Tomes mentioned in the Monster Manual and X The Mystics Rules of Dungeon Survival

My favorite part of the Monster Manual are the bits of in-character/in-game lore that are notes on the pages.

  1. The Far Realm: Real Yet Unreal by Vaqur Zekh’r
  2. Hooves of Fury by Irvil Grayborn of Sandown
  3. Demonicon of Iggwilv
  4. Mordenkainen the Archmage’s Chronicle
  5. Manual of Clay Golems
  6. Diary of Evangeliza Lavain, necromancer
  7. Night of the Kraken Cultby Malfeore Serrang, Pirate-Mage of Tethyr
  8. Journal of Jaster Hallowquill
  9. Sonnet of a Naughty Satyr (scroll)
  10. Tale of a Half-Orc Ranger
  11. Masters of the Forbidden City by Codo Vidak
  12. X The Mystic’s Rules of Dungeon Survival (series of scrolls)

Ah, X The Mystic’s Rules of Dungeon Survival!

X The Mystic’s 1st Rule of Dungeon Survival: Trust a Flumph.

X The Mystic’s 2nd Rule of Dungeon Survival:  ?

X The Mystic’s 3rd Rule of Dungeon Survival:  Sometimes a chest is just a chest, but don’t bet on it.

X The Mystic’s 4th Rule of Dungeon Survival: No one carves statues of frightened warriors. If you see one, keep your eyes closed and your ears open.

X The Mystic’s 5th Rule of Dungeon Survival: ?

X The Mystic’s 6th Rule of Dungeon Survival: Keep a few gems in your pocket. A hungry xorn is a helpful xorn.

X The Mystic’s 7th Rule of Dungeon Survival: Before opening a sarcophagus, light a torch.

If you possess any copies of X The Mystic’s scrolls containing any of the lost rules, please present them to a librarian, so that their authenticity can be ascertained and then transcribed.

Rafferty, Book One, Chapters 1-9

Chapter 1

The Apt Pupil

The King and Queen convert to a new faith and now Sorcery is illegal.
Enter Rafferty, a 16 year old boy with the morals of an alley cat and the sorcerous ability to call fire.

Chapter 2

Apprentice Rafferty and the Raven

Rafferty went to the chapel in the middle of the night and helped his friend escape and found a pouch of gold in his cloak, put there by Arnesto. Kell flew out on raven’s wings, cawing thanks and Rafferty cautioned him not to stay in Tesh any longer than he needed to in case Dragesh pursued him.

Chapter 3

Life or Death

“If I say the Fire-bringer’s name, he can actually hear it?”
“Will you teach me his name?”
“Is the His name written in one of those books?”
“Maybe learning to read isn’t as useless as I thought…”

Chapter 4

The Tribunal of Pyre

Theodren had gotten through to Raff. Raff mumbled that this was a fair request and put the “apprentice’s dress” back on. I love that this motivates him, love that he hates the clothes he has to wear as an apprentice. I love that he is surrounded by wizardry, monsters and throne games but is motivated by sausages and clothes.

Chapter 5

The City of Dreams and Thieves – The Dragon’s City

“I am going to be the first arch-mage in a long while. I’m really good and history will remember me but they should be writing about you. You change the world. We’re only here because of your idea about the sausages and Pyre should be thanking you for keeping Lord Harlow alive…we’d have 3 Gates knocking down our walls. I would have left those poor village girls to their fate without you shaming me into it. I’m a good sorcerer but you, Raff, you are going to be great.”

Chapter 6

The Elf-roads

“Wait, you’re 250 years old! Did you meet the Flame-bringer?”
“Yes, when I was a young student.”
“What was He like?”
“He was cunning….and wise. You remind me of him in a way.”
“Cunning and wise…smokin‘.”

Chapter 7

Deep, Deep Shit

Flying down to the enemy camp was smart and sensible. I think, not being funny, that Lord Protector bloke was a bit of a tosser.

Chapter 8

Telda Istar – The Last Wizard

They talked for a while and the Flame-bringer made it clear that he was not there to ask or even to demand that Raff do anything. That was not how he worked. He asked questions.

“Will you see the First Flame go into the West? Will you watch the First Flame’s magic diminish? Will you re-build Pyre? Will you be my prophet and go into the heavens and steal Fire from the gods?”

Chapter 9

Morghulmar eva Minya Nar – Sorcerer of the First Fire

The next day Tulca Uru Lore Nyello offered Raff passage into the west as the Warden of the First Flame. Raff thought about it for a while and declined, mostly because he was worried that he’d NEVER get laid in paradise.

End of Book One

Swordlords into the Rivermark, Wyrdmark, Daggermark and Eastmark

Rachel, Drew and I are playing a Burning Wheel campaign inspired by the Kingmaker Adventure path. I was just thinking about the other posses who have ventured out into the Stolen Lands and thanks to Pinterest, I had some art inspiration.

swords icons dudes

The Swordlords of Rostland’s way of life is about to be destroyed by the Brevosi Dukes.

Four posses were sent into the Stolen Lands to the south, chartered to not only guard Rostland’s southern border, for as long as it continues to exist, but to be seeds so that Swordlords might continue and some piece of their culture might live on.

Lady Zora Kucera ventures south with her loyal man-at-arms Sgt Hajek. The Rivermark is plagued with bandits and is even rumored to have a dragon within its borders.


Lady Zora Kucera


Sgt. Hajek

knight icon blue

Lady Eva Kucera, elder sister to Kora, is chartered to settle the Wyrdmark, where it is said elves and fey folk dwell. She ventures forth with a wizard friend and her loyal companion and squire.


Lady Eva Kucera


Tamryn the Sorcerer


Antoni the Thousand Year Squire

knight icon red

Sir Bohdan lost his taste for dying nobly for Rostland when the Thousand Saint Church deemed his wife sinful and refused to allow her to be burned according to Rostland religious tradition. By refusing her funeral rites, they also refused her entry through the Black Gate where swordlords go for their final well deserved rest.

Sir Bohdan and his daughters will venture into the Eastmark, about which very little is known.

Sir Bad-ass

Sir Bohdan Gral

Eldest Daughter

Lady Anna Gral – Anna the Red

Sister Daughter

Sister Gabriela of the Thousand Sword-Saints Member of the Holy Order of Saints

daughter youngest

Squire Irenka Gral

knight icon phoenix

The third posse has been chartered to settle the Daggermark, on the western border that is thick with Numerian barbarians.

They are all mystery knights, men and women who wear their helms as cowls and masks, guarding their identities as they travelled through Rostland and beyond, winning tournaments and destroying bandits before taking up the oaths and charter.

Mystery Knight 1

Lady Wolf

Mystery Knight: The Ivy Halo

Mystery Knight: Sir Laurel

Mystery Knight 3

Knight Without Name nor Banner

Ode to a Balduvian War Pig

16 years ago on a summer’s day in upstate New York, we were playing a crazy high-fantasy hack of Ars Magica. We called it Ars AD&Dica. Jason was talking in-character about steeds with another player-character and he said, “There’s no steed I’d rather have under me in battle than a Balduvian War-Pig!”

For whatever reason it stuck in my head and I still remember it to this day.

Here’s to the Balduvian War Pigs, the little details and conversations that came up during games in between the face-stabbing, demon-summoning and calling upon lightning. Here’s to the little moments in fantasy-lands with friends.

Feel free to share your own Balduvian War Pigs in the comments.

 by Adrian Smith (I believe)

Reading, Planning, Writing: Cool Autumn Air edition

Reading: I’m on the third book of the Wheel of Time, re-reading up to where I stopped a decade or so ago and hoping to push on and finish. The books bring out different emotions and reactions from me. Sometimes it is frustration and eye-rolling, sometimes it is nostalgia and enjoyment. It is making the commute go by quickly.

I’ve got Ten Little Indians at home but need to get it to my night-standing for before-bed reading.

Planning: Maybe some kayaking this weekend.

Writing: I’m about to fill my third notebook. I need to look that over and get some ink writing transferred to my laptop.

And you?

10 Underground Cities

These cities are listed from the closest to the surface to the deepest beneath the earth.

Cities 1-3 are in the Overdark, a cold and dank area where the surface dwellers often feel the most comfortable.

Cities 4-8 are in the Underdark Proper, with tunnel highways that are home to bison-sized mushroom-beasts and heated by lava.

City 9 is in a hollow earth jungle, heated by an Illithid-made sun.

City 10 is in the Underdeep, said to be so far underground that planar travel occurs when going that deep and underworlds are easier to contact.


Culicid: a castle town ruled by a vampire, a veteran of the war and self-styled duchess. She collects blood as taxes – the blood-tithe. Culicid has the largest population of free humans beneath the surface, policed by the duchess’ immortal children.

Exports: bio-luminescent mushrooms, messenger bats, goats


Xenosh T’allotha: In Drow this means, All-Mother’s First Rest, as it is the first place the Drow stopped to rest during the exodus from the skylands.  It is a small town, really a village built around a series of wells and underground waterfalls that has grown out into the tunnels that lead to it.

Exports: Religious artifacts, Riding spiders, Monk bodyguards


Anvil: The decrepit holdfast that houses the dwarves who sided with the underground armies. It is ruled by a council of petty dwarven princes who have been trying to elect a High King since the war ended. Some whisper that outside political pressure has thwarted this process.

Exports: Mead, dwarf-made weapons and armor, dwarf-cut gems


Titan: The Githyanki fortress city built from the buried fossil of a forgotten lizard demi-god is watched closely by the Drow matriarchs. The Githyanki were allowed to keep control of this city after their attempted coup under the watchful eye of a powerful Drow priestess, along with sending hostages to Endë-Osto and their sleeping red dragons were hidden from them.

Exports: Dream-walkers, Swords-for-hire, Warlocks-for-hire, Domesticated Umber Hulks


Quaggothan: More of a meeting place or a camp site than a proper city, this is the ancient site where the Quaggoth elders live out the last days of their life when they can no longer follow the mushroom herds. It is ruled by a Drow-appointed governor who oversees the trading and make sure the Quaggoth feuding never gets out of hand. Merchant caravans always stop here to trade their foods and it has become a hub of trade and news.

Exports: Mushroom bison meat, odd artifacts the Quaggoth unearth in their travels


Kitji-Naal: Two cities divided by an underground river and ruled by twin matriarchs who rarely meet, but communicate via magical mirrors. The city is the largest and most populated city in the underdark; its politics are a convoluted mess of ancient feuds, assassin’s knives and inter-House warfare.

Exports: Poisons, Assassins-for-hire, spider-silk, books


Sclera: A dank, and dangerous city ruled by feuding gangs of Beholders – each with its own Eye-cult. This is the city with the highest human population in this layer of the underdark. It also boasts the underdark’s only public temple to Asmodeus, the Devil-God.

Exports: Scrying, mirrors, spies, indentured-devils


Eämbar: A newly founded city that is a port, connected to the ocean by a series of complicated crystal locks that link Eämbar to the ocean’s crushing depths. All manner of undersea sentient can been seen on the city streets, sometimes in specially made tanks of water pushed by servants.

The matriarch is the youngest to ever hold the title and the most renowned swords-Drow in the underdark.

Exports: Fish, undersea crafts, spider-silk crystal


Endë-Osto: The deepest city of the Drow and the Drow capital, is ruled by the eldest matriach whose throne is said to float weightless in the center of the earth. Her queensguard is made of the most cunning of the drow sword-maidens; they ride dinosaurs bred for traversing tunnels. The city is in a hollow-earth with a bruise-purple sun, said to have been created at the height of the Iillithid Empire.

Exports: vegetables, dinosaur steeds and ranger-guides


Svinifrilijihirim: Despite Endë-Osto being at the center of the world, this Gnomish city is still somehow deeper, due to a trick of planar geometry. The city, often called Deeptown for short, is home to a powerful ward, created to keep a Pit Fiend in the uninhabited darkest depths. The Pit Fiendwas unleashed by the skylanders into the underdark during the War, has destroyed a Drow city single-handedly.

Deeptown is home to a powerful council of wizards and it is a great city for finding tutoring or for apprenticing one’s self to any of the Schools of Magic. It does boast the underdark’s only Bard College that is home to one of the finest libraries in the underdark, rivaled only by Kitji-Naal and Endë-Osto.

Exports: Wizards-for-hire, Bards-for-hire, magic items, spell components

And once you’re done and you want to make the place a political mess – A Web of Cities.

Reading, Planning and Writing – Autumn is here.

Reading: I’m re-reading the Wheel of Time series, thinking that I’ll actually finish them this time. These are the books that I’ve got on my phone for the commute. I’m on The Great Hunt. I’m not precisely enjoying it but I do feel a pretty strong irrational urge to finish the thing.

I’ve got Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie in my bag, ready to roll so I can do some screen-less reading. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven was one of the laughingest, cryingest books I have ever read. I actually laughed so hard on the train that people thought I was crazy.

I grabbed The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen, thinking that I might loan it out but the first few pages grabbed me and now I’m over a hundred pages in after a leisurely evening of reading. I am intrigued.

Planning: Secret!

Writing: Trying to get the spell-lists revamped for Knight Fights in Space and D&D hex-crawl writing.

And you?