Dicember 2021 – help

Sometimes adventurers are a little more organized than random rapscallions who threw themselves together in a tavern before looking for a ruin to plunder or bandits to, well, plunder. Or, maybe those rapscallions decided to make a decent go at the ruins-spelunking and the bandit eradication and the cleaning up of abandoned graveyards and their restless inhabitants — that sort of thing — and eventually passed along the tricks of the trade to younger, fresher faces.

Or adventuring is more of a cover for finding the ways and means to get the resources needed to push back against an iron fist. That’s also a possibility.

In fact, all these and more are the multi-threaded genesis of the Vine. Less an “adventurer’s guild” and more an interconnected web of chapterhouses, informal associations, whisper networks, chartered “adventuring parties” (where such exist), individual explorers and mysteriously maintained dropboxes, way-houses and gear caches, the Vine — once a budding adventuring sort, young or old, makes a connection — is your best source for weird gear, weirder rumours, tips and tricks, and suggested sources for anything from replacement travel spellbooks to friendly sources of healing magic to the best smith for silvershot weapons to nesting material for an angel’s egg.

Aid received for aid offered, of course. And vice versa.

“Give a little, get a little; we’re all in this crazy thing together, yeah?”
An informal collective of adventurers, explorers, rebels and similar roaming, delving types, connected by their spelunking through ruins and labyrinths and necropolei and trading around rumours, tips and news
– dark green, wine-red and violet; grape or ivy tendril (or related emblem)
– mess kit, scrollcase of scribbled maps and notes, reinforced backpack, lantern and oil or candles, “souvenir” from latest delve

This Vine contact knows of …

01. a deep-forest ravine where a strange blue portal appeared last week
02. a soon-to-arrive band of deer-goblins that make amazing mead
03. a rumoured location to the subterranean cult chambers of Iiifryth Of The Amber Hells
04. a newly discovered sublevel in the Sundered Castle
05. the hidden vices of Marquis Barran, the region’s new conqueror
06. the calculations needed to divine the next appearance of the Pearl Tower, and where
07. a grateful supply trader specializing in trail rations and camp gear
08. the location of Dagger Bright’s newest bandit hold
09. a formula for a balm said to blunt the agony of dragonfire
10. a fervent crusader looking to find a fallen temple to restore and reconsecrate
11. a sorcerer who wants an escort to the magic pool on the Underloft’s fifth marble level
12. what best to bribe the lord’s ailing seneschal with to gain access to The Books

This Vine contact is looking for …

01. a sorcerer who’s willing to take on a wilful apprentice
02. someone who can speak the languages of hobgoblins and unicorns
03. a party to retrieve a fallen friend in the depths of the Bone Cathedral
04. referrals for signing on with a mercenary company for a season
05. clues to the locations of the remaining Night Ruby shards
06. a good source for ingredients for lightning-magic scroll inks
07. the buried granite gateway of the Great Black Delve and its lost halls
08. advice on a source for healing that doesn’t require faith or (too much) charity
09. a body-double for a lordling’s son, just for one night
10. spellcasting strong enough to break the Eleventh Moon Curse
11. leads on iron rations that taste less like wood and have less mushroom
12. a dragon heart, or at least a dragon’s lair and companions to travel with

Dicember 2021 – child

Outside of the sometimes omnipresent street urchins (whether NPCs or player characters) and the occasional sprog in need of rescue, maybe a creepy zombie or glowing-eyed waif, there’s not always that much reference to children of any stripe in rpgs.

To be honest, I’m quite happy with that fact and maaaaybe there’s some selection bias going on because of that.

But hey, sometimes you need to at least acknowledge that youngsters exist, so here’s a few pre-adventuring professions, almost-organizations, unusual origins and similar such sundries that do exactly that acknowledging. Not for playing as children, but acknowledging nonetheless. Not just human youngsters either, because where’s the fun in that?

d8 Childish connections?Belongings
01. Spore CollectorYou gather up the clinging dust from tiny mushrooms and towering ferns, distributing it to new growth-beds and nurturing it to life.hard-sided, partitioned leather satchel; dozen or more stoppered bottles; dusting brush; wooden funnel
02. Keeper Of The RollsYou took up the census for your community, recording births and milestones in life. Use your knowledge wisely, now.ink-kit; bundle of quills or pens; illicit copy of the Rolls; personal genealogy project
03. Former Youth-CursedYou were, for some reason — fae “gift”? cursed enchantment? an act of or descent from the divine? — a child for an unnaturally long time, perhaps decades or centuries. Now you’re finally aging. Now what?several antiquated toys or games; clothing you’ve grown out of but are attached to; many helpful “aunts” and “uncles”
04. BirthwitchThere’s midwives, and then there’s you. You’ll see a birth through to its conclusion safely, right enough, but they have to trust you, not the healer nor the gods.protection-woad; wooden charms; white sheepskin; curved flint knife
05. Creche SingerRaising children together builds bonds and keeps them safe in one place. You were dedicated to teaching the creche’s inhabitants, using catchy songs and memorable rhyming rhythms to impress wisdom on your young charges.memory aids, drawn or written or patterned; musical instrument; small shoulderbag of odds and ends, carvings and props
06. Guardian of the LightThey came to you in the darkness, luminescent saviours. They promised you salvation and healed you. They pressed a gleaming precious thing into your hands. You must keep it safe until its gestation ends.fur-lined carrying pouch or grass basket; dream-journal; smooth, glassy, luminous “egg” the size of two fists together
07. Devoted ShepherdYou spent most of your life protecting the lambs from the wolves. When the reavers came, you did the same for the village nearby. The children trusted you. You will value that always.reinforced crook; heavy fur mantle; broad sickle or knife; wolfsteeth necklace; toy gifted from village child
08. GravecradleSomeone has to soothe the little ones who no longer see the light of day; that someone is you.blessed milk, several children’s shawls, oil lamp, brazier, effigies of toys and treats

friends and foes: another d66 factions and orgs

I just couldn’t help myself, I needed to write up another pile of odd folks for PCs to join, NPCs to represent, and plot hooks to fall off of.

And then I took ages to actually get to writing them because that’s how I roll, alas. Lol.

Just like the last time around, each faction/organization/guild/whatever has a name, a slogan/quote, a line or two explaining them a bit more, faction colours and symbol, and a list of five bits of gear. Also like the last time around, don’t limit a PC’s starting stuff to just the kibble listed here; this is for flavour. Give them half (or all, why not?) beginning funds, or “rations+bedroll+backpack+clothes+1 weapon if desired+2d10 [currency]”, or a starting character package, whichever you’re using — having a few more gribbles won’t break anything.

d66Faction NameFaction Details
11Glass Tears“Life, like glass, is both fragile and wounding, beautiful and wrought from common stuff. As our craft, so goes the world.”
Lampworkers and glassblowers, dedicated to perfecting their craft and using it as an allegory for improving themselves and the world
– coal black and orange; phial
– handful of glass billets, several glass bottles and baubles, blowpipe, shard collection, heavy leather apron
12Icemeisters“The cold soothes well, delights well, preserves well, hides well.”
Tenders of ice-houses and hidden freezes, caterers of frozen confections and whispered repositories of other, more concerning objects needing kept on ice
– silver and pale blue; icicle
– winter cloak, ice-knife, sweet syrups, logbook of requests, coded lists and map of hidden ice-houses
13The Lion’s Paw“Be mighty. Be proud, not prideful. Most of all, be aware of those who look to you when you roar.”
Hedge-knights and self-proclaimed heroes happy to step up for a flower as much as for riches and glory
– gold and brown; lion’s pawprint
– tawny mantle, flashy outfit, letter of recommendation from high or noble house, signet or seal, token of favour
14The Flicker“The shortest moment, the tiniest crumb can be of the utmost importance. Don’t blink.”
Gatherers of secrets and connectors of dots, organized into loose cells with connections in the wildest of places
– white and orange; candle-flame outline
– pouches of small trinkets and bits, scrollcases of scribbled notes, deadletter drop-box, vial of lemon-ink, glass lens
15Absolution“May darkness be cleansed, may the spirit be lifted on milky clouds heavenward.”
Confessors and confidantes who offer listening ears without judgement and a release from secrets and emotional turmoil
– amber and milk; loose spiral
– brazier, charcoal, paper twist of myrrh, pouch of amber nodules, chapbook of blessings, exorcisms and wardings
16Coiling Path“Whisper and tend, carry prayers and curses, and leave no tether behind you as you move on.”
Wandering tenders and menders of consecrated locales in out of the way places, ever ready to replace stones, touch up paint, or murmur a re-dedication
– grey and green; shrine-rune
– node-map of shrines and holy sites (work in progress), skin of pure water, carpenter’s or mason’s tools, carved bowl, holy oil
21Crucible“Disparate parts, and peoples, are ever stronger when combined.”
Sweet-tongued courtiers and middlemen, dedicated to fostering links between individuals, groups and communities — and ever ready to remind others of existing links
– bronze and blue; crucible
– bronze brooch, folio of observations, invitation to society function, copy of historical treaty, puzzlebox
22Greentouch“Not to worry, I’m sure I have something for what ails you.”
Herbalists, with all that that can imply; one man’s meat is another man’s poison, after all. Sometimes literally.
– pale green and dark green; sprout
– paper-twists of seeds and dry herbs, sleepmint, silvered snips, kettle, toxic blossoms
23Farwander“There’s always more to see.”
Sometimes people just want to travel to the horizon and beyond just to make the trip and tell about it. These are those people.
– brown and violet; footprint
– sturdy footwear, well-patched shoulderbag, several packets of letters, cairnstone, coloured cords
24The Letterflies“Everything opens up with the written word, so spread it — secretly if necessary.”
Staunch believers in literacy and what it unlocks, happy to teach letters, draft texts, carve typefaces, and create all manner of small, useful, and sometimes contraband documents to do it
– dark green and white; butterfly
– satchel of pamphlets and lesson sheets, slate and chalk, writing kit, portable press, current ciphers
25Wardens of Years“The march of time must never be forgotten.”
Keepers of history’s events and the passing of days, dedicated — some might say obsessed — with the passing of time
– sand and silver; timepiece
– annals logbook, personal diary, hourglass or hour-candles, year-staff, tally cords
26Knights of the Brine“There’s nothing like the quest for the perfect pickle.”
Pickle enthusiasts united in sharing samples, locations of excellent fruits and vegetables or salts and spices, and iterating on endless recipes while caching crocks across the countryside
– yellow and green; crock
– pickling crock, pouches of salt and bran, bottle of vinegar, pickle samples (extra rations), twists of spices
31Fireheart“In the flame, find yourself.”
Adherents of a meditative philosophy centred around silent self-contemplation while gazing into a single flame, believing it to soothe emotion and reveal one’s future
– orange and red; tongue of flame
– lamp and oil, brazier, personal notes, small pouch of ashes, charcoal
32The Queen’s Hands“Look to the bee, and know grace and gratitude.”
Beekeepers and harvesters of wild honey who wax lyrical about the virtues of the bee and its produce at the drop of a pin; often distributors of both hive produce and new colonies
– gold and golden-brown; bee
– logbook of wild hives, bee skep, satchel of beeswax blocks, crock of honeycomb, dozen beeswax candles
33The Last Dance“Save the last dance for me.”
These are dancers, yes, and sometimes singers and sometimes musicians, united in the goal of bringing liveliness and entertainment (and maybe a pointed tale or two) to any who offer a coin or a wish, whether in taverns, high halls or the open road
– medley of any colours; ring
– bright outfit, musical instrument or dancer’s rings, weighted shawl or scarf, hidden knife, shoulderbag with secret pocket
34Scrapsnipes“There’s nothing that can’t be repaired, reused, or repurposed.”
Scavengers of discards and maestros of rusted metal who don’t turn up their noses at any object, no matter how broken or battered; if it can’t be reused, it can be remade. And they often think the same about living beings.
– rust and black; broken nail
– sack of metal bits, tiny anvil, mallet, sewing kit, crock of lacquer, patchwork cloak
35The Scarlet Bough“The days grow short and we must all prepare for what’s coming next. in order to see the days grow long again.”
Harvesters and preservers who descend on a crop to help with the reaping and butchering one day, string up drying fruits and meats the next, and know reliable ways to prepare and preserve nearly anything edible
– scarlet and orange; treebranch
– smoked joint, sickle, knowledge and access to several storage caches, sack of seedcorn, portable quern
36The Silver Key“Swift, and proper, application of all law is the only just application of law.”
Whether barristers or archivists, self-informed sages or those who learned in the trenches, all members agree on one thing; that the law of a land must be just, and it must apply to all equally, or it is no law at all.
– silver and white; key
– law codes for several cities and kingdoms, packet of letters, set of skeleton keys, cipher book, carrier pigeon
41Openers of the Way“There are worlds beyond this one, and it’s just a matter of finding where intersections are.”
Tracers of essence-lines and mappers of weak barriers between existences, whether for curiosity, wariness, power, or simple verification
– colour spectrum; rainbow
– homemade map of lines and nodes, pendulum, glass bell, iron wand, silver-tipped wand
42Heartweave“Have you heard the latest from the Grey Wind? Or received a copy of their writings? What did you think?”
A network of poets and storytellers committed to spreading their works by written copy and formal gatherings both
– cream and lavender; eight-petaled flower
– hand-bound collection of poems, seal engraved with pseudonym, letter of introduction, packet of fancy papers, writing gear
43Heaven’s Blood“I’ll do what you cannot.”
Sin-eaters, pursuers of vengeance, and upholders of the most visceral of oaths
– crimson and gold; droplet
– sealed contract, consecrated balm, black razor, crimson veil, sinner’s chalice
44Daysend“At the border between day and night lie revelations.”
Mystics and muses fascinated with the flow of colours and light in the twilight hours and the inspiration — the tingle of spirit, some day — that those hours grant the fervent
– pink and orange; disc
– sitting-cushion, prism, dew-collecting cloth, twilight-dyed sash or scarf, scroll of personal revelations
45Walkers at Midnight“None who prey on heart’s blood will be suffered to exist. I swear it.”
Dedicated hunters, these, targeting the worst of the blood-drinkers, soul-eaters and others of their ilk. Those who feed lightly and with care are spared … usually
– black and moon-yellow; dagger
– silvered resin, rowanwood stakes, holy water or oil, warding charm, wineskin
46The Winding River“Tell me who someone is, and I will tell you where they hail from.”
Tracers of genealogies of all sorts — bloodlines of people, of beasts, even of crops — and ever dedicated to noting every side-branch, secret and dead-end
– grey and blue; water braid
– salvaged letters, work ledger, illuminator’s gear, maps to several catacombs, copy of chosen genealogy
51Wyrmstouch“We claim the great beasts’ mark as our own.”
Dragon hunters of a different stripe, linked to the wyrms — and, for some, to each other — through being anointed with, or consuming, dragon’s blood
– dark red and midnight blue; flame
– dragon scale, wax-lined drinking horn, packet of soothing herbs, tally-notched torc, map to dragon’s lair
52Garden Eternal“Somewhere out there lies the source of eternal life; waiting to be plucked, perhaps even in plain sight.”
The fruit of eternal life grants immortality, these folks believe — but which fruit, and consumed in what manner? And where will it be found? The quest continues —
– rose and emerald; stylized fruit tree
– lidded basket, several kinds of fruit (fresh and preserved), scraps of pomery manuscripts, cutting from fruit tree, scrawled recipe notes
53Eyes of the Cat“Where the cat leads, we follow; what we discover, the cat must know.”
Not quite cat worshipers but not far from it, being staunch believers in feline wisdom — and feline bestowing of secrets and curses
– bronze and black; cat’s eye
– cat companion, riding satchel (for cat), pouch of smoked fish, tiger’s eye amulet, libation dish
54Bonescribes“The departed live again through the new voices we give them.”
A tightly-knit organization of copyists, scribes and illuminators who create their works with bone black pigments and pens carved from bone, all obtained from those who were lost
– ivory and black; skeletal hand
– pouch of bone black cakes, inkstone and water well, case of bone pens and styli, sheaf of parchment, femoral scrollcase
55Canticle“Inspiration, composition, at any cost.”
These poets, songsmiths and authors chase after dreams and visions, throwing themselves into the pursuit of new enlightenments with which to feed their ravenous muse
– teal and gold; teardrop
– draft of current work, skin of spirits or poppy, pilgrimage badge, instrument or manuscript, diary of revelations
56Black Heralds“None so mighty once they’ve been laid low in mud and blood.”
Battlefield scavengers who bring rough mercy and mercenary gain in equal measure, trading trophies and mementos as readily as they ransom their catches to the high folk
– black and grey; raven
– sturdy carry-pack, chopping dagger, bloodstained noble’s blazon, collection of battlefield oddments, pennant
61The Verdurance“Bring the entire world into the comforting embrace of all green things.”
Planters of seeds, couriers of sprouts, grafters of limbs; if a plant can be encouraged to grow wherever they pass, these dedicated souls will place at least one before moving on
– leaf green and brown; sprout
– seed pouches; sheaf of cuttings; small shears; folding trowel; logbook of plantings
62The Stone Egg“We find what sleeps within the stone.”
Carvers of alabaster and greenstone, chert and serpentine, who divine deeper meaning in the forms that their work creates
– dark gray and white; egg
– small chisels, mallet, grease-stick, satchel of stone nodules, finished statuette
63Roaring Mice“Everything ends, but only if we allow it. Fight back.”
Doesn’t matter if it’s crumbling structures, corrupted infrastructures, or the forces of entropy itself; these would-be rebels push against the notion that there’s nothing that can stop the fall
– violet and flame; mouse
– bead-code, chirurgeon’s satchel, purloined document, shining-knife, crafter’s toolkit
64Tomorrow’s Rose“Lessen pain by sharing it, redirecting it.”
Artisans of roses, yes, and every rose symbolizing a scar that’s been shared, accepted, and assimilated; for them people, like roses, continue long past being cut down
– burgundy and dark green; rose
– skin of rosewater, vial of attar, rose petal preserves, briar torc, bundle of rose seedlings
65Imperishable“The heavens hear those who give their hopes and dreams to eternity.”
Instead of searching for fates amongst the stars, these dreamcrafters choose to chart their own chosen destinies and hang them on the jewels of the night sky
– royal blue and silver; scatter of stars
– star charts, miniature orrery, collection of notes, paper twist of starcrystal, dream scrolls
36The Final Light“We will lead them home.”
Psychopomps bearing a soft glow and a quiet wish through the dark — whether true or metaphorical — to grant wandering spirits their final rest.
– pale gold and dark grey; pumpkin
– lantern staff, shroud-shawl, foxfire candles, chalice, pouch of consecrated ashes
as before, none of these groups are archetype-locked.
combine them with whatever class (or whatever) you wish, it’s cool that way

who’s that you’re with?: d66 factions and orgs

I’ve had some one-word prompt tables from various writing and art challenges squirrelled away, and finally sat myself down and did something with smashing a few together. My train of thought, over too many weeks to admit, went like this:

  1. I kind of want to write up some starting equipment arrays, like that one in Knock!, but I need to make not just like the one in Knock! …
  2. *keeps on making little phrase+themed equipment list starting ‘kits’ in pocketrpg stuff*
  3. That table of Wilusan factions in City Of Chains worked out pretty good …

And in the end, I took the route of letting all three smash together. Lol.

So here are 36 factions/organizations/guilds/however you’d like to call them. They each have a name, a slogan/quote, a line explaining them a bit more, faction colours and symbol, and a list of five bits of gear. You can use them for quick NPC shorthand, or as groups PCs can belong to, or both.

On equipment: If using these as beginning PC options, I highly recommend also giving PCs a general “starting package”; maybe half the usual beginning funds, or something along the lines of “rations+bedroll+backpack+clothes+1 weapon if desired+2d10 [currency]”, adjusted to taste. Don’t stint them adventuring basics because they chose a bit more flavour is what I’m getting at here — there’s a reason that with very few exceptions these faction blocks have no weapons etc in them.

In any case, on with the main event —

d66Faction NameFaction Details
11Barbed Walkers“The merest scratch may bring low the unworthy.”
Quiet observers and quieter meddlers, most often seen on the back roads and in the back alleys offering a bit of bread, a word carried along, a blade in the ribs
– brown and rust-red; briar knot
– wax tablet or slate, dozen cords for message-knots, edge-sharpened trowel, weathercloak, thorn-vial
12Guiding Light“We find our way through the darkness together.”
More than lantern-bearers and candlesmiths, freely offering words of advice, murmurs of encouragement or simply a supportive silence and open hand
– pale gold and dark amber; candle flame
– lantern staff, oil flask and wicks, hand-warmer, counting beads, dozen candles
13The Unseen“Be like the small crawling ones of the world; unnoticed, and therefore everywhere.”
To some, the best place to be is hidden in plain sight. Or, even better, to be able to insinuate oneself wherever one wishes, whether the long-sealed manor or the exclusive gala.
– bright green and brown; a beetle
– fifty feet of strong rope, barbed gloves, sturdy shoulderbag, notebook of infiltrations, pouch of disguises
14Respitalers“Let none be left in suffering and pain.”
There are healers, and there are healers; and then there are those who walk fearlessly into the jaws of battle and pestilence, without judgement or hesitation, to do what must be done.
– dark green and blood red; open-palmed hand
– balm-box, golden needles and silk thread, scouring soap, coils of bandages, misericorde
15Joyhearts“If there’s not enough hope in the world, it’s up to us to create it.”
Entertainers and clamourors, dashing street actors and colourful fools straight out of the tales and embellished histories, anyone willing to dedicate a smile and a song.
– medley of bright colours; butterfly
– well-thumbed book of tales, bright-coloured cloak, musical instrument or gameboard, packets of news, broadsheet paints
16Alraune Network“It’s alright if you don’t entirely trust me. But do listen to me.”
Embracing the ways of hedges and herbs, poultices and poxes, whispers and hexes, roots and bones and waxy strange sweets from dogeared family tomes works better than given credit for.
– orange and maroon; mandrake fruit
– pouches of seeds or dry fungi or tiny bones, coils of multicoloured yarn, stoppered horn of special salve, layered cloak, yellowed girdle-book, storage gourd
21Eel-Peers“The deeps and torrents clutch their bounty close, but not from us.”
Beachcombers and bargefolk, fishers and foragers, purveyors of treasures and tales and, yes, an abundance of seafood
– pale grey and sea-green; coiled eel
– weighted net, leister and hooks, oiled mantle, pearly ornament, hand-drawn map
22Cornucopia“May a thousand thousand dishes grace a thousand thousand tables.”
Whether frugal or fancy, nothing but the most respect is made to prepare and present food; and woe to any who would waste any morsel without cause
– golden brown and cream; cooking vessel
– extra rations of all sorts, mess kit, collapsible firedog and pot, spice packets, waxed cloths
23Souls Of Silver“Change without breaking, come back from nothing.”
Mystically inclined and determined to withstand whatever the world throws at them, concealing their hardiness behind reflections, mirrors, and metamorphoses
– silver, white; moon disc
– round mirror, silver bell, timepiece, personal diary, moonstone shard
24Chasseurs Wych“The wild summerlands lie under hill, and no venom is sweeter, no chains softer.”
Changeling-child, Bright One-cursed, stumbler into a witchfire revel or bearing quicksilver blood, it does not matter, only the glory and cruel mercy of Faerie matters.
– ruby red and royal purple; fleur-de-lis
– butterfly-wing tunic, pouch of breadcrumbs, graven pebbles, twig dolly, hunting horn
25The Swift“Let the heavens themselves shake with the thunder of hooves.”
Horse-folk. The gentling of wild-running beasts, the soothing of newborn foals, breeders of the most stunning of mounts, all this and more. Woe to those who harm horses.
– grey and deep brown; horse
– bitless halter and reins, saddle and tack, loyal horse, currying tools, ribbons and banner
26Grey Shawls“Mourning is a needed, natural thing, and it may last; so long as none are harmed.”
Professional mourners, congregating not to feast on grief and loss but to guide those grieving through their loss without losing even more
– soft grey and dusty blue; ring
– grey shawl, pouch of ashes, watered wine, incense pendant, paper and ink
31The Bright Path“As history unfolds, as the roads wind on, we will ever find our way, and our fates, in the stars.”
Navigators and diviners, searching the night skies above for the answers to what lies ahead in all ways and measures
– blue-black and silver; multi-pointed star
– astrolabe, star charts, birth charts, road map, starmetal bauble
32Wildwalkers“Everything you ever need is outside farms and roads and cities. Come and find it.”
Hunters and tamers of beasts, foragers of wild produce and crafters of some of the most prized of wild material, from pine mushrooms to pelts to rainbows of dyes
– rufous and black; claw
– fur mantle, dozen snares, pouch of herbals, paintstones, wild sheep fleece
33Pact Scarlet“Life is in the blood, and the blood is not to be wasted without purpose or honour.”
Executioners of grave verdicts and grim oaths both, whether life’s-blood washes their blades, crosses their lips or signs the documents in their care
– deep red and steel grey; droplet
– executioner’s weapon, blood ink, unfilled contracts, wax and signet, sealed drinking horn
34Wayforger’s Guild“Freedom is for all, and for all time.”
None shall be constrained, say these folk; not by locks, nor confinement, nor small-minded ignorance nor crushing powers, because ways can be found around all.
– blue and green; key
– skeleton key, law codes, diamond-toothed file, writ of passage, writ of archive membership
35Widening Gyre“Our winged kin know much that they can teach us.”
Avian enthusiasts in all ways, raising birds from pigeon to peregrine, hummingbird to harrier, and finding wisdom in both the act and in the soaring of their charges
– brass and grey; feather
– trained bird, packets of feathers, notes on bird-flight divination, mist net, collection of leg rings
36Open Hearth“Be ye great or small, be welcome; we all need a moment’s warmth.”
Hospitality within one’s means is the philosophy, given without price or extracted oaths, whether a warm place to sleep by the fireside or the offer of shared cloak and travel-bread on the road.
– dark orange and yellow; open gate
– firestarter, extra cloak, extra rations, field dressings, horn of mead or cider
41Scribes of Whispers“What came before, we record in the now and pass to the future.”
Scholars, copyists and explorers of ruins, believing that peoples may come and go, but their beliefs and traditions must live on, whether passed on from those who share or found in broken remnants
– copper and ivory; rings linked in a triangle
– scribe’s kit, antique map, dozen blank scrolls, oil paper and charcoal, offerings for the long dead
42The Cresting Wave“There’s no greater joy than the open sea and the salt breeze for your breath.”
Sail-trimmers and shipwrights, fishers and privateers and swift conveyors of people and messages both, and pleased to boast loudly and musically about their beloved ocean
– ultramarine and teal; wave
– oilskin coat, carpenter’s tools, canvas sack of sea-treasure and stockfish, great net, whaletooth comb
43Cats-Cradle“When all you have left is each other, leave no one behind.”
An informal, ever expanding network of the dispossessed, the down on their luck, and the overlooked in society, dedicated to distributing what they do acquire
– any colours; tangle of yarn
– patchwork wrap, collection of chapbooks, waterskin, half-dozen candlestubs, mark-code and chalk
44Nightingale’s Voice“Find the beauty in all things.”
Artists and artisans, yes, and collectors of beautiful things when they can, yes; but beauty is also in a smooth grey pebble and the work of farmer’s gnarled hands, and they will make that known
– white and sandy; songbird
– unpublished play, whittled animal figurines, metal statuette, list of performers, glass beads
45Bloomwrights“All existence is as ephemeral as a drifting petal, so make your own meaning out of it.”
For these connoiseurs of blossoms and cultivators of gardens, their handiwork reflects the way of all things, even life itself, fading away almost before it’s enjoyed — but that enjoyment is enough.
– shell pink and gold; petal
– pouch of seeds, fresh cuttings, flowers pressed in parchment, tiny bloom in a phial, wax tablet and stylus
46Rill-Roamers“We are the rivers that water the people all around us.”
Communities are often flung far and wide across forbidding wilderness; and as long as they are, there will be a webwork on foot, by beast, and stranger still, carrying news and goods.
– sky blue and tawny; wheel
– sturdy boots, heavy cloak, annotated map, ciphered drop-off locations, letter of commendation
51Fire-Eyes“Yesterday already happened and tomorrow never comes, so enjoy today.”
Whether hosting a revel or indulging in someone else’s festivities, keeping all involved happy, entertained and ready for more is the name of the game
– orange and gold; stylized eye
– extravagant outfit, amphora of wine, little scrolls of personal details, copper-fringed stole, written promise of gift
52The Tapestry“You see it coming together? The fibre, the thread, the warp, the weft? As the weaving, the world.”
Ostensibly a cottage organization of spinners and weavers, and weave they do; but the average weaver doesn’t hide messages in the colours of skeins or the patterns of their cloths
– gradations of a single colour; spindle whorl
– handspindle, backstrap loom, several skeins, shoulderbag of roving, packets of dye
53Longwatch“None shall cross this threshold nor lay hands upon my charge while I draw breath.”
Guardians of places, objects, relics, people, and even intangible oaths, pledged to do their utmost to keep their pledge safe even from themselves
– ivory and steel; shield
– padlock and key, brazier, stormcloak, sealed pledge, oath-ring
54Prayerwalkers“It’s about having something to believe in. Or someone.”
Not as strictly spiritual as the name implies, so long as there is honest faith in a thing or a person, a faith that buoys the faithful as much after their travels as during them
– deep rose and dark blue; heart
– pilgrimage token, devotional ribbon, letters to the faithful, woolen mantle, shoulderbag
55Roots Of The Wise“There’s comfort and courageousness in gathering and spreading knowledge.”
Scholars and taletellers, professional and traditional, united in their quest to learn whatever they can about whatever they can to pass it along their web and beyond
– leaf green and ivory; cupped hand
– memory-aid trinkets, manuscript-in-process, list of local fellows, fragments of ancient epic, restricted tome
56The Pack“We provide.”
Hunters and trackers of frightful creatures and rightful game; the first brought low in defense of others, the second brought down to sustain them.
– grey and orange; pawprint
– snares, fur cloak, trail notes, hunting horn, pouch of marker-stones
61Border Saints“Reach out to those who just weren’t ready to walk away from the world.”
Seekers of the dear and forgotten departed, for conversation, or just to let the dead touch the living world and be remembered
– yellow-green and silver grey; bisected star
– incense burner, paper and ink, records of the dead, anointing oil, candles
62Zenith“All good things come from the sun and its rays, and the sun teaches us temperance thereby.”
Calm and cool-headed mediators, as well as ardent horticulturalists, bleachers of cloth and preservers of goods; all things in their proper measure, by their light.
– copper and gold; sunburst
– magnifying lens, parasol, handful of prisms, sitting pillow, scroll of personal musings
63Woodspire“Spread the forest’s reach by carrying its offspring afield and surrounding all with the warmth of its wood.”
Inspired woodcrafters and carpenters that reject building in stone, whether structures or smaller creations, but best known for the seedlings they lovingly plant by their scores after felling a tree
– brown and pine green; seedling
– adze, set of chisels, handful of burlap-wrapped seedlings, willow basket, sack of acorn meal
64The Ivory Key“We all deserve to rest.”
Buriers of the lost or broken dead, restorers of defiled graves and skeletal artisans who murmur reassuring verses over the bones they set carefully into place
– ivory and white; skull
– burial shroud, engraving burins, book of eulogies, folding trowel, bone prayer beads
65Lightning Riders“Don’t worry, we’ll get it; you have my word.”
Others may carry messages or parcels, but these folks will get that request to its destination, or bring some other request back again, with the directness of a thunderbolt
– pale yellow and dark blue; lightning bolt
– wax-sealed letter, locked puzzle box, map to a crypt, annotated trail map, reinforced boots
66Wardens Of Dream“Anything can happen inside the dreaming worlds. Learn from that.”
It’s not that dreams are believed to be as real, or more real, than the waking world, no; but spend enough time inside them, and what you experience can affect your waking world.
– ivory and tawny brown; spiral horn
– herbal-filled pillow, scrapbooked journal, dream-pearl, sketch of another dreamer, fleece mantle
note that none of these are “archetype”-locked, even if you use character classes.
mix and match to your heart’s content.

[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

[Troika] Silver Dragon’s Forest backgrounds, Pt. 01

Curious Refugee From Darkness

Sure, the Silver Dragon’s Forest holds cursed sunlight and suspicious inhabitants (whose delicious life you long to consume), but it still always sounded better than jockeying for shadow powers, blight geodes and conjured servants in the caverns of the Four Courts.

So you braved the tunnels and pled your case with the Dead Priest.

He lowered the razored rings of his staff — and gave you glistening red fruits to eat.

So many tiny little lives inside.


But …

It can’t be that easy, can it?


* ornate clothing of shadowsilk, scales and iron filigree (treat as light armour)
* black crystal shrillblade (treat as sword)
* broad hat
* veil
* 3d6 pomegranates or kiwis or dragonfruit or pitahaya (treat as one Provision each)
* scalehound on a leash
* two blight geodes


2 – Sword Fighting
2 – Etiquette
1 – Tunnel Fighting
1 – Poison
1 – Spell: Fear
2 – Spell: Leech
1 – Spell: Sentry


Dead Priest’s Acolyte

Darkness for to battle darkness.

To keep the souleaters beneath the Forest where they belong, you joined the Dead Priest in his eternal vigilance; but you still live, and you can’t stay still forever.

Your armoured robes and bladed crozier glint darkly under silvery branches and verdant leaves and it’s odd to deal with the living again, but you’ll take every opportunity you can get.

Besides, you’re just being proactive in your dedication. Right?


* robes of satin and steel articulation (treat as medium armour)
* bladed crozier (treat as spear)
* maps of the current upper underworld
* schematic maps of the major Forest points
* a pouch of salt
* a flask of consecrated oil
* a pillow stuffed with myrrh and rose petals and dust


2 – Awareness
2 – Necrology
1 – Spear Fighting
1 – Healing
2 – Spell: Flash
1 – Spell: Coal Resolve
1 – Spell: Random



Okay, you aren’t really what they call a “fairy”. More like a conglomeration of baboon and cat finished off with a pewter-purple shaggy pelt, two blunt horns (great for butting heads, getting signals and carving glyphs into), and stubby furry wings that shouldn’t let you fly (but you fly anyway, because).

But that doesn’t really matter, because you, like all your frenemies and associates, have other things to occupy your time than what the rest of the Forest calls you. It’s a competition to see who amasses the best and most interesting Things, the most outlandish stories, and the most panache, and you’re planning to win by cleverness, loopholes, or just plain orneriness.


* wings (fly as fast as a human can run)
* 12d6 silvers’ worth of trinkets, gewgaws and “fairy” charms
* claws (treat as knife)
* pouches, waistcoat pockets (with or without waistcoat), silky sashes and other places to hide your stash
* six secrets
* a glowing light-tablet diary
* a sack of pearlshrooms
* an orbiting gloworb


2 – Fly
1 – Evaluate
2 – Second Sight
2 – Bluffing
2 – Spell: Animate
1 – Spell: Babble

[Troika] Anuran Knight of Pearl and Glass

It took some doing, preparing yourself for your next metamorphosis, not so physically dramatic as you previous change perhaps but one yet ripe with meaning. Striding gracefully, you wield sword and secrets in the service of all, even those put off by your translucently dappled skin and bulbous golden eyes.

And if they doubt your heart, well, it’s there for all to see.


* vine-and-glass sword
* pearly tea set
* letters of vows and secrets
* pistolet
* fancy ever-wet satin blouse (treat as light armour)

Advanced Skills

* 3 Acrobatics
* 1 Sword Fighting
* 2 Climb
* 2 Etiquette
* 2 Spell – Life Line
* 1 Spell – random