28 May 2013

His Supreme Wrath is Born, Clothed in Darkness

     All fear the wrath of Anak Xothoth, whose unblinking eyeholes see all! Robes of black magick he wrought from the very Shadow That Consumes the Crypt so that all darkness hid and protected him, and he was of the dark. Eons ago, in the depths of the world-crypt, Xothoth slew the deathmage king Elechmides and stole his diamond crown, making him sovereign over powers of all life and terror.
     Most powerful at spells and fearful hexes, and the most fair of the Arcane Order of the Sorim to look upon, this necromancer was first among them marked for Death. How humbled, awed, and grateful were the subjects of the crystal crown that Death knows only one way to take a prize.
Deep in the tunnels of the eldest dead, running for his life and fearing for his head, the wizard slew his doomed subjects with dreams. Tombs echoed with his laughter... and their screams.
And so it was written upon the walls in runes of dream while his pursuers followed:

“...e who hunts the darkness must deep down go, 
To darkness, to Kurm, 
To Nightmare Below.”

Dream-slaying magick taxed the dark wizard with a terrible sickness. In pain awroth, he collapsed upon his own altar. Outside his walls erupted a howl more hideous than any before.
From within his high tower under tombs, in darkness, surrounded by black pools of nightmare pulled up from beneath the eternal wormworld, Anak Xothoth knew to fear the savage baying and growling of beasts beneath him, for they were the makers of worlds. They built the Grand Crypt with worms stolen from the moon and trapped nightmare at the core of everything. Now they would rebuild it for the reign of Death in the diamond crown of Elechmides, and no darkness no matter how deep could shelter the body of Anak Xothoth.
Instead, the dark would preserve his order and his kingdom forever. For he thrust the glittering band into a hidden pocket of his great and terrible robe which was of all Shadow and could be any shadow, concealing it and its power forever. With a final invulnerable breath, the deathwizard lord cursed all of his arcane order with still-dreaming unlife in nightmare for all eternity, so that they should see in the impending reign of crownless Death a gift of the greatest wealth.
So they say that the dread sorcerer saved his wicked order, and his kingdom, before the beasts broke in and  ripped him to pieces. They broke Xothoth's tower under the tombs, that should never have been, drank its nightmare, and cast it down. Yet nothing could destroy his robes of black magick, woven of Shadow, and the Lord of the Sorim needs no eyes to see.

14 May 2013

Do or Die: No Miniatures? How to Make Basic Counters.

Sometimes you want to play D&D on a grid, but you don't have any way of marking positions on the map, a counter. Ideally you'd want a miniature, but they're not always available. With a little preparation and some basic materials, though, you can make your own basic counters.

Things You'll Need
a gluestick
pen (or computer images & printer)

Draw or write something on a piece of paper or print out an image at about 100x100 pixels. Cut the image out along with a sheet of cardboard the same size and glue them together.

Yup, that's it. Dang, I made a bunch o' those. I usually put a character portrait on one side and wrote the character's name, class, and level on the back. I also made some quicker and dirtier versions using two pieces of paper taped to a nickel. The extra weight of the cardboard or nickel is necessary so that pieces don't go flying all over when someone opens up a book or if you turn on a fan or whatever.

Other Ideas for Quick Counters:
-spare change (good w/ few characters and limited enemy types)
-Go stones (without or without masking tape and Sharpie for names)
-Scrabble or Bananagrams tiles
-if you have enough of particular colors, use dice!

What other things have you resorted to using as counters in a game? If you have any favorites or any stories about counters in general, let me know in the comments.

08 May 2013

Crypt Thieves

They came after the age of the Sorim. Many tales of crypt thieves have already been told: of Jabeld, Rizeld, Mylcra, Kleppin, Fedzl-- worst of all Melthin-- and myriad others. These people dwelt on the Surface, but not above the Grand Crypt, for there can be no such thing as being outside a crypt when all the world is one.

These thieves told myths amongst themselves about the bottom of the world, where some discovered elaborate, abandoned catacombs without end. In awed whispers would thieves repeat that greatest wealth hides deepest, for this is what they read down there in cryptic runes. So thither into the world they delved, poking sarcophagi, finding treasures of the past, and witnessing strange, terrible dreams as they would never know in life on the Surface.

When thieves repeat their mantra and imagine jewels, however, they forget that they did not invent the world. They do not know the true cosmology of the Grand Crypt. Only the magick nightmares of ancient warlocks could shape the world with their words. Death gave the ancient magi their power in an age long buried that all life tries to forget. No thief would ever learn or wield this power, yet all who dared to delve deep enough might find what ancient deathwizard lords meant when they spoke of “greatest wealth.”