Skip to main content


Saturn by CAS

SaturnNow were the Titans gathered round their king
In a waste region slipping toward the verge
Of drear extremities that clasp the world—
A land half-moulded by the hasty gods,
Grotesque, misfeatured, blackly gnarled with stone,
And left beneath the bright scorn of the stars;
Or worn and marred from conflict with the deep,
Conterminate, of Chaos. Here they stood,
Old Saturn midmost, like a central peak
Among the lesser mounts that guard its base.
Defeat, that gloamed within each countenance
Like the first tinge of death, upon a sun
Gathering like some dusk vapor, found them cold,
Heavy of limb, and halting as with weight
Of threatened worlds and trembling firmaments.
A wind cried round them like a trumpet-voice
Of phantom hosts—hurried, importunate,
And intermittent with a tightening fear.
Far off the sunset sprang, and the hard clouds,
Molten among the peaks, seemd furnaces
In which to make the fetters of the world.

Seared by the lightning of the younger gods,
They saw, beyond the grim and crouching hil…
Recent posts

The City in the Desert by Clark Ashton Smith

A poem by CAS:

The City in the Desert
In a lost land, that only dreams have known,
Where flaming suns walk naked and alone;
Among horizons bright as molten brass,
And glowing heavens like furnaces of glass,
It rears with dome and tower manifold,
Rich as a dawn of amarant and gold,
Or gorgeous as the Phoenix, born of fire,
And soaring from an opalescent pyre
Sheer to the zenith. Like some anademe
Of Titan jewels turned to flame and dream
The city crowns the far horizon-light
Over the flowered meads of damassin ....
A desert isle of madreperl ! wherein
The thurifer and opal-fruited palm
And heaven-thronging minarets becalm
The seas of azure wind....

(Note: These lines were remembered out of a dream, and are given verbatim.)

Clark Ashton Smith, 1922


Talislanta is such a rich, interesting world. But as I was reviewing 4th edition I kept thinking what a herculean effort it would be to consume this all at once.

If I were to run a Talislanta campaign I think I would want to start in one nation and slowly move across the world, allowing players to explore a limited number of archetypes from that region before moving to a different region and trying out their archetypes.
Trying to imagine what sort of framework would support that type of play.  It wouldn't have to be an epic story line - could just be a group of wandering rogues that hit little 'micro-dungeons' in each land, lose some people and take on new party members from the local culture.

Reincarnation in RPGs

A couple of  decades ago I became interested in how one could introduce reincarnation as what happens when a character dies.  I even tried fiddling with a new system for measuring the passage of time just to have a way of minimizing the downtime while waiting for a newly born character to grow up and go adventuring.  I realize now I was too tied to RPG as simulation; that every week, month and minute had to be accounted for and most of it in-play. Today I thought of it in a different way.  Imagine instead how it would impact the rest of the party to have their characters age 20 years.  Of course they would have to describe what they had been doing during that time -- manning an outpost on the border, running their own tavern, contemplating the meaning of the universe in some isolated monastery-- something that could be described in a sentence or two.  As well as what encouraged them to come out of retirement-- a new menace, a new apprentice, a promise to a fallen comrade that they wo…

Chaoses Limb: How is it different from Holmes Basic?

Chaoses Limb

Chaoses Limb is an OSR retro-clone based on the Holmes BasicDungeons and Dragons version (~0e). Changes made to the original Holmes Edition: Changes to make it ‘more’ OSR:Race as Class: One of the attributes of 0e is that demihumans have predefined races with the elf being the prime example, combining both fighter and magic user.  I have extended that concept to dwarfs and halflings making halflings multi-class fighter and thief and dwarf multi-class fighter and cleric. The choice for halfling makes sense given his Hobbit origins and Bilbo Baggins the Burglar.  For the dwarf, other than the fact there weren’t many unique combinations left, having some spell use for the dwarf felt like it hearkened back to the dwarfs of myths and fairy tales that predated Tolkien.Zero to Hero: OSR characters start as weak unremarkable characters and only become heroes after many challenges and obstacles have been overcome.  I modified the level progression tables to make that initial ra…