Just Ask Ug, Part II

The singer, the shaman, and the priest: A society cannot be run by warriors alone. There are various other professions, which are obviously needed, but there are a couple which are obviously more well geared towards the player character. Singers, ie, the Celtic bard or German scop, are entertainers, genealogists, and historians. They record the oral history of the tribe as well as guard the traditional wisdom and lore for their people. These memories often take the forms of poetry, story, and song and thus make an ideal candidate for your barbarian horde to contain bards or skalds. Low barbarians, may each have one of these historians per tribes, but high barbarians and nomads, would likely have one among noble retinues, or traveling story tellers which would bring news of other camps, and would be treated as the asset that news of the outside was.

Barbarian mystics fall into two general categories, the priest and the shaman. The priest(ess) is educated in the lore of the gods — who they are, what they want, and what they require from mankind be it sacrifice, rite, or law. It is possible that if the tribe has a settlement these priests would be attached to a shrine, or other monument. It is not uncommon among the landless to have sacred landmarks such as trees, springs, or mounts. Nomads priests carry sacred images such as totems. Priest(ess) serve the gods as a warrior serves his lord — out of personal loyalty. As they are often the best educated of the barbarians they often guide and advise the nobles. These are the oracles and the clerics of the tribe.

The shamans, are those who seek the gods, in the form of their arcane secrets. Whether this magic takes the forms of trances and visions, secret lore, or charms and spells – they are often views with profound respect within the tribe. Although the tribesmen respect them, they also live in fear of magic and the terrible things it has been known to do. Superstitions (as discussed earlier) run rampant, some going as far as to say that all things the shaman touch are infused with the darkness that only they can control, until it finally consumes them. Barbarians are known to shun other magic users out of fear and ignorance. These are the sorcerers, the bloodragers, the shaman, or even the witch. Under no circumstances should a tribe have a wizard.

A word about women: Were they equals or were they chattel? The truth is complex, much as it would be for a pirate society. Certain barbarians, ie. Brythonic Celts, gave women full civil rights while the Goidelic Celts, reserved these rights for noble women. Others, like the Germans, treated women as “second-class citizens.” But — and this is important — no barbarian society can afford to treat all women as the early Romans and later Christians could. When small groups must survive harsh conditions each member of the tribe must generate economic value. Helpless, fluttering women, such as the classic damsel, would be considered a nuisance at best. Only the wealthiest men could afford a slave or a concubine, and even these weave, spin, cook, or produce some other contribution to the household, and since they do even they would be protected by tribal law. Woman had to be capable of self-sufficiency, particularly given the risk of widowhood. Glorifying war doesn’t come cheap: Archaeological evidence shows that the average death-age of barbarian men is twenty-four, but over forty for women. If men were the only source of economic stimulus this would have led to collapse quickly, thus, what women earn is theirs, not their husbands – and as such are able to fully enter into legal contracts, own property, and be trained in necessary skills.

Often, the barbarian tribes that gave women full rights were those where women could be warriors, such as the Brythonic Celts. Even among the Germans and the Goidelic Celts, women could rise from their rank and become full-fledged tribesmen. History supports this view as women warriors are well documented among the Greeks and Romans. Tacitus repeatedly says that barbarian women fought alongside men, and that the Roman soldiers found them much more frightening. Good women warriors could even be generals, such as Boudicca in Britain.

These barbarian women should never be damsels and dupes for the handsome adventurer and in turn should be independent persons capable of demanding respect — often at sword-point.

How does history fit into Porphyra: It is absolutely necessary to look at history when developing a world to play in. Yes there’s magic, dragons, mutants, living mountains, and gods galore but for the average society that doesn’t change much. Yes, it’s possible for a society to achieve great things through magic (such as the Netheril or the Thay) but it’s just as possible for tragedy to strike (Spellplague). By modeling societies into a realistic frame, you account for the blessed rains each ruler is likely to wish from his court wizard, while accounting for the curses by a ruler living next door. Magic giveth, and magic taketh away. There are various barbarian tribes who are known through Porphyra from the cursed ice warriors in the north ranging to the eastern desert peoples. To understand how these tribes would have to develop in order to survive these harsh environs allows the DM to paint a world full of realism and fantasy, blurring reality in fiction, to help everyone suspend their disbelief – which makes for a more dynamic world as well as better character development.

Ug thanks you for listening, he hates being forced into the square hole of “big dumb brute” when Ug is in fact a sensitive and noble barbarian who wishes only to bring honor to himself and his clan.

Just Ask Ug, Part I

You know what a barbarian is, right? A hulking, mentally feeble, half-dressed warrior who grunts and hacks his way through life, right?

Wrong – You Classist.

Barbarians are so much more and so complex, so talented, and — most importantly — much more fun to play in a fantasy game than the character described above. D&D, AD&D, 3e, Pathfinder, et cetra have all made forays into barbarian territory. Most fantasy setting games have, as well as video games, steampunk, cyberpunk, and future games as well. What people so often forget is that barbarians are a force to be reckoned with, the things that made Alexander the Great shudder, and of the six times Rome was sacked, barbarians managed four of them.

What’s in a name? The word barbarian is (βάρβαρος ([barbarous]) Greek, and it carries with it an ancient prejudice. Barbarians were called such as they babbled languages which sounded like “bar bar bar” in place of right and proper Greek. This title was used for all people who lived on the fringes of classical Europe: Celts, Persians, Scyths, even Egyptians. Later, the label was further expanded to include the likes of the Franks, Huns, and Goths. Still later, this same label was applied — with the same old negative connotation — to the native peoples of the newly discovered lands – Aztecs, Iroquois, the Songhai, and so on.

Barbarian as an umbrella: Let’s look at the barbarian supergroup – What makes them special? For starters, it was their success outside the sedentary lifestyles of the Greeks, Romans, and later European powers. Barbarians were able to adapt to living in harsher conditions, such as wild forests, scrub lands, the tundra, and jungle edges. It would be a mistake to think that barbarians are incapable of farming, but a bulk of their food supply was based on animals; husbandry and hunting. Barbarians would set up villages and camps, if they have any permanent settlements at all. Due to a high competition for a smaller amount of supplies a primitive yet effective means of population control was unconsciously developed: the glorification of war. This lead to their organization of their social groups to be based on blood-kin — the clan, family, and tribe — rather than on abstractions such as the city or nation state. Populism and Nationalism hold no sway for the barbarian.  Finally, the barbarian keeps an oral culture, not a literate one. Being illiterate, however, does not mean barbarians are stupid, as evidenced by the elaborate poetry of the Celts. Priests, singers, and orators keep a fully developed mental and intellectual culture alive in almost all barbarian societies.

We’re going to break the discussion down into three various kinds of barbarians, as described by a British Archaeologist named Stuart Ernest Piggott. There are the high, low, and nomad. We’ll also briefly look at an early European example of each.

The High Barbarian: Example, the Celts. High Barbarians of have enough agriculture in its economy to produce a food surplus, well-developed material culture, including elaborate jewelry and sophisticated weapons technology. (The Celts invented horseshoes and chain mail, among many other things.)

The Low Barbarian: These are the group often referred to as “savages.” This group often depends almost exclusively on hunting and gathering, supplemented by stock raising, and thus have a poorly developed material culture. The Proto-Germans are a good example.

Nomad Barbarian: Such as the Scyths, they had no fixed settlements and live entirely by stock-raising. Depending on the lushness of the grazing lands they and their livestock occupy, the material culture of nomads is either rich or poor. The Scyths, used here as an example, had many luxuries obtained by trading horses to the Greeks and Romans.

The Social Order: Barbarian society can be loosely defined as a democratic aristocracy. Each person who was free would have a vote in tribal concerns, such as declaring war. If they have nobles or leaders and they insist on acting against the will of the tribe, they were deposed or simply ignored. The one fixed social division is between free and unfree. Some groups kept slaves, but these were often prisoners and their offspring. Other unfree include criminals, debtors, and the dishonored. The unfree would somehow bind themselves to free families like serfdom. Amongst the low barbarians there is little distinction; everyone raises stock, which is collectively owned by families — not individuals. Men hunt game and women gather or garden to supplement the food supply. However (as the Roman historian Tacitus pointed out), as wealth accumulates in a primitive society, power tends to be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands [Though this is not true of only primitive societies]. As a society become wealthier it is capable of supporting specialists such as carpenters or priests. This led to the high barbarians and wealthy nomads developing a hierarchy. Those at the top, the nobles, have surplus wealth (usually measured in livestock) and personal influence. While this would often stay concentrated in families because wealth begets wealth, it was in no way a system reminiscent of a monarchy.  A cowardly noble, for instance, would be scorned and ridiculed. Due to this lack of ‘kingship’ when a leader dies or retires due to age, a great deal of electioneering and sometimes even civil war takes before a new ruler can be declared.

The Taboo: Or geis, as it was called among the Celts. The power of the taboo is great, even today. What do you say when someone sneezes? Do you know any athletes with weird pre-game quirks? Ask someone in the theater what happens if you say “Goodluck” before a show. This superstition can help you get into the headspace of the barbarian. A taboo isn’t a quest, but rather a prohibition – and most often, its irrational. For instance, turning left or not being allowed to kill a bird. Ever. All societies have taboos, but barbarians believe in them so implicitly ill will befall either the individual, or worse – the tribe.

That’s all we have time for today, next week we’ll look a little bit more at the noble barbarian class and how to include a little bit more pizazz into your barbarians than just, “Ug Smash.”

For more information:

Cunliffe, Barry. The ancient Celts. Penguin, 1999.

Fehr, Perry. Barbarians of Porphyra, Purple Duck Games, 2014.

Piggott, Stuart. Ancient Europe. Aldine Transaction, 2007.

Simpson, St John, and Svetlana Pankova. Scythians: warriors of ancient Siberia. Thames & Hudson, 2017.


On Paladins

Holy Hijinks

Hello everyone, Alex here, and we’re going to talk about something not directly related to just Porphyra today. We’re going to talk about something I’ve been homebrewing in my games for the past twenty some years, all the way from 2ed all the way through 3, 3.5, and pathfinder. We’re going to talk about one of my favorite classes, no not Bards (my actual favorite class), paladins.

Paladins get a bum rap as a role-play killer in any scenario where every member of the party isn’t a goodie-goodie.  Yes, they’re a powerful class – and yes, they are often beacons of light, and hope, and aweseomesauce. TSR, WotC, and Paizo even halfheartedly tried to address one of the problems with the paladin with inventions of things such as the antipaladin or the blackguard. They addressed the lawful evil gods who have fanatically devoted followers, but what about the chaotic gods? Or the Neutral gods? Who wouldn’t want to be a fanatical zealot in the service of Io, The Great Eternal Wheel or some other purely ambivalent master?

I suggest in any fantasy style game, Porphyra based, or otherwise that you take the time to sit down with your PC and flesh out a paladin that really works for whatever god they want to be devoted to, Good, Evil, or Otherwise. In some cases using the same general abilities is fine. Is there a huge difference between Tyr, Baldr, Paladine, Ares, Torm, Lathander, Helm, Iomedae, Sarenrae, or Gerana in terms of what their holy vindicators are going to look or act like? No – probably not. But what about other goodly gods? What about a paladin of Erastil or Cayden Cailean – they may be good and just but they certainly are not going to uphold law and order in the same manner.

I offer some insights that can be used in any game, as paladins should be as diverse as the many gods they serve, and maybe one day I’ll be able to carve out more specific guidelines for each and every god, but for now, let these guidelines help you personalize your games.

No longer refer to them collectively as “paladins” they are holy warriors, of whom the paladin is the most well-known. They are Holy Warriors; champions of the divine who strive to live their lives personifying the ideals of their patron. Here I’ll outline six Holy warriors, as I don’t usually let my PCs play evil characters because my experience is that most people are very bad at being evil – They’re good at chaos and they’re good at destruction, but not at being truly evil.

The Paladin – Lawful Good

The Sentinel – Neutral Good

The Avenger – Chatoic Good

The Enforcer – Lawful Neutral

The Watcher – True Neutral

The Anarch – Chaotic Neutral


So what all needs to be changed?

Skills: Typical paladin skills include, Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int) – most of these are pretty widely acceptable for any of the Holy Warriors. Sometimes switching out nobility works well, since many holy warriors’ do not come from noble families and have more humble beginnings. Heal is the other skill I most often exchange, often times for intimidate.

Aura: Auras should be changed to match the appropriate god, matching chaos or law work just as well as good.

Detect: Detect should always be the opposite of whatever the aura being generated is.

Smite: Smite often works the same, only you’re smiting whatever you were capable of detecting. I also sometimes change the bonus damage to dragons/undead – often times to constructs as it is a nice bonus and I feel chaotic energy should wreak havoc on those well aligned systems.

Channel: Channel should be handled the same as for neutral clerics if necessary.

Aura of Justice: Modified to match smite.

Aura of Righteousness: DR 5/evil still works well for all good holy warriors, but the neutral ones are more complicated. You can either have them resist the law/chaos as appropriate and give a TN paladin the choice which can’t be changed, or give them a lessoned DR, for example, DR 2.

I think these slight rules alterations can help validate the paladin as a class, making it more available in various campaigns, and in my opinion makes more sense. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to have militarized zealots of neutral of chaotic gods or that chaotic people can’t devote themselves to their gods.

I hope this has given you some ideas on how to expand your gaming options and as always,

Game On.

What do you think?

Should this take on Paladins become part of the new Porphyra Roleplaying Game playtest?

The Porphyrite Lord

The Porphyrite Lord

I’ve got an adventure hook today that can be used anywhere in the wide world of Porphyra, and I think it would make for some interesting dynamics later – down the line. A bit of warning though, as a dungeon master I tend to craft elaborate plans for my heroes – after all this isn’t Call of Cthulhu, being a hero means something more than staving off the cold loneliness of the real world. (As a brief aside, I love CoC and you should too, but that’s a topic for a different day, and a different place.)

Porphyrite: Porphyrite is a luminous purple stone that first appeared on Porphyra during the New-God Wars. Porphyrite is used to hold the newly reformed world of Porphyra together, to restrict the movement of some forces, and to act as a deterrent to elementals.

Najim: When The Calling was issued, the galactic being known as Najim came to the call, eager to impart the greedy knowledge of the Dark Tapestry. The god was ambushed, however… attacked, rent from Its source of power, Najim was buried deep beneath Purple Mountain, a comatose shell of a god, inhabited within by weird creatures drawn to its alien energies.

The Setup: A wizard gone mad, he has been tunneling into a dark lonely mountain rich with porphyrite, and here he has found a vein rich with something beyond his wildest nightmares. Madness.

This particular vein of porphyrite glows a deep red, the color of blood and pulses with insane energies. These crystals have somehow been exposed to the dark tapestry through The Starfallen Najim.

The wizard has been greedily studying these crystals and has found a unique use for them. He’s found a way to infuse them further with unstable arcane energies and they have grown tremendously explosive. He has been mining the crystals ever since, crafting explosives (including golems, see below) to increase his power and wreak havoc upon his enemies. His ultimate goal, however, is to take the crystals to the Purple Mountain and free Najim from his prison.

This would be disastrous for everyone – worshippers of the new gods and the elementalists alike.

Hooks: Aside from the obvious desire to stop Najim from being freed, the heroes could be contacted by a concerned populace which has noticed the red pulses of arcane energy and this Dark Porphyrite in the night. Strange mutations could be happening to local flora and fauna, or even weird alien beings twisted by the Dark Tapestry could be roaming the area, leading the PCs to a strange workshop.

This should be a high-level adventure but it should be fun, and feel free to get crazy, we’ve got unstable magic, a lost god, and the Dark Tapestry!

Unstable Porphyrite Golem: Same as Porphyrite Golem with the following ability (+1 CR):

Unstable Porphyrite (Ex) When this creature is reduced to 25% of its hit points or suffers a single physical blow which deals 30 or more damage to the creature it erupts in a conflagration of unstable magical energy. Roll a d12 and consult the table below, adding 1 for each additional 10 damage the blow dealt.

1-2: The creature seethes with painful magical energy. It is now under the effects of the Fire Shield spell until it is healed or destroyed. The damage dealt is of the force type, as magic missile.

3-5: The creature explodes dealing 8d6 damage to itself and everything in a 20’ radius. Reflex save DC 22 for half. The golem does not get a save.

6-8: The unstable energies wrap themselves around the golem healing it. The golem gains fast healing 4 until it is fully healed or destroyed.

9-11: The energy takes on a gaseous form spewing forth a Cloudkill from the creature. The effective CL of this spell is 7+ the modifier applied to the d12.

12: The golem emits a confusion spell, CL 7+ the modifier applied to the d12.

13+: The creature explodes with unstable energy casting Reverse Gravity in the process. CL 9+ the modifier applied to the d12.

Only one effect may be active at a time – a new effect will replace an older one. Only one effect may occur each round.

This modification to the golem makes it much more dangerous, and adds a bit of whimsy to the game, which I often find missing in Pathfinder. Wizards of the Coast took a much harder, colder, and more numerical approach to D&D and Paizo followed suite. This is a bit of a throw back to second edition and TSR, back when the worlds were new, and the stars burned hot – and you had no idea what you were getting yourself into. I hope you find it as fun as I do.

-Game on,

Alex Kugler

Perry has written a module about the waking of Najim, it is called Purple Mountain VII: Domain of the Hidden God.


Snowstorm of the Owl Queen

The short and squat stone building jutted out of the mountain side, suspended almost like a pure white cloud, floating along the top of the mount. You pull you’re feather cloak tightly about your shoulders and finish your climb to the summit. The service has started, but you’ll be able to catch the end. Gently sliding the door open you sneak inside, dropping a silver coin into the donation plate, you stand for the remainder of the service.

An excerpt from The Wintery Hymns of Ithreia:

To be performed in the D minor scale:


Refrain: The storm, she is a coming.


The sun shines high in the morning

Toil on the land, fish from the sea

Times like this; be busy as a bee

The clouds they serve as a warning




In the springtime it’s time to sow

In the summertime the plants will grow

Harvest in the autumn time

Get ready for the oncoming Rime




Biting wind and raging storm

Salt the meat and store the wheat

One day, again it will be warm

Springtime we are anxious to greet




Blessed are those who prepare for the cold

Blessed are those with food; as good as gold

Prepare thyself for what lies ahead

Prepare thyself lest you try to live without bread




A reading from the Lamentations of the Frost

The Harpy queen was known to sleep during the day – her kind find the night safer for their flight and their hunts. After sundown, the light of the sun was fading and the shadows were beginning to rise on the mountain, her nest high in an ancient hollowed tree. Her call echoing through the wood, she was queen here, taking her pick of the prey.

This Harpy queen had grown old and persnickety as time went on and she grew more and more irritable, especially if her daily slumber was disturbed. One snowy mountain day the ancient harpy opened her eyes to the raspy song of a xax bard nearby, hard at work.

The harpy queen called out to the beast, “Have you no manners, sir? Get away from here, respect your elders and let me rest in peace!”

But the Xax answered back that he had as much a right to the mountain as the Harpy in her ancient tree, and went back to his work, louder than before.

The elder harpy had not grown old due to foolishness, and knew better than to argue with the brute. Her eyes were not as keen as they had been in her youth and the light of the day strained her eyes. She laid aside all her malice, and spoke softly and kindly to the monster.

“Well sir,” she started, “if I am to stay awake I am going to settle here near you and hear your song, you do such glorious work… I have been saving this glorious wine I received as a gift for a special occasion, come and sup at my table.”

The foolish Xax was taken in by the Harpy’s flattering words. Up he climbed to the Harpy’s den, but as soon as he entered the den and the old Harpy could see him clearly, she pounced upon him and tore the started bard limb from limb.

Flattery is not a proof of true admiration. Do not let flattery throw you off your guard against an enemy.


The parable of Ithreia strike true in the hearts of the crowd. They must be ever stalwart against their enemies and prepare for the worst, as it is yet to come. Winter is always on the horizon – biting cold and snow, but it is nice to know there is a place and time where even a grizzled old veteran can get a bit of a reprieve.

Ithreians of Porphyra by David N. Ross is now available.

Beyond the Horde

Lok’tar young Warchief. Wait. Nopehocowboy, wrong game.

Let’s talk about Hobgoblins. Like those found in the Hinterlands of Kesh.

Now I’ve seen many a DM paint all the goblinoids with the same brush. Making them a simple and violent tool which they throw at their PCs en masse, hoping to make the PCs struggle. But that is a waste of their potential. Since their inception into the world of Oerth, Hogoblins, while not the most powerful of their kin, have been one of the most dangerous.


They are a cunning and organized foe.

Yes, they are tribal in organization but that does not make them any less dangerous or civilized than the other peoples of the world.

As a DM you need to make them not just evil, but dangerously evil: Ra’s al Ghul style.

Consider the following:

  • Hobgoblins are not a wandering enemy to run into due to a roll of the dice. They are fortified, they are smart, they build defenses, they can scout, and they like to ambush. They are a militant society, armed and armored, trained from youth. They are not often caught unawares.
  • They are not chaotic. Sure we’ve all had roaming bands of pillaging orcs and goblins brun down the country side just for the ‘ell of it. Hobgoblins would do it for a reason. Supplies, Land, etc… and if they did it for supplies they wouldn’t burn what they wanted to take, they would simply take what they wanted.
  • Orcs often fight amongst themselves. Clamoring for strength and viability. Hobgoblins work as a collective. Orcs are more akin to spiders. Only the strongest claims the area. Hobgoblins are like ants, working towards a common goal, even if a few must die in the process.
  • Hobgoblins are going to be master’s of an encounter. They will attack the best target, not just what’s in front of them. They will flank, feint, withdraw, and use stratagems.
  • When in doubt, think back to your history lessons, and imagine a fascist state of your choosing. That’s how a hobgoblin society is going to be run. Nationalism, nativism, militarism. There are lots of down sides, but you still must respect their might.

This will form the core of your hobgoblin societies, and begin to bring them more to life, and make them more a threat than any band of goblins could hope to be.

Tactics and strategies to remember when playing as a cunning foe:

  • No single combatants: How often do you send a soldier out on patrol alone? Never! If the military doesn’t do it, a hobgoblin shouldn’t either. At the very least patrols will act in pairs, and they will act accordingly.
  • Don’t be afraid to retreat. Information is more important to the collective military might of the hobgoblins than sating the bloodlust of a single member. Remember how they’re not orcs?
  • Hit the squishies. Oh is that robbed woman in the back doing the macarena? No, she’s spell casting? Better get some javelins. Or a fireball, or you know, whatever works.
  • Coup: Hobgoblins are trained to kill. As such, don’t expect them to leave you alone if you hit 0 HP and fall to the ground all unflatteringly like. They will finish the job unless there’s a greater threat. This should make them far more dangerous than your average ogre who just wants to smash things

Keep these things in mind and you’ll give your PCs a serious challenge when dealing with the hobgoblin’s roaming the Hinterlands. And honestly, its good advice for your hobgoblin’s no matter where you find them. Oerth, the Forgotten Realms, or anywhere else.

Keep your dice rolling,


One of our newest faith book Dragon Thanes of Porphyra also received a glowing review from Enzeitgeist. You can check out his review here.

The Great Hunt…

The sound of the drums echoed through the rocky valley, the bonfires burned bright, koumiss flows freely, and platters of meat and vegetables pass from yurt to yurt. It was the even before the great hunt, and the tribes of wastelanders were gathered together to celebrate before the competition.  Each of the great tribes was present with their greatest group of hunters. Five masters and five apprentices learning the ways of their kind, each eager to take down the great beast.

The Kol-lak-torag, an orc tribe stayed near the outskirts of the festival, ever leery of the their less feral kin. They were not alone in their camp however, they were known for camping with, eating with, and even sleeping with their massive canines from the wastes. Massive coyotes of superb intellect the Kol-lak-torag were known for fighting nearly in unison with their beasts, an extension of themselves. Wielding them as effectively as any blade.

The Sor-Sor, known for their powerful magicks, were often found near the oases haunted by the fey. It was said they were fey-touched, with the occasional child being born with hooves or tails. These are their most sacred and protected elders, never seen by outsiders or at the great hunt. They were the weakest of the fighters but they were not to be underestimated, their magic was the most potent in the wastes, and their ability to amplify their magic at times of great need was well known. Only a fool would attack a Sor-Sor head on, they were best dealt with before they had a chance to magick.

The Bloody Handed, were the most dominant and central group at the gathering. They were feared and as such respected. The fear did not stem from their martial prowess alone, but their ability to completely lose themselves in battle, forgetting themselves and their mission. The bloodlust was something of legend amongst the other tribes, as well as a fable amongst the youngers of the other tribes. Many Bloody Handed have gone to their doom, lost in a bloody haze of confusion and fury.

As ferocious as the Bloody-Handed are, the Klugkin are cold and calculating. Their fury is an icy stare as their cold and calculating minds take in all they see. They are the tacticians who think before they act amongst a group of peoples known for reckless abandon. As such they are revered for their advice and their logistics but feared as their logical thought is foreign to peoples who rely so heavily on instinct.

The Ferak-tol are unlike any barbarian I’ve ever studied in my career as an anthropologist. They manipulate magic in a means I’ve never seen uncivilized people manage, and what’s more they store their secrets in spell books, like proper mages of the Academy. They use their magics specifically to enhance their weapons, it is a unique combination amongst these peoples, but no stranger I suppose than that of the Kol-lak-torag. It is truly a wonder to see these brutish proto-spellcasters learning the ways of magic.

I’ve left the strangest for the final installment in this series. The Chi-Chac-tra. While others of these area focus their rage, and using it they harness their magical nature, these strange peoples seem overcome with tranquility and calmness. The calmness reminds of the Monks in their mountain homes able to sustain immense bodily damage and fatigue as their iron bound wills suffer but do not crack. These are truly the most awe-inspiring peoples of the waste, meshing techniques learned over thousands of years in other lands, into a single yet brutish facsimile.


The tribes celebrated into the night and were preparing for the hunt to begin are daybreak. Six masters dressed in their finest pelts and trophies stand ready to lead the younger. Each has a Journeymen stand with them, ready to carry out the Master’s orders, prepared to protect the younger apprentices from their own folly. Each master has five apprentices. Novices, eager to learn the ways of the hunt. To survive the hunt is to achieve Journeyman status. The tribes are camped on the highest point over looking the dusty valley. Somewhere out there slithering through the barren landscape is an immense, serpentine creature with four crooked legs and crossed mandibles. That was their target. They would hunt it and track it for seven days and seven nights, fighting dozens of other beasts along the way. It is my understanding that none have slain a wasteland Linnorm in many winters, but it is a great honor to bear the death curse, imbued upon its death. A name to be remembered for the ages amongst all the tribes. I look forward to communicating with the elders of the tribes, now that the over-eager and aggressive apprentices are gone.

 I will send additional communique when next I’m able.

 Corrian Vanderspelt

Professor of Anthropology

Bloodragers of Porphyra is available at Rpgnow.