red-p-3353.html?osCsid=089245e4400de10acb488289f9acb019 - at least he is pretty much bald.

Female clerics from:
http://thegungancouncil.yuku.com/topic/22957/Nightsister-Roulette-Takeover-of-Dathomir-WoDTJC#.VOC5iCw3nng - at least, the image directs there on a google search but I'm damned if I can find it.

Anyway, for the moment they're going to be my stand-ins for priests/monks/priestesses/nuns/other general clerics of Issek.

As for the list, I've decided that all saints described as 'of somewhere' will be from outside of the Grand Duchy. That gives me some locations for the cult and its martyrs outside the GD to start playing with. Why did Luwagen of Castel become the patron of artists? Perhaps he was an illustrator of manuscripts, a quiet but talented monk martyred for his faith when pagans attacked his monastery. Or, perhaps in some dangerous city where the cult of Issek is persecuted, he published woodcuts showing the ruler as a demon, and was found guilty of sedition. I think I'm going to have fun inventing bits of the history of the cult and the lands where it exists.

I think this may feature as the liturgical calendar of the Abbey of Osterlin from 'A Box of Old Bones'. It's one of the major influences on how I see the Cult of Issek having developed - whatever was the case back in the day, when Issek was a wandering desert prophet who was tortured to death, these days the Church of Issek is a rich and powerful organisation, not entirely dissimilar to the Christian Church in the early Middle Ages of Europe. So, why not monks, an abbey and squabbling about relics (which events are the background to 'A Box of Old Bones')? I long ago located Osterlin itself barely more than a day's journey from Threshold, down towards Kelvin on a tributary of the main river in the Grand Duchy. I'm assuming that the PCs will visit it at some point and see what adventures they can have there - maybe even the events from the scenario, but whenever they turn up I'll have some idea of the point in the liturgical year and at least a notion of what might be happening.

So, here is a Church of Issek calendar, applicable to all years (at least, applicable to the Grand Duchy - other regions may revere some different saints or use different months of course):

(Goat-month)
1 – Winter Solstice & New Year: Offerings to Issek
3 – Feast of St Klaus
17 – Feast of St Gregor of Carech
20 – Feast of St James

(Water-month)
1 – Feast of St Josep
11 – Feast of St Ronnad of the Flagon
20 – Feast of St Wallis of the Hood
27 – Feast of St Margaret of Calesto
29 – Feast of St Bando

(Fish-month)
21 – Feast of St Sha-Un of Corrland
24 – Feast of St Aleena the Beautiful
30 – Feast of St Pater of Willemsburg

(Sheep-month)
13 – Feast of St Valen of Vay
23 – Feast of St Beatrix

(Cow-month)
5 – Feast of  St Mari of Galask
23 – Feast of St Leandra the Lady of Blossoms
24 – Feast of St Clarissa the Wild

(Month of the Twins)
23 – Feast of St Kristoff

(Midsummer – 5 days)
3 – Feast of St Lucilla the Kind (Summer Solstice)

(Crab-month)
7 – Feast of St Luwagen of Castel
9 – Feast of St Mincival
23 – Feast of St Carmichael (St Mikael the Victor)

(Lion-month)
8 – Feast of St Timhart of Paratime
24 – Feast of St Meschil the Prophet
27 – Feast of St Garan
30 – Feast of St Cuthbert (St Keth)

(Maiden-month)
4 – Feast of Sts Poul of the Shield and Tara the Sailor
13 – Feast of St Seth
30 – Feast of St Emiliana the Red

(Balance-month)
6 – Feast of St Harald of Plenty
13 – Feast of St Raymont
21 – Feast of St Walden

(Scorpion-month)
5 – Feast of St Jon of Naponek
10 – Feast of St Callor
18 – Feast of St Brandon the Navigator
26 – Feast of St Johanna

(Archer-month)
7 – Feast of St Alfar
14 – Feast of St Giles

I fudged a few of these - I wanted St Klaus (patron of winter joy) to be in winter, St Leandra (patron of flowers and growth) to be in spring (ish) and St Harald (patron of plentiful harvest) to be at least close to harvest. So I held these in 'reserve' and when I got a winter, spring or autumn result, I assumed it was these saints. Their festivals fall on (I think) 24th December, 13th May and 28th September by our calendar, which isn't too bad I think. I also swapped Sts Seth and Raymont so that it was Raymont (symbol, sword and scales) who was in the 'month of the Balance'. But otherwise, they're pretty much as they fell. There's one double-day: Maiden 4th (27th August by our calendar) is the Feasts of St Poul 'of the Shield' and St Tara 'the Sailor'. Which is fair enough, I guess, especially if one of them is a local saint whose feast-day then was overtaken by a more famous saint from out-of-town. Maybe they were at opposite ends of whatever the Nehwo-Mystarian equivalent of 'Christendom' is ('Issekendom'?). Or perhaps they were martyred on the same day, even in the same event?

I can't help thinking that the Church has been deliberately placing its saints to take over pagan festivals - I mean, the old 'Maiden-month' is sacred to the goddess Tas. Now St Emiliana the Red has given a feast day on 30th Maiden (which is also the autumnal equinox)? Obviously the Church trying to claim that the whole month is about their female saint. But, no, that one was a lucky random determination.

I tried googling 'St Emiliana the Red ' but got lots of pictures of bottles of red wine. Sadly, only pictures. So I googled 'Red Saint' and the first thing I found was this:

From: http://art.alphacoders.com/arts/view/37913/Red-Saint-Art
Emiliana the very sexy red saint has rapidly become my favourite. Now I'm going to have to come up with a reason why she was martyred for Issek.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The calendar of Threshold

OK, not the Threshold that anyone that has the Gazeteers knows, but the one I made up for myself and spent 30 years tweaking.

The Grand Duchy is, to my mind, something like Greece or Italy in the Middle Ages - a generally Mediterranean country for a start, and also, a lost province of a failing empire.

The religion of my corner of the Known World (as it was still called when I lost touch with anyone else who played there) is a mish-mash; different cults (based on real-world religions as culled from the pages of DDG) overlain with some continent-spanning religions derived from the Nehwon Mythos (though I'm only using Nehwon in a similar way to other mythos, I'm not actually setting the campaign there). Karameikos, Thyatis and Minrothad, all being former provinces of the more or less 'Greco-Egyyptian' Empire of Thyatis, have a mix of Greek and Egyptian deities under generally (partly-)anagrammatic names, and some of the Nehwon gods as well.

So, where is all this going? Well, I've made a table of religious festivals in Threshold, as that's where my PCs are at the moment. The main gods and goddesses of Threshold all have their own holy days and I've gone through and calculated dates for them over 2 years.

I've split the holidays into 3 kinds: greatest importance, normal importance, low importance. Low importance festivals are those of lesser gods and goddesses; middling-importance festivals are those of greater gods or goddesses that appear with regularity; highest-importance festivals are yearly events of significance to greater gods and goddesses, or synchronicities in frequency that render regularly-occurring festivals significant.

In recent years, I've run with the idea that the cult of Issek of the Jug (from Nehwon) is beginning to assume something of the role of Christianity in the Late Antique-Early Medieval period. It hasn't managed to stamp out the pagan cults but it has started the process of colonising both space and time. It does this through martyr-cults (the theology of Issek being one of suffering, and his greatest devotees being those undergoing torture). I have as part of the 'fluff' both the appearance of 'Tassit, Servant of St Cuthbert' from B1 (St Cuthbert is I believe still a feature of D&D Lore) and the Monastery of Osterlin from 'A Box of Old Bones' (WD71) which houses '... the bones of St Giles the Martyr'. So, I decided that the 'saints and martyrs' should be the devotees of Issek, persecuted in previous centuries, and now venerated by the Church of Issek, which may have departed somewhat from the ideals of its founder.

I also divided the calendar up into months. For simplicity's sake (no, really) I divided the year into 12 months of 30 days, and began the year at the Winter Solstice. This leaves 5 days left over, which I put around the Summer Solstice. I'm ignoring Leap Years. Maybe in 40 years of campaign time some Arch-Theogonist of the Church of Issek will decree a new calendar. Maybe not. I named the months after modern astrological signs; they may as well serve some purpose, and personally I think my D&D campaign has much more reality to it than astrology. If asked, any sages in my campaign will say that the names of the months come from 'old superstitions'.

The other day I happened upon a fine publication, issue 5 of 'Brave the Labyrinth' for Labyrinth Lord, which contains a list of 'Saints of the Church of Law and Order', which is more or less what the Church of Issek is in my version of the Grand Duchy. So I have purloined the list, added 'St Giles the Martyr' to it, assimilated 'St Cuthbert' with the 'St Keth' of the list, and randomly determined two more saints by splitting the now-48 saints into a d4 and d12 determination, followed by finding out which d12 month, d4 week and d8 day of the year their feast-day is held. This is a bit rough-and-ready; on an '8' for the day of the week, I assigned the feast to a day not covered by the dice. I will use the same method to calculate a set of festivals for all the Saints, a religious calender for the Church of Issek, with 48 saints' feast-days on it; this will probably be observed no-where in the Known World except the biggest temple of Issek in Specularum, I guess, because I get the idea that many of these saints might be quite local. Would an Issek worshipper in Thyatis or Tel Akbir have heard of St Giles? Perhaps not, though he's an important Saint in the Grand Duchy. Would an Issek worshipper in Threshold have heard of St Tara, who looks after sailors? Maybe not, as Threshold is in the mountains and several days' travel from the sea.

Then I calculated the New and Full Moons, on the basis of a 29-day lunar cycle. If, as in the case of Alol (a rather sexy god of archery, music and sometimes bears who has both a 10-day holy 'week' and a 29-day lunar cycle of New Moon festivals) two sets of festivals repeat on different cycles, I have counted the points in the calendar where the cycles come together as being significant. In Alol's case, I have taken the first New Moon after the Winter Solstice as being his first festival and calculated the rest of his 'year' of 36 holy 'weeks' from there.

So here it is - Threshold's religious calendar.


Threshold calendar, Yr 1701:

(Goat-month)
1 – Winter Solstice & New Year: Offerings to Issek: sacrifices to Huran and Rosh
2 – New Moon: Offering to Alol & Alol's Day
12 – Alol’s Day
16 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
22 – Alol’s Day

(Water-month, sacred to Efun)
1 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
2 – Alol’s Day
11 – Feast of St Ronnad of the Flagon
12 – Alol’s Day
15 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
22 – Alol’s Day
30 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol

(Fish-month)
2 – Alol’s Day
12 – Alol’s Day
14 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
22 – Alol’s Day
29 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol

(Sheep-month)
2 – Spring Equinox: Burnt offerings to Kos: Alol’s Day: sacrifice of animals to Efun, prayers to Orem-Thep at home
12 – Alol’s Day
13 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
22 – Alol’s Day
28 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol

(Cow-month)
2 – Alol’s Day
12 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas: Alol’s Day
22 – Alol’s Day
27 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol

(Month of the Twins)
2 – Alol’s Day
11 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
12 – Alol’s Day
22 – Alol’s Day
26 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol

(Midsummer)
1
2 – Alol’s Day
3 – Midsummer’s Day, sacrifices to Ekes, Huran and Rosh
4
5

(Crab-month)
5 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
7 – Feast of St Luwagen of Castel: Alol’s Day
17 – Alol’s Day
20 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
27 – Alol’s Day

(Lion-month, sacred to Huran)
4 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
7 – Alol’s Day
17 – Alol’s Day
19 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
27 – Alol’s Day
30 – Feast of St Cuthbert (St Keth)

(Maiden-month, sacred to Tas)
3 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
7 – Alol’s Day
17 – Alol’s Day
18 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
27 – Alol’s Day
30 – Autumnal Equinox, prayers to Orem-Thep at home

(Balance-month)
2 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
7 – Alol’s Day
17 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol: Alol’s Day:
27 – Alol’s Day

(Scorpion-month)
1 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets
7 – Alol’s Day
16 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
17 – Alol’s Day
27 – Alol’s Day
30 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas

(Archer-month, sacred to Alol)
7 – Alol’s Day
14 – Feast of St Giles
15 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
17 – Alol’s Day
27 – Alol’s Day
29 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas

Threshold calendar, Yr 1702:

(Goat-month)
1 – Winter Solstice & New Year: Offerings to Issek: Sacrifices to Huran and Rosh
7 – Alol’s Day
14 – New Moon: Offering to Alol & Alol's Day
24 – Alol’s Day
28 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas

(Water-month, sacred to Efun)
1 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
4 – Alol’s Day
11 – Feast of St Ronnad of the Flagon
13 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
14 – Alol’s Day
24 – Alol’s Day
27 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas

(Fish-month)
4 – Alol’s Day
12 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
14 – Alol’s Day
24 – Alol’s Day
26 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas

(Sheep-month)
2 – Spring Equinox: Burnt offerings to Kos: sacrifice of animals to Efun, prayers to Orem-Thep at home
4 – Alol’s Day
11 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
14 – Alol’s Day
24 – Alol’s Day
25 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas

(Cow-month)
4 – Alol’s Day
10 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
14 –Alol’s Day
24 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas: Alol’s Day

(Month of the Twins)
4 – Alol’s Day
9 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
14 – Alol’s Day
23 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
24 – Alol’s Day

(Midsummer)
1
2
3 – Midsummer’s Day: Sacrifices to Ekes, Huran and Rosh
4 – Alol’s Day
5

(Crab-month)
3 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
7 – Feast of St Luwagen of Castel
9 – Alol’s Day
17 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
19 – Alol’s Day
29 – Alol’s Day

(Lion-month, sacred to Huran)
2 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
9 – Alol’s Day
16 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
19 – Alol’s Day
29 – Alol’s Day
30 – Feast of St Cuthbert (Keth)

(Maiden-month, sacred to Tas)
1 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
9 – Alol’s Day
15 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
19 – Alol’s Day
29 – Alol’s Day
30 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol: Autumnal Equinox, prayers to Orem-Thep at home

(Balance-month)
9 – Alol’s Day
14 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
19 – Alol’s Day
29 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol: Alol’s Day

(Scorpion-month)
1 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets
9 – Alol’s Day
13 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
19 – Alol’s Day
28 – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
29 – Alol’s Day

(Archer-month, sacred to Alol)
9 – Alol’s Day
12 – Full Moon: Offerings to Isi and Ets and sacrifices of snakes to Tas
14 – Feast of St Giles
19 – Alol’s Day
27  – New Moon: Offerings to Alol
29 – Alol’s Day



Thursday, 12 February 2015

The College of Speculative Antiquarians: The War of Grom the Paunch - alternative timeline

From the earliest annals, which may or may not be the most correct, the following rough timeline can be constructed.

Grom kills Wulfrun Willowhand, King of the Northern Dwarfs, beginning the Dwarf-Goblin Wars.

At some point subsequently, Mudat Brokenbone sacks Nuln; around this time, Bogdan Legbreak, a Goblin warlord with many chariots, and his Ogre ally Golgfag the Rutdrogg, kill Bono Bugman.

Following the sack of Nuln, Mudat lays siege to Helmgart.

Around this time, Bogdan and Golgfag sack Bugman's Brewery.

After the Seige of Helmgart, Mudat and Grom end up on opposite sides in the Battle of Gonnear; Grom kills Mudat. This is the first recorded appearance of Grom's Goblin Guard.

Some time after this, Golgfag's second-in-command Gratthud slays Bogdan; 'Mad-Eyed' Hogg becomes the leader of Bogdan's chariots, and commands them at Zhuf Field, where he fights alongside Grom.

After Zhuf Field, Grom and Hogg assault the 'Dwarf City' of Middenheim, where Grom is killed.

Some years later is the battle of Mad Dog Pass, where Grom's Goblin Guard is exterminated. Hogg is also present at the battle, and leads the survivors of of Bogdan's chariots into the Darklands.



Originally hosted over at:

The College of Speculative Antiquarians: The War of Grom the Paunch - alternative timeline: 


In this timeline, it is the killing of Bono, son of Joseph, Bugman by Bogdan Legbreak and Golgfag the Rutdrogg that leads to Joseph Bugman to form his famous Rangers. The Rangers are exterminated, and Joseph disappears never to be seen again, presumed killed, when Bogdan and Golgfagg sack Bugman's Brewery. Indeed, Goblin legend tells of how Bogdan taunts and kills Joseph Bugman during the sacking of the brewery.

The stories of Bugman's return from the sacking of the Brewery and the refounding of the Rangers at Karak Varn seem not to based on early historical record. In even later stories, Bugman does not even found his Rangers until after the sack of the brewery. Finally, in the latest versions of the story, generations are transposed. In the earliest versions, Joseph is the grandson of Samuel Bugman, and Bono Bugman is Joseph's son. Later, Samuel is sometimes called Bugman's father; meanwhile, Bono is sometimes called a son of Samuel.

The sacking of Nuln, sometimes said in later tales to be the work of Grom the Paunch (of the Misty Mountain, as he is always known in the earliest tales), is here credited to Mudat Brokenbone. Though, after the sack of Nuln, later stories say that Grom was defeated by the Prince of Altdorf and attacked Middenheim, this is treated as an Imperial rather than a Dwarf city; and Grom is said to have personally broken the gates of the city and built a chariot there from the remains of a temple to Ulric. Thus, the use of chariots by the Goblin army is credited to Grom, whereas in the early tales it is Bogdan and Hogg who command them. He is than given a story of invading Uluthuan, whereas in the earliest version, he was killed in the siege of Middenheim.

In the earliest versions then, three Greenskin leaders (Grom the Paunch of the Misty Mountain, Mudat Brokenbone and Bogdan Legbreak) command the forces that attack the dwarf cities and invade the Empire. Later tales only remember Grom the Paunch and ascribe all the deeds to him that in the earliest tales are the work of other commanders.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

More MegaDungeon than you can shake a ten-foot pole at (or, 'How Dyson Saved Silvergate')

I admit it, I have been extensively raiding Dyson's maps. I tried some other sites, but they just weren't cutting the mustard.

Perhaps I'm very picky about what I want; I don't think I am. It seems to me that a dungeon-generator (of which there are dozens of free ones out there) should be relatively-controllable. But none of the generators I consulted allowed me to do the things I wanted to do.

I'm designing Silvergate in sections. The whole city will be built as a series of areas which can be thought of as something like districts or neighbourhoods, though they're really quite small. A megadungeon built of lairs bolted together, sure, but bolted together in a way that sort of makes some sense, please. And as (at a guess) I need something like 60 of these sections, each with 25-45 (or there abouts) rooms, that's about 2000 rooms all together. A lot of mapping.

My ideal generator would ask questions like 'how many rooms do you want for a given area?' and 'how many exits in which directions?' and 'do you want a) a mix of large and small rooms, b) few large and many small, or c) few small and many large?' - but those I've consulted don't ask those sorts of questions. Just some randomly-plonked spaces and corridors aren't so much use (even if they do come populated from some generators). Fine in theory for a random lair, not so good for a section of a bigger whole that is supposed to hang together in some way.

So I'm back to either drawing the maps myself or taking someone else's. I certainly have drawn some of my own. I will draw more of my own as I go along. But I'm also going to use some of Dyson's maps in the production of Silvergate as a playable megadungeon.

But, Orc, I hear you cry; surely the problem is that you can't control them? If a dungeon generator can't produce the results you want, how can taking existing maps from somewhere else?

Well, even if I can't control them exactly the way I want there are several advantages to using Dyson's maps. The main one is that due to his prolific production, there are hundreds of potential maps to be selected, and unlike a generator where I feed in the parameters and get it to produce something for me, I can see them before I download them, and if something looks useful, I can take a closer look and if I like what I see, I can download it.

There are three reasons really that I'm going to use some of Dyson's mega-delve material: a) they're very nice maps in their own right; b) they (at least some of the time) fit together in a logical way both horizontally and vertically, giving me more coherence about how the city is designed, and c) because Dyson's megadungeon is a Dwarf-city too, and so, why not?

If I find anywhere else that produces maps of the same quality, then I'll use them as well. But I haven't yet.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Goblins galore!


A shot of some of my goblins that I was painting up for Kings of War... well, they languished in the box for a while, like 18 months, until yesterday when I got my paints down from the loft and painted their hats red. I'd decided that they needed more colour, and remembered the Redcaps of fairly folklore. What could be better for these be-capped Night Goblins? OK, technically the goblin 6 from the left in the front row is not a Night Goblin, but I only have a certain quantity of Goblins, and I was one short for this unit. Look, he's in a Night Goblin unit, he'll be statted as a Night Goblin (if I ever play a game where they're not just statted as 'Goblins').

So... still got a lot of work to do on these to get them looking 'nice' (if they ever do, I'm a rubbish painter) but I thought I might post them here. I looked up Redcaps - I didn't know that they were particularly from Northern England and Southern and Central Scotland. Perhaps they deserve their own entry in the Observer's Book of Monsters?