What are you a cleric or paladin of?

1 – Justice. And not the wishy-washy, platemail-clad shining sword shite that the other paladins talk about – actual, legal, by-the-book justice. You have an encyclopedic knowledge of the laws of the land, which is backed up by several actual encyclopedias that you carry on your back out of devotional respect. You are a lawyer, first and foremost, and you’ve let more than one “evil” necromancer go because they haven’t done anything wrong. (That said, you got that dragon on charges of livestock theft, and he’s still in jail, so.)

2 – Rocks. Can’t go wrong with a good rock. When everything is confusing and your adventuring companions descend into arguments, you focus yourself on the zen heaviness of rocks. Rocks know what’s what. You lift them a lot, to understand that heaviness better, so you’re pretty strong too. Mountains are kind of like gods to you, but the sort of gods you can climb and have a picnic on.

3 – Wayfaring. Your order used to possess the secrets of interplanar travel, and your ancestors would protect the barriers between worlds. But: that all collapsed, and now you’re a gang of dispersed guides, bodyguards and travellers who aid passage through the unstable and forgotten routes to the otherworlds that crashed into the prime material.

4 – Goblins. Due to a misspelling of “goblet” in your sacred tome, you are part of a sect that reveres goblins as the true vessels of the divine. So adaptable are goblins! So eager to spawn, so ingenious! Everywhere you look, there’s a goblin, and it’s showing you its arse! You find goblins fascinating, and your search for the goblin used to hold the blood of your god continues apace.

5 – A family line. The Von Helsbrecht family are, as far as you’re concerned, gods on earth; hundreds of years ago, they ruled this land as benevolent dictators. After a series of brutal and bloody wars, the family were dethroned and the members exiled or executed. You still draw holy power from their divine right to rule, and you are on a mission to track down the surviving members – however watered-down their blood might be, and whatever sort of wastrels they’ve become (some of them are even adventurers) – then help them take over the country again.

6 – A bound demon of world-shaking power. Your order bound a demon the likes of which the world had never seen and trapped it in a vault of ivory-white stone, far beneath the city streets. The thing has such vast power that you and your allies can tap into it to cast magic spells and summon miracles – though they all have a hellish edge to them, and you’re often mistaken for dark magicians yourselves even though your cause is a righteous one. So long as the demon doesn’t ever break out and come to track you down and kill you, or send agents against you to do the same, you’ll be fine.

7 – A genius loci. There’s a hill, or a lake, or a mine, or some other large natural feature near you that has a god in it. (Maybe it landed there during the sundering; maybe it’s always been there.) You worship it, and protect the lands around it, and it grants you power in exchange. Now, as you go out on adventures with your companions, you are gifted with some token of the place – a glowing seed from the great tree, a crystal vial of water from the lake, stone chipped from the temple’s inner sanctum – and instructed to plant it elsewhere, and tend to it, to make new genius loci across the land.

8 – The People. You fight for the little guy, and not because some god tells you to; you do it because you need to help each other out. You’re at the forefront of demonstrations, you organise aid handouts for the poor and needy, and you kick the tar out of corrupt police officers. (And, sometimes, non-corrupt police officers, because they’re part of a corrupt system.) You draw power from the roar of crowds, the heartbeat of nations, and you march at their head with bloody banners held high.

9 – The Door. They call it the Heaven Door or God’s Door or just The Door, and it appears wherever humans are in place of other doors. It leads to a great and powerful kingdom beyond our own, and you have devoted your life to tracking it down wherever it manifests and killing the things that come out of it.

10 – The song that ends the earth. You know the truth – that the world is being sung into being by a mad god, and when the song is complete the world will end. Your order taught you some tiny fragments of the song that you can use to change the world in small ways, but your primary goal is to counteract the end of the world; either by continuing the god’s song, by building wind-powered instruments on mountaintops, or confusing the cosmic melody by laying down anharmonic discordances and tricking the god into starting again from the top of the verse.


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.

Cover image by Bit Boy on Flickr

What happens when you die?

1 – The devil challenges you to a game of your choosing in exchange for a better position in Hell. You can’t “win,” per se, because the devil cheats, but you’re at least in with a chance of getting a role as a middle manager or informant on the other guys. One death mage invented an eternal game and challenged the devil to it, thinking that he was being clever enough to guarantee himself eternal life, but the devil just chucked him into a pit and told him to forget about it.

2 – You enter an infinite plane, a place of ethereal landscapes and half-remembered sunlight, and you must search for a way out to an afterlife. The longer you stay here, the less of your original memories and personality remain; some of the shades here are just smudges of shadow and noise that barely resemble a human. You hear tell of a route to heaven in the mountains; of Elysium beyond the great sea to the east; that Valhalla emerges from between the clouds in a storm; and that Avici dwells, vast and malicious, in the tunnels far below the earth.

3 – Whoever rules the place where you died gets your soul as an eternal servant. The power-players in the occult world have legions of invisible servants at their command, or so they claim; there are secret poltergeist wars fought for territory under the cover of storms, and possessed agents in high levels of government.

4 – You escape death – narrowly, at the least second. You count yourself as lucky and go on living your life. Except: it’s not your life. Everything you experience is a simulation, your own personal afterlife, modelled after the one you chose to live while you were breathing. (In reality, your friends are grieving your death.) Die in this one, and you’ll enter another simulation, a more suitable heaven; right up until you hit the age of 88. We don’t know what happens if you die after that.

5 – You haunt the person who killed you. But: most people aren’t directly killed by someone, so your soul takes a roundabout route to punish whoever it thinks is responsible. Someone who fell off a bridge might haunt the bridge’s architect; a suicide victim might haunt their ex-therapist; a smoker might haunt a cigarette manufacturer. The closer they are to actually being at fault, the more intense the haunting is; there are layers and layers of bureaucracy between a smoker and a tobacco lobbyist, for example, and this is largely to keep the hauntings to a manageable level.

6 – You instantly become a shade of your former self, and all you can do is watch the world without you in it. You get to watch your family move on and deal with your death, but you can’t do anything about it. You can’t see other shades, either; just you, forever, in a world that you are incapable of affecting and which increasingly doesn’t care about you. (But: you can be pulled out of this state, and the crushing thing is you know how, but you can’t tell anyone. At least, not with the tools you currently have available.)

7 – A death mage (one of the bad ones) finds your corpse, and before your soul can move on or manifest into a ghost or any of that good stuff, the bastard field-strips your animus out of you and jams it into a mason jar. Before you know it he’s sold off your spectral eyes to juice up a warding spell, he’s flogged your sense of purpose to a struggling med student and siphoned off all of your back-from-the-dead vengeance and stored it in a safe in case you get any ideas about coming after him.

8 – You awaken, and you are marching in an impossibly long line under smog-choked stars, and the stench of industry stings your nostrils. You are fuel; your deeds in life have determined how much heat you will produce when burned, and at the end of the vast line, there is the great furnace that powers the machines which keep the world spinning. You see, at the edges of the crowd, iron-masked enforcers; these are people who made so little impact in their lives that they are more useful as agents than fuel. You envy them.

9 – You enter a marketplace – it looks something like a cross between a Moroccan souk and an IKEA – and it contains portions of every available afterlife, ready for purchasing with the proceeds earned from the good deeds you performed while alive. Always wanted to hang out with Abrahamic angels, but didn’t want to faff about with the whole “heaven” deal? Why not buy a six-winged friend and go hang out in the Elysian Fields? You find someone offering “Return to Life Unharmed,” which is a pretty swish deal, but the kicker is you just can’t afford it. So you’ll have to find someone willing to lend you some credit, or steal it from the nicest person you can find.

10 – Your spirit possesses someone else in the party, nestling inside their head like a parasite. They gain access to all of your skills and knowledges, but if they ever made a critical success or critical failure, they hand their character sheet over to you (and their body over to your spirit), which means you can do things like eat and love and feel again. Should you make a critical failure or success, or fall asleep, control reverts back to the original player.

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 Krowten on Flickr

What are these dwarves doing?

1 – They’re all getting married to each other, simultaneously. (Dwarf marriage is strange.) They need to find wedding dresses, traditional beard cosies (it’s winter) and wedding gifts for one another. Oh, and the roasted corpse of some giant subterranean beast for the reception, like their mothers and fathers had.

2 – They’re creating a fake gold rush, having purchased some hostels and camp-sites near the local mountains (and converting their ancestral home into a range of affordable B&Bs); they rock up to bars, engage in dwarven stereotypes and yell “drunkenly” about all the gold that’s up in them thar hills, and then clean up when chumps come to explore the area for treasure. The non-dwarves are digging without respect for proper tradition, and therefore are unearthing all sorts of nightmarish things from underneath the mountains: drow empires, fungal lords, liquid infectious darkness and animate curses.

3 – They’re refugees from a lost dwarven kingdom that was too far beneath the surface of the world (and too protected by ancient magic) to survive the cataclysm that sheared the multiverse away from the prime material. They’re looking for help to build an enormous vessel to get back, and for stout folk to crew it.

4 – They’re poets. Dwarven poetry, like all good things, is hewn from rocks and refined by skilled artisans; it’s powerful stuff, and they recommend that you don’t read it if you’re pregnant or looking to become pregnant in the near future.

5 – It’s a dwarven feast day, and as heroes of the town, you’ve been invited! (If you’re not heroes, assume it’s a case of mistaken identity.) Can you survive a dwarven feast? Better men than you have tried and failed, and the dwarves don’t consider a party a success unless someone dies from eating too much butter. To them, it’s as honourable as dying in battle – but a lot more comfortable, at least until the end.

6 – One of their number is gravely ill, and has got the idea into her head that she can replace her malfunctioning meat parts with metal cogs, springs and sprockets. It’s a common dwarven delusion, and her friends are doing their best to stop her as she’s just making herself worse, but she keeps doing it.

7 – They’re selling fairy-tales – or fairy-tale experiences, anyway. They have all the illusion spells and a wide stable of trained actors on hand, and they can transport you to a world of whimsy and excitement for a modest fee. Ever wanted to meet the Prince of your dreams at a ball at midnight, only to have your carriage turn into a pumpkin? They can do that. Also, for not-so-modest fee, they offer to inflict fairy-tales on other people; not the nice ones, either.

8 – They’re selling moody cigarettes by the case, claiming that they’ve found a secret door to the Interdimensional Plane of Smoke. The markings on the packets are weird (ever heard of Fiddler’s Heel brand cigarettes? Or Bletchley-Harringdons? Or seen warnings that smoking damages your second heart, or endangers your alternate selves?) and they taste… well, they taste like moody cigarettes that’ve been dropped in a river and dried out on a washing line round the back of the pub. But they’re cheap, and the dwarves say they can sort you out with some cheap wine, too, if you’re willing to help them escort it out of the dangerous coastal region of Kahlay.

9 – They’re holding a funeral; a unit of thirty of them, grizzled veterans all, are heading off in the morning to attempt to liberate a lost hold from kobolds. Given the dangerous nature of the mission, the clan is holding their funerals before they go; even if they return, they’ll be legally dead, and the other dwarves will shun them. (You occasionally see dwarves who’ve returned from these suicide missions living on the edge of dwarf society, surviving off whatever scraps they can get. A lot of them become adventurers.)

10 – They’re buying an army. A few years ago, dwarf recruiters popped up in every town for miles around, offering pay and free training to join their militia. A lot of the region is now informally policed by dwarf-led soldiers, which has both upsides and downsides; and they’re gearing up for something big, too. Rumour has it they’re rebels, kicked out of the overly-conservative dwarf holds to the west, and they’re massing an army of Tall People for a single decisive assault.

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 Tanya Hart on Flickr

Hearty Dice Friends Episode 43 – 2017 Christravaganza Pt 1

Ho ho ho! It’s one half of our Christmas special, brought to you by this week’s sponsors: Turkey and Little Baby Jesus. In this week’s episode:

– How would you improve Christmas?
– Which of the 12 Days of Christmas makes the hardest encounter?
– How would you turn the Nativity into a horror adventure?
– Also some bollocks that isn’t Christmas-themed we guess

Much love. If you want to get us presents, the thing we always want is bourbon.

– Chris(tmas) and The Grinch

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!

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