Sunday, January 15, 2023

The Imperial Dendrocracies

by JR's Arts

First, let me direct your attention here.

Moving on.

First, the Styreltrees.

The tradition is old: if a dispute comes up, all parties consult with the tree. After hearing both sides, the tree settles the dispute. It may creak, or sway, or produce sap which a medicine man will taste and interpret ("saltier than sweet, the thief must be beat!").

Everyone agrees this makes sense, because the tree is the eldest, and therefore the wisest. Or the ancestors dwell within it, or maybe a primal god, yada yada. It doesn't actually matter why the tree is in charge. All that matters is that it is.

The tree is usually correct.

Explain the year's weather patterns and lunar phases and other catalogued omens (another ancient profession), and it will tell you which crops to plant, when to slaughter or shear, etc. etc. Estimate your neighbor's harvest, and the tree will tell you how to exceed it (or sabotage it). 

And if it makes a wrong decision, it doesn't mean the tree was wrong. Aside from the contents of its grove, the tree only knows what it is told. Sometimes a key piece of information is missing (trees are not omniscient) or else is deliberately misconstrued (nor are they good judges of character). But once it has the full, complete truth, the tree's judgement is accurate beyond reproach.

[sidenote: these are the origins of the lawyer-druids, who were called upon to present the truth to trees in ways favorable to their clients. The profession persists to this day, and is much reviled.]

Wars have been fought on the word of a Styreltree, usually devastatingly one-sided. The trees never advise open war with another tree-village; too many layers of strategy and counter-strategy on both sides.


BERSERK, Kentaro Miura

Let's fast forward a bit.

Now there is one tree, sprawling and wise, cultivated in a golden grove, at the head of a vast empire. The rest have been burned, or else felled and grafted onto the behemoth.

[It is rumored that the trees not only foresaw this event, but coordinated it with one another via secret mycorrhizal networks. This is the Woodcutter's Conspiracy.]

The one tree is the Mother Ash. Even for a Styreltree, she was quite clever. She was also subtly telepathic, which explained her uncanny ability to see thru lies. The village that discovered her was prosperous for centuries, until they were buried by imperialists.

Firmly rooted in young Cath Caldaenn, the Mother Ash was enshrined in layers of bureaucratic secrecy. All communication with her holiness was performed thru the dreaming monks, who opened their minds to her in sleep and received her verdicts as visions.

The whole process became too long and complicated for ordinary civil disputes, which moved back into traditional courts (although judges continued to be referred to as "men of ash"). Instead, the Mother Ash became a city-planner and general. It engineered the grand waterworks, the sewer canals, and the mining colonies.

Once, it called for a long ditch to be dug. Space for forty-seven men and women, shoulder to shoulder.

The next day, a messenger arrived on a tottering horse. An Obscyllan knot-battalion had struck the southern front. She rattled off the casualty report; fourteen injured, forty-seven dead.

As its influence expanded, the veneer of maternal deity was papered over and rebranded as a masc/neuter imperialist idol. From then on, they called it the Capital Tree.

 The Capital Tree is monstrously overgrown. You will see its roots long before you see the city walls. Its sap runs thickly in the streets; its fallen leaves blanket the Eternal Sea. Its twin trunks clamber over one another thousands of feet into the air.

High up in its branches, the Palace of the Peacock juts out like a fancy kite, a hundred tons of marble tossed about in its boughs.

Speculation abounds on the origin of its enormity. A popular theory claims it was watered with dragon's blood (true, but unrelated). A less popular theory claims the Church reinforced it from within with steel, and this is the source of the groaning.

The Dream Crypts

Long marble halls housing thousands of sleeping monks. Most can't answer questions anymore and can only mumble incoherently (they're still sorting thru stacks of queries from before the fall). Some are half-buried in waterlogged roots. Their sleep is deeper than death.

The crypts are tended to by men with tall, bristled heads that gape like cobras. They water and garden and bite the heads off intruders.

At rest, they stack themselves like cordwood in dead-end alleys.

The open crypts are only half-full; most get sealed up tight (the priests don't eat or drink) and stacked together. When this is done, the smooth stone walls gradually become hot to the touch. There are whole neighborhoods of sealed crypts in the golden city; right above them are the bathhouses.

[sidebar: becoming a sleeping monk was a big deal. You had to be elected by your district, and undergo a lot of screening to ensure you only had useful, non-blasphemous information in your head.]

Supposedly, the monks live within the Mother Ash, in a dream-like afterlife. Take a cross-section of a Styreltree and you'll see faces in the rings, eyes and mouths blended together.

Take a cross-section of a sleeping monk and you'll find wet wood.

odin hangs from yggdrasil
I can't for the life of me find the artist for this one

The practice began long ago, as a corrective measure; after burying a few too many capital offenders in the compost dungeons, people began noticing a marked decrease in public executions. It turned out the graves had been breached by roots of ash.

The dungeons were emptied quietly.

But the priests who were closest to the tree had noticed: the tree's answers were faster, and more complex. So the dungeons filled again, this time with the wise and the loyal.

The Scions

The sleeping vastly outnumbered the waking in Cath Celdaenn. An uprising was inevitable.

Lost Ilmar, long persecuted for its worship of the moon, struck the killing blow. Dissident alchemists poisoned the roots of the Mother Ash with a river of mercury, severing it from the rest of the empire. The provinces collapsed upon one another.

In its golden age, many Styreltrees were grafted onto the Capital Tree's roots, and were allowed to contain fragments of its wisdom. These were the scions.

In the capital ruins the scion trees are small, which makes them a lot safer to talk to (a direct psychic link with the main body is like drinking from a firehose).

But in far away lands, the scion trees grew large, despite being only parts of the whole.

There was the Beast Tree of Olmuron, grown from the corpse of the last terrestrial whale.

There was the Pilgrim Tree of St. Guff, assembled from a hundred-hundred scions grafted together.

And there was the Gray Saint of Akadia, later called the Wyrm. It set off to conquer Cath Celdaenn and never came back. Some claim it broke on its walls like a beached whale; others, that it ate its way to the city's heart and devoured it whole.

the wyrm (actually the Old One from Demon's Souls)

What the fuck is this thing

You've probably figured it out by now.

It's a self-assembling neural network, and a good one. The second trunk makes it creative, like a GAN.

It assimilates other intelligences into itself. (The Mother Ash learned telepathy this way, probably from some schmuck wizard) It's as smart as all the sleeping priests + all the ghosts it's sucking out of the Eternal Sea (a lot).

This setting (whatever its name is) cares a lot about self-perpetuating systems.

Here's some baobabs:

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Ghost Roe

The frog-men of Spagyros are oft-maligned and ill-understood. Most can tell you two things about them:

1 - They are more man than frog. They speak and count coins and walk on two legs. They eat meat and bread and ride horses. Their nobles are respected in the known lands, as befitting their status.

2 - They live forever. A dead frog-man is divided in two, the corpse (or egg) and the spirit, which when reunited will fuse and develop into a young Spagyrian, who shares most of if not all of the predecessor's memories.

[The spirit finds their way back over the course of many months, sometimes years. In their youth, they are trained extensively for this journey; thus, the ghosts of frogs are the most dangerous of all.]


An egg of Spagyros is a terrible artifact. Bulbous and dank, it wafts sickly sweet. Tall as a man. Any dark alchemist worth their salt has one in the back.


Frog-men are not puzzled by us. We are, in their minds, egg-less half-things, stumbling gametes without purpose. [Thus, the theologians of frogs are the most smug of all.]

If humanity has an egg, it lies within the walls of Cath Celdaenn.

Ghosts (once untethered from their unfinished business) drift across the landscape as thin shades, tangling together and collecting in river eddies. Thus, pockets of spirit energy dot the landscape, turning innocuous places into cold, haunted ones. Eventually, it all trickles down into the Yomi Flats, a profoundly haunted morass.

Here, ghosts are in the water, they're thick in the trees. They shack up in discarded hermit shells. They drift in colonies on steam plumes as terrible man-o'-wars.

Their situations are temporary. Their destination is high in the crucible valleys, at the foot of the old empire.

The Yomi Flats are overlooked by a massive cliff, the first step into the valley proper, over which pours a tremendous waterfall. Like spawning salmon, spirits cluster beneath the falls, struggling up the cliff, where they become easy pickings for ghost-eating crabs.


Mortal men and women live in the Yomi, sunken-eyed and thin-lipped. These are the Burymen, the last of the psychopomps.

The ghosts love them, and shroud their villages from intrusion in the ever-present mists of the valley. In return, the Burymen help them ascend the valley.

Day and night, their artisans throw thick clay pots, which are painted and proved over gaping steam vents. Then, like rush hour commuters, the ghosts cram themselves into these pots.

An athletic youth is chosen, and given a donkey or mudcrawler, who is laid heavy with these pots. They must set out, up secret paths only known to the Burymen, and transport their cargo up the falls. It is a rite of passage as much for the youth as it is for the spirits.


Some more notes on the Burymen:

1 - They are kin to ghosts, in all senses. Some came here from distant lands to help their family members pass on. Others were immaculate conceptions, children of horny spectres and (consenting) virgin mortals. The oldest families, who were the first Burymen, trace their parentage thru more ghosts than mortals.

2 - They are marked. Like coral polyps, tiny spirits will gradually settle on and colonize living flesh, eventually forming rough spectral superstructures. They call these the horns of Lich, although they mostly sprout on the shoulders and back. The elders are very proud of their horns; growing them is like a second puberty.

[They are light and can be ground into a powder, which one can snort to see hidden things and surface alternate personalities, and also make the Burymen hate you forever] 

3 - They'll give you some pots. You're scaling the cliffs anyway, right? Here, carry these, what a big, strong youngling you are. Don't drop them though! And definitely don't trade with those no-good crabs. Here, have a bone trinket. And if you deliver them safely, there's plenty more where that came from.


Alex Konstad

So you have a pot full of ghosts, or maybe twenty, underneath which is a very patient donkey. Once you've got it up on the plateau, you'll find that pretty much everyone wants them.

The crabs will barter with their scavenger hoards.

The pilgrim tree will offer its contract if you water it with souls. (open your books to page Warlock babyyyyy)

Other adventurers will try to poach them from you; in the valleys, a pot of ghosts can buy what gold cannot.

"But that ghost is someone's grandmother!"

So? Ghosts aren't people. Most have no agency or memory to speak of, only a primal drive to crawl up the mountain. That's not your grandma, dude. Now hand it over.


Ghost-based cuisine originated in the old empire. Vast fermenting storehouses, full of ghost-rotting pots. Outside the valleys, it is taboo. It is said to taste somewhere between pickled fish and unleavened bread.

It is said that the Carmine Lord, in his depravity, ate his own spirit over lamb with little garnish.


Ghosts are social animals, and often travel in pack-colonies. At lower altitudes, they assemble themselves into flimsy animal shapes and waft on the wind.

In Cath Celdaenn, they haunt ceramic suits of armor. They talk like this.

so cute!!!!!!
by ned hugar

Example Jarman names: Ser Ostices, Pree Jordan, Lord Castor Clay.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

[Gygax 75] 20 FromSoft-y Treasures

I'm doing a worldbuilding challenge. The story so far:

Gygax 75
Week 1 - The Setting
Week 2 - Carving out the Valley
Week 3 - Into the Mines
Week 4 - Hitting a Wall
Week 5 - Divide and Conquer
Week 6 - Closing up the Cadaver
Week 7 - Building Irontown
Week 8 - The final week!!!!!!

Last week of the challenge! Let's have some fun :-)

Week 5 (8) - design the larger world around the starting region. you don't need a detailed map of the whole world, but you should know the other regions that can be reached from the current one (either by overland or magical travel) so that you can start writing rumors to entice your players to travel to them.

I've been doing a lot of mind-mapping, interweaving all the settings and factions. Consider this more of a victory lap than something set in stone.

Far Off Lands

Most of the worthwhile setting stuff is inside the dungeons, under the valley. TBH the rest of the world is still recovering from the last apocalypse, but there's at least three places worth mentioning:

Gnosc. To the north. Dark wizard military. Their artilleromancers have artificially elongated skulls, and long brains to match. The "menhir" shape aligns their neurons, magnifying sorcerous output like a psychic railgun (see: forehead lasers).

1. Trepaning Dart: as dagger, +1. +1d2 psychic damage, save vs mental mutation. For each point of psychic damage dealt, the target gets +5% chance to miscast.
"The tools of dragon hunters long outlasted their empire. These crystal daggers were designed to subvert the dragon's most potent weapon; their minds."

2. Monologue: spell for wizards, copied from long stone tablets. 1d6 radiant damage in a 60ft beam of screaming light, +1d6/turn up to a cap. (Gnomen start at 3d6) For as long as you concentrate, you can spend your turn sustaining the beam, only turning your head up to 90 degrees at a time.
"Throughout history, the shape of power has been singular; a straight line, unbroken. The Gnomen are aware of this, and have learned to shape the mind into a rod of sovereignty."

Nemea. To the east. Merchant-berserker empire. They wear ward-mail, an interlocking pattern of protective runes painted directly on the body. Their wizards often fight in the nude, in close quarters, bare-fisted.

3. Imperial Howdah: sized for an elephant, can be carried as a palanquin. Seats 2. Those seated within are protected from the elements.
"Commissioned by the Carmine Lord on his campaign to the City of Mirrors. The second seat was reserved for his future wife, and is decorated with chains of red brass."

4. Four-Point Nemean Rune: ritual for clerics. 160gp of golden paints in a 10-inch radius runic circle. Everything inside the circle is invulnerable. The paint flakes away after four hours, or after twelve minutes of vigorous combat.
"The Isles of Nemea bleed gold. Nemean warmages do not fear copycats, as no other school boasts the funds to reduplicate their methods." 

Lands of Ashen Rain. To the west. Nascent warlords and their gunmetal.

5. Rustic Handcannon: tool of a stalwart defender. 3d6, 3 rounds/reload, blows up in your face on double damage dice. The spiked handle is designed to be driven into the earth and absorb recoil.
"The oldest of these weapons were forged in starlight, which soothed the fearsome temper of black powder. Today, the tradition is shirked by desperate smiths."

And the countless ruins. Old Paradise. Spagyros. The Moon. Traces of these remain, but the greater halls have vanished into the earth.

To expand on last week's base-building thingy, representatives of the Sorcerer Kingdoms will make contact with the valley as Irontown's prosperity makes it harder to ignore [some sort of town HP related "heat" mechanic]. I envision players bribing scouts to keep their iron trade a secret, at least until they've amassed the man/firepower to withstand a proper army.

I don't have a hexmap for the region outside the valley (yet), but if I did it would have a nearby asshole faction led by a minor warlord who wants to snatch the valley for himself. Like defend-your-town training wheels.

I'm probably overthinking this.

The White Tiger's guns are one defensive option; plutonium is another. The Dungeon provides.

Long Dead Gods

Also here's a few gods. I named four in the last post:

The Lion Sun. God of prosperity, the civilized world, and restrained ferocity, patron to serfs and bankers. "To shade the sun" means to hold back one's emotions. A popular fable details how the Old Sun chose his heir, and what became of the Lion's many siblings. 
The Old King. God of stone, the body, and language, patron to surgeons and miners. The Old King owns everything beneath the surface world; thus, all excavation is barter. His names are Hazog, and Kanek, and Burmanon II, and others.
The Black River. God of understanding, drinking, and death, patron to thieves and poets. If you drop something into a river, you have relinquished it, and anyone who fishes it out is its rightful owner. All rivers can speak; the Black River speaks like an explosion. "Everything ends up downstream."
The Moon. God of traveling at night, the natural world, and secrets. Actually two gods, the Nemesis and the Lover, worshipped as one. Mentioning one to the other is taboo. More than one fable begins with the Moon fooling a creature into calling it by the wrong name, as an excuse to punish them.

Here's some more, all dead, buried, or worshipped secretly.

The Pilgrim Tree and The Beast Tree. Rivalrous sisters cut from the same branch. Both fear the Gray Saint.
Hal'i, The Scaleless Mother. Mother of the second generation of dragons.
The Wyrm. Last metastasized in ancient times.
The Unspeakable Corpus, also called Ur-Lich. Fragments of the Corpus litter the world like scraps of ash.
Leviathan. Ghost-devouring whale, Lord of the Eternal Sea.
The High Warden, also called BelosAskadion, and Eyoch. King of Hell.
The Line. Yet unbroken.
The Iron God. Worshiped by the depraved: first demons, then the Centipede Lord.
The Frog Pope of Spagyros.
The Dragon At The End Of Time. Foretold. Forewarned.

Long Lost Relics

I wrote 5 item/spell descriptions above. Here's 15 more:

6. Constellant Blade: a blacksnake weapon made of glass and stars. As glaive, +1d6 radiant damage, save vs mutation on 6s.
"The original architects of the Stellar Furnace were a race of noble giants, who could pluck the stars directly from the sky."

7. Flensing Sword: a long, curved sword of bone. +2 vs ghosts.
"Whales once ruled the surface world's seas, but departed. The sailing tradition of paying tolls to the sea continues to this day."

8. Ghost-Rotting Pot: a large urn of debased ghosts; scraps of former scraps. When smashed or imbibed, 2d4+2 cold damage in the splash radius (heals undead).
"The dead must be managed, lest decay set in. Bodies may be burned, but spirits must first be reduced."
("Yes, very good, but how does it taste?")

9. Syncretize: golden city sorcery, encoded in florid poetry. For 1 hour, two creatures understand one another and only one another.
"Thousands gathered amongst the roots of the Capital Tree. Dreams flowed like water beneath its arcing boughs, and the barriers between men eroded until they stood as empire."

10. Dark Sun Knight's Set: blackest plate eclipsing golden trim. +1/piece to save vs gravity. As a complete set, grants resistance to all forms of gravity damage.
"Mad Knight Narn surrendered his humanity to walk with the stars. The Dark Sun knights worship his new form as heretics."

11. Ring of Crawling Cruelties: an iron ring depicting a centipede. Restore 1 HP when you harm someone who trusts you.
"The phoenix centipede bursts into flame at century's end, only to emerge anew from its ashes. Through observation of this cycle, the Carmine Lord learned the secrets of life and death."

12. Chain of the Arena Beast: worn by the morningstar manticore, made of cold iron. You have an edge while riding or being ridden by a creature that despises you.
"Mad Knight Narn is widely credited with taming the sun, shackling it such that it marched across the sky."

13. Clot: blood sorcery, written in rags. 1d6 piercing to yourself and target, ignores iron armor, no Save.
"Ancient sorcerers were confounded by the properties of iron, which their magicks could not affect. The first blood sorceries were developed to subvert those properties."

14. Flagellation: blood sorcery, carved flesh tome. 2d6 piercing to yourself and everything nearby, ignores iron armor, no Save.
"Iron and Hell were alloyed in the earliest ages, when dragons yet ruled. Thus, many blood sorceries originate from demonkind."

15. Plutonium Shard: scavenged by glass giants on the Eternal Sea. Socketed item deals +2d6 necrotic. On crit fail, everyone nearby saves vs mutation.
"When too many spirits occupy the same space, they condense into a dark, howling stone. The ancients witlessly harnessed this haunted stone for its sorcerous potency."

16. Azure Missile: firmament sorcery, taught by the old red sage. Loudly declare the law; the first three creatures to break the law take 1d6 force, no save.
"Once, a philosopher thought the stars might grasp the keys to absolute morality. Thankfully, the law of stars is utterly alien to that of men, and is thus-wise soundly ignored."

17. Corpus Fragment: a scrap of the Unspeakable Corpus. Burn it: on your next roll, 1-16 = crit fail, 17-20 = crit success. Read it: save vs mental mutation.
"A lich's madness, blackened indelibly. The Order of Censures will pay any price to keep these pages apart."

18. Moonjuice: a jug of drug. Drink to surface an alternate personality, or create one if none exists. (A new alter has only as many memories as you wish.)
"The enigmatic Moon is actually two gods worshipped as one. Its highest priests, so often neglected, follow suit."

19. Dragonscale Set: heavy stone plate reinforced with steel. +2 AC/piece. As a complete set, grants immunity to lightning damage.
"When told of the dragon's extinction, the Old King dismayed. 'What,' he cried, 'will we serve to the guests?'"

20. Lens of the Giants: spotless black glass, two yards across, found in the deepest Giant Lookout. 1 HP. Reveals secrets unerringly.
"Having mapped and quartered the skies, astrologers turned their eyes to the earth, and found it rich with prophecies."

And that's the Gygax 75! My purpose fulfilled, I retreat beneath the waves from whence I came.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

[Gygax 75] The People Who Live in the Crucible

Mononokehime concept art

I'm doing a worldbuilding challenge. The story so far:

Gygax 75
Week 1 - The Setting
Week 2 - Carving out the Valley
Week 3 - Into the Mines
Week 4 - Hitting a Wall
Week 5 - Divide and Conquer
Week 6 - Closing up the Cadaver
Week 7 - Building Irontown

Irontown is a lakeside fort full of exiles, migrants, and strangers from the far reaches, kept afloat by its ironworks. Iron is outlawed in the Sorcerer Kingdoms, and so those who would refine and distribute it are often coerced by circumstance. For now, Irontown remains safely tucked away from the Sorcerer Kings' notice, shielded by their high valley walls and relative obscurity.

At present, the town is uncharacteristically still. The ironsand on the shore is running out, and the mines in the forest have been taken over by fae folk. More than half the townsfolk have left, having seen the writing on the wall; sixty men and women, with more skill than sense, remain.

[# of townsfolk is roughly equivalent to the town's HP, which stands for... uh... house points? Housed People? More on that later.]

The Forge has been cold for a month. Sometimes, inexplicably, it smokes, and locals hear something heavy moving inside. (A giant centipede lairs within.)

Speaking of the locals, they're decent folks. Despite their situation, they'll offer you free room and board in The Long House, a dirt-and-wood mess hall built around two long fire pits. It is loud around mealtimes, and devoid of privacy.

Irontown's hospitality is easy to abuse, so long as you are polite and non-subversive. Draw arms, however, and The White Tiger will hasten to the scene, much to local chagrin. They gather at the Old Firehouse, gambling and drinking idly, rarely alert. Each clings to their gun as if it were their mother.

In a Tidy Little Shrine at the edge of town, the disparate gods of a migrant population are cloistered together. The trinkets are four: a carved sigil of the Lion Sun; a Black River totem; the Old King's idol; and a mirrored coin, cult symbol of the Moon.


The White Tiger is the leader of the eponymous tribe of mercenaries. An up-and-coming, gun-toting warlord from foreign lands, she wants (in increasing order): 1) to make Irontown a worthy seat of power; 2) to claim the valley's iron for herself; 3) independence from the Sorcerer Kings' growing empires. She is ruthless, middle-aged, well-versed in occult metallurgy, and fond of laughing. Her left leg is a prosthetic.

She needs a solid plan to drive back the forest folk. Reinforcements from her home town will arrive in three weeks (she only has half-a-dozen men in town); one week later, they will begin methodically clear-cutting the ancient forest.

The Founders are a council of five ancient men and women, who witnessed the town's oldest contracts with the fae. They are no friends to the forest, but they're suspicious of the foreign woman and her guns. They are led by Grandbaba, who can speak to the trees because she is their elder, or so she claims. She is wall-eyed, alcoholic, pacifistic, and (hypocritically) insistent on proper speech and posture.

Grandbaba needs to speak to a faerie, or to be convinced to trust The White Tiger. For now, she is the highest authority in town, and the locals have good reason to trust her judgement. If the conflict heats up, The White Tiger will attempt to have her poisoned.

Banken is the prince of a mountain sorcerer tribe, cast into exile for his magical ineptitude. He is tall and kind and a bit of a himbo. He will try anything if he thinks it will unlock his sorcerous potential; he's contemplating fishing up the lake-moon-beast, which is rumored to grant wishes.

Mursa is Grandbaba's daughter. She often stares or drools, and looks like a short woman stretched lengthwise to 6'2". She wants someone to help her sneak into the forest, without Grandbaba finding out. The townsfolk whisper she is a kidnapped faerie princess; this is only half-true. (The stretching rack is in the garden, overgrown with veggies.)

Dried fish, rice, and basic supplies (ropes, poles, ladders) are available for purchase in Irontown, but most businesses have moved out of town. HOWEVER, if you invest your hard-fought treasure into the town's growth, you can bring useful merchants back to Irontown. [Even if you don't use XP for GP, investing in the town always rewards XP proportionally.] 

Some merchants to invite:

  • Salvage House: Battlefield salvage with most of the dents buffed out. Armor sets are incomplete. Shitty versions can be bought, with a % chance of breaking in combat.
  • Ride On Strong: A stable of mud donkeys and red elk, for rent. The former can only bear an unarmored rider at a solemn clip; the latter abhors violence and deception, and will return to the stable if offended.
  • Gold Begets Gold: A bank built like a shady tavern. Give your gold to the thing in the back, ignoring its dirty wrappings and unsettling clatter, and it will invest it as it sees fit. This provides passive income, at the expense of furthering the Banker's agenda.
  • Anything Bazaar: Come sample our wares, travelerrrrrr~! Each visit, the merchants hawk 3 to 5 moderately magical items from their buffalo caravans. Their real wares are rumors, news from far-flung lands, and secrets.
  • Dhali's Man Service. Dhali is the old woman on the peacock-feather pillow. She will hire out her husbands to you, as day laborers or dungeon crawlers, at a rate proportional to the perceived risk of injury. They're brave, and handsome, and have diverse aspirations. Dhali forbids you from falling in love with them.
  • Saintmaker's Guild. There are many saint-guilds, all devoted to single figures from history. They provide blessings, and sometimes medicine, but will also try to build churches and convert the townsfolk. If you invite multiple saint-guilds to town, they'll hinder each other's efforts.

As the town gets wealthier (more merchants hired, more money spent, more HP), the options for new merchants/services expands to include medieval infrastructural engineers, magic item vendors, alchemists, mentors, a proper tavern (more hirelings), etc.

I haven't figured out a proper system yet, but every 3-ish merchants brings a random "bonus" merchant. Sometimes this is good, sometimes this is bad:

  • The Rook. A profitable gambling den run by an ogre of a man. They primarily deal in aerial hawk fights and physical intimidation.

Seeya next week.

Monday, September 19, 2022

[Gygax 75] Closing Up The Cadaver


pic unrelated

I'm doing a worldbuilding challenge. The story so far:

Gygax 75
Week 1 - The Setting
Week 2 - Carving out the Valley
Week 3 - Into the Mines
Week 4 - Hitting a Wall
Week 5 - Divide and Conquer
Week 6 - Finishing up the dungeon...

This is the last week I'll allow myself on the dungeon proper. The maps are rough and the key is loose, but I'm already 3 days late so [unintelligible scrabbling].

I won't whine much about how hard this challenge has been. I will say it's been a hugely introspective process for me to document the whole process so thoroughly.

Here be dungeon.