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.


  1. Awesome post. Evocative and immediately gameable.

    1. Thank you kindly sir. TBH it feels a lot like a reprise of your own Ghost Biology post, so if its any good its half thanks to you

  2. Absolutely wonderful - wonder how many Jarmen come back down from Cath Celdaenn to drag some of their younger siblings back up the mountain with them.