Monthly Archives: May 2011

The city of Lud-Naran

Vilas entered the common room and pulled the black veil covering his face aside. Most of the patrons were local Naranese, pale and somber, so the ranger had no hard work spotting the man he was looking for. The tawny, golden-eyed Southerner stood out as much as Vilas himself did with his green eyes and red hair. He wore the same black clothes as everyone in the room, which made the inside of the alehouse look like a funeral feast. For all Vilas knew, it easily could be one.

He approached the sand-rider trader, bowed and whispered, for the atmosphere of the place made everyone whisper. 

“I come from lord Ors. He stays in a rented home behind the Great Tomb. I am to take you to him now.”

The golden-eyed man nodded, finished his drink and put a hectagonal stone coin on the table. They both put their veils over their faces and together they walked out of the door, into the Grim Alley.

Lud-Naran is also called the Necropolis and the City of Tomb. The reason for this is apparent to anyone who enters it, after they have left their horses at the gate and put on the black robes and funeral veil as required by the tradition. A long time ago, the graves spilled from Naranese necropolis into the streets and turned the city into one huge graveyard. The main street is lined with gravestones and overgrown by moss. Every fourth entrance leads into a tomb. And citizens of the city meander through its alleys and  avenues like dark shadows.

It is considered bad luck to wear other color than black and everyone covers their faces in the streets so as not to anger the dead. The people of Lud-Naran are pale, dark-eyed and solemn. They are considered the best stone-masons in the world (even their coins are made of stone) and experts on burial rites.

The city is ruled by a council of priests, one for every major deity of death or afterlife. Naranese reverence for (or fear of) the dead goes so far, that they even teach their children a strange artificial language they call Deadish, which their sages created with the decomposition of lungs and vocal chords in mind, cobbling its vocabulary together from all the dead languages they knew.

In Lud-Naran the dead rule, it is said. And it may well be true, considering the stories of night disappearances of those who broke the traditions or stole from the graves. It is not unusual for a wealthy merchant or infuential noble to wish to be buried in the Necropolis in hope of living some secret life after death.


Bohemian Gaming 1

By now, it must be apparent from my writing  that I’m not a native English speaker. A missing article here, a strange phrasing there and it becomes rather obvious. I come from Czech Republic where I’ve lived most of my life. I learned some English from the shaman of our tribe and then practiced it with salt-traders who came to the cave complex every month or so to trade salt and steel for deepfish, gems and ore.

But seriously. I come from a bit different (gaming) culture. In Czech Republic, we had our retro-clones even before DnD was retro. Czech mutation of DnD called DrD (Dračí doupě) first came out in 1990 and was so heavily inspired by the original that it even had the same layout as the BECMI basic set. But Dungeons and Dragons itself, the fabled original, was all but unavailable in Czech Republic at the time. It had about it a mythical air of perfection from beyond the sea, especially when the magical word Advanced was added to its name. Of course, that was in the years after the revolution before we caugh up with the rest of the world and discovered global culture and the internet.

I still remember how I got my ADnD books from a small shop in the capital city  in 1997 and started playing with my classmates. It was my first English roleplaying game and, although I sporadically played Dračí Doupě before, it was also the first RPG I played regulary. Only then I started to explore the Czech gaming community.

This is what Bohemian Gaming is going to be about. It will be series of articles about how it went in Czech Republic, as I experienced it.

Spell: Hypnotic Stare

Tariq charged. Two of the guards lurched at him, but he zig-zagged between them and raced towards Rashid.  Grim smile appeared on former captain’s face. The vizier had not realized how desperate men think and that would be his undoing. He saw the surprise in the eyes of his enemy and for a moment felt immense satisfaction. Then Rashid’s eyes changed, grew, enveloped him and made him forget. Tariq suddenly forgot his attack, his hatred, everything…

Level: Magic User, Level 1

Range: anyone who can see the whites of Magic User’s eyes

Duration: up to 1 turn

With this spell the Magic User locks eyes with one intelligent target and makes him stop in his tracks. Unless the target makes a saving throw (at penalty equal to Magic User’s Charisma modifier), he is paralyzed, dumbly staring into Magic User’s eyes. This spell can be mantained for as long as the eye-contact is mantained and Magic User concentrates on it (which means he cannot cast spells, defend etc.) but no longer than 1 turn. Also, any harm done to the entranced target will break the spell. This spell will not affect target with more than 4 HD.