It’s the special all lightning round 100th episode of that ENnie-nominated podcast, Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff!


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The latest edition of ENnie-nominated See Page XX is out now, featuring new products Shadows of Eldolan, The Book of Loot and Hideous Creatures: Serpent Folk; the latest updates for KWAS and Series Pitch of the Month subscribers, details about our ENnie nominations (15!) and how to vote, as well as the usual breadth of great articles from our regulars.
 
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As students of The Book of Unremitting Horror know, Sisterites are beings from the Outer Dark who prey on lonely and isolated men desperate for contact with the opposite sex. Case files from that volume include a transcript of an IRC chat between a Sisterite and its doomed target. In the years since the Ordo Veritatis came into possession of that intercept, the entities have adapted to changing social interaction technologies. First they infiltrated dating sites, from OKCupid to Christian Mingle. The latter has proven a particularly fruitful hunting ground, with a user base that might charitably be described as skewing toward the trusting, or lacking in street smarts.

More recently the Sisterites have taken to mobile apps, most notably Tinder. The ease of its mechanism, in which one swipes photos of prospective dates left, to dismiss them, or right, to indicate interest, allows the extradimensional demons to rapidly zero in on their preferred victims. What used to take weeks or months of chat exploration can now unfold in a matter of hours, from first approach to torture, evisceration, and consumption.

Through its SIGINT capabilities the Ordo has been able to study the mobile app activity of several Sisterites. Given a wider field of choice, Sisterites choose victims fitting the following profile:

  • Photo backgrounds show social isolation: messy apartments, low income, accouterments associated with solo hobbies.
  • Expressions of subjects in their photographs show apprehension or suppressed hostility.
  • Subjects display poor dress sense, bad haircuts, unsatisfactory hygiene.
  • Greeting text reveals status anxiety, overcompensation for fear of rejection, unrealistic expectations for sexual success, complaints about failure despite being a “nice guy”, resentment of men who achieve success with women.

In particular Sisterites eagerly initiate contact with men using catch-phrases of the men’s movement, pick-up artist community, and pick-up artist hater community. They leap on the term “friend zone” like catnip.

Given this information the Ordo has initiated sting operations in several major metropolitan centers, creating profiles that fit these criteria, in order to entrap, confront and destroy Sisterites.

Unfortunately the explosion in dating apps seems to correlate to an increase in the creatures’ numbers. Even if successful, this project may represent only a holding action against an increasing horde culling alienated, socially challenged males.

 


The Esoterrorists are occult terrorists intent on tearing the fabric of the world – and you play elite investigators out to stop them. This is the game that revolutionized investigative RPGs by ensuring that players are never deprived of the crucial clues they need to move the story forward. Purchase The Esoterrorists in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.’

A while back we learned of the vials of supposedly destroyed smallpox virus that turned up in a laboratory storage room in Bethesda, Maryland. Luckily, no one was exposed to the deadly disease, allowing us to guiltlessly mine the incident for scenario inspiration. How you might use it depends on the game you’re currently running:

Ashen Stars: The lasers get a contract to find out what happened to an archaeological survey team tasked to explore the ancient alien ruins of the outlying world Cophetus. They arrive to find the team’s base, with evidence that they had located the tomb of a great emperor and were set to open its entry hatches. The team’s interpretation of the hieroglyphs found on the side of the complex alert them to a different story—this was the tomb of the ancient pathogen that nearly extinguished this mystery civilization. Can the team learn enough to locate, rescue and decontaminate the archaeologists before they succumb to the disease—or spread it to the stars?

Mutant City Blues: Conspiracy blogger Warner Osterman is found dead in your jurisdiction, a .22 bullet in his brain. His last story was about finding serum sample vials in a disused military laboratory. According to the contents of his laptop, Osterman believed these contained a version of the disease that caused people around the world to gain super powers ten years ago. That’s the angle that gets the case assigned to the HCIU. Did Osterman die because he got too close to the secret of the Sudden Mutation Event? Or just because he made people think he did?

Dying Earth: Locals in an isolated village your neer-do-wells happen to traipse through run a lucrative sideline in waylaying treasure hunters. When visitors come, they let slip the presence of an ancient treasure vault, one they pretend to be too superstitious to venture near. Over many years they’ve learned the right words to trigger the greed of arrogant freebooters. The adventurers head off to plunder the ancient temple, which in fact is the repository of an enervating energy left behind by a heedlessly experimental arch-magician. The magical plague kills off the visitors. Then, armed with protective amulets, villagers head on down to strip their corpses of valuables. Can our anti-heroes escape the fate of so many likeminded troublemakers before them. If so, do they turn the tables on the rubes who so impertinently used their own greed against them?

ENnies_sampler_coverThe ENnies voting booth is open. Here is the Pelgrane Press slate of nominations, and we ask that you consider ranking us in your selection.

Why not download our free ENnies sampler with PDFs and music here (70MB)? You can check out Page XX here, and Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff here.

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Black DragonOver on the very active Google+ 13th Age community, Sean Dunstan has pulled together a complete list of monsters from the core 13th Age rulebook, the 13th Age Bestiary and 13 True Ways. John Clayton has kindly reproduced that here in table format; you can also download it as a zipped Excel spreadsheet on the 13th Age Resources page.

 


Level Monster Size Role Type Book Page #
0 giant ant normal troop beast Core 206
0 kobold grand wizard normal mook humanoid Bestiary 123
0 squib swarm normal mook beast Bestiary 179
0 stirge normal troop beast Bestiary 197
0 stirgelings normal mook beast Bestiary 197
1 archer stirge normal archer beast Bestiary 197
1 cobbler stirge normal blocker beast Bestiary 197
1 decrepit skeleton normal mook undead Core 246
1 dire rat normal mook beast Core 206
1 ettercap acolyte normal mook humanoid Bestiary 73
1 fungaloid creeper normal troop plant Bestiary 83
1 giant scorpion normal wrecker beast Core 206
1 goblin grunt normal troop humanoid Core 229
1 goblin scum normal mook humanoid Core 229
1 gravemeat normal mook undead Bestiary 97
1 human thug normal troop humanoid Core 235
1 kobold archer normal mook humanoid Core 237
1 kobold warrior normal troop humanoid Core 237
1 orc warrior normal troop humanoid Core 242
1 skeletal hound normal blocker undead Core 246
1 skeleton archer normal archer undead Core 246
1 swarm of bats normal spoiler beast Bestiary 13
1 watch skull normal troop undead Bestiary 109
1 white dragon hatchling normal troop dragon Bestiary 219
1 wibble normal mook construct Bestiary 223
1 wolf normal troop beast Core 207
1 zombie shuffler normal mook undead Core 251
2 aerial spore normal mook plant Bestiary 83
2 ankheg large troop beast Core 208
2 avenging orb normal caster humanoid Bestiary 204
2 bat cavalry large wrecker beast/humanoid Bestiary 14
2 bear normal troop beast Core 207
2 boombug normal troop beast Bestiary 113
2 bugbear scout double-strength troop humanoid Bestiary 24
2 claw flower normal spoiler plant Bestiary 161
2 destroying sword normal wrecker humanoid Bestiary 204
2 dire bat normal troop beast Bestiary 14
2 enduring shield normal blocker humanoid Bestiary 204
2 ettercap hunter normal blocker humanoid Bestiary 73
2 feral warbanner double-strength caster construct Bestiary 207
2 giant web spider large blocker beast Core 207
2 goblin shaman normal caster humanoid Core 229
2 hellwasp normal spoiler beast Bestiary 113
2 hobgoblin warrior normal troop humanoid Core 230
2 hook scuttler normal blocker beast Bestiary 113
2 human rabble normal mook humanoid Bestiary 208
2 human zombie normal troop undead Core 251
2 hunting spider normal wrecker beast Core 206
2 kobold hero normal leader humanoid Core 237
2 kobold skyclaw normal mook humanoid Bestiary 124
2 lizardman savage normal wrecker humanoid Core 237
2 medium brass dragon normal troop dragon 13 True Ways 184
2 medium white dragon normal troop dragon Core 218
2 newly-risen ghoul normal mook undead Core 225
2 orc archer normal archer humanoid Bestiary 156
2 orc berserker normal troop humanoid Core 242
2 orc shaman normal leader humanoid Core 242
2 pit-spawn orc double-strength mook humanoid Bestiary 156
2 razor shark normal mook beast Bestiary 187
2 sahuagin raider normal troop humanoid Bestiary 187
2 skeleton warrior normal troop undead Core 246
2 skin devil normal troop devil 13 True Ways 168
2 splotchcap normal archer humanoid Bestiary 175
2 sporrior normal wrecker plant Bestiary 84
2 swarming maw normal wrecker beast Bestiary 113
2 trog normal spoiler humanoid Core 247
2 wererat normal troop beast 13 True Ways 205
2 zombie beast large troop undead 13 True Ways 207
3 barbellite normal troop beast Bestiary 179
3 blue sorcerer normal caster humanoid Bestiary 21
3 braincap double-strength wrecker plant Bestiary 84
3 bugbear normal troop humanoid Core 230
3 bugbear schemer normal leader humanoid Bestiary 25
3 catacomb dragon large wrecker dragon Bestiary 17
3 cave orc normal mook humanoid Bestiary 156
3 cenotaph dragon normal troop dragon Bestiary 219
3 Crusader warbanner double-strength caster construct Bestiary 208
3 dawn zorigami normal spoiler construct Bestiary 225
3 death-plague orc large spoiler humanoid Bestiary 158
3 dire wolf large troop beast Core 207
3 dretch normal mook demon Core 210
3 drow spider-mage normal caster humanoid Bestiary 58
3 ettercap supplicant normal caster humanoid Bestiary 73
3 ettercap warrior normal blocker humanoid Bestiary 74
3 fire bat normal mook beast 13 True Ways 162
3 fungaloid drudge normal troop plant Bestiary 84
3 ghoul normal spoiler humanoid Core 225
3 gnoll ranger normal archer humanoid Core 229
3 gnoll savage normal troop humanoid Core 228
3 goblin bat mage normal spoiler beast/humanoid Bestiary 14
3 hell hound normal wrecker beast Core 234
3 hungry star normal wrecker aberration Core 235
3 imp normal spoiler demon Core 210
3 intellect devourer normal spoiler aberration Bestiary 116
3 kobold dog rider normal troop humanoid Bestiary 124
3 kobold engineer normal leader humanoid Bestiary 124
3 large brass dragon large troop dragon 13 True Ways 184
3 lemure normal mook devil 13 True Ways 169
3 magma brute normal wrecker construct 13 True Ways 163
3 medium black dragon normal wrecker dragon Core 218
3 medium bronze dragon normal wrecker dragon 13 True Ways 184
3 ochre jelly large wrecker ooze Core 241
3 ogre large troop giant Core 240
3 ogre penitent large blocker giant Bestiary 149
3 orc battle screamer normal leader humanoid Bestiary 157
3 Orc Lord warbanner double-strength caster construct Bestiary 209
3 orc tusker normal troop humanoid Bestiary 157
3 otyugh large blocker aberration Core 243
3 pixie pod double-strength leader plant Bestiary 161
3 pixie warrior normal spoiler humanoid 13 True Ways 198
3 poddling normal mook plant Bestiary 161
3 redcap normal wrecker humanoid Bestiary 175
3 rust monster normal spoiler aberration Bestiary 184
3 slime skull normal spoiler undead Bestiary 109
3 small air elemental normal wrecker elemental 13 True Ways 189
3 small earth elemental normal troop elemental 13 True Ways 189
3 small fire elemental normal troop elemental 13 True Ways 189
3 small water elemental normal blocker elemental 13 True Ways 189
3 spinneret doxy normal spoiler humanoid Bestiary 120
3 trog chanter normal leader humanoid Core 247
3 weaver swarm normal mook beast Bestiary 61
3 werewolf normal troop beast 13 True Ways 205
4 awakened trees normal mook plant 13 True Ways 202
4 azer soldier normal troop dwarf 13 True Ways 162
4 barbarous bugbear normal wrecker humanoid Bestiary 25
4 basilisk large wrecker beast Bestiary 10
4 Blackamber skeletal legionnaire normal troop undead Core 246
4 cambion dirk normal mook demon Bestiary 31
4 centaur lancer normal troop humanoid Bestiary 35
4 chaos beast normal troop aberration Bestiary 39
4 chaos behemoth huge spoiler aberration Bestiary 40
4 chaos brute large wrecker aberration Bestiary 39
4 chaos glorp normal mook aberration Bestiary 39
4 chuulish slave normal troop aberration Bestiary 51
4 demonic ogre large spoiler giant Bestiary 149
4 derro maniac normal troop humanoid Core 216
4 derro sage normal caster humanoid Core 216
4 despoiler normal caster demon Core 210
4 dire bear large troop beast Core 207
4 drow soldier normal mook humanoid Bestiary 58
4 elder spore normal mook plant Bestiary 85
4 ettercap keeper normal leader humanoid Bestiary 74
4 flesh golem large blocker construct Core 231
4 fungaloid empress huge wrecker plant Bestiary 85
4 fungaloid monarch double-strength leader plant Bestiary 84
4 gelatinous tetrahedron huge blocker ooze Bestiary 88
4 ghoul fleshwripper normal wrecker undead Bestiary 97
4 ghoul licklash normal blocker undead Bestiary 97
4 ghoul pusbuster normal spoiler undead Bestiary 97
4 gnoll war leader normal leader humanoid Core 229
4 half-orc legionnaire normal troop humanoid Core 233
4 harpy normal spoiler humanoid Core 234
4 hell imp normal spoiler devil 13 True Ways 170
4 hobgoblin captain normal leader humanoid Core 230
4 honey devil (slime devil) normal troop devil 13 True Ways 171
4 huge brass dragon huge troop dragon 13 True Ways 185
4 jest bones normal spoiler undead Bestiary 109
4 kobold bravescale normal blocker humanoid Bestiary 125
4 kobold dungeon-shaman double-strength caster humanoid Bestiary 125
4 kobold shadow-warrior normal mook humanoid Bestiary 125
4 large white dragon large troop dragon Core 218
4 lethal lothario normal leader humanoid Bestiary 121
4 lich baroness normal spoiler undead Bestiary 135
4 Lich King warbanner double-strength caster construct Bestiary 210
4 medium copper dragon normal spoiler dragon 13 True Ways 185
4 medium green dragon normal spoiler dragon Core 219
4 minotaur large troop humanoid Core 239
4 ogre berserker large wrecker giant Bestiary 149
4 ogre crusader large troop giant Bestiary 150
4 owl bear large wrecker beast Core 243
4 ravenous cannibal normal mook humanoid Bestiary 212
4 screaming skull normal troop undead Bestiary 110
4 troll large troop giant Core 248
4 wereboar double-strength troop beast 13 True Ways 205
4 wight normal spoiler undead Core 249
4 woven normal mook humanoid Bestiary 121
4 zombie of the silver rose normal mook undead 13 True Ways 207
5 air elemental normal wrecker elemental 13 True Ways 190
5 binding bride normal spoiler humanoid Bestiary 121
5 bulette large wrecker beast Core 208
5 cambion sickle normal troop demon Bestiary 31
5 centaur raider normal wrecker humanoid Bestiary 35
5 common treant normal spoiler plant 13 True Ways 202
5 demon-touched human ranger normal archer humanoid Core 235
5 dire boar large troop beast 13 True Ways 160
5 drow sword maiden normal troop humanoid Bestiary 58
5 earth elemental normal blocker elemental 13 True Ways 190
5 ettin large troop giant Core 224
5 fire elemental normal wrecker elemental 13 True Ways 190
5 flaming skull normal caster undead Bestiary 110
5 frenzy demon normal wrecker demon Core 211
5 gargoyle normal troop construct Core 224
5 gelatinous cubahedron huge blocker ooze Bestiary 89
5 gelatinous cube huge blocker ooze Core 241
5 ghast normal wrecker undead Bestiary 98
5 gorge dragon large spoiler dragon Bestiary 17
5 green bulette large wrecker beast Bestiary 27
5 half-orc tribal champion normal wrecker humanoid Core 233
5 hobgoblin warmage normal caster humanoid Core 230
5 huge white dragon huge troop dragon Core 219
5 hydra, 5 heads huge wrecker beast Core 236
5 Iron Sea shark double-strength mook beast Bestiary 188
5 kobold dragon-soul normal troop humanoid Bestiary 125
5 lumberland dirt-fisher huge wrecker beast Bestiary 28
5 manticore bard large caster beast Bestiary 139
5 mantikumhar large spoiler beast Bestiary 139
5 mausoleum dragon large troop dragon Bestiary 219
5 medium blue dragon normal caster dragon Core 219
5 ogre champion large wrecker giant Bestiary 150
5 ravenous bumoorah normal wrecker beast Bestiary 28
5 rust monster obliterator normal spoiler demon Bestiary 184
5 sahuagin normal wrecker humanoid Core 245
5 sahuagin glow priest normal caster humanoid Bestiary 188
5 smoke devil normal troop devil 13 True Ways 172
5 swarm prince normal spoiler humanoid Bestiary 121
5 swaysong naga large leader beast Bestiary 143
5 thunder bat normal archer beast Bestiary 15
5 warped beast normal wrecker aberration Bestiary 70
5 water elemental normal blocker elemental 13 True Ways 190
5 wendigo spirit large wrecker undead Bestiary 212
5 werebear large troop beast 13 True Ways 206
5 whispering prophet normal leader aberration Bestiary 216
5 wraith normal spoiler undead Core 250
5 wyvern large wrecker beast Core 250
6 apex zorigami normal spoiler construct Bestiary 225
6 bat demon (squishy) normal mook demon 13 True Ways 164
6 bearded devil (barbazu) large blocker devil 13 True Ways 173
6 blizzard dragon large wrecker dragon Bestiary 220
6 blood rose double-strength wrecker undead 13 True Ways 195
6 cambion katar normal wrecker demon Bestiary 31
6 centaur champion double-strength leader humanoid Bestiary 36
6 centaur ranger normal archer humanoid Bestiary 35
6 chuul large spoiler aberration Bestiary 47
6 chuulish swarm normal troop aberration Bestiary 47
6 clay golem large spoiler construct Core 231
6 corpse dybbuk double-strength troop demon Bestiary 64
6 coursing manticore large spoiler beast Bestiary 140
6 crimsoncap normal spoiler humanoid Bestiary 175
6 death blossom double-strength caster undead 13 True Ways 194
6 dire tiger large troop beast 13 True Ways 160
6 drider large caster aberration Core 223
6 drow spider-sorceress normal caster humanoid Bestiary 59
6 frost-wurm large troop beast Bestiary 180
6 gelatinous octahedron huge blocker ooze Bestiary 89
6 hag normal spoiler humanoid Bestiary 105
6 hill giant large troop giant Core 225
6 ice zombie normal mook undead Bestiary 79
6 intellect assassin normal spoiler aberration Bestiary 118
6 jotun auroch huge mook beast Bestiary 78
6 large black dragon large wrecker dragon Core 220
6 large bronze dragon large wrecker dragon 13 True Ways 185
6 lich flower double-strength blocker undead 13 True Ways 194
6 lokkris normal mook beast Bestiary 61
6 manticore large archer beast Core 238
6 medium red dragon normal wrecker dragon Core 220
6 medium silver dragon normal spoiler dragon 13 True Ways 185
6 Medusa outlaw double-strength wrecker humanoid Core 238
6 ogre mage knight large wrecker giant Bestiary 152
6 parasitic dybbuk double-strength spoiler demon Bestiary 64
6 poison dandelion double-strength spoiler undead 13 True Ways 195
6 sahuagin mutant double-strength wrecker humanoid Bestiary 189
6 sparkscale naga large leader beast Bestiary 144
6 specter double-strength wrecker undead 13 True Ways 201
6 spider mount large troop beast Bestiary 60
6 vampire spawn normal spoiler undead Core 249
6 vrock normal spoiler demon Core 211
6 weretiger large troop beast 13 True Ways 206
6 winter beast large troop beast Bestiary 79
7 bergship raider large spoiler giant Bestiary 77
7 big air elemental normal wrecker elemental 13 True Ways 191
7 big earth elemental normal blocker elemental 13 True Ways 191
7 big fire elemental normal wrecker elemental 13 True Ways 191
7 big water elemental normal blocker elemental 13 True Ways 191
7 bronze golem large blocker construct Bestiary 100
7 cloud giant mage huge caster giant 13 True Ways 165
7 cloud giant thane huge wrecker giant 13 True Ways 165
7 crustycap normal wrecker humanoid Bestiary 176
7 devil of the fangs huge spoiler devil 13 True Ways 180
7 drow darkbolt normal archer humanoid Bestiary 59
7 ethereal dybbuk double-strength wrecker demon Bestiary 65
7 fallen lammasu large wrecker beast Bestiary 131
7 frost giant large spoiler giant Core 226
7 gelatinous dodecahedron huge blocker ooze Bestiary 90
7 gnoll fiendfletch normal archer humanoid 13 True Ways 196
7 gnoll shredder normal blocker humanoid 13 True Ways 196
7 hezrou large troop demon Core 212
7 hooded devil normal troop devil 13 True Ways 174
7 hydra, 7 heads huge wrecker beast Core 236
7 ice sorceress large caster giant Bestiary 77
7 lammasu warrior large troop beast Bestiary 131
7 large green dragon large spoiler dragon Core 220
7 manafang naga large leader beast Bestiary 144
7 medium gold dragon normal caster dragon 13 True Ways 186
7 moon dragon huge troop dragon Bestiary 220
7 ogre mage large caster giant Core 240
7 orc rager normal mook humanoid Core 242
7 phase spider large wrecker beast Core 244
7 umluppuk huge spoiler aberration Bestiary 69
7 void dragon huge caster dragon Bestiary 18
7 volcano dragon large wrecker dragon Bestiary 168
8 adult remorhaz large wrecker beast Bestiary 180
8 black skull normal caster undead Bestiary 110
8 cambion hellblade normal wrecker demon Bestiary 32
8 Carid, reseeded triple-strength troop plant 13 True Ways 254
8 couatl large spoiler beast Bestiary 52
8 elder swaysong naga normal leader beast Bestiary 144
8 fire giant large wrecker giant Core 227
8 frost giant adventurer large spoiler giant Bestiary 78
8 fury devil (erinyes) normal wrecker devil 13 True Ways 175
8 giant praying mantis large blocker beast 13 True Ways 161
8 glabrezou large caster demon Core 212
8 iconic chimera large wrecker beast Bestiary 42
8 lammasu wizard large spoiler beast Bestiary 132
8 large blue dragon large caster dragon Core 221
8 lich count double-strength spoiler undead Bestiary 135
8 marble golem large troop construct Bestiary 101
8 mummy double-strength wrecker undead 13 True Ways 197
8 ogre lightning mage large caster giant Bestiary 152
8 parasitic lightning beetle normal mook beast Bestiary 164
8 purple larvae normal mook beast Bestiary 165
8 purple worm huge wrecker beast Bestiary 164
8 rakshasa double-strength caster humanoid Core 245
8 shadow dragon large caster dragon Bestiary 193
8 shadow thief normal mook dragon Bestiary 193
8 stone giant large troop giant Core 226
8 stone golem large blocker ooze Core 232
9 black pudding huge wrecker ooze Core 241
9 bone devil (osyluth) large troop devil 13 True Ways 176
9 chimera large wrecker beast Core 209
9 deep bulette huge wrecker beast Bestiary 28
9 despoiler mage normal caster demon Core 213
9 djinn large spoiler giant Bestiary 93
9 dread specter triple-strength wrecker undead 13 True Ways 201
9 drow cavalry double-strength wrecker humanoid Bestiary 59
9 elder sparkscale naga normal leader beast Bestiary 145
9 elder wendigo huge spoiler demon Bestiary 212
9 empyrean dragon huge spoiler dragon Bestiary 18
9 epic air elemental normal wrecker elemental 13 True Ways 192
9 epic earth elemental normal blocker elemental 13 True Ways 192
9 epic fire elemental normal wrecker elemental 13 True Ways 193
9 epic water elemental normal blocker elemental 13 True Ways 193
9 fire giant warlord large leader giant Core 227
9 giant vrock large spoiler demon Core 214
9 headless zombie normal troop undead 13 True Ways 207
9 hoard spirit normal mook construct Bestiary 169
9 hoardsong dragon large spoiler dragon Bestiary 169
9 hooked demon normal mook demon Core 213
9 huge black dragon huge wrecker dragon Core 221
9 huge bronze dragon huge wrecker dragon 13 True Ways 186
9 lammasu priest large caster beast Bestiary 132
9 large copper dragon large spoiler dragon 13 True Ways 186
9 ogre minion large mook giant Bestiary 150
9 prismatic ogre mage large caster giant Bestiary 153
9 skull of the beast large wrecker undead Bestiary 110
9 soul flenser normal spoiler aberration 13 True Ways 199
9 the flensed normal mook aberration 13 True Ways 200
9 wraith bat normal mook undead Bestiary 15
10 barbed devil (hamatula) normal caster devil 13 True Ways 176
10 dusk zorigami normal wrecker construct Bestiary 225
10 efreet large wrecker giant Bestiary 93
10 elder manafang naga normal leader beast Bestiary 145
10 great fang cadre (orc) normal mook humanoid Core 242
10 iron golem large wrecker construct Core 232
10 large red dragon large wrecker dragon Core 222
10 large silver dragon large spoiler dragon 13 True Ways 187
10 massive mutant chuul huge wrecker aberration Bestiary 48
10 nalfeshnee large caster demon Core 214
10 river devil normal wrecker devil 13 True Ways 180
10 spawn of the master (vampire) normal mook undead Core 249
10 storm giant huge archer giant Core 228
10 treant titan large spoiler plant 13 True Ways 203
10 vampire normal spoiler undead Core 248
11 elder couatl large spoiler beast Bestiary 53
11 greathoard elder huge wrecker dragon Bestiary 170
11 huge copper dragon huge spoiler dragon 13 True Ways 187
11 huge green dragon huge spoiler dragon Core 222
11 ice devil (gelugon) normal leader devil 13 True Ways 177
11 large gold dragon large caster dragon 13 True Ways 187
11 medusa noble double-strength caster humanoid Core 239
11 remorhaz queen large wrecker beast Bestiary 180
12 ancient purple worm huge wrecker beast Bestiary 164
12 flamewreathed dragon huge spoiler dragon Bestiary 170
12 horned devil (conugon) large troop devil 13 True Ways 177
12 huge blue dragon huge caster dragon Core 222
12 lich prince double-strength spoiler undead Bestiary 136
12 marilith large troop demon Core 215
12 smoke minions normal mook construct Bestiary 171
13 balor large wrecker demon Core 215
13 Hagunemnon large wrecker aberration Bestiary 69
13 huge red dragon huge wrecker dragon Core 223
13 huge silver dragon huge spoiler dragon 13 True Ways 188
13 river devil minion normal mook devil 13 True Ways 181
13 the final devil huge leader devil 13 True Ways 181
14 huge gold dragon huge caster dragon 13 True Ways 188
14 pit fiend huge wrecker devil 13 True Ways 178
15 tarrasque huge wrecker beast Bestiary 201

350_mountainEvery now and again, I allude jokingly to my “patented one hour per paragraph production model.” This joke has the advantage of making Simon squirm and laugh hollowly, and the disadvantage of sometimes being true. Those little ability clues that I so thoughtlessly made standard in Hideous Creatures? Some of them, especially for the harder sciences, take — well, not an hour necessarily, but they take a good deal longer than just writing “Aunt Sandra thought she saw a bear but it smelled like a frog” or whatever. Visceral goo, easy; virtual science, hard.

Well, anyhow, I recently set what I hope to goodness is my all-time record for research-to-paragraph production, when I wrote up the “Calimani” paragraph in the “Castle Dracula” section of The Dracula Dossier. We can’t make it too easy to just “skip to the boss fight at the end,” after all, so I put in nine or so possible sites for Castle Dracula, of which the Calimani Mountains (a.k.a. the Kelemen Alps) in the eastern Carpathians are one. Why those Mountains (or Alps) in particular? Because they’ve been fingered by the wonderfully obsessive Dutch Dracula scholar Hans Corneel de Roos in his essay “The Dracula Maps” which is available only as an introductory section in his has-to-be-seen-to-be-believed photographically illustrated (and surprisingly minimally annotated) oversized book The Ultimate Dracula. (The cover, for those who disdain following clicky links, shows Dracula riding his coffin (complete with headlamps) through the skies over Transylvania.) So I (of course) bought it and when it showed up, pored over the FIFTY PAGE essay and carefully studied the SEVENTEEN main maps (the crucial ones being blown-up images of Austro-Hungarian military charts oh Thoth-Dionysos I love this book so much) and looked at the spot Corneel de Roos found in GoogleEarth then spent a bit of extra time tracing the “Mozile Draculi” label from one of those Austro-Hungarian military charts on a nearby hill, which turns out to actually read “Morile Draculi” meaning “Devil’s Mill” … or, of course, “Dracula’s Mill.” There’s also a nearby mountain called Dragusul, which doesn’t come from the same root at all but seems suggestive nonetheless.

If you’re curious, the key insight in de Roos’ essay is that Stoker gives a (mistakenly swapped) latitude and longitude for the nearest border crossing in his Notes, and mentions a nearby location called “Izvorul” which might well be the mountain Izvorul Calimanii or “Heart of the Kelemen” which might well have been the random desolate peak Stoker picked to use as Dracula’s mountain home. And yes I have Stoker’s Notes too.

And then I boiled the whole megillah down to the “Calimani” description but in my defense I think that turned into a little more like two or even three paragraphs.

But wait! There’s more! On an entirely unrelated search — well, not entirely unrelated, as it’s still about Dracula — I found another essay by the indefatigable Corneel de Roos. This one deals with the 1901 Icelandic translation of Dracula (titled Makt Myrkranna, meaning “Powers of Darkness”), which sent Dracula scholarship into a tizzy in 1986 when Stoker’s preface to it was rediscovered, said tizzy emanating from Stoker’s clear reference in that preface to Jack the Ripper. What’s the connection? asked any number of Dracula critics and at least two novels (one with a great title) and one very silly book of ostensible nonfiction which of course I own why would you even ask such a question it’s like you don’t even know me.

So anyhow that Icelandic translation, by one Valdimar Ásmundsson (who died in 1902, the year after it came out, no that’s not suspicious at all) was recently republished in 2011 — and only our redoubtable Dutchman has bothered to translate it or Googlefish it at least to find out if Jack the Ripper shows up in the book. So in his 2014 essay “Makt Myrkranna: Mother of All Dracula Modifications?” C. de Roos reveals that Ásmundsson — possibly with Stoker’s assistance and nigh-certainly with his permission — radically changed the plot! Dracula is now head of an evil conspiracy of rich bastards, financial-conspirator-Satanists who carried out the Thames Torso Murders among other outrages (and likely committed the Ripper killings after Dracula left the scene in a cloud of dust).

Reading this essay gave me: some possible names for the Brides of Dracula, lots more creepy Europeans, a new detective (Barrington, to go with Stoker’s un-used Cotford) and best of all, a lovely extra thread to spin out as a potential conspiracy. I barely prevented myself from adding Iceland as a new location.

All that, I confidently suspect, will nurture many new paragraphs indeed. So as long as I can keep Hans Corneel de Roos from publishing any more ground-breaking essays, we should be able to wrap this thing up (only a bit bloated with extra Satanism and keen Romanian mountains) by Halloween.

HC Serpent Folk cover_350“The features mingled and merged in a seemingly impossible manner. Then, like a fading mask of fog, the face suddenly vanished and in its stead gaped and leered a monstrous serpent’s head!” They built Valusia before the dinosaurs, and lurk behind half mankind’s darkest cults. Are they extra-dimensional, extra-terrestrial, or just extra venomous? You won’t fool the Children of Yig, in any skin they wear.

Hideous Creatures: Serpent Folk is the fourth installment of the second Ken Writes About Stuff subscription (if you are a previous subscriber, you will need to buy a new subscription to see this), or it is now available to buy in the webstore.

DramaSystem series pitches do not typically describe particular Game Moderator characters. They are better invented during play than set out for you in advance. This allows you to tailor the GMCs to the player characters, ensuring that act as foils rather than drivers of the action.

However in Hillfolk one-shots, I do find myself returning to a particular GMC again and again. He occurs when the players do not include a chieftain character. When the group does include a chieftain a one-shot, as I’ve noted before, usually becomes a struggle to depose the chieftain. When that’s not the case I often find a use for an ineffectual, doddering old chieftain. His job, like any DramaSystem GMC, is to raise the dramatic stakes and incite PC action. Typically a naïve believer in outmoded values over hard realities, Graybeard mostly urges characters to foolish courses of behavior. Though his plans are bad, he does zero in on the burning desires of the characters he seeks out. He typifies that most dangerous figure: a persuasive idiot. In narrative terms, he embodies the need of a storyline for its characters to get into trouble. This brews useful conflict between the characters he’s urging on and the others who oppose their goals.

That’s all you need to establish about Graybeard before you know exactly what you’ll need him for. That way he’s free to be the doting father of a power mad daughter in one run of the game with one group, and the decrepit upholder of cruel patriarchal values with another. If Graybeard has shown a common agenda throughout his various incarnations, it’s in selecting the absolute least qualified player character as his anointed successor. To make the imminent import of this clear, Graybeard speaks with great difficulty, fighting a wracking cough.

In a one-shot, Graybeard also gives the GM a fun cliffhanger ending as an option to keep in pocket if needed. More than one of my runs has ended with the sudden death of Graybeard, leaving a power vacuum for the second episode with that address. Now, of course in a one-shot there’s not really going to be a second episode. But players can imagine it nonetheless. Open endings tend to go down better than the fast and brutal escalation that characterizes an episode meant to have a conclusive ending. My watchword for giving a new DramaSystem group a good time has become “leave them imagining more.”

Over many runs, Graybeard has been a great help in that regard. Surprisingly, despite all the coughing and the full weight of foreshadowing it ought to bring, groups usually react with surprise to his final keeling over. It’s funny how a trope you’d spot a million miles away in a movie or TV show still has the power to surprise at the gaming table.

Hillfolk is a game of high-stakes interpersonal conflict by acclaimed designer Robin D. Laws. Using its DramaSystem rules, you and your friends can weave enthralling sagas of Iron Age tribes, Regency socialites, border town drug kingpins, a troubled crime family, posthuman cyberpunks and more. Purchase Hillfolk and its companion Blood in the Snow in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

Congratulations to the many and varied publishers who have been nominated for this year’s ENnie award. The judges have selected the products they like the best, and now it’s down to the popular vote.ennie

Pelgrane Press has achieved fifteen nominations in eleven categories for nine products in this year’s ENnie awards, in a field festooned with stellar games and publishers.  Hillfolk, Eternal Lies and 13th Age get three nominations a piece, James Semple and his team of composers and musicians were regonised for the Complete Eternal Lies Suite and Dust and Mirrors in the Best RPG Related Product. I’m pleased that Clinton and Kevin  got some recognition for Best Writing for Owl Hoot Trail and Cat Tobin for Page XX.  Blood on the Snow perhaps has more contributors than any RPG product to date and is nominated for Best Supplement. The Noteboard is in with a chance for Best Aid and Accessory.

In addition to the Pelgrane nominations, Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff received a nomination for Best Podcast, and the Midgard Bestiary: 13th Age Edition from Kobold Press also received a well-deserved nod.

Here are the Pelgrane nominations, by product, then by category, followed by all nominees:

Listed by category:

Best Adventure

Best Podcast

Best Aid/Accessory

Best Production Values

Best RPG Related Product

Best Rules

Best Supplement

Best Writing

Best Game

Best Website

Product of the Year

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