What kind of dragon is that?

1. Aluminium. The other dragons make fun of it because it’s weaker than they are; it has hollow metal bones, great feathered wings, and its maw is more beak than teeth. Instead of gouts of flame, it emits a stabbing jet of superheated air with an ear-splitting screech that can easily melt through steel. Its hollow bones are highly prized by collectors who use the super-light materials to make flying machines.

2. Trash. It comes from the elemental plane of Trash (which is where goblins are from) and it consists mostly of leftover junk, leaf matter and old rags. It smells awful, it has a terrible (if enthusiastic) sense of humour and it vomits up high-pressure streams of slurry about once every three hours, whether it wants to or not. There is no particular reason to go trash dragon hunting, other than to stop the smell.

3. Corvid. They hang out in cemeteries (or mass graves of their own creation) and collect bones, skulls, mementos mori and death cults; they are all in love with The Morrigan, a death goddess, who doesn’t really care for them. They build great piles of bones to try and draw her attention, and sing to her in the night, and it’s rumoured that once every twenty years or so she ascends from the underworld and takes one as a pet.

4. Hermit. They live in buildings, except; they pick the buildings up with their bodies and move around. Most of the ones you’ll see in the wild have stolen potting sheds or pagodas, and make do with shuffling around and keeping themselves to themselves. The really dangerous ones are big enough pick up seriously heavy buildings, like inns or churches, or that happen upon structures with some kind of resonance; you’ve heard tell that there’s one in the mountains who’s stuck in a wizard’s tower that he’s way too big for, but he’s unwilling to give up the spellcasting ability that it gives him.

5. Mouse. They’re pretty much the same as your standard common-or-garden fire-breathing sky reptile, but they’re the size of a mouse and they come in groups of about fifty or so. They’re not much of a problem, really, aside from a nasty little bite and the ability to set fire to your house from inside the walls. Some rich kids keep them as pets, which is how most infestations start.

6. Dust. Dragons don’t die of natural causes; they just get less and less vital over the centuries, and eventually shift into a sort of stuttering zoetrope half-existence. Dust dragons are the final stage of this process, and they’re almost all pathetic, sorrowful creatures, looking for a way to fix it. They leave dust wherever they walk, and breathe gouts of entropy over people who mess with them – equipment breaks, teeth fall out, vision falters and fades, and the truly unlucky just lay down and die.

7. Train. These ones don’t fly; they’re long, and they have an awful lot of stubby leg, and they stomp at speed across the flatlands, shovelling the topsoil into their mouth and sieving it for nutrients before ejecting it as dry dust through special gills. (The dust hangs in the air behind them, so you can usually tell they’re inbound and get out of the way.) Having few natural predators on account of their size, they’re content to charge around the highlands; several enterprising merchants have tried to use them as beasts of burden, but steering them has proved all but impossible.

8. Dream. There’s a special kind of opium that appeared on the market a few years ago, and everyone’s crazy for it; you take it, and you dream of a vast and mighty empire in which you are ruler, and scintillating, crystalline dragons fly above you in the skies. Here’s the deal: those dragons are real, except they can only exist in the dreams of people who take this opium. (It was a curse. You know curses.) Now, if enough people in one place dream of them at once, they can start to manifest in the real world.

9. Steel. Metallic dragons are naturally-occurring; these ones are alloyed, so they’re the result of careful interbreeding and genetic engineering at the hands of wizards. They’re smart, well-armoured, keen tacticians and, rather than use their breath glands to throw fire (or acid or frost or what have you) they can bellow their commands at a volume where they can be heard far across the battlefield. (Or: yell at you until you burst from sheer sonic pressure.) The other thing you need to know about steel dragons is that they all rebelled against the wizards about seventeen years ago, set up a feudal culture far to the north, and now they’re coming back with their own armies.

10. Ape. We don’t know how it happened. Wizards? Probably wizards. Anyway, what’s important now is: these things are the size of small houses, built like gorillas, and they can breathe fire but instead they tend to focus on punching things to death and then tearing them into pieces. Unlike normal dragons, these guys have a family-based social structure, so they’re in groups of ten or more and they’re stomping all over the city as we speak.


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.

Header image by Michael Day on Flickr

What’s weird about the club downtown?

1 – It’s run by the fey, and alongside the coat-check, you can hand in your reflection for the evening as well. Without a reflection, your soul doesn’t get stained from sin, so you can do whatever you wish and not end up karmically tainted by it. (In more concrete terms, you don’t feel bad about it, either. And you don’t even feel bad that you don’t feel bad.) The club keeps your reflection if you can’t pay up, and sells them on to desperate vampires at extortionate rates if you leave it too long.

2 – The music is a ritual. It’s one of the longest the world has ever seen, and it’s been performed by ten artists over about fifteen years; they come on stage and perform certain notes to add to the oversong. When it’s complete, they say that the whole club will ascend, but that’s probably just a spiel to get people through the doors.

3 – It’s infinite; there’s a room for every kind of music that you could imagine. However, seeing as the number of people in the club is finite, the less popular the musical style is the fewer people you’ll see. A number of shadowy organisations hold meetings in the throat-singing room, convinced that they’ll never be interrupted.

4 – You can only get to it by elevator. There are six elevators that go there, spread across town, and each of them has a slightly different combination of button-pushes that allow access. A lot of the elevators come with a “test” of some kind – a creepy-looking woman or child entering the lift and asking you weird questions – but that’s just to put off the tourists.

5 – It’s on the inside of a sphere; you can look up and see the other dancefloor. Which would be difficult enough to handle if you were sober, and you definitely aren’t. Some people like to throw small change up into the centre to see if you can get it to float in the middle of the sphere; the bouncers kick you out if they catch you doing it, though.

6 – It’s Valhalla for ravers. If you die on a dancefloor – generally thanks to an overdose, dehydration, or looking at the wrong guy in the wrong way and getting your head kicked in – then you come here, and dance all night, and sleep all day in the back of the chillout room. It’s jam-packed with the most hardcore party people available from throughout time, and they’re all impossibly irritating to be around if you’re sober.

7 – They’ve been playing the same song for the last twelve years. It’s incredibly long, and they just turn it down and leave it running when the club closes. Regular attendees believe that the mysteries of the universe are contained within the song – eventually. It seems to be about two years behind whatever’s fashionable when you hear it, which is pretty good going considering it was written last century.

8 – The place is jam-packed full of birds; owls, crows, hawks, ravens, etc. The staff’s main job is cleaning up after them, but if you can deal with the droppings, it lends the place a fantastic ambience.

9 – It’s pitch black inside. Most of the things that come here can see in the dark, and indeed prefer to function without light, so they don’t need it. Torches (and therefore phones) are banned; you can use night-vision goggles to see what’s going on, but expect the other punters to laugh at you and try to steal them.

10 – It’s in a rooftop garden. The plants here are unnaturally lush and vibrant, no matter what time of year it is – you reckon that there must be a dryad in charge, or at the very least a druid – and, occasionally, you see a deer or a fox scampering away down one of the corridors. Some of the more elaborate cocktails come served in pitcher plants or sliced-open cacti; the regulars tend to stick to glasses, though.

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.

Image by electricnude on flickr

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’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

What’s weird about these goblins?

credit: Hammermancer image by Iguanamouth

1 They worship seagulls, after being caught at sea on a particularly treacherous voyage, and view them as pecky angels. The worship is not at all mutual and many of the dropping-caked goblins are blind in one or more eyes.

2 They love explosions. They were raised in a mine, turfed out by expansionist dwarves, and now they roam the countryside with a cartload of stolen dynamite and a grudge to settle. (They can hurl mining explosives, dealing moderate area damage, and they defend their cart with terrifying, chew-through-your-ankles zeal.)

3 They killed a first-level adventuring party, and have therefore levelled up. One of them is convinced he’s a cleric, another a wizard, a third a rogue, and so on. They all wear armour that’s far too big for them, but they can fight better than the average goblin.

4 They feed off insults thanks to an old fey pact. They’ll try to get people to swear at them or toss garbage their way, at which point they gain a handful of temporary hitpoints and maybe a bonus to hit for a round or two. To encourage insults, they dress as offensively as possible and like throwing turds at people.

5 They live inside a giant beehive full of giant bees, and they serve the queen. They paint themselves yellow and black in an attempt to fit in; this may or not not just be part of a ruse to steal some giant honey.

6 They’re not a joke; they’re anti-dwarf tunnel-fighters, trained to make improvised traps and lay ambushes. Their kind can see in total darkness, and they all inflict sneak attack damage as though they were rogues. (They’ll run like hell away from a fight, too, if it looks like they can’t win. Tracking them down is half the battle.)

7 A necromancer wove spells of undeath over the wrong graveyard, so now they’re skeletal goblins. Not much else has changed about them; they retain their mischievous nature, and often enjoy swapping heads or playing each other like xylophones as a gag.

8 They’re not interested in fighting, and are on a sort of fund-raising mission to get enough copper pieces to repair their dungeon roof, which has been leaking something awful. They’re doing okay so far, but they need a solid donation to ensure they can stay homed through winter.

9 They made off with a sizeable portion of a dragon’s hoard and are living like kings – and they’re clad in stolen magic armour that makes them hard to kill. They’re not the real threat, though, because the dragon can smell stolen gold, and she’s coming to get it back.

10 Devoid of morals and finding it easy to sneak up on people, the goblins have set up a sort of protection racket in the village; the inhabitants leave out food and drink for them on their back steps at night, and in exchange, the goblins keep them safe from low-level threats and non-goblin burglary. They’re not doing too bad a job of it, either.

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.