The following article for the Dying Earth RPG and Fear Itself originally appeared on DyingEarth.com in November 2004.

Push aside the detritus to see the shiny gew-gaws horded by the Pelgrane

 

Our last release was XPS 6 (ed: now bundled as The Excellent Prismatic Spray) – a good few months’ ago now. But we aren’t slacking, I promise you – certain persons have been eaten, others dropped from a great height. The manuscripts are stacked up, and at last an artist is licking his nib, and our schedule is a thing of beauty, if not truth. We’ve employed the artistic services of Dave Allsop, best known in the RPG community for SLA Industries; although he has also created Magic card images and D&D® creatures for Wizards of the Coast. We are lucky to have him, trapped in the nest, to be released when his work is done, or eaten as a light snack if it is unfinished. Dave is also the artist and co-creator of a non-Dying Earth project we’ve been working on – The Book of Unremitting Horror – more on that later.

We’ve commissioned Robin D Laws to create the Arch-Magicians book – a whole new style of Dying Earth play. The vigilant questing of

the magician gives way to power; but with ultimate power comes ennui, and only the other Arch-Magicians provide a suitable challenge. Squabbling, intrigue and pettifoggery might cause even the affable Preceptor of the Conclave to tear out his hair. Robin is devising a clever new mechanic, dare I say a metagame mechanic. I can’t say much yet, but what I can reveal is that in this version of the Dying Earth RPG you can win, and it won’t be by conjuring up a dark army of underlings and conquering the world. Robin is in little danger of being eaten, partly due to his past services, but mainly because of his personal chaffe and offensive shirts.

Jim Webster and Peter Freeman have created the Dying Earth Gazetteer (ed: now The Scaum Valley Gazetteer), a splendid overview of the entire known world, and elsewhere. Its accuracy is absolutely and unreservedly guaranteed – at least that is what they assured me as I dangled them, one in each claw, over the edge of the nest. Dave Allsop is currently illustrating the more significant entries. I find a friendly grin and a few kind words hurry him on.

The Book of Unremitting Horror is a bleak book of horrific monsters for use in an OGL setting. Each horror is detailed in depth, so much so that it each is more a complete adventure in itself. Each one has its own agenda, its own reason for existence and its own legend. The book includes GM and player information. A PDF sample will follow next month, but for the moment, here is a little teaser for one of the creatures.

Dave Allsop is the artist and creator, and the creatures have been detailed by Adrian Bott, who has written The Book of Hell for Mongoose Publishing amongst other RPG titles.

Tooth, Talon and Pinion, The Dying Earth Bestiary is now ready for the first round of editing. Compiled with extra material by Ian Thomson (Demons of the Dying Earth) it will cover all the beasts and humanoids. It includes authoritative discussions of each creature, with a little polite scholarly disagreement over the nature of each beast, allowing you to choose which version to use. Many of the creatures are tied together in a grand adventure, although each segment can be run separately. If only Ian can curb his natural exuberance, and present me with more shiny things, I will in turn curb my natural appetite.

The Shining Fields (ed: now The Fields of Silver,) written by Lynne Hardy, is a Turjan-level campaign in the style of the old Call of Cthulu™ campaign books is languishing awaiting art. It is with regret that I can find no excuse to consume Lynne, as she is without fault in this matter. That small nicety has not concerned me before, however.

XPS 7 (ed: now bundled as The Excellent Prismatic Spray)is underway, but you will have to ask Jim Webster, the editor, if you want to know more. I dare not.


Get an embarrassment of Dying Earth treasures in the Compleat Dying Earth Bundle of Holding until July 18th!

The Dying Earth — and its rules-lighter version the Revivification Folio — take you into the world of master fantasist Jack Vance, where a flashing sword is less important than nimble wits, persuasive words,and a fine sense of fashion. Survive by your cunning, search for lost lore, or command the omnipotent but quarrelsome sandestins. Purchase The Dying Earth or the Revivification Folio in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

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TOOTH, TALON & PINION: Excellent Prismatic Spray Double Issue #7/8

The second double-issue of the Excellent Prismatic Spray magazine to be so voluminous as to (in this case literally) claw its way into being a DERPG sourcebook in its own right!

Stranger, stay your hand a while…

Wonder at the pets of the Dying Earth, frolic in the icy streets of The Hidden City in the Mountains, gawp at Bildazan, God of Merchants and Thieves. Once again Pelgrane Press spares no expense or effort to bring to your attention what they most modestly assure me must surely be the finest collection of scenarios, background information, and plot hooks for the Dying Earth as has ever been collected into one place.

But lest you think that we have succumbed to chronic philotherianism we also venture into other areas and continue to elucidate and examine the farther corners of our ancient world.

Twenty creatures are detailed here by our most reliable commentators, offered with their Known Facts, reliable Scholarly Conjectures with game effects, and Adventure Hooks for unsuspecting PCs:

  • The familiar deodand gets a new lick of paint in the Carnival of Grotesques…
  • There is a choice of dangerous and docile pets…
  • You might learn the secrets of the Twk-Folk…
  • choose your words carefully with the Equivocal Leucomorph…
  • And Grashpotel’s walking tour enlightens us on the culinary merits of beasts, although many of his students end up on the menu!

So, stranger, should you merely be desirous of titillation, of generously endowed maidens dressed in unlikely and uncomfortable combinations of chain mail and leather, of facile stories and shallow plots suitable only for the most juvenile, then carefully place this back on the shelf where your betters can find it.

If, on the other hand, you are a person of wit and discernment, welcome, this book has found its rightful home.

This also serves as a companion volume to the DE Compendium, being made up of much high quality material originally intended for an earlier version of that work.

CONTENTS:

Editorial: Jim Webster
The Letters of Bracht, Green Legionnaire: M.D. Jackson
Pets of the Dying Earth: Lizard
The Hidden City of the Mountains: Lynne Hardy
The Twk-men: Nicholas Caldwell
Grashpotel’s Symposium: David Thomas
The Clevenger Collectors: Jeanry Chandler
The Duniwassal Mattock: Justinian Merrihew
The Travelers Guide to the Exotic and Quixotic Bildazan, God of Merchants and Thieves: Greg Saunders
The Animal Apocrypha: Ian Thomson
A Treatise on the Origins and Intelligence of Certain Dumb Beasts: David Thomas

Once upon a time a DE Bestiary was mooted, and indeed written to first draft. Then the concept changed. Much of the material created was subsumed into the Compendium, with sufficient overflow to become Tooth, Talon & Pinion. However, some smaller pieces were left homeless and found their way into the Footsteps of Fools scenarios, and at the end of the day the large appendices also still remained – and are here offered freely for your delight:
Gilgad’s Wilderness Survival Guide
The Magic of the Wilds
Weapons of the Dying Earth (written independently of the XPS article)
The High Road to Kaiin (adventure part 1)
A Walk in the Woods (adventure part 2)

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

Stock #: PELXPS07 Author: Ed: Jim Webster with Ian Thomson
Artist: Ossi Hiekkala Pages: 134 page paperback

Buy

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XPS4-5BodyDouble Book-Size Issue of ‘The Excellent Prismatic Spray’ (Volume 1, Number 4/5)

A source book for the Dying Earth RPG
To Ascolais, the Falling Wall and Beyond! This first double volume of the XPS is so vast in scope that it has graduated to its own page as a sourcebook in its own right.

Once the heart of the reach of Grand Motholam, the Land of the Falling Wall and Ascolais are now picturesque ruins. The people are strange, the places stranger, the opportunities and diversions unparalleled. This double issue of The Excellent Prismatic Spray is your well-nigh irresistible invitation to discover the Dying Earth’s heartlands for yourself. While waiting for Time’s death rattle, why not:

    • Defraud merchants amid the probity and decorum of cruel Lumarth and its ruinous neighbour Aktabras…
    • Lose yourself (or your pursuers) in Forrell’s Port, gateway to the Sousenene Coast…
    • Cross the Plain of Standing Stones…
    • Discover whether you or any of your fellows are unknowingly vat creatures…
    • Hide from your enemies in cosmopolitan Efred, City of Sanctuary…
    • Tangle with mermelants in Aldusfeld Village…
    • Interfere with cranes in white-walled Kaiin…
    • Or take the opportunity to hunt mutroons and social status in the Great Da Forest.

    Ascolais and the Land of the Falling Wall features adventures, recipes, ghosts, ships, vat creatures, gods, daihaks and demons. The material is suitable for all levels of play and will satisfy every palate, however ghoulish or finicky.

    • CONTENTS:
      Vance’s Spell of the Ineffably Pleasurable Prolonged Hour and What It Did To Me (Ed Greenwood)
      The Den-Phu Cranes [adventure] (Robin D Laws)
      The Dying Earth Needs You (Lynne Hardy)
      A Map of The Known World (Sarah Wroot)
      Efred, City of Sanctuary (David Thomas)
      Mermelants Unite! (Thomas Russell)
      ARCANA of Grashpotel (Peter Freeman)
      The City of Lumarth (Ian Thomson)
      Caravan to Akatabras [adventure] (Ian Thomson)
      Forell’s Port (Lizard)
      Home Brewed Heroes [Vat Creature PCs] (Ian Thomson)
      The Laughing Magician [adventure] (Steve Dempsey)
      The Sculpted Chair (Lynne Hardy)
      The Luminarion (Mark Baker)
      Ghosts of the Forgotten Past (Kurt Brown)
      The Encroaching Green (Lizard & Ian Thomson)
      Cozeners Expedients (Various)

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

    Stock #: PELXPS004D Author: Ed: Jim Webster
    Artist: Sarah Wroot & others Pages: 148 page paperback

    Buy

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xps6coverTHE EXCELLENT PRISMATIC SPRAY MAGAZINE SERIES

The XPS series features adventures, background and words of wisdom for the Dying Earth RPG. It has included articles by such luminaries and regulars as Robin D Laws, Gary Gygax, Phil Masters, Monte Cook, Ed Greenwood, Steve Long, David Thomas, Lynne Hardy & Ian Thomson. It is indispensable to fans of the Dying Earth.

  • Our first issue features the much-feared Pirates of the Jhardine Coast, the Vineyards of the Scaum, Zamaranth a Turjan-level adventure set in the Forest of Da, as well as career advice from Phil Masters and hints on play by our foremost playtesters. This issue is now made most generously available as a free pdf download.
  • In the second issue Robin D. Laws presents “Phasms”, an adventure for powerful arch-magicians; Gary Gygax details the influence of Jack Vance on the D&D game. Phil Masters, Steven Long, and many other stellar names present material of comparable interest.
  • The third issue includes The Gold and Amber Cabal, an adventure for aspiring mages; The Valley of the Graven Tombs, laden with ghosts and curses; and The Laughing Magician, part one of a three-part adventure series in which the characters must race up the Scaum river against stiff opposition, as well as articles by Robin D Laws and Lizard.
  • Ascolais and the Land of the Falling Wall is a double issue (XPS 4 & 5), cunningly disguised as an adventure supplement. This fine collection of game material includes the first published representation of the long-awaited speculative map of the Dying Earth. With contributors such as Robin D Laws, Ed Greenwood, Jeanry Chandler & Ian Thomson, and articles on vat creatures, mermelants and religion, it is the best XPS yet. Settlements across this region of the Dying Earth are detailed, with opportunities for adventure, trickery and gourmandism.
  • Issue Six features an article on Vancean magic by Arcana Unearthed author Monte Cook; a d20 conversion of Dying Earth rules by Keith Baker, creator of the new Eberron campaign setting for Wizards of the Coast. Hogshead’s Mark Ricketts gives sterling advice on adding horror into your Dying Earth games. XPS 6 also includes adventures, new weapons, cults of the Dying Earth and much more. With such well-known names and an attractive layout, XPS 6 is a must for any Dying Earth player, and others besides.
  • Tooth, Talon & Pinion (double issue: XPS 7 & 8) is an expose on the fauna of the Dying Earth, released as a supplement to the DERPG Compendium. Twenty creatures are detailed here by our most reliable commentators. The familiar deodand gets a new lick of paint in the Carnival of Grotesques; there are a choice of dangerous and docile pets; and you might learn the secrets of the Twk-Folk, or choose your words carefully with the Equivocal Leucomorph. Grashpotel’s walking tour enlightens us on the culinary merits of beasts, although many of his students end up on the menu. Beasts are offered with their Known Facts, reliable Scholarly Conjectures with game effects, and Adventure Hooks for unsuspecting PCs.

XPSbundle

 

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

Stock #: PEL015D Author: Various
Artist: Various Pages: Various

Buy

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