Underworld Lore | Gangbangin' in the Dungeon

"Seriously, don't knock it till you try it, man.
I can tell your sister is into it."
Random encounters with bands of NPC adventurers while scouring nameless catacombs for loot and glory are a silver piece a dozen. I want to make a clear distinction between such groups and what I would call a dungeon gang.

Gangs are larger organizations, possibly composed of the remains of smaller NPC adventuring groups. They've actually made themselves a niche in the megadungeon's eldritch ecology and actively compete with the area's monster denizens for resources and territory. Each gang is a hierarchy that works something like this:

  • a Boss at the top who is usually the most ruthless of the lot
  • a small circle of trusted underbosses who handle the gang's regular operations
  • a crack squad of low-level magic-users, usu. called a clutch (under the direction of an m-u underboss who hoards the gang's magical lore and is stingy with his spellbooks) -- this is a solid line of employment for mediocre magic-dabblers, who are often traded between gangs like professional athletes
  • anywhere from thirty to three-hundred lackeys and bravos, many of them humans but with a solid 5% to 10% being of other races; lackeys usually perform non-combat related tasks such as lockpicking and moneycounting; bravos are thugs who patrol the gang's domain and prey on wandering PCs

Some OSR guy somewhere -- maybe Jason Sholtis? -- had a table for dungeon gangs I think. I'm considering expanding on that idea for UL #5. I'm thinking of something like a


with a bunch of possibilities for weirdo gangs, their colors and emblems, areas of the megadungeon they might occupy, etc.


Rafael Chandler's NSFW is PWYW

As a general FYI/in case you hadn't heard...

Cover by Jason Rainville
You have less than three days to get in on this IndieGogo thing.

J. Raggi and associates make some pretty slick, sick books through his Lamentations of the Flame Princess imprint. In what can only be a major planetary conjunction, James has collaborated with one of the OSR's most inventive monstersmiths, Rafael Chandler -- he of Teratic Tome fame -- to create a new hardback called No Salvation For Witches. I have purposely avoided learning too much about the contents of this book, so all I can tell you with certainty is that the contents of the book will deal with events in LotFP's pseudo-historical Europe. 

To top it all off, the book is PWYW. If you pay more than the average contribution (I'm guessing its around 15 Euros), you get a be-ribboned version of the hardback to save your place in its obscene pages!


UNDERWORLD LORE | Download #4 (It's Free)

Sweet suffering syllogisms! The last legs of layout on this ish were a real gauntlet. As stated previously, I wanted to stop at 76 pages, but there was just too much material that needed to be included. UL #4 clocks in at 84 pages and -- man, let me tell ya -- Open Office Writer was not very happy about it. There are a few errors here and there that I'd love to go back in and correct, but the ODT file is looking crazy when I open it back up. Thank the groovy god of zines that the PDF is functional! I can guarantee that #5 is not going to be as gigantic as this baby.

an OSR community-generated zine


FYI: The cover files are sized 8.5" x 11" -- DO NOT RESIZE THEM when you print 'em out. You may get a warning that the files exceed the printable area -- THIS IS A LIE. Well, sorta. There's nothing that needs to be printed beyond the "printable area" -- it's just blank space around the edges.

APOLOGIES TO MY BOY MATTHEW SCHMEER -- Classifieds didn't make the final cut, but they shall return in #5!

CORRECTION: On page 25 I claim that the Chthonic Codex comes with dice. It doesn't!


Underworld Lore | Issue 4 is nearly done

I'm putting a seventy-six page cap on this thing -- though we have enough material to probably double that!

BONUS Warduke coloring page for the kids. 


Underworld Lore | #4 Due This Week

Like a monstrous baby ready to rip its way out of my man-womb, the fourth issue of UL is almost here. Please advise me if you still have things to submit.


Underworld Lore | Yggoa


Yggoa, the Crystal Bark 
Yggoa is a psychoactive agent that expands the memory. It is highly addictive. Long-term use leads to the formation of mnemonic cavities that permanently impair a spell-caster's overall ability. 

The drug is harvested from a rare crystal tree type that is difficult and expensive to obtain. These plants are for the most part cultivated by powerful foreign cartels. When a tree reaches maturity, its crystalline bark is carefully stripped and ground into the fine, luminescent powder called yggoa. Often the pure powder is "cut" for market with an additive called jinth that increases its addictive qualities. 

When a magic-user uses a single dose of yggoa, his memory is enlarged to contain 1d8 more spells of his choosing. Alternatively, treat the roll as exploding. A result of "8" indicates 1d8 more spell slots are realized. 

Each dose used in this way carries a 5% cumulative chance of causing a mnemonic cavity to form. A cavity effectively drops the magic-user's spell storage capacity by one experience level. The magic-user then returns to 0% chance of mnemonic cavity formation, but every dose of yggoa thereafter increases the risk to 10%. These can even extend (1d30% chance) into the character's long-term memory, erasing the PC's access to a key bit of knowledge determined (openly or in secret) by the DM. 

Extreme yggoa use leads to a total black out of spell slots. In these cases, magic-users become totally reliant on yggoa to memorize spells. Yggoa-addicts often appear gaunt and listless. Their eyes are often rimmed with a green discoloration. 

Withdrawal is taxing on the Constitution. Following the grace period of three doses, every new dose of yggoa has a 1-in-4 chance of causing a habit to form. Habits require daily intake. One point of CON is permanently lost each day without a dose of yggoa. Habits may only be cured through (non-lethal) exposure to dragon's fire.


Animation | "Manly" (CartoonHangover)

Like if David Lindsay made cartoons with David Lynch after watching three seasons of MOTU.

Dolmenwood | Goat-man Generator (Final)

So this is the Goat-man Generator in its (hopefully) final incarnation. Props go out to Gavin Norman (my co-creator on the Dolmenwood hexcrawl) and goat-artist Jim Magnusson (may his ear mites be satiated). As discussed before, this is the first in a series of NPC/Monster generators. We've got one in the works for the Moss Dwarfs, and more on the way for the Drune (crazy proto-druid NPCs) and the Grimalkin (intelligent cats with incantantory abilities). Not to mention Witches, Peasants, Phantoms and others! Everything will eventually be compiled into a Dolmenwood Folio PDF, and later find its way into the Dolmenwood book.

Download the BIG VERSION


Dolmenwood | Goat-man Generator (Rough)

Some grotty mooks from the murky depths of the Dolmenwood.

This is not the final draft -- a few changes still need to be made. Gavin and I plan to do a series -- a folio, if you will -- of monster/NPC generators like this. Moss dwarfs, drunes, grimalkin, etc. to follow.

Goat-man illo by Jim Magnusson!