Pharmacopeia and Kickstarter

Earlier on today I wrote a longish post on why I’m not using Kickstarter for the Chthonic Codex. The reasons are:

  • it costs money
  • I don’t really need much money upfront (I take Codex preorders but only because I’m doing limited editions)
  • I’m doing this because of love, you can keep your hype.

So, that’s it. I’m paying the Joesky tax showing a bit of Codex, the Herbalism rules. They are part of the Pharmacy section.


Due to my bad health and consequent lack of sleep the release date of Academia Apocrypha might slip a bit. But maybe I’ll manage to release the PDF this weekend.

Pay What You Want for Adventure Fantasy Game

First, Adventure Fantasy Game is now available as “Pay What You Want” on RPGNOW. If you don’t have a copy, why not getting it now? At the very least you get a bucket of new spells usable with your favourite old school game, a sweet critical hits table, MOSTROTRON, 36 new magic items and a 14 pages sandbox. It’s a good deal.

Spiritsmiths of the Harga Forge

How great it is to be a troll!
My mouth is full of all the food
Wolf, deer, cow, grouse, cheese, bear, goat, man!
Teeth chew, throat gasps, goes down my gut
Be glad, full tum, get food eat yum!

How great it is to be a troll!
From earth dug out, down here I’m stuck
First dig and smith, then hoard and gloat!
Dig down, dig more, break stones, find ore
Smith gold, work steel, for pride and blood!

How great it is to be a troll!
Time lies, new stuff breaks down and fails
Down here we build the same old things!
More earth, we know, it grows down there
Old hills are gone? More hills we’ll get!

Level 5 – Spite of Progress – a spiritsmith, when hitting a complex mechanical device (at least as complex as a bicycle, a hand blender or a lock), damages it enough that it needs 1d6+1 days of repair to be working again.

This is how the AFG Spiritsmithing spell tradition gets adapted for Chthonic Codex. The Harga Forge and the Court of the Troll Queen (featured in the adventure in the back of AFG) are but a few hundred miles away from the Valley of Fire, and there is no doubt that contacts happened at some point between the Court and the Schools. Sadly the only pertaining codex fragment found is the above.

The second volume of the Chthonic Codex should be ready in time. This means it gets wrapped up either this weekend or the coming week, for a release the first of February. Both PDF and Print+PDF will be immediately available, but the printing itself will happen a couple of weeks after (why? I have a mental schedule and possibly a broken rib).

Whitebox for Chthonic Codex

Today I finally went to the print studio, took the acetate print, went to the photo exposition room, exposed, etched, dried, filed the plate.

Then printed two proofs.

And it was bad. Like, the first few prints are never good. The plate needs to smooth out a bit and inking is always finicky (that’s the reasons for the spots and the strips).

But this looks reasonable:


I’m going to print 33 and then, as the law demands, deface the plate.

More details here, orders at the shop.

Adventure Fantasy Game Review

Another AFG review: after Tim at Gothridge Manor, this time it’s Jack Shear’s turn to review the game.

By the way, Jack is a purveyor of fine things Grotesque and Dungeonesque. The PDFs are free, the print versions are cheap, go get them because, even if you’re not into gothic gaming, they’re very good for location/adventure building. I liked it so much I made my own posh edition a while ago, to keep on the table when I run AFG.

Chthonic Codex boxed set mockup

Chthonic Codex boxed set mockup

While a picture is worth a thousand words, I need to add that this is a 50% scale prototype, printed on normal paper. Tomorrow, if I’m quick, I should etch and print the real thing.
Oh, yeah, the box is going to be handprinted (barring a freak accident involving acid, which is entirely possible).

On climbing, thieving skills and resolution mechanic s

This is not strictly a post about D&D. It’s not strictly about climbing either.

It’s about failing. And falling.

I picked up climbing a few months ago, because Cas brought me there. My bad vertigo went away after one session.


Then everything started hurting, but after a while you learn to cope with muscle pain, finger pain, feet pain, getting cramps on the muscles you’re using to cling to a wall 40′ off the ground. Catching a breath precariously balancing in an uncomfortable position to cope with cramps better. Stop worrying about getting cramps all over the place, because it’s usually only painful. Learning that if you move your body weight the right way, sometimes a hand on a hold and a foot on a half a cm ledge is enough to swing, jump off and grab another hold there.

And if the ledge is not there, pinning your foot against the wall might be enough. Even if your muscles are shaking because of sustained effort, your head starts to spin a bit and you are in pain all over.

And when you’re trying to go up, sometimes you can do a potentially silly move, and sometimes it works. And sometimes you fall. And since you’re not a D&D thief, you only get bruises because you have a belayer. Safety first.

But often you can try to do something less awesome and safer and slower. And when you fail, you don’t progress, but only get more tired. Because sometimes every second you spend there is tiring.

And then you get to the end, and you’re lowered down, and maybe you’re useless for a few minutes.

In RPGs, instead, we roll, and we succeed or fail.

* * *

This is not a call for non-binary resolutions. It’s a call for tradeoffs.

It’s an invite to let PCs burn the candle faster to get there sooner.

Let them go easy, spending more time or taking a penalty to mitigate or counter their failures.

Let them exert themselves, improve their rolls by spending temporary hits to recovered at a quick rate through rest.

Let them get strained, exchanging a small bonus now for a big, lasting penalty in the future.

Talk to your players. Give them choices. Let their choices build a better experience at the table.