36 (d66) Spells

This is what happens when I’m trying to jumpstart my brain, I guess? *lol*

11. Traveler’s Drop:  Conjure a glassy bead roughly the size of a thumbnail, in any colour or pattern desired.  When worn prominently, protects the wearer against mundane mishaps while traveling for three days.  You cannot have more than three drops active at once.

12. Stoneflower Emulation:  Transmute yourself or another into a dormant, hibernating form reminiscent of a low boulder or clutch of greyish stones.  You may “sleep” like this, unaging, until a designated time has elapsed (no more than a year) or until water soaks all around the “stone”.

13. The Stars To Guide You:  Designate a star or constellation of stars; once a week, so long as the stars may be seen, you may ask a single questions or be guided in a specific direction until sunrise.  The stars see much, but are at a remove from the world; consider their responses carefully.  The spell lasts a season.

14. Heart Of The Beast:  Cast this spell on a slain monster’s heart (or reasonably equivalent organ or portion), then consume it.  At any time, you may take the devoured creature’s shape, once, for 10 minutes.  You will retain some physical mark of this transformation afterwards.

15. Wallflower:  For the next hour, provided they move as little as possible, the target of this spell is just more furniture or ornament to anyone viewing them; they are seen, but simply do not register.  (changing places or positions while someone’s back is turned is fine.)

16. Sweetveil:  A filmy, silky ribbon of power drifts around one’s shoulders, to be wrapped around one’s head and face; it blocks miasma, mundane or otherwise, and allows breathing in all environments for 2 hours.

21. Fish Out Of Water:  For the next seven days, the target must fully immerse themselves in water for at least two hours a day or be incapacitated, all efforts having a 50% chance of failure.  The spell doesn’t grant water breathing, but keeping one’s face wet will do.

22. Vista:  Up to six individuals touch a document – not necessarily a book, any form of recording knowledge will do – as the spell is cast.  All involved will see the contents of the document play out vividly in their mind as if unfolding before their eyes, and somehow all within an hour at most.  The spell does not, alas, guarantee comprehension.

23. Tif’s Bluebonnet:  Conjures a cap – or if you prefer, an actual bonnet – of shimmering sky-blue shining “fabric” onto the head.  In the next conflict, all projectiles will unerringly aim for – and hit, harmlessly – the bonnet.  This is often rather traumatic for the wearer!  So, it only works once a day.

24. Drawn From The Soul:  A personal weapon spell.  The first time it is cast, choose the following: shape, appearance, physical state, an elemental damage type if desired, and a physical bane (for example, a hard-light, golden shortbow that looks like flame, deals lighting damage and is wolf-bane).  Whenever subsequently cast, the weapon will always take the chosen form; it lasts for 8 actions.  Its standard abilities are longsword damage, longbow range if applicable, and doubles damage against its bane.

25. Personal Web Assistant:  Conjures a surprisingly graceful, metallic spider from another realm to serve the caster or a designated recipient faithfully for 6 hours.  The spider-construct does not fight, but it is the size of a kitten to a collie (as desired), can record conversations or take physical notes (expressing them onto resinous “silk” sheets), manipulate tools, scout or carry messages, and haul 10-50 lbs. depending on size.  It does dutifully report its activities to its otherworldly superiors when its shift is over.

26. This Is The Place:  Cast this spell on a deliberately crafted cairn, monument, begarlanded area, or any other place dedicated to a specific, notable entity.  If a deity (or similar entity), they directly hear any pleas and receive doubled offerings; if mortal, they feel invigorated (doubled chances to succeed) and receive strange sweet rations from the aether which are the pleas and prayers; this effect remains on the physical locale for one day.  Godlings have been known to be created from consistent usage of this spell, for good or ill.

31. Scribework Distillation:  With a specially prepared phial or bottle in hand, the caster holds a text above its mouth and casts this spell, and the entire contents of the pages slide off and drain into the phial.  Once sealed, it may be carried indefinitely; poured over a blank volume, it restores the contents (allowing for changes in size).  Shattering a phial loses the contents in a splash of iridescent ink.

32. Skyclad:  Absolutely a spell for appearance’s sake, when cast onto an article of clothing, that clothing takes on the appearance of the sky, shifting as the sky does – brilliant azure, stormy greys, aflame with sunset, and so on.  Duration depends on clothing area, from 12 hours for a scarf to 2 for a fancy formal gown.

33. Far-Roamer:  Conjures up an ephemeral spirit (with any appearance desired), capable of performing any of the following assigned tasks: carry a message, find an individual and report back, bring back a message.  The spirit can travel unseen, and is as fast as an eagle.  It is possible that the spell duration (4 hours) runs out before the roamer completes its task(s); the caster will know if it dissolves unfinished.

34. Tiny Grass Is Dreaming:  In a 30’ radius, the ground – even flooring – slowly grows a carpet of lush, soft green grass over the next 1d4 minutes.  All remaining inside the area of the grass when it has finished growing feel a gentle sleepiness coming over them; all who don’t fight it sleep for an hour and wake refreshed as a full night’s rest, calm, and having shared a dream of quiet cohabitation and happiness.

35. Plaguepurge:  Draws illness out of a target in the form of a twisted, diabolical creature which the subject must defeat to be cured; a cold may be a small verminous creature, a life-threatening sickness like unto anything from a bear to a dragon.  Others may lend aid, but the patient must land the finishing blow.

36. Pocket In The Glass:  Erects a comfortable work(“work”)place in a wrinkle in the world.  From the outside, a door-height hairline of light; on the inside 100’ sq. of work-tables, illuminator’s desks, fountain, couches, and two small facilities of the caster’s choice, from a silversmith’s bench to a potter’s wheel, all contained in what appears to be a glass-walled hall with a sprawling vista beyond.  Access to the pocket lasts 6 hours, and objects created inside may be removed but the conjured tools cannot.

41. Iahi’s Scintillating Lace:  Covers up to 20’ sq. in a plane – even if midair – in an intricate pattern of floral lacework in constantly shifting, brilliant colours.  Just seeing the lace mesmerizes for 1-10 minutes; touching it causes injury like a dagger, lacy welts appearing on the flesh.  Lasts 1d4 hours.

42. Moonmilk:  Cast on at least a flask of milk under the full moon, creating a luminescent draft that prevents contracting lycanthropy (or represses its effects) for a single night if consumed in total.  The drinker’s eyes give off a faint moonlight glow while the effect is active.

43. Rainsaint’s Mantle:  Creates a cooling, enfolding mantle (with hood, if desired) of raindrops, like a silk-fine fabric of rain that never actually soaks you.  While wearing the mantle, hot or desiccating environments cause no distress, and heat and fire damage is halved.  The mantle lasts 4 hours, but may be dismissed earlier to grant the water to completely quench another’s thirst.

44. Final Wish Whispered:  Designate a recipient for the spell; the other target is the caster.  If the caster is killed in the next 24 hours – or another fate specified during casting occurs – the other party instantly knows of the death and any other vital bits of information the caster wished to pass along, up to six discrete details.

45. Narah’s Clubhouse Code:  Trace a special sigil onto the skin of up to six people, including the caster if desired.  For the next 48 hours, all those marked can leave sorcerous markings of up to six letters, glyphs or small doodles on any surface, just by tracing their fingertips, and only those marked by the spell can see them.

46. Viridian Harvester’s Talons:  The subject’s hands (or equivalent) warp into green-bronze, scaled talons with biliously emerald claws.  Any creature struck by the talons takes damage as by a shortsword – and calves away a cubed ration of disturbingly jerky-like, faintly sweet nutriment.  (a plant may provide something more vegetal.  maybe.)  The talons persist for five attacks or other actions.  It’s good for you!  Honest!

51. Torchbearer’s Warding:  Cast on a lit torch, this spell lies dormant but ready until the torchbearer is attacked.  Then a coiling, prickly, smoky tentacle erupts from the torch like an enraged serpent to slash at the assailant – up to 15’ away – with burning fangs that injure like a shortsword.  The spell can be cast on a lantern, but will only cause dagger damage.  It must be recast after a conflict in which it was triggered.

52. Bonethorns:  The target’s skeleton erupts in scores of hand-length, viciously sharp thorns – or appears to, as the caster prefers.  If real, the target may deal unarmed damage as a longsword and gain chainmail-equivalent protection, but the pain leaves them able to act only half as often; if illusion, only a boost to intimidation and fear effects is granted, forcing opponents to test their resolve to fight.  The spell lasts 4 actions regardless.

53. Brassbite:  Any lock or similar mechanism enchanted by this spell will sprout strange grinding fangs inside its mechanism – and will cut and shear through the next key, probe or other tool inserted, unless it was touched to the lock while the spell was being cast.

54. Hutling Dasher:  It may not hoist an actual hut, it’s true, but this spell does grant strong clawed birdie legs to anything that carries things, from barrel-sized to a respectable wagon, allowing it to travel at horse-speed for 8 hours total. (you can take breaks.)  The spell causes the legs to lower the “body” safely before disappearing when the spell ends.

55. Trembling Candle:  This spell may either enchant a real, burning candle, or create a tiny, floating candle flame.  Regardless of choice, the caster designates up to four subjects present when the spell is cast; the flame will change colours, to the caster’s eyes, to reflect the emotional state of the subject(s).  Lasts 2 hours or until the candle is snuffed out.

56. Kaleidoflutter:  Fills a 20’ radius area with fluttering, clinging, baffling butterflies in a riot of colours that flock over 3d4 targets within the area of effect.  Victims mobbed by the butterflies move at half speed and are effectively blinded.  Lasts for 10 minutes.

61. Aka’s Equilibrium:  This spell grants a brief preternatural insight into whatever the recipient is currently attempting or experiencing, allowing a series of instinctive adjustments as they work.  One test or similar action, may be reattempted, the outcome now assured.  May only be used once a day per individual, because so many perceptions strain the senses.

62. Wrapped With A Bow:  Swathes up to 10 sq. feet in a tough, satiny substance, tucking whatever is contained into the optimally compact shape for easy transport. (yes, you can add an actual bow.)  The content’s freshness, if applicable, is quadrupled in duration.  Do not attempt on living beings (fails, gets gross); cut free with a sharp knife.

63. Comforting Calm:  A soothing sort of warm fuzziness settles over all in eyeshot, like receiving the equivalent of a welcome hug.  Fear effects and other adverse emotional influences are removed, and – pending the caster’s and others’ behaviours – a far more positive reaction from an encounter may be achieved.  This spell is also known as let’s-be-friends.

64. Morma’s Patches:  Breaks down any sort of discarded material – preferably but not necessarily organic – and magically weaves, sews and felts it together into a particolour, patchwork blanket of surprising warmth and ruggedness.  The blanket lasts for 8 hours, or is permanent if honestly given away as a gift to another in need.

65. Othni’s Burrow:  Digs a burrow up to 4’ wide and 12’ long, in any direction, through any material, be it earth, stone, sea, or most anything else.  Even the air, but good luck finding it.  The burrow is sound, ends in a blunt, rounded chamber slightly wider than the burrow itself, and lasts 8 hours.

66. A Bit Of Green In The Dark:  Sprouts a seedling no more than an inch tall, nestled in a translucent sphere half-filled with soil.  It can be watered by resting the sphere in the water; it will hover around the caster or whoever the spell was cast for.  So long as the seedling is tended and is not destroyed, its tender cannot be targeted by negative mental influences.  Over the span of a month it grows into … well, many possible things, depending on its treatment.

And also! These spells are released under Creative Commons — CC-BY 4.0!
Which means you can use use them in your own stuff, as long as I’m credited (or credited for the original I spose, if you radically remix —

36 Spells by taichara © 2023 by taichara is licensed under CC BY 4.0 


Some seek power through acts of physical strength, some through erudition. Some petition so-called higher powers instead, seeking to channel that power through themselves.

You have chosen another way, a far more pointed way. You have been inducted into — or have woven together for yourself, from bits of lore and subtle hints from prodigies and other, odder things — a path to cultivating your own, inner power, one that is of you and only you.

Along that path you will clash with beasts, spirits, monsters, and fellow cultivators jealous of your power, following a rival philosophy, or simply seeking to thwart you personally.

But if you reach the end of that path?



Prime Requisites: WIS and CHA
Attack: as Cleric
Saves: as Magic-User
Hit Dice: 1d4
Armour Allowed: None
Weapons Allowed: Staff, dagger, and one chosen weapon or object to use as weapon
Languages: Common, Alignment

* Spiritual Weapon: Choose a specific type of weapon (shortsword, spear, dagger, etc). By bonding with a specific example of that weapon, you may treat it as a +1 magical weapon with 1d6 base damage; this bonus increases by +1 at 5th and 10th level. You may select a non-weapon object; in your hands, it now causes 1d6 damage.

At 3rd level, you may use your spiritual weapon to cast a bolt of damaging energy. This bolt has a range of 50′ and does 1d4 damage, increasing to 2d4 at 7th level.

Losing your spiritual weapon requires hunting out a replacement and spending one day and 100gp/level x2 to bond to the new weapon.

There are known tales of cultivators enchanting their spiritual weapons to great effect.

* Sect: All cultivators belong to a sect, whether formally — trained as a member of the sect — or informally, having absorbed the lessons of cultivation from a manual or pieced their path together independently via snips of wisdom and lore. This sect determines an ideal to follow, a ban or taboo, and often a theme or type of thematics for its particular stripe of cultivation philosophy.

Much like knightly orders, cultivation sects can become elaborate and byzantine in their codes, rules and symbols — and clash with rival sects at the drop of a pin, especially over resources and promising new students.

* Spirit Sense: A cultivator has a 2-in-6 chance to sense the presence of a spirit, ghost, otherworldly entity, or similar unearthly being within 40′. This chance increases as the cultivator progresses in level: 3-in-6 at 4th level, 4-in-6 at 8th level, and 5-in-6 at 12th level. From 2nd level, they have a 2-in-6 chance to recognize enchantments, specific otherworldly entities and subjects pertaining to their sect’s specialties.

* Turn Undead: As the Cleric, including the possibility of commanding undead (a specialty of some sects, even). In addition to undead, a cultivator’s sect teaches how to affect a second category of entities, such as far, nature spirits, heavenly or demonic entities, or magical constructs. This second category must be chosen at character creation.

At discretion, with a suitably prepared location or object at hand, a result of destruction can instead be a sealing away of the turned creature.

* Purity of Body: A cultivator sheds more and more mortal weakness as they gain in the refinement of their inner energies (aka rise in level); these changes progress as follows:

1st Level: +1 AC bonus, +2 to saves vs poison and disease
3rd Level: +2 AC bonus, +4 to saves vs poison and disease
5th Level: +3 AC bonus, immune to mundane disease, +4 saves vs poison and magical disease, age at half rate
8th Level: +4 AC bonus, immune to mundane disease, half-effect from poison, +4 saves vs magical poison and disease, age at quarter-rate
12th Level: +6 AC bonus, immune to mundane disease and poison, +6 saves vs magical disease and poison
14th Level: +8 AC bonus, immune to all but the most potent supernatural afflictions, Unaging Immortality

* Magic Item Creation: At 1st level a cultivator may enchant spell scrolls and potions, as per the standard enchanting rules. At 4th level they may enchant protection scrolls. At 8th level, a cultivator may enchant all forms of magic items.

* Flying Sword: Beginning at 6th level, a cultivator may step onto their spiritual weapon and ride it into the skies, flying at a rate of FL 24 (eagle or equivalent). This flight lasts two hours/level. At 8th level, they may bring one passenger along. At 13th level their range doubles and their speed triples.

* Spellcasting: A cultivator has a certain number of spell slots per day with which to cast magic. Spells are memorized from the spell levels accessible (as per cleric spell memorization), selecting daily spells from all those available on the cultivator spell list which are a level which the character can cast. A cultivator may cast a reversed spell without penalty.

Many sects also possess unique, “secret” spells. A character must be taught this spell or otherwise awarded access to it (perhaps on a scroll); these spells are not automatically added to the cultivator spell list.

– Assimilation: A cultivator has a chance of learning a spell not normally on their spell list, treating it as if it was always available. By studying a spellbook or scroll or holy text, there is a 1-in-6 chance of so assimilating the knowledge of the spell. The source is destroyed regardless of success or failure.

* Magic Item Use: A cultivator may freely make use of magic items, save for enchanted armour. This includes spell scrolls intended for other classes.

* Foundation: At 10th level, a cultivator may found a school, attracting 2d6 1st level cultivators. Or, the character may strike out on their own and found their own sect as well, attracting 1d4 would-be student cultivators and 1d8 fighters or thieves — needed extra muscle as rivals will appear and their home sect may be displeased. There is a 50% chance, in either case, of also attracting 1d3 “unusual” petitioners, actually concealed spirits or demons or the like.

A Few Thumbnail Sect Ideas

Forest In Winter
“Be at peace. Be still and measured. Conserve yourself for the moment that you, or others, require your strength.”
– turn elementals
– ban: inciting violence or thoughtless action; flame magic

“There is nothing without knowledge. Hoard it like the perfect pearl it is.”
– choose one turning or command category
– ban: destroying texts or allowing them to be destroyed; passing up a chance to educate — or learn a secret

Black Wind
“Do not suffer your enemies to live. Keep them close in death.”
– command undead
– ban: allowing a deliberate slight to go unchallenged

Golden Chain
“Be vigilant, because so few others seem capable of doing so.”
– turn demonic entities
– ban: tolerating undead or demonic forces; excessive wealth or indulgence

XP ProgressionSpell Slots
yeah that’s not a lot of spell slots, arguably; but it’s easier to add than take away
First Level SpellsSecond Level SpellsThird Level SpellsFourth Level Spells
01.Detect MagicPurify Food And WaterSilence 15′ RadiusRemove Curse/Curse
02.Protection From EvilFalse AuraInvisibilityConfusion
03.Light (Darkness)Know AlignmentProtection From Evil 15′ RadiusTemperature Control
04.Read MagicProduce FlameSuggestionHallucinatory Terrain
05.ShieldLevitateClairvoyanceWizard Eye
06.Detect DangerBlindness/DeafnessDispel MagicFear
07.SpookHold Person
08.HypnotismCure Light Wounds
don’t forget sect secret spells (talk to each other, GMs and players!) and also assimilating like a mofo

Some Thoughts

This is kind of …

Dramatically lower-powered than in cultivation fantasy/xianxia fantasy? Damn right it is, those fuckers can practically explode planets by the end of the road in some of those novels. I wanted something that had as many of the highlights and nifty powers I like in those stories, but could also work in a B/X-Basic D&D game.

Not a lot of offensive magic capabilities, though?

Let’s be real here, in the fantasy stories cultivators come from, they’re the stars of the show and they do everything; if I piled a bunch of attack spells and the like in here, they’d beat the magic-user at its own game if not beat the pants off the class in the process. (Basic D&D, remember!)

And there’s a lot of stuff to squeeze in here, which is why I (regretfully) also left off a specific warding-type class feature. (I may change my mind on that at some point.)

That said, if you want to add spells to the class list, there’s space? Or make combat spells various sect secrets!

Actually, Let’s Talk About Sects

If we legit talked about sects my fingers would fall off typing; more importantly, those are a lot more setting-specific even in the source novels (are your sects initiatory, like in the I Shall Seal The Heavens series of novels, or are they also extended families like in Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, or …).

Honestly, they’re left as wide open as they are for a reason. Make them as simple or as baroque rules- and roleplay-wise as you want.

You could even borrow some of the many tables of esoteric weirdos under my “factions” tag and change them around to suit, lol.

Did you have to mix in druid and illusionist spells?

I wanted to.

If that really sticks in your craw, or you don’t have any version of those you can crib from, here’s some alternate lists:

First Level SpellsSecond Level SpellsThird Level SpellsFourth Level Spells
01.Detect MagicPurify Food And WaterSilence 15′ RadiusRemove Curse/Curse
02.Protection From EvilESPInvisibilityConfusion
03.Light (Darkness)Know AlignmentProtection From Evil 15′ RadiusContinual Light
04.Read MagicBless (Blight)Protection From Normal MissilesHallucinatory Terrain
05.ShieldLevitateClairvoyanceWizard Eye
06.Detect DangerBlindness/DeafnessDispel MagicLocate Object
07.Hold PortalHold Person
08.Remove Fear (Cause Fear)Cure Light Wounds
honestly you could probably use the find-and-replaced spells anyway, but then the lists possibly aren’t as nice and rollable.
maybe even them out to nearest die if needed?

A Little Less Lethal

You hear a lot sometimes about the (supposed) lethality of OSR and OSR-adjacent games, and how players are used to having backup PCs and so on and so forth; but you know, in my experience the toss-away-the-dollie mindset hasn’t really been how it’s worked. Folks get attached to their characters. This always disposable-PC, cavalier thing is one of the more annoying bits, for me, of the “OSR” construct.

Having your PC die kind of sucks a lot of the time. It’s true.

So, chewing on this while trying not to get completely soaked at work, I came up with some alternate options. Toss 2d6 when a PC measures their length in the dust, and let them carry on — but with a bit more baggage than what they started with.

Of course, some might decide they’d rather have their PC die dramatically, or heroically, or comedically, or they just don’t like the result of the roll. That’s also totally cool.

What did you walk away from death with?

02: Marked by the damned …
03: Came back with a spirit (dead or otherwise) sharing body
04: Woke bound with a geas to perform a certain task
05: Maimed wind; prone to illness
06: Missing or maimed limb
07: Shocking or strange-looking scar
08: Lost or partially-lost sense (whether injury or trauma)
09: Permanent wound (requires tending)
10: Woke bound with a geas on a certain behaviour
11: Appear like the dead; healing is twice as difficult now
12: Marked by the beatific …

Or, what if for some reason an adversary had the chance to kill the PC, but chose not to? Though there surely would be a reason for such a decision, right? Toss 1d12 and —

Why did they stay their hand?

01: Proving they could have dispatched you is good enough for them
02: “Wait! I remember you! You were at –” (were you though?)
03: They don’t want you to die; they want you to suffer
04: A prisoner is worth more than a corpse
05: That hexmark they just placed on you will ensure you’re no threat anyway
06: “If I spare your life, will you help me with …”
07: You would have been their first sapient kill, and they just can’t …
08: “I’m not the real enemy! The real enemy is –“
09: It was less ‘staying their hand’ and more ‘didn’t check to be sure’, honestly
10: A strange faint glow appeared around you and they backed right off (but did it stay? what now?)
11: “Now I owe you nothing.” (have you even seen them before?)
12: A leader or companion orders them to let you live; they are not happy, but comply (for now) (and why were you spared?)

quick weapon materials: some d12s

Today has decided to be a morning of near-tears in preemptive despair over taking Soci to a cardiological vet appt next week, so in an attempt to distract myself, have a three-d12-table slate for making unusual weapon materials (or anything else materials):

it could be odder — I’ve written odder — but sometimes the basics of oddness are also good

Knightober 2022: The Order Of … pt. 03

Happy Halloween!

And we’ve reached the end of October and the last table of knightly orders! 😀

d10The Order Of …details
01.The Hidden Blue“At times it is simply more prudent to appear other than what one truly is.”
Not all knights parade around in shining steel finery, not all orders gather in bands and battalions; and not all cross their swords on a battlefield. The Hidden Blue are such knights, serving as companions and clandestine minders for their charges in both high society and low.
– azure and cobalt; the outline of a sword (when colour and/or blazon is shown)
– no armour, or quilted silk or other fabric, or reinforced coat; dagger or knuckleguards and shortsword or smallsabre, or as requested
– packet of ciphered letters, healer’s kit, metal mirror and grooming kit, hidden thumb-knife, blue-enameled ring
02.The Hard Road“Let others choose to bury mistakes. We shall not be so foolish.”
Losing — a battle, a manor, honour, glory, reputation — is a terrible thing, and many attempt to move on from a loss as swiftly as possible. That rejection is to this order’s gain; these knights maintain records of their own failings and those of others, knightly and otherwise, both to learn from those mistakes and to prevent them from being forgotten by rewriting history.
– copper and grey; spiral of stones (ovals)
– chainmail mantle or hauberk; mace, hammer or halberd
– scribe’s kit, several scrollcases or rag-paper girdle-books, maintenance kit, hidden cache-spot, copy of tournament or battle record
03.Steel Stars“Be as flawless as the heavens above until you return to them.”
By bird-wing and seeing-glass, by day or by night, in battle and in the court, the knights of the Steel Stars seek to embody what they see as the eternal, and eternally adaptable, purity of the skies. No matter what befalls the earth, after all, the heavens endure.
– steel and silver; five stars in a cross-pattern
– plate mail and round shield; longsword and warhammer
– star charts, astrolabe, falconet or corvid, personal star- and weather-log, oath-ribbons
04.Night Unending“There is nothing to fear in the darkness save our wrath.”
A weapon is meant to kill. The Night Unending internalize this to their very souls, bringing death and ruin to their adversaries without remorse or regret — and those adversaries are many, from knaves to kings, honourless curs to virtuous paragons. Though they destroy, they harbour no malice against those who do not or cannot.
– black and dark blue; descending blade
– chain hauberk, plate mail or plate; bastard sword, lance, morningstar
– maintenance kit, signal horn, wardog, several whetstones, cold iron or silver armlet
05.The Garden Repentant“We cannot erase what we have done; raise a memorial of beauty to the fallen.”
The creed of this order is, at its core, a simple one. Behave with grace, strike only when required by lord and honour — and nurture a hedge-rose or peony for every life taken. Senior knights often tend extensive gardens indeed.
– emerald and burgundy; flower in full bloom
– chain or plate mail and kite shield; longsword or mace, glaive
– cuttings or rootstock, pouch of seeds, personal notes of lives and associated plantings, gardening kit, maintenance kit, knight’s token
06.The Windswift“What is a cavalier without the courage of their beloved steed? Nothing of consequence.”
Dedicated riders all, these knights — to the point of fighting on foot only in cases of the most dire necessity. More, the order takes great pains in maintaining specific lines of mounts, and not all are mundane beasts.
– rust and gold; two opposed horses rearing (or a horse and their chosen mount)
– chain mail or platemail; lance, javelin, shortbow
– harness repair kit, spare horseshoes or equivalent, extra feed for mount, traveler’s satchel, personal travel map
07.The Indomitable“I will not fall.”
For some, it’s not about swift swords and flashing lances. It’s about being the rock against which swords and lances shatter and assailants dash themselves to pieces before winning past the knight and that which they stand for.
– grey and crimson; stylized battlement
– platemail or plate and kite or tower shield; mace or warhammer or halberd
– armour repair kit, extra rations, reinforced pack or side-bag, meditation stone, oathring
08.The Thorn And Bough“Honour and chivalry has its roots beyond those walls of stone.”
Hedge knights in the truest sense of the word, members of this order are found patrolling forest trails, accompanying local woodcrafters and forage-witches, vanquishing twisted beasts and challenging the brash and destructive knights come from city and castle-town.
– deep green and wine-red; leafy branch
– leather armour, chain mantle or buff coat; shortsword or axe and bow or crossbow
– woodcarver’s kit, foraging basket, weathercloak, deepwood charm, iron knife
09.The Midnight Tower“Long may the great walls stand; swiftly may we bring great walls down.”
Knights of the castle, these; trained to battle and to attend, not on the wide battlefield, but in the confines of stony hall and narrow battlement, to man the gates and hold back a siege. But the Tower’s familiarity with castled stonework cuts both ways — many a knight has undermined a palace to bring down those judged unworthy.
– dark blue and silver; stars over a stylized tower
– chain or scale mail + any shield; longsword, dagger, spear or crossbow
– personal blueprint of current castle assignment, skeleton key, mason’s tools, ciphered logbook, collection of engraved worrystones
10.Greyember“When everything appears to be over, there is still work to be done.”
The survivors of calamity may need a willing blade more than any other. There are those who make true effort to pull together the tattered remnants of pride, honour, legacy after all is stripped away. A loss is not the end of a war. For all this and more come these grey-marked knights.
– grey and orange; roundel
– chainmail mantle or chain hauberk; any weapon
– extra waterskin, healer’s kit, tinkerer’s kit, traveler’s satchel, crafter’s kit of choice

But wait, you might say. Three d10 tables is only 30 knight orders. What about the 31st of October?

What about Halloween?

Not to worry.

The 31st order is not a unique knightly pledge —

The Order Of …
The Grave Heart“Death is not the end.”
Oaths still sworn. Loyalty unbroken. Dedications unbowed. Quests still waiting, commands still standing, missions left undone. All these and more await the knight cut down before their time.
Which is why so many continue on from the other side of life and death.
And they know of each other.
– grey and silver-gold; heart’s outline over droplet
– armour and weaponry as preferred in life
– spectral weapon, teardrop manifestation, bone relic, token of favour or honour, place or person of earthly ties

Knightober 2022: The Order Of … pt. 02

Another week-and-half(ish), more Knightober and another d10 table of knight orders for scattering about a campaign and tangling PCs up with ~

d10The Order Of …details
01The Velvet Glove“Triumph is never solely through force of arms.”
The battle-skills of these knights, notable as they can be, are overshadowed by their knowledge of battle tactics and strategic planning. One of the Gloves is content with hanging back from the front line, knowing that their strategies led their people to victory.
– violet and black; chequered pattern or glove
– chain hauberk or buff coat, longsword and light crossbow
– satchel of dispatches, messenger pigeon or other small critter, signal horn, battle map, military annals
02The Winding Path“If you must put down your burden; if your cause has proven too much; know that there will be a way, in the end.”
These knights have, as their unifying code, the codes — and wishes, and hopes — of others, each carrying on the work of one who was overwhelmed, who failed short of their goal, or was otherwise broadsided by fate or inability.
– green and earth-brown; stylized path
– chainmail or plate mail; any weapon, as appropriate
– collection of letters and petitions, traveler’s pack, map of main roads, pledge cup, woolen mantle
03Adamantine“The path is clear, the way is known, and so I stride toward the future with eyes wide open and mind free of illusion. I will not fail.”
There is both honour and tranquility to be found in the stillness of the mind, these knights aver, and they quest for it in actions and in silent crystalline meditations. Falsehoods and mirages of all sorts are anathema to the Adamantine, abominations to be fought at every opportunity.
– silver and pale blue; crystal
– chain hauberk; mace and dagger
– personal journal-book or scroll, meditative focus of glass or crystal, pouch of salt, iron knife, string of crystal counting-beads
04The Watchers“Long may we stand, the devoted, the unworthy, in dedication to sacred grace.”
Swearing themselves to a power higher than themselves; guardians of roadside shrines and soaring temples, travel companions of holy seers and anointed questors of the divine and those who serve them.
– grey and brass; ten-pointed star
– any armour; hammer and spear, or as directed by sacred calling
– flask of consecrated oil (or water, milk or blood), sacred token, censer or anointing bowl, small knife, warding cord
05Crimson Banners Burning“Let the fires be started, let the blazes burn; hear our voices, hear our roars!”
Knights-celebrant, equally likely to be seen flinging themselves headlong into battle or leading a shaken town in raucous, fire-lit rousing of flagging spirits — like the flame, they burn swiftly and brightly to show off exactly how it’s done.
– crimson and orange; leaping flame
– any armour, trimmed in flame colours; fire-arrows, greatswords and polearms treated with pitch
– wineskin, firestarting kit, musical instrument, weapon-repair kit, handkeg of pitch
06The Basilisk Claw“If there’s blood spilling, we’re spilling it.”
Some just want to fight. That’s the Basilisk Claws; first to take up arms, last to lower them, and legendary for never backing down from combat, no matter how brutal, no matter how insignificant.
– sable and green-gold; reptilian claw
– chain, scalemail or plate mail; bastard sword or greataxe
– collection of whetstones, record of battles, healer’s kit, extra travel rations, satchel of battle trophies
07Twinned Blades“None of us need to stand against the world alone.”
Matched up into pairs — at the very least — and, if possible, trained as such, this order emphasizes connection and support amongst its members in the face of the fact that knighthood means battle, and killing, and unpleasantness, and even if that connection is at a remove at times, it’s still a shoulder to lean on.
– bronze and azure; two swords, sometimes crossed
– chainmail or scalemail; longsword and choice of secondary
– bundle of letters, personal seal, mending kit, token of partner knight(s), ceremonial ring or gorget
08The Eighth Bulwark“Fight to preserve that which cannot fight.”
Most knightly orders take up arms for people, or for causes; the Bulwark stands between places, and objects, and all that may destroy them, whether out of a sense of history, of pride, or simply of the beauty that would otherwise be lost.
– amber and brown; shield
– plate mail or plate + shield of any type; hammer and glaive
– antiquated text, choice of crafter’s tools, armour mending kit, small chisel, adze or trowel, healer’s kit
09The Grey Wolf“Learn from us, one way or the other.”
Knights often die young. Of those who do not, many grow disillusioned and leave their order, or any association with the knighthood at all. Those who remain? Who return, even? They find a new network — a new order — and it rallies to show the youngsters, of all stripes, how to keep on keeping on.
– dark grey and black; wolfprint
– buff coat, scalemail or chain; weapons of their original order, or longsword and bow
– traveler’s satchel, lined mantle, personal journals, collection of mementos, jack-of-trades mending kit
10The Firefly Lantern“O Light, lend yourself in these travails of the night-time, for the way is long and we have far to go.”
In the rush of civilians fleeing war-torn land; in the depths of night as travelers try to reach shelter; in the face of the twisting alleyways of cities and the shuttered doors of wary villages, these knights are there — to be a guiding light to find a way for others out of their personal dark.
– green-gold and silver; lantern or firefly
– leather jack or buff coat or chain mantle; staff, shortsword, longsword
– hand-lantern of glass or horn, healer’s kit, ciphered travel maps of several locations, dropbox location for letters and small parcels, traveler’s kit to be shared

Putting Details In Order

(I regret nothing of that title and you can’t stop me)

All these knightly orders are all well and good, of course, but what do you do with them? Well, you have PCs in them, and NPCs, and spin some adventure seeds out of it.

But what if you need a bit more of a starting point? Like, say, just who’s running the show or at least where this group of unusual folks came from. It’s a good question, after all, especially if a PC is a member of an order, or for that matter any of the other guilds, factions, and various organizations tossed up here on the blog, or written up elsewhere even.

So here are a few tables for inspiration; roll on them for any given order, or pick one of the results, or just use them as a jumping-off point for your own ideas. They don’t give the nitty-gritty of internal group structures or the like, but they should make a start.

Who Do They Answer To?

01. A ruler — king, empress, etc — or a member of the immediate royal family, or equivalent
02. A great lord of some variety, whether duke or daimyo
03. The hierarch of a religious organization
04. No one but their own leader; the order acts independently
05. No one but their own leader; members may have pledged themselves to various lords and masters
06. There is no true group hierarchy, only cells or networks and apprenticeships
07. A sorcerous or mystical or otherwise non-mortal entity, from dragon to ascended soul
08. The leaders of a community or communities

Of course, a group does need funds. (well, sometimes; some may be more professions of faith or shared wellsprings of knowledge than a formal organization. that’s usually not the case with a knightly order, though, unless the order is a federation of hedge-knights in common.)

How Do They Support The Order?

01. Tithes from members (a percentage of income or labour)
02. Subsidized by royalty, nobility, or other secular patron
03. Subsidized by a religious edifice (temple or shrine)
04. Quests taken on for the order itself
05. Individual members take on quests or missions
06. A mutual aid society, informal in nature
07. Donations from those the order aids
08. There is no direct support for the order as a whole

How Are Members Expected To Contribute?
(beyond upholding the order’s ideals, which kind of goes without saying)

01. Tithing an amount of funds, or in kind, or with labour
02. Teaching new recruits or apprentices
03. Encouraging the growth of the order
04. Performing quests and endeavours that bring acclaim to the order
05. Contending with the order’s rivals and/or enemies
06. Offering aid or shelter to fellows, when called upon

Under many circumstances, several of these possibilities are just taken as a matter of course anyway; but even then, there may be an especial emphasis or value placed on a specific contribution in particular.

Also vitally important — when there’s scores of orders and dozens of factions out and about, it’s highly unlikely that all these groups will somehow never cross paths with at least a few others. So how does that shake out?

What does this order think of another?

01. Kinship, in arms or in peace
02. Casual allies, at least on a day to day basis
03. The leadership/established members are considered allies
04. The leadership/established members are considered rivals or enemies
05. The other order is anathema
06. There is old bad blood, but overtures are being made
07. There is currently competition for [hearts/faith/resources]
08. The order wishes to remain unknown to the other
09. A favour of honour is owed to the other order
10. The other order owes a favour of honour
11. Neutrality, with no particular opinion
12. Curiosity, with a side of jocular rivalry

And if the basic beliefs of the two groups are intrinsically opposed (or aligned) and a contrary result comes up, well, there’s certainly some potential adventuring and politicking in the weeds there —

Knightober 2022: The Order Of … pt. 01

Swordtember ended in a flurry and haze of hurricanes and covid; I got all my swords finished, but it was definitely a tiring work by the end of it, I won’t lie.

Of course, I still wanted to do Knightober.

But maybe not as much as Swordtember, or the fairly lengthy mostly-fiction entries I wrote for Knightober last year. Something a little smaller.

Why not some outlines for knightly orders, then, thought I? Ones in the same format as my first and second d66 tables of guilds, factions, and often-odd organizations — but smaller chunks, so I can recharge.

Why not indeed?

So, here is my first d10 table of knightly orders, inspired by prompts from Kalloway

d10The Order Of …details
01The Thirteenth Banner“Gird thyself with arcane arts; it serves as steadfastly as any blade.”
As much hedge-witches as hedge-knights, dedicated to the melding of sword and spell, with many choosing to specialize in a particular sorcery or theme
– green and silver; banner or pennant bearing chosen glyph
– buff coat and gorget; swords of all varieties
– scrivener’s kit or other recording aid, spellstone, letters from arcane correspondent, warding charm, binding charm
02The Soulforge“Temper your blade, your bulwark, and your own spirit. All may be purified in the forge.”
Knights with a penchant for the strength of steel, both physically and metaphorically — and the most trusted steel is that which one smelts with one’s own hand
– grey and steel blue; blade through an anvil
– any steel armour + kite shield; longsword, bastard sword or greataxe
– smith’s tools, traveling anvil, steel-loop charm, flask of pure oil, alloy billet, crucible
03The Pale Ring“We stand with those who crossed over. We stand against those who cross back.”
Guardians of necropolei, wardens of graves, and grim stalwarts in the battle against the restless dead, an abomination against the peace of those who have passed on
– black and ivory; ring
– scale armour, often inset with bone or enameled ivory; mace and sabre
– lantern, consecrated oils, records of dedicated burials, bone or ivory ring, censer
04The First Wyrm“Emulate the First in all ways: Be swift. Be just. Be wise. Be ruthless. Be unconquerable.”
Followers of a code — some call them worshipers more than knights — based on the mythos surrounding Sarukkh, legendary origin of dragonkind. Some swear themselves to other wyrms.
– ruby red and indigo; rampant dragon
– scale armour + kite shield; longsword or war pick
– dragonscale- or -talon token, wyrmsblood candle, contract of the First’s laws, grooming kit, map of local dragonlairs
05The Silver Peony“Others may falter, but the Peony blooms for eternity. Our word is our bond.”
Swearers of oaths and upholders of righteousness, these knights strive to live and die in honour and to kindle the honourable impulse in those around them by example. And if the law be unrighteous, there is no honour in it.
– silver and white; peony
– chain mail or plate mail + round shield; spear or lance
– oath-ring, healer’s kit, fringed shawl or mantle, worry-beads, lamp or lantern
06The Dedicant“The heavens will fall before I am torn from my charge.”
All knights of this order swear themselves to a singular dedication, be it individual or institution, a cause or a campaign, oath or ideal — and place themselves in the vanguard of defense for their chosen one.
– tawny and green; shield and ring
– any armour + round shield; longsword and javelins
– token of their oath, personal chapbook of notes on their charge, mending kit, traveler’s cloak, oathknife and blood seal
07The Ashen Knife“When all has been lost, what is there to fear.”
Not all knights succeed in upholding their knighthoods; some turn against their oaths, some grow disillusioned with once-cherished beliefs, some lose themselves in bloodthirst. For all of these and more, there is kinship with their fellow fallen, even as they hate the reminder of what they were.
– grey and sooty; shattered weapon, usually a sword, sometimes over old emblem
– varies according to old order + personal bitterness
– disfigured crest, mending kit, hidden dagger, ashwood chain, handmade chart of hidden roads
08The Fathomless“Ever changing, ever flowing, ever adaptable. The soothing purity that washes away all with time.”
Chivalrous haunters of springs and hidden pools, bearers of water to the needful and expiation to those who need an ear to hear — or a purge of sin, true or simply believed
– teal and turquoise; cluster of teardrops
– scale or chainmail; spear, hammer
– length of immaculate cloth, several waterskins, flask of purified water, riverstone charm, ciphered map of water sources
09The Roaring Mouse“Our time will come.”
Not a true ‘order’, as much as a cross-order informal conglomeration of squires, pages, aides, apprentices, and other young knights-to-be, sharing news, gossip, insight and information with each other
– brown and white; stylized mouse
– padded jack; weapons of order-to-be
– handicrafts kit, mending kit, messages for senior or mentor, letters from fellows, award ribbon
10The Charge Perilous“Today we strive, we fight, we win! Tomorrow they sing our achievements — tomorrow, and forever!”
It’s all about the fight, for this order — the fight, the quest, the grand adventure, the crux when you’ve seized the moment, your moment, and immortalized yourself in song and legend. Whatever you do, do it well, so awesomely that no one dares to ever forget you.
– gold and azure; upraised fist or splayed hand
– virtually anything, really, as long as it gleams somewhere; battleaxe, halberd, bastard sword, or other standout weapon
– maintenance kit, healer’s kit, rallying horn, victor’s circlet, wineskin


You are dead, whoever or whatever you may have been while alive, and obviously so. This hasn’t stopped you, as it turns out; whether curse or faith, accident or deliberate transformation, you are dead but you are still moving by your own will.

There’s great variability in your corpse’s potential appearance, depending on your death, your personal upkeep and grooming habits, your access to talented necrochirurgeons, and so forth: skeletal, fleshy, mummified, a kind of dry rot-like existence, immaculately preserved — withered, waxen, leathery or cold as marble — or any and all combinations of the above and more are possibilities. No matter your looks, however, even if you have not modified or ornamented your corpse you will not be mistaken for a living being.

You also carry your heart with you. Actual transmuted heart? Manifest soul? Tether to the world? All of these? Who can say, save for that last? What’s important is that this glassy bauble, heavy in your hand and kindled with a softly golden light, is what keeps you going — and must not be taken from you. Best keep it safe. Maybe even inside.


Prime Requisites: CON and WIS
Attack: as Cleric
Saving Throws: as Cleric
Hit Dice: 1d8
Armour Allowed: Any
Weapons Allowed: Any
Languages: Common, Alignment

* Life’s Chains Broken: You do not require food, water or sleep, only four hours contemplation. You are immune to poison, disease, and paralysis.

* The Cold Seeks All: You have infravision to 60′.

* Dead Flesh: As a walking corpse, you cannot heal with rest (dead flesh does not heal) and healing magic has no effect on you. In order to regain lost hit points above 1, you require the attentions of a necrochirurgeon for a day and an expenditure of 1 gp, plus access to 1 hp of corpse material per hit point regained. You may work on yourself, at a rate of 2 hit points per hour’s work, but the material needs are doubled unless you are skilled in necrochirurgery. It is possible to choose to partially restore hit points if there is a lack of funds, materials or time.

* Tethering Heart: A glass-like bauble but so much more than that, heavy and large enough to fill a cupped palm and then some, your heart is key; if it is destroyed, so are you. Putting more than a mile’s distance between yourself and your heart causes discomfort and disquiet; if another creature claims your heart, you will do anything to get it back.

* Rising: You have already died once; it is cursed difficult to put you in the ground again and keep you there. Once reduced to 0 hp you collapse, but will rise again in 1d6 hours unless your heart has been destroyed. Upon rising you have 1 hp and will remain so until the damage to your corpse is seen to (see Dead Flesh).

* Curse Of Unlife: You’re an undead corpse, and that has drawbacks beyond the inability to heal. While you’re not necessarily affected by (un)holy water depending on your personal ethos, you are definitely affected by spells, magic items, divine proclamations and other things that can affect, harm, ward or destroy unliving creatures — and that includes being susceptible to clerical turning and command. You do get a to make a saving throw vs. death magic to resist the results of a turning or command check.

* Grave Gifts: Each risen has their own quirks. Roll twice on the following table:

01. Corpse Medicine: Offer a portion of your remains, from enresinated fluids to powdered bone, to heal another at a 1 : 2 hit point ratio.
02. Grave Armour: Whether dense flesh, strengthened bone or osseous plating, improve AC by 2.
03. Eldritch Sense: Cast Detect Magic once a day.
04. Spectre: Cast Cause Fear once a day.
05. Wardead: Claws, jaws, sharpened phalanges, bony fists or implanted weaponry, attack unarmed for 1d4 damage.
06. Mortuary Sense: 2-in-6 chance to sense other undead within 60′.
07. Devour: Three times a day, regain 1d3 hp from feeding from a corpse directly.
08. Chattering Bone: Ask a corpse or part of one one question, once a day.
09. Ghostlight: Conjure orb of pale-green or blue-white “flame” as a candle, once a day; one hour, or four if conjured into your heart.
10. Vault Cadavre: A portion of your corpse is modified for ease of opening and secure storage, revealing a space that can contain small objects up to a dagger to a waterskin, depending on the location of your vault.
11. Dead Tongue: You may communicate telepathically to any creature within 100′.
12. Grave Will: You are treated as +2 HD when faced with turning or control attempts.

* Ossuary Founder: After reaching 9th level, a risen may establish or build a stronghold or ossuary, attracting 2d6 followers who may be 1st level risen, magic-users or fighters. These followers are devoted, but if they die or are permanently destroyed they are not automatically replaced.

XP Requirements:

01: 0
02: 1900
03: 3800
04: 7600
05: 15,200
06: 31,400
07: 62,800
08: 125,600
09: 225,600
10: 325,600
11: 425,600
12: 525,600
13: 625,600
14: 725,600

Why did you rise?

01. There is something or someone you protected with your life, and now with your death
02. A necromancer got you instead of the zombie they were expecting
03. It was your literal dying wish
04. A wandering traveller blighted — or blessed — you, then vanished
05. You have an oath not yet fulfilled
06. Don’t play around with necromantic rituals you aren’t qualified for, folks
07. They will not have the satisfaction of having killed you
08. This way, you may serve for eternity
09. It was a strange illness; you had no idea just how strange
10. You traded your life for something or someone precious (or you thought so, at the time)
11. Your tomb was disturbed; you didn’t appreciate that
12. You don’t remember how it happened and dearly wish to find out

Some thoughts

01. How about Basic Fantasy, AD&D and the like?

Honestly, I was going to write up entire species stats and then I realized that, since I didn’t want to add prerequisites, there’s no real need for ability score modifiers either.

Besides, when you’re dead, you’re dead. It’s the great leveler. I suppose I could have added “Requirement: Dead” to the BD&D block? But naaah.

Assume movement rates work like a living representative of the species in question unless there’s a good reason not to; apply all the special traits given in the class write-up, including Grave Goods. Unless everyone is cool with the idea, it’s probably best to not carry over special abilities from the risen’s species (if the PC isn’t a human corpse).

02. Level limits?

Nah. If you want to use them, especially as a “species” and not species-as-class, assign them as you see fit; I don’t like level limits, especially with separate species and class, and honestly there’s not a lot of stereotypes I’d apply to a dead dude in order to limit them?

(you bet your arse I’d want to write a risen cleric, say. oh ho ho ho)

03. That’s some convoluted stuff and also why does it take so much to “heal” them and …

That’s the theme I wanted, basically. You’ll keep going, but your corpse is battered and so is what’s animating you, but since it’s all dead matter a clever-handed artisan can restore you in a grand combination of sculpture, leather-and-textile arts and taxidermy. And yes, you can fancy yourself up, because you’re already dead. Be the jeweled saint you want to be in the world, even.

04. That turning stuff is rough, man.

It sure is. I like my thematics and I’m not sorry. A destruction result probably shouldn’t destroy a risen’s heart, though — something for PCs wrangling with risen to keep in mind. Or learn the hard way.

05. Why the “heart”?

Because the image of a corpse carrying this warmly faintly luminous bit of beauty stuck with me and by fuck I was going to use it.

Ten 20(-or less)-Word Rings

Another post. But why not, because why not; and it’s cheaper than therapy …

These actually are a bit shorter than the ones from the dragons post, but the flipside of that is that rings are harder to find words to describe the basics of them with without repeating. Aah well. It was still a nice little exercise —

01. Gold, this, roughly hammered and still half raw from the earth, yet strangely appealing
02. A circlet of tiny silver links frozen into place, solid and delicate all at once
03. This signet is carved from a single piece of milky jade, its face sporting a lost academy’s sigil
04. It should burn the flesh, but this slender loop of eternal flame is merely soothingly warm
05. Shivering menace radiates from a segment of viridian demon’s bone, polished from years of wear
06. The delicate miniature landscape enamelled around this steel band is protected by a crystal facing
07. Interlocking segments of ivory and coral make this ring as much puzzle as ornament
08. Simple, and poignant; a tiny braid of chestnut hair, ends interwoven together
09. Crudely forged, this hoop of blackened iron incongruously sports a flawless amber cabochon
10. Twisted together, three rods of glass — ruby, violet, emerald — catch the light when one gestures