30 August 2012


Varanids are intelligent, large lizard creatures from western Pamaltela, moving on four legs. They can rear up on the hind legs, and are able to use simple tools. The leaders are even more intelligent, with some magical powers.

God Learners haven't had enough time to study them and to ascertain whether they were related to Slarges, to Lascerdans, or both. The general opinion amongst Umathings is that they are related to Slarges and are hence monsters. People living in the wild, however, like hermits and fur trappers, have been known to befriend Varanids. Female Varanids are especially curious of human tools and implements.

Illustration from Cédric's Hors du chaudron de Koscista Noga blog.

29 August 2012

Maggot Lamia

A maggot lamia is the offspring of a mortal woman (usually Fonritan) and a succubus in male form. Maggot lamiæ resemble beautiful women from the waist up, but have a bloated, white, wormlike body. For some strange twist of fate, a maggot lamia hasn't inherited the lamiæ's magical talent for illusion, and hence cannot modify its appearance. The maggot lamia has also lost the chaotic taint associated to her lineage.
As a result of their inability to hide their appearance, maggot lamiæ are cast off their home land and end up wandering in the remotest parts of Pamaltela. Ironically enough, the chaotic 'standard' lamiæ remain in civilised lands, whereas the non-chaotic maggot lamiæ must live far from them.

Despite their appearance and their unlucky life, maggot lamiæ aren't aggressive vis-à-vis humans on the whole. On the contrary, a lone maggot lamia will welcome human company in the hope of alleviating her life of seclusion. A maggot lamia will be especially keen on receiving news of any relatives she may still have in the land whence she comes.

As written above, maggot lamiæ have lost their species' illusion powers. Instead of it, they have another power to be randomly rolled (or chosen by the GM) on the following table:
  1. Bestow Luck
  2. Detect Chaos
  3. Detect Lies
  4. Divination 
  5. Exceptional Intelligence
  6. True Sight

Just like the kiss of a 'standard' lamia, the kiss of a maggot lamia will drain magical energy from a person. However, there obviously aren't as many people willing to kiss a maggot lamia as there are to kiss a 'standard' lamia disguised as a lovely human female...

27 August 2012

Art for Umathela (6)

Hors du chaudron de Koscista Noga is one of my favourite blogs. Cédric, the blogger, posts his amazing black-and-white ligne claire fantasy drawings inspired by Slavic mythology. My own Second Age Umathela being also much inspired by Slavic art and legends, Hors du chaudron de Koscista Noga has obviously struck a chord with me.

Cédric also being a nice guy, he's allowed me to use his drawings to illustrate my posts, so be prepared to see a lot of his art over here.

24 August 2012

The Problem With Maps

Apparently, up until the beginning of the 20th century, people had no idea what the shape of their country was. As an example— the ultra-jingoistic book Le Tour de la France par deux enfants (1877), which narrates the travels through France of two young boys, had the aim of instilling a sense of French grandeur and unity in its readers; yet it didn't even feature a map of France. The map only came with the 1905 edition of the book.

Now we all know how prominently maps feature in RPG supplements. Even though supplements describing a given locale are normally restricted to the GM's eyes, it is a fact that players often have access to them— and to their maps. As a result, players have a good sense of the geography of the GM's world, or at least of the part where their adventures take place. I for one am a maps buff, and I love supplements such as Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes with its beautiful, full-colour maps. Heck, even the 14-page Player's Primer has a nice map of Sartar on p.5. Now I'm not suggesting these maps be removed, but how can you give the players a sense of wonder at the size of the Lunar Empire or at the complexity of the navigation in the Rightarm Islands if they know the geography?

19 August 2012

The Uz of the Tarmo Mountains

There isn't much official information available about the Uz of the Tarmo Mountains. The following is from Races of Glorantha, Volume One (Mongoose, 2010):

The Uz of the Tarmo Mountains are not Muri but are Uzdo. The mountains are high and snow-covered, well suited for the cold loving dark trolls. The trolls of this region were not followers of Moorgarki, arriving on the surface in a separate exodus from Wonderhome, however many still worship him for his powers to fight against the Pamaltelans. Kyger Litor is most beloved of the Tarmo Tribes but her worship is done in a manner unrecognisable to the trolls of Genertela. The Tarmo Trolls delight in raiding and devouring the oases of Tarien. Other monsters also dwell in the region such as the monstrous Grey Giants and flying Hoon, which the Trolls have learned to drive into battle against their foes. By great irony the Tarmo Trolls are as equally affected by the Trollkin curse as the Genertelan Trolls, however the trolls rarely entertain their runt offspring and cast them out into the wilderness. Hordes of hungry trollkin sometimes ravage as far as southern Umathela.

In my Glorantha, the Tarmo Trolls are nomads. The cold mountains do not produce enough food to sustain a sedentary population of hungry, healthy Uzdo (remember— the Enlo are cast away). As a consequence, the Tarmo Trolls are always on the move, exploiting what little food they can find in the mountains, and sometimes raiding the Tarien oases.

The Tarmo Trolls have tamed giant wolf-spiders, which they use as beasts of burden to carry their belongings whenever they move across the mountains from campsite to campsite.

16 August 2012

Giant Vronkali

The southern slopes of the Tarmo mountains are covered with Sequoioideae, the tallest and largest trees in the world, which thrive in this peculiar ecoregion, usually hot, but sometimes receiving the Umathelan storms from the north in Storm Season. It's also kept moist by the fogs of the Dark Season.

Just as Vronkali relate to coniferous forests, Giant Vronkali relate to Sequoioideae, and the southern slopes of the Tarmo mountains are their natural home. They are so large and strong that they have no foes. However, for some peculiar reason, they fear birds, even though the latter cannot harm them. Well, we humans are also afraid of cockroaches, which cannot harm us, so let us not mock the Giant Vronkali.

Cleverly enough, the Uz of the Tarmo Mountains have managed to raise flocks of birds that they use to open their paths when travelling through the redwoods of the southern slopes.

15 August 2012

Timinits & Trolls (Rules) ‒ Part One

This is my happy month :)

After the publication of my Planet of the Apes article in issue 16 of the RPG Review, I am proud to announce that issue 13 of Rule One Magazine features Part One of my Timinits & Trolls rules to game in Second Age Umathela using the Tunnels & Trolls engine.

Part One actually only contains a brief introduction to the Tunnels & Trolls engine, and a short time-line of Second Age Umathela.

Parts Two and Three — the actual flesh and bones of the system — will be published in issue 14 of Rule One Magazine, some time in the autumn of 2012.

14 August 2012

Planet of the Apes rpg

Issue 16 of the RPG Review is out. The RPG Review is a free, downloadable Australian gaming magazine devoted to RPGs, be it reviews, gaming theory, adventure supplements, gaming aids, industry gossip... Each issue has a central theme. The latest was science fiction.

Why am I mentioning this on a Gloranthan blog? Well, the reason is that issue 16 of the RPG Review features my very own Planet of the Apes rpg (check pages 55-56), which is really a mere adaptation of the T&T rules to my style of play. It might be of interest to those following this blog because the Planet of the Apes rpg is the foundation upon which I've built my more elaborate T&T-based Second Age Glorantha games.