What’s different about these gnomes?

1 – Gnomes are what happens when you leave magic items unattended for long periods of time; they absorb information from around them, grow and become sentient, then sprout a pair of legs and wander off into the countryside to go live up a tree or down in a cave. To that end, it’s quite hard to keep hold of large quantities of magic items – if you don’t want your favourite axe to turn into a gnome, keep it by your side and take good care of it. Gnomes don’t have any particular universal physical traits, aside from their diminutive stature – they look a bit like the item they grew out of.

2 – They’re swamp witches; they live in wet ground and hang out with toads. Some of them marry the toads; others ride them as mounts, leaping stickily through the mud, grabbing people with long tongues and dragging them under the filthy water to drown. Careful examination of the toads has proven that they are the kind that secrete hallucinogenic grease, and may well be dominating the gnomes with some sort of innate mind-control spell.

3 – They’re all the avatars of deities. When they visit earth, gods assume the ideal form; turns out it’s gnomes. Weird.

4 – They build cities in strange places where life shouldn’t be able to survive: the frozen north, deep beneath the sea, in lava-spewing volcanoes, in mid-air, that sort of thing. They’re fiercely isolationist. Diplomats emerge once every few months to trade with the outside world; you hear tell that each gnomish city is a brutal totalitarian state devoted to keeping the outside out and the inside in.

5 – You remember how gran always said you were to eat your vegetables so you’ll grow up big and strong? She wasn’t wrong. If you don’t get a varied diet as a child, you’ll never grow past four feet tall, and you’ll become a gnome. Most gnomes live in the ghettos, marginalised for their stature; a few reach positions of responsibility or power, but it’s a rarity.

6 – They’re machines, but: they’re made of flesh, just like you and me. They’re part of some vast, complex, world-spanning computational engine designed to solve the problem of eternal life – the machine operates on a scale that neither we nor the gnomes can really comprehend. This explains why they like machines so much, why they seem a bit weird to outsiders, and why they snore in binary.

7 – A gnome is born every time someone swears at a piece of broken machinery; mechanics have a wide variety of replacement profanities to hand so they don’t end up having to take care of (or “take care of”) a small gaggle of gnomes that they’ve created.

8 – They’re beastmasters. They have an innate knack of getting animals to do what they want; gnomes will generally ride the biggest creature they can find and get it to eat the second biggest creature they can find for dinner. They’re absurdly good at it, too – elephant dressage is a popular gnomish sport in the flatlands.

9 – They can never set foot on land. Well, they can, but they instantly start to sprout roots and, within a minute or two, become horrid little tree-statues. As such, gnomes live their lives as sailors, pirates, river-traders or trees.

10 – Gnomes happen organically when you store too many books next to each other; they coalesce out of dust mites and torn pages until, before you know it, you’ve got twenty of the little buggers running around the stacks. They steal books and then hurl them into the river, laughing the whole time; no-one’s quite sure why. Seeing as they’re comprised out of knowledge, they know some weird things that they shouldn’t know, so you might be able to get something useful out of them. Or they’ll just piss on you and run away, one or the other.


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.

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.