Monday, July 4, 2016

Wisdom of the All-Mother

Pride and rage are two splendid oxen. Use them often but never on the same yoke.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Imprecation upon the haughty

How dares an oath breaker preform rites within the crumbled walls!

Vile son of the false friend you are accursed!

Be gone from the uneasy resting place of these my people!

Would that I had had one more festival of oaths the fish would jump and the buckwheat flourish. And your people should reside in the untended graves.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Dwarven Victory Ritual

Smoke is blown from a silver pipe upon the arranged vanquished (living or dead). This is done in three rounds each with a different tobacco blend and a different incantation. The successive rounds flaunt the superior strength, intelligence, and power of the dwarves: "had you been stronger then you would be blowing the smoke, had you been smarter I would be subjugated and your pride would rise like a horn, had you had the power and favour of the ancestors surely you would not have been so unlucky!"

Monday, May 23, 2016

The frieze by the northern gatehouse

Panel 1: The fisherman blessing their nets with incense / women weave their hair into nets.
Panel 2:A mermaid type creature surrounded by fish being watched by a storm God behind a cloud.
Panel 3:The storm God summons a cloud of gulls .
Panel 4: the mermaid creature takes shelter from a barrage of pearls being dropped by gulls from above her.
Panel 5: Storm God talking to an octopus
Panel 6: mermaid creature biting the octopus and the octopus spewing black ink.
Panel seven: mermaid creature walking on land her tail cutting a trench in the earth

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


There are several schools of floral symbology among the Yaswan regions. There is some variance but by and large there is an understanding of what is meant symbolically by pertinent flowers. It is not uncommon to put thought into the symbolic meaning of a bouquet or to send a message through flowers. Following are a few examples including their common meanings as well as less known esoteric understanding.

Hooded Strangers
This beautiful flower harvested from the eastern Corridor bears a striking resemblance to a violet dæmon swooping down from above. It is the token of the ruling family of Bluetor, the canton to which it is native. 

Throughout the cantons it is recognized as a symbol of the planar covenant made between the families of the southern border and the archon Bsh Bsh Lana in the second aeon. This covenant promised friendship between the servants of Bsh Bsh Lana and the Yaswans and it was sealed through intermarriage between the ruling houses of both races. This was when the planar bloodline was introduced and the succeeding generations of royalty we're know as Tÿflung folk from then on.

The smell of the Hooded Stranger is not pleasant and therefore it tends to be paired with strongly fragrant flowers when arranged. In fact, it is considered very rude to either display or present this flower without some measure being taken to counter its malodorous quality.

It is used ritually in venerations of dæmons and in other Tophic rites. Most notably the summoning sequence at the feast of the covenant.

A lesser known use of it is as a treatment for infertility in men. Perhaps this stems from the shape of the petals suggesting the male sex organ. The stamen of the flowers are ground to a paste and mixed with rancid butter resulting in a foul smelling ointment. Some herbalists say that children conceived using this substance will be unlucky and unhappy but also exceptionally intelligent.

Luminous Lotus
This flower is considered more valuable than most gems or gold. Being cultivated by the monks of the isle of Bronna it may take up to a decade of expert horticultural care to fully develop the soft radiance of this long-lived flower. The secret method of cultivating the luminous Lotus is closely guarded by the monastery and is known only to a few of the monks and nuns. There is a legend which posits the luminous lotus as the ransom paid for lord Grkə when he was kidnapped by the northern families immediately prior to the unification of the cantons.

The generally understood symbolic meaning of this flower is that of: unification, prosperity, patience, and divinity.

Prior to the planar covenant the heraldic insignia of the city Praenodhiss was a lotus on a white field. Though that flag was sullied by rebellious movement, warriors of the radiant blood, which was crushed unambiguously within a decade of its formation. The new banner of Praenodhiss  was made a scarlet star with nine points on a silver field.
It is said that the monks of Bronna have a recipe for soup which primarily consists of lotus roots which is the key to their preternatural longevity. The soup is supposedly so potent in its life-giving energy that it can bring the dying back to full vigour within moments of imbibing.

This flower is overwhelmingly associated with death. The reason for this is twofold, it's strong fragrance lends it to funerary situations where the natural odours of death must be masked, and it's star-form shape ties it to Yaswan lore which links the heavenly bodies to departed ancestors. 

The scraggly edged petals inspired the first aeon poet, Dauri, to reflect, 
"the memory of my lost brother follows the painful serrated edge
but the knife is a flower so I smile."

Unknown to most is the soporific effect produced from the boiled seeds. A concentrated enough dose can produce a temporary paralysis. The initiatory Church of the yellow lark uses this oil of anointment in a rite which simulates the death of the participants.

In the common tongue this flower is called "the pink flame". It is found frequently along the coast. 
The esoteric meaning of the amuθa is warning. 

Though most would consider this a fairly unremarkable bloom it is held sacred by one of the inititiatory churches,the house of the pelican. The colouring of the flower is echoed in the vestments of the preceptors third degree. Indigo robes with white hare trim and a yellow collar makes a strong tie of the rank to the flower. The reason for the is unclear.

A folk tradition cites regret lion as an ward against nightmares. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Origin of words

Among the gods there was one, Dheilpei. She became pregnant and bore 40,000 children at once. Her children would ride around the court in chariots each drawn by six horses, that is, three pairs each. And each horse had a bridle of either gold, silver, bone or lead. When the hooves of the horses echoed on the stones of the heavenly court they would each make a unique sound, every one different according to its colour and bridle. 
The primaeval fisherman,Oano, would go to the court of Dheilpei in his dreams. In the morning he would awaken imbued with new wisdom every day for 100 years. When the dreams ceased Oano realized that he was lonely and so he used the wisdom from the dreams to work magic and transform a school of fish into the first Village. He made each of the fry into a person but, though they had human form, they could not speak or understand and had no wisdom. So Oano formed bridles of gold, Silver, lead and bone and place them in their mouths. With this they were imbued with the gift of poetry and song, and they began to recite beautiful words both day and night.

Epithet of Magúa

Friend of none
Unbridled raw power
His breath is the storm,
Octopuses his messengers 
Alternating rage and lust 
He rides the breakers

Thursday, May 5, 2016


The priest intones the following and the assembly responds with the bolded text:

The fish swims down and the water gets colder but she doesn't notice. It is her home.
Neither does she notice the lack of air, for the cold water is her air.
She feels the weight of her world the deeper she goes, yet she swims on.
(Monotone chant takes on a singsong quality at this point)
I am like the fish, swimming down into the heart of the goddess. Where there is no light or air and it is heavy and cold. But I am like the fish, feeling no cold only the weight of the goddess. No constriction, only the darkness of her surety. I need no air, I only breath her essence. As I go....
(Rhythmic accompaniment comes in)
Deeper, and deeper, into the deep river.
Deeper, and deeper, into the deep river. I go where a human cannot. I go into holy silence. I go to listen to the beating heart of the river.
(Accompaniment on the rush-zither and vocal-resonator becomes louder until chant is drowned out)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Psychopomp birds

There are black birds that eat the bodies of the dead. When they fly up after feeding they carry the souls of the slain to the sky. Surely you have heard of the court that drank too deeply from the well of forgetting. They forgot their guilt but also forgot to eat. And so, they starved. When the birds feasted on their bodies they also began to forget. They forgot to fly and forgot call out the warning that ghosts were close at hand. So rather than joining the winds among the clouds the forgetful court of spirits remained around the well as did the black birds. The winds around the well do not stop but swirl and howl day and night full of muttering  and groaning. .... Those who take a drought from the cold well, amidst the vortex of the departed, don't find the mental alleviation of forgetting anymore. By some strange magical adjustment they do not forget but are forgotten, as if erased. Some say that the black birds that follow a person out of the abandoned court swallow the memories which surround us like a cloud of invisible insects.... 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Battle of the five armies inspiration

Nutshell: terrible movie but it got me thinking more about dynamic battle terrain.

In no uncertain terms let me state that the experience of watching this movie was something akin to watching somebody else play a video game for two hours. (Read: not awesome). That being said I came into it without any high expectations, any hope I had for the hobbit movies had been thoroughly dissipated by the first and second ones… A real shame considering my love of the book. My specific expectations were set by Peter Jackson's approach to the Return of the King which, not dissimilarily, was essentially one long drawnout battle montage. While the experience is fresh in my mind though I do want to write down the moments of battle terrain dynamism that I think could inform a more interesting tabletop experience. I say this as a non-video gamer, I'm sure that those who partake in video games have enough inspiration from that genre.

General use of tactical positions: Raven Hill, front door to Erabor,
Note to self, set points in the map of story rich value.

Changing terrain: falling tower, cracking ice,
Think about how things can change and build it into the description e.g. "the granite pillars seem to lean ever so slightly, drawing your attention to the eroded bases".

Highjacking: flying opponents, mobile siege  equipment, giant/gargantuan opponents.
Make sure to point out these opportunities to players who are not fully engaging in creative tactics E.g. "a successful acrobatics check will allow you to hitch a ride on the back of the giant serpents head..."

Friday, March 25, 2016

Frescoes in Onua

There are three main categories of frescoes to be seen among the ruins, those of a mythological nature, depictions of day-to-day life, and more stylized depictions of rituals or historical events. If one pays attention to their styles the three distinctions are obvious. Mythic images are done in a flat two dimensional view in a palette without any reds. Daily life scenes are done in perspective but without the use of pure blue (blended greens are permitted). The third catagory, known as "standing images", tend to incorporate didactic text in ornate cursive script.

Example murals: type one, The myth of the wooing of Ûlah. type two, examples of The Clay diggers trade and votive images honouring members of the surgeons guild. Type three, detailed depictions of burial rites  and oath making ceremonies.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The last words

May the husk of my inner soul be carried like pollen on the legs of the children of Magúa along the river of dreams to rest at the feet of the vouchsafer. My last remembrances are those departed and these words of comfort: those who depart in leisure journey in haste, those who depart in haste journey in leisure.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Session prep

Narrative catalysts: Yoik gets bossy and continues to be a jerk, bullywug prisoners  try to escape or are rescued, another fitful night with prophetic dreams,

Gamey bits: learn how to fight fungal animations, ...

Lore: Hoxo's library containing world info, mosaics depicting piscine shifters, thematic treasure,

To do: add supplementry sheet to dm screen, print out monster stats, map the "rookery",

Monday, January 4, 2016

Yoik's dossier, continued

Excerpt from The Annotated Chronolog Of The Fish-Eaters War by the Majestic Thanes' Academy: ... After the breaching of the wall in the aristocrats quarter the troops were held up at some sort of Monument where The standing guard of the surgeons guild made a valiant resistance. It was said that the fighting here was so cramped that the only useable instruments were blades less than two handbreadths in length....

Excerpt from Case Studies In Martial  Jurisprudence by mother Uona Lightfeathers: ... A pincer attack was executed upon the golden domed moot hall By Silverbeard's phalanx and the Bleeding brothers. When they unhinged  the triple gate using Eilikhar (a salt golem) the doom of the city became apparent after a fierce  skirmish with the adepts and liturgenes.....

Excerpt from Exceptional Visions Of Lovingkindness by P.V. Mootblat: ... During the sack of Onua it is attested that Silverbeard was pinned under a raging bearded simian in the top of the astrologers' guild. By a miracle and no small act of strength he toppled the beast down a staircase with the battle cry "Delve my axe!" When asked later he claimed that the power of the ancestor θuin-hew had surged through him with spiritual electricity, this is now known as "the third sublime visitation"....