29 March, 2011


Yikes, another long dearth of blog posts. My genius is suck.

In my Labyrinth Lord version of Eberron, I find it entirely inappropriate to refer to the train as The Lightning Rail. I do like the fact that it exists. One of my first favourite films was the 70's Murder on The Orient Express with the huge raft of stars from the period, including Albert Finney as Poirot. I think Sean Connery was in it too. Anyway, I find the idea of the train itself to be a wonderful fantasy possibility, but the name makes little sense for a very compelling reason.

There are no rails.

The train moves along above a series of relatively small stone pyramids. This isn't an upgrade from a time when it ran on actual rails, and there are no other rail-utilising technologies screeching around Khorvaire. Somehow 'The Lightning Stones' or 'The Lightning Pyramids' just doesn't convey the idea of any kind of transport, let alone a train. So what should it be called?

I know! I'll turn to you, rarified niche of the internet! Please tell me what I should call The Lightning Rail.

17 March, 2011

Tekumel 9

Inspect glassware and clockwork: 89
Get another corpse, tied up: 40
Open remaining boxes: 100
Try finding controls on the cabochon: 23
Examine the hat: 81
Prise out gems: 9

You press several of the other gemlike protrusions around the cabochon, testing them for possible removal as you do. They resist any attempt to loosen, and seem to have no response when touched. After cautiously manipulating it for a few minutes, you are left with the impression that you've had no effect. If the baroque and esoteric designs scribed into the surface truly divide it into sections, they seem to be only decorative, yet their form troubles you at an atavistic level. It is almost as though you can see them more clearly when not looking directly at them.

You head back into the room with the long row of occupied tables. The sheeted occupants await your experiments blithely. Another examination of the gemmed table at the near end discourages your attempts to pry any of the glittering morsels free, and you are left with merely attempting to manipulate them. Several begin glowing at your touch, but there seems to be little result. Remembering the precaution of tying one up, you select a table from the line and remove its cover. A short creature, less than a meter long is revealed. It has four bowed-out legs, two arms with three-clawed hands, and a bulbous midsection, now somewhat deflated-looking. It is one of the gnomic tinaliya. The enormous eyes above the beak-like mouth are a dead filmy grey. You bind it to the table, ripping the cover into strips to do so. The thick brown hide of the creature creaks as you tighten the bindings.

With some difficulty, you force past the will of those more wary within you and begin uncomfortably pressing the dull gems and spidery arms of the contraption on the ceiling above. Suddenly, almost as though a vein has been opened in the air itself, a column of shining blue-tinged blackness pours forth into the quiescent form. You are shocked backward. The small form tries to rise, struggling slowly against its bonds. As it moves, the bulbous little segments making up its body slosh disgustingly. It slowly turns its opaque dead-grey eyes on you and the beak-like mouth moves. No sound emerges.

Part of you wishes to immediately repair to the laboratory, busying yourself with instruments, alembics and coggery, but what will you do with this new arrival?

08 March, 2011

Location f of Entero Island

f - the tower
The tower is a ruin. Its upper floors are long-destroyed, but still evidenced by jutting remnants of its outer shell and traces of stairway. It is now occupied by a wizard, one Rimbodd, who came to the island in search of the tower itself. It purportedly still held the spellbooks of its ancient master, but Rimbodd has never found them. He is marooned and has gone completely insane.
Rimbodd casts as a 5th level wizard, but his spell choices are entirely random. Whenever he casts a spell, for any reason, roll 1d3 to determine spell level. Then, roll randomly to determine which spell of that level he actually casts. His is not limited in the spells he might ‘know,’ nor is he limited in how many spells of each level he might cast in one day. He will remain convinced that any spell he casts was the perfect choice for the situation, but will then often (2in6) claim he is exhausted and curl into a deep slumber for 1d3 hours. Upon waking, he believes he must study his spellbooks and memorise his spells for the day. His spellbooks, despite his insistence to the contrary, are useless wrecks of waterlogged parchment, their writing blurred and unreadable. If somehow separated from his useless books, he will believe himself “Powerless and Doomed!”
Secreted in a small hidden compartment of the stone wall in the lowest level, once found by Rimbodd but now long-forgotten, is a small brass box with a hinged lid. Inside is a wand-sized length of deep black stone. At first glance it will seem to be obsidian, jet, or some other stone. With closer inspection, the surface seems to sink away from the viewer, falling away into a black abyssal gulf of cosmic proportions. Any failing a save vs. spells will feel overcome with vertigo and fall to their knees. If the wand is touched to the surface of the obelisk in the grotto (d) the obelisk will activate, sending a torrent of pulsing violet-black energy down into the earth. The effect of this activation, as well as its relationship to obelisks on other islands, is left to the GM for purposes of a possible unifying theme for their Sea of Os’r campaign.

03 March, 2011

Representation of Taxation

"We go through the city gates and head for the.."
"Not so fast! All entering the city today must pay the:

1. Wheel Tax - 1 silver for every wheel on any cart, wagon, carriage, etc.
2. Sword Tax - 1 silver for every bladed weapon larger than a dagger, yes that axe too, mister.
3. Purple Tax - 1 gold for every purple article of clothing. "Show me the waistband!"
4. Sewer Tax - 5 copper for every adult, though I don't mind the smell myself.
5. Road Tax - 2 copper per person for road repairs, 1 silver per horse or mule.
6. Holiday Tax - 1 silver per adult, the Feast of Barnabus nears.
7. Bag Tax - 3 gold per bag of spoils carried, and you're lucky I don't look inside.
8. Staff Tax - 5 gold per magic item carried, scan em' Dan'o.
9. War Tax - 1 silver per person. Troops are mustering and need supplies.
10. School Tax - 5 copper per person, for the new university.
11. Shield Tax - 5 silver for each person or mount in medium or heavy armor.
12. Fey Tax - 4 silver for each non-human, mounts and livestock excluded.
13. Library Tax - 4 gold for each book carried.
14. Brass Tax - 3 gold for each clockwork device.
15. Spoils Tax - 1 silver for every pound of treasure carried, on the scale buddy.
16. Bow Tax - 1 silver for every bow or crossbow, and unstring it.
17. Minstrel Tax - 2 gold for every musical instrument.
18. Crown Tax - 1 silver per adult, the King's visit must be grand.
19. Holy Tax - 1 gold for each holy symbol not of our city's deity, heathen.
20. Tithe - 5% of all coin carried, for the new cathedral.

These may either be in lieu of or in addition to the usual gate fee to get into the city. They in no way obviate the standard taxes for any sort of trade goods brought into the city. Trade goods are always taxed, regardless of whether the bearer claims intention to sell them or not. Remember that if your dwarven friend likes to carry around a barrel of stout in your cart.

Big merchant caravans will usually camp well outside the city, protected by outriders and goons.. er, guards, to avoid paying taxes in every city they might need to pass or sleep in. If they start setting up too close, perhaps 100 yards or so, the guard will send a detachment to politely but firmly run them off. To enjoy the city's protection, you have to pay her taxes.

02 March, 2011

New Episode of a Great Series

Yes! A new update of Atland is out! I find this web comic very entertaining, and (unlike many) relatively non-WoW influenced.

Coming soon.. less links, more substance :)

Old School Art

Just a couple links for 2 masters who deserve more traffic at their sites and/or blogs.

Revel in the startlingly British graphic sensibilities of: