[19:09] <+RPGPundit> I’m the RPGPundit. Some of you may have seen people wearing t-shirts about how I saved the hobby. I’ve written and worked on a number of games, including D&D 5e, but I guess the one I’m here to mainly talk about tonight is Dark Albion, and especially the Cults of Chaos OSR book that just came out. It’s a system-neutral OSR book on creating chaos cults.
[19:09] <+RPGPundit> Detailed and realistic chaos cults, with influence from world religions and mythology, and who reflect what real cults could look like in a “medieval authentic” environment.
[19:10] <+RPGPundit> Oh, um, “over” or whatever.
[19:11] <+SirGene> Link it please
[19:11] <~Dan> Heh. Thanks, RPGPundit! The floor is open to questions!
[19:11] <~Dan> Oh, and yes, please feel free to post a link to it!
[19:11] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Guest27!)
[19:11] <+CSBarnhart> Dark Albion is a great book. I recently purchased it and really enjoy reading it. Haven’t had a chance to play it yet but I do like the quick start rules. One question. What do you use for stats for the “frogs”?
[19:12] <+RPGPundit> here it is on Lulu: (Link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/dominique-crouzet-and-rpgpundit/dark-albion-cults-of-chaos/paperback/product-22785856.html)http://www.lulu.com/shop/dominique-crouzet-and-rpgpundit/dark-albion-cults-of-chaos/paperback/product-22785856.html
[19:12] <+RPGPundit> And on Amazon: (Link: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Albion-Cults-Chaos-RPGPundit/dp/1533506426)https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Albion-Cults-Chaos-RPGPundit/dp/1533506426
[19:12] <~Dan> Thanks!
[19:12] <+RPGPundit> And on RPGnow on PDF: (Link: http://www.rpgnow.com/product/187942/Dark-Albion-Cults-of-Chaos)http://www.rpgnow.com/product/187942/Dark-Albion-Cults-of-Chaos
[19:12] <~Dan> RPGPundit: Are you cool with general questions about Dark Albion as well?
[19:12] <+RPGPundit> Oh, and the original Dark Albion: (Link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/dominique-crouzet-and-rpgpundit/dark-albion-the-rose-war/hardcover/product-22249379.html)http://www.lulu.com/shop/dominique-crouzet-and-rpgpundit/dark-albion-the-rose-war/hardcover/product-22249379.html
[19:13] <+Gareth_StarlitGames> Any specific world religions and mythologies? What types do you focus on?
[19:13] <+SirGene> Can we get a link to the original game too?
[19:13] <~Dan> (Question pause while RPGPundit catches up.)
[19:13] <+bat> Did you use real world manuscripts as inspiration, such as the Malleus Malificarum or movies like Haxan?
[19:13] <+RPGPundit> As i said in my blog entry, I’m cool with questions “about Dark Albion, Cults of Chaos, D&D, my other games, the OSR, the Swine, OBS’ appalling censorship policies and the totalitarians who push it, or any other subjects related to Punditry”
[19:13] <~Dan> (Okay, question pause after bat’s question. 😉 )
[19:14] <+bat> sorry
[19:14] <~Dan> No worries. 🙂
[19:14] <~Dan> (wb, Jezibel1)
[19:14] <+RPGPundit> Ok, first question: Stats for Frogs. I treat frogmen as a humanoid NPC race. Their basic form has one HD at 1d8. They have no natural armor. They can jump better than humans and have nightvision.
[19:14] <+Jezibel1> Hi.
[19:14] <+RPGPundit> After that, they can level like a human could.
[19:15] <~Dan> Do I recall correctly that the Frogs are in France?
[19:15] <~Dan> (Oops… Sorry. Violated my own question pause.)
[19:15] <+RPGPundit> Second question, on real-world religion: In Cults of Chaos we look at a number of old pagan cults, treat witchcraft like what it would have been treated in the middle ages, and also some real life historical heresies like the cathars.
[19:16] <+RPGPundit> I can elaborate on that if people want.
[19:16] <~Dan> Please do!
[19:16] <~Dan> I was going to follow up on that anyway. 🙂
[19:16] <+Gareth_StarlitGames> Yes 🙂
[19:17] <+RPGPundit> To Bat: When I wrote Dark Albion, I was inspired by lots of local stories of legends in specific places in England, some of them are very wild, and can be found in the gazeteer section of the book. In Cults of Chaos, I treat witches and ‘old religion’ the way medieval people would have.
[19:17] <+RPGPundit> For example, the Witch Mark. Also, Familiars. Familiars are a staple of D&D, but in Cults of Chaos Familiars are not friendly magical animal companions. They’re minor demons that appear in the form of animals who give you powers, but also try to corrupt you.
[19:18] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[19:18] <+Skimble> For the record, answering questions about The Swine and OBS’s censorship would be against the standard ‘no religion or politics’ rules of this channel.
[19:19] <+RPGPundit> I am an historian in real life, and my area of specialty was occultism in early modern England, so I have a lot of background in the witch craze, etc. Just like in Dark Albion I used the Goetia as an inspiration for the “demonology” magic system.
[19:19] <+bat> Thank you for the answer, I will be delving further into my copies this evening as they just arrived today.
[19:19] <~Dan> Welcome to #rpgnet, When!
[19:19] <+RPGPundit> Dan: Right, the Frogmen are in what would today be France; or most of it. Some parts, like Lorraine and Burgundy remain independent.
[19:20] <~Dan> Howdy, open_sketch!
[19:20] <~Dan> RPGPundit: Gotcha.
[19:20] <+open_sketch> hi dan!
[19:20] <~Dan> RPGPundit: Did you base them on D&D bullywugs at all?
[19:21] <+RPGPundit> Dan: Regarding sects in Dark Albion: there’s a whole system for you to make your own chaos cult, and there’s the generic demon-worshiping chaos cult. But there’s also details on some of the most common cults in the world.
[19:21] <+Gareth_StarlitGames> So is it mostly European then? Anything from other places, like Asian, South American, etc?
[19:21] <~Dan> Forgive my ignorance, but are you saying that chaos worship is a real thing?
[19:22] <+RPGPundit> These are: the bacchae, the ‘blood god’ (a kind of exaggerated more chaotic version of thor), the cathari, Donatists, elf-cults, the cult of eros and venus, frog-cults, Gnostics, Gaia cults, the Green Man, the Hawk God (an old northern briton cult),
[19:23] <~Dan> FckEttin: Please change the nick. Thanks!
[19:23] <~Dan> Howdy, Silverlion!
[19:23] <+RPGPundit> Hecate, Mananan, Manichaeism, the cult of mercury/hermetics, nodens, the rat god, star cults, woden and the wolf god.
[19:23] <~Dan> Welcome to #rpgnet, VolV!
[19:23] <+RPGPundit> Whew!
[19:24] <+RPGPundit> skimble: record noted. I had forgotten this place has Wuss policies.
[19:24] <&Silverlion> (Allo Dan)
[19:24] <+RPGPundit> Bat: glad to hear you got my books. You should all buy my books!
[19:25] <+Gareth_StarlitGames> Haha. That’s quite a few! A few of them I’ll have to look up some more on later.
[19:25] <~Dan> So are you saying that Hecate was a chaos deity in real life, or are you re-interpreting her as a chaos deity for the purpose of this supplement?
[19:25] <~Dan> (Same goes for the others.)
[19:25] <~Dan> Welcome to #rpgnet, BarrySanders20!
[19:26] <~Dan> Welcome to #rpgnet, Guest62!
[19:26] <+RPGPundit> Dan: My inspiration for the Frogmen wasn’t really bullwugs, no. It was two things: first, of course, English perceptions of the French, especially at the time. “Frog” is a typical derogatory english term for the French. Also, the original name of Paris (Lutetia) means “town built on a swamp”.
[19:26] <~Dan> RPGPundit: Gotcha, re: bullywugs.
[19:26] <~Dan> Welcome to #rpgnet, Snowman0147!
[19:26] <+RPGPundit> Second, Frogs were seen as a signficant force of evil in the medieval world. They were a common ‘demon famliar’ of witches, for example. Medieval people were freaked out about frogs.
[19:27] <~Dan> Huh. I didn’t know that.
[19:27] <+RPGPundit> Also, if there was a D&D inspiration, it was more Arneson’s “Temple of the Frog” than the bullwugs.
[19:27] * ~Dan nods
[19:28] <+Chirine> 🙂
[19:28] <+Gareth_StarlitGames> If I’m remembering correctly, one of the plagues in the bible was frogs
[19:28] <+RPGPundit> Gareth: because Dark Albion, which Cults of Chaos is ostensibly a sourcebook of, is set in a magic-works version of 15th century England, the focus was on European cults. There’s no question that there’s a great sourcebook to be made someday about Indian cults and Chinese Secret Schools, to be sure!
[19:28] <~Dan> Gareth_StarlitGames: Indeed.
[19:29] <+Gareth_StarlitGames> Not questioning your decision! just trying to get a feel for the focus.
[19:29] <+RPGPundit> Dan: No, “chaos worship” was not a real thing. What I meant was that ‘demon worship’ was something that medieval people thought was a real thing. There probably were a tiny handful of mostly lone nutcases who even did it.
[19:29] <+RPGPundit> The “chaos” angle is specific to the cosmology of the Dark Albion world, not real history. In the medieval world it wouldn’t have been ”
[19:29] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[19:29] <+bat> RPGPundit I will get them all I am sure
[19:29] <+RPGPundit> “chaos”, it would have been “Satan”.
[19:29] * ~Dan nods
[19:30] <+Gareth_StarlitGames> However you “nod”, I do that too
[19:30] <~Dan> Gareth_StarlitGames: “/me nods”
[19:30] <~Dan> (No quotes.)
[19:30] <~Dan> Welcome to #rpgnet, Guest52!
[19:30] * +Gareth_StarlitGames nods
[19:30] <+Gareth_StarlitGames> thnx
[19:31] <+RPGPundit> Dan: Hecate in her form in Classical religion (the Greeks and Romans) was not really a ‘chaos god’. But by the medieval period, ‘Hecate’ was thought of as a goddess of witches. this was especially prevalent in southern europe. Renaissance poets and writers refer to hecate almost exclusively in reference to witchcraft and poisoning.
[19:31] <+SirGene> It is a source book, but it is also part of a real stand alone game?
[19:31] <+RPGPundit> Gareth: a rain of frogs, that’s right, Exodus 8:2
[19:33] <+RPGPundit> Gareth: the focus in Cults of Chaos is medieval europe; however, the mechanics for making your own cult (which are the most important part of the book) could be used with very slight tweaking for almost any type of pre-industrial society
[19:34] <+RPGPundit> SirGene: Cults of Chaos is a sourcebook for the Setting Dark Albion, but 90%+ of it can be used, stand alone, in any OSR game.
[19:34] <~Dan> Welcome to #rpgnet, KP!
[19:34] <+Snowman0147> So what is after Cults of Chaos for Dark Albion?
[19:34] <+CSBarnhart> Anyway, I think the first book is excellent, great use of public domain art. Very fun read. I will be ordering further books soon. It has inspired several ideas in my own setting, But more on that in the future. Good night everyone.
[19:34] <+RPGPundit> Dark Albion is a setting book, it does have a house-hack system in the appendix (RPGPundit’s Appendix P Rules), but you can also use Dark Albion with whatever OSR game is your favorite to run (and it can easily be used with other D&D editions or any other fantasy RPG)
[19:35] <~Dan> Bye, CSBarnhart! Come by any time!
[19:35] <+RPGPundit> Thanks, CSBarnhart!
[19:35] <~Dan> (wb, bat!)
[19:35] <+CSBarnhart> I plan to be back soon. Really wish I didn’t have to miss tomorrow.
[19:35] <+CSBarnhart> YW RPGPundit.
[19:35] <+bat> Thank you, so that command didn’t work…
[19:36] <+Skimble> Are there any plans to provide resources or system advice on converting Dark Albion to other systems, like Fate or Burning Wheel?
[19:36] <+RPGPundit> Snowman0147: That’s a good question. Just now, it looks like the next thing for Albion is likely to be written by someone other than me, and maybe published by someone other than DOM. I’m very open to other people writing for it, or collaborations with other people.
[19:37] <~Dan> Howdy, MonkofLords!
[19:37] <+RPGPundit> And there’s been at least a couple of well-known people in the OSR who have expressed a real interest in doing something for it.
[19:37] <~Dan> Welcome to #rpgnet, Guest32!
[19:37] <~Dan> Guest52, Guest32, you guys can set your names with the /nick command. 🙂
[19:38] <+RPGPundit> Skimble: I have no plans whatsoever to convert Dark Albion to anything other than what it can be used for now (which is most regular RPGs). I have no idea if it would work in a non-RPG like Burning Wheel. But with FATE, if you take the Storygame nonsense out, it would work.
[19:39] <+Gareth> If a self-publisher (like myself) wanted to use material from Dark Albion for their RPG, how could they do that? Do you have licensing policies?
[19:39] <~Dan> Welcome to #rpgnet, Guest40!
[19:40] <+RPGPundit> Gareth: if you want to use material for Dark Albion, most of Dark Albion is open, so you could. If you wanted to do something using the Dark Albion logo or if you wanted it to be official then you could just contact me. I’m quite open to that kind of thing.
[19:40] <~Dan> Howdy, danbuter!
[19:40] <+danbuter> hi!
[19:40] <~Dan> Welcome to #rpgnet, Uafasach!
[19:40] <+Gareth> Ok. Cool. I like how open most of the RPG community is to sharing things like that.
[19:41] <+RPGPundit> I wouldn’t charge a licensing fee. Dominique Crouzet may or may not wish to charge a fee if you used his layout, I’m not sure. I’d be happy to collaborate with you on a project, if I thought the idea was good.
[19:41] <+RPGPundit> Gareth: the OSR is especially good about that.
[19:42] <~Dan> RPGPundit: To what degree is “Chaos” equivalent to “Evil” in this context?
[19:42] <+danbuter> Yep. I self-published a supplement for BFRPG and basically just told them I was doing it. They were fine with it
[19:43] <+RPGPundit> Dan: Well, in terms of alignments, Chaos and Law are more subtle concepts than “Good” and “Evil”. The Rose War is being fought by a bunch of people who all worship the Unconquered Sun, the god of Law. Some of these people are lawful themselves, and some are neutral or chaotic.
[19:43] <+RPGPundit> Some of them are doing horrible things, but within their Lawful alignment. Some are trying to go what they perceive as good, within their chaotic alignment.
[19:43] <+danbuter> i recommend reading Elric if you are interested in teh divide between Law and Chaos
[19:43] <~Dan> Welcome to #rpgnet, Robertsconley!
[19:43] <+Robertsconley> hello
[19:44] <+Robertsconley> Thought I hop and harass the Pundit 😉
[19:44] <+RPGPundit> But there are also universal absolutes. And in the world of Dark Albion, Law is a universal absolute that is not as such ‘good’, but is fundamentally essential for the survival and prosperity of the human race. While “Chaos” is not really evil, but it seeks the ending and destruction of all things.
[19:44] <+bat> RPGPundit Have you thought of any non-rpg applications of Dark Albion? Like a graphic story or something similar?
[19:44] <+danbuter> Pundit, I’m guessing you’re read all of Moorcock’s stuff
[19:44] <+RPGPundit> Robert: we were just talking about how great it is that the the OSR shares and collaborates with each other. Rob Conley, for example, made the maps for Arrows of Indra, my other OSR game.
[19:45] <~Dan> Ah, cool! Glad to have you here, Robertsconley. 🙂
[19:45] <+RPGPundit> Arrows of Indra: (Link: http://www.bedrockgames.net/about.html)http://www.bedrockgames.net/about.html
[19:45] <+RPGPundit> Gareth: If you’re interested in non-european mythology and religious concepts, there’s your game! Arrows is totally based on Vedic India, and the mythology of the Mahabharata
[19:46] <+Robertsconley> Yup one reason why it got to the point where it is today. It not a utopia but pretty darn close
[19:46] <~Dan> It’s a very cool treatment of the subject, for the record.
[19:46] <+RPGPundit> Danbuter: Yes, I’m a big fan of Moorcock. One of my formative authors as a kid.
[19:47] <+RPGPundit> bat: the problem is, two people already beat me to the punch and made some totally AWESOME Dark Albion fanfiction!
[19:47] <+danbuter> ooo, i haven’t seen that.
[19:47] <+RPGPundit> bat: One of them is this guy calling himself GRRM, who ported Dark Albion to a totally fantasy world but kept all the tropes. he called it “game of ice and fire” or something like that
[19:47] <+Gareth> Cool! My own game (Pythòs) actually takes things from ancient mythologies from around the world, so I’m always looking to see what other people are doing with it.
[19:47] <+bat> I will have to add your link to my blogroll too for my little osr blog, I am not sure I have updated the links since 2010 although I still write the blog itself.
[19:47] <+danbuter> lol
[19:47] <+RPGPundit> The other is this guy named Will Shakespeare, who’s some old-school hipster that wrote a whole bunch of plays based on my setting.
[19:48] <+Gareth> lol
[19:48] <+bat> eeeek, Mangus!
[19:48] <+Robertsconley> So which is better to get a sense of Dark Albion? The White Queen series or the Hollow Crown?
[19:48] <~Dan> Welcome to #rpgnet, Mangus!
[19:48] <+Mangus> 🙂
[19:48] <+danbuter> i’d like to see someone do a Hundred Years War OSR game.
[19:48] <+Chirine> Pundit, try Poul Anderson’s “Midsummer Tempest”.
[19:48] <+RPGPundit> RobertConley: By the Hollow Crown do you mean the BBC adaptations of Shakespeares’ War of the Roses plays?
[19:49] <+Robertsconley> Yes they have both sets of plays out now
[19:49] <+RPGPundit> RobertConley: In that case, I’d probably go with the latter. There was also a great set of BBC plays done in the 70s of this.
[19:49] <+Robertsconley> Richard II to Henry V in the Hollow Crown
[19:49] <+RPGPundit> But White Queen is also pretty good; though it plays a bit fast and loose with history.
[19:49] <+Robertsconley> Henry VI Part 1,2, & 3 and Richard III in the Hollow Crown War fo the Roses
[19:50] <~Dan> Howdy, egyptian!
[19:50] <+RPGPundit> danbuter: well, Dark Albion is the sequel to the Hundred Years War. It would probably be a good basis for expanding that. I am a much bigger fan of the War of the Roses myself, hence picking that period. The 100 years war makes great backstory for the setting, though!
[19:50] <+danbuter> Pundit, any plans on your next publication?
[19:51] <&egyptian> Danwise!
[19:51] <~Dan> RPGPundit: How difficult was it to transition from God vs. Satan to Law vs. Chaos in the setting, and what impact did the change have?
[19:51] <+RPGPundit> RobertConley: Yeah, Hollow Crown was spectacular, but it came out when my work on Albion was already well underway. Shakespeare’s plays were a big inspiration for my setting, though.
[19:53] <+RPGPundit> Danbuter: It’s almost certain that my next project is going to be a total opposite of Albion; it’s going to be an utterly insane ultra-gonzo setting with tons of high-tech and magic and post-apocalypse tropes and humor, based on my long-running and hilarious DCC campaign.
[19:53] <+RPGPundit> It may or may not be done for Goodman games. People there have expressed interest, but we haven’t actually sat down and talked about it, because I probably won’t even start working on it for a few months yet.
[19:53] <+Gareth> Sweet! Got a timeline on that?
[19:53] <+danbuter> That sounds fun! I liked your write-ups on it
[19:54] <~Dan> That does sound fun. 🙂
[19:54] <+Guest34> Would it be for DCC or more generic like Dark Albion?
[19:54] <+RPGPundit> Here’s the long-running log-thread (only update to a year before the present day) for my DCC campaign: (Link: http://www.therpgsite.com/showthread.php?29376-DCC-Campaign-Log)http://www.therpgsite.com/showthread.php?29376-DCC-Campaign-Log
[19:54] <~Dan> (Guest34: You can set your name with the /nick command.)
[19:55] <+RPGPundit> and here’s my latest campaign update, a year later (as you can see, it keeps getting crazier and crazier): (Link: http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com/2016/08/dcc-campaign-update-its-human-peoples.html)http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com/2016/08/dcc-campaign-update-its-human-peoples.html
[19:55] <+Snowman0147> Having read those campaign posts I say the banter of the players were the best bits. So a major fan of such a book.
[19:56] <~Dan> (Thanks, ChrisD!)
[19:56] <+RPGPundit> Dan: the transition between god v Satan and Law v Chaos was not very hard at all. Because to the medieval/early-modern christians, the world of God was a world of order. The main reason for the shift was because I didn’t want to do a “blue rose” scenario where certain people were ‘inherently good’.
[19:56] <+Chirine> Power went out – storm – and I’m back up. Thank you, Pundit!
[19:56] <+RPGPundit> Nor did I want to do something post-modern where religion is all a lie and everyone’s a total bastard. I wanted my NPCs to be complex. To explain how you could have a king who murders his pre-teen nephews but still believes himself to be on the side of God.
[19:57] * +Gareth nods
[19:57] <~Dan> I see…
[19:57] <+RPGPundit> Snowman: my DCC players are maniacs. I’ve never seen a group that gels so well with a setting and who are having so much fun with a game.
[19:57] <~Dan> (wb, Uafasach)
[19:58] <+Snowman0147> I know. They really sold the setting to me.
[19:58] <+RPGPundit> It also means, in terms of Chaos Cults, that you can have Chaos Cults that are the “unbridled EEEEVIL” type who really believe they are evil and doing wicked things for power, and also cults that believe they are doing some kind of ‘good’, self-liberation, true-religion or other stuff like that.
[19:58] <+danbuter> was there anything you thought of after publishing Albion that you wish you could go back and add in?
[19:59] <+RPGPundit> Dan: Well, there are a couple of things. One was to have more information on chaos and religion, which I did in Cults of Chaos.
[20:00] <~Dan> Given that Chaos represents ultimate destruction in this context, do you see “good” Chaos cultists as deluded?
[20:00] <+RPGPundit> Another would have been if I could dedicate more times to certain regions, but the Dark Albion main book is already 275 pages, so there wasn’t space. I had to put more info on certain places and a lot less on others.
[20:00] <~Dan> (Howdy, GenoFoxx, Fitz!)
[20:00] <+RPGPundit> I also might have wanted to expand the Appendix P rules, but I will probably end up doing that in some other book sooner or later.
[20:00] <+Gareth> Are you of the mind that everyone believes they are doing “good” or “the right thing” or do you think there is such a thing as being intentionally “evil”?
[20:01] <+RPGPundit> “Good” Chaos-cultists are always ultimately deluded, yes. It’s why they have to be wiped out, even if they appear to be doing good. That creates great tension in any kind of actual play.
[20:01] <+RPGPundit> Heresy isn’t just wrong, it’s DANGEROUS because it can destroy humanity.
[20:02] <~Dan> So in Dark Albion, not suffering a witch to live is a matter of self-perservation?
[20:02] <+RPGPundit> Gareth: I certainly think that there are people who are being intentionally evil, as well as some people who just don’t care either way, and are dangerously self-serving. The latter are more common than the former.
[20:02] <+RPGPundit> Dan: yes. There’s a great example of this in the problem of “Mutations”, in Cults of Chaos.
[20:02] <+ChrisD> Is there a middle ground? People who believe that chaos opens the doorway to new forms or order to replace the current (rotten?) system? Kind of like a druid or Marxist.
[20:02] <+Skimble> How do you square having such an absolute stance on that in your game considering you view the provider of absolute judgment regarding light vs dark in Blue Rose with such scorn?
[20:03] <+RPGPundit> Chaos Cultists can become mutated through exposure to chaos magic or other chaos substances over time. Now, they probably deserve it. But people who don’t worship chaos can ALSO get mutations. Some of these mutations do no real harm, but what they represent, the potential for corruption, means the Clerics are tasked with killing anyone who has one.
[20:03] <~Dan> Howdy, Lin_Chong!
[20:04] <+RPGPundit> ChrisD: In the Dark Albion setting there are definitely people who believe that, who think that chaos can be used to bring a better world. There’s some ways to use the power of chaos without falling to chaos, also. All magic-users (Magisters) use the power of chaos, but most of them serve the Unconquered Sun, and bind demons in his name and for good purposes
[20:06] <+RPGPundit> Skimble: the difference is that there isn’t a moral judgment involved. In Blue Rose, people who believe in individuality are inherently evil. In Albion, you have Lawful people who believe in individuality, and others who are conformist assholes. You have chaos-aligned people who want freedom for everyone, and others who want to rule everyone.
[20:06] <+RPGPundit> The moral world of Blue Rose is utterly and totally simplistic. The moral world of Dark Albion is complex.
[20:06] <+GenoFoxx> (hiya Dan, everyone)
[20:06] <~Dan> You mentioned that Magisters use the power of chaos. Do clerics use the power of law?
[20:07] <+RPGPundit> ChrisD: there’s also ‘neutral’ alignment in Dark Albion. Most people in the world are Neutral. And there are some Neutral philosophies that believe too much of either extreme is a bad thing.
[20:08] <+RPGPundit> Dan: Yes. Clerical miracles come from the god of Law; in the ‘europe’ part of the world, that’s the Unconquered Sun. In the lands of the Turk, that’s the God of the Crescent Moon, and there’s hints that the god of law has other facets.
[20:08] <+RPGPundit> Mind you, the vast majority of people don’t realize this, so the followers of Unconquered Sun and the Turks each believe the other to be following false gods. Only high-level Clerics and high-level Sufis realize the truth.
[20:09] <+Robertsconley> Skimble – you can have absolute evil in the setting but still have moral complexity
[20:09] <~Dan> That’s good. I have a problem with Chaosium’s interpretation of all supernatural powers as being Chaotic. If Law can’t “push back” in some fashion, it’s inherently weaker.
[20:09] <+Gareth> Yes. I like balance of alignments as well.
[20:10] <~Dan> In the Stormbringer RPG, I mean.
[20:10] <~Dan> Science as the power of Law doesn’t cut it, because magic can pull the rug out from under science.
[20:10] <+Robertsconley> @Dan that is not necessarily true that Law has to have supernatural powers or it is weak.
[20:10] <+RPGPundit> Dan: one of the main differences between Dark Albion and settings like Cthulhu or WFRP is that in Dark Albion, Law is MORE powerful than Chaos (reflecting, again, authentic medieval viewpoints). Chaos is very dangerous in the short term, it can bring down entire empires, like it did to the Frankland kings, but in the long term Law is destined to win.
[20:10] <+RPGPundit> It is only the weakness in men that allows Chaos to thrive in times of anarchy or misrule, like an infection.
[20:11] <+Snowman0147> Is there neutral gods in Dark Albion?
[20:11] <~Dan> Hmm… I take it that you don’t conflate ultimate Law with stagnation, as Moorcock does?
[20:11] <+RPGPundit> In Dark Albion there are no non-lawful clerics, for example. All clerical magic is the unique power of Law.
[20:12] <+RPGPundit> Snowman: There are hints that there might be, I kind of leave it up to the GM. In my own campaign, however, there are no “neutral gods”. There are lots of neutral spirits: elementals, nature spirits, some of them very powerful, and I’ve hinted that neutral magicians or mystics can achieve some kind of semi-apotheosis, becoming something like Taoist Immortals.
[20:12] <+RPGPundit> But this is super rare.
[20:13] <+RPGPundit> The ancient Heathens, before the coming of the Unconquered Sun, mostly worshiped these neutral spirits as gods. In some places, like Scots Land, they still do.
[20:13] <+RPGPundit> Dan: no, I don’t conflate Law with stagnation.
[20:14] * ~Dan nods
[20:14] <+RPGPundit> If anything, stagnation can breed chaos.
[20:15] <~Dan> Does it follow, then, that Neutrality is at least somewhat dangerous, insofar as it accepts some Chaos?
[20:16] <+RPGPundit> Dan: there are people who may think they are serving neutral spirits who are actually serving Chaos demons. Or who believe they are following a neutral philosophy (like the Manicheans), but are actually being corrupted.
[20:17] <+RPGPundit> But the same thing happens with Law too; the majority of the Cathari believe they are being extra-pure and that the rest of the world is hopelessly corrupted, when in fact they are being fooled through this extremism to serve Chaos.
[20:17] <~Dan> Is there one ultimate source of Chaos in the setting, and if so, is it self-aware?
[20:17] <+ChrisD> Sounds like this could lead to some pretty brutal inquisitions, with both sides thinking they were servants of “Law”
[20:17] <~Dan> Or is Chaos more of a primal force?
[20:18] <+RPGPundit> The Scots Men, who have a neutral religion (inasmuch as they bother with religion at all), utterly despise Chaos. I didn’t cover very much about Eire Land (one of the great gaps in the Dark Albion setting), but implied that the Eirish likewise. They’re very connected to the magical world and magic but despise chaos and fight it.
[20:18] <~Dan> Interesting.
[20:18] <+RPGPundit> Dan: since chaos is ‘dispersion’, there isn’t a single ultimate source of chaos. Chaos is legion.There are mighty demon-kings, but there is no single ultimate chaos deity.
[20:18] <+RPGPundit> It is more like a primal force.
[20:19] <+RPGPundit> ChrisD: it can certainly lead to religious wars and the like, that’s pretty much what happened with the Cathari.
[20:19] <~Dan> Conversely, is the Unconqured Sun the ultimate source of Law, or is Law also a primal force?
[20:19] <+Robertsconley> Wouldn’t be accurate to say that Chaos is the absence of Law not a force in of itself.
[20:20] <+Robertsconley> That demons are just selling a you some land in Florida in making the mortals think there is something more to it.
[20:20] <+RPGPundit> Dan: The Unconquered Sun is believed by people in Albion to be the one and only and ultimate god of Law. However, high-level clerics come to discover that it is really only a manifestation of a more abstract and absolute God of Law, who is more like a force than a personality.
[20:21] <~Dan> That makes sense.
[20:21] <+RPGPundit> Robertsconley: well, in Dark Albion chaos is more like a ‘negative force’, Dispersion or Entropy.
[20:22] <+RPGPundit> currently smoking: masonic meerschaum + Image virginia
[20:23] <+Robertsconley> So the Manicheaist are right then?
[20:23] <~Dan> RPGPundit: Can you give us an overview of the book’s contents?
[20:25] <+RPGPundit> robertsconley: In the context of the setting, as I explain in Cults of Chaos, the Manicheans had some insights in terms of their philosophy, in some ways more accurate than the regular Unconquered Sun religion. But they went wrong through their asceticism.
[20:25] <+RPGPundit> Later Manichean cults got further corrupted by Chaos, into believing that it was a sign of “detachment” from Law or Chaos to commit terrible acts.
[20:26] <+RPGPundit> Dan: Ok, so the book starts out with a brief intro, talking about how to run an “Inquisitors Campaign”, where the PCs are servants of the church, the clerical order, or a local lord (or the crown), tasked with finding and wiping out manifestations of chaos, witchcraft, heresy, or monsters.
[20:27] <+RPGPundit> Next, I get right into the Chaos Creation rules. Here you have a ton of tables and mechanics to design a chaos cult from scratch. the chaos cults are built based on social class, so a peasant cult will look very different from a priestly cult or a noble cult or a city-cult.
[20:27] <+Robertsconley> @RPGPundit I see your point.
[20:28] <+RPGPundit> Once you have the basic (size, numbers, leadership, etc.) you can also determine their resources, complications the cult is facing, etc.
[20:28] <+RPGPundit> Then you can flesh it out further with things like motivations, with individual cult members, etc.
[20:29] <+RPGPundit> Then there’s a chapter on Mutations which deals with tables for all kinds of chaos mutations; these are similar to but different than the WFRP chaos mutations; Albion’s are more closely tied to medieval beliefs and accounts of witchcraft, curses, etc.
[20:30] <+RPGPundit> Along the way, you also get some great info and tables on Alchemical Elixirs, Planetary Spirits, Familiars, and other stuff like that.
[20:30] <~Dan> Ah, so no tentacle arms and the like?
[20:30] <+Snowman0147> Can you give us examples?
[20:30] <+RPGPundit> Then there’s material on how to run a chaos cult adventure, which includes a few great dungeons co-written with Dominique Crouzet (he did the great maps for them).
[20:30] <+RPGPundit> Examples of mutations?
[20:30] <+RPGPundit> Sure.
[20:31] <~Dan> Howdy, Ettin!
[20:32] <+RPGPundit> some basic mutations: animal repulsion, forked tongue, enlarged nose, horns (small or large), obesity, tumors, gradual wasting, terrible stench
[20:33] <+RPGPundit> medium mutations: canine teeth, uncontrolled nail growth, hermaphrodism, hideous regeneration (regeneration, but it gradually turns you into a monster), shrinking, satyr legs, petrified hand, etc.
[20:34] <+RPGPundit> severe mutations: extra arms, extra mouth, extra eyes, turning into a fish man or a green man, growing a claw, wings, medusa hairs
[20:34] <~Dan> Ah, so they are potentially dramatic…
[20:34] <+RPGPundit> There’s also the risk of a witch-mark, or being haunted by a spirit, or obtaining a familiar.
[20:35] <~Dan> A question from Spinachcat from The RPG Site forums: “Dan, ask Pundy to compare / contrast Dark Albion’s Cults of Chaos versus Lovecraft’s Mythos and Warhammer’s Mythos. I would be interested to read his thoughts.”
[20:35] <+RPGPundit> After the dungeons, we get a whole section on Elves, which cover the mysterious and terrible Dark Albion setting elves, which are a lot like the Unseelie of faerie myths.
[20:36] <~Dan> (I realize that you’ve touched on the subject here and there during the chat.)
[20:36] <~Dan> Great. I love creepy elves. 😀
[20:36] <+RPGPundit> then there’s a section where the major chaos religions and heresies are detailed
[20:37] <+RPGPundit> This section also details some of the power of the hermetic chaos wizards, and some magic items; and the section on ‘star gods’ has stuff on alien objects and psychic powers
[20:38] <+RPGPundit> Then Crouzet added a very good appendix on weird magical effects from Chaos.
[20:38] <+RPGPundit> The book ends with a worksheet for making chaos cults, and a character sheet for the Appendix P system.
[20:39] <+RPGPundit> Dan: answering spinachat’s question: the main difference is that in Albion’s Cult of Chaos, it is based on medieval perceptions about witchcraft, magic, demons, the occult, heresy, etc.
[20:39] <~Dan> Welcome, Guest25!
[20:39] <+RPGPundit> Warhammer is not medieval authentic, and lovecraft is more 19th century rationalist-terror than anything else.
[20:40] <+RPGPundit> In the metaphysical sense, Cults of Chaos posits a world where the danger isn’t that chaos is ‘destined to win’, but that man’s weakness leads chaos to fester and grow. The danger is about personal failings leading to corruption and anarchy.
[20:41] <+RPGPundit> That’s why I wanted the emphasis to be on CULTS, not ‘chaos demons’, ‘gods’, or supernatural creatures. I wanted it to be about the people, the cultists.
[20:41] * ~Dan nods
[20:42] <~Dan> Speaking of monsters, are all monsters the province of Chaos in the setting?
[20:43] <+RPGPundit> Yes. In Albion, all PCs are human. intelligent non-humans are all chaotic. supernatural creatures are mostly of chaos. There’s a few exceptions, including a big spoiler that appears in Dark Albion’s chronology.
[20:44] <+bat> RPGPundit is there a link for the cult worksheet and Appendix P character sheet in pdf format?
[20:44] <+RPGPundit> If you mean outside of the Cults of Chaos PDF? Not at the moment. (Link: http://www.rpgnow.com/product/187942/Dark-Albion-Cults-of-Chaos)http://www.rpgnow.com/product/187942/Dark-Albion-Cults-of-Chaos
[20:45] <+RPGPundit> The Character sheet will be available, eventually, as a free download on DOM’s website.
[20:45] <+RPGPundit> I’m not sure if the cult worksheet will.
[20:45] <+bat> Gotcha. I have the print versions, but not pdf.
[20:46] <+RPGPundit> I’ll try to get on Dominique to make the character sheet available sooner!
[20:47] <+ChrisD> The Elf section in cults of chaos was very nicely done. I especially liked the death cult elves having their own special colored armor.
[20:47] <+RPGPundit> ChrisD: thank you!
[20:48] <+RPGPundit> I quite like the Albion elves. They are a mix between the dark elves of medieval/elizabethan mythology, aliens, and melniboneans.
[20:48] <+bat> That would be handy, thank you!
[20:48] <+RPGPundit> The first time my players went up against them, which was quite late in the campaign, they were thinking it’d be like fighting drow or something; MAN, were they in for a shock.
[20:48] <~Dan> Can you say a bit more about the alien objects and psychic powers you mentioned?
[20:49] <+RPGPundit> Dan: the “Star cults” is one place where I kind of let myself slip a bit into the gonzo territory I so love. The premise is of how cults of magicians/astrologers can come into contact with beings that will give them powers and artifacts in exchange for service.
[20:50] <+RPGPundit> The service in question usually involves kidnapping people or stealing their brains for the ‘star beings’ who use them for unknown purposes.
[20:50] <~Dan> Howdy, Optimus-Jeff!
[20:51] <+RPGPundit> The star beings have no interest in being worshiped. But people who work with them can be given knowledge, artifacts, or even strange powers that are not magic but work through the mind.
[20:52] <~Dan> Nice touch. 🙂
[20:52] <+RPGPundit> So the items are very clearly high-tech alien artifacts, but seem fantastical to the 15th century mind. An artificial face that can change your appearance, a black sphere that can let out a shockwave that leaves people around you unconscious, a wand that fires light that burns, a cloak that makes you almost invisible, and needles…
[20:52] <+RPGPundit> ..that you can inject that augment your body or your mind.
[20:52] <+RPGPundit> Many of these, not being really made for humans, can have unfortunate side effects.
[20:53] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[20:53] <~Dan> So in the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[20:53] <~Dan> (And, as always, you’re more than welcome to hang out with us as long as you’d like, of course.)
[20:53] <+RPGPundit> Psychic powers can be granted by the star-beings too. There’s also a (slim) chance (based on your INT, WIS and CHA) of spontaneously developing a psychic power just from being exposed to the aliens or their psionic abilities.
[20:54] <+RPGPundit> I only detail 8 psychic powers, including a mental attack, alter emotion, mind control, blinking, etc.
[20:55] <+RPGPundit> Well, not sure if there’s anything else to cover but I’ll be happy to keep answering questions if more people have them. I’ll of course urge you to pick up Dark Albion and Cults of Chaos if you find these interesting, and remind people again that they work with any OSR game!
[20:55] <+RPGPundit> And that you can get Cults of Chaos and use it, without getting Dark Albion (though why wouldn’t you get Dark Albion? It’s awesome!)
[20:56] <~Dan> Oh, and if any of my readers are feeling generous, my virtual tip jar is here: (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ 🙂
[20:56] <+RPGPundit> I’ll also say, and I hope it’s not too political, that it’s important that gamers who oppose censorship stand up to efforts to use ‘offensive material’ policies to censor games.
[20:56] <~Dan> Welcome, Guest02!
[20:57] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, RPGPundit!
[20:57] <~Dan> And thanks to all the folks who showed up for the chat as well! I hope you all like the place and will stick around. 🙂
[20:57] <+bat> Thank you for the answers, Pundit
[20:57] <+RPGPundit> Oh yes, in case anyone doesn’t know, this is my blog: (Link: http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com/)http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com/
[20:58] <~Dan> Give me just a moment, and I’ll get the log posted and link you, RPGPundit.
[20:58] <+RPGPundit> And here’s theRPGsite, the largest free-speech non-commercial RPG discussion forum around. Everyone is welcome! (Link: http://www.therpgsite.com/)http://www.therpgsite.com/
[20:58] <+Snowman0147> Thank you Dan and Pundit.
[20:58] <+RPGPundit> We welcome discussion of all kinds of RPGs, though we obviously have a large crowd of OSR folks, and some great conversations.