Category Archives: Red Tide

A fantastic island setting of black sorcery and crimson mists.

New Freebie: The Yellow Bone Legion

Lately I’ve been sweating away at Suns of Gold, the new merchant campaign supplement for Stars Without Number. Inside, you’ll find a full suite of tools for running mercantile games- not just the customary rules for buying and selling cargo, but also a thick sheaf of GM tools to make mercantile adventures quick, easy, and fun. Twenty-four new economic tags are included to add some character to business dealings on your worlds, and helps are in for creating exotic alien trade goods, generating random problems for merchants, and fleshing out flash-quick side adventures for when your PCs decide that they really don’t feel like paying a 100% import tax on their load of jewelspice fruit and want to do something about it. Full systems are also provided for establishing and running interstellar business concerns in a quick, smooth fashion, so you can spend more time adventuring and less time calculating the upkeep cost on that trade prince’s private legion. As a capstone, I also give you tools for establishing and developing colony worlds for those merchant lords who won’t be satisfied by anything less than planetary rulership. It’s coming together nicely, but I still need to put the precise numbers through a heavy shakedown.

Which means that I need a palate cleanser in between courses of development. So I wrote for you The Yellow Bone Legion, a free Labyrinth Lord-compatible supplement for my Red Tide Campaign Setting. In its six pages you’ll find a grim interlude from Xian’s faded past and the truth about the tireless warriors who saved it in its darkest hour. You’ll get a shiny new character class, the Walking Ghost, and a trio of plot seed tables for generating a fast situation worthy of an adventurer’s notice. The contents are easy enough to rip for your home game even if you’re not using the Red Tide setting, so haul it down and strip it for parts if that suits you best.

Now I just need to finish putting together The House of Bone and Amber art pack for free distribution, and then I can go back to testing math. Ah, the thrills of game design….

The Crimson Pandect

CrimsonPandectCoverThumbUnlock Dark Sorcery…

Open the Crimson Pandect to reveal the hidden arts of the arcane world and the grim obsessions that snare the minds of their adepts. This book is for both players and Labyrinth Lords alike, providing tools for weaving grim tales of blood and unleashed sorcery!

Use new classes, new spells, and new guidelines for magical research. plunder ancient troves of occult lore to fuel your arcane ascension. Use the new guide for sanctum construction and the tools for cult and cabal creation to fashion sorcerous towers and malevolent foes. While built for the Red Tide Campaign Setting and Sandbox Toolkit , the contents are all designed to be easily and swiftly transferred into your own old-school campaign world.

  • Six variant classes for magic-users, each with their own spell list and focused theme: the elementalist yamabushi of the Mountain Way, the wonder-working internal alchemists of the Nine Immortal Art, the Makerite Theurges and their burning incantations, the grim Kuan Amelatu and their vengeance for the dead, the prophetic seers of the Astromancers,  and the flesh-bending, degenerate science of Shakunasar.
  • Give your players a good reason to want more than mere spellbooks. With new rules for research points and labwork, watch them scramble to plunder the libraries of their foes and delve deep in the earth for the secrets of lost pre-human races. These new tools let them spend their hard-won lore to learn new spells, create magic items, fabricate new enchantments, and spawn horrific monsters.
  • Help your mages build their wizard’s towers and hidden sanctums. Find rules and costs for the construction of arcane lairs and the acquisition of minions, the better to protect a mage’s precious library and ease his fearsome studies!
  • Labyrinth Lords have a fistfull of tools for generating arcane academies, sorcerous cults, and secretive conclaves. Need maddened worshipers of eldritch darkness? Turn to the tables in this section to give your pack of maniacs the flavor and style you need to make them crackle!
  • Resources for quick wizard characterization, fast spellbook lists, instant arcane tome generation, and lists of random occult treasures all smooth the creation of a Labyrinth Lord’s awful minions!

Softcover and hardback print options are coming before the end of June, for those intrepid souls who require a more tangible weapon against the lethal coils of the arcane unknown!

The Crimson Pandect Approaches…

Unlock the dark secrets of sorcery in the Sunset Isles with the Crimson Pandect, a guide to magic in the world of the Red Tide.

In this book you will find fully Labyrinth Lord-compatible information on eight new paths of sorcery, six with their own specialist magic-user classes and over a hundred new spells. Use them as-is for your campaign, or slap on a new coat of paint to make them your own! Behold the secrets of…

  • The High Path, the versatile and potent art favored by most magic-users within the Sunset Isles.
  • The Stitched Path, a heterodox art of blood and soul-sacrifice to accomplish by theft what talent cannot give.
  • The Kuan Amelatu, elven necrolators devout in their shepherding of the blameless dead and their guardians against the living.
  • The Astromancers of the Gadaal, peerless diviners and fateweavers who wield luck and foresight as weapons against their foes.
  • The Makerite Theurges, seekers of the holy sorcery of their stern god, speakers of the words by which creation was made.
  • The Nine Immortal Art, the ancient Imperial magics that make a sorcerer into a living vessel of transcendence.
  • The Mountain Way, a path of elemental force and natural power that strikes down its foes with flame and storm.
  • Shakunasar, the forbidden sorcery of the Shou and its unnatural command of the flesh and minds of lesser beings.

Aside from these glimpses into the grim sorcery of the Isles, the Crimson Pandect also includes…

  • A new system for acquiring new spells, creating magic items, and constructing magical servitors- a system based on the accumulation of eldritch tomes and experimental lore. Finally, your wizards actually have a reason to hunt down those books of forgotten wisdom and spend their hard-won coin on experiments and strange artifices. Includes extensive helps for the Labyrinth Lord in creating arcane treasures for inquisitive sorcerers to seek.
  • Guidelines for designing and building your wizard’s sanctum, including prices for laboratories, scriptoria, arcane distilleries, and other vital necessities for a wizard’s researches. The guidelines are integrated with the research system to reward those wizards who devote their precious gold to the facilities and resources they need for future greatness.
  • Guides for the Labyrinth Lord who needs a wizard cabal in a hurry, either as patrons, teachers, or enemies of the PCs. Based on an elaboration of the Court Site system in the Red Tide campaign guidebook, use this to generate a fast wizard’s tower, arcane academy, or nefarious witch-cult.
  • Resource tables for easy generation of arcane artifacts and eldritch tomes for your campaign’s wizards to find!

Look for the Crimson Pandect to make its appearance in early May, as it’s currently in layout. And for those eager enthusiasts of apocalypse, do not fear- Other Dust is still on schedule for release early this summer. The Crimson Pandect has been under work for some time now, and I’ve decided that May is a good time to slot its release. Why? Because I scorn sleep as a sign of moral weakness, and never shall such turpitude stain the scarlet mysteries to be revealed herein!

An Echo, Resounding Now Available!

An Echo, ResoundingLet Them Know Your Fame In Hell.

In An Echo, Resounding, a Labyrinth Lord-compatible guidebook, you’ll learn the arts of war and kingly rule in the untamed borderlands. Referees will find all the tools they need to build a savage land of adventure and bloody struggle, carving the foundations of empire into the very bones of their campaign. Players will find new talents as Champions of their lands, fighting for a noble cause or struggling to establish a beacon of light in the wilderness. And together, both will find new tools for domain management to bring the red-edged games of kings and princes within the grasp of fiercer souls!

Within this book, you’ll find that same dedication to practical play tools and detailed table helps that you’ll find in all Sine Nomine products. In particular, you’ll find….

  • Complete rules for domain founding, management, and conflict.
  • Quick and easy rules for mass combat with both military units and heroic individuals.
  • New Champion abilities to give expert adventurers even more value to the lords who win their capricious aid.
  • Extensive GM support for building campaign regions of cities, towns, ruins, lairs and precious resources. Don’t waste your creation effort- learn how to support your endgame from the first campaign session!
  • The Westmark, a fully-worked example region from Sine Nomine’s Red Tide Campaign Sourcebook and Sandbox Toolkit. Hit the ground running with zero prep or strip it for parts for your own campaign!

Grab it now and forge yourself a land worth conquering!

Theory and Practice

I’ve been working on An Echo,  Resounding lately. It’s a supplementary book for Labyrinth Lord focused on creating sandbox adventure regions, managing domains and political polities that PCs or locals might have there, and running mass combat in a way that integrates with the whole. While I’ve been sweating over the specific mechanics and resource tables of the book, it’s left me thinking about theories.

Theories are beautiful things. I’ve got lots of them about game design and building optimal sandboxes, and in many ways Sine Nomine itself is just a convenient rubric for me to use in expressing these theories. I think sandbox gaming provides a remarkable set of possibilities to a GM and players, and I think the design space hasn’t gotten nearly the attention it deserves over the past ten or twenty years. Given the opportunity, I’d talk your ear off about all the things that sandboxes can give to a group that other gaming styles can’t provide so easily. Those other styles each have their own strong points and advantages, certainly, but the special virtues of a sandbox are experienced all too rarely these days. I have my theories about why that’s the case.

But GMs and players don’t need theories in a published product. They need tools. One of my pet peeves about a lot of RPG books aimed at GMs and worldbuilders is the studied vagueness of the contents, the preference for giving sweeping advice and broad generalities over specific guidelines. The author will explain why a particular technique or goal is a good one and leave it to the reader to actually implement the directive. I’m not sure whether the authors honestly believe this is the best way to go about things or whether they’re perhaps paralyzed by the sheer scope of material they’re dealing with. Perhaps they fear to put down anything specific because they can easily imagine a case where any particular offering would be wrong or useless. I don’t think they’re doing their readers any favors this way. Why? Well, here’s a theory:

Continue reading Theory and Practice

A Red Tide is Rising

Red TideFor three hundred years, the last remnants of humanity have clung to the wild green jungles of the Sunset Isles. They have watched the red mist that consumed their world roil a hundred miles off the coast, waiting, a beast at bay. But now the crimson dreams are becoming stronger, and the wild Shou tribes of the west howl their hate at the human invaders. Who shall rise to save a world quenched in blood?

In this book a Labyrinth Lord will find all that is required to run a sandbox game of adventure in the untamed wilds of the Sunset Isles. In addition to the races, classes, and sorcery of this savage land, a referee will find special tools and resources for creating shadowed courts of quarreling nobility, cities rife with struggle, wild border settlements that cry out for the help of heroes, and dark places in the earth known only to the dead and the damned. These tools will aid not only campaigns in the Sunset Isles, but also those games set in other lands of savage mystery and bloodstained blades.

Expanding on the tag system found in the free Stars Without Number sci-fi role-playing game, Red Tide includes more than fifty new tags for fantasy cities and borderland settlements, along with more than 25 pages of GM resources including culture-specific name and place lists, unkeyed blank maps for quick sandbox use, four pages of room dressing and treasure possibilities, and a new “diagram dungeon” method of quick dungeon generation with a worked example.

Now available at DriveThruRPG in PDF, softcover, and hardback editions!