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 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 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.

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.