Hearty Dice Friends Episode 42 – A Lot of Jokes About Blanka

Hey look! It’s that big green guy we all know and love: Blanka! He lives in the jungle and he does electric for fun and profit. His dad is a tree and his mum is twenty eels.

Also in this episode:

– What’s it going to take for RPGs to become mainstream?
– What interesting weapons do we not often see in games?
– What system would you use to resolve a dance contest?
– Another solid five minutes on crisps, but this time we tie them to dragons?

Much love,

– Grant and Chris

If you like this, then you can subscribe to us wherever you get podcasts from or support Hearty Dice Friends through our Patreon. Or: tell a friend about us!

So: you broke up with a witch. How bad is this going to be?

1 – It’s fine, because they kept some of your hair, and made a copy of you that doesn’t complain or leave the cupboard doors in the kitchen open. So it’s fine. It’s all fine. It doesn’t want to hunt you down and eat you or anything; and even if it did, that wouldn’t make it more powerful, or more “complete.” So go to sleep.

2 – You figured it was amicable, but when you went for a piss this morning, there was blood in it. And, eventually, painfully: thorns. So: that’s a problem, and they’re not answering their phone when you ring them to try and figure out what’s happening.

3 – They turn up at your house the next day with no knowledge of what happened; turns out you broke up with one of the meat-puppet doubles they employ to get shit done, and they’ve got no knowledge of it. They (or… the meat-puppet, you suppose) seemed really upset, and stormed out of the cafe after the break-up, and they can’t contact it any more. They need your help getting it back.

4 – They trap you hexwise in the day of the break-up, forcing you to re-live it over and over again until you get it right. Unfortunately, you haven’t a goddamn clue what “right” is, because not breaking up doesn’t seem to fix it. You’re on loop thirteen now and you’re starting to come unhinged.

5 – They transform into a cat, sneak into your house, and kill your pets. At least: you think it was them.

6 – Everyone in town starts looking at you funny. Pretty soon, your friends stop responding to your messages; even your mum makes an excuse and hangs up on you. The next week, your face is in the papers: everyone seems to recognise you as someone who masturbates in public parks. And: you don’t, just to be clear. It just seems that everyone else believes you do.

7 – You didn’t break up with them; they broke up with you, and to soften the blow, they cast a spell over you to make you believe you triggered the split. It’s just kinder this way. Which makes you wonder: what other memories from your time together are false?

8 – It’s amicable; you both realise you need different things, that you’re different people, and you kiss one last time before saying goodbye and walking away. Except: you were never going out with them in the first place. The whole relationship was just a spell, a potion you drank several months ago – a hallucinatory whirlwind romance with the partner of your dreams, who also happens to be the witch who brewed the concoction – and now it’s worn off, you wake up with a crushing hangover and a heartbreak to match as reality sets in. Can you survive without another dose?

9 – They sigh, and nod, and transform you back into your original form: their raven familiar. Except unlike the previous transformations (you assume) you’ve retained your human intelligence and memories, and now things are kind of weird when they ask you to help out with spells or bring other lovers back to their lair.

10 – They’re furious, and summon a great curse upon you; the sky darkens, the winds howl, lightning and hail smash into the ground and rivers break their banks and overflow. People are in serious danger should this continue; do you really want to go through with it?

Header image by Allan Wan on Flickr

Glimmers is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create an urban horror world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[GLIMMERS.] The city is alive. The city is connected, with streams of light and noise and people, to every other city; they are all the same being, all branches of the same concrete-and-glass tree. There are streets between them, forgotten streets, with secret names and grim inhabitants. (And: there are wild-lands, dark places, the Spaces Between, where nothing seems right. Airport waiting rooms. Churches, at night. Backwater villages.)

There is vast power in the thrum of machines and the buzz of traffic, and it can be yours, for a price.

WHAT DOES THIS UNICORN WANT?

1 – Elf flesh. Its horn functions as an always-on Hand of Glory, which immobilises any elf who looks at it because it’s so beautiful. Then the unicorn eats them. But it hasn’t evolved canine teeth yet, so it takes a while, and they’re alive for most of it.

2 – It’s an emissary from the forest people, and they are demanding that the two most beautiful people come back with it to the deep woods to be their king and queen. Some people are jumping at the chance to grab at what they see as easy power, but the elders of the village understand all too well the terrible price that such a position holds.

3 – To retire and live fat and lazy with the indulgent wizard recluse who lives at the top of the village. But it needs to get an audience with her, first.

4 – To hunt people: despoilers of the forest who have burned the trees and poisoned the earth, that are hiding out in the village. It has sworn an oath to destroy them, no matter the cost. Are they performing dark rites out there, or are they just trying to make a living off the land?

5 – Sanctuary from the band of horn-hunters that have been tracking it back from the forest; it’s injured, limping and bleeding. Later on, you learn that – while the horn hunters are black-hearted bastards – they’re doing it to make a curative potion that will save the life of someone important to the players if delivered in time.

6 – Protection for its young. The unicorn has a foal – a tremendously rare creature – and all sorts of organisations are coming to abduct or simply kill and harvest the horn off it, so it approaches the village begging for help. (Also: the foal is as smart as a seven-year-old, but much faster, and is eager to go off on adventures – even if you tell it not to.)

7 – Tithes. It stomps up on market day and demands tribute of gems, silk and labour to bedeck its forest kingdom in finery, and threatens reprisals from the wood-folk if its demands are not met. To prove its point, it summons a mighty oak that bursts through the ground and demolishes the central clock-tower.

8 – Cure light wounds potions. It got hooked on them – don’t ask how, it was running with an adventuring crew a few years back and things got out of hand. Its body is a weird mix of swollen flesh from gout-like side-effects and bulging muscles from the excess Positive Energy, and it has precisely zero patience left. Using trickery, ambush, robbery or begging, it’ll track down a fix.

9 – To escape the dominion of the Dryad Queen who rules the forest; it wants to leave and meet more unicorns (or maybe some young men and women, for strictly platonic arrangements) but the Queen demands that it stays to bolster the forest’s ecosystem. Can you talk to the Queen on its behalf? Or… deal with her in some other way?

10 – To cover up the fact that it got a talking horse pregnant when it was on holiday in a nearby village, and now she’s asking for child support, except she’s a horse so doesn’t really understand the concept? Anyway, deal with the mother and the kid, put them up somewhere nice and make sure that the elves who pay the unicorn’s wages don’t find out about it.

Remnants is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create a fantasy world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[REMNANTS] Once upon a time, when the dragon-kings ruled the aetherealms and the Witch-Queens fought grand duels over generations with arcana of unimaginable power, the worlds split apart. There was too much magic, and reality couldn’t bear the weight any longer. The otherworlds splintered apart like ships crashing against a shoreline; but the pieces remained, shards of reality, and they pierced the material realm. A thousand dimensions, all attached to various degrees, to the prime material: some forgotten, some overrun with new inhabitants, some spawning monstrous creatures into the world, and some ripe for plundering.

Photo by Jenny Brown on Flickr

Who are they, and why are they coming after you?

Header image by Transformer18 on FLickr

1 – They claim to be angels; they’re all platinum blonde, regardless of skin tone, and they move in a way that suggests they’re actually six-winged flaming chariot-people stuffed into unconvincing human suits. They’re trying to pre-rapture you. They say you’ve been really good, and He wants to speak to you right away.

2 – They say that they’re your parents, which is weird because both of your parents died when you were a kid. They need… organs. A kidney, to be precise. Your mum in particular seems really upset about the situation, but not enough to not strap you down to the kitchen table and whip out your innards.

3 – They wear grey suits and all have the same haircut and say they’re from the government – when they speak at all, which is rare. They want to take the chip out of your head (they put it there) so they can download the information you uploaded to it and “back you up” in case you die like the previous versions of you did. In a way, they’re your guardian angels; in another way, there’s thirteen X’s tattooed on your left wrist, but you can only see it out of the corner of your eye.

4 – They’re demons. Normal folk can’t tell, but you can see that they’re sporting angular metal horns and leaving smouldering footprints in front of themselves when they walk, which is disconcerting. Anyway, they’ve got an award for you – you’ve brought so much pain and sadness into the world that the devil wanted to personally thank you for making his job easier. You’re no saint, but you didn’t think you’d been this bad; what’s going on?

5 – They’re a fey hunting party, loaded up on dodgy whizz they found in the bathrooms near the fountain of youth, and they’ve stolen taxis, bikes, trucks and One Actual Horse to chase you down. They want you because you’re beautiful, and you’re inventive, and you look good when you run away. So: try and be boring, and ugly, in your escape.

6 – The Machines have determined that you are the most average, basic, generic human available, and they have decided to study your fascinatingly dull life in minute detail.

7 – Everyone is after you; you’re a prophesied actor in several conspiracies, but no-one’s quite sure what you’re going to do or when you’re going to do it. So: people are watching your every move, and going through your bins, and strangling each other in back alleys for looking at you the wrong way.

8 – They’re all terribly sick, or they’re working for terribly sick people. They say that you have sacred blood, and it can heal them (or they have a more scientifically-sound explanation) – and, weirdly enough, they’re right. Your blood heals the sick and brings the dead to life, but only when it’s outside of your body, which is a problem.

9 – They’re the agents of a witch. She’s seen what you can do (or sees potential in you), and sends her minions after you with messages and trials. A magpie drops a note in your soup saying that three of the people in this cafe are hellbeasts, and you have to kill at least one of them before it gets cold. A blind woman stumbles into you in the street and tells you to leave your window open tonight unless you want it broken. Underpass graffiti shifts and warps into a Bayeux Tapestry-style depiction of your life, including parts of it you haven’t lived yet.

10 – They’re freelance ghost hunters, and they say you’re a ghost, and they need to put you to rest. As far as you’re aware, you’re living a pretty normal life, so you’d rather not be “put to rest.” (Except: are you a ghost? How would you know? And what do they stand to earn by telling you, if you aren’t?)

Glimmers is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create an urban horror world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[GLIMMERS.] The city is alive. The city is connected, with streams of light and noise and people, to every other city; they are all the same being, all branches of the same concrete-and-glass tree. There are streets between them, forgotten streets, with secret names and grim inhabitants. (And: there are wild-lands, dark places, the Spaces Between, where nothing seems right. Airport waiting rooms. Churches, at night. Backwater villages.)

There is vast power in the thrum of machines and the buzz of traffic, and it can be yours, for a price.

What’s weird about this flying castle?

1 – It’s powered by divine energy, rather than arcane, so the central structure is a huge chapel with a hundred-strong choir belting out devotional hymns around the clock. If they stop singing, the god who makes the thing fly will look away from it, and it’ll crash to the ground – or that’s what they believe, anyway. The place hasn’t been silent in over a hundred years.

2 – Goblins stole it, and they’re using it as a sort of skyborne pirate ship to raid cliffside towns all down the coast. They can’t steer it very well and keep bashing into things, so the external structure has sustained massive damage – it’s basically flying ruins at this point, tied together with stolen rope and steered with a massive, threadbare sail.

3 – It’s piloted by an order of do-gooding Paladins on a righteous quest – to rid the world of evil. “Ridding the world of evil” seems to consist of wearing flashy armour, investing their reclaimed treasure hoards in shady businesses, and getting in good and cosy with the rulers of the land by air-dropping in and solving all their problems at the point of a shimmering blade.

4 – The mountain underneath it crumbled away hundreds of years ago in a devastating rockslide, but the skeleton wizard who lives there has such almighty powers of solipsism that the castle never fell along with it. But: whenever he starts to doubt himself, the castle drops a few hundred feet – and the who built their village below it (in what seemed like a good idea at the time) are starting to get worried.

5 – It’s a loose door to the Elemental Plane of Dungeons, an MC Escher-like cryptogeometric maze fought over by five unstable alliances of monstrous humanoids. “Doors” like this one cruise all over the globe, following inscrutable patterns (Leylines? Solar energy? Dragons?) and, after a few years, crash hard into something. Eventually, the links to the elemental plane die off, and it’s just a normal subterranean megacomplex. Wizard-scientists believe that over twenty per cent of the world’s dungeons are naturally-occurring.

6 – It used to be a private zoo for the son of an obscenely wealthy noble, who would visit it on occasion and enjoy the oddities of the world laid before him. But: something went wrong. (Something always does.) Now the entire thing is overrun with dangerous creatures – some of them magical – and now he’s asking you to rescue some important documents of lineage he was keeping there for safe purposes. If you could do it before his father’s funeral next week, that’d be super.

7 – The entire thing is jam-packed with cats and almost nothing else alive; they line the streets, lick themselves on balconies, piss up abandoned library shelves, and survive on rats and the occasional pigeon. Legends tell of a cursed clan who lived there, and were turned to cats for their insatiable curiosity by some vengeful god, but you know what legends are like. Maybe the owner just really likes cats.

8 – It skips like a stone across the waters of the sea after being flung in the dim and distant past by a giant folk hero. (Giant folk stories pretty much all end with the antagonist being thrown into the sea, or at the very least a big hole. It’s tradition.) The guy was so strong that the castle is still moving in huge, predictable arcs to this day. Fishermen know to avoid certain spots in the ocean at certain times of the year.

9 – It’s held up by thousands of birds. They shit everywhere. It’s gross.

10 – Once upon a time, a wizard enchanted her castle to fly around the place. Then: she landed in town to get some turnips and opium, and some bastards stole it; but it was a modest castle (more of a shed, really), and there wasn’t enough room to accommodate everyone in the gang, so they built on top of it.

That was… twenty years ago? The original structure has long since been obscured by successive builds and rebuilds; the magical energies of the castle make even shoddy constructions unnaturally resilient. It now resembles a sort of curled-up hedgehog the size of a small village with wooden towers and gantries coming out of it in every direction; it is impossible to land the thing, and so the flying shanty town hovers around the plains of the world, its inhabitants trying to scrape out an existence as best they can.


Remnants is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create a fantasy world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[REMNANTS] Once upon a time, when the dragon-kings ruled the aetherealms and the Witch-Queens fought grand duels over generations with arcana of unimaginable power, the worlds split apart. There was too much magic, and reality couldn’t bear the weight any longer. The otherworlds splintered apart like ships crashing against a shoreline; but the pieces remained, shards of reality, and they pierced the material realm. A thousand dimensions, all attached to various degrees, to the prime material: some forgotten, some overrun with new inhabitants, some spawning monstrous creatures into the world, and some ripe for plundering.

Photo by Sean MacEntee on Flickr

How did you get The Sight?

Header image by Teeejayy on Flickr

1 – Dad wasn’t around a lot when you were growing up, because dad was a kitchen god that mum summoned with some back-pocket voodoo and bodged-together mystic resonances she bought off some guy out of the back of his car. Sometimes, when you go back to visit her, she’ll compel dad to possess the body of a family friend, and the three of you have dinner together.

2 – There’s some elf in you. And not in a “grandma was tall and pretty and spent a lot of time in the woods” sort of way – you’re infected with elfdom. It’s a disease; you caught it off a particularly dazzling young man you got off with at a party a few years ago. You don’t know how many people you’ve infected since.

3 – You’re not entirely sure, but every time you see something strange, a black cat turns up about five seconds before everything kicks off. On one hand, it’s a great early warning system (and has saved your life on more than one occasion); on the other, you freak out pre-emptively every time you see a black cat.

4 – You only get it when you’re drunk; the mind control doesn’t work on you when your brain’s moving slower, so you can outwit them, except you have to be drunk, so. But this one time you did some cocaine at a party and saw an entirely different class of weirdness, so maybe different substances adjust your brain to the wavelengths of different supernaturals? The implications fascinate and terrify you.

5 – You know how you’re supposed to wait until the ghost says “GOOD-BYE” at the end of a oujia board session? Yeah, well, your stepdad came home early and you had to hide it before you finished, and now you’ve got a ghost stuck in your head. It can still only communicate using text, though, so you navigate the supernatural underworld by letting yourself get a bit possessed and tapping out instructions to yourself on your smartphone’s notes app.

6 – Clove cigarettes. There’s a reason goths smoke ‘em so much – they make hidden supernatural phenomena visible, a bit like the way regular cigarettes reveal laser traps. (Strong clove cigarettes do, anyway, which is why you hear so many folk talks of gruesome monsters coming out of Indonesia: they’re the world’s largest producer.) Unfortunately, it means you can’t hunt ghosts in public buildings, or outside if it’s windy. And you’ve heard they banned them in the US, too; presumably some sort of government conspiracy to keep the undead and fey under wraps.

7 – You crashed your truck into a mirror warehouse. It was late, and yeah, you’d been drinking, but the deer came out of nowhere – it was bad luck, ironically. Anyway, you shattered three hundred and twenty-seven mirrors in a handful of seconds, and now you can see ghosts, vampires, the fey, through governmental dazzler shields, and so on. It’s done nothing but get you into trouble, which you guess is karmic punishment for all the mirrors.

8 – You opened your eyes during prayers at Sunday School, even though you’re not supposed to, and God was there. He looked like… well, it’s hard to say. He looked like a thousand exploding lightning chariots, and He leant down and kissed you on the forehead (you still have the scar), and He cleared your vision of the clouds that keep humanity ignorant. You never opened your eyes during prayers ever again.

9 – A gutter-wizard on the run from a fey hunting party hid in your dreams one night five years ago, and he refuses to leave. While he takes up residence he appears in every dream (even the sexy ones) and, as a side-effect, allows you to view the world as it really is. He never tidies up after himself, and your dreamscape is an absolute tip.

10 – Six months ago, you woke up to see your doppelganger standing over you holding a pillow getting ready to smother you in your sleep; but was slower than you, and you really didn’t want to die, and you kicked the shit out of it in your bathroom. It was identical to you in every way aside from the way it bled printer ink. You didn’t know what to do. You tied it up and shoved it in your attic; it refuses to die, even though you haven’t fed it, and you can’t bring yourself to kill it. Every day it looks less and less real. Its skin turns to newsprint, its teeth and hair turn brittle and glassy and fall out.

And then: you touched the filaments that surrounded it like pine needles, and a handful of them burrowed inside you, and the thing laughed, and now, when they think you aren’t looking, the buildings get up and walk around and you can smell the stench of a ratkin carrion-feeder two streets away.

Glimmers is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create an urban horror world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[GLIMMERS.] The city is alive. The city is connected, with streams of light and noise and people, to every other city; they are all the same being, all branches of the same concrete-and-glass tree. There are streets between them, forgotten streets, with secret names and grim inhabitants. (And: there are wild-lands, dark places, the Spaces Between, where nothing seems right. Airport waiting rooms. Churches, at night. Backwater villages.)

There is vast power in the thrum of machines and the buzz of traffic, and it can be yours, for a price.

What’s at the bottom of this well?

1 – The top of the other well. We don’t talk to the folk down there – they’re strange. Sometimes music leaks up, so plug your ears with wax when you go to collect water during a solstice, else you’ll be drawn down beneath.

2 – A very stuck dragon. We couldn’t get him out. He’s clearly embarrassed about it. Throw him a copper – he says he’ll tell you your future if you do, but he clearly can’t. Problem is: the older a dragon gets, the bigger it gets, and he’s starting to buckle the ground around the well.

3 – A Sphere of Annihilation. It’s like a garbage disposal, but you don’t need to worry about putting a fork in it, because it’ll destroy that too. A wizard put it here (of course it was a wizard) after plucking it from the Elemental Plane of No, and after burying it didn’t work (it annihilated the dirt and the shovels) they just built higher and higher walls around it.

4 – A branching myconid (fungus-folk) colony which is infecting people with waterborne spores. They have dire news from the Land Beneath and are trying to make an ambassador that has a human mouth, but it’s going really wrong.

5 – During the day, nothing but water and the occasional frog. At night: a lank-haired witch-thing, skittering about on bent and broken limbs, who steals livestock and drags the bodies, still kicking, back down the well to feed. The villagers are working out whether it’s best to keep placating her or try to stop her nightly rampages.

6 – Gold coins. Loads of them; they’re covered in grime, but you can see the glint of something valuable down there. Now, the whole village around it is abandoned, but presumably that’s got nothing to do with it. (Of course: it’s not gold coins. Well. It is gold coins, stuck to the camouflaged shell of something between a wyrm and a squid, designed to lure in careless treasure-hunters.)

7 – It’s not a well: it’s a chimney from a waterlogged dwarven forge that got stuck down there when the multiverse imploded. Springs and tiny cogs keep coming up along with the water.

8 – Goblins, filling the buckets with water, presumably as part of a ruse.

9 – The corpse of a unicorn. Its horn and bones are turning all the water to low-grade healing potions, making this village the healthiest one for miles around.

10 – Gin. A wizard magicked it this one time for a party and never changed it back, making this village one of the least healthy for miles around.

11 – An adventure! There’s a guy down there, all covered in robes and stuff, and he says that the well conceals a portal to the land of the dead. If you can survive the seven trials and challenges ahead, you can rescue lost souls from the underworld. (Sounds like a ruse? About one in four people in the village claim to have been rescued from down there. But maybe they’re lying, too.)

12 – Clouds. And, beneath them, a desert of bone-white sands and endless black skies, where hungry ghosts trade coins from a damned kingdom for blood, and tattered madmen lead packs of semi-intelligent dogs to raid ruined libraries.


Remnants is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create a fantasy world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[REMNANTS] Once upon a time, when the dragon-kings ruled the aetherealms and the Witch-Queens fought grand duels over generations with arcana of unimaginable power, the worlds split apart. There was too much magic, and reality couldn’t bear the weight any longer. The otherworlds splintered apart like ships crashing against a shoreline; but the pieces remained, shards of reality, and they pierced the material realm. A thousand dimensions, all attached to various degrees, to the prime material: some forgotten, some overrun with new inhabitants, some spawning monstrous creatures into the world, and some ripe for plundering.

What’s this guy selling out the back of his car?

old car

Header image by Charlie on Flickr.

Roll 3D20 to determine what he’s got in stock today.

1 – Rosaries. They’re made out of bone and he assures you that they’re all “used,” whatever that means.

2 – Cats. He sells them by weight, using a pair of antique scales he’s set up on the pavement.

3 – Faberge Eggs. They look real. He claims to have located “the Faberge goose.”

4 – Handguns. These ones have fresh serial numbers on, painstakingly etched in with surprising skill, which point to recent (or upcoming) murders.

5 – Pot plants. He says they’re all tremendously venomous, and when you tell him that there’s a difference between “poisonous” and “venomous,” he rubs at a bandage on his wrist and tells you he understands the difference all too well.

6 – Blood bags. He does part-exchange, too, and pays a top dollar for unusual blood types.

7 – Fingerprints. They’re made out of hot wax, look like someone else’s fingertips, and last about twenty-four hours before they wrinkle up and drop off like scabs.

8 – Comedowns. He siphons off hangovers and comedowns, distills them into pills, and sells them to the sort of weirdos who want to skip the high and go straight to the torment.

9 – Condoms. He says they’re made of enchanted sheep guts, guaranteed to help you sire a child of strong limb and keen mind. (So: they don’t work.)

10 – Pages from books. He displays a random collection of pages from weird and esoteric books, some of which you’re pretty sure don’t exist, but he doesn’t seem to have the actual books themselves. You’ll need to keep coming back to buy them in installments, it seems.

11 – Meat. Good stuff, too! Completely above board – you’d expect it to be dog or human or something, but this is top-drawer primo horse meat.

12 – Eggs. Not guaranteed to be from chickens, but “most of them are.”

13 – Thorns. He says you can fashion them into crowns or armour that will keep you safe from fey magic; he’s wearing a full set, and bleeding quite a lot.

14 – Bottled spirits. By which we mean, of course: ghosts, condensed down into glass vessels. Take a drink, and normal folk get a brief hit of the ghost’s most important memory; those with the Sight get transported back to when it all happened.

15 – Injectable madnesses. Fancy trying out depression for the evening? Want to experience schizophrenia, but be able to go back to your normal life at the end of the weekend? Bored of a single identity, and want to dissociate into some others? He’s got your back.

16 – Music. Not sheet music or CDs, though. You give him the money, and then the tune follows you around like a faithful hound, appearing in adverts on TV and being hummed absent-mindedly by passers-by. He also sells removals.

17 – Happy families. Fully-functional, paint-by-numbers families that will move into your home and do… family stuff. The families are unaware that they were purchased out the back of a car, and it’s recommended that you don’t tell them.

18 – Moody jewellery. He maintains that all of it has been stolen from graves, or at the very least, that someone died wearing it. He has an excellent selection of widow’s wedding rings, some with the fingers still in.

19 – X-ray specs. And all other kinds of 1950’s/60’s spy gear and practical jokes from the back of a magazine, except it all works as advertised. (And it gives you tumours, too. But, hey – x-ray specs!)

20 – Experience points. He claims to have access to knowledge of “the great game” which you’re all in, and offers ways to increase your skills by making scratches on a piece of paper with your name on. Sounds daft, but it seems to work.


Glimmers is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create an urban horror world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[GLIMMERS.] The city is alive. The city is connected, with streams of light and noise and people, to every other city; they are all the same being, all branches of the same concrete-and-glass tree. There are streets between them, forgotten streets, with secret names and grim inhabitants. (And: there are wild-lands, dark places, the Spaces Between, where nothing seems right. Airport waiting rooms. Churches, at night. Backwater villages.)

There is vast power in the thrum of machines and the buzz of traffic, and it can be yours, for a price.

WHAT’S UP WITH THESE KOBOLDS?

Header image by David Stanley on Flickr

1 – Their master, a proud red dragon, died several generations ago. Now, when they march to war, they swarm underneath her skeleton and tanned, leathery hide, and carry her to glory. Arrows bounce off her scales, and they lob alchemist’s fire out of her jaws. (The locals aren’t too smart, so they think it’s still the dragon.)

2 – They’re robbing a bank. Their dragon has grown fat and lazy, and is tasking them with breaking into nearby banks (or: magic shops, universities, merchant trading houses – anywhere with a surplus of gold) and stealing as much as they can carry, relying on their skills at digging underground and disarming defences. They rig the perimeter with traps first, in case they’re discovered.

3 – They’re selling information on dragons to the highest bidder – lair locations, weaknesses, favoured prey types, hidden tunnels, types of treasure, and so on. They’re part of a collective who fled their masters and are trying to get them killed off before they hunt them down and do the same to them.

4 – They’ve engaged in trench and tunnel warfare with the local gnomes, digging under the roots of ancient trees to undermine each other, and setting nasty traps in the dense underbrush. The war ground to a standstill a year or so ago, but the no-man’s land in the forest is a tangled mess primed to kill the first person who steps into it.

5 – They hollow people out and fill them full of traps to lure people in. Sometimes they use low-grade magic items technology to complete the ruse – some clockwork to make a corpse writhe back and forth, a music box in the throat to give out an injured moan or a cry for help. The really good ones can make them walk around a bit, too. (They have a sick sense of humour, often setting them up in lifelike positions and snickering in hiding until someone approaches and triggers the traps.)

6 – They’re the larval state of dragons. If they survive long enough, and gather a large enough hoard, they’ll burrow down inside it and emerge at the start of the next summer as a young dragonling. Problem is, dragons don’t like other dragons, so they have to hide, or hire help, else they’ll wind up dead.

7 – The dwarves chose to collapse the mines as they fled, leaving the kobolds trapped within. That was six hundred years ago, and kobolds breed fast and live short, cruel lives, and now the town has opened up the mines again. The kobolds – or, the feral, pallid, almost-blind descendants of them – are still there, and they don’t want to give up their new home.

8 – They’re walking into the centre of town, bold as brass, proclaiming the coming of a mighty and powerful dragon who demands tribute else she’ll burn the whole town to the ground. Their paperwork looks official enough, but they could be having you on. Then again, do you really want to risk it?

9 – They’re transporting a dragon egg – the child of their mistress – to a sacred spawning site deep in the frosty mountains (or a volcano, for a red dragon, or a forest cavern for a green dragon, etc.). Surely this place must contain vast riches!

10 – They offer themselves as guides to move through Tunnels, a slipshod and unstable dimension which can be reached through any underground passage that’s deep, old, and dark enough. But you don’t want to meet the horrible things that live there – great hungry worms made of writhing darkness – so tread lightly, and leave quickly.

Remnants is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create a fantasy world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[REMNANTS] Once upon a time, when the dragon-kings ruled the aetherealms and the Witch-Queens fought grand duels over generations with arcana of unimaginable power, the worlds split apart. There was too much magic, and reality couldn’t bear the weight any longer. The otherworlds splintered apart like ships crashing against a shoreline; but the pieces remained, shards of reality, and they pierced the material realm. A thousand dimensions, all attached to various degrees, to the prime material: some forgotten, some overrun with new inhabitants, some spawning monstrous creatures into the world, and some ripe for plundering.