So, I got proofs from the printer today. They look real good. Much better printed than lulu. The covers in the picture below will look different because the matte finish has not been applied yet. And the third book does not have a cover yet, but as you can see they would not differ that much (except in the back).


(Pictured, my keys and a shoe for scale. Yes, that’s a crocheded moebius strip on my carabineer)

Now, let me say I’m really happy with Academia Apocrypha. It came out exactly like I wanted, and that’s very rare. But I’m even happier about Mysteries & Mystagogues. It’s above and beyond what I expected. It’s definitely a weird little book, the odd of the bunch. It doesn’t have a d666 table, but it rolls Lost Pages style. Also, while helpful for campaign building and running, it is really more a crutch than a handbook.

And, by the way, I’m off two weeks in Japan. The store is shut down until I’m back.

On Published Dungeons & Adventure Fantasy Game: leveling thorugh XPs

TL;DR: PCs level at 1000, 2000, 4000… XP. Award 1 XP per thaler/coin of the realm, for defeated monsters 50 for each level, split equally. Ignore Level by Accomplishments and Looting, instead grant other perks.

Long form: Sometimes you want to run a published dungeon and don’t want to frame in Treasure Troves, or your players just want to dick about, murderhoboing in the wilderness. Accomplishments can be suited to this kind of play, but players not being in the campaign all the time have problems being around when Treasure Troves are looted or Accomplishments completed.

Experience Points are good for this kind of stuff. So, award XP this way, and split it equally between survivors:

  • for defeating monsters, 50 XP per monster level
  • for looting treasure, 1 XP per thaler/coin of the realm or equivalent if looted in a risky way. Goods gained in risky ways XP only if it fits the theme. For example Chthonic Codex research notes award XP based on their nominal value, if looted in risky ways. In Western League/Uplands/Estera rustling awards XPs equal to the value of the stolen beasts.
  • for finding special locations of specialness and wrapping up “adventures” neatly, from 250 upwards
  • for surviving other awesome danger of other kind, 50-100 XP per character

Level two is gained at 1000 XP, level 3 at 2000, then doubling up each level. If you want you can cap the XP needed to gain the next level at 125000 or 250000 or whatever you prefer.

When PCs complete an Accomplishment, never award the “gain a level” perk. That’s it.

Chthonic Codex: Production Problems & Dismal Delays

TL;DR: an accident happened to the plate used to print the boxed set, which is now unusable. Shipping is delayed to May, and I’ll refund any order if asked to.

The Long Form: I have a box at the printing studio with all my material and plates. The boxes got moved (now it lives on a shelf in the Acid Room) and somehow the plate used to print the boxed set ended up damaged. As in, there are grooves and big, long marks on the cover, and it’s now unusable. I went there to print some covers and etch a map. Cue major bumming out. I came home, played with lego and had a beer.

It’s not the first setback this project stumbled into. I spent most of December ill. Broke two ribs in January. I put in slack during planning to cope with unforeseen delays. And I got to the point where I’m working on this project a lot and was going to deliver on time.

And then this happened and more work is piling on top. And in absolute terms is not much, but I’m worn thin. I got to the point where designer fatigue is showing up, and I did the boxed set design and etching earlier on because I was fresher. So, something snapped, and I started to doubt whether I can deliver this on time, and with the outcomes I expect.

I’m going to delay the release because, while I’m not deathmarching, if I don’t delay the release i feel it’s going to be awful.

And if this turns out to be awful I’m going to feel awful about it forever. I want to get this right.

So what I can say is: I’m going to ship in May, if you’re not happy with it I’ll refund the Codex in full, and I’ll throw in some kind of physical or PDF freebie. I’m still unsure what. Maybe a limited edition print of the Devouring Idols, or more content, like some excerpts from the fourth book (yeah, I’m going to release a fourth book, 64×3 pages ended up being not enough, go figure).

I’m really sorry. I’ll happily refund any preorder, even if you received part of the deliverables.

AFG R9: first change – Physique

TL;DR: In AFG-R9, high PHY not only gives 1 extra damage die for two-handed weapons, but also 1 additional hit.

Long form: In the past two days I rolled 12 AFG characters to use as pregens for Chthonic Codex. I started to think about the meaning of high and low stats a lot.

Craft and Spirit, when they are high, give interesting modifiers: Craft gives an extra spell even for fighters, Spirit 1 extra mana (yes, even to fighters) and luck (1 free reroll per session). And when they are low they give interesting flaws: scarce literacy and bad luck (something unlucky will happen to the character, every session).

Low Physique forces the character to use all weapons except knives with two hands. Which is cool in my book and lets a kid with a knife still be nasty.

But high PHY gave only an extra die of damage with two-handed weapons. Which is good but not as interesting. So now a high PHY gives 1 Additional Hit: this means that the character not only has more hits, but also attacks better sooner. And it means that, on average, characters get an FC improvement 1 level earlier.

Now, if I could fix that two-handed dilemma, it would be ace.

Want a web generator of random generators? That works also offline? And makes you save results?

So, Logan made a super-easy web page that takes in entries and creates generators.

And he was like “we need to save this stuff”. Because good stuff needs to be saved.

And I made some javascript happen. The code is not perfect and he amended his page so it doesn’t work 100%. At the moment try to avoid using single quotes please. I fixed the code (silly g flag) but it’s not up yet :)

So you can create your generator and save it as a bookmark in your browser.

And put all of them in a web page, or share your bookmarks with friends.

And I wish WordPress didn’t stupidly mangle html in their editor. So I’ll put my bookmarklet generators here.

Go and create and save and share.

XpertCliques: another AFG blog

TL;DR: new AFG blog at by kaneofmelnibone. Very different voice and setting, same AFG spirit.

Longer form: Writing aches. Which is why this blog is not updated often. I prefer writing longer content.

This is why there’s not much original Adventure Fantasy Game material on the blog. Fortunately AFG runs very well using D&D and other clones material without adaptation, so it’s not a real problem. But sometimes you want the AFG stuff. And I have good news.

Kaneofmelnibone started toying with AFG, we started to have a wee discussion on a few topics, and he started putting out very good content at his blog

For the time being there are a few monsters, spells, cults and a new setting. There are some yet unpublished bits that make me even more excited.

Kaneofmelnibone does AFG uncannily well. First, all the material is very good, but that’s not the uncanny part.

The uncanny part is that while we clearly do not share the same authoral voice, nor the material is something I would have written, he gets AFG so well that I completely agree on all the implementation of the crunchy bits. And the fluff very definitely agrees with me too.

So if you fancy reading what can be done with AFG, add XpertCliques to your blogroll.

Release: Chthonic Codex: Academia Apocrypha

Today it’s the release date for Chthonic Codex – volume 2: Academia Apocrypha in Print+Pdf and also in PDF only version. The PDFs should be immediately available, the print copies should ship from April. Mind you, I have a new order fulfilling system that could either deliver stuff immediately to your inbox or switch on my neighbour’s oven. If you smell burning and don’t receive the files, fire off a support request from the shop.

Before I start with the blurb, let me tell you a couple of things.

First, I love magic users, and this is the book I’ve been wanting to write for 20 years. I could have made it longer, but 64 pages ought to be enough for anybody. If you buy it now and I decide to add extra material later, you’ll get the updated PDF as a free upgrade.

Second, this book is crammed with fluffy crunch. All mechanics bits that went in were selected to support the setting. Took me ages, and I binned a whole lot of them. It’s been hard.

And now, the announcement proper.

Chthonic Codex – volume 2: Academia Apocrypha: this second volume counts 64 pages of fragments from the recently recovered Chthonic Codex. It’s the player’s handbook of the Chthonic Codex setting, as well as being a stand alone spell book with a bucket of crunch on top for Swords & Wizardry, other retroclones and Adventure Fantasy Game. It’s preceded by Cryptic Creatures and will be followed by another volumes (Mysteries & Mystagogues). It’s available in PDF, Print + PDF and three limited editions: Boxed Set + PDF, Codex Edition and Boxed plus Codex Edition (all are available here).


Maenad, the Ravenous Ones – a B/X and AFG class

…the god-intoxicated celebrants draw milk and honey from the streams. They strike rocks with the thyrsus, and water gushes forth. They lower the thyrsus to the earth, and a spring of wine bubbles up. If they want milk, they scratch up the ground with their fingers and draw up the milky fluid. Honey trickles down from the thyrsus made of the wood of the ivy, they gird themselves with snakes and give suck to fawns and wolf cubs as if they were infants at the breast. Fire does not burn them. No weapon of iron can wound them, and the snakes harmlessly lick up the sweat from their heated cheeks. Fierce bulls fall to the ground, victims to numberless, tearing female hands, and sturdy trees are torn up by the roots with their combined efforts…

Walter Friedrich Otto: Dionysus: Myth and Cult


Maenads are member of the Thiasos, the reveling retinue of Dyonisus. The frenzy of their god-inspired ecstasy sometimes makes them join bands of adventurers. This should be strictly a female class but it’s much better if not.

Levels, saves, hits and combat: like a MU/Caster of the same level. They save as clerics, because they are crazy cultists. Literally.

Virtue of the Ravenous Reveller: Maenads eat human flesh and are drunk almost all the time. Unrelated to their diet, at level 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 the maenad learns one of the following powers:

  • Wielding the Thyrsus: the maenad can strike their thyrsus to the ground to create enough water, honey, milk and wine to satiate and/or inebriate six humans. For every level gained after the power is learnt the thyrsus generates enough for six more humans.
  • Suckling the Beasts: the maenad can charm mammals once per day for 1d6 hours. By suckling the charmed victim the maenad can make this charm permanent for up to 2 levels of charmed mammals. For every level gained after the power is learnt 2 more levels can be permanently charmed. Male maenads lactate too, of course.
  • Girthing the Serpent: the maenad can charm a snake once per day. If successful the snake will coil around the maenad: while coiled the snake will leave the maenad to attack anybody attacking the maenad in melee. The snake, at dawn, will wake up the maenad and leave if it’s of level more than 1, plus 1 for every level gained after the power is learnt.
  • Withstanding the Flame: the maenad is immune to fire damage.
  • Tearing the Flesh: the maenad can exacerbate her frenzy and for the next turn do a bare handed tearing/grappling attack. This attack strikes as a magic weapon and deals 2d6 damage to living creatures.  For every level gained after the power the maenad can enter frenzy an extra time per day.
  • Ignoring the Iron: the maenad can’t be cut by iron and steel weapons. Non-bludgeoning iron weapons deal 1d4 damage instead.

So, yeah, if you wonder what’s the kind of content you can find in the Chthonic Codex, this is it. The Codex tends more to weird/faerie tales though.

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.