The Saturnalia Truce (Episode 07)

“Intrigue Military Fiction with Wizard’s Council, Monasteries, and A Fragile Peace”

Two nations, both alike in dignity…

If it is not the eve of war, then it is at the earliest the mid-afternoon. Albion, a proud monarchy ruled by the line of Hector unbroken, legendary hero who united the kingdom under his just law and that of the educated gentry,stares across the Valley of Plenty at the hated enemy, a “republic” that hasn’t had a fair election in generations. On top of that, they deny the true Faith of the Allmaker and his fight with the Enemy.

Babylon, the only free democracy in the world, stares across the Valley of Plenty at the hated enemy, a monarchy where only the powerful have any say in the ruling government. It is a stagnant, decadent society mired in its own decadence. Why, they even believe the Allmaker to be so weak as to lose control of his subordinate, the Tempter.

Sabres rattle and crossbows are being strung as these two nations eye each other. They know war is coming, it is merely a question of when, and what the spark will be that sets it off. The rest of the world – loose allies and bystander nations caught between these mighty behemoths, seeks desperately to stave off the coming tempest, while merchants everywhere hear profit on the wind.

Two other powers with agency are pushing their pieces into play, as well. The Priory of Sainted Minerva has scrupulously avoided being branded as a heretical organization by either side, and have freedom of movement between political borders. All priests recognize them as kindred.

Opposed to them are the Order of the Occulted Hand, an order of mages who are researchers on the forefront of unlocking the deeper mysteries of the universe. Unfortunately, research is expensive, so most of their operation is now given over to supplying an arms trade between Albion and Babylon. It turns out that it’s not that hard to borrow matter from the universe for a minute or two, and the Occulted Hand makes a killing (so to speak) supplying crossbows with ammunition enchantments. And making sure that there are diplomatic tensions wound tight enough that both nations are buying them hand over fist.

On the map, two nations square off to destroy each other. On the battleground of ideas, the Priory and the Order stand opposed. Whose side will you take? War, glory, and death await in The Saturnalia Truce.


D&D 4.0


7th Sea

FATE core+ Dresden Files RPG

Burning Wheel

Exalted 3rd edition


Music: Soldiers Farewell Fanfare montage / United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps

Our Chief Weapons are Guardian Spirits: (Epsiode 06)

This is a game about extreme historical inaccuracy. This cannot be stressed enough.

To understand this episode you must know two things. The first is the legend of the Golem. Very roughly recounted, in order to protect the Jews of the ghetto from persecution, expulsion from Prague, and murder, a rabbi built a clay man, imbued it with life through the use of the word Truth carved in its forhead in Hebrew. (EMET). The Golem protected the Jews, but soon, because of Reasons, became a violent and implacable killing machine. The Rabbi managed to remove a letter, changing the word to “Death”, and the Golem was deactivated.

The second thing is that  the authors recorded this on a work night, and oh god we were so exhausted.  I don’t think we got a single fact about Spanish history right – not that being awake .  It was so bad that Adam re-recorded a few sections to make the butchery of Spanish history a little less intense. And we’re going to pretend that’s why this episode is three months late.


There is much that is unknown about the darkest days of the Spanish Inquisition. The exact death toll will never be known. Records of lineage have been irrevocably muddied. What is known is a dominican friar named Tomás de Torquemada came into possession of an artifact engraved with the Seal of Solomon and, with it, immense power and influence over the minds of others. With this, he began the pursuit of his vengeance.

The most holy and righteous followers of the faiths of the world have within them the power to conjure manifestations of that faith. Golems, djinni, angels, spirits of the elements, each manifested according to the faith of the conjurer. They do odd jobs, heal injuries and illnesses, and, in dark times, they defend the faithful. And days are upon the world indeed.

Powerful relics have been drifting around Europe – demons gone wild, turned on their creators before being sealed away. These spirits are often quite mad, in every sense of the world – their summoner deviated from the holy path long ago, and their faithful long dead. It takes a powerful will to use the power of a bound demon without being undone by it, and very few who chance upon one will be strong enough…



Dogs in the vineyard

7th sea

Burning empires


Fortune’s Fool


Beregovski Freylekhs East Rock Klezmer feat. James Kessler.

Blood Bronze Wind Magic (Episode 05)

The Isles of Aetherea do not rest upon the ocean.

There is a general lack of curiosity as to why this might be, as it seems obvious to anyone with a mote of common sense that some primordial wizard or god raised the lands high into the sky and set all the people on them to escape the devastating winds below. For most people, the question doesn’t really come up. People live on rocks that float above an unending storm, and that’s the way it’s always been.

Continue reading

Jovian Sleighride (Episode 4)

This is not a game about whales.

Hundreds of years in the future humanity is finally leaving the solar system, sending out long-haul spaceships full of colonists in suspended animation. The inner solar system has been colonized, with bases on the moon and dome-cities on Mars. Eighty billion people are alive at once, and the solar system is a terribly crowded place. But there is one place where a human can go to be alone.

Jupiter is the first stop for a ship after Mars and the last real outpost of civilization in the solar system.  A scant few tens of thousands live and work on the moons Io, Europa, and Ganymede, trading fuel, water, and mineral resources between them.  The moons of Jupiter are incredibly harsh to human life, and Jupiter itself is harder still.  What madness drives humans to live there?

In swirling depths of Jupiter live the Leviathans.   Continue reading

Satan’s Mobile Infantry (Episode 3)

The year is 2287, and Earth has finally succumbed to her wounds. The environmental measures mankind has put in place are finally definitively losing the race against climate change, and humanity must turn to the stars. As  it became certain that the oceans would flood within the century, and populations had to condense into the middle of continents, the nations of Earth built great slowships and sent out colonists to the stars.

It was there that the children of men met Lucifer.  Continue reading

No Episode today, July 8th

Due to the holiday weekend, no episode today. There is, however, a short bit explaining some of the extenuating circumstances…



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Wuxia Zombies (Episode 2)

400 BCE. Imperial China – The warring States period. The kingdoms of Wei, Shu, and Wu are only a few short years away from their fateful conflict that would change the course of Chinese history, when the stars align and Cynothoglys, the Mortician God, awakens from his slumber. He has been woken by the strife and turmoil of the mortal world, and seeks to bring ecstatic death and the peace of the grave to the world. He has empowered mortals seeking power to raise the dead as fearsome fighters with the knowledge of deadly kung-fu. The lords have shut themselves in their towers, defended only by their most loyal bodyguards and the meager spiritual protection of the stone Foo dogs that line every roof. The nations tremble, awaiting the end of days. Continue reading

Designing a Setting for Maximum Conflict (part II)

Earlier, we talked about the importance of conflict and two types of conflict for your setting.  Now for the other kinds of conflict: person vs. nature, and person vs. self.

Person vs. nature conflicts are a staple of roleplaying games.  Think of all the traps you’ve defused, all the rocks that have dropped on you, and all the trackless deserts you’ve crossed.  “Nature” doesn’t have to mean “outdoors” either – whenever a character finds it harder to get what he wants because of a thing not a person, that’s a conflict with nature.  Classic Dungeons and Dragons style dungeons full of traps are an excellent example.

Traps also show the trap of person vs. nature conflicts.   Continue reading

Cyberpunk Utopia (Episode 1)


It’s twenty minutes into the future.  The geographical region once known as the United States (we used the East Coast of the United States because we’re familiar with it, but pick someplace you’re familiar with, and preferably that you like) has shed the former social structure in favor of a confederation of corporate city-states.  Fear not, though!  The relentless march of technology has allowed a near-perfect flow of information.  There are no secrets that a corporation can keep from the populace, and there’s enough freedom of choice and ubiquitous access to alternatives that the citizenry can in fact police the corporations by voting with their dollar.  This is a laissez-faire capitalist utopia played straight.  The city-states each have their own social order, some are nearly anarchic, some highly hierarchical, but one law is sacrosanct: No citizen can be restrained against their will. Continue reading

Fate Core is Awesome

Doesn't it just call out to you? Look at that. It's a kung-fu gorilla with frickin' cyberlimbs.

Fate Core System

If you like our podcast (which is coming soon, we swear, honest), chances are good that you may want to run one of the settings we come up with. A great resource to do that, and one we’ll probably be referencing frequently, is Fate Core, by Evil Hat Productions.

Fate is just a fantastic system. It’s clean, it’s highly adaptable, and it runs off the kind of Storyteller-Player engagement that we think games really run off of. Fate is designed to be almost infinitely adaptable to what you and your players (or me, Adam, and a bottle of scotch) come up with. Don’t believe me? Fine, I’ll prove it!

They’ve just completed a (very!) successful Kickstarter campaign and are making electronic versions of Fate available on a pay-what-you-want model here. Go download it and read through it – the basics of the system are all in the first 20 pages, and you can’t throw enough money at these guys. When you wind up buying it, spring for a physical book. The ePub looks great, but you just can’t beat having at least one physical book around your table.

You know what? Treat yourself. Buy two. You deserve it.