Lost at Sea?

For those who regular visit this humble blog, you will have noticed that my last post was on 1st November 2022. Now whilst some (I’m looking at your, Keith) may be of the opinion that my absence relates to battling Tharks in the skies over Barsoom, clad in little more than a a leather posing pouch, this is not the case.

Yes, I may have been on board a ship during the month of December and yes, at one point I did have a sword in my hand, but this was on the Atlantic and there were no green entities on board (other than those people experiencing mal de mer as we traversed the Bay of Biscay).

And no, it wasn’t a pirate ship either…

And no, I wasn’t starring in a period crime drama, where a well-dressed, middle-aged man solves supernatural crimes, using his extensive library, no matter what the picture below would suggest.

I was actually cruising around the Canary Islands for the Christmas and New Year period, a a guest of my father-in-law, who had decided to take us all away for the holidays.

Prior to leaving for this long-anticipated break, my daughter was involved in a car accident, the end result of which was that the insurance company wrote it off as a total loss. Fortunately, she was uninjured, but the car, not to put too finer a point on it, was fucked. Whilst I was provided with a hire car, a hideous Citroen C3 that drove like a brick, due to the upcoming holiday, sourcing a new vehicle and gathering the necessary finances would have to wait until I was back in the UK in the New Year.

Understandably, hobby-time was limited, hence that lack of posts.

However, I haven’t been completely idle when it comes to hobby-related pursuits. Although no paints, brushes or miniatures have been touched so far in the New Year, I have been busy adapting the Romance of the Perilous Land rules to a different setting. As the author of these rules had posted various addendum to the published rules on his blog and Osprey had issued an errata sheet, I decided to consolidate ALL of this information into one typed-up document, then alter the setting to one that suited me better.

The original setting for Romance of the Perilous Land, as described in my review here, is a fictionalised version of “folkloric Britain” where both Robin Hood and King Arthur exist side-by-side. This mash-up, whilst interesting, didn’t quite do it for me. My initial thought was to adapt the rules for the Ravenloft setting, but this proved problematic, as new rules would have to have been added to take into account the genre of the setting, as well as the addition of flintlock firearms, as a fair few domains of the Core are Renaissance level, whereas RoPL is firmly medieval in flavour.

As RoPL also has no direct analogue for the Christian church, as the occupants worship gods derived from Celtic mythology, those scenarios that feature large religious institutions such as abbeys, monasteries and the like could not be used, as these do not exist within the Perilous Land.

So, in order to utilise my existing catalogue of medieval-flavoured scenarios culled from various gaming magazines over the years, I decided to create my own setting, which is a fictional version of medieval Europe, with analogues for the major powers around at that time. However, as with most things I do, there is an element of lurking darkness, represented by the Whispering Gods.

These entities were once worshipped as gods by denizens of this world, but were banished to the spaces ‘beyond’ by Helios, the primary god of this world, after their machinations caused the destruction of the Solarian Empire, the primary centre of Helios’ worship.

But whilst they are imprisoned and their power diminished, they seek to return to the mortal realms and finish what they started. Their dreaming forms inveigle their way into the minds of susceptible folk, promising them power, riches, whatever they want, in return for helping them to break the chains that imprison them. Should they secure their freedom and walk the land, this would result in an apocalyptic event of unprecedented proportions.

Whilst I am still working on the minutiae of the setting, I thought I would provide the Introduction I have typed for this setting to give some flavour. Enjoy!

  A lone piper plays in an isolated shepherd’s hut, surrounded by swirling female dancers. As they turn, their skirt hems lift, revealing the cloven hooves of deer. The piper prays to his god for the strength to continue playing until dawn, as if he falters, he knows the baobhan sith who surround him will claim his life…

  A black-clad figure stealthily creeps through the dim interior of a chapel dedicated to Selene, eyes focused on the silver chalice resting on the altar. His movement ceases as a grinding noise reaches his ears and he raises his eyes to the rafters, starting in horror as the gargoyle carved into the pillar slowly turns its head towards him, then begins its slow descent to the ground…

  An armoured knight pauses in a shadowed glade, as furtive movement in the bushes surrounding him catches his attention. Drawing his sword, the knight prepares for battle as several stunted forms, armed with a variety of  gore-encrusted weapons, emerge from the undergrowth, each one wearing a pointed red cap…

  A lone robed traveller, walking the rolling hills of Cambria, rounds an outcropping to come face-to-face with the scaly bulk of a wyvern. As it stalks forward, tail whipping, he carefully reaches into the pouch at his waist, using the stick of charcoal to inscribe a rune upon his palm. After a swift incantation, fire blooms in his outstretched hand, ready to be cast in the face of the oncoming threat…

  The is the world of Rushlight, a place where magic can be wielded by those who know how to tap into the Weave, brave knights ride across the land upholding the oaths they have sworn themselves to, and crafty thieves slip through the shadows seeking to fill their pockets at the expense of others.

  But whilst it is a land of adventure, where those who hear the call can ascend from lowly beginnings to become a hero whose name is on the lips of all across the land, perils both mundane and supernatural lurk in the shadows.

  The fey denizens of the Otherworld regularly cross into the mortal realms, sometimes merely playing mischievous pranks on those whose paths they cross, but on other occasions spiriting away their victims into the Otherworld for reasons known only to themselves.

  Brutish ogres, vicious redcaps and wizened hags lurk on the outskirts of civilisation, preying on those villagers who fail to take the necessary precautions when venturing into the wild.

  And those who have been seduced by the veiled promises of the Whispering Gods seek to free their imprisoned masters, not realising the implications of unleashing these unnatural alien beings upon the world.

  These are the threats that face the common folk of the world of Rushlight and it takes a particular type of hero to stand against them. For those who take this calling, the rewards are great, but so is the danger they face.

  Do YOU have what it takes to stem the tide of darkness that threatens the land?

  You are about to find out…