What minor pocket dimension have we stumbled into?

1 – First, you need to find a tree that’s stood for more than a century; then it has to get struck by lightning, and die. Then you have to crawl down inside the rotted-out trunk of it, into the ground, and eventually (pray it’s a short trip) you’ll emerge into the garden. There isn’t a name for it, really; no-one really knows it exists, and for some reason there’s a cult of one-eyed priests who are going around and uprooting every lightning-struck tree they can find. The dimension itself is a small rooftop garden, and storm clouds roll overhead, and the air is heavy with the threat of a storm that never comes. But at least it’s quiet.

2 –It’s where cats go. You know, at night? It’s a mix of rooftops, linen closets, the bins out the back of taverns, and blankets. All the ceilings are too low, the stars are blurry and indistinct, and it smells like cat piss.

3 – It used to be a well-maintained graveyard, but it fell into disrepair a long time ago; you don’t think that dimensions can be “hungry,” as it were, but it’s as though it doesn’t want you to leave. The longer you stay here, the more of your vitality drains away, and your colour, and you begin to feel like laying down in one of the (suspiciously) open graves and going to sleep.

4 – You know when you’re drunk – like, really drunk, can’t-find-your-shoes-drunk – and you wake up at home? This is the dimension you use to get there. It’s a universal shortcut, but you can only use it when you’re blackout drunk, so. If you took notice of your surroundings – which you can’t do, you’re too busy throwing up in an alley – you’d notice a cadre of wine-making monks who have set up their monastery here, and who are all several drinks in all the time.

5 – Look, we’re not here to judge you, but: you went to a peep show. We’re sure you’ve got your reasons. But when the partition rolled back, you saw into a different pocket dimension, instead of the dancing sex worker you paid for. Turns out the place is its own shard of reality – in the back, at least – and you can use it to spy on people (or… cats) in other ones. This could be tremendously valuable in the right hands, but at the moment those hands are busy with other things.

6 – It’s a library; you fell asleep face-down on a pile of books, and woke up here. All the pages and covers are blank and it’s utterly, terrifyingly, silent. Your heartbeat begins to deafen you, and you can hear the high-pitched buzz of your central nervous system.

7 – He paints landscape scenes, and he’s very good at it. So good, in fact, that people wishing for sanctuary – usually when they’re running away from something – stumble into these peaceful, tranquil skylines and city-scapes. At the edge of the space there’s a rough pane of glass, which looks out of the painting and into his studio, so you can talk to him if you want. He doesn’t seem inclined to let you out; it’s as though capturing people was his aim all along.

8 – There’s a Screen Omega at this cinema, and you can get into it, if you know how to ask. You don’t recognise any of the films playing here – they’re all one step away from familiar, featuring people who look a little like the stars of yesteryear, and they’re all in black and white. Some of them are in languages you can nearly recognise. Anyway; the rules of cinema, not the real world, apply here. Walk in with a gunshot wound and you can heal it with a bandage and a montage. (Alternatively: walk in with a nasty cough and it’ll develop into full-blown tuberculosis by the end of the film, so be careful.)

9 – There’s a reason you don’t talk to people on the bus – they aren’t people. Every single bus is part of a mass hallucination, and there’s only one interdimensional space that we use to transport between locations; the bus is just a way to let your mind handle it. Why do you think they don’t let you off if it’s not at a stop? You’d be torn to shreds by transdimensional parasites.

10 – Someone built this place – it was a Sorcerer-King’s mind palace, they say, back when you had Sorcerer-Kings – and since then, every Tom, Dick and Harry with a stepping sideways spell has been through here and lifted everything of value. All the majestic tapestries have long since been ripped off the walls and sold; all the devious traps have been triggered, or rusted into inaction, or been deactivated and stripped for copper; even the walls themselves have been chipped away at, the shards of mind-stone sold for a few quid, leaving the place barren, empty, and draughty.


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 Eelke on Flickr

What’s weird about these elves?

1. They’re feral, like all elves are until the age of 100 or so. Up until that point they dwell in the forests in caves, or improvised lean-tos; they hunt with their nails and teeth, leaping out of trees and tearing the throats out of deer. At the end of their first century, they undergo a sort of awakening and become the book-reading, spell-casting, dress-wearing elves you’re used to, staggering away from their latest kill and naked, stinking cave-mate in abject horror.

2. They’re plants. They photosynthesise, which is why you never see them eat, and instead they sleep with their feet buried in soft earth. (They extend little roots down there to suck up moisture and nutrients; it’s gross.)

3. They were created by True Elves many years ago (hundreds? Thousands?) and, even though their towering and alien makers have died, the elves continue to function. They are complex machines of stolen bone and ultrafine metal wires, kept taught and wound up nightly to power their bodies; they cannot breed, but they can make inferior copies of themselves in turn, and those copies can do the same, and so on; like worn-out photocopies, badly-sculpted and malfunctioning elves populate the poorer places of the world.

4. They come from painted worlds; in works of fine art, occasionally an elf will appear in the background, and slowly move forward in the frame, and then one day they’ll emerge. (This destroys the painting, or rather, turns it into an elf, so collectors are generally against it.) They seem to be able to find each other once they emerge, and they’ve formed a culture.

5. There’s only three of them. When one dies, another one is born. Or: arrives. Anyway, there are minimum three and maximum three elves at any one time, and they all work in concert.

6. They only exist in moonlight. Or they’re only visible in moonlight, which makes more sense, but they tell you they don’t exist if the moon isn’t shining on them. There are various folk stories about moon elves stalking unwelcome hunters through the forests, only visible as strobing images.

7. They aren’t born; they happen. All elves start off as beautiful, famous humans – as big as celebrities can get in fantasy worlds – and as more stories are written of their exploits, and portraits commissioned of their visages, the adoration poured upon them physically changes them. They grow taller, thinner, more cruel.

8. They’re all drunk, all the time. You wouldn’t really be able to tell unless you knew; but when an elf sobers up, their refined mannerisms and graceful movements become even more refined and graceful, turning them into alien creatures who are largely impossible to communicate with outside of a sort of high-pitched vibration they use instead of speech. They drink to bring themselves down to our level, which is kind of them, even if it doesn’t really work.

9. They’re hollow vessels for ghosts. Generally, an elf will be filled the spirit of an ancestor when they come of age so their elders can continue to advise on courtly happenings; when the body dies, the ghost takes over and carries on. That’s why elves live so long: most of them are already dead.

10. They eat gold. Or: anything that’s expensive, because they derive nutrition from value. Gold is the easiest way to do it, but it doesn’t taste of much, so when an elf wants to treat themselves they’ll eat gems, crowns, phylacteries, oil paintings, etc. They don’t pass solid waste; they just absorb everything they eat. (Wizards reckon this is out of reasons of politeness, and also because it could be quite painful to shit out a crown).


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 Angie Trenz 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 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.

Which Fey Court is involved in this?

Header image by Anton Novoselov on Flickr

1 – THE CONCRETE COURT. Who are in charge; who rule the high-rises, whose eyes are television, whose hair is a thousand flowing telephone wires, whose breath is choking exhaust, whose pulse is the thrum of traffic and the drone of air-con units, who are brilliant and terrible in their smog-caked majesty. They are of the City and they are the City, and they hold themselves with the bone-deep understanding that this is an unchangeable, self-evident truth. (Until it changes, of course.)

2 – THE COURT OF SPILLED WINE. Who coalesce at the end of a grimy party, summoned like foul spectres from the bottom of bottles and emerging blind-drunk and bloody from back alleys; drunks, louts, and vicious bastards the lot of them. It is generally accepted amongst fey society that, once the Court of Spilled Wine shows up to a party, the best is already over and it will soon be time to leave.

3 – THE COURT OF WAYS. Our Lady of the Underground was cast out of the Concrete Court after a failed takeover, and she dwells beneath the City in the tunnels, the subways, the metro systems, where only the faintest echoes of the neon racket above bleed down to remind her of her failure. She has fashioned a court of rat-things and the souls of trains, a cobbletogether fake, but they do her bidding – she is consumed with the idea of returning to the City above once more, and she is the ruler of ways, paths, portals and tunnels within the dark places of the under-city.

4 – THE COURT OF KNIVES. Who are the lords of division and separation. The Knives are obsessed with boundaries, streets, gates, walls – they have a keen sense of “inside” and “outside,” and can smell who is in charge of a given area if the wind blows in the right direction. They are uniquely fey in as much as they don’t do anything – they just love boundaries. Sometimes they stab people who disrespect them, but it’s not like they’re anything so gauche as guards. They’re just enthusiasts.

5 – THE LORDS MOTLEY. Who are a loose selection of gutter-born half-fey who huddle together for warmth in the cold depths of the City; cannibal elflings, ronin Knights from fallen courts, refugees from lost cities and abandoned timelines. They are desperate to hold onto any advantage they can get, but that desperation – and the lack of a proper leader – makes them easy to manipulate.

6 – THE DEVILS OF ABERNETHY STREET. Who make contracts with mortals in exchange for drugs, but only the inexperienced ones. The Devils can give you whatever it is you wish – in exchange for whatever they ask in return – and they can serve up brief happiness in whatever form they choose. There are many whose happy suburban families are mere illusions, patchwork things conjured up by the Devils, and who will turn back to old newsprint and cardboard boxes should the luckless fool not hold up their end of the bargain.

7 – THE FOREST QUEEN. Who, once upon a time, ruled this place when the trees stretched from horizon to horizon, when the dark, and not the light, was the real power. She is a withered old thing (although: she cannot die, not as we would know it) with pot-plant dryads and tired-eyed agent Knights who have been ensorcelled and mind-wiped hundreds upon hundreds of times, neither of which are enough to do her bidding with any efficiency.

8 – THE COURT OF RAIN. Who were the Court of Snow, long ago, and lived in great palaces of ice and frost when the city froze over in winter. Now: they are dreary, wet things the colour of rain-soaked concrete, hungry to recapture their past glories; they trade curious imports with humans for refrigeration units and walk-in freezers where they make their homes, and are hesitant to leave them, for in the humid modern City they will quickly melt from shimmering majesty back into their drab, lank selves.

9 – THE COUNTING COURT. Who are ghostly and pale collective of buttoned-down fey in masks and gloves (or – who have masks and gloves instead of faces and hands, it’s not quite clear) who, thousands of years ago, acquired the contract that allows vampires to sustain themselves with nothing but blood and thus gain eternal life. (Or: whatever it is this vampire takes, instead of blood.) They are owed a sliver of power from each drop of blood that touches a vampire’s lips, and they collect it solemnly, blood-letting each vampire once a year with the sombre air of a mortician.

10 – THE COURT OF GLITTER. Who are ephemeral, and to be honest stupid, sprites and wisps who are drawn to the city by cheap drinks, sex, dancing and cocaine. They are barely sapient, and they are fond of living inside the fever-dreams of clubbers or the fantasies of young lovers, and honestly they tend to leave a mess whenever they manifest fully in the real world, but they’re a Court nonetheless, and are offered a seat at the triannual meet, even if they never show up to claim it.


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.