Beneath a canopy that sparkles like the night sky — a cunning work of midnight-purple velvet, golden threads and silver beads — a large and fluffy white cat paces to and fro on hindpaws across the length of a raised wooden platform, adjusting racks of exotic textiles, setting out baskets of tiny wonders and tweaking the displays in the worn blackoak booth-front.
Suddenly the cat’s attention is squarely on you, golden eyes like inquisitive twin moons. Snowy white paws cradle a weapon that surely, surely no cat should wield so easily.
“Perhaps this humble merchant may have something that catches your eye?”
The ghost cat’s armoury
01. Paired ivory-hilted daggers, etched with silvered prayers to the Saint Of Iris
02. Pyre Tyrant’s Needle, a rapier of frosted steel hilt and basket and blade of crimson flame
03. A sabre polished to mirror brightness, mounted in brass and blackened steel fittings
04. Regret, a longsword consecrated to be the bane of spirits, rosewood-hilted and perpetually damp with blessed tears
05. A belt-knife of bone split and polished from a wyvern’s sting, grip wrapped with tawny silks
06. A perfectly plain-looking shortsword, yet it is sheathed in shadepanther pelt and crystal droplets
07. The Moon Calls Me, a silver-trimmed crystal blade that cycles from dagger to shortsword to hunting sword to greatsword and back
08. An ancient broad-bladed sword of greenish bronze, sporting black gold hunting figures that glow faintly
09. Mistine, the white steel bastard sword trimmed in sapphire and white enamel which ballads claim was the oath-blade of Teitaia, Warqueen of fallen Oakhaunt
10. A slim rapier, basket-guard of twisted ivy and gilded, stained with the blood of a vampire prince
11. Aaite, a curved sickle-like blade of deep red horn, said to be carved from a fragment of an angel’s talon
12. Matched set of broadsword, hanger and three daggers, all smoky steel mounted in bronze and ivory and engraved with the same motto — “Endure” — flanked with tiny inset garnets
Multiclassing isn’t built into the Blue Lotus Hack as-is, but all things being equal I don’t see any reason not to have it on the table as an option. The more variety the merrier, says I, and this is one way to handle it.
Something maybe like this:
- first and foremost: since there is no XP, when you gain a level you just decide which class you’re adding the level to
- but remember, this is a 10-level system and you will lose options quickly; you will never “max out” a class if you multiclass
- when you first take a level in a new class you gain:
- hit points according to a roll of that class’s Hit Die
- access to that class’s weapon and armour permissions
- the attack damage of that class, if better than your initial class
- the basic abilities of the class
- choose which class you’re gaining a level in whenever the opportunity comes up; you do not need to abandon your initial class (unless this is a game houserule)
- you do not get to stack hp rolls, or bonuses to attribute checks when leveling up
- use whatever Hit Die or check bonus is appropriate to the gained you just leveled
- only non-caster levels count towards gaining a new ability; only caster levels count towards gaining new gift/spell slots
- if a level is lost due to level drain or similar, start with the most recently gained class; if you can’t remember the order after that, alternate them
- or: drop the highest class level until they match, then alternate
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 map
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.
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