[BLHack] Map of Varas

You know, splitting the Varas map across a two-page spread was a pain and also frankly not ideal.

So here’s the map file, printable at (one hopes) a much more useful resolution, plus a pdf version.  It’s included with the book when you get it but eh, I thought I’d post it here also.

Blue Lotus Hack – Varas mapBlue Lotus Hack - Varas map

[BLHack] Familiars and Animal Companions

Something left out of the BLH was the idea of a sorcerer’s familiar/bonded animal companion/etc, mainly because I didn’t want to put as many extras onto the sorcerer as I did the other classes.

So why not make the idea available to everyone? For a price, that is.

Try this on for size —

Any normal (or even not so normal) beast can be trained with time, effort and care, but to forge a deeper link between a PC and an animal takes sacrifice. The ritual to forge that link eats into the vital essence, but many consider the results worth it.

A PC with a bonded beast loses hit points from their total HP equal to twice the Hit Dice of the creature. In return, the following features are gained:

– The beast is unfailingly loyal, barring extreme abuse
– The bonded and their beast can communicate without words, heedless of distance
– The beast is more intelligent than the usual for their kind and can follow instructions at least as well as a child can
– When the beast is Close, the bonded gains AP equal to the beast’s HD, minimum of 1 AP
– A sorcerer can use their bonded beast as a conduit for their spells, up to Far-Away

Lowering one’s maximum hit points is a dangerous proposition, particularly for sorcerers, but the ability to gain a spell conduit outweighs the danger for many.

The Blue Lotus Hack

Well, here we are.

In 2018, I (after several years of tinkering and talking myself into it) released the Blue Lotus Hack on Drivethrurpg under the name Vai Earthflame, a level of separation that I needed to turn the thing loose at all.

Once I started nosing around the scene again (on Twitter), I alluded to the thing, and then eventually named it, but still did nothing else with it. But I still have some things I’d like to do — some more critters, some more bits and snips and shiny objects — and I can’t readily do that here on the blog without the thing, while adding the things to the Fanged Moon blog would be even more awkward than it initially felt at the time.

So here’s the Blue Lotus Hack, another iteration on the first edition of The Black Hack, with a pile of critters and some treasures and a mini-gazetteer of the setting of Varas. It’s Pay What You Want, because my layout skills are just as non-existent now as they were then; it’s not fancy, it doesn’t have nice art, but it’s (I hope!) readable and does that job well enough.

But it does feel nice to have this actually on my name.

The Blue Lotus Hack — itch.io

The Blue Lotus Hack — Drivethrurpg

[Troika] Silver Dragon’s Forest backgrounds, Pt. 02

Adventurous Venturer

So the Forest isn’t a diamond clamshell city or fractal vortex. It’s still a world of wonders to uncover — and that’s good enough for you; there’s so much to see and do and poke at and maybe carry off with you when you’re ready to move on.

You’ve just about got the travel trick down pat — don’t worry about the going, just go — and there’s been a new discovery behind every tree and under every milky, glassy boulder. Just think of the memories, memoirs and trophies to be found! Learning not to try to eat the quicksilver frogs was another bonus. (Little critters are indestructible!)

Will you find the Silver Dragon? Maybe even the Heart?


* the elaborate pronged broadsword of your adventuring guild
* several stained and patched satchels
* a battered grimoire half full of ancient mysteries (that you’re using as a diary)
* heartscale corselet (treat as light armour)
* patchwork longcoat
* sampling kit
* a hovering mapmaking bauble (it’s very confused by the Forest, but the maps look lovely)
* 10d6 silvers’ worth of gewgaws and coinage from across the worlds


2 – Greatsword Fighting
2 – Acrobatics
2 – Evaluate
2 – Astrology
1 – Awareness
1 – Languages
1 – Scrounging


Fluttering Bir

That’s bir, not bird — and if you’re mistaken for a bird, well, that says something about the fool goliath tromping through the Forest in the first place, doesn’t it. Who in their right mind would mistake a person for a bird? Don’t goliaths ever look at themselves?

Your wings aren’t even feathered. They’re brilliant, prismatic, shining hard-light vanes of pinions.

Honestly. The Dragon take them all.

They have a bad habit of plowing entire communities and waypoints flat on a good day anyway, which you have no problem growling into the ear of any goliath on whose shoulder you happen to pitch. They don’t appreciate your folks’ craftmanship and artistry (if you hear the word “dollhouse” one more time …) — they do comment on your ritualized warfare, though. How odd.

Well, time to set a few records straight.

… No, you haven’t made friends –!


* array of tiny steel and enamel and laser weaponry (treat as fusil)
* enamel and glass storage moth (note: without access to the moth and its dimensional storage tricks, you can only carry one or maaaaybe two non-bir-sized items)
* painting or carving or smithing or circuit-binding or sigilweaving tools
* records of your home duchy’s last six honour wars
* chaos lens
* neosilk uniform (treat as light armour)


3 – Fly
2 – Sneak
2 – Magitech
1 – craft skill (choose)
1 – Bluffing
1 – Strategy


Sage Of The Forest

In dreams; in a waking dream; after a long and perilous trek; born to the position … or, somehow, all of the above. Or something completely different. Whatever the catalyst, you took up your mageries in the Forest’s vales.

Maybe, one day, you’ll learn at the Silver Dragon’s scaled paws how to shape steelsilver magic and craft forest life. maybe you’ll slip into some scriptorial cell under the Dead Priest’s aegis. Or perhaps stake out a hollowed home under silvery Forest giants and teach apprentices of your own.

Until then, whatever “then” may be, you plan to amass as much wisdom, as much wonderworking, as you possibly can. You need to be ready.


* long split tunic over sturdy trousers, with pouches in your shirttails
* slim curved dagger
* the locations of two hidden libraries and their pass-stones to get inside
* d3 orbiting gloworbs of different colours
* a tome of mazy paths, rainfolk scales and pressed Forest foliage
* seed and spore collections
* satchel of metal and enamel samples


2 – Second Sight
2 – Research
2 – Sage Topic (of choice)
2 – Spell: Ironhand
1 – Spell: Find
1 – Spell: Read Entrails
1 – Spell: Starry Orb
1 – Spell: random
1 – Spell: random