Friday, December 27, 2013

Video review of Accursed

Abe Zet of "Talking About Games" has posted a video review of Accursed. He gives a great overview of the setting, the mechanics, and briefly discusses some of the different opportunities for adventure.

Here's the link: Talking About Games: Accursed Review on Youtube

Monday, December 23, 2013

Alternative Suits Poker Deck is Available

The alternative suits poker deck is now available. There are a gallery of images visible on the DriveThru page, and at higher resolution on the AccursedRPG facebook page.

We offer both a PDF version suited for use with Avery Business Cards as well as a print on demand version. The PDF is $4.99, the print + PDF is $9.99 (plus shipping).

Friday, December 20, 2013

Monstrous Heroes Fight for Redemption...

Witches have ruled the land since the last battles of conquest, but their Grand Coven has been sundered, leaving behind remnants of a once-mighty army. The survivors of the horde include captured citizens of the conquered nations that fought as the Witches’ shock troops.

These are the Accursed—the Witchmarks burned into their flesh and souls transformed these men and women into monsters. Now, unable to return to their former lives, the Accursed wander the land, giving aid to those in need in an attempt to atone for past sins.

Light has failed, darkness is ascendant. Only those bearing the forms of monsters can stand against the tide of the Witches’ evil. The Accursed are this world’s only hope—they must learn to embrace their curse or to fight against it, and find some way to free themselves forever of their Witchmark.

The PDFs of the Accursed Setting and the Player's Guide (an abridged version) are both now available for purchase at DriveThruRPG. Here's a direct link:

Accursed at DriveThru $20.00

Accursed Player's Guide at DriveThru $10.00

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The First Transport Is Away!

I'm currently looking at a deck of cards with the Accursed logo on the back and artwork from the game book on the faces. It's pretty gratifying to see that the project has led to the creation of a physical product. Obviously there are many more to come, and this is just a first step. But it's a step we're very excited to have taken.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Accursed Short Fiction Available

We're currently working on the final stages of completing the Accursed core book. We're just waiting on a few last pieces so that we can assemble everything into the game book that we hope will exceed everyone's expectations. Until that's complete, here's something that might pique your interest.

The introductory fiction from Andy Chambers (Kickstarter Stretch Goal #2) had been received and recently approved. We took a little bit of time today to convert that into an ebook format. We've now got it in both .epub and .mobi (Kindle) formats.

Then we went ahead and uploaded it to DriveThruRPG. Because the introductory fiction is part of the setting book, its development costs were already covered. With that in mind, we've listed the book as Pay What You Want, with a default price of $0.00. So, just click the link below to get to the book. Then add it to your cart, entering whatever value you think is fair (if you're seriously considering buying the game book, we don't expect compensation for this). You can then complete check out and download the two different versions of the file.

Link to the Fiction

If you don't have an ereader (or an ereader app for your smartphone), there are a number of different browser plug-ins that can open up the file. (I use epubreader.) A quick google search on "epub reader" should provide you with some options. If you've got a great one to recommend, please mention it in the comments.

We hope you enjoy the short story!

Monday, October 14, 2013

One More Thank You!

Yesterday afternoon, the Accursed Kickstarter concluded. The campaign was far more successful than we'd dared to hope it could be. Thank you so much for your enthusiastic support. It was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster at times, and there were certainly moments where we had to scramble to make some hard decisions. In the end, it's very clear to us that our hard work was certainly well spent. We've achieved the funding we sought to make what we believe should be a fantastic book. We're thrilled to know that so many of our readers believe in our vision and in our ability to complete it.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Final Stretch: The Art Inspirations of Accursed

The Accursed Kickstarter ends in just hours after this posting! To keep the great content coming for the Accursed blog, we need to get some more likes for our facebook page--we'd love to get to 500 by the end of the Kickstarter, but we can only do that with your help.

Today, we're going to look at some of the inspirations for Accursed's unique artwork.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

On a Line

We're into the last few days of the Accursed Kickstarter. If you're enjoying our series of adventure hooks, the only way to keep them going is to help us garner more likes for the AccursedRPG page on facebook. We still need more than 100 before 1 PM EDT on Sunday. Can you help us get there?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Casting More Hooks

Since Friday's blog post, we've already picked up quite a few "likes" on facebook, but time is limited. There's less than a week left until the Kickstarter closes. If we're going to commit to a full year's worth of adventure hooks on the Accursed blog, we need to gather quite a few more likes. Please give us a like and spread the word about the challenge.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Finding the Hook

Every veteran Game Master has seen it before. You find a new RPG setting, which looks brilliant, and you decide that this is the new one that you absolutely have to run for your group. You devour the materials and then work hard to convince your players that they need to participate in this one. Character generation goes great, everyone comes up with fantastic ideas for new characters that explore completely different parts of the setting. As the Gamemaster, you're pumped up about finding places for these characters to go and worlds for them to explore.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Creating Banes – Inventing New Horrors

When we began working to create the Accursed setting, the creative team quickly came to the decision that we needed to have a lot of horrific elements. Part of that was because we knew that the Witches were going to be extraordinarily powerful beings that wouldn't be a good fit for routine opponents. Another justification was simply due to the fact that we needed things that would give a prototypical monster pause. After all, a Dhampir, a Mummy, or a Revenant is unlikely to find even a force of mundane humans threatening. Our solution was to expand the scope of what the Witches had done.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Soldier - Queen of Battle

She stood there on the low revetment, shading her eyes with the flat of her hand and scanning the shallow valley spread out below her. There, in the dry and stony river bed at the bottom of the valley, a mixed force of heavy Gradniki musketeers and horse artillery fought a large remnant of the Witch armies. She squinted in a vain effort to make out the course of the fight, but twilight was coming, and the battlefield was obscured by dust and smoke. All she could make out was the flash and boom of the artillery, the peevish crackling of musketry, and the screams of the dying. Musket balls filled the air around her with a sound like angry hornets. A six-pound cannon ball shrieked out of the murk and smashed into the wall next to her feet, showering her with soil and stone fragments. Its energy spent, the ball rolled into the trench behind her, stopping at the feet of the frightened young conscript serving as her aide de camp.

Friday, September 27, 2013

White Witches - Daring Dabblers

Only a few can master the mysterious powers of witchcraft. Those with the inner gift and discipline to control these unnatural powers are called white witches. Just being able to use witchcraft is not enough for one to be a white witch—this title is only bestowed upon men and women who use these powers for the benefit of others, and above all, who fight against the dark influence of the cruel Witches who rule Morden. Others who have mastered witchcraft at the cost of their allegiance to the Witches are instead known as warlocks. Both types of witches and witchcraft in general was mostly unknown in Morden until the Bane War brought the knowledge of these abilities into the forefront.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Investigators - A Light in the Darkness

The sharp, flat end of the pry bar bit deeply into the seam between the two slabs, sending chips of red-flecked stone flying in all directions. With a grunt, Malakai heaved on the pry bar, the muscles in his shoulders and arms straining against his coat. With all of his considerable might, the big golem pulled, gritting his teeth and willing the massive slab to move. As they watched, Dmitri and Karan saw the pry bar, a stout piece of iron some two inches thick, bow under the incredible strain, and they both took a step back. After a seemingly endless moment in which Malakai, the slab, and the pry bar were all balanced at their breaking points, there was a loud crack like a musket shot and the slab inched forward.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Enochian – Spreading the Virtues

We have previously discussed the Enochian faith and its presence throughout Morden. However, we have done little to discuss those who work to spread and maintain the faith. While there are many churches—from roadside chapels to massive cathedrals—not every small town or farming village has an anointed member of the faithful. Even those locations that do have one welcome the alternative perspectives on the virtues that a visiting minister can bring to a sermon.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Reddit AMA Happening Now!

We're running an Ask Me Anything on Reddit for Accursed today starting at 1 PM CST. Feel free to drop by and ask any questions you want about Accursed to Ross Watson, the lead developer!


Alchemists - Transformative Agents

Alchemists possess an unusual flair for combining and mixing ingredients to form a host of different substances, ranging from potions and salves to chemical concoctions and even metals. The alchemist’s skill and the bizarre nature of his ingredients infuses these mixtures with unique properties that often rival the magical effects of witchcraft. However, unlike witchcraft, alchemy does not require a unique inner ability nor does it endanger the alchemist’s soul. In return, alchemy is also less flexible than witchcraft—it cannot be used on the fly, and requires preparation against the expectation of a future need.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

On Witch Hunters - The Malleus Maleficarum

Yuriy lay concealed on the rugged hillside in the fall of man-sized boulders in which he'd made his home these past few days. His heavy woolen cloak, smudged with stone dust and ocher to help him blend into the land, was wrapped tight about him to ward off the morning chill. In his hands he held a long, finely crafted Model IV rifle, the pride of Manreia, its forend steadied on the stones before him. Through the powerful scope mounted along the top of the rifle, he surveyed the fog shrouded Bruchstadt valley that stretched out before him. Three days he'd waited on this hill to get a glimpse at the Beast of Bruchstadt. Three days in this chill, damp autumn weather with no fire and little to eat. It was worth it, though. He would find the creature and he would kill it, and there would be one less evil in the world. For that opportunity, he would wait on this hillside for a thousand years if needs be.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Knave - a Scoundrel with Style

The Kickstarter is now live, so for the next batch of posts we wanted to try to take our postings in a slightly different direction. The blog has already presented a healthy amount of information about the game world from a historical perspective. We decided that now would be a great time to present information about the viewpoint of the characters. After all, for a game group considering Accursed, persuading the players is just as important as exciting a Game Master about the material. With that in mind, we wanted to delve into the roles that we envision most commonly fitting into an Accursed campaign. We recognize, and most gamers should too, that not every hero in the setting is going to fit into one of these roles. Some might fulfill two or more, others might represent a completely different approach. However, these represent the archetypes.

In some cases, a carefully chosen word and a well-timed smile can represent an extremely effective weapon. Not every conflict is overcome with a blade or a rifle. Instead, simply talking out the situation can persuade an opponent to adopt a more amicable solution. Of course, sometimes, this doesn't always work, which is why a veteran knave is certain to have fallback skills—including those associated with running very fast.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Launching Accursed

Today’s a huge day for me and a huge day for Accursed. Today is Friday the 13th, the date most often associated with being cursed. So, of course, it was the perfect date to launch a Kickstarter about a setting named Accursed—because if you’re going to say your game is cursed, you might as well go all the way!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

From Palmyria to Port Sorrow 'tis Thirty-Five Leagues - Port Sorrow

All that winter we starved. We starved along with our neighbors and our livestock. What little food we had was stolen from us by the heartless animals working for Baba Yaga. My mother died that winter, of sorrow or shame, along with my two youngest sisters. My brother had died fighting in the Tsar's army the year before, and in the end it was too much for my father. He went mad with grief and fled screaming into the howling winter. Alone and desperate, I packed what little I could carry and left my home. I had heard that far to the south, somewhere in the sea, was an island paradise where people fleeing the war were gathered. With nothing left to lose, I headed south to see if the stories were true.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Accursed Savages

With few exceptions, the posts to this blog have focused entirely upon the world setting for Accursed. Ross, Jason, and I have been thrilled to watch the setting develop, and we're very excited to share it with anyone willing to listen or read the details. Today, we wanted to take a moment to step back and discuss the things from a different perspective. Instead of talking about the setting, we wanted to make sure we remembered to talk about the game.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Morrigan - Keeper of Undead

In appearance, the Morrigan’s form is quite memorable—her hair is a dark, earthy brown in color, her eyes a gleaming ice-blue. Her complexion is flawless, and her willowy form is considered quite beautiful, if somewhat ethereal. Her attitude did not change much between her guise as “Lady Macha” and assuming her mantle as the Morrigan. She is quick to anger, slow to forgive, and coldly intelligent. She is the complete mistress of all cauldron-born, and even the most willful of undead bow their heads to her commands. Only the Revenants have broken free from her dominance, and as a whole, they have sworn to oppose her with every ember of their being.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Devil Doll - The Manikins

The doll was perfect. Roughly a foot tall, it was the image of a young man with yellow curls and deep blue eyes. He wore a fine suit of clothes in the style of another time, a time before the Witches and the endless war and suffering they brought to Morden. He was a prince of Valkenholm or Steppengrad in miniature; perfect in every detail from the mirror polish on his boots to the small rapier the size of a hatpin he wore on his belt. Esteban was immediately taken with the little prince, sitting there among other, lesser treasures in a trinket shop. The old man picked up the doll and weighed it thoughtfully in his hand. The detail in its face and clothing was so fine that it almost seemed alive. He purchased the doll, for a pittance he thought, as a gift for his granddaughter and took it home with him.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Capricious and Treacherous - The Fey

In the ages before the Bane War, mortals and fey only had limited interactions. Most of humanity—even those who were devoted to the Enochian Faith—recognized that there were creatures that dwelt at the fringes of human perception. Some called them nature spirits, others called them little people, and a few recognized them as beings of power. Regardless of their name, all who knew of them knew that they were capricious and volatile. Some among the fey could be generous—legends of rescuing orphaned children, recovering lost goods, or protecting innocents from predators abounded. Others, however, were less kind, including those who stole children, took precious items, or treated humans as little more than chattel. The challenge to anyone who had a chance to interact with these beings was to identify the friendlier fey—known as the seelie—from the treacherous, unseelie fey.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Leech-Men - banes of Sanguinara

Leech-men are one of the favored creations of the Blood Witch. These creatures are banes, meaning that they were born from witchcraft and are no part of the natural world. The leech-men are perhaps one of Sanguinara’s most well-known minions, although they tend to stay far away from populous cities and are most often encountered in more remote surroundings.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Black Barrier - The Darkwall Peaks

I tell you, the mountains are alive.
You know they say that nothing lives there? It's a lie. There are things that live in the mountains; terrible things... nightmare things. Twenty years ago, my troopers and I chased a band of mercenaries led by a handful of filthy Vargr into the mountains north of Steppengrad. Not five miles into those mountains we were hopelessly lost. Us! Seasoned cavalrymen mounted on the smartest, most knowing steeds in all of Morden, lost like children in the Darkwall with night approaching. Why did we not turn around you ask? We did! The path we had taken was gone.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Chimeric Banes - The Swamp Kraken

Just as the Chimera has produced countless different varieties of Mongrels, she has also produced a broad range of different banes to serve her. During the Bane War, the vanguard of her army was largely her Accursed, though many of her lesser creations—particularly stench goblins—were present in very large numbers. Other more specialized creations complemented her military forces, as monstrous terrors that could overcome even the most disciplined and well-armed opponents. The Morrigan insisted on sending cauldron-born to join the Chimera, but these were either redirected to aid the other Witches or used on the periphery of major battles. It was always the Chimera's horrific creations that played the central role in the battles she led.

Friday, August 23, 2013

In the Vanguard - The Cauldron-born

Creatures who have a semblance of life beyond the grave were only legends before the coming of the Morrigan to Cairn Kainen. The Witch brought an artifact with her that had power over death itself; a dreaded item known as the Dark Cauldron. Once a dead body was placed into the cauldron, it rose again as an undead being; a cruel parody of the life it once held. These beings were known as the cauldron-born. They left behind all semblance of their former lives and existed only as slaves to the Morrigan’s will. Powered by the cauldron and guided by the Morrigan’s necromantic witchcraft, uncountable numbers of cauldron-born were created during the conquest of Morden. Since the fall of the Alliance, the Morrigan’s task has been less urgent, and she has vastly slowed the pace of cauldron-born production.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Place to Call their Own - The Adherents of Aliyah

Brother Malakai moved about the claustrophobic shelves of the ancient library at Westyn Priory. The Golem's heavy step rang from the worn, polished stone tiles and echoed high in the vaulted ceiling. His work in the library was a great comfort to him. The solitude, the smell of old leather and parchment, the faint echo of plainchant from the far-off chapel – all helped to soothe his troubled mind and, at least temporarily, insulate him from the horror of his existence. As he plodded through a dimly lit intersection between shelves, a figure stepped from the shadow and laid a light hand on the Golem's forearm. With all the frightening, deceptive speed of an avalanche, Brother Malakai pushed his attacker away with one broad hand while the other went reflexively for the heavy, broad-bladed cutlass that no longer hung from his belt. He relaxed at once as he saw the short, swarthy form step more fully into the light and smile.

Monday, August 19, 2013

All Must Change - The Chimera

The Chimera makes her home in a massive, spired fortress known as Turris Atra. Unlike other fortresses, however, the Chimera’s home does not long remain in any one place. With each dawn, the inhabitants of Morden discover Turris Atra and its surroundings in a new locale. Though it only stays until the following midnight, the Witch’s fortress invariably spreads sorrow and grievous loss before it departs. The Chimera is the tower's mistress. Whenever she visits a new site, she promptly abandons her completed experiments and begins gathering up the living components to begin anew. Any nearby life could potentially be drawn into her next project—to their eternal dismay.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Technology in Morden

Morden is a land that is caught between contradictions of technology. On the one hand, some things have not changed in centuries—carts still wend their way across roads that are, in many places, little more than dirt tracks. Farmers till the land with horse and plow as they have for generations, and the sword is still the most common weapon wielded by a fighting man.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Mold From Which All Others Were Struck - The Crone

The Crone is the first Witch, Mistress of the Grand Coven, and oldest among her sisters. Legends say that at the dawn of time, she was the first mortal woman to take on the mantle of the Immortal Witch. If this is true, she is the mold from which all other Witches are struck. It was the Crone who brought such disparate and stong-willed individuals as the Djinn and the Morrigan and the witch now known as Baba Yaga together to form the Grand Coven. It was she who laid the plans for the invasion of Morden. Through the sheer force of her will, she directed the advance of the squabbling, largely incompatible Witch Armies.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Enochian Faith

When the first settlers crossed the lightning bridge to Morden, they brought the Enochian Religion with them. Not all were devout followers—particularly those who settled in what eventually became Hyphrates—but the religion was well established and had already existed for thousands of years. The central focus of their belief involves a single, all-powerful creator who made the world of Saturnyn and continues to oversee it. The religion is monotheistic, and holds that their Creator shall return to provide the world its ultimate salvation in their moment of greatest need.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Armies of Light

The true threat of the Witches’ invasion was not felt throughout Morden until the Outlands were fully overrun; this signaled the beginning of the Bane War. With the border realms completely under the Witches’ domination, the rulers of Morden's nations knew that something had to be done lest they face the same fate. King Stefan Hightower II of Valkenholm sent couriers to all the other realms of Morden, soliciting support for building a military alliance to face the Witches’ army. Under King Stefan’s leadership, Valkenholm became the staging ground for a counterattack against the Grand Coven.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

On the Roiling Main - The Discordian Sea

I've lived with the sea my whole life, just like my father and his father and his father before him. I've done everything a man can do in this world on the sea. I hunted sabreback whales in the cold waters north of Steppengrad. I sailed under the flag of Manreia against the black thieves of Port Sorrow. I won and lost a dozen fortunes before I was thirty years old, and I have no regrets. Life is simpler out here, better, healthier. Even before the Witches came, a life at sea was preferable to that of a life trapped on the land. On the sea there's the swell and the tide, the wind and the waves, and good, honest seamen. There are no lawyers or bailiffs or bums come to take you to a sponging house over the sum of a few pennies. No land sharks to trick you out of your money, nor wives or in-laws either. It's a good life. Hard at times, sure, and dangerous, but it's worth it to be free.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Plague upon Hyphrates - Scarabs

In the days of its colonization Hyphrates was a land of lush farmlands. That was before the dark influences of the Djinn and the backstabbing attempts that the Hyphratians eventually learned to pursue. There were many different elements that transformed the beautiful countryside into a sterile desert. One of the most significant causes were the scarabs that came to infest the nation.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Alchemy - Supernatural Science

Alchemy is a tradition that combines philosophy and a study of both natural and supernatural materials. Most often, alchemists are learned men and women who use their knowledge to create unusual effects by combining exotic materials. The trade produces rare and exceptional elixirs, potions, and salves, but some scholars have refined their craft for use in the engineering fields like masonry and metallurgy. According to Enochian historians, the practice of alchemy in Morden was originally systematized over three hundred years ago. The earliest records of alchemists practicing their trade began among the palaces of the Pharoahs in Hyphrates and slowly spread throughout the other realms.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

An Implacable People - Hebron

We were once a peaceful, happy people who cared little for what went on outside of our borders. We lived with the land, content to tend to our olive groves and raise our families. There was strife of the usual kind of course, corruption in government and feuding with our neighbors, especially the villains in Hyphrates. Overall we had it better than the people did in most places, though. Our land was neither as decadent as Manreia nor as backwards and corrupt as our neighbors to the East. For the most part, we got along well with the world.

Monday, July 29, 2013

De Acosta's Workshop

Once a student of the crazed inventor Herr Doktor Franken Von Nachtmachen, Aureliano De Acosta completed his apprenticeship shortly after the beginning of the Great War. As a recognized master inventor, he was a member of Manreia's tradesmen caste. It was his responsibility to see that the nation's trains ran effectively and to continue the development of Manreia's transportation system.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Revenants - Driven beyond death

A Revenant may appear human at first glance, but a closer look reveals more of his Accursed nature. As one of the living dead, Revenants have a faint scent of rotting flesh around them at all times, and their eyes are a milky-white in color. Their flesh is often disfigured with mortification, and the wound that ended their former life is often the most prominent of their many scars. Due to their unsettling appearance, Revenants have a difficult time dealing with the people of Morden. Most citizens consider Revenants untrustworthy at best, and there are many who consider all living dead—Revenants included—to be horrid pawns of the Witches.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

On Gluttony - The Hunger Trolls

In these days of want and woe, the faerie stories of my youth have an unsettling tendency to become real. As a child, my majka told me of the wildmen of the forests; mostly as a way to make me behave and to eat my vegetables. These creatures, these trolls, were terrible giants who wandered about after dark snatching bad children from their homes and destroying the farms of those who transgressed against the Old Ways. Cut too much wood from the old forest or kill more game than you could eat in a season? Neglect your chores or letters? The trolls would come and teach you a very hard lesson. Adults could laugh at these stories, although they would make the ancient signs to ward off evil as they did so. But to a young man with an active imagination and a guilty conscience, the threat of being carried off to be eaten by trolls was a very real threat. Now I am grown, and there is precious little laughter anywhere in Steppengrad. Baba Yaga is with us again. Blight and famine are everywhere, and trolls step out of the pages of books to devour our livestock and ruin our crops. These are dark times my friend, but some day, if we are lucky, we will see the end of them.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hyphrates - A Desert of Tombs

As one of the first areas settled in all of Morden, the earliest colonists had boundless opportunities to select an idyllic locale. These eager explorers chose to take advantage of the gulf sheltered by the southern extension of the Darkfall Peaks, and the bounty of the Iteru River. Finding fertile grasslands, a warm climate, and a navigable waterway, Ur-Xandria became a thriving city in only a few years. In short order, its culture expanded up the river, as the city grew and the population expanded beyond the delta. Agricultural and mineral resources both proved readily available, and only time and the size of the population limited rapid growth and development.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sanguinara, the Blood Witch



In appearance, the Blood Witch looks quite human… on the surface, at least. Her form is overall quite pleasing to the eye, seductively beautiful in a manner that makes most viewers instinctively feel both attracted and repelled in a manner they cannot explain. Her skin is incredibly pale—the color of milk—and her long, lustrous hair is a dark, coal black that seems to absorb the light. Her lips and eyes are a dark crimson—the hue of freshly-spilled blood. Her teeth—although perfect and gleaming—feature a prominent pair of fangs.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Bleak and Windswept Country - Steppengrad

When I was young and frightened and could not sleep, my grandfather would tell me stories of his youth to soothe my mind and ease my way to slumber. As much as they were stories of his youth—and what a youth my grandfather had—they were also stories of Mother Steppengrad in the days before the coming of the Vještica, before Baba Yaga came and the land wilted away. To see her now, in her anguish, you would not know that once this was a rich and vibrant land. Long ago, before the Great War, Steppengrad was the jewel of Morden. Her rivers teemed with fish, her forests and plains were crowded with beasts and birds, and her fertile fields were the envy of all lesser nations. The people were different then, too. We were stronger, the men handsomer, and the women more lovely. There was wealth and food aplenty, and even the most desperate of our countrymen had at least a goat and a small plot of land; enough to feed his family in even the harshest winter. Now, well, now it is different. Mother Steppengrad is very sick, maybe dying. As long as Baba Yaga still wanders the forests the land suffers and we starve. All is not lost, though. One day this will all be over. One day Baba Yaga and the rest of the Vještica will be driven away. Mother Steppengrad will be made whole, and she will once again be the envy of all the peoples of Morden.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Djinn - Granter of Wishes

The Djinn's current status remains one of the greatest mysteries of Morden. When King Auberon's blade pierced her flesh, she vanished, taking much of her army, the forces of the Alliance, and even the Summerlands with her in a cataclysmic magical explosion. No human scholars know her ultimate fate, and even the Witches seemed unnerved by this dramatic turn of events. Though the Witch armies had essentially won the war, many of them left Morden with their armies, crossing the Darkfall Peaks to their homes that lay beyond.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Cairn Kainen

The realm of Cairn Kainen once bore a different name. It was originally known as Caer Kainen and is still called that by many of its remaining citizens. At the time of its founding, Caer Kainen was home to many tribes of men that arrived in Morden (like many others) through the mysterious “lightning bridge,” about which very little is known. These tribes found a lush valley between high, arching peaks. The broad realm was composed of sweeping moors, misty boglands, and long stretches of wild heath perfect for grazing. The tribes looked upon the place that would be Caer Kainen and knew that this land was theirs to call home.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

You Shall Know Them by the Trail of the Dead - The Witch Armies

They came through the Outlands, boiling over the Darkwall Peaks in their multitude. Huge throngs of undead things and living creatures twisted beyond recognition by dark magics. Rank upon rank of hired soldiers from across the great sea bolstered their numbers. In the van were the Accursed–shambling Mongrels, plodding Golems, loping, gibbering Vargr, lithesome Damphyre, along with their fellows. At their head strode the great usurpers, the Witches of the Grand Coven. Cunning Baba Yaga, mighty Sanguinara, the twisted Chimera, and their sisters led their varied armies over the Darkwall Peaks and into the unsuspecting lands of Morden quick as lightning, taking the unprepared mortals completely unawares and easily sweeping aside the initial, hastily assembled resistance. The Witch armies spread out and the heroes of the Alliance gathered their armies to oppose them. The entrenched forces settled in for a savage war of attrition that would grind on for decades and only really end with the Great Betrayal, when the Grand Coven was broken and the Witch armies scattered to the winds.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mummies - Ancient Majesty Restored

The horrors of the Mummy Witchbreed originate with a foolish mistake made at the time of the initial Grand Coven invasion. As the Outlands began to fall before the Witches' armies, the other nations were scarcely aware of the dangers. For them, their daily routines were untouched by the political instabilities in far off lands. Consequently, the inhabitants of Hyphrates continued to scheme against one another, in hopes of gaining ever greater control over the fertile land. It was part of this scheming that led to the creation of these Accursed—and proved an early turning point in the war.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Valkenholm

The northern realm of Valkenholm has long been seen as one of the most pre-eminent regions of Morden. Its vast, thick forests provide many benefits—amongst them rich lumber, furs, and food. Valkenholm sits astride the mighty Scythe River, itself a prime source of fish and minerals. To the southeast, the realm’s forests give way to a deep and largely unexplored series of bogs and swamps known as the Sunken Lands.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Their Name is a Killing Word - The Golems

In the land of Hebron, legends tell of a powerful being made of clay that protects the people in their hour of need. Details vary by the telling, but most agree that the creature was formed from dust and clay by a powerful priest and given life through magic words carved on its body or by a magic formula written on parchment and placed in the creature's mouth. In some of these stories, the creature is little more than a mindless automaton; a powerful construct that possesses personal initiative and follows orders to the letter. In other stories, the creature is deadly and cunning; a monster requiring constant supervision and a danger to both its creator's enemies and the creator himself. These Golems, as they were called, existed in one form or another throughout Hebron's antiquity, being at once metaphor for man's hubris and a representation of man's power and his wish to protect hearth and home. When the Crone and her armies boiled out of the Mountains and entered Hebron, at their head strode massive, hand-built horrors. Automata of bone and clay, of iron and straw and pallid flesh, these horrific creatures cut a swath through Hebron's defenders. Those few who survived called the monsters Golems and fled before them, their ancient stories come to life at long last.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Deep and Abiding Hunger - The Vargr

The Vargr are the chosen of Baba Yaga–the Witch that created them. They are her shock troops, implacable warriors and brutal combatants with a nearly insatiable taste for the flesh of men. Once normal men and women, they now walk a ragged edge between beast and man. The Vargr are werewolves, a people cursed (or blessed depending on one's point of view) with the ability to become half human, half wolf… overcome with a ravenous, all-consuming hunger. Their beast forms give them increased size, strength, speed, and stamina. Becoming a werewolf sharpens their senses, allowing them to see, hear, and smell far beyond the limits of mortals. However, the transformation is more than skin deep—they become savage creatures operating on little more than instinct and low cunning.

Friday, June 28, 2013

On Witchcraft



Spells, curses, charms, chants, or hexes – all of these are part and parcel of witchcraft as it is known on Morden. Witchcraft is the manipulation of magic to achieve specific goals – and it is the most powerful tool of the Witches that have conquered Morden. However, it is not the Witches alone who can wield witchcraft and channel it into charms or spells. Many banes and some humans can learn to harness the supernatural forces of witchcraft. This magic can accomplish tasks both small and large, from cleansing the dirt out of a hovel to collapsing a mountain pass. There is an astonishing variety of uses for witchcraft, and the use of this magic in itself is neither particularly good nor evil. Those who perform witchcraft as agents of the Witches are known as warlocks, while those who seek to use witchcraft instead for the common good or to aid in the resistance against the Witches’ dark influence are often called “white witches.”

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mongrels - The Chimera's Witchmark

The Chimera's obsession with transmutation and interconnectedness led to the creation of the Mongrel Witchbreed. Their curse, however, is not entirely manifested by the dark magics that the Witchmark imparted. Rather, it is the Witch's unholy curiosity that represents the heart and soul of the curse. Because of this, the perception of a Mongrel and the reality are two very different things. Few outside of its victims recognize the true essence of this Witchbreed's curse.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Betrayal

After decades of war with the Witch armies, the Alliance began to realize that there remained little hope for victory. The Outlands, which had first fallen to the invaders, were completely razed. The inhabitants had been transformed into tools of the witches—the Accursed. Large portions of the surviving nations of Morden had already fallen to the banes and the Witchmarked. It seemed it would only be a matter of time before all would crumble.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Outlands


The tale of the Outlands is a tragic one. Once, the Outlands were the most wild, the most vibrant, the most untamed and open lands in all of Morden. Settled over 700 years before the Witches and their armies crossed the Darkwall, the Outlands were originally a home for pioneers, adventurers, and farsighted merchants. The Outlands were verdant, rich in flora and fauna, and they were only limited in their development by the growing wealth and influence of the more southern realms such as Hyphrates and Manreia.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

In a Hut on Bird Legs - Baba Yaga


She comes in a clamor – clap of thunder, flash of lightning, howling wind – and all peace is at an end. Stepping forth from another world on spindly bird's legs, a house appears in the tumult at the edge of a great forest. Animals flee, flowers wilt, grass blackens, trees lean away as if to escape, even the land itself groans and shudders. The house settles, tucking its legs beneath it. It's a shabby, run-down, moss covered hovel of stone and sod with blank, leering windows and a rotten door half ajar. Dirt clotted bones of long-dead men and animals rise from the ground to form a ghastly fence about the house, with a gate thrown wide in welcome. Baba Yaga has come to her people once again.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Manreia

Citizens of Manreia believe that their nation is the cultural, technological, and religious center of Morden. They have the greatest poets, artists, and composers. Aureliano de Acosta's academy and workshop produce endless marvels. The Conclave of Enochian Bishops meets at St. Stephen's Basilica in Manreia's capital city of Palmyria. The citizens also argue that the land's mild year-round climate is a sign of God's favor upon them. Their fields are fertile, their mines are rich, and the sea provides a generous bounty. Manreia's citizens believe that they are the most fortunate and the most accomplished in the world.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Dhampir



Of the known Accursed witchbreeds, the Dhampir are amongst the most normal in appearance. At first glance, a Dhampir may appear completely human, and only a glimpse of her fangs or the crimson glint in her eyes may reveal her true nature.

The origin of the Dhampir lies with blood—it is the essence of their power and their curse.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

On Witchmarks

A prisoner's stripes, the Mark of Cain, the Scarlet Letter, the "B" burned into a blasphemer's forehead – every sinner is marked by their sin. Some are carried within, hidden from view but seared on the soul, while others are very visible indeed. In word, deed, and appearance, those who are so marked are altered, twisted in some way that makes it clear to all who see them that they have transgressed and, in theory, have atoned for their sins. In the land of Morden, perhaps the most visible mark is the Witchmark. In today's installment, I'll be talking about Witchmarks, their meaning, and how they affect the Accursed and the world around them.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Order of the Penitent

After the majority of the witches' forces retreated beyond the mountains, they abandoned many of their tools. The armies that they used to conquer Morden were not needed to secure it. Their banes were adequate to keep the people and nations firmly under their control. The witches released the humans that they had inducted into their service, so that these soldiers could once more care for the land, providing their taxes and homage to their conquerors.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Accursed: A Savage Worlds RPG Setting by Ross Watson, John Dunn, and Jason Marker



This tale begins with  a world of dark fantasy and perilous adventure, where the forces of evil have triumphed.

In such a world, those who remain uncorrupted by wickedness must rely upon monsters to fight against the darkness. Witches have ruled the land since the last battles of conquest, but their Grand Coven has been sundered, leaving behind remnants of a once-mighty army. The remnants of the horde include captured citizens of the conquered nations that fought as the Witches’ shock troops.

These are the Accursed—the Witchmarks burned into their flesh and souls transformed these men and women into monstrous forms. Now, unable to return to their former lives, the Accursed   wander the land, giving aid to those in need in an attempt to atone for past sins. Some have joined the Order of the Penitent, an organization devoted to ridding the world of the Witches and their evil influence. Others offer their skills as warriors, alchemists, and spies to the highest bidder. Yet others have succumbed to corruption, greed, or insanity.

Light has failed, darkness is ascendant—only those bearing the forms of monsters can stand against the tide of the Witches’ evil. The Accursed are this world’s only hope—they must learn to embrace their curse or to fight against it, and find some way to free themselves forever of their Witchmark.

This is the world of Accursed.