Showing posts from 2020

Street Rat III

My wife has released the third chapter of her Dragon Princes bitsy game. This was my favourite chapter yet! But be warned - the theme for this month's jam was 'isolation'...

New Druid subclass: Circle of the Cobblestones

My first subclass! Is it balanced? Is it overpowered? Is it underpowered? I have no idea! But this is an archetype that's shown up time and time again in Dragon Princes games - the scrappy urbanite with instinctive druidic powers. Playtesting will be required to see if this is any good.

Tirenia is heavily urbanised. Except in the most remote hinterlands, nature has been domesticated. This can be a problem for druids: while there are more traditional druids in distant lands, a forest in Tirenia is probably a noble's hunting reserve rather than an untamed wilderness. However, there are still druids. Often from lower classes, growing up on the streets of cities such as Fiumenze or Auromia, they draw their powers from urban flora and fauna: from the rats and pigeons that scurry for crumbs, to the weeds that break through the gaps in the cobblestones.

Circle Spells
Your connection to the natural forces that flows through the city streets grants you great power. The Find Familiar spe…

Street Rat II

My wife has completed the second of the monthly chapters of 'Street Rat', her Bitsy computer game series based in Tirenia. This month's challenge was 'silent', so there's no dialogue in it, but the plot still advances. Looking forward to part three!

You can play it here:

You can find Part One here:

New Race: Zoocefali (Beast-People)

The animal people of Tirenia seem to be one of the most popular parts of the setting! With the rules that already exist, it's possible to play as a number of different animal people. Existing races can also be re-themed as animal people. However, this race is intended as a 'catch-all' so that players can create any sort of animal-headed PC!

Zoocefali means 'Animal-Headed', and is the word used to refer to the diverse human/beast hybrid people found throughout Tirenia and the rest of the world. Individual races of zoocefali are common where the original animal occurs - in Tirenia, the most common races are bat-, bear-, bird-, boar-, cat-, cow-, deer-, dog-, ermine-, fox-, frog-, goat-, horse-, lizard-, mouse-, rabbit-, rat-, sheep-, snake-, and wolf-headed people.

The word 'zoocefali' refers to all animal-headed people: individuals are called 'cinocefali' for dog headed people, 'ailurocefali' for cat-headed people, 'musocefali' for r…

The Metaplot Foreseen

This post has SPOILERS!

I've always envisaged all the games I run in Tirenia as having one connected storyline. Things that happen in one game have consequences in another. The death of Rubina in The Company of the Wolf led to the madness of Morignus in Carnevale, and the rebellion that followed on from there caused the unstable political situation that I'm beginning to explore in the Fiumenze Nights games. (If I could just get those games finished...) Fra Salvatore from The Company of the Wolf is due to show up again in the Camarma game, when that happens, and the magical surge in Carnevale is the same one that triggered all the madness that's currently happening in The Ruins of Auromia.
As all of this is going on, I've had the sense for some time that Tirenia is on the brink of a period of immense upheaval. As more campaigns occur, I get more of a sense of where they might be going. It's very hard to actually pin down what's going to happen, because I deliber…

Organisations: The Humanists

There is opposition to the draconic rule of Tirenia. The Humanists are those who believe that humanity (as well as their oft-ignored cousins, the beastfolk) ought to throw off their overlords and reclaim their independence. The humanists do not present a united front: they are a loose collection of individuals and organisations, such as the street gang of Adrianna di Ottone in Vanzenia. They are most common among the learned students and professors of university towns such as Felsina and Padovia. Some dragons even sponsor humanist groups: the silver dragons, and especially the brass dragons reject draconic rule. Universities have allowed education and literacy to spread more widely than ever before. Many humanists are taken with the ideas of ancient thinkers from before the rise of the Auromian Empire, who assert human superiority over dragons. There are also those, such as the mendicant priest Fra Salvatore, who go against church doctrine to preach from the Storia, which has a strong…

Recommended Reading: The Anger of Angels

Sherryl Jordan is one of New Zealand's greatest writers of young adult fiction, and I loved her books as a child. Recently I discovered that she'd written a new book and that it was set in a magical-realism version of Renaissance Italy!

Giovanna's father performs a play that angers the tyrannical Prince Savernola of Goretti. With innocent lives hanging in the balance, she travels to Goretti in an attempt to appease the prince and becomes caught up in the intrigue there. Giovanna struggles with issues of free speech and the power of words.

This is the most perfect Dragon Princes novel I've read. Giovanna and her love interest Raffaele are both wonderful player characters, with interesting personalities, skills, and relationships. The story poses moral questions without providing easy solutions, and the characters must navigate a morally grey world while trying to remain true to themselves and each other.  There is magic, but there is also a deep grounding in historical …

Dragon Princes has a computer game!

My amazing wife took part in an online challenge to make a mini computer game in two weeks. The challenge theme was 'rat', and she decided to make it be about a rat person in Dragon Princes! Her plan is to do sequels inspired by the next words as they appear, and I'm excited to see what will happen next!
You can play 'Dragon Princes: Fiumenze: Street Rat' here:
Image: 'Dragon Princes: Fiumenze: Street Rat.' Sky Bear Games, 2020. Used with permission.

Fiumenze Nights Redux - Session One: Death of an Artist

Recently, my book club members expressed an interest in trying D&D! I started writing a new adventure for them set in the marble quarries of Camarma, but the silly season is a busy time! Then I realised that I had an adventure already: Fiumenze Nights, about the death of the artist Michele di Lodovico. I've given up on finishing that game (sadly - it was going in a very interesting direction!), so it seemed the logical choice to play it with a new group and maybe reach the end at last! This first session covers the same basic ground as the first two sessions of the previous play-through, although a few details have changed.

In Fiumenze, it is the dury of the sbirri to maintain public order. They are the city guards who defend the people - since most of the guilds and the wealthy merchants maintain their own personal forces, which are better paid and equipped. They report to the Gonfaloniere di Giustizia, a public official selected by lot who serves for two months at a time. Th…

Daily Life: Confraternities

A confraternity is a voluntary organisation of lay people who are gathered to do good deeds (as defined by the church). Working together, they are able to accomplish greater things than they would be able to do individually. For example, the Confraternita di San Camillo sponsors a paupers' hospital in Vanzenia, and ensures that there is care available to even the very poor in the city. Others sponsor festivals, offer charity for the poor, bury paupers, pray for the souls of the living or the dead, or encourage the arts. Some confraternities are powerful social organisations, whose members reap immense benefits from the connections that they make, and may also engage in trade or other enterprises together; others have anonymous membership. A confraternity may be open to all, or it may be restricted by social class, sex, age or citizenship: however, they tend to be one of the more 'open' institutions, where people of all parts of society can work together for the public good…