The following article for the Dying Earth RPG and Fear Itself originally appeared on DyingEarth.com in November 2004.
Push aside the detritus to see the shiny gew-gaws horded by the Pelgrane
Our last release was XPS 6 (ed: now bundled as The Excellent Prismatic Spray) – a good few months’ ago now. But we aren’t slacking, I promise you – certain persons have been eaten, others dropped from a great height. The manuscripts are stacked up, and at last an artist is licking his nib, and our schedule is a thing of beauty, if not truth. We’ve employed the artistic services of Dave Allsop, best known in the RPG community for SLA Industries; although he has also created Magic card images and D&D® creatures for Wizards of the Coast. We are lucky to have him, trapped in the nest, to be released when his work is done, or eaten as a light snack if it is unfinished. Dave is also the artist and co-creator of a non-Dying Earth project we’ve been working on – The Book of Unremitting Horror – more on that later.
We’ve commissioned Robin D Laws to create the Arch-Magicians book – a whole new style of Dying Earth play. The vigilant questing of
the magician gives way to power; but with ultimate power comes ennui, and only the other Arch-Magicians provide a suitable challenge. Squabbling, intrigue and pettifoggery might cause even the affable Preceptor of the Conclave to tear out his hair. Robin is devising a clever new mechanic, dare I say a metagame mechanic. I can’t say much yet, but what I can reveal is that in this version of the Dying Earth RPG you can win, and it won’t be by conjuring up a dark army of underlings and conquering the world. Robin is in little danger of being eaten, partly due to his past services, but mainly because of his personal chaffe and offensive shirts.
Jim Webster and Peter Freeman have created the Dying Earth Gazetteer (ed: now The Scaum Valley Gazetteer), a splendid overview of the entire known world, and elsewhere. Its accuracy is absolutely and unreservedly guaranteed – at least that is what they assured me as I dangled them, one in each claw, over the edge of the nest. Dave Allsop is currently illustrating the more significant entries. I find a friendly grin and a few kind words hurry him on.
The Book of Unremitting Horror is a bleak book of horrific monsters for use in an OGL setting. Each horror is detailed in depth, so much so that it each is more a complete adventure in itself. Each one has its own agenda, its own reason for existence and its own legend. The book includes GM and player information. A PDF sample will follow next month, but for the moment, here is a little teaser for one of the creatures.
Dave Allsop is the artist and creator, and the creatures have been detailed by Adrian Bott, who has written The Book of Hell for Mongoose Publishing amongst other RPG titles.
Tooth, Talon and Pinion, The Dying Earth Bestiary is now ready for the first round of editing. Compiled with extra material by Ian Thomson (Demons of the Dying Earth) it will cover all the beasts and humanoids. It includes authoritative discussions of each creature, with a little polite scholarly disagreement over the nature of each beast, allowing you to choose which version to use. Many of the creatures are tied together in a grand adventure, although each segment can be run separately. If only Ian can curb his natural exuberance, and present me with more shiny things, I will in turn curb my natural appetite.
The Shining Fields (ed: now The Fields of Silver,) written by Lynne Hardy, is a Turjan-level campaign in the style of the old Call of Cthulu™ campaign books is languishing awaiting art. It is with regret that I can find no excuse to consume Lynne, as she is without fault in this matter. That small nicety has not concerned me before, however.
XPS 7 (ed: now bundled as The Excellent Prismatic Spray)is underway, but you will have to ask Jim Webster, the editor, if you want to know more. I dare not.
The Dying Earth — and its rules-lighter version the Revivification Folio — take you into the world of master fantasist Jack Vance, where a flashing sword is less important than nimble wits, persuasive words,and a fine sense of fashion. Survive by your cunning, search for lost lore, or command the omnipotent but quarrelsome sandestins. Purchase The Dying Earth or the Revivification Folio in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.