ALL’S FAIR AT AZENOMEI (Footsteps of Fools: Part 1)

Once every year, at the start of summer, Azenomei holds its annual ‘Great Fair’, under the shadow of Pergolo: the manse of Iucounu the Laughing Magician. This event attracts not only traders of great renown, but also royalty and other notables from as far as Kaiin. And the town council makes considerable funds through renting out the prime positions and levying a tax on all goods bought and sold beyond a certain price. Naturally, this vast market attracts professional thieves and confidence tricksters in equal proportion to genuine merchants. And into this bustling arena of opportunity step our heroes…

  • The chance to work for an unusual sponsor…
  • The chance to compete for the title of ‘Monarch’ of the Great Fair in a series of traditional contests..
  • Prizes, mysteries, and rivalry…
  • Nonetheless, surely an easy opportunity for cash and glory!
  • After all, what could go seriously wrong?

This can be run as a stand-alone adventure, or as the start of the Footsteps of Fools epic adventure arc, leading into Strangers in Saskervoy.
[The Town of Azenomei and its fair are described in detail in this free Guide, which is a necessary adjunct to this adventure.]


Click here: for a complete listing of all DERPG products, and links to their individual pages.

Stock #: PEL011 Author: Ian Thomson
Artist: Ralph Horsley Pages: 45page pdf




STRANGERS IN SASKERVOY (Footsteps of Fools: Part 2)

Strangers in Saskervoy follows on from All’s Fair At Azenomei, and leads into The Lords of Cil.
A bumper adventure pack, advancing Cugel-Level adventuring in new directions. Ten or more gaming sessions – across five interlinked episodes – covering the PCs’ experiences in the realm of Saskervoy after being rudely deposited on Shanglestone Strand.
Will they conquer unhappy circumstance and make a name for themselves through cunning and bold action, or will they once again end up fleeced and fleeing for their lives?
Fate will present them with ancient ruins, forgotten treasures, bizarre magic, peculiarly vicious half-men, urban escapades, and the chance to work for local notable Twango of Flutic on a number of almost insignificant errands.
This publication contains maps, illustrations, appendices, tag-lines for all sessions, GMCs, location guides, and a pair of repulsive bibelots. Could any adventurous rogue ask for more?

A mini series of hazardous adventures of dubious legality – travelling around Saskervoy in the employ of ‘Twango of Flutic’. Motivated by his promise (which at the GM’s discretion may or may not be genuine) to transport them back to Almery.

  • The gift of free foreign travel…
  • Introducing the concept of an arch-nemesis…
  • Exploring the furthest reaches of civilisation…
  • Collecting the severed sections of an ornate Overworld being…
  • Ah, Saskervoy, jewel of the north! What opportunities you present for our delight!

This could be run as a stand-alone adventure, but is intended as the second in the Footsteps of Fools epic adventure arc. Running it separately would mean that you couldn’t run the whole series for the same players.
[A detailed Guide to Saskervoy Town is available for free here, and is an invaluable adjunct to this publication. Plus a map of the Saskervoy Reach is also available for free] It is not essential to own Turjan’s Tome in order to run the adventures in this publication, though it would be helpful. Turjan’s Tome comes into it’s own later in the series, where lack of it would mean considerable extra work.

Click here: for a complete listing of all DERPG products, and links to their individual pages.

Stock #: PEL014 Author: Ian Thomson
Artist: Ralph Horsley & others Pages: 74-page pdf



Almerycover300pxAND THENCE TO ALMERY (Footsteps of Fools: Part 5)

This publication follows on from Beyond the Mountains of Magnatz and is the final in the epic ‘In the Footsteps of Fools…’ series.

Stranded in the desolate barren reaches of the upper Scamander, all seems lost until a peculiar band of pilgrims and their raft are discovered.

After the perils of the mighty river, and colorful escapades at diverse unique small settlements, the PCs may with luck & skill arrive alive at decaying & decadent Erze Damath: the mysterious city of the Black Obelisk.

Numerous hazardous adventures fill the weeks, whilst PCs determinedly seek the means to safely cross the vast & desolate barrens that now are all that remains between them and ‘home’.

Eventually reaching squalid & pompous Old Romarth, they seek out a set of legendary allies, with whose aid they hopefully arrive at Azenomei. If so they can confront their arch-nemesis – Iucounu the Laughing Magician – in a twisted & desperate battle of wits & magic around the echoing corridors of Pergolo.

  • Oh Iucounu, scourge of my days, how I curse you!
  • One day soon I shall stand at the gates of Pergolo, with your corpse sprawled at my feet!
  • What twisted games he does play; but they will be amongst his last – for I am vengeance!

This could be run as a stand-alone adventure, but is intended as the finale in the Footsteps of Fools adventure arc. Using it separately would mean that you couldn’t ever run the whole series for the same players. (The bare minimum recommended for running this series are: ‘All’s Fair At Azenomei’, ‘Strangers in Saskervoy’ & ‘And Thence to Almery’.)

And Thence to Almery comes complete with detailed maps (including Pergolo the daunting manse of Iucounu), pages of tag-lines, and multiple options & suggestions as to how to run the showdown with Iucounu as a grand confrontation to end all grand confrontations!

Essential adjuncts to running the later chapters of this work are the free Guides to Old Romarth and to Azenomei.

You will also need Turjan’s Tome if you want to avoid massive re-invention of standard items and spells that are heavily referenced here, especially in their dealings with Iucounu. Finally, this publication has an appendix of adaptation notes that allow you to easily incorporate the Turjan-Level adventure-book Fields of Silver as a grand finale to the Erze Damath chapters.

Click here: for a complete listing of all DERPG products, and links to their individual pages.

Stock #: PEL021D Author: Ian Thomson
Artist: Sarah Wroot & Beth Lewis Pages: 121 page pdf




(Cugel-Level expansion book for the DERPG rules)


We have made this book indispensable for purely commercial reasons.

It contains Arcane Items of Obvious Utility such as the Mutable Deck; Fashions, Fripperies, and Distracting Baubles and a new power, the Tweak: spend ability points & gain a distinct temporary advantage.

  • Procure Advantage: Negate a blunder with the “Forgive my Companion, who was Dropped at Birth” tweak, or Persuade your mount to eat a rival’s hat using the Riding tweak: “There’s Turnips In It For You”
  • Arcane magical items and intriguing equipment: The cornucopia of discreditable secrets, Distracting Baubles, The Diamonds That were Kathakl Thark, Spring-Heel boots and 3 dozen other practical adjuncts.
  • 24 simple but clever Cantraps from Ian Thomson, aiding you to such feats as instantly cleaning your clothes, momentarily dazzling an opponent, and leaping out of harm’s way
  • Plus learn to negotiate to your advantage, dress outrageously with the Random Costume Generator and line your pockets with guaranteed confidence tricks.

Disclaimer: In certain strictly-limited circumstances some contents may occasionally be dispensable!

To ease any sense of discomfiture here are some free downloads:
1) Alternative blank character sheets: Cugel-Level front page v1; Cugel-Level front page v2; and a standard back page
2)  Cugel-Level Sheets with Character Pictures. Ch’sainth; Ecnomander; Gorbinesse; Jozenda; Kurnio; and Palandro.
3) A GM’s aid for tracking Improvement Points, Wealth Owned, and Sympathy Points. Printing this two-page sheet double sided allows you to track up to eight characters with ease.

Click here: for a complete listing of all DERPG products, and links to their individual pages.

Stock #: PEL004 Author: Aaron Allston, Robin D Laws and Phil Masters
Artist: Ralph Horsley Pages: 72pp Perfect Bound



Demons of the Dying Earth

DEMONS OF THE DYING EARTH: a sourcebook for the Dying Earth RPG.

Sucked up from unspeakable subworlds, demon are fearsome and worthy opponents for Turjan-level magicians. (And powerful and fearsome horrors for their lesser Cugelesque colleagues.)

Even Turjan’s mentor Pandelume was given pause by an otherworldy abomination. With witches, demonists, Valdaran’s Green Legion and horrific magic in equal measure, the Demons of the Dying Earth will put your most blasé Turjanic hero or magician in fear of their soul.

This book does not offer reckless instructions on how to create and play witches and warlocks, nor how to use demonic forces to casually attack your foes – for such would make a mockery of the dangerous and blasphemous nature of the awful demonic legacy of previous aeons. Instead we provide the resources to fully describe occult horrors, insane archenemies, cruel and secretive demonic cults, and dangerous journeys to the bizarre sub-worlds.

In this work Demons are presented as a ‘very bad thing’. Those magicians who do wish to take up demonology as magical specialty can expect to suffer awful consequences for their taste of power – possibly to turn up again as a superior henchman to the campaign’s most intractable foe. (In advanced campaigns, Diabolist PCs to some extent break this ruling – protected in their viewing of demons and sub-worlds as an abstract pedantic specialty.)

Discover a new angle on Dying Earth RPG: foes that even the most jaded of magicians and adventurers will find sufficiently abhorrent to unite them in their attempts to outwit, evade, thwart and destroy their mutual enemy. But beware, your most favourite spells may prove useless against beings of other dimensions, and even your precious magical adjuncts may lack efficacy. A new world lurks amidst the shadows of the old!

Written as a partner-publication to Turjan’s Tome, Demons also stands alone and can be used by Cugelesque-favoring GMs with great benefit.

Related Free Downloads:
Deities of the Dying Earth
Surviving Supernatural Terrors at Cugel-Level
Necrophages of the Dying Earth

MAGNATZClick here: for a complete listing of all DERPG products, and links to their individual pages.

Stock #: PEL008 Author: Ian Thomson
Artist: Shaun Thomas & Ossi Hiekkala Pages: 128 pages hardcopy or PDF




THE DAY OF THE QUELO: A Cugel-Level pdf adventure for DERPG.

The noble Twegg, merchant of Kaiin and breeder of fine (if somewhat freakish) beasts, needs an urgent delivery made. Thus he is seeking a few reliable fellows to deliver a ‘quelo’ – a sluggish and good-natured beast – to its new owner, only one day’s walk along the tranquil Derna Road. What could be a simpler way to earn a purse of terces?

  • A relaxing day in the country,
  • Good cheer and jovial companions…
  • Money for nothing…
  • And welcome to the nightmare that is: The Day of the Quelo!

Of middling difficulty, easily adaptable for novices. A full adventure in its own right and also highly suitable to be played as an introduction to DERPG. (Predesigned character sheets are included.)

It also has potential to be added into the Footsteps of Fools series – either the first amateur series (where it was originally run) or the full professional series (where it can be added into Strangers in Saskervoy). In the original series it commences in Kaiin and use of the Kaiin Players Guide can expand its scope, but the KPG is not essential to running Day of the Quelo.

Click here: for a complete listing of all DERPG products, and links to their individual pages.

Stock #: PEL012 Author: Ian Thomson
Artist: Jerome Huguenin Pages: 32 page PDF




THE LORDS OF CIL (Footsteps of Fools: Part 3)

The Lords of Cil follows on from Strangers in Saskervoy and leads into Beyond the Mountains of Magnatz. This major episode has our dashing adventurers advancing out of Saskervoy and into the ancient Empire of Cil. Along the way, the fates have them stumble upon an ancient tomb, and offers the chance to take the identities of long-lost Lords of Cil
Arriving at the Grand Palace of Cil as the rightful heirs and custodians, they have the chance to explore the majesty of the airy Grand Palace, interact with refined and courteous nobles, and dine in the finest inns of the industrious and thriving town. Oh wait! That was last aeon. Coughs nervously:

  • Pretenders to the crumbling throne, mutter…
  • Political Intrigue, ahem…
  • Exploring the furthest reaches of civilisation…
  • Demonic Infestation, blah, …
  • Cobwebs, Flashing rapiers…

This canbe run as a stand-alone adventure, but is intended as the third in the Footsteps of Fools epic adventure arc. Running it separately would mean that you couldn’t run the whole series for the same players. It comes complete with detailed maps, including the vast haunted Palace of Cil itself, tag-lines, and even a staff roster so you can track who is still alive!

If you are planning to continue running this series, we advise you buy  Turjan’s Tome before running Lords of Cil. Nonetheless this module could be run without it, with the GM needing to spend significant time to invent details for magical effects. Turjan’s Tome is obviously essential if you are advancing your PCs any way beyond the Cugelesque.

Click here: for a complete listing of all DERPG products, and links to their individual pages.

Stock #: PEL019 Author: Ian Thomson
Artist: Luigi Castellani & others Pages: 86page pdf



“In the Footsteps of Fools… only other fools tread”

The colloquially-described “Liane-Level” five-publication DERPG adventure series. [‘All’s Fair At Azenomei’, ‘Strangers in Saskervoy’, ‘The Lords of Cil’, ‘Beyond the Mountains of Magnatz’, & ‘And Thence…to Almery’]


Welcome to the official page outlining all you need to know about this panoramic creation, which gaming systems of less finesse might title as a ‘campaign’. Adventures beginning with a grand Cugel-Level escapade in Azenomei, then carrying the PCs through an evolutionary symphony of exploits beyond their imaginings across the furthest reaches of the known world. Finally bringing them back to Azenomei and a confrontation with Iucounu as trail-hardened heroes rather than the fops they once were.

‘Liane-Level’ is an unofficial phrase that could be replaced by ‘Advanced or Adventurous Cugel-Level’. This style of play retains varying degrees (according to individual GM tastes) of humor and foppish quirkiness, whilst bringing in more dark horror, opportunities for bloodshed, and a sense of continuity that standard Cugel-Level lacks. Story being more important than technicalities, these adventures are written in a rules-lite fashion. (Any experienced GM can run them using the rules mechanics of their choice.)

Depending on how often you play, how much of the material you use, and how much of your own ideas you add, this series could last for considerable real-time play. Around the middle of the series Turjan’s Tome starts to become an invaluable reference guide (particularly for spells, magic items and other rich incidentals): as the PCs cease being incompetent rascals and become at least basic-level adventurers (albeit unwittingly).


It is up to each GM whether they use this series to transition directly from Cugel-Level play to a Turjanic campaign, or keep things at ‘Liane-Level’. Various optional rules variations are discussed in the publications. We mention just two here:
(i) At Liane-Level magic is hard and particularly expensive [in ‘IP’] to learn,
(ii) If you are concerned that over such a long period of time the IP earned will turn the PCs into ‘superheroes’ compared to other Dying Earth folk, incrementally increase the number of IP required to raise all ability-levels beyond a certain point, plus consider allowing up to 3 individual IP to be sacrificed per session as bonuses to important rolls.

‘In the Footsteps of Fools’ was a labor of love, put together little by little over several years as a personal hobby then edited to professional presentation. It is a throwback to the author’s early recollections of ongoing role-playing game series from his teens and 20’s. Long-term character development, tactical planning, accumulation of spells and magical items, grandiose objectives: all feature into the conceptualization. Not to mention that Jack Vance’s awesome Dying Earth is a world worthy of exploration at length, and here we offer DERPG fans the chance to do just that!


It is envisaged that many GMs who choose to explore DERPG may start off running a few more standard Cugel-Level adventures in the Ascolais and Almery regions just for the sheer fun of it all, perhaps using the amateur original Footsteps of Fools series:

Footsteps of Fools series ‘O’:
1 – The Cooks of Cuirnif (DERPG Rulebook sample adventure)
2 – The Quergib Frogs (XPS Vol. 1, Iss. 3)
3 – Lumarth/Caravan to Aktabras (XPS Vol. 1, Iss. 4/5)
4 – The High Road to Kaiin (free download at Violet Cusps)
5 – A Walk in the Woods (free download at Violet Cusps)
6 – The Exasperating Cadaver (free download at Violet Cusps)
7 – The Day of the Quelo (an official Pelgrane Press publication)
8 – Axomber’s Crypt (free download at Violet Cusps)
9 – The Kaiinese Drakeling (free download at Violet Cusps)
10 – Flolad’s Nephew (free download at Violet Cusps)

After this GMs can take their game off into Liane-Level play, using the official ‘Footsteps of Fools’ adventures (see list below) to present an enormous canvas of more adventurous exploration – the weird, the wild and the wonderful – before returning the PCs at last to Almery to confront one of fantasy literature’s greatest foes: Cugel’s (and their) arch nemesis ‘Iucounu the Laughing Magician’.


The final section of ‘And Thence to Almery’ is devoted to Iucounu’s manse Pergolo, and a great variety of ways in which the Laughing Magician can be confronted. It was decided not to release Pergolo as a stand-alone adventure, because the concept of a long-journey back across the Dying Earth (before being able to mete out vengeance) is too intrinsic! (The bare minimum adventures that are suggested as a shorter version of this campaign are Publications 1, 2 & 5 – with PCs transported via malfunctioning sorcery east from Saskervoy instead of south.)

Any of the Footsteps of Fools publications can be used as stand-alone material by those who know for sure they will never run/play the whole series. But be warned: running one of these publications out of sequence will mean that you cannot run the whole series coherently with those same players. We advise instead that you start with the introductory adventure All’s Fair At Azenomei and see how you go from there. (Skipping other episodes only if absolutely necessary.) The publications in this series (in order) are listed here immediately below, and are available as official DERPG pdf adventures from Pelgrane Press. Note that due to an original idea to have more publications of lesser size, in most cases more than one episode is contained in the same publication:


“In the Footsteps of Fools…” (the official series):

Publication 1: “ALL’S FAIR AT AZENOMEI” [Episode 1] The chance to work for an unusual sponsor and compete for the title of ‘Monarch’ of Azenomei’s annual Grand Fair. Prizes, mysteries, and murder, but surely nothing could go seriously wrong… [The Town of Azenomei is described in detail in this free Guide, which is a necessary adjunct to this adventure.]

Publication 2: “STRANGERS IN SASKERVOY [Combined Episodes 2 & 3] A series of hazardous adventures of dubious legality – traveling around Saskervoy in the employ of ‘Twango of Flutic’. Motivated by his promise (which at the GM’s discretion may or may not be genuine) to transport them back to Almery. [A detailed Guide to Saskervoy Town is available for free here, and is an invaluable adjunct to this publication. Plus a map of the Saskervoy Reach is also available for free]

Publication 3: “THE LORDS OF CIL [super-sized Episode 4] Along the coast from Saskervoy is the ancient land of Cil (now reduced to a demon-haunted palace and small town). Due to a chance encounter with ancient magics, the PCs have a unique opportunity to pose as hereditary lords, returned from out of history. Sadly their inheritance turns out to be not only incredibly hazardous, but also energetically disputed by sinister forces. [Luigi Castellani’s awesome pictures for this publication are available as a taster handout.]

Publication 4: “BEYOND THE MOUNTAINS OF MAGNATZ [Combined Episodes 5 & 6] On the other side of Cil is a vast mountain range. It can be crossed along the ancient road, but only by enduring a series of large and small adventures along the way. First of all surviving the menacing town of Vull, crossing the mountains themselves, taking advantage of the strange hospitality of the mighty scientist Pharesm, and finally surviving the Vale of Dharad, which is occupied by an army of basilisks!!

Publication 5: “AND THENCE…TO ALMERY [Combined Episodes 7-9] On the other side of the Mountains of Magnatz a huge river heads south towards the ancient city of Erze Damath. From there (eventually) the PCs can cross the Plain of Obelisks to Old Romarth, which is situated in the north of the lands they originally wandered in. Here (after much difficulty) they make the acquaintance of a band of magicians that can assist their return to Azenomei and an epic confrontation with Iucounu.
[Essential to this publication are the free Location Guides to Azenomei, and to Old Romarth. This publication also has an appendix of adaptation notes for DERPG’s ‘Fields of Silver‘ adventure book, which can thus be seamlessly incorporated into this volume. The Ocean of Sighs appendix outlines a shorter potential Series 2 that could be run just before the Pergolo episode: with PCs returned to the north as victory seems within their grasp, as Cugel was.]

Further free articles not linked above but considered especially useful for this series are:
The Enhanced Action optional rulings
Facing Supernatural Terrors at Cugel-Level
Learning & Using Spells at Cugel-Level
New Cantraps
The Magic of the Wild
Weapons of the Dying Earth
Deities of the Dying Earth
Gilgad’s Wilderness Survival Guide

Click here: for a complete listing of all DERPG products, and links to their individual pages.

As well as the works listed above, the same author created Pelgrane Press’ publications: ‘Demons of the Dying Earth’; the official sample scenarios: ‘The Day of the Quelo‘ (Cugel-Level), ‘Gomoshan’s Tomb‘ (Turjan-Level), & ‘The Creep of Inaccuracy‘ (Rhialto-Level); and was a significant contributor to ‘Cugel’s Compendium of Indispensable Advantages‘, ‘Turjan’s Tome of Beauty & Horror‘, and ‘The Compendium of Universal Knowledge‘, and both a contributor and early editor of much of the material that went into Tooth, Talon & Pinion.

He has also written an unofficial free bonus chapter for the Kaiin Players’ Handbook: covering the Old Town district in much greater detail. And a free bonus article on using the Scaum Valley Gazetteer as a connected campaign.

Due to the varied complexities of existence he has now retired from gaming writing. It remains possible that some small scenarios may still emerge from his fevered mind from time to time, but alas the mighty creations of old are now behind us.