Rainer Kaasik-Aaslav

  • Field Report After Two Months of Publishing

    Field Report After Two Months of Publishing

    This post is primarily intended for other aspiring designers like myself, but it can be a (long) interesting read for others nevertheless, offering insights into the decisions and work behind the scenes of SAKE.

    It has been a few days more than two months since I published SAKE (Sorcerers, Adventurers, Kings, and Economics) Basic Edition, and titled myself as a game designer (Link to First Field Report: https://sake.ee/field-report-after-the-first-week-of-publishing/ ). It’s going to be a long post, so let’s get right to it.

    1. Numbers

    The Basic Edition has been downloaded exactly 708 times at the moment of writing. 30 people who downloaded it decided to pay for it, and I am immensely grateful for that. So, in total, it’s a 4.2% paying rate. However, it’s not that simple. There was a post in the TTRPG designers subreddit a few weeks ago discussing that on DriveThru RPG, more people decide to give money for PWYW (Pay What You Want) products. I see a similar trend here, as 24 out of 30 payments are from DriveThru RPG, but only 317 downloads are from there. So, that is something to keep in mind if you are planning to sell your products at the price of PWYW and hope to make some money out of it. As for me, the Basic Edition is meant to be a free preview, and I am very thankful for people who have decided to support my endeavour.


    After finishing the book, I started simultaneously with three things:

    • Sending out review requests.
    • Making the first official dungeon crawl – Crime Districts of Irongate – for the game.
    • Fiddling with Facebook ads.

    2. Reviews

    I have sent out 23 review requests, and to be honest, I am very positively surprised. Before, I was afraid that I would be sending those emails into oblivion (or the spam folder) and nobody would answer. But that’s not the case. Even if nothing has come from it yet, many people still took their time to answer (around 1/3), and I am very thankful for that.

    Also, in three cases, something more has happened:

    1. Freddy from rpggamer.org has made two videos about the game.
      An overview of the book: https://youtu.be/UhgWQ76Nf7I?si=p2MP0Pr0fQMqIMMR
      A quick breakdown of combat rules: https://youtu.be/4m07e7UwK2c?si=m8zz4nrglRWCZgDS
    2. Moe from Show & Tell asked me for an interview, which was grand, but oh my – my spoken English is not good at all: https://therpgacademy.com/show-tell-135-sake-ttrpg/
    3. Guys from 2 Legit 2 Crit have taken a look at SAKE: https://www.youtube.com/live/1YjoOl61U5w?si=aFvbBdd3zipKm4Hv
      They also took a look at the adventure module – Crime Districts of Irongate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEj_hARmBPU&t=667s&ab_channel=2Legit2Crit
      Also-also, they are always fun to listen to!

    So, all together, I am very happy with this, and writing it down reminds me that I probably should get some more emails out.

    3. Crime Districts of Irongate

    After releasing the Basic Edition, I straight away started working on an adventure module Crime Districts of Irongate, which I published in January. But mind you, I didn’t write a whole book in one month; I mostly edited and rewrote material that I had written throughout the year when taking part in the Dungeon23│City23 challenge. Most of the blog posts here are about the Irongate City.

    I priced it at $5,99 and sold exactly… drumroll… two copies (Thank You so much for You two!).

    That sounds like a total failure, but I don’t see it that way, mainly because of two reasons:

    1. I plan to add it as an add-on to the Kickstarter campaign with the same price and sell it this way. Maybe it will find more buyers this way.
    2. SAKE is still in its earliest phase of adoption, and I think having an adventure module out there gives some proof that this will not be a one-time thing – I am trying to build its own tiny brand, and more adventures and books in Asteanic World are to come.

    Anyway, if you want to take a look, here are the links:

    DriveThru RPG: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/468117/Crime-Districts-of-Irongate?affiliate_id=4178266 (affiliate link)  

    Itch.io: https://rainer-kaasik-aaslav.itch.io/crime-districts-of-irongate

    4. Facebook Advertisements

    The Importance of Facebook Ads

    There were an estimated 13,7 million active D&D players (WotC made that estimation in 2017). How many active TTRPG players that translates to in 2024 is hard to say, but it’s likely more. All types of groups on Reddit, FB, forums, etc., have a lot fewer participants, and the active participant count is even lower. (r/rpg has 1,5 million users – hard to estimate how many users per day or week).

    So, the reason for FB ads basically comes down to reaching those people who play TTRPGs but don’t actively take part in online communities.


    For personal economic reasons, I have only spent on ads as much as the book has earned.


    I have tried several advertisement combinations, and the best one seems to be this sort of simple combination.

    Link to ad post: https://www.facebook.com/SAKEttrpg/posts/pfbid02XeGG75QMHgsr35c6Tsp1v3MbaY6cGg8kQdoPmDvAnWdtx87dwFPGJrNU4LU5EGUjl?notif_id=1707735218187328&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic&ref=notif

    As you can see, it’s a long descriptive post, without an advertisement button (the click here thing), without any beautiful pictures or videos. Picture or video ads I have tried have worked more poorly than this type of simple posts, and for some reason, people tend to like it more when the main link is to DriveThru RPG.

    Suspicious advertisement results (captured the moment and had to share)

    After the Crime Districts of Irongate adventure was published, I have fully focused on preparing for the Full Release Kickstarter, which will open in the first half of April. And, as you can imagine, it’s a lot of work when you want to do it at as a professional level as you can.


    5. The Full Edition Book Itself

    With the final book, it’s been a lot of back and forth. As you can see from some materials on the Kickstarter prelaunch page and campaign video – there are two books, but right now I speak of one.

    I started with the idea of one book of 450 pages Printed on Demand. 450 pages are a lot, but the Basic edition is almost 250 pages – the game just is large as it has all sorts of other systems for domain management, large battles/sieges, economy, and so forth. The PoD pre-calculations showed exorbitant prices for a hardcover full-colour book of this size. Just rechecked – over 90 dollars on Lulu. Adding my expenses, Kickstarter expenses, taxes, and we’ll be looking at a book with a selling price of almost 150 dollars – which is just crazy, and even crazier when taking into account the questionable print and paper quality of Print on Demand.

    So, I decided to go with offset printing as it’s a lot (and I mean a LOT!) cheaper, better quality, and somewhat easier for me as I can communicate with printers quicker. Or so has been my experiences (I have published and printed 2 books in my time). For the time being, I decided not to bother with that more and started working with the Kickstarter video, also, not thinking much – decided that maybe printing two books would be better – that’s why you see two books in the Kickstarter video right now.

    But. Think about it! The price of offset printing is cheap because you print a lot of books – print run under 300 would get very expensive again and basically costs the same as 300 books. So, two books would really mean 300 + 300 books for me, and that would be too risky for two reasons:

    1. I would have to have a Kickstarter base goal of almost 20 000 dollars, which is too much for a first-time indie Kickstarter, as it will just scare away potential backers – they will think I don’t have any idea how money works. So, the Kickstarter succeeding with such a base goal would be meagre.
    2. Thigh success on that goal could mean I am left with a lot of books nobody bought and no money.

    So, that’s why back to one book, with that, the base goal can be around 10 000 dollars, which shouldn’t be too frightening for such a large book.

    6. Kickstarter Video and all Small Bits and Pieces

    There is one thing extremely useful for me in this endeavour – my artist background. I am a metal artist, and while not as at home with illustrating or graphic design, I still can do them at some levels.

    Also, another thing I have recently decided to do more – is play on my stronger suits – which is 3D – an important thing when visualizing large sculptures and engineering their structures – but same useful for modelling ships and castles. And those models can be used in wildly different settings. For example, you can see this one ship in:

    • And it will find its way to the pages of the book also.

    Same with the castle, that will be added to the video also.

    So, as you can see – I try to work as efficiently as I can, using the same things in different scenarios, as for Kickstarter you need a lot of small bits and pieces: Mockups, icons for pledges, page spreads, and so on – and a lot of this stuff is useless for the final product, so I really try to make it in the way I can use it still in the final product and don’t waste my time on useless graphical bits and pieces.

    Conclusion

    I could write so much more, but I think the most important things have been mentioned for now, and the post is getting huge (4 pages in Word). So, best wishes and Thank You for reading!

    Rainer Kaasik-Aaslav


  • Lore24 and Asteanic world

    Lore24 and Asteanic world

    With last year’s Dungeon23 │ City23 still unfinished (don’t worry, it will be finished) I thought that it would be a great idea to take part in Lore24. I won’t be posting every day or even every week, but from time to time, as I will be working naturally with the lore of Asteanic World – a thing I have to do anyway, as the lore chapter still needs to be translated for the Full SAKE Rulebook.

    And what’s a better place to start with the lore of the Asteanic World than its history. So here is the first part translated just now:

    The Short History of the Asteanic World

    Asteanic chronology divides the world’s history into four eras: the Mythic Age when Thefna (the Asteanic motherland) was home to the lost Azzurian civilization, the Age of Heroes when gods walked the earth and ancient heroes cleansed the world of all kinds of monsters, making it habitable, the Age of Kings when the first Asteanic kingdoms rose, marking the beginning of credible written sources, and the Age of Empires or the New Age, that marks the start of the Asteanic calendar.

    Mythic Age

    Little has survived from the Mythic Age, likely ending approximately 3000 to 4000 years ago. During this time, Thefna was home to the Azzurians, a completely extinct or assimilated people among the Asteans. The remnants of this era on Thefna include several ruined cities with massive necropolises and ziggurats. The largest among them are Urtari, Hatussa, and Mitanni, located away from the main civilization. Cities closer to civilization have largely been dismantled by the Asteans for their construction projects.

    From the Azzurians, Asteans inherited something of immense significance: their gods. Asteans consider the Azzurian gods as deities of natural forces and continue to revere (mainly fear) them to this day. Azzurians identified themselves as the children of the sun god Azzur and worshipped and feared their gods fervently.

    While some aspects of Azzurian writing have been deciphered, the absence of significant texts raises more questions than answers about their culture. Historians debate whether the Azzurians were aware of the Astral Projection magic school. What led to the demise of their culture and paved the way for the Asteans? Some signs suggest that the Azzurians harboured immense fear of otherworldly forces and death. Why, what was so different in that time?

    The old watercolour map of Thefna Archipelago, the new – fancy one, still doesn’t have all the names. But this one has been used for years in my games. The mentioned Azzurian cities: Urtari, Hatussa, and Mitanni, are findable here.

    Age of Heroes

    The Age of Heroes marks the beginning of Asteanic mythology. The era commences with the tale of how the Asteans descended from the Eternal Waters (pocket of the Otherworld) to the human world. All stories of the deeds of Asteanic gods fall into this era.

    The Age of Heroes also encompasses tales of various human heroes and the slaying of monsters and dangerous lesser gods.

    There are no written sources from the Age of Heroes because the Asteans had not yet developed writing. All stories have been preserved as oral traditions and are therefore more myths than subjects for serious historical inquiry.

    It is unclear whether the Azzurians lived alongside the Asteans during this time. Oral tradition is contradictory in this regard. In some tales, Asteanic heroes battle seemingly foreign nations, but these may also be kinfolk of the Asteans (Asteanic language only becomes standardized in the Age of Empires) or the Hattu peoples who lived in Northern Thefna. In other stories, the Asteans find Thefna seemingly empty, abandoned by its ancient inhabitants.

    In some ways, the Age of Heroes has the most stories, being the core of Asteanic mythology, but it has the least credible historical information. Modern Asteans view these stories as what they are – myths. Certainly, some tales may contain a grain of truth.

    Age of Kings

    The Age of Kings is considered to span seven to eight centuries before the Age of Empires. During this period, writing emerges, providing ample opportunities for a more detailed study of this era. However, there are challenges in precisely dating events because it is nearly impossible to reconcile the different calendars used at that time with the contemporary one.

    At different times, dozens of small kingdoms coexisted in Thefna.

    This era also marks the first attempt at empire building when Pyrdema, the sorceress queen of Niobe, compelled all the Southern Thefna kings to swear allegiance to her over her long life. Pyrdema’s grand empire lasted for several decades until her own grandchildren rebelled against her and dethroned her.



  • Field Report After the First Week of Publishing

    Field Report After the First Week of Publishing

    As I type this, the SAKE Basic Edition has been published in Itch.io and DriveThru RPG for exactly one week. This field report is aimed more at myself and other novice game designers. I aim to describe the behind-the-scenes aspects as accurately as possible, but there might be some limitations – for instance, I am unsure if I can take screenshots from the Publisher section of DriveThru RPG or Itch.io without violating any rules, so I refrain from doing so just in case.

    Everything preceding this: designing the game, testing it, and designing a beautiful book, is generally straightforward. However, the real work begins after this process is complete, and as a novice game designer, it feels like uncharted territory. Although I have designed and/or compiled two books in my lifetime, I have never had to sell them myself, and they have mostly been local publications.

    The Field Report (nr 1)

    The first thing to note is that the feeling is good. Now, it’s done. Before publishing, I had this sort of ambivalent feeling, thinking of myself as a TTRPG designer. Yes, I have been designing this for years – it should mean I am one, but nobody else than my groups had played or even seen it – so, am I really? Would anybody else believe that I am? Like, if you study jewellery and never finish or sell a piece of jewellery, then are you a jewellery artist? So, I am happy I pushed it out, even if I would have liked to have an accompanying adventure, which it doesn’t have yet.

    Numbers

    In the first week, SAKE has been downloaded 298 times: 95 times from DriveThru RPG and 203 times from Itch.io.

    On Itch.io, there are 1062 views on the page, so that’s 19.1% of page views.

    On DriveThru RPG, those 95 downloads came from 484 views, so that’s 19.6%. Surprisingly similar. I am not sure if I can know how people found their way there.

    Most of those downloads on Itch.io (135) happened in the first two days, and Itch.io shows me that most people came to the page from Reddit, followed by Itch.io’s own new and popular category, and after that is Facebook. Which is understandable because…

    Rant on Facebook

    I have always been able to share pictures and links to the webpage with the SAKE Facebook page, but this time it was impossible, like Facebook understood that those links are shop links and no-no, those things we don’t share freely – you have to buy advertisement or not share at all. Comparison: some random map picture – 2800 views (just checked, some even have 10K views), an important post about SAKE being published – 485 views. And the first several days it was under a hundred. Okay, no problem, I understand this; that is their business model, just was not prepared to discover it this way.

    Anyway, 300 downloads sound great (maybe, I am not sure, first time doing it), but it comes with a big ‘but’ – the game is PWYW (Pay What You Want), so the number of readers may be a lot lower. But that’s something that I can’t evaluate yet.

    About the PWYP model

    I have been told that I should ask money for the game as nothing else than this book is needed to play it, but I still decided to go with PWYP because at this moment I feel that getting the game to as many people as possible is more important than trying to earn a few hundred bucks. I am unknown and building some audience is crucial.

    Anyway, if things go the way I want, then this is just a start. On my computer, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of pages on the Asteanic World, monsters, adventures, etc., waiting to be translated, edited, and converted into books. So having the first one free is not the end of the world in an economic perspective.

    Having the Basic Edition published comes with a great benefit in those shops; everybody who downloads SAKE – I can send an email. I will not abuse it, sending some random news, but I will send an email when I publish something new or the Kickstarter opens.

    Speaking of Kickstarter, I haven’t advertised it much yet, but the link is in the PDFs and on the Itch.io page (it’s not allowed to put this sort of links into DriveThru RPG page), which has brought in 34 pre-subscribers. Again, I don’t know if those numbers are good or not – I have read that around 20% of pre-subscribers convert to backers. Is it true? Maybe? Anyway, I wouldn’t dare to open Kickstarter before there are around 500 people interested – it’s just a limit I have set for myself. Maybe after I find some more info, I may reconsider it one way or the other.

    Promotion

    Apart from Reddit, Facebook (where I invested 10 euros in an advertisement to test the system), Instagram, Mastodon, Twitter (where I proudly have just one follower!), and now Threads, I have posted the game ad on various TTRPG forums across the internet. However, the download numbers have slowed down – yesterday, Monday (18.12.2023), saw 6 downloads on Itch.io and only 1 on DriveThru RPG. So, it’s time to move to the next stage. Simply posting shop links doesn’t work anymore – which is logical, as nobody likes relentless advertisements.

    Near Future Plans

    I plan to reach out to a few reviewers and hope to see some reviews after some time. Right now, there are none, which is okay. I am unknown figure in the TTRPG world, and the game is a lengthy read (246 pages + all sheets), making it challenging to review right away.

    What I didn’t have at the time of release is a sample adventure. That is the next thing I plan to change. This will also allow me to test a few other things, like what happens when I put a price tag on it. Do 300 downloads become 3, or even 0? I would call it a great success if there were 50 downloads with a price in the first week. Let’s see.

    So, the plan is to use the material that I have been creating for the #dungeon23 project and convert part of it into a city district-themed dungeon, which is going pretty well.

    I drew a basic plan a few days ago:

    After gathering all existing materials, I am now reviewing them, adding some Hazards, Opportunities, and Secrets.

    The same file this morning:

    And the Crime Districts Dungeon Sheets as they are now:

    But the main work hours will go into the design of battlemaps because, while mostly done in Rhinoceros (CAD program that I use to draw), they still haven’t been converted into Illustrator.

    Right now, I have these:

    Other Plans

    I still don’t understand how to use all those Meta tools; the business part of the page is extremely confusing to me. It’s pretty hard to even say what exactly I don’t understand 😀 So, that’s the thing I have to study more. I plan to use Meta advertising, just have a 10 euro a week advertisement running basically all the time. But to make this effective, I just have to understand better what I am doing – and find a way to see the results better. Last week’s 10 euro advertisement brought 46 clicks into Itch.io, which altogether has 1062 clicks. But I have no idea how many of those 46 clicks became downloads. There probably is a way to know it.

    And I have to do something with the webpage, which hasn’t aged well in one year 😀

    Another thing I am thinking of is making the Basic Edition into Print on Demand in DriveThru RPG. It shouldn’t be too complicated – famous last words. Really, probably just add bleed, make a separate file for covers and … ??? The downloadable parts of the file are, anyway, a separate layer in the InDesign file; those will be gone with just one click. But even simple things take time, and that’s why it’s down here in the list of things to do.

    So, that’s the report and thoughts for now. I am happy for all sorts of advice! The next report will probably be after the release of the dungeon and seeing how that goes, so probably a month or something.


  • Religions in the Asteanic World

    Religions in the Asteanic World

    The Doctrine of Eternal Waters

    Also known as the Temple of the Divine Ocean or just Asteanic Polytheism.

    The Asteanic people believe they originated from the Eternal Waters, an ancient realm of water from which they were once expelled. All Asteanic individuals are descendants of the ancestral deities, Bellaris and Regulla, and most of their other major deities as well. The majority of Asteans also adhere to the concept of Reincarnation, believing that after death, they are reborn as water elves (a concept difficult to prove or disprove).

    What sets Asteanic religion apart is the absence of any gods associated with the creation of the world. Instead, they have adopted local creator deities when subjugating other lands. For instance, in Orenic lands, this has led to a syncretic religion known as the Cult of the 18 Gods, blending local creator deities with the Asteanic deities.

    As the Orenic belief is that after death, all individuals merge into the Collective Spirit from which they were originally born, this has stirred up strife within the Asteanic community. The conflict has even spread throughout the entire Asteanic world. This concept is equally challenging to prove.

    Old or Azurian deities complement the Thefna Asteanic pantheon, associated with natural forces and feared rather than worshipped. Azurian deities are regarded as demanding and hostile toward Asteans. The major Asteanic deities symbolize the Asteanic capacity to withstand those forces of nature.

    Asteanic belief is that all Otherworldly beings are aspects of some deity. Aspects linked to their major deities are sometimes invoked and venerated. Special temples house some of these aspects, serving as significant pilgrimage destinations. Asteans also venerate numerous local lesser deities with whom they interact closely.

    The official doctrine of the Temple of the Divine Ocean rejects the idea that anyone, even the aspects of the gods, can predict the future. Divination is considered heretical.

    But in general, their religion is quite tolerant of other faiths. They recognize other nations’ gods as local deities, and when they settle in foreign lands, they also worship them. Only the monotheistic beliefs are foreign and incomprehensible to them.

    While Asteans generally offer animals or material goods as sacrifices, it’s not unheard of for a human to be offered as a sacrifice before significant military campaigns or other extraordinary events. However, this tradition has almost died out, as many Astean people no longer tolerate this brutal tradition.

    Asteanic polytheism and the priesthood of the Temple of the Divine Ocean support a complex, multi-caste social hierarchy through traditions and myths.

    However, a deep rift exists in Asteanic culture when it comes to beliefs about the Concept of  Collective Spirit and the Concept of Reincarnation. Both concepts acknowledge the same gods, but the central dispute revolves around what happens to the soul after death, leading to significant differences in their approach to traditions and the world.

    Most Asteans believe in the reincarnation as water elves, a cornerstone of the Asteanic religion since its inception. Believers of the Concept of Reincarnation view themselves as superior to other nations, as only an Asteanic person can be reborn as a water elf when a proper waterfuneral is performed. As you can imagine, this raises the question of what happens if one parent is not Asteanic? This has led to complex debates among believers in reincarnation on whether the soul comes from the mother, the father, or both. Among the common people, there is a belief that one Asteanic parent is sufficient.

    Additionally, believers in reincarnation regard ancestor spirits in the Otherworld as beings who failed on their life journey, not achieving rebirth, and becoming trapped in the spirit realm. Hence, the veneration of ancestors is not prevalent among them. Why worship a failed ancestor?

    Supporters of the Collective Spirit Concept believe that after death, the souls of all the world’s people unite into one great Collective Spirit, from which all the world’s souls were originally drawn. This belief has led them to feel more equal to other nations, and they do not see intermarriage with foreigners as taboo.

    There is also a significant difference in burial customs. Collective Spirit believers advocate cremation because they believe it helps the soul move on more effectively. The ashes are either interred in a necropolis with an urn or scattered. On the other hand, those who believe in the Reincarnation concept favour waterburials, where the deceased’s body, encased in concrete shoes, is submerged in the sea or another body of water to expedite rebirth as a water elf.

    The view on ancestor spirits also varies. While they may not have succeeded in uniting with the Collective Spirit, they are believed to remain in the Otherworld to support and guide future generations.

    In most Asteanic nations, the Concept of Collective Spirit is prohibited, and its practitioners are actively pursued by temples and theologians. However, it is relatively easy to conceal this belief since it is not directly observable, except for the burial traditions.


  • Astral Projection magic school translated and the Azure Warrior archetype added

    Astral Projection magic school translated and the Azure Warrior archetype added

    /Archetype below and on Archetypes page: https://sake.ee/archetypes/

    Azure Warrior Archetype

    Azure Warrior Archetype Character Sheet

    Azure Assassins, or Azure Warriors, are warrior-sorcerers in Asteanic culture who have weaponized the use of Astral Projection magic. With the help of powerful substances like Skyblue, these warriors leave their bodies behind and fight as souls – wielding Soulbleed weapons and utilising abilities only available to ghosts, such as flying and becoming invisible.

    As the cost of studying magic and acquiring the specialised equipment needed to become an Azure Warrior is high, most of them belong to wealthy noble castes. However, they are seldom rulers themselves, as using the most potent narcotic substances required for their powerful abilities can make them susceptible to addiction and madness. Many Azure Assassins serve powerful rulers or offer their skills as assassins, albeit on the other side of the law.

    An archetypal sample character can already exit their body and use the Manipulation of Physical Objects spell to strangle enemies. However, they still need to learn how to take powerful Soulbleed weapons with them and acquire other spells. Additionally, it’s worth focusing on developing their combat skills. You have the potential to be one of the most dangerous warriors in Asteanic culture. Understandably, an astral warrior like you has certain advantages. It’s very difficult for conventional weapons to harm you; your DR against them is 20 when astral projecting. However, Soulbleed weapons and silver weapons inflict damage normally. Successful attacks deduct Soul HP from you.

    If you ever acquire a Soulbleed weapon, using it in your astral form allows you to fight with it, and when you hit someone with your weapon, you also deduct Soul HP from them. Regular armour does not protect against those attacks, and most people have fewer Soul HP than regular HP.

    When you use your Soulbleed weapon while in your physical body, regular armour provides protection because it can’t simply phase through armour like it can in spirit form. However, in this case, the spirit weapon deducts both types of HP simultaneously. Steel inflicts regular wounds, and the spirit within it inflicts soul wounds.


  • Asteanic Enclave

    Asteanic Enclave
    Districts of Irongate

    Although the Asteanic Empire never conquered Kaliland, it doesn’t mean that Asteanic merchants didn’t find their way to this distant world. In fact, the entire former Itza Sea Empire was built upon trade with the Asteanic merchants.

    During the Empire’s era, the Itza kings held almost complete control over trade with the Asteani within their realm. They primarily bought iron and tin for bronze casting and, in return, sold them precious goods collected from their tribes: jade, obsidian, valuable gemstones, pearls, precious coral, ebony, as well as hides and ivory from exotic animals. The Itza kings were esteemed and loyal business partners for the Asteanic merchants.

    Trade thrived, and to support it, the kings of Irongate allocated land in the marshy and mangrove areas on the eastern bank of the Murkway River to the Asteanic merchant houses. This allowed them to establish their trade halls and ports there. Following the locals, the Kali, and the southern Orenic people, Irongate is still home to a significant Asteanic population. While the majority are Southern-Asteanic, it’s not uncommon to encounter Northern-Asteanic people as well.

    Asteanic Enclave (when you look closer, you see that I used the feitoria models from the book preview: https://sake.ee/in-sake-even-your-house-has-stats/)

    The Asteanic enclave within the city was always complex, consisting of different fortifications, palazzos and feitorias belonging to various great houses. In terms of social structure, it resembled the Kali neighbourhoods, which were also divided into territories of various tribes. The large Asteanic trading houses often competed with each other or even engaged in open war. Centuries ago, during the height of the vast Asteanic Empire, these conflicts were resolved in the city by an Imperial-appointed High-Magistrate of Kaliland. However, with the fall of the Empire, the existence of such a universally recognized figure among all successor states became impossible. In recent centuries, King of Irongate personally resolved disputes among Asteanic trading houses. Consequently, there was no single leader in the Asteanic colony of Irongate. One could even say that, through the judiciary, the colony fell directly under the rule of the King of Irongate.

    The fall of the Itza Sea Empire had a devastating impact on overseas trade in Irongate. While Irongate’s interest in Asteanic goods like iron and tin remained, without tribute to the king, there was almost nothing to offer the Asteanic merchants in return. Of course, one cannot speak in absolutes; Asteanic merchants still operate in the city, and the enclave is by no means deserted. However, many palazzos and trade halls belonging to merchant houses from Thefna and other distant Asteanic regions have been abandoned. The Imperial Bank and other important institutions have departed, and the jungle is gradually reclaiming its territory. Only merchants from the nearby Republic of Five Houses and the Orenic Sumatra Republic remain active in Irongate.

    One of the few impressive new buildings in all of Irongate is the Feitoria la Birra. With the fall of the Empire, Irongate faced a food shortage. A city with 100 000 residents couldn’t sustain itself only with its hinterland and Turtletown fishermen. About a quarter of the required food had to be imported, and this was demanded as tribute during the Empire’s time. After the Empire’s fall, this practice was no longer possible. One of the five houses of the Republic of Five Houses, la Birra, stepped in immediately to address the food shortage. Their extensive farmlands not only sustain Ostia, the capital of the Republic, but are so vast and fertile that they can even supply two major cities of the world. La Birra immediately moved to fill the gap that had emerged in the market and constructed an impressive fortified Feitoria to oversee the entire operation.

    Feitoria la Birra has since become the unofficial center of the enclave, led by Princess Eudora la Birra, the daughter of la Birra’s house leader, who serves as an unofficial leader of the Five Houses Republic merchants in Irongate. She has also managed to maintain relatively neutral relations with the Sumatra Republic merchants.

    Feitoria la Birra has since evolved into the unofficial heart of the enclave, and its director, Princess Eudora la Birra, the daughter of the nillwring (leader) of the la Birra house, serves as the informal leader of the Republic of Five Houses’ merchants operating here. She has also successfully maintained relatively neutral relations with the merchants of the Sumatra Republic.


  • In SAKE, Even Your House Has Stats

    Translated and illustrated a part of the Economics module – the houses and establishments the PCs can purchase. Also attempted some book design for them, so here are the 3 pages.


  • Sorcery and Otherworld rules (introduction)

    Sorcery is subtle in SAKE and does not affect the physical world visibly. Sorcery makes it possible to communicate with animals, heal, bring others back from the dead, leave one’s body as a soul, travel to the Otherworld, create magical objects and subjugate the will. These are powerful abilities yet not visible to the naked eye when travelling around the world of SAKE. GM can make the world appear relatively magic-free if they wish even if it isn’t actually so. SAKE can also be enjoyed when leaving sorcery out of the game entirely.

    Sorcery can however be found everywhere in SAKE if the players wish to dive into it:

    • The most feared assassins in Asteanic society are the azure assassins – sorcerers who depart from their bodies in soul form to kill their victim’s soul. Such mages can be found in the service of most Asteanic rulers.
    • Psychics who can subjugate the will of others by looking into their eyes have heavily popularised the use of sunglasses in higher castes.
    • Nature gods have a direct effect on a domain’s everyday life which creates a dilemma for chancellors and leaders, they can either try and earn the favour of these gods or try and get rid of them in some way. Pissing off a nature god can evoke a ravaging plague or a destructive natural catastrophe. 
    • The world of SAKE is full of different Otherworlds whose odd entities and rules affect the cultures and religions of the human world.

    From a gameplay perspective, sorcery is divided into schools of magic, which are skills that players must purchase separately. Until they are purchased, these skills are not even listed on the character sheet. Therefore, for a person who has not learned them, magic remains entirely inaccessible.

    Owning a magical skill does not do anything on it’s own, meaning a player can not just roll Restoration, they have to use a spell and spend Spellpoints (equivalent to Willpower + any Spellpoints received when learning new spells) as well as roll against marked Difficulty Level which is spell specific. Spells are functionally similar to abilities, as they have certain requirements and enable specific magical actions. With available free Spellpoints, spells can always be used.

    Separate from the schools of magic, there is a skill called Channeling, which allows channelling the abilities of deities with whom a pact has been made. Since deities are significantly more powerful than humans and can influence the physical world to some extent, those who have made a pact with them can purchase spells that, to a limited extent, grant them control over the physical world in a manner similar to the deity. For instance, a person who has made a pact with a wind deity can acquire a spell that grants them control over the direction and strength of the wind, or someone who has formed a pact with an oni deity can obtain an ability that accelerates their healing, much like an oni’s own rapid recovery.

    To buy spells from any school of magic requires the PC to learn them from a teacher or a book. To acquire a godly spell requires the PC to enter into a pact with a god that offers knowledge on said spell. Both instances may require additional knowledge in another spell or a high enough skill level.

    When players or the Game Master feel the desire to create new spells or branches of magic, or when the question arises about what is possible in the human world or the Otherworld, all magic and the Otherworld adhere to eight fundamental principles:

    The Otherworld & Soul

    Description & Geography

    The Otherworld is made up of different pockets. This means that the Otherworld isn’t just a single otherworldly realm that directly parallels the human world, but it consists of countless pockets that run parallel to the human world. These pockets can be tiny such as a valley between two mountains or a singular cave. They can also be infinite like an infinite desert or ocean. All Otherworld pockets have or have had a high ruler. These rulers have created and modified the area to fit their personal needs. These rulers and gods are allknowing in their pockets of Otherworld and almost invincible as they are able to change the geography within their pocket of the Otherworld.

    Several pockets within the Otherworld can also exist in parallel to each other. This complexity adds a significant challenge to deliberately entering the Otherworld, especially when the aim is to reach a specific pocket within it. Typically, there is a specific geographical point in the physical world associated with each pocket, which serves as an entryway to that particular pocket in the Otherworld. These locations are often regarded as sacred sites, especially if a deity locally revered resides on the other side.

    Exiting the Otherworld at a random location is inherently even more perilous. This is because the distance covered in the Otherworld may not necessarily equate to the same distance in the human world. In other words, traversing 1 km in the Otherworld may, or may not, correspond to 100 km in the human world. Similarly, returning to the Otherworld at the same spot doesn’t guarantee re-entering the same pocket of the Otherworld from which one initially exited.

    GMs can use the Otherworld as a supernatural labyrinth to take adventurers to faraway lands or wherever the GM wishes. GMs should be careful with this logic as creating an easy & quick route from A to B in the human world through the Otherworld poses a question of why the human world’s merchants or other travellers do not use the much more simple route.

    There are certain points between the human world and the Otherworld where one can physically enter the Otherworld. These are called Gates of the Otherworld and they are highly significant locations. These points may exist consistently or might activate only during specific times, such as during a full moon or once a year on the anniversary of a particular event.

    The passage of time

    Time in the Otherworld operates differently from time in the human world, just as space in the Otherworld doesn’t correspond to space in the human world. Time can move at a slower pace in the Otherworld, but it doesn’t always have to. For instance, a year spent in the Otherworld might equate to only a week in the human world. It’s not advisable to accelerate time in the Otherworld beyond that of the human world, as this could inadvertently lead to years or even centuries passing in the human world during gameplay.

    Dividing the day into morning, noon, and night is impractical in the Otherworld. Some parts of the Otherworld might follow this division, while other areas could exist in a perpetual state of night or morning. There might also be regions where these time periods shift unusually quickly or slowly. GM can dictate that killing a leader of a specific area in the Otherworld makes the sun set for ever or vice versa, there are no rules for this.

    The Otherworld as the Realm of the Deceased

    When a person dies, there are two possibilities: their soul either enters the Otherworld and continues to wander and live there, or it moves on to the true land of the deceased. The majority of souls simply pass through the Otherworld, moving into the unknown, and very few become trapped there. Over millennia, however, these few have accumulated in the Otherworld, resulting in a substantial number.

    The reasons why some souls move on while others remain trapped in the Otherworld are subjects of theological debates.

    In general, the pockets of the Otherworld inhabited by human souls are peaceful places. Ancestral spirits exist in a routine, engaged in an activity they were most involved with during life. For example, ancestors who were farmers tend to till fields and care for animals. These pockets of the Otherworld can closely resemble the real world. Players may spend a considerable amount of time there before realizing they are not in the real world. The initial hint often comes from the historic appearance of their surroundings. The architecture is ancient, firearms and iron might not be present, and clothing and tools are antiquated.

    When interacting with these routine-bound ancestral spirits, it becomes evident that they embody specific archetypes. All tenants of Asteanic culture are somewhat similar in demeanor and speech. This observation applies to Asteanic samurais and others as well. Ancestors lack personal traits; they only express certain archetypes. However, where do all the houses, animals, and fields come from? Ancestors subconsciously influence the atmosphere within their pockets of the Otherworld. Everything around them is a product of their imagination. When a new ancestor emerges, they instantly conjure a house and domesticated animals. Importantly, ancestors do this subconsciously and lack conscious control over the Otherworld’s elements.

    Furthermore, there are wanderers in the Otherworld known as “spectators.” These spectating souls are anonymous, ageless, and genderless. They cannot be interacted with. They roam the pockets of the Otherworld aimlessly and generally do not react to anything. Ancestral spirits do not acknowledge their existence, almost as if they cannot see each other. However, spectators do notice those who traverse the Otherworld and gaze at them when they catch their eye.

    Both ancestral spirits and spectators are usually harmless to visitors of the Otherworld. They only become hostile if aggressed against or if their routines are disrupted in some way.

    Otherworld as the Realm of Otherworldlings

    Most of the inhabitants of the Otherworld dwell within existing pockets and are unable to create new ones. Similar to ancestral spirits, these Otherworldlings possess a subconscious ability to shape their surroundings to their liking. However, just like the ancestors, they cannot consciously use this power against travellers in the Otherworld.

    The nature of the pocket where an Otherworldling resides depends on the type of creature. Nymphs and fauns inhabit areas of breathtaking natural beauty. Entities associated with death may reside in eternal darkness or amidst decaying and lifeless landscapes. A phoenix might dwell in a place engulfed in flames. Certain Otherworldlings, like blue onis and gorgons, might inhabit pockets that resemble man-made castles or caves.

    The Otherworld inhabitants are mostly solitary beings who don’t actively seek interaction with deceased souls or astral travellers. However, some creatures might start to follow living visitors in an attempt to enter the world of the living.

    Those Otherworld creatures capable of creating their own pockets are immensely powerful, akin to lesser deities. Such entities are already central to an adventure, and stumbling into the pockets they’ve crafted is ill-advised. Within these pockets, they possess the ability to see, hear, and manipulate the geography at will. Additionally, they can consciously conjure new inhabitants for their pockets, making them nearly invincible adversaries in their own domains.

    Travelling & Adventuring in the Otherworld

    Entering the Otherworld

    The most common way to enter the Otherworld is by learning the basic spells of Astral Projection and then leaving one’s physical body behind and entering the Otherworld as a soul.

    It’s also possible to enter the Otherworld physically, using a specific Otherworldly gateway that allows such passage. However, these gateways are extremely rare and often unreliable. They might only work on specific days or require fulfilling unique conditions, such as a blood sacrifice of a particular person or Otherworldling, passage on a full moon night etc. These gateways can take on various forms, not necessarily resembling traditional gates. For instance, a cellar door that usually opens to a stone wall might serve as a gateway on a specific night. Recognizing these gateways can be challenging; for example, crossing a river on a full moon might transport a person to the Otherworld, whereas nothing unusual happens on regular nights. Game Masters have creative freedom when designing these gateways.

    Regardless of how one enters the Otherworld, the GM must first decide the type of pocket they are entering. Is it a large pocket inhabited by the souls of the deceased and/or Otherworldlings? Does it have a ruler? These decisions are crucial, and most importantly the GM must also determine how the characters can exit the pocket.

    For those who have entered the Otherworld as souls, leaving is relatively simple, as they can depart at any time. The only challenge they might face is if they exit from a different location than where they entered, they may end up in an unexpected place in the human world.

    However, individuals who have entered the Otherworld in physical form require a gateway to return. This could pose a complex problem, as the conditions for opening the gateway from the human world might not correspond with the conditions in the Otherworld, or the gateway might not open at all. They may only be able to move forward to next Otherworld pocket, not backward.

    Entering the Otherworld means placing your character within the realm of wild creations and unfamiliar rules of physics, where the usual norms might not hold true.

    However, certain aspects are consistent in the Otherworld, regardless of the specific pocket you find yourself in:

    1. In the Otherworld, nobody can turn invisible. Everything is visible as it truly is. An astral traveller assumes the appearance of a physical human but may differ from their real physical body’s appearance, influenced by their self-perception. It’s possible for a person’s body to look quite different from their ethereal form based on their self-perception.
    2. Although there are visible animals in the Otherworld, they are imaginary. Even though they might taste good, they won’t satisfy physical hunger. Similarly, while flowing water can be seen in the Otherworld, it won’t quench your thirst. Entering the Otherworld physically is risky because nothing there sustains the body’s needs. Only the flesh and blood of some Corporeal Otherworldlings can satiate hunger and thirst.
    3. Sacrifices such as food, blood, or humans can reach the gods in the form of essence. Some Otherworldlings have a taste for wine, honey or human souls over their self-created food. However, Otherworldlings and spirits do not need food to survive; sacrifices merely offer a gastronomic experience of fine dining.

    Humans who have ended up lost in the Otherworld in their physical forms could potentially survive by consuming the sacrificed foods, provided they successfully managed to steal them from the gods.

    1. Items which are dreamed up in the Otherworld cannot be taken out. Characters may find great treasures in the Otherworld, but if these treasures are not physical but rather imaginary creations of Otherworld beings or ancestral souls, they will disappear when leaving the Otherworld. Determining whether something is real or imagined can be complex.
    2. Nonetheless, there are items in the Otherworld that can be taken back in physical form. These are magical items, like those forged by a blue onis, or items that were brought to the Otherworld in physical form by someone who previously entered.
    3. When entering the Otherworld in physical form, characters bring along everything they have with them.
    4. To take items to the Otherworld as a soul, specialized soul items crafted by a soulsmith are necessary. Additionally, the owner must possess the ability to carry those items in soul form. If a sorcerer takes a Soulbleed or Astral armour with them, these items cannot be destroyed and are inseparable from them in the Otherworld. If a sorcerer dies with these items in the Otherworld, the soul fragments within the items remain trapped, and the items in the human world become regular weapons and armour.
    Adventures in the Otherworld

    Adventurers can find themselves in the Otherworld as part of another ongoing adventure or they can embark on quests specifically set within the Otherworld, dealing with various issues unique to that realm. You could even play as different types of spirits who must defend their realm against local deities.

    The Otherworld can be a destination based on tasks assigned by gods or the need to establish contact with hidden Otherworldlings or ancestral spirits.

    Alternatively, adventurers might uncover the existence of a powerful magical artefact hidden deep within the Otherworld or set out in search of vast treasures, like the legendary Menes’ treasury, which countless adventurers have sought in vain.

    Chasing after someone could lead adventurers into the Otherworld. Malevolent entities from the Otherworld may escape there. There might also be a scenario where a powerful and malevolent sorcerer has been slain, prompting the party to venture into the afterlife to eliminate their soul as well. 

    Intervention might be necessary when a god is plotting malevolence within their pocket of the Otherworld. 

    Another possible adventure could revolve around solving an Otherworldly mystery, like the enigma of the Mist.

    Adventurers could accidentally find themselves in the Otherworld in physical form, either due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time or passing through a gateway accidentally. In such cases, their priority would be to find a way back to the human world before they succumb to thirst and hunger. It’s even possible for an entire ship and its crew to end up in the Otherworld purely by chance.

    Soul, Combat as a Soul, and Death

    The foundation of all magic and Otherworld-related matters is the Soul. The Soul is the most essential attribute for a sorcerer, and when a sorcerer’s Soul leaves their body, it takes the place of their physical attributes: Body, Speed, and Precision.

    Even if one is not playing as a sorcerer, attributes related to the Soul, like Willpower, Spell Resistance and Soul HP may come in handy when encountering Otherworldlings or situations involving souls and magic.

    When a person’s soul departs from their body, their soul appears as they subconsciously perceive themselves. Typically, this form slightly differs from their physical state—possibly a bit younger or without scars. If a person has lost a limb, their soul usually retains it. The soul is not inherently invisible but transparent and shimmering. Upon entering the Otherworld, transparency and shimmering vanish, and the soul takes on the appearance of a physical entity, albeit with distinct attributes from those who are physically present in the Otherworld. While the soul is intangible, Soulbleed and silver weapons can still harm it easily.

    Although the soul is transparent and objects can pass through it when thrown at, it cannot simply move through walls. Similar to the body needing to open a door to pass through, so does the soul. However, a sorcerer who possesses the skill to enter the Otherworld from anywhere can enter it and consequently escape from an enclosed space. Therefore, capturing a soul is exceedingly complex. Only Soulshackles crafted by a soulsmith prevent such beings from travelling between the human world and the Otherworld.

    Attributes & Skills of a Soul

    When a Soul exits the body, it uses its Soul attribute for skills that are usually based on Body, Speed, or Precision Attributes. This means that a sorcerer with a high Soul Attribute could theoretically be very skilled in various physical aspects while in astral form. However, this doesn’t automatically grant the ability to touch things; that requires a separate Ability.

    Sorcerer’s stats in astral form 

    HP: Soul Health Points (SHP)

    Reflexes: Soul + purchased Reflexes

    Parrying: Reflexes + Astral shield + purchased Parrying points

    Movement Speed   Calculate using Soul instead of Speed Attribute and add Purchased Movement Speed

    Attack: Weapon’s skill (Speed or Precision replaced by Soul + abilities) 

    Damage: Body replaced by Soul + Abilities + Soulbleed weapon plusses.

    Astral traveller does damage to a person’s Soul HP, not regular HP. Regular armour has no Damage Reduction against this damage.

    An unarmed astral traveller can strangle their opponent if they have the Manipulation of Physical Objects Ability.

    A mage without that Ability who has no Soulbleed weapon can do no damage as a Soul. 

    Damage Reduction (DR): 20 or Astral projection skill level (if it’s greater) against regular weapons.

    Magical Damage Reduction (MDR): 0 against Soulbleed or silver weapons unless wearing soul armour which adds 3, 6 or 9 points of MDR. 

    Fighting Against a Soul or as a Soul

    Inflicting damage on a soul with a regular weapon is exceedingly challenging. The soul has a Damage Reduction of 20 against such attacks, and the traditional concept of Piercing does not apply here. Piercing gauges a weapon’s ability to penetrate metal or thick skin, not its capability to harm ethereal beings.

    This DR does not apply against silver weapons or Soulbleed weapons. Soul gains Magical DR against those when wearing a specialised armour crafted by a soulsmith. This astral armour incorporates a fragment of soulsmith’s soul, which accompanies the wearer into ethereal form as armour.

    An unarmed soul, also lacking the ability to manipulate physical objects, cannot initiate an attack. 

    If a soul wields a Soulbleed weapon, it can inflict damage on another soul, even when confronting a person who remains in their physical body. This aspect makes combat against such Azure Warriors extremely dangerous, as humans often possess fewer Soul Health Points (SHP) than physical Health Points (HP). In that case, the soul doesn’t deal damage to physical HP, which means souls cannot attack animals since they don’t have Soul HP.

    Regular armour is ineffective against Soulbleed weapons. Only specialized mirror armour or magical Astral armour provides Magical DR against such Damage.

    When a Soulbleed weapon is employed within the physical body, meaning the weapon’s ethereal form is integrated into the weapon’s physical shape, then regular armour offers Damage Reduction against attacks. However, the damage affects both the Soul HP and the regular HP.

    Fighting Against Otherworldlings, Undead, and Spirits

    Sooner or later, adventurers find themselves facing creatures that are fundamentally different from the flesh and bone of humans, animals, and natural monsters like wyverns.

    All spirits, undead, and Otherworldly beings possess certain unique qualities and defences against conventional attacks.

    These types of beings are divided into seven groups, and each creature is categorised into a specific group. This chapter provides a general description of the characteristics that define each group. Specific creatures may exhibit some variations compared to the typical attributes of their respective group.

    Each group of creatures has some of the following distinctive features:

    Otherworldly Being

    Otherworldly beings do not require food, water, or oxygen to survive.

    All Otherworldly beings are immune to poisons and illnesses.

    Otherworldly Senses

    The creature possesses the abilities of Permanent Sixth Sense and Darkvision from the Astral Projection school of magic, enabling them to see the invisible and in darkness as well as in light.

    Beings with Otherworldly Senses are immune to all Psychic spells.

    Ethereal Being

    This creature lacks a physical body. It cannot be pushed, pulled, or conventionally confined. While it can’t pass through walls, it can change its size and float through small windows or gaps in bars.

    Attacks from such a creature typically deal damage to Soul HP rather than physical HP.

    An ethereal being is immune to electrical damage.

    Unanatomical Being

    The creature lacks anatomical internals. While it may appear to have a head and arms, strikes against them deal the same damage as strikes elsewhere. The creature is immune to damage from Sneak Attacks and manoeuvres that target specific body parts. 

    An unanatomical being is immune to fire and acid.

    Unhuman Being

    The creature is immortal in the sense that it does not age or die of old age. The creature can be killed.

    Unhuman beings are immune to Psychic spells and Necromantic spells.

    Seven Types of Otherworldly Creatures and Their Unique Abilities
    Type of Otherworldly CreatureUnique Abilities of Otherworldly Creature
    Living SoulA living soul is a sorcerer who has departed in the form of a soul from their body.A living soul has a DR of 20 against normal weapons; Soulbleed and silver weapons cause regular damage to the soul.Otherworldly BeingEthereal BeingUnanatomical Being
    Dead SoulDead souls encompass various apparitions such as spectators, ancestral spirits, shadows, etc.A dead soul has a DR of 20 against normal weapons; Soulbleed and silver weapons cause regular damage to the soul.Otherworldly BeingOtherworldly SensesEthereal BeingUnanatomical Being
    Quasicorporeal SoulQuasicorporeal souls include various entities like wraiths and vampires. A quasicorporeal soul appears like a physical being and can be touched. It can wield weapons and wear armour as if it were corporeal. However, it lacks internal organs, brain, or any other physical components. It’s composed of energy so intense that it nearly forms a body.Quasicorporeal souls have a DR of 10 against normal weapons; Soulbleed and silver weapons cause regular damage to the entity.
    A sorcerer who transforms into an animal using the Animal Form spell gains the attributes of a quasicorporeal soul.
    Otherworldly BeingOtherworldly SensesUnanatomical Being
    When a sorcerer’s soul takes the form of an animal, its DR against normal weapons becomes 10, and it loses the attributes of an Ethereal Being. The sorcerer does not automatically gain Otherworldly Senses.
    Corporeal UndeadA corporeal undead is similar in composition to a living human – body and soul. However, the body of an undead is lifeless, and the soul within it can be either a Living Soul or a Dead Soul, depending on the magic used to create the undead.The dead body of an undead is immune to poisons, diseases, and Sneak Attacks. Dealing with manoeuvres is more complex. The dead body can be successfully dismembered to hinder its actions, though such blows do not typically cause more Damage.
    Ethereal OtherworldlingEthereal otherworldlings, such as spectral assassins or banshees, resemble apparitions in appearance and traits.An ethereal otherworldling has a DR of 20 against normal weapons; Soulbleed and silver weapons cause regular damage to the entity.Otherworldly BeingOtherworldly SensesEthereal BeingUnanatomical BeingUnhuman Being
    Quasicorporeal OtherworldlingQuasicorporeal Otherworldlings, like Marduses and Vooles, resemble physical entities similar to quasicorporeal souls. They can be touched, and an unsuspecting individual might easily mistake them for physical beings.Quasicorporeal otherworldly beings have a DR of 10 against normal weapons; Soulbleed and silver weapons cause regular damage to the entity.Otherworldly BeingOtherworldly SensesUnanatomical BeingUnhuman Being
    Corporeal OtherworldlingMost otherworldly beings have physical bodies. Their bodies and anatomy can vary greatly from humans, like primordial creatures, or closely resemble them, like nymphs.Corporeal otherworldly beings have a DR of 10 against normal weapons; Soulbleed and silver weapons cause regular damage to the entity.Otherworldly BeingOtherworldly SensesUnhuman Being
    Loss and Recovery of Soul HP

    Losing and regaining Soul HP (SHP) are similar to losing and regaining regular HP but with some key differences.

    Losing SHP is represented in a decline in mental health – PC becomes more stressed, grows anxious and feels pressured.

    When a character’s Soul HP reach 0, further damage affects their Soul Attribute (similar to regular HP and Body Attribute). 

    If the Soul Attribute reaches 0 or below, a Willpower (Morale) check against DL 15 is required.

    Failure of the Willpower check indicates the character can no longer endure the stressful situation and will do whatever it takes to escape  their current situation.

    A successful check exempts the character from rolling Willpower (Morale) for an hour. If, within this time, a way to restore Soul HP isn’t found and the character encounters another stressful situation, a new Willpower check occurs.

    When astral traveller’s Soul Attribute reaches 0 or below and they don’t succeed in their Willpower check, they rapidly move towards their body.

    If a character’s Soul drops below -10, the Soul is deceased. The Soul vanishes completely from the fabric of the world, as if it never existed. A dead Soul cannot be summoned, recalled, or interacted with – it ceases to exist.

    However, the death of the Soul does not mean the death of the body. The body remains motionless, its heart beats, but it’s in a coma. While such a body can be kept alive, it is essentially pointless as its soul will never return. A vacant body might attract interest from a possessor spirit.

    When a perilous situation that damages the Soul concludes, the character slowly begins to recover. Soul points and SHP recover in the same way as Body points and HP.

    The recovery of 1 Soul Attribute point takes 4 days minus the initial Soul Attribute (definitely at least one day). Soul HP also regenerates during this time.

    Soul HP regenerates 1 + initial Soul Attribute points per day when resting in Body or as an astral traveller within The Otherworld. If the Soul attribute is lower than 1, then Soul HP recovers by 1 point per day. 

    Both the Soul Attribute points as well as Soul HP are regenerated while inhabiting their body or as an astral traveller within The Otherworld. Only Dead Souls (ghosts, ancestors, necromantic creations etc) Soul points and SHP regenerate out of their body in the human world.

    Death and the Aftermath

    When playing SAKE, death can encompass three distinct possibilities. The gravest is the demise of the soul, signifying its obliteration with no chance of return.

    In the event of bodily death, the soul departs the body, and there are several potential outcomes. To determine what follows, the character must roll their Willpower.

    Upon death (if the deceased possesses Astral Projection skill, they can attempt that), roll Willpower against a DL of 20. Rolling below 20 enables the soul to traverse The Otherworld and move onwards. This process takes around a week or two, after which the soul becomes unattainable within the game’s mechanics. 

    The process can only be halted by resurrection sorcery if a week hasn’t yet elapsed. A soul progressing through The Otherworld toward the beyond is invisible, untouchable and uncontactable. Depending on one’s beliefs, the soul might join a collective spirit, undergo reincarnation, enter paradise or something else. This roll can be influenced by correctly conducted burial rituals. However, in many cultures, proper burials make the Willpower roll even more challenging, as staying in The Otherworld as a spirit is undesirable. The Willpower roll receives as many bonuses or penalties as the burial officiator’s Theology points.

    Rolling Willpower 20 or more means their soul moves into The Otherworld and becomes a spectator, ancestral spirit or individual soul. This may mean that the character’s death isn’t the end of the character’s journey, but instead the start of a new adventure – one that revolves around bringing them back to life, maybe an undead creature.

    Spectator

    A person becomes a spectator if they roll  a Willpower check of 20-29. Spectators are genderless, ageless beings who remain silent. They roam The Otherworld aimlessly, occasionally straying into the realm of humans. In the human world, spectators are always invisible, while in The Otherworld, they appear visible like everything else.

    Once turned into a spectator, the soul quickly forgets its past. Those versed in The Otherworld suggest that the process of forgetting varies from a week to a year. Confirmation is difficult, though, as spectators don’t communicate. Some believe that spectators lack surface-level thoughts and follow instincts much like animals.

    Spectators who wander purposelessly generally pay no heed to each other or anyone else; it’s as if they don’t notice anyone. However, they do sense when they’re being observed and will fixate their gaze on individuals capable of seeing them. It’s believed that spectators envy the living.

    Summoning spectators is easy for a necromancer, as they are plentiful everywhere.

    Ancestral Spirits

    Rolling a Willpower check of 30-39 turns a person into an ancestral spirit. Ancestral spirits are archetypal representations of their previous lives, embodying the appearance, behaviour, and knowledge associated with their past roles, castes, and professions. For instance, an Orenic hunter’s ancestral spirit will resemble other Orenic hunters.

    Ancestral spirits often mentally tie themselves to a community, caste, clan, location or a historical event such as a battle that they died in. Ancestors belonging to the same community or location look similar. Their memory is impersonal; they don’t recall their specific past lives but remember their affiliation with clans, castes, families, or other groups. Those familiar with The Otherworld state that the transformation of ancestral spirit memory occurs over a week to a month. A newly formed ancestral spirit might remember its individuality initially, but as they merge with other ancestors and fall into a routine, their personal memories fade, replaced by collective archetypal knowledge.

    Ancestral spirits exist acting out routine behaviours in accordance to their group. Orenic hunters go hunting at the start of each day, spirits that died in a battle relive the battle they lost their life in and ancestors who were priests carry out the same rituals day in and day out. 

    Ancestral spirits exist mainly in The Otherworld, occasionally crossing over into the human realm, usually on special occasions like full moon nights or significant anniversaries.

    When ancestral spirits enter the human world, they are limited to a few kilometers from their burial place or summoning location. However, they can be summoned from The Otherworld to any location the summoner desires.

    A necromancer can summon an ancestral spirit by calling for a representative of an archetype or an ancestor belonging to a specific village or clan.

    Summoned ancestral spirits usually hold a friendly attitude towards the necromancer who called them, especially if the necromancer is connected to or associated with the group the spirits belong to. If the necromancer has no connection to the spirits, they might turn hostile and punish the necromancer for disrupting their routine.

    Ancestors can share knowledge of the history of their people, listen to the summoner’s troubles and give advice. GM should note that ancestors have no knowledge of current events so their advice stems from folk wisdom.

    Some ancestral spirits are created as malevolent spirits – shadows, often due to violent events tied to the archetype they represent. Occasionally, ancestral spirits can transform into shadows. While the reasons behind this transformation can be speculated upon (such as the destruction of the group they belong to), empirical conclusions are hard to reach.

    All ancestral spirits can be categorised into four archetype groups, regardless of their origin. These archetypes reflect the predominant ways of life across thousands of years. As these archetypes have evolved over the entire span of human history, they don’t possess contemporary knowledge. A shaman visiting the realm of ancestral spirits can conduct a rudimentary form of archaeological and ethnographic research within their communities. However, this research is not entirely accurate, as the archetypal ancestral world doesn’t precisely align with any specific archaeological period. It’s a confluence—a simplified representation of humanity’s lengthy history.

    When communicating, ancestral spirits utilise the most prevalent ancient dialect widely spoken in the region. This could present a difficulty for a mage whose culture has recently integrated into the area, as they might not comprehend the archaic language. Even contemporary ancestral spirits adjust to conversing in the ancient dialect within a matter of weeks.

    These archetypes are as follows:

    Hunter-Gatherers: The oldest group of ancestral spirits; throughout most of history, humans have been hunter-gatherers.

    Farmers: The largest group in human history.

    Warriors: The warrior archetype is as ancient as the farmer archetype. Warrior ancestors include heroes from various times who have become archetypal ancestors.

    Shamans: While shamans, priests, and sorcerers haven’t been numerous in history, this group typically possesses the highest Soul Attribute. This means that there are nearly as many shamanic ancestors in The Otherworld as other types.

    Naturally, not everyone fits neatly into these groups; craftsmen, sailors, and others don’t directly align. In these cases, the deceased’s spirit joins the group that most closely resonates with their archetype. For example, a sailor becomes a hunter-gatherer, while merchants and craftsmen transform into farmers.

    Individual Souls

    Rolling Willpower of 40 or higher transforms a person into an individual soul. These individual souls retain varying degrees of their past memories and possess a considerable degree of freedom in their actions. Some individual souls coexist with ancestral spirits and share many similarities, but they respond to their own names when summoned and can converse about their personal history. Those residing alongside ancestral spirits may respond to a call for the ancestors as well.

    While the memories of individual souls also fade with time, the most significant ones remain eternally preserved.

    Despite the freedom of movement granted to all individual souls, they often linger around places that hold personal significance to them.

    Some individual spirits evolve into other types of apparitions, such as energy vampires or possessors. Occasionally, an individual soul can become a vengeful spirit.

    Summoning an individual soul requires knowing their name.

    Sorcery

    Sorcery is linked to Soul Attribute and the energy carried within this attribute. Sorcery enables interaction with the afterlife – The Otherworld, creation of soul-infused objects, healing, communication with the deceased, resurrection, and control over others’ psyche.

    However sorcery does not allow direct manipulation of the physical world. The ability to conjure something out of nothing, move objects through time or space, and similar feats are beyond the scope of SAKE’s sorcery. In this regard, the power of SAKE’s sorcery is limited. The game can be played with players unaware of the existence of sorcery and The Otherworld, even though they are present. Sorcery remains invisible and primarily affects the soul.

    Playing as a mage in SAKE carries a certain level of danger. Learning and practising spells may lead to madness, and several spells require the use of narcotic substances, which can potentially lead to addiction.

    SAKE’s sorcery is divided into schools of magic. Some of the better-known ones are Restoration, Necromancy, Beastmastery, Astral Projection, Soulcraft, and Psychics, all of which are covered within this book.

    In the Asteanic world, practitioners of magic are referred to in various ways: generally as sorcerers, witches, mages, wizards, etc.; specific to their branch as healers, necromancers, etc.; and culturally as bird whisperers, azure warriors or assassins, and so on. These terms don’t have a mechanical significance in the game. A person with the abilities of astral projection and necromancy might be called a necromancer, mage, azure assassin, shaman, etc. The way they are referred to depends more on culture, lifestyle, profession, and the attitude of the one addressing them.

    Game Mechanics of Magic

    Initially, no character possesses any sorcery skills. To add these skills to the Character Sheet and acquire the first skill ranks, the initial spell must be purchased. The prerequisites for obtaining the first spells are detailed under each school of magic.

    Using sorcery abilities, also known as spells, consumes Spellpoints. The total pool of a sorcerer’s Spellpoints depends on their Willpower and the number of spells they are proficient in.

    Spellpoints = Willpower + points obtained from purchasing spells.

    Each time a mage learns a new spell, they permanently gain as many Spellpoints as the spell’s single-use casting cost. This cost is usually one or two points.

    Within the branches of magic, there are abilities that permanently enhance certain skills or spells (e.g., Witch Doctor, which strengthens healing spells). Using these abilities does not consume Spellpoints and acquiring them doesn’t increase the mage’s total Spellpoints.

    Using a spell consumes Spellpoints according to the amount specified for that spell. Most spells cost 1 Spellpoint. This point is expended regardless of whether the spell’s use succeeds or fails, signifying the mage’s expended energy. All expended Spellpoints are replenished when the mage gets 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep (unless they possess abilities that shorten the required rest time).

    Although a mage gains Spellpoints when acquiring specific spells, these points are not specifically tied to those spells. A mage can utilize Spellpoints at their discretion.

    Spells are divided into regular spells and rituals. Casting regular spells typically takes one combat round. On the other hand, performing rituals requires a longer period, usually around 10 minutes. The duration for performing rituals is usually specified in the ritual’s description.

    Learning Sorcery

    To learn sorcery, an oral or written source explaining the specific spell or ritual’s functioning is necessary.

    If a mage has oral or written sources for learning a new branch or spell, they don’t need to roll anything. Meeting the requirements of a spell means the mage is capable of mastering it.

    Usually, a mage has a teacher to assist them in this process. In major cities of the Asteanic world, there are high-tuition magic universities.

    When learning abilities from the schools of Astral Projection, Restoration, Necromancy, Soulcraft, or Psychics, a mage might acquire a madness, as the abilities of these schools manipulate the soul and can potentially harm the mage’s personality.

    With each new ability learned (purchased), the mage must roll their Willpower against the highest skill requirement of that spell. For instance, the Invisibility spell requires an Astral Projection skill level of at least +12. This means the mage must roll 12 or higher on their Willpower to ensure the well-being of their soul. If the roll fails, the mage acquires a madness. The specific madness is determined collaboratively by the player and the GM.

    Spellbooks to learn Spells

    Books on sorcery can not be found in regular bookshops. These books are handwritten and seldom printed making them valuable to their owners. Laws often govern the spread of such books and often require a sorcerer to have a designated teacher or belong to an organisation. 

    Spellbooks can sometimes be found in black markets. The cost of such books must be calculated individually. To do so add up the requirements of magic skill of each spell and then multiply them by 5 to 30. This amounts to the price in GD.

    Example: The spellbook contains the rituals: Crafting a Soul-infused item (requires Soulcraft +6) and Crafting an Amulet (requires Soulcrft +8). The total Soulcraft requirement for these is 14. For Soulcraft spells, the cost is multiplied by 10, so the price of the book would be 140 GD.

    School of MagicRequirements Price Multiplier
    Beastmastery5
    Restoration5
    Soulcrafting10
    Astral Projection20
    Necromancy20
    Psychics30

    Problems Associated with Using Sorcery

    Failing to Cast a Spell

    There can be serious consequences when a spellcasting fails. The risks of failed casting check applies to all schools of magic and Channelling as well. Only the Beastmastery school is an exception to this risk.

    More severe consequences due to a failed spell only become possible if a mage manages to roll a total of 0 or less during the casting skill check. This can only happen when the character rolls a natural 1 during the casting attempt, following which they roll the percentage dice to further subtract from their total roll:

    1-50%Nothing happens
    50-75%-2 
    76-85%-5 
    86-95%-10 
    96%-15 
    97%-20 
    98%-25 
    99%-30
    100%Instant failure or -40 

    The result could be that the casting roll ends up in negative numbers. If this occurs, the character must roll the percentage dice again to determine the exact outcome.

    1-30% Mage fails manipulating soul energy resulting in a loss of 2d6 Soul HP.
    31-40% Mage fails manipulating soul energy resulting in physical exhaustion. Mage is now tired and -4 penalty applies to all rolls until they rest.
    41-50% Mage fails manipulating soul energy resulting in a loss of 3d6 Soul HP.
    51-60% Mage accidentally summons a dead soul. Roll 1d4 to determine who appears:1-25% aggravated spectator26-50% aggravated ancestral spirit51-75% evil shadow who will attack the mage instantaneously76-100% aggrevated energy vampire, possessor or Rusalka.
    61-65% Mage loses all Spellpoints. To get them back, they must rest.
    66-70%  Mage fails manipulating soul energy resulting in 2d4 damage to Soul Attribute.
    71-75%Mage fails manipulating soul energy resulting in change of personality. Roll Willpower against 15 or receive a new madness.
    76-80%  Mage fails manipulating soul energy resulting in a temporary gateway to The Otherworld. It can be used to go through in physical form. Nothing guarantees a possibility of coming back the same way.
    81-85% Mage’s soul gets pulled out of their body into The Otherworld. They can find their way back if the mage knows Astral Projection. They’re in trouble if they don’t. (A necromancer may be able to help the mage stuck in The Otherworld).
    86-95%Mage’s activity grabs the attention of an Otherworldling. The Otherworldling may opt to disturb the mage in some other way than attacking, example:Goblin or Boy of Menes may appear while invisible to steal something from the mage.Phoenix appears and starts a fire, then disappears.A succubus chooses the mage as their rival and starts turning the mage’s students and companions against the mage.
    96-99%  The mage’s actions draw the attention of some rather unpleasant Otherworldling, who is interested in devouring the mage’s soul or simply killing the mage. 1d4 rounds later, a Mardus, Voole, Spectral Assassin, or some other unpleasant otherwordling arrives and attacks the mage.
    100% Mage fails manipulating soul energy resulting in permanent damage to their soul. Roll Willpower against 15 to not lose 1 Soul attribute point permanently.
    Madnesses

    Studying sorcery can quite literally drive a sorcerer to madness. When learning (buying) each new spell, the mage must roll Willpower against the highest required skill level. If the roll fails, the mage acquires a madness. The specific madness is determined through collaboration between the player and the GM.

    If a player purchases spells during character creation, they do not need to roll for acquiring madnesses. This enables them to start the game mentally sound and gradually descend into madness through the study of magic.

    Madnesses are recorded on the Character Sheet under personality traits. There’s a risk that madnesses can eventually fill up all available slots, as there are only ten. If all slots are full, the mage must replace one of their personality traits with a madness. This leads to a change in the mage’s personality.

    If the mage also has pacts with lesser gods that require adhering to taboos (also recorded under personality traits), new madnesses will displace these taboos when there are no more empty slots available. This could lead to the mage losing their Channelling abilities eventually.

    Once all personality trait slots are filled with madnesses, learning new spells becomes impossible. At this point, it’s worth considering whether playing as a completely insane character is feasible – the character has become utterly mad due to meddling with the Otherworld and soul energy.

    One potential solution could involve seeking out a powerful psychic, the only one capable of curing madness. However, this cure comes at the cost of a permanent loss of Soul HP.

    Since madnesses are considered personality traits, they also grant experience points (EXP) just like regular personality traits or principles. If a madness becomes relevant during an event, the player notes it alongside the event description and gains 1 EXP.

    In the Asteanic world, most of madnesses are named after the major deities of Asteanic nation, as each major deity is associated with certain extreme personality traits. Therefore, reading about the madnesses helps both players and GM understand how Asteanic culture perceives their major deities. The major deities themselves are inaccessible, lacking a physical avatar like the lesser gods.


  • The Tribal Assembly

    The Tribal Assembly

    The Itza Empire was never highly centralized; the maritime realm comprised numerous tribes bound to the ruling Itza tribe through vassal agreements. These agreements obligated them to provide aid during times of war and pay tribute called the Gift.

    The ruling Itza tribe’s domain encompassed the Tikcoco Plateau and the Plain of Warbird. These regions belonged directly to the Itza tribe and its king and only within these regions did the king’s orders hold direct authority. In Irongate, the Itza tribe held the Iron Palace, Military Harbor, King’s Arsenal, and their surroundings. Additionally, the empire’s four major naval fortresses, which bordered its territory, were under the direct control of the king.

    Other lands, islands, and even parts of Irongate belonged to other tribes, functioning as relatively independent entities with their own traditions and laws.

    However, the Itza maritime empire, as a large realm, still required a unified foreign policy and shared governance, especially concerning Irongate, a city that not only served as the Itza tribe’s headquarters but was also considered the headquarters for dozens of other tribes.

    For this purpose, the Tribal Assembly existed as a relatively democratic governing body that united all the empire’s chieftains. It dealt with shaping common foreign policy (whom to attack next?), governing Irongate, and resolving conflicts between tribes. Although the Itza tribe had veto power in the assembly, officially, they had no greater privileges. Naturally, the ruling Itza king’s word carried more weight than that of other chieftains’, although this might not always have been the case for a new and young king.

    The assembly convened at least once every three months (once per Domain Turn).

    However, both the Itza Empire and the Tribal Assembly are now part of history. Assembly meetings ceased years before the empire’s collapse during the beginning of the Great Itza-Zipopan War. At the outset of the war, there were tribes within the empire that wanted to avoid conflict or even supported Zipopan. King Tzek III, who was in power at the time, resolved internal conflicts by suppressing dissent. He prevented the assembly from convening and eventually forbade tribal leaders from meeting each other altogether. During that time, the priesthood of the local war deity Bloodturtle, which had gained immense influence and is now prohibited, along with its High Priest Xilpac XII Xilpaci, who is currently wanted for war crimes and genocide, oversaw the enforcement of these rules. The penalties for tribal leaders convening with each other were extremely severe.

    Tzek and the Bloodturtle dictatorship, known as the Silent Era, persisted until the end of the Great War and the empire’s collapse. Although today’s blame for the empire’s collapse and Irongate’s misfortune is often placed on the ruling king, Wadcha VII, known as Rustking, the reality was that Tzek III’s genocidal war against Zipopan and the dissolution of the Tribal Assembly played a much larger role.

    Irongate had a grand and imposing building complex constructed for the Tribal Assembly. It included a large amphitheatre, closed conference rooms, courtrooms, and living quarters for all tribal leaders and their entourages. Most tribes did not possess property within the empire’s capital. These distant tribes often arrived at the assembly with substantial retinues, staying for extended periods. Besides conducting assembly affairs, they also managed their tribal business, visited friends and acquaintances, and brought tribute as gifts to the Itza king.

    During the Great War, the assembly complex housed foreign mercenaries or remained empty altogether. After the war’s conclusion, the tropical jungle began to reclaim the complex, and over the following decade, it became overgrown and neglected. Recently, the complex stood empty, but today it has been taken over by the refugees who fled from the Rapatzan tribe. They are trying to engage in agriculture within the amphitheatre and have established their homes within the overgrown apartments.


  • Future Plans and Adventures in Irongate

    Future Plans and Adventures in Irongate

    The translation of SAKE is taking considerably more time than I initially thought, as I constantly find myself engaged in other things. It turns out that translation isn’t the most exciting activity for me. Nevertheless, I’m trying to push through it and am connecting the translation process with brainstorming NPCs and adventure ideas to make it more interesting for myself. You might have noticed that translated magic schools have been published along with some monsters, illustrations and/or NPCs.

    In addition to the rulebook, I also plan to simultaneously release two smaller adventures to provide players with immediate opportunities to apply the rules and to showcase how SAKE is intended to be used. Both adventures take place in Irongate, which I’ve been developing as part of the #dungeon23│#city23 project.

    The first of these adventures is an already partially published Dungeon Crawl in Crime Districts, and I’ve made significant additions to it, though not enough to publish the final version yet.

    The second adventure is “The Divine Hunt,” which is almost ready. NPC statblocks and some potential maps are still missing, but you can read the full adventure without those.

    The Divine Hunt

    If the PCs agree to Naxia’s proposal to introduce them to the chief of the Calco tribe regarding a potential job opportunity, then Naxia leads them the next morning (on January 2nd, 1512) to Chief Xoxo’s Calco compound in the heart of the Calco district.

    To solve this adventure, the PCs have one Domain Turn from the beginning of the game lasting for three months. If the PCs do not solve the adventure within this time, the issue will resolve on its own:

    • The Rapatzan tribe will starve to death, and the surrounding tribes will divide up their district.
    • The Calco tribe will uncover the Tipivana tribe’s crimes against the Seamother’s Daughters. Using their wealth to recruit mercenaries and allies, they will invade the Tipivana tribe’s district and destroy the tribe.

    While Eros’s plan remains unfinished, this outcome is undesirable as it leads to the destruction of two city tribes. By this time Eros controls 80 Daughters of Seamother and can use them to catch more.

    Turtletown district and Calco tribe

    Turtletown accommodates 1/8 of the city’s population (approximately 12,500 people), partitioned into thirteen separate tribes. These thirteen tribes also embody the city’s middle class. Their income source, the sea, bestows upon them a consistent prosperity that remains unaffected by shifting political climate or problems on trade routes. The 13 fishing tribes of Turtletown bear the responsibility of feeding half of the city’s 100 000 inhabitants, while the remaining sustenance of the city is provided by the inland villages and the food merchants of the Asteanic Republic of Five Houses.

    The fishing tribes of Turtletown require a significant amount of space to accommodate their fishing canoes and catamarans. When comparing the area in proportion to the population, it is evident that it offers the highest amount of space per person in Irongate. The district has canals running alongside the streets. Turtletown’s architecture predominantly consists of single or two-story buildings, each encompassing expansive inner courtyards or gardens intended for tasks like ship repairs and fish drying.

    The tribes of Turtletown were obligated to render taxes to the Itza king in the form of pearls and coral – both plentiful in the waters of the Wes-Kali archipelago. In times past, when monarchs held greater authority, the handling of pearls and coral was exclusive to the king and his loyal aides. These treasures were employed by kings to procure iron, tin, and other foreign goods from Asteanic merchants. Utilizing pearls as payment to Asteanic merchants resulted in capital punishment for ordinary citizens. Presently, the reigning Rustking struggles to enforce this restriction, yet this does not suggest that engaging in pearl trade is advisable. The Rustking’s principal bodyguard, Nene, and her Iron Hornets remain steadfast in their loyalty to the king, promptly punishing any instances of pearl trading that come to their attention.

    In Turtletown, all the tribes operate under the leadership of priest chiefs and elders due to the strict regulation of their fishing waters by the local sea deity – the Seamother, along with her daughters. Seamother’s Daughters command colossal sea turtles and schools of fish. Tribes aiming to catch fish or other marine creatures from the West-Kali archipelago must engage in negotiations with these otherworldlings. Much like their mother, the Seamother’s Daughters exhibit a strong sense of ownership and territoriality. They are even inclined to seek retribution if their possessions are taken without prior consultation. This concept of “property” encompasses all aquatic life within their domain. While an individual fisherman might not provoke a Seamother’s Daughter, larger fishing vessels often do. Consequently, the tribes of Turtletown have honed their skills in communicating and negotiating with these entities within their fishing grounds.

    To ensure their fishing rights, the chiefs of the tribes have established priestly pacts with the Seamother. They have also cultivated relationships with the respective local Daughter for rights in specific locations.

    The Seamother’s Daughters are vain entities, captivated by gold and the most exquisite gemstone anklets and hip ornaments – the only accessories their anatomies can accommodate. To appease these Daughters, fishing tribes present these adornments at least once a month, thereby gaining permission to fish within the region. Thankfully, Kaliland’s subterranean depths are rich in diverse gemstones, often finding their way onto the legs and hips of the Seamother’s Daughters. This dynamic inherently imposes constraints on the local fishing tribes. Only large and prosperous tribes can afford the monthly adornment of one or even multiple Seamother’s Daughters with the world’s most precious stones.

    The Calco tribe in Turtletown stands out as one of the wealthiest among the thirteen, attributed to their fishing grounds that encompass coral reefs, from which they extract precious coral and pearls. Moreover, their maritime domain encompasses the Seamother Undercroft, serving as a portal to the sea deity’s otherworldly realm – the Seamother’s Deep. This revered location attracts pilgrims and priests from across the archipelago who seek to establish pacts with the Seamother. Leveraging this, the Calco tribe offers tourism packages for the Seamother Undercroft and provides accommodations for pilgrims at their district’s “Stranded Turtle” mezcalhouse, thus creating a lucrative additional source of income.

    The tribe consists of 120 families (totalling 1200 individuals) and possesses 10 sizable catamarans. In times of war, the tribe can muster a company of fisher-warriors.

    Meeting with Xoxo Calco and the Calco Tribe’s Issue

    Xoxo Calco is the priest-chief of the Calco tribe – a wealthy and powerful man in Irongate. He resides in his compound with his wife, children, and numerous other relatives. Xoxo is approximately fifty years old. He receives the PCs and Naxia in a spacious inner courtyard where he and his family have their morning meal. Initially, Naxia keeps the PCs out of earshot and privately explains to Xoxo and his family who the PCs are, as well as suggesting that, in her view, the PCs should investigate the tribe’s problem before resorting to war and violence. Xoxo appears thoughtful and nods.

    When Xoxo meets the PCs, he doesn’t believe they can actually help him. However, he sees no harm in letting them try. If they manage to solve the problem, he would reward them generously.

    Xoxo explains that the Calco tribe is facing issues with two neighbouring tribes: the Rapatzan tribe and the Tipivana tribe. These tribes are preventing Calco’s catamarans from leaving their district to go out to sea for fishing. (You can see on the city map that all the canals from the Calco district leading to the sea pass through the territories of these two tribes.) Xoxo reveals that the problem has persisted for almost a month, and negotiations with the Tipivana tribe have been consistently blocked – they even refuse to speak with him. Tipivana warriors now threaten Xoxo’s people if they even approach their district. In the long run, this problem threatens significant economic damage to the Calco tribe and further destabilizes Irongate’s already fragile food security, of which partly relies on imports from the Asteanic Republic of Five Houses. Xoxo says that if this continues, he’ll have to attack the Tipivana tribe with his warriors to achieve an agreement through combat.

    In general, he only talks about the Tipivana tribe – if the PCs don’t specifically notice this, they can roll a Social Skills check with a DL of 5 to realize that he almost never mentions the Rapatzan tribe. If the PCs don’t ask about the Rapatzan tribe separately, Xoxo essentially forgets to mention them because he has completely written them off in his mind. If the PCs inquire, Xoxo explains that the leaders of that tribe lost their minds several months ago, and a large part of the tribe has scattered. Those who remained barricaded themselves in their district and now attack anyone who tries to pass through their territory using bows, javelins, arquebuses, and even small cannons. Xoxo doesn’t say this aloud, but he doesn’t dare to attack them because they are well fortified and their madness seems more dangerous than a fight with sane warriors.

    Xoxo’s quest for the PCs has two parts, and the reward for solving it is also two-fold:

    1. Xoxo simply wants information about what’s happening – why the Tipivana tribe is blocking his catamarans, what motivates them, and whether and how this problem can be resolved.
    2. Solve the problem – find a way for the Calco tribe’s catamarans to safely access the sea again.

    Xoxo offers rewards for both tasks:

    1. For information, he offers 2 kg of precious coral and two pearls per PC.
    2. For solving the problem, he adds a substantial treasure (100 kg of precious coral and 30 pearls per PC) and his tribe’s everlasting friendship and support in anything the PCs plan to do in the city. This means that the PCs can now call for help from the Calco tribe, and they will send one warrior NPC per PC to aid them.

    What actually happened?

    1.

    The leader of the Zipopan Open Seas Peace Force mercenaries is Zenižlav, who has maintained a close and favourable relationship with his former employer, the pirate ban Bogodan. In essence, Zenižlav acts as an agent for ban Bogodan’s pirates in the city.

    Around six months ago, Zenižlav approached the leaders of the Rapatzan tribe with an intriguing offer – to meet ban Bogodan, who promised to elevate their relatively impoverished tribe to newfound prosperity. Zenižlav, however, didn’t provide specific details; in fact, his knowledge was (and is) limited. He only informed the Rapatzan tribe leaders that ban Bogodan had seized control of the Ixitza Naval Fortress, a former naval base of the Itza Empire situated in the northern region of the West-Kali archipelago. Ban Bogodan expressed a desire to meet the tribal leaders there, and the Rapatzan tribe leaders accepted the proposition.

    2.

    Chief Rapa Rapatzan and the other tribal leaders embarked on their fishing catamarans towards the Ixitza Naval Fortress. However, upon reaching their destination, they found themselves face to face not with ban Bogodan, but with his right-hand man – Eros Pasarotti, an Asteanic priest. Little did anyone know, Eros Pasarotti is, in reality, a symbiote of the primordial Xiavili, granting him extraordinary psychic prowess. Currently, Eros also wields psychic dominion over ban Bogodan and, consequently, exercises command over the entire Roadic mercenary fleet.

    Eros’s objective in Book I is to induce a famine in Irongate by attaining magical dominion over the Seamother’s Daughters in the West-Kali archipelago. If this scheme prevails, fishing in the archipelago will become extremely challenging by the start of Book II. Moreover, maritime travel without Eros’s awareness and approval will be restricted.

    Eros employed potent Psychic spells to manipulate the leaders of the Rapatzan tribe, using techniques such as programming, erasing memories, and creating new ones. This manipulation resulted in a transformation of the tribe’s fishermen into hunters, tasked with seeking otherworldly beings. These manipulated hunters scoured the seas in search of the Seamother’s daughters – entities that held dominion over the region’s fishing resources. Eros’s goal was to capture these creatures and transport them to the Ixitza Naval Fortress, where he established control over them. Within the archipelago’s fishing community, the Daughters of Seamother were profoundly revered. They are powerful and vengeful offspring of a sea goddess, and causing them harm was thought to trigger dire consequences. The Seamother cult was deeply embedded in the fishermen’s upbringing. To manipulate them against their nature, Eros erased significant portions of their memories and replaced them with new ones. Unfortunately, tampering with memories of this magnitude often leads to unforeseen consequences. As a result, Rapatzan tribal leaders and fishermen forgot basic fishing skills, and some even lost essential abilities. Eros, a symbiote of the primordial Xiavili, possessed extraordinary psychic abilities that surpassed human magic. However, even he encountered difficulties – with each mission, the tribe’s leaders, warriors, and fishermen became increasingly clumsy, paranoid, and posed a danger to themselves and Eros. Eros feared that the entire plot would be exposed. A few months ago, he decided to end his involvement with the Rapatzan tribe by wiping his programs from their minds and sending them back to their district. Regrettably, this erasure also wiped away their last shreds of sanity.

    3.

    After returning to their tribe, the tribal warriors’ Intellect attribute has dropped to -7 (they are barely able to speak). Their memories are now a jumble of fragmented and unclear remnants, and they are plagued by intense fear and paranoia about their surroundings. Struggling to make sense of their limited knowledge and the remnants of implanted memories and programming fragments, they attempt to construct a coherent worldview. Unfortunately, their efforts lead them to concoct an entirely fantastical doomsday theory: they believe the world is on the brink of ending, although the details remain uncertain. They firmly hold that their survival hinges on unity, perceiving themselves as the sole escapees of this impending catastrophe. They perceive all other city tribes as adversaries intertwined with the apocalypse, leading them to feel the need to defend themselves whenever others approach. Their determination extends to safeguarding those tribe members who lack understanding, even resorting to force if necessary.

    The result is that the warriors of the Rapatzan tribe have barricaded themselves within their tribal district. Rational tribe members have either fled long ago or are held hostage by the warriors. Anyone who approaches the tribal district is targeted by the Rapatzan warriors with javelins, arrows, and even small cannons. As they remain confined within their district and haven’t ventured out to attack others, no action has been taken to address the situation. It’s only a matter of time before they succumb to starvation in their current state.

    Theoretically, the Rapatzan tribe could be rescued, but the task is formidable. The tribe’s territory is under the control of 120 deranged fisher-warriors, while about 400 women, children, and elderly individuals are being held hostage; an equal number of tribe members have managed to escape. To aid the deranged warriors, a powerful psychic or a skilled priest could be of assistance. The psychic would need to roll a Psychic skill check with a DL of 30, while a potent priest could perform the Ritual: Blessing with a roll of DL 40 to remove the curse. This action would restore the tribe members’ Intellect attributes. Afterward, engaging in conversation would be possible, but dismantling their intricate conspiracy theory would require persuasion, involving three rolls with a DL of 20.

    If two months after the start of the game no intervention occurs, hunger eventually takes over, and by mid-March 1512, the entire tribe and their captives have succumbed to starvation. With that, the canals for Calco tribe’s ships are free.

    4.

    Eros had to reconsider his plan – capturing Seamother’s daughters from the open ocean was time-consuming and perilous. Additionally, the constant mental manipulation posed the risk of driving the next group of hunters also insane. However, he required the Turtletown hunters – only they maintained favourable relations with Seamother’s daughters in the region, enabling them to approach and successfully capture them. Ban Bogodan’s pirates would have been incapable of such a feat.

    The solution emerged in the form of Seamother’s Undercroft, an underwater sanctuary within the Calco tribe’s fishing grounds. This is where Seamother herself resides and gives birth to her daughters, who then emerge into the human world and disperse across the seas. If Eros positioned his hunters there in ambush, they could quickly amass a sufficient number of Seamother’s daughters, potentially within a few months, enabling him to gain control over the seas of the West-Kali archipelago through them.

    Several months ago, as a result, the aforementioned leader of the Roadic mercenaries, Zenižlav, appeared before Xoxo Calco. He offered substantial profit in exchange for Xoxo’s willingness to meet with ban Bogodan. However, Xoxo Calco declined, and no matter how Zenižlav attempted to persuade him, his efforts were fruitless. Given the Calco tribe’s wealth and Xoxo’s own suspicions about dealings with the roguish roadic mercenary, who worked for Zipopan, an enemy of the Itza Empire, the offer seemed unreasonable.

    Xoxo don’t mention this episode to the PCs because he doesn’t perceive any connection between it and the subsequent issues. Furthermore, to him, the appearance of various wanderers at a wealthy chief’s doorstep seeking something isn’t anything out of the ordinary.

    5.

    Eros had to turn to the next tribe: the Tipivana tribe. Chief Torsoc and the other elders of the Tipivana tribe accepted the offer and sailed to the Ixitza Naval Fortress, where Eros Pasarotti awaited them and began manipulating their minds – erasing and rewriting. However, since the Seamother’s Undercroft was situated in the fishing grounds of the Calco tribe, which the Tipivana fishermen had no reason to visit, Eros had to devise a scheme for the tribal leaders to push aside the Calco tribe – a task not too complicated for Eros, especially now that the Rapatzan warriors prevented anyone from using their canals, enabling the Tipivana tribe to cut off the Calco tribe’s maritime access completely.

    Eros Pasarotti’s package of memories for the leaders and warrior-fishermen of the Tipivana tribe (these are not mere tales or falsehoods; tribe members remember and believe these things as truth, as if they’ve witnessed and experienced them):

    1. The leaders and fishermen of the Calco tribe have renounced the allegiance to Seamother and are now under the influence of the alleged protective deity of the city, Yaxchila, who actually desires the city’s downfall. Members of the Tipivana tribe have witnessed secret rituals conducted by the Calco tribe in honor of Yaxchila – some of these rituals even involve human sacrifices.
    2. The Calco tribe’s fishermen have been given some kind of poisonous pearls by Yaxchila, which they have fed to the Seamother’s Daughters. These toxic pearls make the Seamother’s Daughters hostile toward the fishermen – this could ultimately lead the city into famine.
    3. If the Calco fishermen are allowed to go out to sea, they will continue to feed pearls to the Seamother’s Daughters, worsening the city’s situation even further – therefore, they must be prevented from accessing the sea. Seeking help from others is futile since no one will believe it anyway.
    4. The Rapatzan tribe also uncovered the Calco tribe’s plan and openly opposed them – they were driven mad by Yaxchila’s magic. It’s better to save the city quietly and not risk malevolent enchantments. If the Calco people are kept away, they won’t be able to use their dark sorcery.

    When all the aforementioned information has been relayed by the warriors to the rest of the tribe members, who might find it hard to believe but still don’t openly question the tribal leaders and warrior-fishermen, the following is kept strictly secret from the Tipivana tribe’s own members by their fishermen:

    1. The Seamother’s Daughters must be rescued. To achieve this, the poisoned daughters must be captured and taken to Sitka Island, to the presence of the powerful sea priest Suru, who will remove the pearls and release the healed daughters back into the sea.

    Sitka Island is an uninhabited island – Eros erases the memories related to himself and the pirate base from the fishermen’s minds but includes a program that compels them to approach him once they capture a Seamother’s Daughter.

    1. The healed daughters are always grateful and bestow rich gifts upon the Tipivana fishermen who helped them (the tribe has indeed gained significant wealth – Eros sees no issue in giving them money, and in addition, he provides them with some of the valuable jewelry taken from the abducted Seamother’s Daughters – he and his controlled daughters have no need for them).

    How the capture of Seamother’s Daughters exactly works:

    1. In turns, all 10 Tipivana tribe catamaran teams engage in capturing Seamother’s Daughters alongside their regular fishing.
    2. The team set to capture a Daughter brings along jewels to entice her and one of their six Seamother priests (whose spells from Seamother no longer work – something no one can explain well, but Eros constantly removes such questions from their memories), who will use prayers to lure the Daughter out. It works because the priests lie in their prayers.
    3. Using the jewels, the Daughter is enticed to the catamaran, where she is snatched aboard and restrained.
    4. As the hunters sail towards Sitka Island, a program triggers in the priest’s mind that commands the ship to sail to Ixitza Naval Fortress instead, under the pretext that the fictional water priest Suru is currently located there.
    5. At Ixitza Naval Fortress, under Eros’s guidance, roadic pirates take over the Seamother’s Daughter, and Eros makes further adjustments in the minds of the fisherman-soldiers and the priest. He rewards them with 500 gold pieces’ worth of gold, silver, and jewels from the loot, and sends them out to sea on one of his ships, where he erases their last memories related to the naval base.
    6. Upon returning home, the catamaran team remembers meeting priest Suru on Sitka Island, who supposedly performed a ritual to free the Seamother’s Daughter from a curse, and in gratitude, the Daughter rewarded them with a generous amount of gold and silver for their help.

    Although Eros has treated the minds of the Tipivana tribe’s fisher-warriors more cautiously than those of the Rapatzani, they still suffer from memory losses. Like the Rapatzani tribe, they cannot see the actual problem and only fear Calco’s sorcery behind their issues.

    Gathering Information

    The PCs will likely begin solving the problem by searching for information. When they approach the territory of the Tipivana tribe, just as Xoxo and Naxia suspected, they are allowed onto the tribe’s streets without issues. However, if they reveal that they are working for the Calco tribe, they are strongly asked to leave, and refusing may lead to an armed conflict.

    The GM can divide the members of the Tipivana tribe into two groups: those influenced by Eros and the rest. Nearly all of the tribe’s fisher-warriors, who go out to sea every day, are influenced by Eros. They don’t want to discuss conflicts with the Calco tribe much, but with a bit of persuasion (DL 10 – “You wouldn’t believe it anyway” and DL 15 – “Revealing the story might bring Calco’s curse upon me”), they are willing to share that the Calco tribe has renounced Seamother, desecrates her sanctuary, and harms her daughters. However, they don’t want to elaborate.

    The rest of the tribe members, who haven’t been directly influenced by Eros and have only heard stories about the Calco tribe from their seafaring fisher-warriors, might be more willing to talk privately (to ensure a private conversation, persuasion DL 10 – “I probably shouldn’t!?” and DL 15 – “The fisherman-soldiers are acting strangely, I’m a bit afraid of them”). If persuasion succeeds, then they discuss the poisonous pearls, the Yaxchila cult of the Calco tribe, that Yaxchila is against the city, how the Rapatzani tribe went mad, etc. Additionally, they might discuss the memory problems of their fisher-warriors and how all previously mentioned stories originate from them. The other tribe members haven’t witnessed any Calco human sacrifices or Rapatzani’s public confrontation with Calco themselves.

    Social skills check DL 15 reveals that the tribe members feel great fear and embarrassment about something, and if persuaded to open up further (DL 15 – “Embarrassing and frightening story” and DL 25 – “Fear of divine punishment”), they will reveal that the Seamother priests and priestesses of their tribe have seemingly lost their spells given by Seamother – at least, they no longer use them, and their blessings don’t work. However, the priests themselves insist that everything is still fine.

    If persuasion fails, there’s a 50% chance the person will go to the tribe’s warriors and inform them about the PCs, who now take interest in them. Depending on how the conversation goes between the PCs and the warriors, the PCs might be expelled from the district, or they will be watched more closely. Another unsuccessful persuasion attempt might lead to their final expulsion from the district.

    The PCs can also attempt to meet with chief Torsoc of the tribe, which is possible without persuasion only if the PCs have already proven themselves in the city (e.g., dispersing the Iron Runners gang). Unproven PCs need to handle the guards at Torsoc’s residence skilfully (DL 15 – “I don’t know you, and I shouldn’t let you in,” DL 20 – “Letting random people in might cause me trouble,” DL 25 – “If you do anything bad afterward, I can be severely punished”). Torsoc himself isn’t interested in meeting the PCs unless they can convince him through his house guard with an interesting piece of information.

    If the PCs choose to spy on or track the tribe, they can remain hidden as long as they haven’t drawn any negative attention from the tribe previously. Refer to the surveillance results below in the Hints section.

    The PCs could also opt to capture a fisher-warrior or priest for interrogation. Through persuasion and threats, they may learn that the tribe captures Seamother’s Daughters and brings them to priest Suru on Sitka Island to break the curse of the poisonous pearls.

    Approaching the Rapatzani tribe’s district results in a poorly articulated recommendation not to come closer, and if the PCs still approach, the armed Rapatzani warriors behind barricades will open fire with all the weapons they have. Typically, there are 5-8 (1d4+4) warriors guarding a street barricade.

    The PCs might also mistakenly believe that talking to Zenižlav could benefit them. However, Zenižlav has merely been a messenger throughout the scheme. Even if he wanted to open up to the PCs (which he doesn’t), he knows little beyond sending representatives from the tribes to negotiate with ban Bogodan due to some offer the latter has made. Zenižlav can only be persuaded if the PCs somehow capture him and use threats, although he initially attempts to lie to them. Zenižlav’s Social Skills are +8. He only leaves his fortress accompanied by 8 well-armed guards. Use the stats of Bogodan’s warriors for both Zenižlav and his roadic mercenaries.

    The PCs might eventually become intrigued by another of Zenižlav’s activities. Every few weeks, he visits the soulsmith Zolina Shadowbender, who resides in the Iron District. He acquires 5 pairs of Soulshackles +2 from her and then dispatches them to Ixitza Naval Fortress using a small sailboat. He is uncertain about why ban Bogodan assigned him this task, and he is unaware of the true purpose of the Soulshackles. The PCs could observe Zenižlav’s actions if they trail him or later take control of the Iron District.

    Eros needs the Soulshackles to gain control over the Daughters of Seamother.

    Trailing Zenižlav leads PCs to the Crime Districts and starts the Crime Districts Dungeon Crawl.

    Hints

    If the PCs decide to search for hints elsewhere in the city, you can allow them to make skill checks in turns to find Hints (similar to Secrets in Dungeon Crawls). Each successful check can provide some kind of clue, and finding a hint takes half a day.

    Skills that the PCs can use for finding hints:

    History and Linguistics
    Geography and Navigation
    Law and Society
    Mathematics and Economy
    Metaphysics and Otherworld
    Theology
    Perception
    Social skills

    Hints:

    Fishing Grounds and Seamother’s Undercroft

    History and Linguistics, Geography and Navigation, or Theology DL 5

    If for some reason the players decide not to examine the area’s map, provide it to them and draw their attention to where the tribe’s fisher-warriors fish and the location of the local sea god’s sacred place.

    Ixitza Naval Fortress (Former Itzan naval base)

    History and Linguistics or Geography and Navigation DL 5

    If players have questions about Ixitza while looking at the map or seeking other clues, it is an open secret that the former naval base has been seized by ban Bogodan, the leader of the Roadic mercenary fleet that fought under the Zipopani flag in the Great Itza-Zipopan War. It’s also not a secret that ban Bogodan engages in piracy, disturbing Irongate locals relatively little. The reason is quite simple – ban Bogodan targets only Asteanic merchant ships and generally leaves those coming to Kaliland alone. Some of ban Bogodan’s mercenaries now reside in Irongate and directly serve Zipopani rulers in an occupying military force with the resounding name of the “Zipopan Open Seas Peace Force” located at the city’s harbor.

    Wealthy Fisher-Warriors of the Tipivana Tribe

    Social skills or Law and Society DL 10

    Rumours circulate that the Tipivana tribe’s fisher-warriors have become wealthier lately, purchasing lavish items from the city, improving their attire, etc. This could be attributed to the capture of Calco tribe’s fishing territories.

    Refugees from the Rapatzan Tribe

    Social skills or Law and Society DL 10, and without needing a check if the PCs actively search for refugee families.

    Families that have fled from the Rapatzan tribe are in dire straits, residing in makeshift shelters or abandoned buildings in the Crime Districts. Refugees recount how the Rapatzan tribe’s fisher-warriors gradually lost their sanity until they went completely mad and took the rest of the tribe hostage. They share tales of the impending apocalypse and memory loss. When asked about the origin and cause of these changes, they believe that things started to shift after the Roadic mercenary Zenižlav promised the tribe some sort of great fortune. The fisher-warriors suddenly started bringing back gold coins and other riches from their fishing expeditions. However, they concealed their newfound wealth and the refugees received no share.

    Rapatzan Tribe’s Fisher-Warrior Rox

    Social skills or Law and Society DL 20

    Rox is one of the Rapatzan tribe’s escapees – the lone one-handed fisher-warrior. He suffers from memory issues, and conflicting memories have driven the middle-aged man to alcoholism. He spends his days begging for coin or a sip of mezcal in front of various mezcalhouses.

    For a drink or some (drink) money, he’s willing to share an intriguing story:

    During one of Rapatzan fishing trips, Rox lost his hand – but it wasn’t actually a fishing trip. They captured a Seamother’s Daughter (during the struggle, he lost his hand to the sharks controlled by her) and took her to Ixitza Naval Fortress. Rox doesn’t remember exactly what happened there, as he suffered from blood loss on the catamaran while the others went ashore. Nothing like this had happened before, and when he later talked about his memory at home, all his crewmates said it didn’t happen and claimed they were just catching fish – no one could explain how Rox lost his hand. Rox never got back out to sea, and as the confusion among the other fisher-warriors deepened, he had to flee from the tribe. Rox doesn’t know if his memory is true or if he’s imagining it, but a shark did bite his hand off after all.

    Spellless Priest

    Metaphysics and Otherworld or Theology DL 15, Social skills DL 25

    Word on the street is that the Tipivana tribe’s priestess of Seamother, Torta, has lost her powers. Investigating this rumour leads to a ceramist who shares that they sought Torta’s blessing for an important commission – they paid her, but the blessing didn’t work.

    Seamother’s Goldsmith

    Mathematics and Economy or Theology DL 10, or Social Skills or Law and Society DL 20

    Rumours circulate about a goldsmith specializing in crafting jewellery for Seamother’s Daughters who has grown considerably richer in recent weeks. He proudly boasts about his wealth while sipping mezcal in mezcalhouses. Theology DL 5 reveals information about the traditions surrounding the West-Kali seas and the ruling Seamother’s Daughters: they govern the fishing grounds, and fishermen who want to catch fish in their controlled waters without punishment must gift valuable gemstone jewellery to the Daughters. Usually, the tribe donates one piece of jewellery each month. Meeting the goldsmith, he reveals that the Tipivana tribe has commissioned him to create 100 pieces of jewellery for Seamother’s Daughters. The quantity is so large that he’s subcontracted nearly half of the city’s goldsmiths and anticipates significant profits from the trade. He has already delivered 20 pieces.

    Poor Fishing Haul

    Mathematics and Economy DL 10 or Perception DL 15

    While observing the Tipivana tribe or exploring their district, the PCs notice a large catamaran returning from a fishing expedition. The fisher-warriors on board look content, as if they’ve had a great catch – yet there’s no sign of fish. Well, not enough to warrant celebration. A careful observation (Perception DL 20) reveals among the goods unloaded from the catamaran a heavy chest emitting a metallic clink as it’s carried. This chest contains 20 kg of Asteaani silver coins, totalling 7500 SD.

    Silver Harpoons

    Metaphysics and Otherworld or Theology 15 or Perception 20

    While observing the Tipivana tribe or wandering around their district, the PCs notice a rather peculiar fishing gear – harpoons with silver tips. Silver weapons are used exclusively for combat against otherworldly beings or ghosts.

    Reward for Information

    Xoxo Calco is satisfied with any coherent theory to reward the PCs for the information. This theory can be either the truth about what’s actually happening if the PCs figure it out, or some misunderstood theory. If the PCs decide to deceive Xoxo and he ends up believing them (Xoxo’s Social skills are +8), he will reward them as well. After all, Xoxo himself doesn’t know the truth either.

    Solving the Problem

    Fully resolving or completely understanding the problem might be beyond the capabilities of starting PCs, in which case it’s a good idea to guide them towards dealing with other adventures for a while. They can return stronger, wiser, and with more allies. However, players can always surprise with an unexpected solution.

    Nevertheless, the PCs should be reminded that they don’t have unlimited time – Xoxo Calco might take matters into his own hands at some point and employ warriors to solve the issue.

    There isn’t a single correct solution to the problem; PCs can find various unexpected ways to address it. Here are a few ways that could partially solve the problem:

    • If all 6 priests of the Tipivana tribe are eliminated (including chief Torsoc), the hunters would take the Seamother’s Daughters, if they manage to catch any without a priest, to the uninhabited Sitka Island. Eventually, they would be forced to release the daughters, as no divine healer would come to their aid. The tribe would eventually give up the hunt for the daughters and be willing to negotiate with the Calco tribe.
    • Eliminating either tribe physically.
    • Rescuing the Rapatzan tribe from their folly would bring them to the negotiation table with the Calco tribe. If the Calco tribe gains access to the sea, the Tipivana tribe wouldn’t be able to go on their hunts anymore.
    • If Zenižlav doesn’t pass the Soulshackles to Eros, Eros won’t be able to take the captured Seamother’s Daughters under his control.

    The best solution for the city and the PCs would be to eliminate the Tipivana priests and save the Rapatzani tribe – this would have the most positive impact on the events of Book II.

    Eros starts the game controlling 20 Daughters of Seamother, and every in-game week that the PCs haven’t stopped the Tipivana hunters, Eros gains 5 more Daughters of Seamother, reaching a maximum of 80 by the end of the Domain Turn when the adventure resolves itself.


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